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. 

reading newsletter newspaper baboon office monkey

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.

glasses newsletter newspaper baboon office monkey

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.

phone monkey cell phone office monkey baboon

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?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

TV these days.

Emily V. Gordon has a piece up on the NYT about mental-health representation on television.

She mentions Lady Dynamite and Maria Bamford, whom I love. She also mentions You're The Worst and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, shows I've heard of, but not watched.

You're The Worst I caught in bits and pieces, I flipped to it mid-episode where the main character was crying alone in her car, which I mean, I get, but I didn't feel like watching.

I'd add Please Like Me to that list - which shows anxiety and depression and mania and is still super funny and sweet. There's actual long-term representation of a mental-health facility and that patients/friends in it.

Even Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt represents PTSD. So there is representation of mental illness slowly making its way into television.

It is, as they say, the "golden age of television," and lately it seems every comedian I like is getting their own television show, so what a time to be alive!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Every day.

This week at work I'm replacing the receptionist, who is on vacation. This means I don't have access to any of my marketing programs (the design stuff) and I'm mainly answering the phone and receiving mail.

This also means I have more "free time" - since the majority of my work day is me being at the reception, available.

Jason Clarke art animated loop cartoon

I've been in a bit of a fog lately. My brain has been slow, and I'm just being, I guess.

I need to be more vigilant about the thoughts I feel warrant being put to paper/screen. I'm often lost in thought, but I don't take the time to write down a certain turn of phrase of idea. I let it go.

I get lost in myself a lot these days. I fall down a rabbit hole, wondering what and why.

I'm trying to live my life daily, and it's been difficult. The fact is, I may never get a decent job. Never have a good schedule or a comfortable salary. I will always struggle with my attention span, with my memory. I keep telling myself that a better job situation will change everything. And though it would, in allowing me certain lenience, it also couldn't.

I've got this terrible habit of putting my life on hold. It's deeply ingrained in me.

It's common among the fat, from what I hear. I'll go on a trip once I lose some weight. It'll be different once I lose some weight. I wouldn't feel this way, if I wasn't fat.

So there's that side of it, yes, but I think it's also a result of compartmentalizing how to get through life. It's difficult for me to think long-term because I find it painful. Parts of me, the parts of me that staggered into adulthood did so through just letting time pass. I got by. I took things one step at a time, and then I was 30. I tried to access help and support and some bits worked and some did not. And over time I met some people and learned a certain kind of language and some basic skills and I got enough in me to continue to get by.

And yes, part of my life will always be about getting by. But on good days, I'll have the chance for things to be about more than that.

Right now, these days, my struggle is work. It's what to do, and where, and for how much. A work-life is 40 hours of your week. It's significant and I'm struggling with what I should be doing.

Right now I'm working a 37.5 work week as a "marketing assistant." I was hired as a graphic designer and through a series of colleague lay-offs and quits, I'm taking on administrative work and grossly under-used and under-stimulated. I am not doing any creative work.

These days, I am contented at finding a job that's stable, and leaving the creative work to my evenings and weekends. It'll be Etsy and writing, as long as I have a 9 to 5 that can pay for me to live my life.

Jason Clarke work desk job loop cartoon

I'm not doing that right now. I feel stunted by living with my mother, paying my half-rent and saving up while I can. The saving is eternal. Coins meant to fill a jug. The rattling of it all, a drop in a bucket.

It's long. Saving. Working. Working on myself. None of it has been quick or easy. So in the meantime, what I have is this meantime. It's the everyday. So if all I have are these days, then all I have are the choices I make within these days.

What is it that I spend my time doing?

Who are the people I make a point of seeing?

It's part of why I started volunteering at the dog shelter / animal refuge. If volunteering is part of my values, I need to live that, or else it isn't a value of mine, it's just something I talk about.

And if that principal can be applied to all things - what should I be spending my days doing?

How do I extend that practice? The practice of living my values.

Jason Clarke nervous worry animation loop

I feel successful with the volunteer work. And I feel successful when I am able to prioritize and accomplish things for myself. Yesterday I did some meal prep. I made healthy lunches, and I made a healthy vegetarian lasagna. It's taking care of myself. It's helpful. I know what I'm eating. I'm eating in line with my values (vegetarian, clean) and I feel pro-active in regards to my health.

There's always a shadow of guilt though. Of not doing enough. And it's difficult to rid myself of that impulse.

I know my next challenge is a physical one. I know physical activity and exercise are my next steps. My goal is to become more physical. To stretch. To work my heart. To be able to purge certain kinds of energy and to sweat out toxins. To court the calm that comes with exhaustion. Something I haven't felt in a very long time.

It's difficult. The every day. How is it a moment can seem so eternally long, and yet so painfully short? How is it my mind can wander so much? How can I truly harness the powers of my faulty brain. Some parts don't work all that great, but surely, some do. Maybe ability to concentrate isn't great, but my empathy is strong. My sensitivity is strong. My dreams are wild. What does that make of me and my brain? Of my potential?

I find myself rooted by the knowledge that there is such a thing as neuroplasticity, and that there is such science that says trauma and habit form pathways that become ingrained so that the brain becomes incapable of taking other paths. These are things I can logically know. But then what? How do I apply this knowledge to my life?

Jason Clarke nervous transparent cartoon monday

So the times that I remember things I don't want to remember, and they call up in me feelings of shame and guilt, or rejection or embarrassment, how do I respond in a way that challenges those set pathways, those painful roads.

How can a decade of self-harm be quelled?

That's where I am right now. I'm in the every day of it. I find it hazy with familiarity. It seems redundant. Here. Again. Always. It's always the struggle of being here, now.

It's difficult to follow my thoughts when things are muddled, and it's harder to focus when that muscle has atrophied.

Sometimes it seems so easy. Just keep it simple. Minimize. Breathe. Sleep. Take it easy.

Other times, I am astonished it isn't more common for a person to lose their fucking minds.

Jason Clarke no no no no cranky old man

I think we do. I think we lose is periodically and in moments and then a sensation or familiarity brings us back to wherever it is we are and we're distracted from that insanity. It's the familiar that comforts us, even if that known thing is objectively sick in itself.

Is all this neurosis based in the apathy of privilege? Of access? Of excess?

I make these lists of things I should be doing to be okay. Is that a trap? I'm not okay, and it's my fault. Is anybody okay? Surely, some must be. Or else how would the world work? How would it keep going? There are investments made by those who are invested in it all.

I float too far from my own life.

Sometimes it's just so absurd. Then it's so simple, and beautiful and sweet. Then it hurts so much, my hair, my eyes, my bones. How is it I can feel everything and then feel nothing?

How can I live in this world?

How can I best imitate those who do?

Jason Clarke fart cartoon weird butt

This is my gobbledygook. It's nearly incessant.

All of today's GIFs by Jason Clarke.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The happy introvert.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Chani Nicholas.

A buddy of mine linked to Chani Nicholas. I haven't read everything but today's post alone is beautiful. I get my astrology through Free Will Astrology by Rob Brenzy, and friends and I have all mooned over Sextrology by Starsky and Cox (it's so frigan elaborate and approachable), so I do enjoy astrology and find it helpful in pushing buttons and unlocking parts of my brain that might not be thinking too hard or looking at things too closely. 

My weekly horoscope is on-point, check out yours for this week, the week of September 12th 2015.

But really, pay special attention to the piece on the upcoming eclipse, Sacred Territory: The Lunar Eclipse in Pisces.
No matter what we are forced to endure, we must find a way to love ourselves through it. We must find a way to save our own humanity from the wreckage of it. No matter the weight of the burden placed upon us mentally, emotionally, physically, economically and environmentally, we must find a way to connect to what keeps us afloat spiritually.
Suffering isn’t handed out equally among us. The great injustice of life is that we must live it from where we are at. We don’t get a gold medal for enduring our lot. All we get is a chance at life.
We know that justice isn’t always served. There isn’t always a happy ending. There isn’t always a nicely rapped moral that we can glean from our story. 
Our world is wounded, fractured, broken and burning. We are products of this place and it is our job to heal the world through the healing of ourselves. Sometimes this feels like an endless endeavor. Sometimes it feels too much to bear. 
And yet, the wounds we circle around are, in their way, sacred territory. Sacred because they touch the core of our lives. They are ours. They are part of our journey. They are part of the great love story that is our experience here on earth. 
We are not our suffering, but what we suffer with informs our ability to hold our lives with great tenderness, in all its edges and complexity. We are not what we have suffered through, but by living with it, we are changed. 
The sorrows that we know nothing of are ours to learn about. Ours to awaken to. Ours to listen to. Our call to answer. The song of the mourner is our invitation to turn our ears and tune our hearts to the great spiritual call of life: being of service to one another.
In the end, we regret nothing but the kindness we have kept from others. To extend ourselves in love and kinship to each other is to reach towards divinity. 
May we learn to give of ourselves and have no regrets.
Read the entire piece!

Just beautiful!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Shape shift with me.

Against Me!'s new album is streaming on NPR. "Norse Truth" on loop!

It's soooooo gooooooood.

Also, I will also never be a delicate, feminine thing... Never slight.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Two bowls of beans.

It's been a long long-weekend.

I had my nephews for the whole long weekend. Man were they bad. Friday all they did was wrestle / fight / cry / give me attitude. They were so bad I LOCKED THEM OUT OF THE HOUSE - and then the older one shoved the little one through a window to unlock the door! I couldn’t even be mad! 

They're 8 and 6 for crying out loud! They could not stop fighting.
Saturday every child in the neighbourhood was in the yard (my bro has like an acre of wooded land) and there were always, like 4 boys on the trampoline. At one point I looked outside and there were 8 kids, one of which was A FRIGGIN' BABY. Like 2. I had to ask one of the kids, WHOSE FUCKING BABY IS THAT?! And when he said it was a visiting cousin, and I asked where his parents were he seemed totally not worried about it. I, however was worried about it, as my nephews are rowdy as hell and they were having a water-gun fight AROUND A LITTLE (unsupervised) BABY.

We headed back to my place Saturday afternoon - and things got easier there. You have to control the environment. We watched Babe. The older one said, "A movie about a pig? Disgusting." He ended up watching it 3 more times afterwards. Little turd. 

They made their own pizza on Saturday night. Well, the little one did, he made all of our pizzas and then "did the dishes," it was pretty cute. 

Sunday we went for breakfast and they ordered their own plates. I told them to order what they wanted. The little one wanted a waffle and 4 pieces of orange. The older one ordered a bowl of beans, bacon and toast. He ate it all, then asked for a second bowl of beans. Then we shared a small fruit plate with them. The waitress likes us / it’s our local diner so they accommodated us, which was nice. 

I tipped a lot because she was really nice to them. She tried to flirt with the little one and he refused to make eye contact with her he was so shy.

They left Sunday night, after I fed everyone (including their parents). Home made pizza again (kids wanted it again, we didn't fight it), cucumber, beat salad and brownies. It was a success. I passed out Sunday night and woke up Monday in the same position I fell asleep in. 

Yesterday I worked on my patches all friggin' day. I had to cut all the cardboard backing (card stock with the type on it) and bag and tape everything (over 100 items). Then photograph it and put it on etsy - it was a long day. Cutting took forever.

But, I guess it was a productive weekend.

The work-week should be short, which I appreciate. It's Tuesday, the office is mostly empty and there's little work to do. 

I plan on going to bed early tonight, since waking up this morning was hard.
The whole thing was an adventure. The days got preogressively better, as I got sterner with them. I'm not use to dealing with fits and attitude. My approach is to be like, talk about your feelings with me, why are you frustrated?

When really what they need is, if you don't do this right now I'm taking the ipod away for the rest of the weekend. 

My brother was pretty frustrated since he rarely goes away with his girlfriend. He asked the kids if they had fun and they exclaimed yes, with gusto. 

I was pretty surprised, and asked if they were sure since they complained so much, and they smiled and said yes again. Turds. 

Certain Women.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Am I troll NyQuil?

I am sparing you tons and tons of crazy-talk and my calm replying, and she gets progressively calmer, so below, she's like, as cogent as she gets.

It's all from one tiny comment on a trans-rights article that was just simple and supportive, and man did I get a bunch of shit flame trolls on my ass. 

But yah, I think I broke the internet through kindness. I at least ended a rant.

Those left behind by suicide.

During a series on PTSD, The Establishment printed a piece called The Secret World of Suicide Survivors by Cindy Lamothe. Cindy's sibling committed suicide, and she discusses the loss, the PTSD and trauma:
One of the core tenets of trauma is the self-protective impulse it instils in us to fight or flight. The mind starts to shut systems down, causing us to lose contact with important functions such as the ability to plan, to reason or think, even to formulate words.
This is how I lose a decade of my life. Through an absolute shut down.The brain adapts ridiculously complex ways to protect you from what you're feeling. As does the ego. Maybe even the id. We will fall down a rabbit hole to avoid what we're feeling.

Lamothe also features other writers who have survived the suicides of loved ones.

This wasn't what I was expecting from that article. I expected the stories of those who tried to take their own lives, failed / were saved, and then continued to live their lives. 

Of course, it seems evident that those close to a suicide would see themselves as a survivor.n They're (in this case) someone living with  PTSD of the trauma of that death. In my own life, my brother's best friend's little brother committed suicide very violently, and it shook my brother terribly. His best friend, A, is someone I grew up with, and he also lives with mental illness, so no doubt he lives with the repercussions of that suicide daily. I can understand seeing all of those affected as survivors, but I don't entirely see it. Not clearly. 

Suicide is self-inflected. That doesn't mean it doesn't affect others. That there isn't a ripple. I tend to lean towards those with the suicidal ideation. I just see suicide through a graph. A peak of pain. The apex of suffering when it's seen as the only solution / reprieve. 

It's terribly sad. There's something so sickening about the living ending their own life. Does that exist anywhere else in nature? Animals can lay down and die, maybe sacrifice themselves, but willingly manipulating their bodies in a way as to cause harm to the point of death, is that possible? 

There are types of passive suicide, but active suicide of a violent nature, is so loudly traumatic. 

The times in my life I was suicidal, I couldn't imagine traumatising my mother to that degree. I could bear the pain, for her. Had I lost her too during that time, I don't know if I'd still be here.

So I have mixed feelings. I can see that someone close to you dying by suicide would be deeply traumatic. I can see the trauma and grief of that causing PTSD. I wouldn't necessarily say that they're the survivor though. They're the survivor of their grief, the survivor of PTSD, but I wouldn't go so far as to say they're the survivor of suicide - suicide is self-inflicted. And if I commit suicide there is only one victim intended.