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.