Groundhog Day 2015 Resolutions: November Check-In

This post is so very late! This term has gone so fast, and as we head into finals (one more week) I’m trying not to get too frazzled. Thankfully my classes remain brilliant and engaging, my teachers continue to be a bunch of cool cats, and my study binder is still saving my butt in a pretty big way. (Bless the study binder, and whoever gave me the idea, because this thing is seriously the major reason I’m not failing right now. It’s magical.)

I’m finally moving forward on some things that I’d stalled on, and I’m really excited for everything happening between now and the next review. I can hardly wait to share it all with you!

(This month’s resolution review below the cut:)

Continue reading “Groundhog Day 2015 Resolutions: November Check-In”

Advertisements

Groundhog Day 2015 Resolutions: October Check-In

I’m taking 16 credits this term, and the classes are all brilliant, but the workload’s a bit much already. Then, I spent several days helping a friend in crisis, and struggling to both make time to study and support my friend. On top of that, I got a cold last weekend! But I’m keeping on as best I can. I’m trying to stay up on my schoolwork, since I’m in Seattle for the Social Justice Fund dinner; I’m representing Black Lives Matter Portland, as we’re a recent grantee of the organization. Trying to take care of myself and manage my stress, which is the thing I seem to struggle the most with…

(This month’s Groundhog Day Resolution Review is below the cut.)

Continue reading “Groundhog Day 2015 Resolutions: October Check-In”

Groundhog Day 2015 Resolutions: September Check-In

This month’s post is way late, because I’m struggling a lot with getting back into the swing of daily life post-conference.

I just spent five and a half days in Oakland, CA, for the NOLOSE conference, and to see friends in the area. NOLOSE is a radical fat queer conference, and they had their first ever BIPOC Day (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color). Conferences can be hectic, and you can experience a lot of highs and lows in a short period of time, which I certainly did. I almost didn’t make it, bc of flight and housing costs, and then community pulled together to get me there, and it was so amazing.

But things are always a little hard after conferences — they’re a pretty magical place, but they are also often packed with stuff. I went down early to get settled in my homestay, and I stayed a couple days after so I could see folks I know in the area. I ended up meeting up with a friend at a birthday party, and being in a picture with Miss Major and a bunch of other awesome, radical queer and trans folks! And I had lunch with the ever amazing Lisa Hsia, who drew the picture we chose for the cover of After Ferguson, In Solidarity, and I got to see my friend Drew, and it was all lovely and wonderful.

I’m still trying to get back in the swing of things, and prepping for the start of a new term in a week. Wish me luck!

(This month’s Groundhog Day Resolution Review is below the cut.)

Continue reading “Groundhog Day 2015 Resolutions: September Check-In”

Groundhog Day 2015 Resolutions: August Check-In

It’s been intense this last month, with everything I’m working on. As I write this, I’m in kind of an awful head-space, and my anxiety is not helping. I have a post coming out on the blog in a few days that will explain more, but it’s related to my concerns about a piece I recently wrote.

This month’s Groundhog Day Resolutions recap is below the break:

Continue reading “Groundhog Day 2015 Resolutions: August Check-In”

Groundhog Day 2015 Resolutions: June Check-In

Another month past, and another (slightly late) post. In my defense, it’s finals week at school, and I have a bunch of papers due. On the plus side, I’m hopefully sending one of the papers out for potential publication, and the pub I’m looking at pays pretty well, which would be great, because I need a bit more of a cushion to cover household costs over the summer. Fingers crossed!

This month’s Groundhog Day Resolutions recap is below the break:

Continue reading “Groundhog Day 2015 Resolutions: June Check-In”

Groundhog Day 2015 Resolutions: May Check-In

Another month gone… Things have been hard, busy, and intense this past month. I’m really looking forward to the summer, in terms of not having to worry about classes. On the downside, I will be unemployed, and that’s an added worry, in terms of my stress level. Not sure how I’m gonna eat, let alone pay my rent over the summer, but I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

(Shameless plug: if you want to help reduce the chances I’ll be homeless/starve this summer, I’d love any form of support you can offer. Seriously.)

Anyway, onto the Groundhog Day Goals May check-in! Continue reading “Groundhog Day 2015 Resolutions: May Check-In”

Groundhog Day 2015 Resolutions: April Check-In

Another month gone, and I’m late again! I’ve been absent-minded and not using my planner as much, and I really have to get back in that habit, especially since I’ll be so busy this month. I read at the Festival Poetics in Corvallis yesterday, which was fun. Got a bit turned around on the way there, but it was a lovely day, my driver and I talked a lot, and the fields and hills outside the car were beautiful and full of grazing animals. It was gorgeous!

Anyway, on to the GHD Review…

My Goals:

  1. Make regular money from writing
  2. Schedule self-care and practice self-love
  3. Solidify my graduate degree path, and apply to grad school

Month in Review:

What worked?
1) Launched the first book! Also, got a Square card reader and made a Square sales site. Sales have been pretty modest so far, but folks who’ve read the book have been vocal about how much they enjoyed it. I ordered promo cards for the company, and those have been printed and are on the way. I am being paid for one of my reading gigs, and I have a couple more gigs lined up for the month, which means more opportunities to sell the book. And I started a small Facebook group for writing and workshopping poetry, since it’s National Poetry Writing Month. I’ve already written a couple poems through that, and I’m hoping to get one done for each day, to be revised in May and then sent out for prospective publication.
2) I spent too much money in Chicago last week, taking cabs. I got to see the city a bit, though, and had some amazing discussions with cab drivers and attended only half of the sessions, reserving time for naps and relaxation. I didn’t push myself to attend every workshop session, nor all the plenaries, I left some spaces that were too loud or scent-filled for me. Since getting back, I bought a face mask that filters out a lot of things that trigger my fibro, which I’m carrying around in my bag and deploying at need. I had a discussion with the higher-ups at work about making the office and lounge a scent-safer space. (Fingers crossed.) I also dropped my 4th class, so I’m back down to 12 credits, and I’ve been using my now-free Monday and Tuesday mornings to get things down at a more relaxed pace, with less stress.
3) I went and found the deadlines and such for application, and made notes about how and when to apply. I have plenty of time to do it, so this one’s gonna rest on the backburner for a while.

What didn’t?
1) I haven’t been pitching articles or essays at all, because I haven’t been writing them much. However, that one’s going on the backburner for the month, since it’s NaPoWriMo. Only launched one book, instead of two, and I need to send contracts out. Feeling a lot of shame around my disability, and second-guessing whether I should even try to put out this second book.
2) I’m still a bit crap at this one. Self-care, as vital as it is, is not my strong suit, but I’m trying. Things that were an issue: staying in too loud spaces sometimes; not setting boundaries around scent that need to be set; consuming too much food that triggers body issues (especially dairy and sugar); too many carbs, not enough protein, too high blood sugar for too long. Still working on it.
3) No issues.

Planning the Next Month:

What am I working on going forward?
1) Looking into fellowships and retreats for summer 2016, preferably ones with scholarships or stipends. Going to prioritise getting the second book out (which means contracts), and start work on the third. NaPoWriMo writing group needs some pre-scheduled dates to get folks participating; I already started on that this morning. Get better at selling myself and my books. A friend took a couple of books to get into Powell’s, hopefully, and I can start shopping books around to other book shops and maybe some libraries. I just need to bite the bullet and do the thing.
2) As always, re-committing to self care days. I’ve been taking them pretty haphazardly, and I need to pre-schedule them, but priority is getting my blood sugar down, and re-firming my boundaries around sleep time—it’s really noticeable how much more pain and stress I have on days where I get less sleep.
3) This one seems the least urgent, since apps aren’t due until this time next year, so this is going at a pretty slow pace, which is totally fine, and is in fact better for my self-care.

Biggest need right now is organisation, because everything feels urgent when I forget it until the last second or I double-book (already happened twice, and it’s only one week into term. Second biggest is leaning on community, so I’m gonna see if anyone wants to pitch in and help clean my place, since I can’t always stand up for very long. I’ve been letting chores go to conserve energy, but that’s not really sustainable.

 

See all of the Groundhog Day Resolutions posts here.

 

Groundhog Day 2015 Resolutions: March Check-In

Whoa! I’m a couple days late for my Groundhog Day Resolutions check-in, but only because I’m so busy. So, let me recap the goals here, and then I’ll get into where I’m at with each one.

Goals:

  1. Make regular money from writing
  2. Schedule self-care and practice self-love
  3. Solidify my graduate degree path, and apply to grad school

Month in Review:

What worked?
1) I am getting everything together to sell Mourning Glory Publishing‘s first book! It’s been proofed, and approved, and it’s all ready to go. I’m nearly done on another, with a third queued up, and so we’ll be basically launching with more than one book. Might be risky, but I think it’s a good range of stuff, and I’m excited to share these books with the world!
2)I have been letting my body call the shots, and while that’s been inconvenient sometimes, it’s also pretty clear that’s what needs to be happening. Also, eating way too many Girl Scout cookies, with no regrets.
3) I have decided that I’m going to try to go into PSU’s MA in Publishing after I graduate next year, because it seems most urgent to me, and I think it’ll be great experience for my own press.

What didn’t?
1) I wanted to set up an e-commerce portal through WordPress, but it looks like I can’t, since my site isn’t self-hosted. I’m looking at other options, and in the meanwhile, I’ll be using Etsy to sell books.
2) I haven’t been scheduling much self-care time. I still think this is needed, so I’ll work on it…
3) No issues.

Planning the Next Month:

What am I working on going forward?
1) Book promotion! I will be reading in the Unchaste Readers Series this month (March 17th), and I’ll be selling books there. I’ve got a modest list of folks to sell to, and of course I’ll be looking at other ways to promote our books going forward. I’m going to work on getting the books up on Etsy, so people can purchase them there.
2) I plan to pick 1-2 days in the next month to just focus on my self-care. This will probably wait until my last assignment is turned in on the 18th, but I’ll have 5 days to relax, and then I’ll be in Chicago for 6 days, and I’ll definitely have the chance to have me-time in there. I’m super excited for that!
3) I need to go in and figure out the application deadlines for the program, and plan accordingly. It’s probably a while yet, so I can look that up and make a plan for getting all the necessary work done with plenty of time.

I definitely have a lot to keep me busy, and it’s coming up on finals at school, so that self-care’s going to be important! But I’m mostly excited to be moving on some stuff I’ve been working on for a while now. (Especially since Mercury moved direct—retrograde was harsh.)

For updates on the books, be sure to follow Mourning Glory Publishing’s site. I’ll be sending a newsletter once the first book launches, and you can sign up for those here. Until next time, friends!

See all of the Groundhog Day Resolutions posts here.

Groundhog Day Resolutions 2015

In the tradition of Dave Seah’s Groundhog Day Resolutions, I have decided to do my own this year. I think having regular days to check in with my progress towards my goals, on a schedule that’s pretty easy to remember, will be better for keeping them in mind. Plus, it removes some of the urgency I feel. Without timelines and plans, I tend to feel like I have to do things now, but I also push projects back each day, telling myself I’ll work on them tomorrow, without really getting things done. (If you also have ADHD, you probably know how this feels.)

So, here are my resolutions for the year:

  1. Make regular money from writing: my first piece for pay went up this morning, and I’m stoked! But I want to be regularly contributing to more sites. I have a couple books in the works (more news very soon), and a regular contributor position at Black Girl Dangerous, but my university job ends in June, and if they hire me back, that won’t start until September. I’m saving money to bridge the summer gap, but it’s anxiety-inducing. If I can get things in order and start making a little money, I won’t have to stress out about this. Also, I plan to keep writing — I’d have to start some time. I set some goals about this in December, and I’m hoping to really get into them.
  2. Schedule self-care and practice self-love: I struggle with this one a lot (many of you know; it seems like I talk about it all the time), but I want to find a way to centre my health and body needs. I need to create a plan to see friends more for hang out/relaxing time. I need to set aside evenings/mornings/days with inflexible boundaries for sleeping in, spa time, whatever. I need to find what works for me, long-term. It’s a work in progress…
  3. Solidify my graduate degree path, and apply to grad school: I want to go to grad school, and I have some ideas about what to do, but I need to look up application requirements and deadlines, pick a school/program, and just go for it. Still trying to get my GPA up, which is complicated by poor health and lack of self-care, but I believe I can do it. So I just have to do it.

Those are the big ones, the ones that will take the most focus and work, but they’re really important to me, and I plan to prioritise them. So, I will be posting on 3 March, 4 April, 5 May, 6 June, 7 July, 8 August, 9 September, 10 October, 11 November, and 12 December about them. I will create work plans and assess time constraints, I will track submissions and find support; I will let go of what I must. I will focus on what I want and need, and what I can and should do for others, and I will practice saying no. I will know that I can, but that sometimes I just can’t. I will be afraid. I will be proud.

2015, you’re already better than 2014 — let’s see what we can create together.

Poetry as soul-food, self-care as struggle

I haven’t posted a blog post since the first week of term, three weeks ago. My first instinct was to apologise here, but I’m not doing that. Instead, a brief explanation:

I have high expectations for myself, and I tend towards taking on more than I can handle. When the term started, I thought that I could post regularly on my blog, send a weekly newsletter, write for two sites 1-2 times a month, work 20 hours a week on campus, and get all of my homework done. That’s been much harder than I anticipated, particularly with the heavy amount of reading: some 500+ pages per week.

This week, my Audre Lorde class shifted from her memoir Zami to her poetry. Sunday, as I read, I felt amazing, happy and calm and still, and I realised that I hadn’t felt that way in weeks. When I got home, I shuffled one of my tarot decks and drew three cards: the 4 of Swords, Strength, and the 4 of Cups, which reflected some things that had been on my mind that morning. I set several intentions for my week:

  • I will listen to my body and its needs, instead of pushing for more than I can handle
  • I will set boundaries and protect my need for nurturing space and quiet
  • I will let my friends and loved ones know I value them

I also posted to Facebook my gratitude for the day: being moved by beautiful poetry that speaks to that which is my ancestors in me. I have struggled to act with my intentions in mind, but I will keep them with me. And having set them inspired me to talk to one of my professors about my time crunch, and get some clarity on where I can focus, which frees me from a piece of anxiety that has been building.

Going forward, I hope to keep writing a gratitude in my planner each day. I hope to get caught up on my homework. I hope to spend more time with friends, which I know is a source of energy renewal for me. I hope to reassert my self-imposed boundaries around protecting my sleep time, so that I can be better rested. I may do all of these things, or I may not. But that’s to come; for now, I am simply determined to ease up on myself. My high expectations are holding me back, exhausting me… so I need to let them go.

What this means is that I may post to this blog every week, or I may miss a week or two. I may send a newsletter out each week, or I may miss some. I don’t want this to be a space of anxiety for me—I like sharing this space with the folks who’ve connected with me here and on other platforms, and dashing out posts for the sake of making them is a disservice to you all and myself. I want this to be a community: reflective,  caring. I need to be realistic about my own limits, so that this space is the best it can possibly be.

Thank you for being here and sharing space with me. I hope you know that I appreciate you.

See you next week—maybe.

Me, My Health, and I

Two weeks ago, my doctor gave me a fibromyalgia diagnosis. I suspected I had it when I went to see her; she ran tests to rule other causes out before confirming I have fibro. On one hand, it’s nice to have a diagnosis, so I can try to get accommodations from my school. On the other, fibro is a lifelong thing, one where my treatment options are often likely to be about pain management. To reduce my low energy, high pain days, I have to eat well, sleep enough, and exercise often.

Above all, I have to find a way to minimise stress, which is not always my strong suit. I tend to commit to a lot of important, fulfilling things, juggle them all with increasing difficulty until I just can’t keep up, and I need to let one or two or three drop away. But I’ve been going through a lot the last few months, and it’s definitely made me slow down and listen to my body a lot. I have been forced to say no to things I want to do, and I’ve been forced to ask for help when I can’t manage everything I’ve got.

I am used to being pretty independent, to handling my own needs. Even when I tell other people I’m struggling, I often insist that I’ll figure something out; there’s no opening for help to be given or, in some cases, even offered. I’ve been increasingly frustrated at my lack of mobility and energy, because I don’t like asking for help. I don’t like having to rely on others, and I often feel guilty for inconveniencing friends. I apologise constantly, even for things that my friends have offered freely. I am grateful for their support, of course I am, but I also feel that I shouldn’t need it.

Recently, my mother texted me about a Facebook post I made. Her text said I should ask her for money when I need it; she might not always have it, but she likes to be asked. My automatic reply was “okay.” I didn’t know what else to say. But after reflecting on it, I also replied that I likely still wouldn’t ask her. Part of why I push so hard is that I want to get experience and find a job paying well enough that I can buy a house and move my mother in.

In my story for the Intersections event, I mentioned that my biggest life goal, my dream, is to make enough money that my mother can retire. Most folks are retired by 70. I have another 19 years to make it happen, but my recent low mobility has raised some scary possibilities. I’m afraid that I’ll never get there, that my mother will still be working 3 jobs and caring for my brother in her 70s. I’m afraid that something terrible will happen to her before I am established enough to take care of her. I’m afraid something will happen to me, and I’ll add to her burdens instead of lifting them.

How can I take care of my mother when I can’t even take care of myself?

Since my symptoms started back in October, I’ve started a slow return to stable health. I’m not as able and mobile as I was before the flare, but I’m considerably better than I was in the worst of it. I haven’t slept through class in weeks, and I can walk almost as much as I used to, though I still need a cane. The meds my doctor prescribed keep me from having too much pain during the course of the day, and I haven’t had incapacitating brain fog for almost a month. I still struggle to remember words on a regular basis, and I have to process out loud a lot now, but I also know it could be worse.

Still, I’m haunted by the possibility of going back to that place. I have been able to get accommodations from my school, and both my professors and my supervisor at work have been very understanding and supportive, but I’m used to being able to do more. That’s a manifestation of societal pressure: our society is capitalistic, and emphasises production as the measure for self-worth. (I wrote a couple of poems about that—one is here.) I know this, but I still struggle in allowing myself the space and time I would give anyone else.

I encourage my friends to care for themselves, to take things slow, to tell me and others what they need, and so on, but when it comes to myself, I am impatient. It is a good thing when my friends self-care, but I have too much to do. I even put off my own self-care by caring for my friends!

535867_4132100541823_1192091845_n copy
The tattoo on my upper chest says “Radical Self Begins with Radical Self-Love”. It’s meant to be a reminder to take care of myself: I can’t do all of the cool, amazing, important things I want to do if I don’t take care of myself. I am definitely radical, but I’m also running myself into the ground, and I need to take time and space to love and care for myself, before I totally burn out.

I think it’s time to make a self care plan, and schedule some time to just do things that will help me unwind. After all, I’m not superhuman, even if I try to act like it sometimes.

Save

Writing from the Core Day 12

I disappeared off here for a couple of days, but I’m not going to apologise, which is my first instinct. Instead, I’m going to open up to you more than I have before.

I have been pretty seriously stressing out about the situation in Ferguson, Missouri. My PTSD was pretty heavily triggered by a series of events last week—encountering a White supremacist in a local diner, hearing about a stabbing on the train I usually take to school, and following the ongoing police riots in Ferguson. I haven’t been able to get much writing on this challenge done. Instead, I wrote and shared a poem for Mike Brown; I’m having trouble focusing on myself with everything else going on.

Day 10‘s prompt was: Write a memory of beauty and/or love associated with your topic.

I didn’t get any writing done on this one. I’m honestly so upset and anxious that I couldn’t think of a beautiful moment related to touch—still can’t, actually. I might go back to it later, but I’m not in a place to write about it now.

Yesterday‘s prompts was: frailty.

This one was easier to work with. I can be honest, because I know that what I write for this won’t be seen. I wrote about how much I struggle with showing weakness.

I had a panic attack last night and the night before. On Tuesday, I called a friend to pick me up and give me a ride home, and I used a motorised wheelchair to go grocery shopping, because my legs were weak and unsteady in the aftermath of my attack. Last night, I made a Facebook post for some of my friends about support I was hoping to receive around my mental health.

I hate to admit when I can’t do everything, or I need help. I tend to downplay how serious my needs are, or act as though I can meet them all myself. I don’t necessarily invite help; I just share my struggles, or vent about a small portion of my frustrations. I’ve gotten into heated debates on social justice issues on social media, and when I later expressed that I wished for someone to step in and support me, more than one person has said they felt I was very capable and they didn’t think they could do as good a job, since I seemed to be doing so well.

I continuously bear up under pressure, and it’s come back to bite me: everyone assumes I don’t need help, even when I do. I need to work on this one, have needed to for years. We’ll see how well I do, now that I’ve articulated some things.

Today‘s prompt is: What have you never said?

Oof. I’m gonna let that alone until I’m in a better frame of mind. I’m honestly just too fragile for this prompt.

Lisa writes that she understands if folks are having trouble with the prompts and our topics, and encourages us to write, no matter what we are writing about. I have a paper due today, but my personal writing will probably be more poetry.

 

Is there something you’re struggling with right now that seems to be eclipsing the rest of your life? I hereby give you permission to take care of yourself. You can ignore the big thing, or you can take time to decompress. You can tell the folks you care about that you’re having trouble, or you can withdraw to a private space and stop taking care of everyone else for an hour or an afternoon, or even the rest of the week. Take care of yourself.

Previous posts here.