Archive | August 2012

Picking and choosing, or Balancing the Psychoemotional Budget

Trying to think of how to phrase things, put the concepts in my head into words.

I’ve spent all my life surrounded by negativity.  You can’t do this, that’s not right, this isn’t how you should feel about this, that person isn’t good for you.  Sometimes it’s been right; sometimes I’ve ignored it, right or wrong.  It’s much easier to ignore the right than the wrong, though — something anyone who’s been in an abusive relationship with people telling them to get out knows.

I’m improving, and coming back to the person I truly am, the one that makes me pleased to look in the mirror even if things are hair-raising some of the time.  It’s both easier and harder than it seems.  The key seems to be remembering that my gut instinct is right, invariably right, and to listen to it… and that I’m allowed to say “No” to anything I want or need to, and I don’t have to care if someone else feels unhappy or upset by this.  This is a very big lesson for me, and I suspect for a lot of people.

For those other people, let me reiterate:  You are allowed to say “No” to anything you want or need to.  You are not required to care if other people object to this.  You need to set and keep your own boundaries, both physical and mental, and not everyone is going to be pleased by this.  Quite frankly, sucks to be them.  If they choose to be unhappy because you set boundaries, that is their problem.  Not yours.  If your boundaries are truly a problem for them, which they shouldn’t be unless it’s interfering with a healthy relationship or work environment, they can discuss it with you like an adult.

There.  If you think that may apply to you, go re-read that fifteen or twenty or fifteen hundred times.  (Or not.  Set your own boundaries.)

Progressing also means deciding what sort of people you want to have around you.  Generally your best bet is going to be maintaining contact with those who make you feel confident and good in (not about) yourself, and limiting contact with those who leave you feeling emotionally battered or depressed.  A test:  if you tell someone about an exciting and challenging opportunity you have, are they going to be pleased for you or pick it to shreds?  Another test: after being in someone’s company, do you feel drained or as though you’re somehow lacking, or do you feel calmer, more confident, more conscious of your own strength?

This does not mean “surround yourself with yes-(wo)men.”  Not even close.  It simply means that if talking to someone routinely leaves you feeling a lot more down at the end of a conversation than the beginning, you might want to consider limiting contact with them.  It also means that if there’s someone who, after being around them, leaves you feeling happy, confident, strong, content with yourself (I don’t mean “smug”), and energized — if you smile when you think of them — that you might want to consider making effort to spend time/maintain contact with them.

Right now I’ve clearly identified at least one person in that latter category.  I don’t know what else is going on, but I’m exercising patience.  I’ve had so much negativity in my life that some positive is worth waiting and putting in effort for.  I do only have a limited amount of emotional energy, so I guess I’ll just have to stop putting effort into maintaining contact with people who leave me feeling bruised and inadequate.

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All aboard that’s coming aboard

It occurs to me that the only time I really get into trouble is when I slow down for someone else.

As is pretty obvious by now, I move fast; things are constantly happening if I default to normal and let them.  I’m slowed down some by my body and nervous system being somewhat broken, but even so things keep going on.

Sometimes I’ll see someone I like, and I’ll slow down to hold out a hand for them to grab and climb aboard.  And if I actually like them a lot, I’ll give them several chances.  I’ll say “Hey, grab on!”

The problem comes when I see they haven’t, believe them when they say they want to, and keep slowing down… and down… and down…

…and I stagnate and falter in the other things I’m doing, because I can’t slow down just one part.

Or sometimes I get slowed down by other things, by pregnancy or illness or All Hell Breaking Loose Again, and I need a hand and will reach out.  And if there is none of the type I need, I will falter again.

I just did that again, right when I’m starting to get moving again.  Someone I like, and I slowed down, and if I slow down any more I’m going to lose my momentum.  And you know what?  I can’t let that happen again.  I’ve just lost the last few years of my life because I slowed down too much, and there’s too much potential right now for Things To Start Happening for me to risk it again.

A lesson, not just for me but for everyone:  if someone’s worthwhile, they’ll grab on when they have the chance.  After that things can go slow, they can take their time and look around and see if they want to stay on for the ride, but if they don’t jump on board when you hold out that hand?  They’ve lost their chance.  Don’t slow yourself down.

Mirror, mirror

I got in a snit about something yesterday, and had a lovely ice-cream-and-sulk fit.  They happen.

Today I got around to my usual analysis (happens once any given snit wears off, those who know me know to be patient.)  Hmm.  You know what, if I saw someone else doing what I have been?  I wouldn’t be too pleased.  In fact, I’d call them a couple of nasty things and stomp off elsewhere.

It makes me look at guys in a whole different light.  Maybe some of the assholes really don’t register that they’re being assholes.  I tend to approach things like a man, but I react like a woman.  No wonder I confuse people.

O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
An’ foolish notion:
What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us,
An’ ev’n devotion!

-Robert Burns

I’m going to try to stop being a louse now. *ahem*  I’ll go have my nice little social picnic with my kids (or maybe just take my daughter, we need some “us” time) on Saturday and reflect on my evil ways.

Attack of the Past and the Fountain of Inspiration

This is more a nighttime ramble than a before-coffee, and it’s after imbibing chocolate wine.  Yes, it exists.

I’m noting that elements from my past are showing back up with the rest of me.  I’m back to what is apparently the proper shade of red hair (actually my natural, brightened some), my normal personality is coming back out (as the rest of the world performs appropriate self-blessing actions), and I’m seeing concepts that are almost old friends popping back up.

Right now it’s the literary world.  I spent my adolescence on the fringes of the science fiction/fantasy publishing world, complete with copy-editing for Starshore magazine (now long defunct) and culminating in a brief internship in the Editing and Development department of White Wolf.  I’d not really had anything to do with the entire field since that last, partly because of the drama factor involved and partly because I was off on Adventures. 

Now it’s popping back up.  I have friends who are connected to a particular publishing house, and I keep pinging around the edges of things on that front.  A friend of mine is also a writer, and needs a copy editor… guess what I’m good at, on the actual publishing level.  And there’s e-publishing… I just managed to connect two people who needed to talk.  There are a few other aspects, but essentially it looks like “science fiction/fantasy publishing” is a theme again.

As is writing.  I’m getting actual requests to continue writing again, partly based on this blog and partly based on simple bits of conversation (some of which end up on this blog because I managed to turn a phrase neatly.)  I’ve avoided it in past partly because it can clash SO badly with editing (a lot of editors are failed writers, and it gets the entire field a bad name sometimes) and partly because, well, I have trouble sitting down and DOING it in anything more than short things.  I’m also reminded that ideally I might actually just dictate to someone, set up a recorder and tell stories.

…and that caused me to pause, have a quick chat with another friend, and there may be something in the works.  I’m good at bits, she’s good at piecing.  And that spurred another two possible projects.

See, my problem is that I have no shortage of ideas.  Really GOOD ones, in fact.  Ones that need to happen, be it for emotional profit or financial profit or Because The World Needs This Dammit profit.  Most of them are generally helpful, and the ones that aren’t directly helpful are at least fun.  The problem I have is in starting them up.  Finding ways to make them reality.  Actually Doing Them.  I’m an idea generator and catalyst — what I need is help making it all real, because I haven’t the foggiest how in most cases and even when I do I’m afraid to step over the threshold.  Yes, I have a straight-up fear of success.  I know exactly where it comes from, and it’s being worked on. 

Theoretically the best way to get past that fear is to take one of these, even just ONE, and Make It So.  Get past that startup bump, get through it, and see it to fruition.  That’s the part I desperately need help with.

Standalone

I feel like I’m always the one to chase, to seek, to pursue. It’s in my nature.  I’m the one who wants, and tries, and strives.  A person, a concept, an idea, a dream… I have to chase.  I have to try.  I can’t not.

I’m also the one who protects, who guards. The sentry, the guardian, the watcher, the defender.  I have to.  No one else will.  I have to see those around me safe.

Maybe someday someone will see me as something, someONE, to pursue, and protect, and chase, and cherish. To hold dear, and keep me safe as I try to keep others safe.  Someone to hold me as I sleep, and keep watch, that I may rest.

Someone I can trust, who trusts me.

On the edge

Can I really do this?

It’s huge.  And it depends on others following through as well.

If they did… if I could do this and really did this, if I screw up then everyone would fall. I guess best not to screw up, and make sure that everyone knows they’re signing on for an Adventure.

And the other… I’m scared.  It depends wholly on others doing their part, and I have issues trusting anyone else to do that.  The big one does as well; it’s a HUGE thing, world-changing maybe, and if anyone slogs off it would never get off the ground.

Can I trust anyone to do their part?  If I do these, either one, could people hold up their end?  I’m afraid to start for fear of others not following my lead; I can’t do it alone.

If I do my other, closer to home, could I trust contractors to do their jobs?

If I take this risk, if I take the leap, we could fall… or fly.  If I try to make this real, it could succeed.  If people are with me.  If they trust me. 

And if they trust me, that will frighten me as well; it means that I could change lives.  (Wait, I’m already a mother.)

So I guess it’s the most terrifying question of all:

 

Who’s with me?

Someone already stole “Eureka!” for bathing cogitation.

In the shower, brain idling.  Register a few connections.

Jump out of shower, dry hands, frantically bring up phone notepad and hit voice transcription.

This is very important.  It’s resonances.  Everything is resonance.  Quantum entanglement patterns to chemical/molecular structure pattern, that analogy?  It’s a resonance, it may be MORE than an analogy (originally typed “more than a resonance”, subconscious typing control worth noting there.)  Tesla!  Tesla had part of it with the wireless power.  If we can figure out the resonances of everything on a quantum level we can echo that and manipulate everything.  EVERYTHING is all about resonances, it affects everything.

It’s shining so clearly and I know we’ve come close to it, sensed it if you will, before.  “Music of the spheres”; resonances are sort of how electricity works, when you think about it, just shift your perspective a little.  It’s all, everything, one big chord, chorale, beautiful and immense and vibrating except where it’s not and AMAZING and I GET IT NOW.

Now to figure out how to apply it and work with it and help us become active participants in the most glorious music ever, instead of passively listening to the concert from the middle of the orchestra.

Burning the bridge, and looking forward.

I had a bad mother.

A really bad one.  And my entire life has been affected by it, and my daughter’s has been as well.

You know how “they” tell you not to burn bridges?  Sometimes they need to be burned.  This one does.

So this evening, before I send my daughter off with her father for his weekend with her, she will sit on my lap and I will write a final email to my mother.  I will tell her that I have been treating my young daughter as she treated me at that age, and that I am stopping the cycle that she brought me into.  That because of her teaching me as I grew that my body and mind were not mine to be respected, I went through some bad things that I will tell her about.  Not in detail, not rubbing it in, but bald statements of fact, unsoftened by allegory or allusion.  I will tell her that as of now, tonight, she has no more hold over me.  My childhood things I regard as long gone; my personal and family medical history will remain a mystery past what I remember for myself, as her versions cannot be trusted and change with the telling; and the dangling carrot of being beneficiary when she dies is now moot, she can list us or not but it no longer matters.

After tonight I will not have a mother.

And then I will have an evening with my son, and make some popcorn and drink some beer and read because I have a ton of new books thanks to some good friends, and tomorrow I will maybe wash my hair again so that it smells freshly of sweet oranges, and wear either jeans and boots and t-shirt or my green sundress and sandals, and go walking in DC with an Irish firefighter and make him feel wanted and adored and accept him making me feel beautiful and amazing.

And then Sunday I will meet a charming older man at the Workhouse in Lorton, VA and we’ll walk on the grounds and talk about whatever amuses us and I’ll probably go off about what I want to do with Wardenclyffe if I ever get my hands on it, and he will be charmed in turn and think that I am amazing and I will smile at him and we’ll drink iced coffee and look at the grounds and marvel at how art and beauty can peacefully be where there was once only punishment and incarceration.

And then I will come back to the house and play with my son, and fix dinner, and change my daughter’s bedding, and when she comes home tuck her into bed and sing to her and sit with her until she falls asleep.  And I will brush a curl out of her sleeping face, and stroke her cheek, and I will thank every power in the Universe and out of it that I have her for a daughter and my little boy for a son.

And we’ll live happily ever after.  Even if I have to move the Universe to make it happen.

Because that’s what I do.

We need to do this.

Or rather, I need us to do this.

I am going to be shameless and use this blog, which apparently has more readers than I was really aware of, to boost the signal.  And I’m doing it for completely selfish reasons.

You may have seen over on The Oatmeal that Wardenclyffe is for sale.

Here’s the Indiegogo link to do a direct donation.

Personal interest:  I’ve always been fascinated by Nikola Tesla.  Somewhere in my mid-teens I realised that I can almost understand the logic underneath his work… and that others don’t seem to be able to easily, if at all.  Eventually I registered that part of my comprehension seems to be tied in to my synaesthesia… which isn’t the “letters and calendar months are colors” variety, but music and vision and tactile and pure data interwoven (among other things.)  After analyzing the shape of this and other data for a few years, I suspect strongly that Tesla was synaesthetic the same way I am.  And could see patterns in things the same way I can.

Basically, I think, I’m not certain but I think I may grok his work.  I don’t have the training… but I know people who do and who can understand what I tell them.  That and my ability to learn anything that interests me may be enough.

Even if I can’t get in there and play — and any work that I would love that much would be play — we can’t let it be turned into a retail spot.  We can’t let his lab be destroyed.  There’s too much in there, I utterly guarantee it.  Yes, his papers are all held at assorted locations and guarded by people with fangs and guns and very determined steely glares, but this was his LAB.  There will be half-finished things.  Doodles.  Things that fell under the table.  Projects that were started and discarded.

I want Wardenclyffe.  Even if I can’t have it, WE NEED IT PRESERVED.  It must be preserved until someone can get in to try to make sense of things.  If I got it I’d be in there running an architectural, geological, structural, and any other kind of assay/evaluation on the building I could get.  And then… oh, then… I know some of the team I need.  I know exactly who.  One of my oldest friends for electrical; we communicate well enough that I’m certain I could express what I needed to him, and that he’d TRY.  Another friend currently in Texas for research — every single company involved in funding, ownership, waste cleanup, EVERYTHING that has ever been done there whether construction, destruction, or painting a damn fence needs to be researched and records requested and organized, and I know she’s the woman for the job.  I might even tap my housemate for managing records, facilities, and some physical project management.  Whatever my personal opinion of him, he’s good at what he does… and I mean GOOD, not just average decent skills.  You drop a fustercluck on him and say “here, this is your baby now” and he’ll sort it and have everyone loving him — and that’s a skillset I need.  I know database wizards, I know people who will know which other people have skills I need and even what those skillsets are called if all I can do is describe them.

They say everyone has a price.  Get me, personally, Wardenclyffe (title, deed, and all the other stuff) and you’ve earned a sit-down at the negotiation table with me.

Ikea, saviour of sanity

It’s amazing how drastically clutter can affect peace of mind.

I’ve been seriously cranky the last few days and couldn’t quite figure out why.  Last night I got around to sliding over to everyone’s favorite self-assemble you-won’t-get-out-with-your-paycheck-intact store and picked up a kitchen shelving unit I’ve been meaning to for a while.  (Okay, and a new colander.  In my defense the kids destroyed my old one.  But that was the only extra.)  (This time.)
Today I put the thing together in short order — I totally rock assembling Ikea furniture — and immediately put it to use getting the bread, coffee/tea, and other assorted things in one place that wasn’t “all over the counters preventing any use as food prep workspace.”  And I immediately noticed that I was calmer.

Truth be told, I’m not sure whether this is an effect of reducing clutter (and cleaning the counters! Yay!) or of a slight streak of OCD I have.  I’ve also calmed myself down by color-sorting ball-pit balls into “warm” and “cool” colors, arranging plastic plates in ROYGBIV order, and obsessively dust-mopping the kitchen floor, so I’m not sure how much that means.  (For someone who can flip out over plates being out of pink-orange-yellow-green-blue-dark blue order and the vacuum not having ALL the attachments ON IT in their proper places, my room is a disaster area.  I guess it’s situational.  When I move I’m going to try to redo everything to cater to the OCD tendencies, that I might harness this power for good… and have an excuse to have Really Cute Organizers.)
In any case, the kitchen is tidier now and I can actually see how many hot dog buns we have left without having to also check to see how many bags, if any are moldy (the housemate seems less fussed about these things than I get), I’ve discovered that the microwave has a level top, and my rice cooker now lives in the kitchen instead of “random location in the pantry after my son was playing with it again.”  And I’m calmer and considering a pot of tea now that the teabags have been located and have a spot now.

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