Thursday, November 09, 2017

What to say?

I've started and archived several posts the past few days (because too negative). I've really been mired in the middle of this rewrite. And I've not been feeling well - even though the local weather casters claim "Allergens are low or absent," something is bothering me - I have hives and my nose is running.

I saw something on Twitter, about the creative process (link is here. I will euphemize because there are a couple of harsh words in there, and also, I want to add my own flourish, but here it is:

The Six Stages of Almost Any Big Endeavor in My Life:

1. This is exciting
2. This is difficult
3. This is crud and is awful
4. **I** am awful, I can't do this
5. It might be okay
6. It's done and I guess it's OK.

(I don't get back 'round to "this is exciting" or "this is awesome" on most things. Completing something usually means exhaustion and I'm only happy about it afterward).

Right now I've started to pull into stage 5. Yesterday, I was stuck between 3 and 4.

I wound up yesterday too with too many people solutioneering at me, which makes me crabby. I expressed displeasure with the current state of things somewhere on line, and immediately got a chorus of "You need to go to therapy! You need meds!" and I am like "Uh, I'm fundamentally OK, I'm just venting. This is how I vent"

And then, at Board Meeting, casual discussion of Thanksgiving travel, and someone rolled their eyes over that I take the train, and "why don't you fly?"

(Um, because I don't have a family member to drive me to OKC or Dallas, which are the nearest airports? Because flying is awful when you're alone? Because I can sit and read on the train and I like that?).

I did jokingly say, "But I'd need a passport to do that*" and that set off a round of shocked, "You don't have a passport? Why don't you go get one?"

(Because it takes time and effort, and I have neither. People don't understand).

(*Come mid-January, because of my state being stupid in a very particular way, our driver's licenses will no longer count as valid ID for flying, because, apparently, the state didn't take sufficiently intrusive anti-terrorism investigation measures on driver's licenses? I don't know. And yes, I do need to get a passport soon because if I had to get home FAST in an emergency - though dear knows how I'd cope with getting to an airport - I'd need to be able to fly).

But yeah.

The other big feature of Board Meeting? A discussion of new security procedures because even church isn't a Safe Place any more. We've got some things planned to do - I won't go into details other than to note it was a bit elucidating to learn just who has a CCW and "carries" on a regular basis - but it makes me sad. Because one thing we're gonna do is lock everything up tight. So if someone comes to visit, they may not feel welcome, which I think this is just going to contribute to our spiralling down until we close.**

Also, I raised the issue of getting out in case of fire - yes, the doors lock from the inside, but it also takes a moment (and a bit of strength in your hand/wrist in the case of a couple doors) to get them open. Yes, in a real emergency I'd throw the little table in the vestibule through the glass door if we couldn't get them open fast enough, but.....I recommended discussing it with the fire marshal here (because I know she has put the kibosh on certain things we wanted to do on campus to protect against intruders - making the point that a fire is far more likely, and you don't want a deadly fire). I don't know if anyone will heed my suggestion but at least I made it.

I hate this. I murmured - and the people next to me heard - "this will end with me becoming a hermit" as the discussion was going on but yeah, I kind of feel that's where we're headed. (How many more years will we have the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade? Or the Super Bowl? Or any of that?) 

(**There's a - Buddhist, I think it is - concept that says "the cup is already broken," meaning, the way to avoid attachment in this life is to think of things as already dead and gone and over, so you won't mourn them when the inevitable happens. I can't do that. I can't act as if every good thing in my life has already gone away, but if I could, maybe I'd worry less)

Anyway. My yesterday was entirely this:

1. Writing on the stupid rewrite
2. Complaining/worrying about the stupid rewrite
3. Board meeting.

You don't know how glad I will be to be done with the rewrite. I am trying very hard to think "Detachment from Outcomes" (one of my friends in grad school had a tiny sign that said that up on her computer monitor, so she would remind herself just to work without worrying about the eventual result of that work) so that the "but what if they reject it after all this work" doesn't come up in my head and shut me down.

(It does not help that a colleague got a paper rejected from the same journal - well, I was second author, because I helped collect data - and this person was kind of unhappy about it and unloaded on ME. I get tired of being unloaded on, especially when the issue is in no way my fault)

I can tell I need a break because lots of little things annoy me. The new "Mary Jane's Farm" came yesterday and I read it while eating dinner, and I was more eye-rolly about some of the "woo" stuff than usual. (And also eye-rolly about how Certain People are designated as Special and therefore worthy of great praise and celebration, whereas mooks like me - who probably deserve it, because we really have no special talents, but still - labor in obscurity, and are tired all the time, and often don't even hear a 'thanks' for the efforts we go to at work. Yeah, I want to be special. I want to do something that makes people go "oh, that's cool" and care about me, but, it seems my lot in life is just to work in the background and kind of do the thankless stuff that people only care about when it goes undone).

But, one thing I am going to try: there was a digest of some 'study results' (and I know: I should look up the original because there's a good chance they got it wrong in the magazine) suggesting that doing a couple of little sets of exercises per day, where you squeeze very hard for 90 seconds on something like a stress ball, may over the long run, lower blood pressure.

It's dumb, but it's worth a try, I think. I have a goofy squeezy thing at home (a loaf of bread - scented with that fake-butter scent that supposedly is bad for you in popcorn - that came in one of my recent Doki Doki boxes) and I'm thinking of buying something a little less goofy to keep over at work.

I'm guessing the mechanism could either be:

1. It reduces stress and tension, and therefore you are calmer, so lower blood pressure
2. It does something to the veins in your arms, maybe squeezing blood back to the heart? So maybe either the heart doesn't work as hard, or it works against the hardening of the arteries. I don't know.

They say it lowers systolic more, and right now my systolic is pretty good; it's my diastolic (the pushback from the blood vessels, rather than the push from the heart) that is creeping up a little.

But still, worth a try. And if nothing else, I get to look at the goofy squeezy toys on Amazon and pick one out. (Hm. Maybe if dentist's offices wanted to start giving prizes to adults - which honestly, I think they should - you make it through an appointment without screaming or biting the dentist, you deserve a prize - they could be stress squeezies. Because the good Lord knows we're all stressed out.)

(I also wonder if my recent increased need to sleep with either my giant cat stuffy, or my little flat Clawhauser stuffie, squashed to my chest is in some way related to that. Good heavens, I wonder how much higher my blood pressure would be WITHOUT the stuffed animals in my life...)

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