Archive for the ‘Happiness’ Tag

Salvaging the Streak

Didn’t want to bust again so soon, so here’s a quick listy post of great things in my life over the last few days:

  1. Going to visit friends is life-giving, especially when they welcome you into their home, introduce you to their friends, and treat you like you matter.
  2. Celebrating your friend’s birthday with your presence and presents and a chocolate piñata makes for a wonderful time had by all.
  3. Rest, not just sleep, is good for the spirit.
  4. Courteous and respectful security screening staff at both ends of my trip made this adventure 1000x better than the awesome it already was. Not getting groped and humiliated and triggered just to get on a plane should be the norm, not an exception to celebrate. But I do absolutely celebrate it.
  5. Good food, good movies, good games, and tons of laughs made this trip an energy-restoring, spirit-feeding, wonderful experience.
  6. And now…to get ready for the move!
  • My friends, I hope your week is full of blessings big and small.

    Now For Something Completely Different

    Lately, my posts have been about me, my struggle with anxiety and sleeplessness, my elation over my new house, my continued attempts to be positive and find at least one good thing in every day. Those are good things, mostly. Also, predictable and likely boring.

    So today, I’m writing about something different: me. Oh, right. That’s not different at all. What is different is the aspect of me that I’m writing about: writing.

    I’ve revealed here before that I’m working on writing and being creative, generally. I even crowed about one of my short stories being selected for publication in an anthology to be released this coming spring. Writing beyond this blog and unrelated to my profession is, to use a hackneyed phrase, a passion of mine – a quiet, unassuming passion, but passion nonetheless.

    It’s an area of my creativity that is fraught with complex emotions. As a student, the mechanics of writing, especially sentence structure and composition, were challenging for me. I encountered a lot of harsh criticism that I really didn’t understand – much of it seemed to tell me to do what I had already done, without acknowledging that what I’d written already met the edicts my critic was imposing. I felt stifled and inadequate, though without any clear reason why my writing failed to please.

    And then there’s the self-criticism, borne of insecurity and reflecting that formative experience, that’s at least as harsh and confusing as any external commentary. Constantly worrying about whether someone will “get it”, will appreciate the thoughtfulness and creativity I’ve poured into a given piece, has been a significant hindrance to my creative productivity.

    Putting something out there for someone else to consume and comment is a risky business. Egos can get bruised, feelings can be crushed, confidence can be scorched. All for the thrill of taking thought from ether, putting it into words in an order and structure unique to its form, and setting it free to become an entity unto itself. Big payoffs and big disappointments abound. Which it will be is a mystery until it happens. Sometimes it’s worth the risk. Other times…not so much.

    When I get lost in the conundrum of weighing those risks, I often resort to the safety of retreat. Simply putting the questions – what if, why, when – out of my mind and focusing on the how. What is the next step? If this story or essay or blog post is going to happen, what’s the next thing to be done? That works for most writing problems I encounter. Giving me a finite goal and a short horizon to view usually lets my brain work the problem.

    That trick doesn’t seem to be effective on a real block, however. When I’m struggling to plot a story or even come up with a creative idea, “the next thing” is hidden and out of reach. It’s maddening.

    I’ve been battling such a block for a while now. At first, I thought it was a combination of work stress and personal disappointment after a fairly ignominious and humbling dating experience. But as I have experienced a lot of emotional highs and great blessings since, prompting a few good blog posts and a lot of easing of stress, the expected lifting of the block hasn’t occurred. I keep starting to write and either I spend hours with nothing but a blinking cursor on a blank page, or scribble frantically and end up with nothing but some disjointed, crumpled handwritten notes to show for it.

    So, in an attempt to break the block, I’m combining tactics: naming the demon to sap it’s power, while narrowing the focus to a single step. This blog admitting to the problem is the naming: I have writer’s block.

    The single step I’m contemplating to break that block is writing by hand. It’s not a new, revolutionary tactic. It’s been done throughout history, literally. Since humans began recording, we’ve been writing by hand. And yes, technically, even electronic writing is mostly done by human hands on a keyboard (though dictation by voice isn’t “by hand”, it still usually requires a human action to get started). But there’s something alchemical about taking a pen in your hand and moving it across the page in a rhythm of strokes to form words. For my brain, this magical transmogrification of the staticky, noisy thoughts into ordered, coherent thoughts is activated by the physical movement of the pen in my hand in a way that doesn’t happen with my fingers on a keyboard.

    Maybe that’s got something to do with the fact that most of my work is done by computer keyboard. Maybe the change from typing to old-fashioned writing shifts my brain to another gear? I don’t know. But I’m not going to question it. I’m just going to do it.

    I’ve got a brand new notebook, sized just right to keep with me everywhere, and a pen. I’m going to commit to writing down thoughts and snippets and ideas as they occur, not obsessing over order, chronology, neatness or coherence. I’m just going to write what occurs to me when it occurs to me for an entire month. Then, the following month I’m going to take the time to read through the notes, mark what I think goes together, and decide if it can become a finished work. If so, I’ll also decide when and how long I’ll take to pull it together.

    That’s the plan. Let’s see if I can pull it off. But I’m not going to be a stickler about precise dates or number of words to write or topics to cover. I’m going to let my spirit be free in this experiment. Even that’s a stretch for me, the linear-thinking, logically-driven, ordered lawyer. But this isn’t about the lawyer in me. It’s about the creator in me who longs to be legitimately regarded as a writer. To achieve that, I need to write. And to write, I have to kill this block.

    Wish me luck.

    Busted…but Great

    So I busted my posting streak. Unintentionally, but definitely busted. It’s been 2 weeks since my last post. Bummer.

    But there are good reasons. Beyond just apathy or laziness.

    First, I bought a house! So great and exciting. The house is beautiful, move-in ready, and a big upgrade from my current house. I got it at an amazing price and under great financing terms. That took a good bit of my time and energy, but it’s all very good.

    Second, and closely related to the first, is that I bought new furniture and a custom closet system. Since I am not an avid shopper and not well practiced at it, those trips occupied more time and creativity than I expected. Surprisingly, however, I enjoyed the effort. I especially liked picking out the fixtures and options for my custom closet system. I’ve wanted to have a dressing room since I was a teenager. Now that I have the means and the space to do it, I’m indulging myself. I’m turning one bedroom into a full-room closet. So, so stoked about this! Not only will I have space for all my clothes, there’s dedicated storage for bow ties and boots!

    Third, a new, substantive lawyering project at work has kept me engaged with my job. Having to use my brain for logic and persuasion and for puzzling out creative solutions to obstacles feels so good. But pouring that creativity into work seems to have curbed the urge to write here. Maybe. Or maybe it’s a bit of writers block. Or possibly just burn-out. In any event, I haven’t felt compelled as much to post anything deep and meaningful here. Still, it’s good to have more of a purpose at work again.

    Finally, I have plans to go visit friends for a few days. Butch bro time mixed with a little nurturing and the promise of homemade mushroom soup…I’m really looking forward to the break. When I discussed my PTO request with my boss, he was so encouraging and said he was really glad I am taking some time just for me. That makes it easier to go without guilt.

    So, lots of really good reasons why I didn’t post last week. And, strangely given how hard I’ve worked to keep it up, I am ok with the miss. Maybe I’ll reevaluate the purpose of this blog for next year. Maybe I’ve outgrown it. Or maybe I just need to be more calculating and deliberate about what I use it for. Or maybe nothing needs to change except my obsessive need to keep the streak. We’ll see. Until I make that decision I’m going to try to stay on a regular schedule, though.

    However. I’m now looking at four days off of work and a new house to move to next month. So I’m gonna be a little busy with decluttering and packing and donating and what not. So I might see ya back here next week, or I might not. Either way, I hope y’all have a great holiday, if you’re observing, and a great rest of your week.

    More Great Than Awful

    So much of life is a mixed bag of great and awful. If we’re lucky, they balance, break-even. If we’re really lucky, the great outweighs the awful, at least at a micro, day-to-day level. I am fortunate that there is a lot more great than awful in my life and the magnitude of awful has been fairly muted of late.

    I try consciously to remind myself of that and to celebrate the great, however small they appear, so as to temper the impact of the awful. I’m not always successful. Sometimes the collective weight of the tiny awfuls adds up and weighs down my spirit. But counting the great, saying them out loud even, can sometimes lighten the load.

    For instance, I’m suffering the first head cold of the season and had to stay home from the office yesterday because I was running a fever and didn’t want to spread anything to my coworkers. It’s a particularly inconvenient time for this awful, mucous-y disruption to my work flow. But there are some great things happening too.

    • I’m in the process of buying a new house. It’s a gorgeous, move in-ready upgrade to the house I’ve had for 16 years. I got a great deal – used my negotiating skills and have a great realtor. We’re in the last stages before closing and I’m really excited about the prospect of this new phase of life.
    • There’s a new project at work that has me feeling re-engaged and excited to use my lawyer muscles. Doing deeply substantive lawyering, rather than business management, makes me happy.
    • I’m enjoying the cooler fall weather and looking forward to the freeze that will relieve the burning and itching in my eyes.
    • My SIL brought me my favorite soup for dinner last night to make my cold feel better.
    • Soon the holiday movie season will start and there will be good things to watch again.

    So, all in all, a fairly good tilt toward the great and away from the awful. For that I’m grateful.

    No Context

    Quick post to keep the streak going. No context. Just some random pictures from the last couple of weeks of things that have made me smile.

    List Again

    Trying to keep the streak going, but not having any luck with composing my thoughts. Restless and anxious lately, I’ve had some trouble writing, which annoys me. Also, been on crutches for over a week after an embarrassing mishap that strained my knee. Luckily, nothing is torn, I don’t need surgery, and I’ll get shot of the vexing crutches at the end of the week.

    Wishing to post and shake myself out of the rut, I decided to resort to a list of nice, soothing or happy things that I’ve encountered recently.

    1. Autumn is upon us. The trees here are just beginning to turn and the temps have cooled considerably. I’m hopeful the first freeze is just around the corner and my itchy eyes will be happy.
    2. The full “Hunter’s” moon night before last was gorgeous. Then yesterday I got pics of it at both dawn and dusk. A couple of them actually turned out ok, too!
    3. I got some new bow ties from a cool, queer-owned Etsy shop. I wore one of them today in a challenge to myself to get out of my comfort zone in terms of mixing patterns. That’s a challenge for me fo no good, rational reason. So I’m trying to loosen up. This combo is a little unsettling, but I’m told it works. I’m fighting the urge to take it off. 🙄😂
    4. I have seen a couple movies with friends lately. Hustlers was a bit difficult in subject matter, but…J-Lo. Downton Abbey was a pleasant surprise. I only watched the first couple of seasons of the show, but loved the actors so much I wanted to see the movie. Thrilled to find a couple of characters developed in a great way. Now I want to watch all the rest of the show’s seasons! I am looking forward to the holiday movie season to see more great flicks with my movie-buff pals.
    5. I’m excited to get to play the first game of D&D with my new online group this Saturday. We’ve had a couple chats to prep for the campaign and I’m really looking forward to trying my hand at it. I’m certain I’ll be painfully slow and bumbling, but the group has been patient and kind so far. I hope it’s as fun as I’ve imagined.

    I hope you all have pleasant things, big and small, that you can count as blessings to brighten your week.

    Some things

    I’ve said a few times over the last several weeks, both on here and in conversation with various friends, that there are some awesome cool things going on in my life lately. I’m grateful to be experiencing it all. Life isn’t perfect and there are good days and bad. But I’m thankful that I average a goodly percentage more good than bad. It’s a privilege and a blessing to experience joy in a world gone haywire. And because it’s a blessing bestowed when sharing your joy, I am gonna relate a few of the awesome things going on right now.

    1. Although I said in my post at the beginning of the year that I wasn’t keeping a report card of my progress this year, I did post a few goals that I wanted to advance this year. One of those was to pluck up the courage to ask someone I find attractive out on an IRL date before the end of the year. I am happy and proud to say that I have accomplished this goal and more. She asked me out first, but I have since asked her and we’ve actually been out several times and are looking forward to more. So, if you happen to notice a certain lightness in my step and an enigmatic grin on my face at odd times, you have your explanation. 😎

    2. Connection is an incredible, life-giving ‘magic’ that defies my ability to define. But it is undeniable, joyous and freeing when it happens. Finding common ground in habit and experience and philosophy and passions brings such a wonderful feeling of belonging and validation. Being seen and affirmed and encouraged in your identity is one of the most beautiful things one human can do for another.

    3. OMG, another one of my absolute favorite lesfic authors followed my blog!! Excuse me while I fan-girl for a hot minute.

    4. Gifts aren’t everything, not even the main thing. But when it’s something the giver heard you describe as an aspiration, not as a request for anything, just something that would be a joy in your life, and they gift you that, that’s a great thing. It means they see and hear you, not just with their eyes and ears, but with their mind, their energy. Those are moments and gifts to cherish, no matter how small they may seem.

    5. Finally getting my shot at playing D&D! And not just any old game, an online game of a bunch of cool queer people from a bunch of different places around the world. I know nothing and am pantsing it with minimal research, but the group knows I’m a noob and graciously welcomed me anyway. So excited! Been trying to get a chance to learn and play since I was 12. Can’t wait for the fun to begin!

    6. Bonus: Recently I’ve had occasion to note how good it feels to be happy for, and to rejoice with, friends for whom great things are happening. The speed at which warmth and happiness can spread when good things go right for good people is astonishing. A promising job interview here, a realized transition there, a new home for that one over there, the start of a professional practice for that friend on the other side, and the giddy elation of a new relationship for still another over yonder. What a bounty of goodness surrounds us, even when there is darkness in the world.

    My friends, I hope this new month and new season is full of joy and positivity for you all. May the fun little things and the inspiring big things lift your spirit. Enjoy the turn of the season and the colors and smells and unique hallmarks of the season in your corner of the world. Keep warm and dry and happy.

    Yeah, That

    You know that feeling, that really awesome feeling, when someone really gets it, gets you, sees you, faults and all, but still likes you and even wants to spend time with you despite your faults and insecurities?

    You know that feeling that makes your shoulders ease and your breath come easier, because the person you’re with understands what you mean even though you didn’t use all the exactly right words?

    You know that feeling that gives you a sense of comfort instead of tension, where you feel capable of expressing yourself without a lot of fumbling for words and pausing to think because you know the person listening is truly interested and won’t judge what you say because of content or language choice or grammar, but just wants to know what’s in your mind and on your heart?

    You know that feeling that comes from smelling something really nice and that is associated with the best memories of your life, that makes you taste and hear and smell the past and re-live that moment of peace or joy or reverence or euphoria, and that reassures you that things can be good and comfortable and fun without something bad or negative having to follow?

    You know that feeling, like the sunshine after a big storm, when the clouds are still dark and threatening, but pierced through with strong beams of warm, yellow light that seems to vibrate with positivity and renewal, making the darkness of the clouds and the fearfulness of the thunder seem distant and silly?

    Have you ever had a moment where all those feelings were bound up in the space of a few hours’ conversation with someone you are only just getting to know but whom you instinctively trust and who you want to spend time with, even when you can’t think of another question or story right now but would be happy to just sit with them and be, still and quiet, just being, together?

    Do you know that feeling?

    Yeah, that.

    It’s pretty great.

    Vague Booking

    So I’m a tad late to post. Most of the reasons for that are awesome, although I also have been fighting a bout of writer’s block. I’m not ready to go into all the details, but suffice to say I have been busy with other things and that’s a great reason to be a teensy lax here. Without context or explanation, here are some things from the last couple weeks that have me smiling:

    • IRL socializing is not as terrifying as I feared
    • Spending time with friends, old and new, fills my spirit in the best way
    • Paying it forward, in ways large and small, to help a friend or a friend’s friend gives me hope
    • Being seen, especially when you think you are invisible in one or more dimensions, is both scary and uplifting
    • Getting a push out of your comfort zone can land you in an exciting place
    • Chatting via text and video is a fun way to make connections and feel less isolated
    • Compliments that feel genuine are an exciting new experience
    • Smart, kind, quirky, fun and lovely new people are the best!

    I’m smiling and looking forward to a lot of new experiences in the next few days and weeks. This is a great feeling. I hope you have something to smile about and look forward to, also. 😎

    Random Bits

    Been a week or so since I checked in. Thought I’d give a little update on some random things to keep the posting streak alive.

    1. I went to a charity event Friday night with some friends. The luxury cars and planes on display were cool. The food…not so much. But the hip taco place my friends and I hit up after was well worth it. I got to wear my suit and feel awesome in it, have a great time with cool people, and eat amazing guacamole and street tacos. That’s a Friday night that did not suck! 😎
    2. I’ve been having some deeply satisfying philosophical discussions with a variety of good friends lately. As is the way with philosophy, no hard answers have been achieved. It’s in the journey of the discussion where the value lies. What I appreciate most is the quality of the time and emotional labor my friends are investing in me and our relationships.
    3. Some of that deep thought has been spent on my job search. Still plotting my escape. It’s just going more slowly than I’d like. Certainly slower than the resurgence of the stress load. But, as I posted on my FB the other day, I’ve learned my lesson on speaking freely when invited: they don’t really mean that. So, heads down, coping smile in place, soldiering on. Anyone know where a hard working, smart and experienced commercial transactions attorney can find work where she’s appreciated?
    4. I live in a pretty comfortable small city, fairly clean and accommodating. But even here there seems to be a faction of people who can’t mind their own business and who feel a compulsion to police the use of public restroom facilities. I’m growing weary of having to clear the hurdle of old biddies who want to challenge my right to pee in the women’s room, especially when it’s a pressing need. Geez, yes! I know my bow tie is an unusual accessory choice for a woman, but it’s not a reason to make me nearly wet myself preventing me from getting to a toilet!
    5. Because I wanna be positive and end this list on a good note: I am riding the wave of good vibes picked up when spending the long Labor Day weekend with good friends. They hosted me in their home, nourished my body and spirit with tasty food and fellowship, laughing freely and connecting deeply. I’m so blessed to have such good people in my life!

    Friends, I hope the balance of good and annoying experiences in your life are tipping decidedly towards the good, positive side and that you find at least one good thing to celebrate today.

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