Thursday, November 30, 2017

Done!

So November comes to an end, and with it, my daily blogging commitment.

I'll most likely do a Christmas set up day post at the weekend, but life is super, super hectic at the moment - I am not promising to do much more than that until I close my doors for business on 19 December. That is, both happily and scarily, only two weeks from next Tuesday - but there is a large tonne of work I need to get through before that!

It's been fun. In a busy month, it's been a good anchor, and I have enjoyed it. I think it was always a more realistic commitment than NaNoWriMo, to be frank, and one I'll try to do each year.

But for now ... adieu!

(This is post #30 in NaBloPoMo. DONE!!)

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

On tricking my brain and lessons learned the hard way

Today I had a day where, for absolutely no rational reason, I felt convinced I was pretty much rubbish. A fraud. An Imposter, you might even say. I started to feel negative as all get out about everything. I became convinced that:

a) my poetry was all garbage and the poetry book planned for next year was An Epically Bad Idea;
b) my freelance work was all garbage and all my clients were soon going to discover this;
c) I am a terrible parent;
c) my ability to do anything at all except cook and perhaps do laundry was simply illusory.

What triggered it? HowthehelldoIknow. Feedback on documents, maybe? (Although it was very professional and cogent, and not at all difficult, and in fact they are giving input that will definitely shape the documents positively). A slightly cool email from a former client in response to a request for work that I had to turn down because I'm just too busy? An email from the travel agent with a few curveballs for our trip that I wasn't expecting? The heat? A sore gut? Christmas approaching while I am in a state of unreadiness? The clash of my older and younger kids' end of year events which is forcing me to miss one or the other? The position of the moon respective to the rise of Venus?

It could've been any of those things or none of those things or a few of them together. (The last is most likely). But whatever the reason, this is a mood state that I recognise. I've been down this road a time or ten, and it never feels good, and it always drags me down.

But here's the good part of the story.

When I saw a psychologist for 6 months back in 2014, when my brain was actively trying to kill me, one of the things she helped me work on was recognising when my brain was lying to me - either by telling me things that were, verifiably, untrue, or by catastrophising perfectly normal incidents or roadblocks as being major indictments on me as a person. I practised - and it was hard to learn, really hard - identifying unhelpful thoughts and pushing back on them. I practised logic in the face of illogic.

All that work I did in 2014, I see the benefits on days like today. Because although my mood remains recalcitrantly low, I have had some success in combating the irrational negative *thoughts*, and arguing myself into recognising that actually there are objective measures of my at-least-adequacy in most areas of my life. Strangling off those operatic I B CRAP thoughts is still not easy, but I have to say, when I am able to do it, it is satisfying - and it puts me in a better place to get up and get on with life tomorrow.

(This is post #29 in NaBloPoMo. Just one to go now!)

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Untitled Poem

the moon on a hot night:

two-thirds full but I can see the shadow of the rest of it
bright enough to catch the furtive tails of the cats slinking along the wall

not bright enough to drown out the weak city stars
trembling their faint pinpoints against a grey-washed light-polluted sky

weird enough to paint ghosts in a too-soon-summer miasma
bunched-up fists of clouds skittering like air-rats around a knothole

the moon looks down, and forgets:
the world washed in chrome below.

- Kathy, 28/11/17

(This is post #28 in NaBloPoMo. 28 down, 2 to go!)

Monday, November 27, 2017

Domestic And Admin Day

I think I need to schedule a domestic and life administration day this week.

Normally, this far away from the last one, I'd be looking for an opportunity for a mental health day (day off!), but realistically those are very hard to come by in November and December. At this time of year, the best  I can do to protect my mental health is to set, and enforce, boundaries around time on a weekly basis - refrain from working at weekends, making sure I switch off the computer by 9:30pm so I can have an hour to read before bed, and so on.

That said, with being so very, very busy with work (both paid and creative), family obligations, trip planning and end of year stuff, I am sliding a little out of control in the domestic sphere. I mean, I am not a neatnik (thank God, given my family's propensities!) but I have a limit, and we are over it and then some in terms of household functionality. In particular, our laundry situation is suboptimal +++, which is starting to have a daily impact. Additionally, there are a bunch of life administrative things I need to get onto - booking and going to appointments of various kinds (for me and the kids), doing paperwork, dropping stuff off to op shops, picking up things, etc etc etc.

This is definitely the week - very possibly the only week before Christmas! - to do this. I'm sitting in the eye of the storm work-wise and it will not last. I'm about to send off a major piece of work to my interstate client, after which I need to wait for their response and confirmation before proceeding (likely to be early next week). For one of my local projects, I have items out for consultation which closes on Thursday night; until that happens, I can't progress in that project either. With a third project, I do have interviews booked for Thursday, but cannot do anything else before that. That leaves only one project which can be usefully worked on this week, and while there is certainly plenty to do for it, I can definitely see programming in a day (or two half-days) of house and life work is a possibility, especially in the first part of the week.

I think I might do it as a half-day on each of Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons actually. Make a list, try to get through it. Although it can be useful to have a consolidated housework day sometimes, two half-days might be easier to motivate myself to stick to. I can bribe myself with the promise of listening to podcasts as I clean / sort clothes / fill in superannuation paperwork.

(This is post #27 in NaBloPoMo. 27 down, 3 to go!)

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Questions I Ask Myself At 3am (Poem)

A Madrigal: Questions I Ask Myself At 3am

The one I ask most oftentimes is this:
What is life and living even for?
An existential commonplace to bore.

Sometimes I ask what it is I miss
by refusing all the darkness and its spore;
by closing down the lid on all of this
the fresh pains and the old ones; hearts are for

the opera of knife-blades and a kiss
the beauty and the fury still at war
a storming sea to reach translucent shore.
At 3am I sometimes wonder this:
What is my poet's yearning looking for?
To find truegold, how deep must I learn to bore?

- Kathy, 26/11/17

(This is post #26 in NaBloPoMo. 26 down, oh my goodness only 4 to go that means it is almost December HOLD ME)