A crown of wrath and anxiety

Missed midnight again.

I’ve gotten in three job applications since leaving my previous employer, which is three fewer than I had enthusiastically declared my intention to submit on Friday. (I didn’t do that here, I think. But it’s written on a big-ass list on my wall.) A whole lot of life is catching up to me tonight, and I feel my energy failing me.

I’ve had this heat around the top of my head, a kind of feverish warmth, since Wednesday, when I found out I’d be losing my job. Closest to the relevant moments, it actively tingled, as if I were gently on fire. A crown of wrath and anxiety was on my head, driving me to get shit done. The world looked big and open and free, and the catastrophes were all coming for somebody else.

It doesn’t feel that way right now. (Well, it’s coming back a little bit, the warmth, because I’m talking about it so much. It’s actually helping me get these words out, because apart from that energy I’m about to pass out in my chair.

Actually, it seems like maybe I can just cultivate this? Sorry this is stream-of-consciousness again but this is the path my brain is taking and the idea that I was out of fuel seems to have fallen away.

This is fine, actually. If I can just stoke this fire, I can get more applications done tomorrow. Fuck RSD. I’ll apply to five damn jobs tomorrow. AND I’ll finish cleaning the kitchen, and unpacking my books, and I’ll watch a few episodes of Marie Kondo’s show and learn how to throw out some of my goddamn baggage, and

)

There’s a marginal possibility that this isn’t good for me.

Why are you still here?!

It just occurred to me to check my analytics, and I still get like 20 hits a day on this blog. What is happening there? Who’s out there clicking on my blog every day for a goddamn year checking to see if I’ve finally started writing again? Is it my mom? Mom, is that you?

Honestly, it’s probably just the handful of posts I have that have good SEO. I wrote a blog post about the French Revolution at some point a long time ago that seems to get a lot of hits. Some of it is probably bots. It’s more likely than not that no human eyes in that 20ish average have seen the front page of my blog in a long time.

When I blogged on Wordpress, I was fascinated by my analytics. I checked them constantly, I was hyper-aware of how they ebbed and flowed. If I took a break I was acutely aware of the chilling effect it had on my hit rate. And it’s not as if I’m less vain or desperate for validation now than I was back then. It’s just that on Wordpress the stats are on the dashboard, and on squarespace it takes two clicks to get to the page, and it doesn’t load that fast. I don’t have fifteen seconds to spend every time I want to see whether people still care about me.

Those barriers matter. They matter so goddamn much. I put a cover page on my website because I was blogging a lot about chronic anxiety around the same time I was trying to find a new job, and I was afraid that potential employers would google me, find the blog, click it, and see a headline that says “CHRONIC ANXIETY AND YOU: 32 STEPS TO WIND YOURSELF INTO A KNOT AND THEN CRY.” They don’t care what my blog says, and they aren’t going to read any of the posts. But if it’s the front page, they’re going to read the top headline. Better for them to be able to skip over and go to the “about” page. Mainly they’re just looking to see whether the site looks nice. (I need to do an aesthetic update here so bad.)

Little rules, default settings, nudges and friction and prods have a bigger effect on our lives than it’s possible to imagine. I don’t care how DIY-hacker-offthegrid-homesteader-survivalist you are, more stuff in your home is set to the default settings than not. Have you modified the depth of your pockets? Do you use the standard kind of plugs in all your wall outlets? How much of your reading do you do with a language that somebody else taught you?

This kind of free association shit isn’t by any stretch of the imagination good writing. But who the fuck cares. Nobody’s reading this anyway.

At least I didn't have to work today

Almost dropped the ball on this in the second day!

I made a big-ass list of things I wanted to accomplish every day through Tuesday to adjust to unemployment and make the best of the huge amount of free time I’ve got. Yesterday I did them all. Today I did about half.

Today I also had a lot more stretches where I just had to sit down, put my head in my hands, and wait.

My partner is visiting this weekend, and we are visiting a friend of mine to play D&D tonight, and that’s where I’m writing from.

In lieu of more coherent posting, here’s my art for the character I play in this campaign, Melon Windroad, cleric of Fharlanghn.

Melon info art.jpg

Left Energy

I quit my job today. (I was definitely about to get fired, but they wanted me to work one last shift before we “had a conversation,” which I was not interested in doing.) It was a very Liberal job, in the sense of “As opposed to leftist.” Detail will come from somewhere at some point I’m sure, but for now that’s what I want to say.

Since I quit, I’ve had an explosion of energy, like a massive floodgate of agency and confidence has been opened. I feel capable of coming up with ideas, taking action to pursue them, I have no sense of ominous foreboding about the prospect of saying things online and I’m suddenly aware of how big that foreboding feeling was.

I think that most of my political/activist energy was being soaked up by that job, fighting to express my values within it against the friction of the organization. I’ve had to check out entirely on some big political actions going on around me, because they were literally making me ill to think about, and I wonder if that was because so much of my energy was getting sucked into that job.

I’m going to need to get another job soon (because my landlord isn’t going to cut me a break because I had an ideological epiphany) but I want to make the best of this chunk of time. So I’m going to be blogging again for at least each of the next five days, trying to figure out what I need to do and what I need to know in order to enter my next capitalist sponge environment better equipped to hold something back for myself.

My immortal soul is in the news

My soul got covered by the Valley Advocate!

T.X. Watson, a transgender student at Hampshire College, is planning to sell their soul as part of their senior graduation project in art. The reason: Watson will have about $45,000 in debt upon graduation, and parting with their soul seems to be the best way of paying it off.
 
“I either sell my soul now or sell my soul in a slow metaphorical grind, taking jobs I don’t want so that I can make the payments,” Watson says.
 
...
 
What good is Watson’s soul to someone else? Actually, Watson’s answer makes a good amount of sense: “It’s a limited edition of an early work of a potentially successful working artist. If I succeed as an artist, it is literally an investment, and for a limited edition print, $45 is a really good price.”
 
...
 
The show will go up from April 8 to 11 at the gallery at the Hampshire College library.
 
This feels strange to write, but I hope that Watson succeeds in selling their soul. With the failure of a political solution for student debt, it seems as viable a solution as any to live a life without crippling, lifelong debt.

Valley Advocate: Literally Selling Your Soul to Pay for an Education

Back at Hamp

I'm back at Hampshire!

Update for folx following this blog: I'm switching to writing only when I have updates to publish about my life -- like the Arisia posts, or when I publish new content. That might mean the blog is a little sparse for a while, but I think it's a better use of the space than five-times-weekly posts that say "I'm working, I swear, I just can't talk about it right now" or "I feel bad that I haven't been blogging."

Arisia 2018 was great!

Hey everyone who found this site because I met you at Arisia -- welcome! If you're looking for info on how to buy shares of ownership in my soul, here's a link to the page you're looking for. I've updated it to have an in-person shipping option, which means if you live in the Amherst area or are planning to come to the gallery show and want to pre-order, but don't want to pay the (admittedly expensive) shipping rates for getting USPS to safely transport artwork, you can pick that one and get in touch with me about arranging a meeting.

I had an amazing time this weekend. Regrettably I had to go home before the Monday sessions, so if I missed you today because of that I'm sorry. But feel free to get in touch! (Seriously I don't think I met anybody this weekend I wouldn't want to hear from? Which is really a lucky outcome. Y'all're great.)

My next convention is Readercon, in Quincy, where I hope I'll see some of you, and in the meantime you can check here, or my Twitter (@txwatson) Instagram (@txwatson) or Tumblr (@txwatson) to stay updated.

 

What do I do with this space?

Okay so here's the thing. I've been blogging every day as a life practice since like 2008. I haven't always done a great job of being consistent, I haven't always managed to keep up with it. But it's been a big part of my life for almost a decade.

But the way I relate to this space, as a venue for my ideas, has changed. I don't want to put good writing here. If I'm going to put work into something rigorous I'm going to put it into schoolwork, or something I plan to publish. If I'm just looking to get my feelings off my chest, I take that to Tumblr or Twitter. My biggest hobby passion, solarpunk, has its own blog altogether.

And I know I get a nonzero number of hits on this website every day, but I do feel like when I write here, I'm writing to nobody. That used to be fine, but now there are lots of places where I can write something and I know there are people listening.

And I worry that these emotional pour-outs that wind up being the only content on this blog most of the time are going to reflect poorly on me when people come to my website looking to find out about T.X. Watson, the Professional Person with Jobs and Skills. Functionally speaking, this is the least safe place on the internet for me to talk about my anxieties, mental illness, activism, personal life, and other non-normative struggles.

Obviously, I can't keep up the volume of work I've committed myself to, with respect to updating this blog. But I feel really uncomfortable with the notion of just making this website a bulletin board for the stuff I'm doing elsewhere on the internet. I want my own website to feel like home to me. I don't want it to just be my LinkedIn page. 

I feel very sad, thinking about this. I don't know what the right answers are, and I don't know how to move past this ambivalence. 

If anybody is reading this, now would be a good time to let me know what you feel like you get from this website, as it exists now.

Website Update

I've added two new pages to my website:

The "Div 3" page covers, obviously, my Division III, "Memetic Engines of Anticapitalism." At some point this semester, that page will be replaced with its own website.

"My Soul" is where you can go to preorder shares of ownership in my soul, for $45 each.

I also updated the "About" page.

Wow, that decayed fast

I don't have answers for how to handle this right now but I think I need to come up with a new relationship to these works for the remainder of my diiiv. My blog and my vlog are both pretty heavy creative investments, and obviously I can't keep up with them amid the work I'm doing for school. 

Right now I'm about to sit down for the night and try and ingest a huge amount of text, so maybe that'll get my flywheel spinning fast enough to actually make decisions by 5 a.m. If not, hopefully I'll have it figured out by the time I head out to Arisia.

Anyway, tty Monday. (I wanna say "I promise" but I really can't.)

Creepy stories and imaginary songs

ok so not only did I forget to blog yesterday until after midnight, but I'm about to write about a dream I had. So idk if this is peak boring but I don't feel awesome about where my creative energy is at right now.

CW: death mention, unreality, subconscious suicidal ideation?

The dream I had last night had a lot going on in it, but the only part I definitely remember is the part where I got on stage at a stadium-size show to do a cover of a Smiths song. In the dream, the song was about being in love with a friend and that friend being in love with you, and there was a metaphor about being able to fly. Like, float. We could hold hands and jump and would be on top of a roof, and then bounce down safely as we drifted towards the ground. I couldn't remember the lyrics until I started, and when I did they came to me, and I flew out over the crowd and into the song.

When I woke up, I had "There is a light that never goes out" stuck in my head. Particularly, this sequence:

And if a double-decker bus
Crashes into us
To die by your side
Is such a heavenly way to die
And if a ten-ton truck
Kills the both of us
To die by your side
Well, the pleasure - the privilege is mine

I've been watching a lot of the YouTube channel "Night Mind" lately, and one thing that often comes to mind is I find it difficult to wrap my head around how creators of horror make these surreal decisions about the realities of their works. This is the kind of thing I mean. Dreaming about a song, and knowing it's about love and lightness and fun, and waking up and realizing that the song is about wanting to die.

Don't worry, I'm safe, I'm not planning to hurt myself. But damn that was a disturbing experience.

Timeshifted

It's really hard to remember to do things before midnight when midnight starts to turn into noon.

My sleep schedule was okay for, like, a day, then it went right the fuck back out the window. Mostly what I've done today is work on the secret project, so I can't write about that. Not thrilled to go back from "Hey I know how to talk again!" to "Oops all I can write is 'it sucks that I can't write,'" but here we are. I at least didn't want to start missing posts again.

TMBG song contest and my first real secret on Patreon

They Might Be Giants's recent song, "I Left My Body," is the subject of a new music video contest! 

Folx who know me in person may have seen my video for "Erase," which I made with my friend Sal and which did not win any of the top three places. (I choose to believe that means it was fourth-best, and given the winners I'm not embarrassed to have lost.)

I'm entering the new contest as well, this time working on something animated.

I also just made my first secret post on my Patreon that contains a real secret! (Apart from the NSA-level ones, but nobody's paying for that tier yet.) It's about another project for my diiiv that actually does require some level of hush to function. It's not, like, state-secret, but I don't want my involvement to be determinable by light googling yet.

(Wow, leaving the house today made it way easier to work up the energy to talk about things other than how guilty I feel that I never talk about things here.)

behind

I haven't updated my vlog at all this month since the first episode of the series. today, for the first time, I really tried to put something together.

I'm extremely behind on all my major personal grooming habits and right now I feel really gross and don't want to put myself on camera. I've also generally been feeling pretty sick and in pain, and that stands in the way of getting around to those time, labor, and energy-intensive tasks. My hair is about 3x too long, more of it is black than bleached, I haven't shaved in over a week, I *think* I've showered more recently than that but I can't remember.

I was in withdrawal from one of my meds all last week. This week I've been doing an awful job of taking them on time. I haven't been sleeping at night pretty much at all, today I went to sleep at noon and only just woke up about a half an hour ago.

I'm glad Christmas is finally over with but there's a while yet before I'm out of the particular kind of weeds this holiday represents to my emotional state.

And I can hear my older brother downstairs, I think. So it looks like I'm not getting any of this stuff done tonight.