I slept, like, most of today. I never got dressed, and all I ate was about one whole loaf of bread with various things in between any given pair of pieces. It's one of those days where getting out of bed was a huge accomplishment, and I'm so ready to go back to sleep right now. I don't know if I should. It's late, there were things I was supposed to get done today that I barely even glanced at.

I have a lot of strange, nebulous anxiety right now, and it's pretty frustrating. I wish I had more I could do about it.

I can't find this one damn interview

Several years ago I spent a bunch of my time online binging Cory Doctorow interviews, and I didn't do any particular documenting of those binges. For the most part, that hasn't been a significant problem. But there's one interview that I really want to double-check and quote, and I just goddamn can't find it.

I think it was filmed at his office in London, but I'm not sure. It was put together by an organization that seemed to have done a lot of that kind of interview. It was segmented into like 5 to 10 different videos, and each one had the same clips from the interview for intro and outro material, which leads me to believe that it was aired on TV -- it was the kind of annoying repetition you'd see on the History Channel.

In the interview, he talked about why he thought fiction was an effective activist tool. I haven't been able to find records of him saying quite the same thing anywhere else.

If this sounds familiar to anyone, and you have a link, please get in touch.

Prewritten week: a retrospective

Last week was such a relief. I know I hate it when my blog doesn't update, but sometimes I really don't have the energy to keep up with it -- like when I need all my intellectual energy for a broad variety of difficult tasks throughout the week. 

Prewriting posts was an awesome strategy. Every day I felt like I had already accomplished something, and I never had that nagging unfinished task tapping at my brain.

I don't know if I'll do this all the time, but I think I'm going to try to prewrite weeks of content more often. 

Spinning, toothless, tightly wound

This is another pre-written post, coming from Sunday night, and rounding out the week of pre-written posts. 

I've spent the last few hours trying as hard as I can to work on my Politics of Space final. Lots of other things came together today. I felt like I was in such a good place. But when I work on this -- I can't get the whole picture in my head. This is a difficult topic, and it's not my usual area. 

It feels like all the gears in my head are spinning, more than fast enough, with plenty of force, but their teeth aren't connecting. They aren't moving each other, they aren't exerting any force. They're just spinning.

One of my earlier posts this week (from a writing binge yesterday) was about how it feels simultaneously shameful to use that energy, or to let it fail. I could let the gears connect elsewhere. They wouldn't move this machine, but they'd do something. The energy wouldn't be lost. It'd just be, I don't know. Stolen. Diverted. It feels so strange. Like I'm underwater and scratching at a thin layer of ice, that I could easily break if only I weren't so out of breath. Sorry for mixing metaphors. 

Averting decision fatigue, Spring 2016 finals

This is the third day in a row of pre-scheduled blog posts -- after I wrote the Monday blog post last Saturday, about how I didn't have the energy to work on stuff I needed to, but I did have energy to work on other stuff, I decided it was a good idea to use this burst of energy to clear up some space later in the week.

This blog is really important to me, but on a day that I'm already struggling to make mental ends meet, deciding what to blog about then pulling it together (when I do, which I sometimes basically don't) takes a lot out of me. Rather than just decide not to update for a week (I've done that before, it makes me feel shitty) I think having a week of pre-scheduled posts will feel a bit more like a weight lifted, a pleasant knowledge that I'm getting something done on schedule just by existing, and having had a good Saturday.

Energy and distraction

I’m writing this post on Saturday, when I should definitely be working on my finals.

One of the problems I have is that sometimes it’s really hard for me to sit down and work on something. Like my finals. But I’ll be overflowing with energy to work on something else, like the student group that I’m trying to put together to organize Hampshire’s information-based resources.

At times like this, I often feel like I shouldn’t be working. Like, there’s the thing that I’m not working on, and somebody’s eventually going to ask “Why didn’t you work on it,” and if the answer isn’t “I literally couldn’t work on anything” it won’t be good enough. That’s my fear. And if that time comes and what I have to say is “I did this other thing instead,” my failure to complete the thing will be deemed unacceptable.

But that’s the path of spiraling depression and anxiety. My experience has been that whenever I refuse to work on the thing I feel motivated to work on just because I can’t motivate myself to work on the thing I need to get done, I end up triggering a lot of even more terrible shit.

On the other hand, getting things done energizes me. It makes me feel good about myself. And usually the thing that I have the energy for is something actionable, something that I can put into the world, something I’ll feel good about.

Solarpunk Press came out of that. All my best work at the Observer came out of that. All my best work on anything came out of that, because there never isn’t something else I could be doing – there are always things I could point to and say “Because I’m not doing that, I should do nothing.”

But that’s a deeply irrational and self-destructive way of thinking, built on the idea that I’m supposed to find people to subordinate myself to and attempt to act in accordance with the idea that my value to them is my value full stop. (See: Capitalism.)

I’ve written a lot today. I’ve created a lot today. This has been an energetic burst that has left me feeling better about my future here at Hampshire and in general than I would have thought was possible last week. And part of that has been letting my finals crunch get even crunchier, but the way I see it, that was going to happen anyway – my choices today weren’t Work on This or Work on Finals; they were Work on This or Lay in Bed Screaming Internally as Fear and Guilt Worm Their Way Into Every Part Of My Mind.

It's been a rough time

I don't want to talk about what's been happening at Hampshire College in the last few days on a public blog. I have no idea whether googling will yield informative results but I'm not going to be offering contextualizing details.

But the last few days have been a difficult time at Hampshire, and right now it's hard to keep anything else on my mind.

One of my professors gave me a journal today. She got them, I believe, for everyone in our class. Mine is red. I started writing in it immediately -- I've tried several times before to keep a private journal, but so far I've failed, for various reasons I may go into in a future post. 

I've been blogging to shake out the day-to-day narrative of my life for years now, but there are often things I don't want to write on the blog -- sometimes because they're private, but often just because they're too difficult to spare the energy of saying them adequately carefully. I think the journal might fill a niche in my self-reflection mechanisms that is under-served or missing.

Ascended procrastination

Remember what I said about procrastinating by working on my Div III last Friday? My Narrative Frustration professor suggested today that I change direction and work on that for my final there. So suddenly that progress has turned meaningful!

I'm going to be outlining details about the four alternative communities along the northeast megalopolis in 2030 that my novel is going to follow. I'll probably post updates about that here as they come along, because I'm pretty excited about it!

Advanced procrastination

I've been having a hard time lately. For big chunks of time I haven't been able to focus on my work at all. Earlier this week I took a day off classes just to do self-care, and that went really immensely badly.

I've gotten a few small chunks of work done, and some of them have even been on the finals I have due all in the next two weeks. 

But I've made some pretty huge leaps forward on my plans for my Div III, which doesn't start until the 2017-18 academic year, including developing my own system of citation.

If I had to choose a cave...

Earlier today, a friend asked me, if I were to live in a cave, what kind of cave would I choose? (She said she'd live in a cave by the sea, explaining "It'd be salty and cool. I'd become a disgusting cave monster.")

I didn't have a good answer at the time, but I've been thinking about it, and I remembered the mine from Cody's Lab:

I don't know that I'd want to live in this mine in particular, but having a hobbit hole style abandoned mine to live in would be really cool. I think I'd want to take it in a kind of earth house direction, with a main house built up around the outside using deliberately shaped landscape, and a labyrinthine cave system inside with lots of room for events, guests, projects, and so on. (So, much bigger than Cody's mine.)

Now that I'm thinking about it: I'd love to have a house that contained a mine big enough to host a small convention in. My main apprehension about living in a cave is being far away from people, but if I could routinely bring large numbers of people to my house as guests, and still have plenty of space to spend time alone, I'd love to live in a cave like that.

Fantasies of alienating uniformity

upload.jpg

Right now, the hot water isn't working in my mod. I haven't taken a shower in a few days and for reasons as much emotional as hygienic I really need to wash. I have no recourse in this situation. I'm angry, and I'm stewing.

As often happens when I'm pissed off about an immediate problem, my mind constructed an elaborate fantasy of a world in which this issue cannot exist. The consequences of that are pictured above.

This is part of a floor plan for a high-up floor in a hypothetical building. on the left, there's a coworking space, conference room, and outer hallway. Additional rooms off of that hall, on the other side, could include storage, private offices, restrooms, etc. 

On the right, there's another hallway, separated from the public one by key card locked doors, leading to large, comfortable one-bedroom apartments. Specifically: MY large one-bedroom apartment. 

It's in the core of the building, several layers away from windows, so it can be pretty much perfectly temperature controlled by internal systems, regardless of the weather. Many of the lights would be sunlight lamps, to prevent depression. All of them would be controllable, like Phillips Hue lights. Theyd be elaborately programmed to maintain a complex lightscape in my space. 

One of the rooms on the outer rim would be a gym, where I could go for exercise. Many people, both living in and from outside the tower, would use the gym, coworking space, and other facilities. I wouldn't be isolated from human contact, even if I spent a solid year without leaving that floor. 

In reality this is probably a horrible idea. Systematized environments at this scale are massively vulnerable and magnify small shortcomings exponentially. But I'm cold, and uncomfortable, and it's hard to think of anything but a world in which my present discomfort would be simply impossible.

Anemia, anxiety, and doubt

I take iron supplements, because I've noticed that when I take them, certain symptoms I have go away, and when I stop taking them, after about two weeks, they come back.

Last evening, walking anywhere was physically painful. Today, I felt out of breath all day, eating was difficult and unsatisfying, and in between my classes I passed out on my mod couch for two hours. Then I took an iron pill, and I was able to go to class. Then I took another one when I got to class, and now I feel like a person whose limbs aren't constantly angry at them.

I hadn't been taking my iron pills because I ran out of the slow release kind, and I had my backup bottle of regular ones but if I take those on an empty stomach, they make me throw up. The thing is, I'm not diagnosed with anything related to anemia, so whenever I've been taking them for a long time (same goes for B12) and I run out, part of my brain is like "This is just vitamins. You don't really need these, it's not like a doctor told you to take them."

My trust in my own judgment and self-perception has slowly been improving, but I really feel like what's happening here is that I'm semi-consciously responding to the part of my brain that says "You need these" with "Prove it." 

This pattern results in me, once or twice a year, being physically immobilized because my blood stops working.

Another generic update

There are five weeks left in the semester right now, which feels like about one and a half. I had a nightmare recently in which I had to finish my div II in a week so I could do an entire div iii in the remainder of the semester. I may be slightly overwhelmed.

On the other hand: I'm actually really keeping up Pretty well with all my classes, and my extracurriculars. So...

Yeah. 

Unanticipated rest

I had so many things to do today! After my first class, I needed to go eat lunch, then go to the library and write a new draft of the story I have to turn in tonight, then print 20 copies of it, pick up the contact cement that's in the mail for me, and start working on carving the T-shirt stamp for Solarpunk Press. Before all that, though, I had to use ear drops that require me to lay on my side for 5 minutes.

So... I took a 3-hour nap after the ear drops.

I did some of the things, after that, but mostly today's been pretty low on achievements. 

I'm going to assume that I really needed the rest.

Post-vacation update

Spring break is over, and I'm back at school, and it is So Much Easier to get things done now. I have a huge list of ideas and things I want to do, and today I get to start using my new calendar system properly. 

And I started the day with really exciting news! Which I'm not going to talk about here until after I verify it at least one more time.

The ringing in my ear is coming back, and I can think of nothing else.

I'm home this week for spring break, and instead of sleeping in my room, I'm sleeping on the couch in the living room, because being in my room causes severe unexplained spikes in the ringing and pressure in my left ear, which escalates within a day or two to bouts of vertigo. It hasn't been that bad since I've been home, but still the ringing has come back at much, much greater strength than it maintains while I'm at Hampshire.

I wish I understood what caused this. I want it to go away so badly, and I'm dreading the illness I'm going to face when I come home for an entire summer after the semester.

Planning out my whole life

I went back to that room with the whiteboard on Saturday, and I started a new thing I'm trying: Planning in advance literally every minute of every day for the next six weeks.

Okay, that's not exactly what this is. But I'm taking a page out of CGP Grey's podcast and trying a new approach for my calendar. Instead of only including things that are very definitely actually what's happening, I'm planning my ideal schedule -- what my planning-self thinks would be the best use of my time -- so that whenever I look at my calendar, I can see what I thought I'd be doing at that moment. 

It's wrapped around my existing schedule, but I've also included things like:

  • a solid 12 hours a week for homework and 21 hours a week for reading, which my class commitments approach in the amount of time I could spend on them;
  • blocks of time (mostly early mornings) set aside for catching up on TV shows or podcasts, because sometimes I feel like I want to squeeze those in and I'm hoping setting aside blocks for it will reduce the degree to which I use them to procrastinate; 
  • Chunks of "unstructured time," so when I look at my calendar I don't have to wonder whether this blank spot was supposed to be empty, or if it's somewhere I forgot to put down an event; 
  • meals, which correspond to where I'm going to be, when the dining hall is going to be open, and what I'll need to do to prepare for them;
  • time to catch up on my chores, because I just emptied my bedroom trash barrel for the first time in the semester;

and more. 

Here's a clip of what it looks like on my Google calendar:

2016-03-14 google.jpg

These are set up to repeat until the end of the semester, at which point I'll re-evaluate and see if I think this is a good idea or not. And if it turns out to be a really, incredibly bad idea, I can always turn off each calendar individually.

Missed some meds

I ran out of one of my medications over the weekend, and was only able to get the refill today. It was my antidepressant, Bupropion. This is the first time I've ever actually missed doses of that before, and holy shit the withdrawal is way worse than the other ones. I was forgetting things, I slept for about 16 hours between last night and this afternoon, I had vivid nightmares, I'm haunted by flares of guilt, loneliness and fear.

I've been trying to think of something to blog about for about two hours now, but the exhaustion still hasn't really lifted and my brain can't string too many thoughts together in a row right now.