Linda Scribbles











{August 29, 2018}   Because I’m okay right now

This was a comment I left on my friend’s post where she was reflecting on something I said in my previous post, but then I realized it really should have just been an answering blog post with my thoughts on her thoughts on a brief note in my jumbley thoughts. (I literally didn’t need to write all that, but I thought it was funny, so here we are.)  The following is stuff I’ve been kicking around for a giant chunk of my life, but never really put all down in any sort of organized way.

This is totally still writing relevant, btw, because to write well, to actually do the writing at all, I have to be functional as a human being for the most part, and I can’t do that if I’m slowly drowning in my own head.

Right, here it is:

(You and I have already talked about this a bit in person, but in case it’s useful to anyone else.) BEHOLD A WALL OF TEXT!

First, I think it absolutely needs to be something we talk about the same way we talk about the necessity of washing our hands and what to do in case of a fire and how to take care of cuts and scrapes. We have so many little things we teach as a matter of course, as a matter of practical precaution, but for a great variety of reasons, we (‘we’ here being the common bits of american culture across the beautifully motley cultural landscape) don’t even want to talk about mental health or emotional well-being on a large scale, we don’t acknowledge it until something goes terribly, horribly wrong, despite it being a part of us that needs minding and care just as much as the tangible bits of us. I wonder if we could be as conscious of how we’re thinking and feeling as we are aware of things like the aches in our bones, muscles, bellies, and sinuses; if we encouraged and supported emotional literacy, and allow room in the day-to-day for expressions of grief and joy and everything; if we could commonly have handy ways of caring like cerebral first aid– maybe it wouldn’t be as painful for those of use who find ourselves battling our own brains. It’d be nice.

On the matter of having a plan, these are things I’ve found helpful:

-Understanding and accepting that my best at any given moment will not always be my best at any other given moment. This has been super important in how I arrange care for myself (the things I expect to be able to do for myself). It helps me to remember this when I’m struggling and I KNOW I’m capable of doing better, of being better, but it’s just not where I am in that moment. Sometimes caring for myself is accepting that I’m not where I want to be, but it doesn’t mean I’m not doing my best still, and that’s okay.

-Taking little pleasures where I can get them. I refuse to feel pitiful for little things making me happy. If listening to Disney music or walking around with soft, cute plush toys, or wearing outrageous hats or jewelry pleases me, I’m more concerned with that than whatever might be considered mature or appropriate. These are my emotional bandaids, so I will not allow myself to worry about how it looks to other people if I absolutely don’t have to. Most of the time people don’t seem to notice, or they actively appreciate seeing something fun they didn’t expect to see in their day, which is nice.

-I keep bottles filled with water stashed around my usual places. That way wherever I settle, I don’t have to put a lot of effort into staying hydrated. SUPER IMPORTANT! This has a surprisingly (terrifyingly) large impact on what your brain is doing and how your body feels.

-I make sure my blankets and sweaters and cozy things are clean. There’s something especially demoralizing about realizing you can smell you, and you smell a little like farts, and then realizing you couldn’t even be bothered just to put things in a machine that DOES THE WASHING FOR YOU. Sometimes you don’t have the time to do this before a bad bout. I’ve asked friends if they’re doing laundry, can I toss my blanket or my jammies in with their stuff? I’m not in the way if they’re already washing things, and it’s something nice they can do for you, too. I’ll offer to chip in for detergent or whatever. It works out.

-I keep easy grab foods handy / avoid keeping junk in the house. A lot of times I don’t feel like eating or if I’m hungry, I can’t be bothered to cook or even wash and cut fruit or veggies. My go-to for a long time was a bag of chips or whatever sweets I had stashed around or I’d order pizza online and live on that for several days, but on a nearly empty stomach with a history of generally handling sugar or too much grease poorly, this was a terrible idea. Regular items in my fridge: a big bag of baby carrots, sliced lunch meats and cheeses, washed and separated lettuce leaves, cherry tomatoes, washed/cut fruit (I try to habitually prep some of this, but a lot of times I resort to buying the bags or boxes of this stuff, or I ask a friend if they’d mind cutting a watermelon or whatever if I pay for it.), hummus (easy protein), single serves of yogurt. Also, bread and cereal. A lot of times it means I’m standing in my kitchen eating a plain piece of lunch meat and popping a couple of tomatoes before going back to the couch, but it’s something. Also, this works out well when I have to take food with me to feed myself when I’m out and about in the world.

-The people around you want to help. The ones who stick around love you. You don’t have to understand how or why. Just take it as fact. They choose to exist in the same space as you, no matter for what reason. Take it. Just keep staring at the bald face fact that they are there. “why? do you feel obligated? do you feel sorry? i’m not worth this much trouble.” It doesn’t matter. It’s not kind to you or them to make the decision on your own whether or not they should love you, whether or not they should help you. You don’t have to understand it. It just is.

-Similarly, the people who choose not to be there– it will hurt, but it is what it is. Whatever is going on with them, your priority is you. Don’t waste time or energy on people who can’t or won’t. This doesn’t mean you HAVE to be angry. If you are angry, then that’s that. You’re entitled to feel how you do, but don’t waste any time or effort trying to do something about it unless you 100% believe it’s absolutely necessary and will have a positive impact on you.

-Take time to breathe. Is anything on fire? Is anyone in your immediate sphere actively dying? You are okay to take a minute. Take five minutes. Get a cup of tea. Walk to the bathroom, even if you don’t have to go. Just do something to break up whatever you’re doing.

-If you have a pulse, you have a chance to do / be / experience something different from where you are. Ride out the moment. Do what you have to do. You have a chance, no matter how improbable. It can be okay. Keep it in mind.

-You got this.

If you’re hurting right now, I love you.  I love you even if you’re not hurting.  But there’s a lot going on in the world, the same as ever, I’m told.  We got this.  I love you.  Stay as safe as can be, guys.

Advertisements


{July 25, 2018}   In a fit of writing

I haven’t worked too much on anything major, but I’m trying to be better about collecting the tiny things that keep piling up in my desk and my backpack and pockets.  (I’ve already sent at least one thing through the wash, though.)  Exhaustion and depression slammed me hard the last couple of days, and while I had a feeling something might come to be afoot, I was not expecting it to be nearly so rough, so of course I hadn’t warned anyone, hadn’t arranged anything to take care of myself, just generally hadn’t bothered, aaaaand it has not been the best.  So I did that to myself.  And a couple of poor, unsuspecting favorite people.  I don’t know how they love me, but I’m learning not to question it too hard if they insist on sticking with me even through something like this.  That being said, I do not want to repeat this show.  Having a plan is HIGHLY IMPORTANT, gang.  For the love of all that is good in this world, have a plan.

I’ve been walking around with a lamb plushie for two days now, because it’s soft and cute and I need all the help I can get right now.  Is it probably weird to bring an emotional support lamb to work with me?  Oh, yeah, totally, but here we are.  No one’s actually said anything about it, though, so I’m not sure if they haven’t noticed or are just kind of used to me?  I suppose it works out either way.  It’s doing what I need it to do.  This is fine.

But this is not why we’re here!  In the midst of all this, I was taken with a fit of writing.  Which then, of course, meant I had to start sorting through the nest of ink bled into scraps of dead tree shavings that is my life or risk becoming a fire hazard (like my entire office isn’t pretty much alreadyyyyy).  Here’s what I’ve pulled for your viewing pleasure.

Okay, cool.  Glad we had this talk.

Can we just have the quiet bit of adventure now, please?  Pretty please?



There’s a lot going on again (again, again, again, AGAIN, AGAIN), and it’s making me introspective.  Trying to use that inclination to be productive.  Indulge me a bit, please.

There are so many things I go over and over in my head about, even waaaay long after the fact.  I mean, yes, stupid little things, like responding to “enjoy your meal” with “you, too!” Or thinking if I’d just checked a third time to be sure my work keys were in my backpack–  And stupid things from first grade, conversations with people I hardly even remember–  Going over arguments I never actually even had–  Because that’s useful.

I keep going back to my one and only attempt at a not-horror-murdery-spooky story, where I was dubious from the beginning if I’m even capable of writing something light / romancey (I talked just a little about it in 2013).  There are parts of it I can see I scrabbled for, because I had no idea what this thing was supposed to look like.  I’d read a couple of other Happy Ending type things here and there that I wasn’t enthusiastic about and when I look at that story now, it’s like someone vaguely explained to me what a giraffe looks like and I thought I could make one out of Dumpster scraps that would be just as good as the real thing if I just used enough super glue and force of will.  I took common components I’d found in other stories and out of sheer desperation (and no small amount of low confidence), just– painted them in a rough approximation of what I thought would make it fit in with the other giraffes.  There are bits I don’t even remember writing, but I know what it looks like when I’m trying to force it to work.  It looks like sloppy scenes and cheap-shot troubles.  The further away I get from that time, the more I’m disgusted with it and I want to print several copies just to get the visceral thrill of burning the words physically, and in doing so, burning them from my mind.  (Guess who’s feeling melodramatic!)  I just really wanted to be able to do the thing.  And I did it with such a half-assed approach.  While I’ve never really cared for much that I write, it’s one of the few things I think I’m maybe ACTUALLY ashamed of.  There are bits I know I didn’t really even want to touch and I still used them!  That’s how little I bothered!  I feel like I really owe it to those characters to give them proper lives and to apologize for having them exist purely for my own convenience.  Yes, I’m aware they’re fictional and my own creation, but uuuugh.

Ultimately, though, I don’t think I want to try to rework that one and I keep thinking maybe I really should take it down.

THEN AGAIN MAYBE IT SHOULD STAND AS A TESTAMENT TO MY DISGRACE.  THIS WRITER IS A WORK IN PROGRESS.  LET IT BE KNOWN THAT SHE RELIED ON THE CHEAPEST, EASIEST TO GRAB PARTS INSTEAD OF TAKING THE TIME AND CARE NECESSARY TO BUILD A GOOD WORLD AND STRONG CHARACTERS.

Either way, I don’t want to rework it.  If I’m going to delve into unfamiliar territory, I need to do my goddamn research and actually bother to think about how human interaction works.  It’s not like I don’t know there’s no mold to good story telling.  It’s certainly not how I approach the spooky or silly things I write, so why the heck did I even think that might be okay to write anything else?  Goooosh.  I need to just do something new.  Maybe scavenge a bit from that disaster, but probably not much at all.

Right, enough scolding myself.  Just need to do the thing.  I need to write happy things.  I’m tired.  It really needs to be happy things.

I love you all.



I want to write a blog post and I feel like I mostly just want to word vomit, but I actually want to express some things, but I don’t even know where to start or where I even want to go.  First sentence is already a mess.  Let’s meander, then, I guess.  Maybe mosey?  I’m stalling.  If you stick with me to the end, however long this ends up, thank you.

So I’ve been trying to be more social.  I mentioned once about wanting to be able to someday write as much of the scope of human existence as I could get my hands on, but I’ve been so wrapped up the last– several years???– with trying to just go about the business of daily existing that currently the scope I have is pretty narrowly centered around the ancient art of living in a kind of quiet desperation.  Only, I’m a fair bit shit at being quiet and I’ve long since (LONG SINCE BEFORE) been sick of desperation AND I’m impatient and have exactly zero interest in doing anything about that impatience with regards to living life.  So my latest act of wild emotional flailing (probably flail fail, to be honest) has been an attempt to be social.

My partner in crime and I are usually quite happy as little hermits, mostly keeping to the pair of us at home or going out to eat and then going home, interspersed with little jaunts where the whole adventure is a minor change of scenery with a spritz of human interaction (i.e. meeting up with friendly acquaintances or actual friends in a common setting with an activity between us).  It’s almost routine at this point.  Not that those things are unpleasant or dull, but I feel the walls of my bubble and I feel like only just touching them like that has left them dingy and hard to see beyond.  I’ve started out small.  I’ve made an effort to take interest in strangers.  Just maybe one or two that have become friends / potential friends.  And I’ve joined groups online of people with shared interests where I’ve been trying to interact rather just lurk and read and quietly applaud or send sympathy from the shadows of the internet.  I’ve had conversations!  And cheered directly!  And commiserated!  And sent hugs and checked in and cared!  It’s been a good experience thus far.  It’s been exhausting.  Ah!  And we went out with one of our dearest friends at an unusual hour to an unusual place!  This was also a good experience, even though there wasn’t really anyone much there, but we got to kind of make friends with the bartender?  And another fellow sort of showed us around.  It’s a step.  Maybe we’ll go back and try to be social people again.

These forays have shown me a few things about myself, but this is the biggest one:  I’ve developed a greater ability to make eye contact and hold conversations that once upon a time would have been unfathomable to me.  I think a lot of that is just somewhere along the lines learning through trial by long series of fires (as you do) that I am a capable enough person to function well enough as a passable grown-up, passable human, but I think it’s also due to a tiny concerted effort to not hide from people.  My inclination has always been DON’T LOOK AT ME, DON’T SEE ME, IF I CAN’T SEE YOU, YOU CAN’T SEE ME, just as much literally as metaphorically.  (No joke.  I couldn’t manage to even order for myself in fast food places.  It was pretty awful.)  It’s hard to build human connections that way.  It’s hard to learn new stories and learn about different people and love people in any real way that way.  I don’t know if it was to protect myself or what, but it made doing anything at all really difficult.  It’s not that I was never sick of it.  I hated being that way.  It took me way too long to just push myself to even acknowledge other people in public places and allow myself to be okay with them acknowledging me.  And then I needed to push myself to actually speak.  If I ever write anything from all this, I’ll probably call it “Evolution of a Floor Lamp”.  I strove and succeeded in being as unnoticeable and functional as furniture you stick in the corner.  I would be out of the way and useful enough and as little of a burden as possible.  Useful is an improvement, right?

I thought I was doing great to be able to do that much, but following Amanda Fucking Palmer, and feeling the connection through her to so many other people who she impacted just as much as she had me, made me realize I was still just poorly mimicking the motions of connection.  She built this community around her through her music, through just reaching out, of people who for the most part make it our mission to act with love and compassion and kindness and to see each other, to make the effort to see everyone we meet.  I didn’t feel like the way I was allowed me to really be part of that, so little by little I tried to meet people’s eyes and hear them.  I tried to be not just honest, but as open as possible in every interaction.  And most of all I tried to be kind. Not just by not being a dick, but by vocalizing honest gratitude, appreciation, affection; by taking action to express to everyone that they’re important enough, that they’re worth effort/ time/ energy.  I can see in each moment people relax a little and become more willing to work together with me.  It’s surprising and exciting every time still.  I didn’t realize how much it was changing me until now.

I still feel like me and I still feel horribly shy a lot of times.  I’m still absurdly proud of myself when I order food in person or over the phone and I don’t immediately want to burst into tears or spend the next hour under a table.  I’m still me.  I’m just me with more and stronger abilities.  I’m me who can actually be WITH you, as much as you’ll have me.  I want to be with you.  Just be.  As exhausting as this all is, I’m happy with it.  I’ll keep stretching my bubble to find you.  I like to think you’re reaching out, too.  It’s a pretty great adventure, I think.



I’ve been neglecting the blog again. (Are all my blog posts going to start like this from now on?) I’ve been neglecting writing in general. I’ve been neglecting everything, maybe. Being sick (nothing serious, probably just a bug), especially when you’re not sure what did it, apparently makes me disgustingly introspective. James brought me chicken soup I’m not sure I should be eating, but I’m eating it anyway, because love. I refuse to neglect love. Also, chicken soup is nice.

In print that sounds a lot more noble than desperate as it feels in my head and sounds in my mouth. I kind of hate it.

I keep trying to sit down to make words happen with a physical pen and a tangible piece of paper, so I’ll stop interrupting dreams to write down in dream the narration or to describe very precisely what’s happening or the smell or the sound or the sight of some tiny detail. Get on with the story, will you, brain? Lousy jerk. It’s not productive. It’s definitely irritating.

Anyway, the writing obviously still isn’t going well. I get anxious about characters I don’t even have yet. I get anxious that I’ll get bored and forget my characters and their lives and leave them– just leave them!– hanging there in a sort of halted world, stuck and neglected and frustrated and confused. They’re not real. But my brain gets attached and wants to take care of them. It’s highly problematic. It’s highly illogical. It’s not even a little bit reasonable. It scares me. Nothing new. I guess this is the point where once again I attempt to seek help. Maybe the writing was my therapy and I’ve done this to myself. Does it count as self destructive if you didn’t realize it would happen, but then couldn’t stop when you did? This is the kind of thing I normally probably would have dropped onto my tumblr if at all, but it’s sort of a writing related thing, and this space needed some attention, so here it is. Hello. I hope you’re all doing well. Nobody panic.

I’ve made it my new goal to finish one thing for All Hallow’s Read, even if it’s just another installment of Beasts— I refuse to believe I’ve abandoned it. The scenes still exist. My characters are shifting from foot to foot in different costumes at different times. I just have to make it happen. Anxious about the fate of characters? Logically, then, sort out their fate and be done with it. Nonsensical gut-twisting jitteriness gone. A+B=C. Easy. Right, wish me luck. Hesitant adventure, go!

Update:  My “bug” is a 5mm kidney stone.  Oh, goody!  Eeesh.



et cetera
%d bloggers like this: