2017 is going to rock socks


Sweatpants & Coffee

Written were hundreds of words on my tales of woe for 2016. It sounded kludgy and hackneyed so instead, I am going to answer these questions from Gala Darling:

What were your top five moments of the year?

  1. Going to rugby practice and not dying
  2. Finding out the lump in my right breast was not cancerous
  3. Spending time at the cabin with TEH
  4. Finding a green sequined skirt for 1/2 price
  5. Spending NYE with my brother, SIL, and TEH
  6. The beautiful drive from east coast to the cabin in late August
  7. Coming home again
  8. ummm….

366 days (2016 was a leap year) and I’m struggling to make a list. For 2017 I am going to write down each good thing that happens and throw it in a Mason jar and January 2018 I should have a nice fat list.

What are you really glad is over?

The elections. The lead-up and the final day were torture but now that it’s over, I am getting better equipped to shape the future.

How are you different today than you were 365 days ago?

I’m much more mentally stable. Thank deities for good drugs.

Is there anything you achieved that you forgot to celebrate?

Probably but see question one — I barely come up with five things to celebrate for the year.

What have you changed your perspective on this year?

I became more aware of my institutional oppression and I’m actively working to be more “woke.” My reading goal is to read non-white, male, American authors and read more non-fiction.

Who are the people that really came through for you this year?

The usual suspects: TEH, Kate, Kristin, CMMRB, and many more.

What is something you tolerated for a long time, but now you will not?

Ignoring my health. I’ve slid along thinking I was eating healthy and being more active. To some extent, this is true but not as much as I thought. I’m no longer going to accept “good enough” as a mantra.

What old beliefs did you let go of?

I accepted wholeheartedly I do not believe in a Judeo-Christian god.

What was the one thing that you found really challenging, but can now see supported your growth?

Continuing with meditation and doing yoga fairly regularly.

If you could go back in time, what would you tell yourself this time last year?

You’re going to be okay. It’ll be slow going, but you’re going to be okay.


My goals for 2017:

Expand my intellectual horizons

Read more non-fiction and works by non-white, American, male writers. My reading last year was pitiful. Only 30 books! I’m going to shoot for a book a week and dedicate 25 – 45 minutes a day to reading.

I’m also going to read news outlets outside of my typical bubble and subscribe to newsletters that make me feel enlightened and get off of lists that aren’t helping me with my goal.

Expand happiness quotient / do more self-care

550 days of continuing meditation, WOOHOO. Body wise, I’m no longer going to accept “good enough” as a mantra. I turn 45 in 2017 and I want to be healthy and strong. Challenging myself with being active is going to be scary but worth it. Continue being diligent with self-care. I also need to remind myself that change is slow.

The past is the past, start every day with a clean slate

Seeing mother during the holidays confirmed what I’ve been telling everyone, in regards to her, all along: no amount of whinging, begging, or wishing is going to change the past. She is who she is. Seeing her this holiday was painful but a solid reminder that I shouldn’t let the past shape my future for anything.

Write more

I say this every year (honestly, every day), and I’ve always held myself back. Always, always, always. Less looking at how to write / obsessing about planning and execution and more on writing itself.

See more of the world, even if my world is within a 25 mile radius

My mother-in-law asked me how I liked living in the city now that I’ve been here for more than six months. I lamented I wasn’t doing more to be active in the city but I was making, albeit small, changes to rectify that. I need to drag TEH out into the world with me. Make more time for adventures!


My talking therapist chides me on the amount of goals I always set for myself and never seem to accomplish. “Do one or two things!” she says. These goals aren’t “lose 50 pounds by my birthday” rather “eat better and exercise.” Nia Shanks wrote a great piece, and give practical tips, how to beat resolution failure. The main point she keeps driving in and on is to break whatever you want to do down into workable general actions (drop processed sugar from my diet) rather than specific steps (eat only X grams of sugar a day; drop all “white” food, etc).

So that’s me for 2017. All those naysayers on how resolutions don’t work, go fuck yourself you micromanaging assholes.

 

melancholy of the forgotten things

The last few months has been a study in the discovery of self as I’m having a lot of deep thoughts™ on a near daily basis. Nearly every single winner of those races tend to steer me towards my (ir)relevancy and (lack of) mark in the world. There is a toss-up if I am thinking such things because it is winter and depressing as hell outside or that my 45th birthday is in six months.

Maybe it’s both.

It is depressing, as a feeling not as a state. I do not feel as if I’m going to harm myself, do some damage to others or any of that sort but I am feeling a bit helpless and confused, and questioning where I’m going. Even during and shortly after the case came to a conclusion, I felt as if I was on a very clear path. Now that path is muddled and I’m at a loss of what to do and where to go.

To be sure my physical self is fine: I have a place to live (living with TEH where the south meets the midwest), food in my belly, my bills are taken care of, for now, thanks to unemployment. I do not want for material things and I am extremely grateful for what I have. I’ve taken to donating time / money when I can, even if it’s only a few dollars. I want to pay forward all the help I was given and while these gestures may seem small, it’s something.


I have been able to procure a talking therapist last month and we’re meeting on a near weekly basis. I have not worked with a talking therapist in over six months and it is such a relief to word vomit everything from my head with no fear of judgment and repercussion. Like many, I have a wonderful support network of people who will listen but they are not a neutral party to this conversation.

My talking therapist keeps drilling, tho I have a hard time believing, the importance of self-care and self-soothing. It’s not that unusual, really, to have these thoughts and they are not owned by those with short-circuited brains like mine. They are just thoughts, we need to accept them and let them go. We don’t have to act on them or be fearful of them. The talking therapist posited what kind of society are we if taking time out for ourselves makes us selfish bitches? Being able to take care of one’s self does a world of wonder for our lives.

We do not have to do all the things.

We need to remember to put ourselves first– a concept I rationally understand but have a literal difficulty in implementing.

Yesterday I found myself in a state over something I couldn’t control but was desperately attempting to. I took to my meditation app and I could not concentrate for fuck all. It was a struggle to keep focused on my zen buddha nature as my mind kept wandering over to that particularly riddled state and other things that were not important enough to give as much currency as I was giving them. Too fast for my liking, the 15 minutes are over and Andy from the app is back soothing me with his subtle British accent.

I do not feel better. I am now frustrated because I could not complete the simple task of sitting still for 15 minutes and being present.


An example of a daily frustration: I worked in the state of New York when I was living on the east coast this summer and since I worked long enough to garner unemployment, this is who is feeding me each week. The conditions tho are bit long and can get tiresome of what I need to report every week in my job search. I have to, and I do, track everything from job searching and profesh website1 updates to interviews and rejections. I have to work on job searching three days a week. Many of you may remember when I was heavily job hunting for librarian gigs I was searching every fucking day.

My medicating therapist spoke on the influx number of jobs coming to the area. Sure, if you’re into light industrial and retail. Several websites put my earning power at $93K. I have never earned that much, and while I’m glad for their hopefulness, it gets a bit irritating that the jobs they send pay in the $15/hr range. If that. Most jobs are paying in the $8-10/hr range.

I’m going to be a pretentious, over privileged asshole. I worked hard for my degrees. I made $ButWillMoreThanLikelyNeverSeeInThisArea so I have settled for $ReasonableAmount – which is significantly less than $ButWillMoreThanLikelyNeverSeeInThisArea. I’m finding a lot of jobs that require at least a college degree paying $10K less than my $ReasonableAmount.

I would gladly settle for a retail job at my favorite stores but the pay there starts at $9/hr. I calculated working 40 hours a week, which would be impossible, the gross would be $30 less a week than what unemployment brings. If I work a day, I will not make close to what that day would bring me on unemployment. Retail jobs are out. Tutoring jobs, which pay between $18-22/hr, would be ideal but I would have to hustle to find work and those gigs are not guaranteed source of income. Tutoring jobs are out. I’ve been rejected from positions I’ve interviewed for, with a $10K a year less salary than my $ReasonableAmount, for being overly educated. My resume is in front of your face. What on earth would have changed from submission to the interview?

I have removed degrees, modified what I did at jobs, cut my resume from six pages (academic) to two (standard). I have resumes for different fields. I have placed a variety of my resumes on eight job boards, including a state and city sponsored ones. I call staffing agencies and specialty recruiters. I have emailed recruiters that I have worked with in the past. It is not as if I’m not looking for a gig, but I don’t think it’s entirely unreasonable given my education, employment history, and skillset, asking for $ReasonableAmount is not, in fact, unreasonable.

And for the love of all that is holy, do not take this as an invention to email me your suggestions on how to find a job. My interview rate per number of job applications (1 in 5) is better than the norm (1 in 10), so obviously I have that down pat — it’s a matter of actually getting someone to hire me.


What was the point of that angrily worded section? To give you an idea of a daily frustration. Instead of stepping back, coloring or knitting or working on something else to self-soothe/self-care, I stew. Fuck the man and all that has and will potentially happen because I’m getting nowhere.


My talking therapist is an optimist. The right thing will happen at the right time, she says. She believes it too. She tells me I’ve got options. I’m starting an extensive front end web development program in January. If I get off my arse, I can start selling my writing. There are other things I can throw in the fire. I am not, by any means, out of ways to improve my standings but it just might take a bit longer. Take a bit of work.

Work hurts.

I have to remember, as my talking therapist keeps telling me, things, no matter how much I want them to, will not change overnight. Every small fucking step I’ve done this year, even if it feels like I’m spinning my wheels, is an improvement over before. I need to think of 2016 as a year of growth rather than a year of nothing. Because I did do work. I did make some ground.

But the work hurts. It is painful and maddening and slow.

Talking therapist said that’s okay, it will hurt. By being here, acknowledging on being present, you’re slowly changing something. It’s new and unknown. That is okay.

That is okay.

1. I’m consolidating my librarian website (lisa.rabey.net) with my writing one (lisarabey.com). Choose your own adventure, motherfuckers.

self-care, gratitudes, and making happy

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Earlier this year, I worked on a project of documenting things I was grateful for and things that made me happy. I only got a few months in as I suddenly found myself with a job, I moved 1000 miles, and until October, my life was in job / location flux.

But even in that short amount of time, I came up with 99 things to be grateful for and 100 things that make me happy. Here is the list.

(I know numerous people found the list to be a great template to create their own lists so feel free to download!)

Since Tuesday’s upset, I’ve been working on loads of self-care to get me through this time and it’s been helping. I’m a big proponent and advocate of self-care and I think it’s one of the most important things we can do for ourselves. While we should always fight injustice, we’re not going to be any good unless we in the place to fight for ourselves.

Let me put it to you this another way:

If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?” ― RuPaul

Here are more things to add to the lists:

Self-care

  • Getting off the internet. Period.
  • Read
  • Meditate
  • Bake
  • Go for long walks
  • Knit
  • Play video games (I’m currently enthralled with Animal Crossing. Friend code:4613-7073-9492)
  • Working on my projects
  • Text with close friends
  • Breathing exercises
  • Snuggling with TEH
  • Cleaning house (don’t judge)
  • Drinking hot tea
  • Sleeping on freshly laundered sheets
  • Making lists and knocking things off those lists
  • Doing something kind for someone/things
  • Eating chocolate
  • Long near scalding showers
  • Long hot baths with epsom salts (TEH only has a large walk in shower but if I have access to a tub, damn straight I’m getting my bath on)
  • Read tarot cards
  • Online shop (but not spending anything!)
  • Watch Bridget Jones’ Diary, Pride and Prejudice (2005), Harry Potter series, or any other favorite movies
  • Writing letters / postcards
  • Yoga
  • Wearing one of my perfume oils

There may be some cross-over from the original list to here but that’s okay. When I’m starting to feel anxious or stressed, I use one, or many, of the things listed above to calm me down.

What is your self-care?