coursework

Dear Internet,
How do you learn? How do you change your patterns to not make the same mistakes twice (or thrice, etc)?
If you’re self-aware, how do you change your life from being a pain in the ass and how do you stop sabotaging yourself?
I’ve talked on and on about ThePlan for years; there is a similar version, from 10 years ago (!), that is nearly identical to the one I’m plotting now.

I always planned on conquering the world tomorrow and my past was filled with nothing but those empty tomorrows where I just existed and did not really live.
And I felt that sense of panic, that I would end up dead and alone, eaten by ThePugKids, all three of them fighting to eat my hands and feet. I can almost see them burping with a self-satisfied look on their faces. If pugs could smirk, mine surely would in utter defiance of not being spoilt rotten.

Change “ThePugKids” to “Thursday” and it is still absolutely true.
(And it’s pretty freaking clear I just finished watching Bridget Jones’ Diary before I wrote the above.)
Ten years on and many things have changed: I went on to get a second masters, I got married, I got divorced, I got … well you know how my life has gone. And some things have changed for the better (being on better mood stabilizing drugs, seeing a therapist on the regular, exercising on the regular), and others — not so much.
This got me thinking on how I roughly learn things. During my ill spent youth, I’ve always tested higher than I assumed I would in all subjects. Meaning, I was put into advanced classes where I didn’t think I belonged. I remember the day in 8th grade math when I found out they were bumping me up to honors math in high school. How in thee hell did that happen? I believe I am terrible at math. (low self-esteem)
Everything came tumbling down in high school. I dropped out in 11th grade. Repeated it and dropped out again. I got my GED. My first foray into college was a hot mess – I scrapped by on an 1.7 GPA. I was too busy interviewing rock stars, working on the student newspaper, and trying to start up a college radio station to study.
<a decade passes>
Now I’m 30 and I’m going back to college for the second time. I am desperate to get my BA so I cut out extracurricular activities (see how that did me in first time around) and study, study, study. I pull my overall GPA up from a 1.7 to a 3.4ish and a 4.0 in my second bachelors, letting me graduate with distinction.
I’ve done it.
I apply the same methods to my first and second masters, graduating each with high marks.
So how was I able to change my studying habits, and thusly my life, around 180 degrees? It was not just about passion or wanting something badly, it was more than likely due to wanting to feel the accomplishment of having a goal and completing that goal. (With that only goal the thing in my mind’s eye, I’m less likely to wade off the path.)
This is fine and good in theory but how in the hell did I do it?
Knowing my learning style, how my brain operates, and carding1.
Not in a “I am too young to buy alcohol I hope they don’t card me” way or “I’m playing poker and i hope they don’t see my tells” way either.
Carding, for me, is where I write something down on an index card, and shuffle through them as if I am dealing hands in poker. My French class cards? Word on the front, permutations on the back. Those cards towered in the inches thick category. Art History cards? Names, periods, movements, paintings — all carded. Name of thing on the front, every little bit of info I could cram on the back.
This went on for all my classes.
Where did I learn how to card? When I started college again, I volunteered to be a literacy tutor through the public library. In the training we were taught about the different methods of how people learned. I never thought about learning styles before or hell, even knew it existed. That’s when it all clicked.
For me to grasp a concept, the following has to happen:

  • An instructor lecturs (auditory) while I take notes (read-write)
  • I need to ask questions and discuss it to understand (kinesthetic)
  • Later, I card my notes (read-write)
  • I continue to go over my cards to cement the ideas (read-write)
  • By continually going over the cards, and going through the lecture in my head, I can break down and piece together the thing I am learning into something tangible

One thing I’m often saying is, “I need to figure it out on my own before I can get it.” (kinesthetic). I cannot learn a behaviour/thing with someone telling me how it works; it means nothing to me. For me to learn something, I need to experience it myself. If I want to learn how to fix a computer, I need to take it apart and put it together again. Now I’ve done X (taking apart a computer) and learned it leads to Y (fixing broken thing on a computer).
People have told me how this would work, but I didn’t believe them until I did it myself.
(The whole “don’t tell me, let me figure it out myself” can get a bit messy during emotional entanglements and I’ll just leave it at that.)
Most importantly, what works with learning styles, is my need for structure.
If I don’t have structure in my life, in any form, I flounder. Working a full time gig helps significantly with structuring where as being a freelance writer makes it super messy for me to keep in control. I’ve tried setting up my day to the minute before and that’s too much, I need something between ultra regiment and chaos.This is why it was agreed I needed a co-working space.
Now with all of that laid out, add in my mental disorders: borderline (attention seeking), bipolar (mania, disorganized behaviour, racing thoughts), adhd (fidgeting, boredom, forgetfulness), and our favorite pal anxiety and you see it gets a bit chaotic.
Knowing how these three things (structure, learning style, knowing how my mind works) worked is how I aced my education and kept my life together for many years.
(I am so burying the lede.)
I started the lede in the third paragraph: ThePlan2.
I’ve done variation after variation of ThePlan over the years and it’s always starts strong, starts to wane, and eventually fizzles out. How can I change this behaviour and make it last?
That is the ultimate question.
Carding will be my answer.
DBT’s main purpose is to change how your brain works. This idea is also the foundation for most of the self-help books out there. However, DBT is backed by scientists, papers, shrinks, and research3.
The four critical skills of DBT are:

  • Distress Tolerance Coping better with painful events
  • Mindfulness Experience living in the moment
  • Emotion Regulation Being able to recognize what you feel and then observe what’s happening so you don’t feel overwhelmed
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness Tools to express beliefs and needs; to set limits and work on negative problems

In order for DBT to work, you have to do it every single day. You have to practice some of the techniques to continue to rewire your brain. You can’t do what I did, start reading the book, highlight things, and then forget about it. This serves no one.
This is where carding comes in.
I had clear photo case box with 5×7 and 3×5 cards, purchased for a writing project that never got off the ground. I created the following dividers:

  • Things accomplished A listing of things I’ve done for that so I keep track of things I would normally forget, like how many times that week I’ve worked out. Each day has it’s own card
  • Negativity Disputation Techniques Techniques when I’m feeling feelings about something. An example of the ABCDE disputation technique:
    • Adversity  I can’t write
    • Beliefs Everything has been written
    • Consequence I have not written a story/article
    • Disputation I’m not scheduling time to write
    • Energize How can I change this behaviour
  • Gratitudes and Happy Things Weekly cards of things I’m happy or grateful or both of things from I really love the smell of pineapple juice to I have a large support network
  • Pithy Statements Those memes we see around the interwebs with such sayings as Dream big. Dream bigger. I have a love hate relationship with these things — hence they “pithy statement” card, but sometimes a girl needs a reminder of such things.
  • Mind / Body / Soul Cards that I need to fulfill that desire. Meditation and reading everyday (Mind); drink more water (Body); find good in people (Soul). Mind / body / soul each have their own dividers but I’ll probably itnergrate these things into the Happy Things list.
  • DBT Reminders Distraction plans (do yoga, smell someone else (YES. I will presume I’m weird. I associate people with smells, you smell good – you are a good person. You smell bad to me – you’re probably not such a good person. TheBassist has a specific scent of his deodorant mixed with pheromones mixed with normal body scent. (I’ve been known to sniff his deodorant when I was not feeling so great. Don’t judge me. (He knows.)) Steph smells like patchouli and vanilla. Mini-me smells of hot cocoa and clean shampoo.)), things to put into action (move your body)

My day to day:

  • I use my Bullet Journal to create my todo lists for the day
  • I do my todo list
  • I work on DBT stuff (do my homework, read, go over the cards)
  • I meditate
  • I do things that need to be done but are not on the todo list (walk the dog, load and unload the dishwasher)
  • I write down my accomplishments and my gratitudes
  • Move my body somehow
  • Write something

Some days there is more but the above is always the same.
Remember the breakdown I gave on how I learn? Let’s apply that to how to train my brain with DBT:

  • Someone lectures / talks to me about things: therapist / friends (auditory)
  • I need to ask questions and discuss it to understand (kinesthetic)
  • Later, I card my notes from therapy / add to DBT pile (read-write)
  • I continue to go over my cards to cement the ideas (read-write)
  • By continually going over the cards, and going through the discussions in my head, I can break down and piece together the thing I am learning/knowing into something tangible

You may think I’m crazy for putting this together. You may think this is a lot of work. You may think this is a load of bullshit. You don’t have to like it, agree with it, or even do what I’m doing. That is all fine. What I can tell you is while I’m just slowly making my way towards the good parts of life, this has been helping. It’s been a week, I know, but having this kind of structure (see above) helps me shape my life.
It looks like a  lot of work – it isn’t. Outside of my reading (about a half an hour a day), I spend another 10-15 carding. It looks complicated (it isn’t).
But it doesn’t matter. It’s for me and not for you. The end.
xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2015, 2015


1. Carding is my fancy way of saying, “flash cards.”
2. Literally the number one reason why the TheBassist left was/is because I am a flight risk (borderline). The plan, as he says, always kept changing. I didn’t think so as I updated him as soon as I knew things, but, I’ll have to concede he has a point as I was so wishy washy. On more than one occasion he compared me to my being Lucy and his being Charlie Brown and the plan was the football.
3. I recommend Dialectal Skills Workbook and DBT Skills Training. While it is recommended you see a DBT specialist, you can certainly work on this solo.

antikythera mechanism

Dear Internet,
I scored an in person (second) interview with the Connecticut institution and it’s happening this upcoming week. The length of the scheduled time turns out to be shorter than I was told/planning on, which is leaving me some hours to hang out in and see what’s what in the area. One thing I am not looking forward to is Connecticut drivers as they drive like assholes. Turn signals are not accessories, fuck twats!
The Louisville institution second job interview went well and you can find my presentation here (which seemed to get a lot of positive commentary from the internet). The job is really quite spectacular as it’s a new position in which the person who gets the job can write their own job description and responsibilities, much like the Connecticut position. Both of the positions are super flexible and if there is one thing pulling Connecticut ahead of the job game is the ability to wear jeans to work. As we all know, I’m not a business casual kind of person and oh I can DO business casual but if I don’t HAVE to, awesome. Thanks!
I’m now two for two vis-à-vis second person interviews thus making my chances of a job offer higher than previously thought possible (at least in my mind). I’ve been going over and over mentally how to figure out what to do here if by some miracle both institutions extend offers. If only one extends the offer then it’s a easy choice – I go where the money is but if two? I keep meaning to write down the pros and cons for both so I’m better prepared to make this (if needed) choice.
The backup plan if there are no job offers is to start looking for academic librarian positions, nationally, in January and junior developer courses here in Louisville. I’ve been working with Code Louisville by fast tracking coding courses via Treehouse. This week I’ve spent nearly forty hours spread out over three days on said fast tracking. Code Louisville’s goal is to put people into the work force by giving them marketable skills and if there is ever an up and coming tech sector, it’s Louisville.
Overall, I am excited to be in this position. It’s a long time coming but if there is a chance I can make the choice, that would be wonderful.
I have been evading FEELINGS on a manner of all things these last few weeks. Feeling are vulnerabilities and trying to get some semblance of a life together when having FEELINGS is fucking terrible. FEELINGS trigger anxiety, I take the anti-anxiety drugs to quell the panic, feelings are suppressed. Take anti-anxiety drugs to prevent the attacks, suppress the FEELINGS.
It’s a no fucking win situation over here. (And why I sleep 10+ hours a night on all of the anti-anxiety drugs I’m on.)
I could blame it on a number of things such as not addressing them properly this year, new med adjustments, the weather, time of year — a whole host of things normally attributed to this place I seriously don’t want to be. My paper journal is filled with page after page of how much I hate feeling like this, how I am so desperate to change this emotional space, how I just want to stop treading water and learn how to swim again.
I can’t remember a time when I was feeling this emotionally bare. (I lied. Spring of 2013.) Even with not renewing the contract on my last position, the law suit, the divorce, the constant moving, breaking up with TheBassist — all within the last 18 months — somehow I’ve handled those more or less with aplomb (I thought) and was better managing emotional hiccups. But it’s pretty clear every goddamned thing that has happened in the last 18 months has, finally, taken its emotional toll and it takes every ounce of my being to wake up, work out, plan a day of doing stuff, go to bed at a reasonable hour. I’m trying so hard to put one foot in front of the other, to just keep moving forward.
I’ve got shit to do! People to see! Places to go!
The hardest part is knowing this is all a temporary glitch. There have been worse emotional spaces and I can dig myself back out again just as I had before. I’ve done this dance and I can take it to end coming out smelling like roses. I akin it to growing pains: You know it happens and you have to remind yourself that at some point this too will pass. (Or you get better drugs.)
As I wrote this, I mentally went back through the last five or so years and realized I HAVE been here before and it had everything to do with change in medication (primarily). Circumstances, sure I’ll buy it. Swallowing 18 months worth of feelings and having it resurrect its ugly head? Absolutely. Scrapping down the emotional bone into the marrow?
Drugs. 95% of the time it is always the goddamned drugs having gone awry.
Fuck it all to hell.
Even though I am bipolar-1 (manic), I get bouts of depression here and there, most of the time ranging for a few days and passing just as quickly. In the early spring of 2013 when I went through a med change with my then medicating doctor, I felt a whole lot worse than this. How I was able to function in the capacity that I did is amazing. What we had to do was get me off the drugs by slowly weaning me off the anti-depressants / bipolar  as well as the ADHD  drugs and get me acclimated to just using Lithium, which then stopped working.
My brain chemistry metabolizes medicating drugs too quickly. What should happen to most people in weeks, happens to me in days. Ritalin last a few days before I had to go off of it. Same with Lithium. SSRIs made me suicidal. Bedrock between desperately wanting some normalcy and a brain that won’t let you have it.
Since that last bought in 2013, I’ve been ever so careful with how I take and manage my drugs. Now I’m furious with myself for not having recognize these signs sooner.
I saw my medicating therapist last week and per his edict, if I wasn’t feeling some relief by the weekend (which is now), I’m to double up on my anti-depressants, which I’ve done. I’m to call tomorrow and leave a message to have him call in more of the anti-depressant. I need to be razor sharp and on point this week and for a long time coming. Fucking around with my brain chemistry is a delicate balance.
TheExHusband agreed this is slightly reminiscent of that time in 2013 but then I wouldn’t leave the house for days on end, I curled up in a ball and cried. A lot. I barely showered or took care of myself compared to this morning where I walked nearly three miles with him and the pug, did six loads of laundry, gave the pug a bath, about to put the laundry away, and chill for the evening. My brain may be fuzzled but goddamned wasn’t I productive.
He also remarked in comparison to this time last year, hell even six months ago, how I handle things, coping with things, just doing LIFE is a 180 degree turn around. And I reject the idea of stabilization — who is ever perfectly stabilized? Life is a hot mess — but being able to handle life with grace and dignity, which despite my whinging on and off here, is what I aim for and what I’m doing.
And I take pride in that.
I stumbled across a post this morning on rejection, the psychological break-down of why it hurts so much (it’s wired to the same place in the brain as physical pain), why it’s prolonged (we take too critical look at ourselves. Rejection is not personal – it’s about “fit” and circumstance), and how to fix it (re-affirming our self-worth by the good things we have to offer in whatever circumstance the rejection comes from). It makes for an interesting read.
This time of year it’s especially poignant to remember not everyone is in a safe space, mentally, emotionally, or physically. I’m lucky, and if you want to call it blessed then so be it, despite all my faults, I’m physically in a safe space, I have mental and emotional support. Not many can say that, especially now.
xoxo,
Lisa

untangle

necklace untangling

Dear Internet,
You may have noticed a drastic change in the design and layout of the site. I’ve been using the same theme for years and with so many changes and the cluttering, EPbaB is/was a hot mess. Like a child dressing up in their mother’s clothes.
I knew I had to re-do the design and layout, and while I was learning how to do backend from scratch  I was far far behind where I needed to be to make this site what I really wanted. Perusing through the WordPress Codex is often a disappointment as I ended up downloading and testing themes that are broken or far too complicated to use. (You know, like the ones who talk about how easy it is to drop and drag modules and you need a Phd to get it to work.) I stumbled upon Seasonal, which didn’t look like the other “personal” blog themes and was geared more towards my type of writing rather than those personal bloggers about their “brand.” Despite its attractiveness, I was weary. Very weary. But woah, all I did was just download the theme, configure it, and some small CSS changes. BOOM. It’s done (and under an hour to configure and launch I must add).
So hopefully you’ll like the site as much as I do and find it not only aesthetically pleasing but also easy to use.


If yesterday was spa day, Thursday was cleaning out my jewelry box that I’ve been lugging around for the last year day. I cannot even tell you what jewelry I DO own that is not with me. Last I knew, it was a lot of bullshit.
If you need a way to procrastinate, untangle your necklaces.
Pro Tip: If you slide the chains through straws, they won’t tangle up when you’re traveling.


Tuesday afternoon, after reading something or another on the interent, the world began to spin. There were two of everything as I struggled to right myself in my chair, calling out to TheExHusband to come help me. The few seconds it took to get from his office to me was enough for the moment to pass. A terrible low throbbing headache took hold and kept banging on for hours. I laid on the chaise, not doing much of anything as I waited for the headache to subside. It’s not that far-fetched to state I did nothing that evening.
Wednesday I had several appointments in the city that I did not want to miss but the thought of driving 10 miles of two lane country road and another 10 miles on a moderately busy two lane country road made me super anxious. I couldn’t get it out of my head I was going to have an attack while driving and thoughts of, “What would I do? How do I react?” flashing like a movie reel in my brain. I couldn’t shake the IMPENDING DOOM.
Half a Klonopin swallowed.
I did deep breathing and eyes open meditation as I drove, a very light sheen of sweat on my person when I pulled into my parking spot at the salon. The facial included a message of my face, arms/hands, and upper shoulders and i could feel the tension in my body actually getting worse rather than better since I was grinding my teeth every time she was touching me.
Full dose of Klonopin swallowed.
I weaved in and out of anxiety as I went about my day, dreading the thought of driving that 20 miles back to the cabin. Even stopping at Gallegher’s for donuts and cider didn’t really shake the impending doom.
Of course the Klonopin kicked in when I got home and everything was rosy.
Somedays it takes every once out of my being to pretend my heart is not palpitating a million miles a minute, impending doom is in my brain, and I am so scared to exist in this world. Every ounce of my being.
xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2001, 2001, 1999

catastrophic

Dear Internet,
There is a before before to this story.
I’m currently wrapped up like a mummy at the cabin where it is currently 60F outside, prepping it for winterizing for TheExHusband. I stopped by a local village to have dinner one night when I saw TheEx. Remember TheEx? Oh, I sure as hell do. My rage against him may have subsided but the idea of cutting off his member and dissecting his testes still tastes warm and fresh in my mouth.
So there I was, having dinner, and I see him with a woman and some kid. Maybe his wife? Why else would he be up in this area? His parents have a condo in a large ski/golfing resort that is so full of white privilege, you may contract hives. Why else would he be up here if not with his (current) woman? Why do I care so much?
Because I’m nosy as hell and all of my questions must be answered.
He saw me; of course he saw me. How could you miss me and my overly obnoxious laugh? We played peek a boo through stranger’s shoulders. I forced dessert down my throat to prevent leaving before him. I won the fake war of insolence.
And of course we didn’t say a word to the other! What kind of heathen do you think I am?
Once when we were together, actually many times, his road rage almost killed us. As I said in the above piece, he would beg, cajole, and plead his apologies; me forgiving him as a woman (then) rightly should. I was blinded by everything — he was the (then) closest substitute to TheBassist and I was hungry for that connection. TheBassist and I had been broken up for 1 1/2 years – the thought that I found someone so much like him (but not him) was too much to ignore. I was blinded by the probability. Lusted after the possibility of a TheBassist lesser.
Boy, was I glamorized.
Seven years later, TheEx and I are side-eying each other in a restaurant.
TheEx left me a gift all those years ago, not that you swine, but a new anxiety that causes a fear of driving. Specifically on highways.
It’s called catastrophic thinking, and I had no idea it had a name until a clinician recently asked me a few questions as I spoke, giving a name to the demon.
I run scenarios in my head, while driving, from getting decapitated by a semi getting out of control to careening into cement barriers to having my car going dead in the middle of a major construction area. This despite all of the assurances I give myself such as if Jeeves broke down every 1000 miles, you have bigger problems to there are others who are sharing this anxiety with you right this very second (thanks meditation!). No matter what I do, short of taking drugs, I can’t shake the thoughts of something happening while I’m driving.
To illustrate the point of the ridiculousness of this thinking, last week I drove a thousand miles from the east coast to ThrobbingCabin to help TheExHusband out. I wasn’t getting any job offers, or even interviews, I was going stir crazy, so I left. Again. I figured the sojourn to the cabin would do me good (true), help me think clearly (true), save on finances (also true).
I drove alone.
The only hiccup was getting lost because fuck a Ohio turnpike and their terrible directions!
So I drove a thousand miles, nothing happened, and I’m more or less (more) driving a thousand miles back at the end of the month.
Rationally, RATIONALLY, I know what I’m thinking is irrational. I know that the likelihood of a fatal car accident is .0103% or 1 in 10,000 for every 100,000 people. The likelihood of getting into a car accident at all is 1.76%.  I KNOW THIS. I know this, but I cannot stop thinking about what that less than 1% means to me.
(This thought process exploded last night as I came back from the city to cabin; 20 miles of unlit highway. Me with my Xenon beams and assholes with their brights, in front and behind. My eyes ached and I had a headache for most of the night after my driving escapade. Tonight I’m heading back to the city and I’m nervous, ALREADY THOUGH IT’S HOURS AND HOURS AWAY, of coming back here. Fuck a duck.)
I talk myself down. I remind myself I have driven across these United States with nary a thought, TWICE. I’ve driven from Michigan to the east coast at least six times in the last year. Some of it alone. I’ve driven to lots of long places, by myself, and I come out fine. So why the freak out?
With me, anxiety can be drilled down to a singular incident which builds upon itself into this catastrophic thinking. TheEx’s road rage has finally manifested itself all these years later, which causes me even more irritation than anger because I just want to be done with him. This hold over me is paper thin but it ill not rip. It’s annoying and in some ways, it’s fucking with my life.
Because it’s paralyzes me. It paralyzes me to the point I often cannot leave the house, enjoy my time socially with other people, or even enjoy a nice car ride.
My therapist says most anxieties can be worked through, controlled, and often cured. I am too impatient to get rid of the driving one, I want it to begone! But it’s something I have to control and work on, slowly and methodically.
Something that only I can deliver myself from. And lots of Klonopin.

xoxo,
Lisa

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This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2012, 2010, 2008, 2008, 2000, 1999

2771.7/divorce

Dear Internet,
The last few weeks have been jammed pack with excitement and drama, so let me catch you up.
Epic Trip
Couple of weeks ago, Kristin and I drove from Michigan to DC to see Angela Lansbury in Blithe Spirit. But to add even more excitement to the trip, we drove up to Connecticut to take care of my stuff in storage, got caught in a mini-blizzard and ended up crashing at TheBassist’s house, then the following morning we drove to New Jersey to see our friend Val. Then we came home. The epicness of this? We did this over five days.
If that wasn’t enough, I was home less than 24 hours before I drove to Kentucky for a job interview at a $museum and came home that weekend.
Over the course of 13 days, I drove 2771.7 miles. I am not leaving the house unless I have a REALLY compelling reason.
Next week I’m flying (thank fuck) to the east coast for an in-person interview with $college, which will be my second interview with them. Fingers crossed.
Then I come back in time to head to Chicago with Kristin, again, for our yearly mecca to C2E2. She scored us a photo op with Jason Momoa, so if you never hear from me again, you know why.
The Case
While I was in Kentucky, our retraction of #teamharpy statements went live and a few days later, I posted the essential case facts to get everyone up to speed. I know I said that I wasn’t going to comment on it, but I think what happened after the retraction is fascinating. Namely,

  • No one reads or listens. After the plaintiff publicly accepted the retraction and asked for people to stop trolling so that we can move on to heal, after I wrote a follow-up to the retraction explaining the outcome in curt facts and posted it publicly with permission for others to copy it to their sites, speculation and trolling are running rampant. Within the librarian community, on larger community sites, even after the “this is what happened” post went live, people are still running their mouths on what they think they know. Only those involved in the case know, but suddenly everyone is an expert on Canadian law and apparently received their JD by sending in two box tops and a dollar. It’s just fascinating how the mob just turns even when those involved are like, listen here are the facts that we can provide you.
  • Nearly everyone is a troll I wasn’t privy to the trolling of the plaintiff, but allegedly it was bad. #teamharpy was trolled on a pretty regular basis, and I know that got worse with time. Once the case settled, the trolling of everyone involved boomed through the roof. It wasn’t just librarians in our online communities, but nearly every MRA and GG realsie and sock puppet accounts. Here are some of the examples:

troll4 troll3 troll2 troll1
I RT’d most of the threats, abuse, and harassment I received. People were shocked, but, having known that regardless of how the case was going to end up this was going to happen, I am not.
If you’re curious to the extent of the harassment, here is a complete list of every tweet about #teamharpy archived.
The trolling wasn’t just about online comments, but attacks on my life. EPbaB had several hundred malicious exploits attempted, which were blocked by TSTBEH as an example.

  • Safe spaces are slowly becoming unicorns I know a lot of people are working tirelessly to end this, and this is not disregard their work (and I am not being passive aggressive here — just so we’re clear), but (isn’t there always), a lot of folks told me privately they don’t feel safe coming forward if they have been harassed by someone, regardless of who and where, in any manner. It didn’t matter how the case ended up, the backlash by humanity at large is still forcing those who are oppressed, suffering, and etc., to not move forward. We’re being stripped of our humanity, even as I write this, because if you put forward your voice on $x, there are those who will denounce you and silence you until you are metaphorically beaten. I’m not even referring to the case, but being a woman in general, my voice has been silenced in lots of ways because I’m willing to show the world that I am human.
  • Support comes in unexpected ways Thank you to everyone who came forward with hugs, kindness, and public support during this crazy time. You are very much appreciated and beloved.

The Divorce
As of March 31, 2015, the divorce is now final. TSTBEH is now going to be referred to as TEH. It was a bittersweet moment in court, even more so after seeing those who went before me. I cried last night, threw up this morning, but handled it pretty well. Thankfully. TEH and I are still very close and amicable, so as it was said to me today, I am very lucky that this pain is not going to be so much anger as it is heartache.
Now how have I been feeling? Surprisingly pretty zen. Accepting how things were going to be (the case, the divorce) and what to expect in the realm of emotions, I’ve been doing pretty good at keeping myself together. I haven’t had any breakdowns in the last month (other than some anxiety which is typical for me regardless of the bipolar) and that is also to say, when I have had breakdowns they have been less frequent and much shorter time span than before.
Here’s to moving forward.
xoxo,
Lisa

daily entry: January 30, 2015

Dear Internet,
HEY! My eBook is officially now live on Amazon:
TLC-Cover-Final

  • Morning ritual: Wake up, use the facilities, pop contacts in, take drugs, turn kettle on for tea, figure out breakfast. While the kettle is heating up, fill last nights Bopple and also the humidifier. With tea and breakfast in hand, check email, Facebook, Twitter. Respond as necessary
  • Planned on going to the gym and co-working space but ended up working close to three hours doing prep for so glad is my heart. (SUBMIT! Please.)
  • Showered and ran errands: Bank (quarters for laundry), Kohls/Macy’s/Penney’s/H&M (futile search for dress shirts for next week), Yankee Candle, LUSH, CVS, post office, dry cleaners. Took about three or so hours
  • Came home, depanted, lunched, and then napped
  • Worked on this entry and prepped Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes for January 31
  • Prepped for my trip to Toronto
  • Prepped the next issue of Skaldic Press Presents
  • Filed DMCA take down notice because some twat is stealing my work
  • Bed ritual: refilled humidifier, grab Bopple for the night, take contacts off and wash fash; use the facilities.
  • Read Fool by Christopher Moore before having a pretty good physical anxiety attack.

This is where the catch-22 comes in, right? I’m feeling not at all anxious, the anxiety hits as traveling pain that feels like I’m on the verge of having a heart attack. So then I actually start getting panicky and the pressure increases. None of my old tricks were working, so Klonopin it is! When I finally conked out, holding teddy of course, it was around 2AM. I then woke up at 4, 5, and 7. That part has been the same since October — waking up every couple of hours. I’m not dreaming because I’m not falling into REM sleep (not the band), but in the first few hours of my waking up for the day, I feel rested. Then I start to fall apart as the day progresses because I’m so tired.
xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2014, 2010, 1999

headspace

Dear Internet,
I was gifted with a year long subscription to Headspace, a site that teaches you guided meditation in easy, bit sized chunks. In true Lisa fashion, I’m having panic attacks left and right during and after the exercises which sets off a whole slew of everything elses.
That surprised me. Aren’t you supposed to feel whole and unconflicted while doing your meditation and not a hot fucking mess? The answer is no: This is apparently a normal part of the process, as is sadness.
When I posted my experiences on Facebook, there were numerous comments from others that had similar feelings when practicing; hearing I was not alone was comforting. There are times when my own feelings seem to overrule so much of who I am, it is almost incomprehensible others may feel the same way or could fathom where these feelings themselves. Hearing related stories is helpful in addition to being comforting as it indicates no matter how much my brain tells me otherwise, I am not so alone in the world.
That is often very important bit of knowledge that I need to remember: I am not so alone in the world.
The big question Headspace asks is what do you intend to get out of the practice? I’ve been gnawing at this for the last five days as I’ve been working through my foundation pack and I realized the first thing I came up with was: I expected instant gratification and for all the emotional pain to just go away (which explains since I’m not getting instant gratification, I’m going into panic mode when I begin my session). That answer was not the direction I wanted to go in, so it helped for me to actual vocalize what and why I was thinking these thoughts so I can begin to formulate a healthier plan.
I’ve been in such an emotional free fall these last few months which has been amplified by the lack of a solid foundation that should have existed before making any big moves. I know people have got me, but I need to have myself and more often than not, I don’t.
While I find myself acting impulsively at times, mainly with money, I tend to catch myself before I’m entirely stupid. My thoughts are often racing. My verbal word retrieval, which is usually an indicator of how bad the racing thoughts are occurring, is fairly awful on most days. I often find myself attempting to panic on things that I cannot control, no matter how minute or out of my control they are or how ridiculous it would be to panic over that thing. Let’s say I need to do something in the next week. I’ll start the panic process on anything else related to that thing even if that thing is as benign on sorting items out to donate to the local Goodwill.
I have forgotten me in all of this. I have forgotten self-care.
Knowing that this feeling of panic is part of the process, that it is normal to feel this way, takes a bit of the sting out of the attack when it happens. While I’m still panicking during and after practicing, I know where the root of some of the panic comes from. I know that by bringing the focus back to the body more and less on attempting to follow my herringbone mind is totally okay and will get better with practice.
Headspace used the analogy sitting on the side of the road watching the cars go by, something I found I don’t really do at all. Often I’m so busy wanting TO BE the car I forget that I can just let the cars go by and not having to actually interact with them. Working on the meditation allows me to really see that sometimes these thoughts are really just that: thoughts and not concrete methods of decision making.
This was this week’s lesson learned: it’s okay to worry or have a panic thought, this is normal part of all the changes I’m going through. It’s okay to want to always begin with building your own foundation. Thus, for now, that’s what I want to get out of Headspace is the ability to make more mindful decisions, recognize thoughts are just thoughts, and to remind myself to be present in this world while building a solid foundation for myself as I do so.
xoxo,
Lisa

notes for cabinet particulier, part iii: sorting the research

View from the back deck
View from the back deck

Dear Internet,
As planned, I got up early and headed into Traverse City to get Jeeves’ tires attended to. I called the local BMW dealership and was told, despite confirmation from MINI Grand Rapids and the TC BMW receptionist, they do NOT service MINIs. His suggestion? Take my car to MINI Grand Rapids. When I pointed out a 160 mile trek on possibly bad tires was not a wise move, he suggested I head to Discount Tire (as I had originally was leaning towards) and also gave me the name of a local TC shop that specialized in MINIs and other foreign cars.
Once you get off of M-72 and start heading into Cedar and then further on to Throbbing Cabin is some of the best driving roads around, barring M-22 of course. I love this part of the drive when we come up here as this is the kind of roads where Jeeves thrives and begs to be driven on. There is a stretch of about five miles after you leave Cedar that is hairpin straight and goes up some minor hills; when you hit the apex of each hill, you can see Lake Michigan beckoning in the distance.
Uncertain to the status of the my tires, I drove ever so slowly down to TC and who am I kidding here? I was probably white knuckling it the entire way, waiting for the supposedly bad tire to just fall off and planning in my head how I was going to handle each and every bad scenario that landed in my brain.
Discount Tire was busy for 10AM on a Wednesday morning — me and all the OAPs hanging out getting our tires issues sorted. The tires are fine and the TPMS is all normalized (again). Rationally, I knew this was going to be true, but anxiety eats away at all rationality. I spent time on the deck last night staring at Jeeves as if he was a monster because I could not stop thinking of worse case scenarios of having massive car issue 160 miles from home. THIS! Despite having insurance, an incredible maintenance and warranty plan, tow truck numbers programmed in my phone, and local numbers (now) for car repair, I could not let it go until the nice man at Discount Tire told me everything was going to be fine.
I got back to the cabin several hours later than intended as I ran a few errands since I was out and about. After having lunch, I started getting settled into doing research for the book around 4PM and here it is four hours later and fuck man, I am overwhelmed.
researchoverload
On Monday night I started culling all the random tidbits I had been collecting for the last 18 months and began to import them into Scrivener. I broke each thing down to its own category for easier sorting and updated the research page for the project in the process.
Today’s work was much of the same as I found more locales where I had stored bits and bobs. I think in my head I always fancied myself to keep things neat and simple, but apparently I keep trying to find the best product for everything, test it out, and ultimately forget it and all the content I stored there. Today the culprit was Pinboard, which while it seems to prove useful for many, I need visualization to organize.
(Still sitting on Pinboard  is a good chunk of research I found for my viking and medieval lady boners which still needs to be imported over to their respective Scrivener projects. Marginalia for the win!)
Granted Scrivener has a learning curve, but once you get in the groove it starts to really make sense. Best thing I’ve ever done? Put all my notes, ideas, and everything into a single Scrivener project.
storyideas
I’ve also been reading contemporary stories while I’m up here based in the Edwardian era – of which there is surprisingly not many.  I suspected with the rise of Downton Abbey that there would have been a huge influx of lit based in the Edwardian era, but no, there really isn’t. I know of less than half a dozen mystery series based in that era and handful of fiction books written in the last five years but that’s shockingly about it. Since I’m having a hard time finding contemporary books of that era, I’m going to create a bibliography over on my author site for read alikes. Because librarian, yolo.
I’m also collecting titles of works written in the era to read to get a better sense of the period. so watch it Lawrence, Forster, Galsworthy, and the whole lot of you. I am on to you. And lucky me, most of their work is available in the open domain.
(I finally finished Maugham’s Cakes & Ale, though written in 1930 much of the book takes place in the Edwardian era. Holy fuck, do I hate this book. It was just so awful for a large list of reasons I will be discussing later.)
Additionally, there is only a handful of sites dedicated to the Edwardian era and some of them are dubious in nature while others tuck that period in as very-late Victorian without giving the period its proper due. I was distressed to find that one of the sites that I had considered, due to the breadth of research and writing, to be a fabulous resource was passing on debunked knowledge as fact.
Case in point: I am supremely disappointed to discover Edwardian women did NOT pierce their nipples to make them more pert. This is repeated over and over again in many legitimate sites but apparently there is no reference other than to a correspondence page in the back of a publication from 1899 that was more of fetishism than actual fact.
I have a draft started for a blog post quaintly entitled, Who the fuck are the Edwardians and why should we care?, which I hope to write tomorrow. Because we should care, dammit.
whiterussian
Legit writer tools.

The mosquitos are eating me alive out here and it grows late. My treat for getting work done will be a vegan white russian, dinner, and a not so terrible book.
xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 2012, 2010, 1998

daily walk: pause

Dear Internet,
Today is my last day at MPOW and this morning instead of doing my new usual morning mile, I lolled in bed slapping the snooze button until I had to get up.
It would be irony to be late on the my last day of work.
Truth be told, it was not overt laziness that prevented me from getting up but downright sleepiness and exhaustion. Starting with Sunday night, this week has been torture for sleep. I could not sleep until 6AM Monday morning and then ended up sleeping for four hours which threw Monday off like woah. Monday night we gutted like pigs in a trough over pizza and I took a Benadryl hoping it would knock me out early so I could actually get some sleep.
That failed as four hours later I took a Klonopin to finally knock me out.
Despite the drugs, Monday’s night’s rest was short which coupled with getting up early on Tuesday to walk, and the same pattern repeating itself on Tuesday meant I was averaging about 4-5 hours of sleep each night.
After dinner on Wednesday, I decided to put my feet up and do some web work with Orphan Black on in the background. TheHusband was off playing a video game, so he was relaxing on his own. I was feeling fairly peaceful as I worked until I got hit with rapid heart beat, which is my usual physical manifestation of anxiety.
A panic attack while watching Orphan Black? Really? Fuck this.
So obviously I took a Klonopin.
Hearts and guts are treacherous souls.
An absolute known, for me, on taking Klonopin on consecutive days is that I feel sluggish and even more tired the more I take it, even though the shelf-life is not long. Klonopin is great when I need to put a rampaging panic attack in its place, but it can never be more than that thought on occasion it has been.
So you will forgive me, I hope, that today’s walk was not done. After all, tomorrow is another day.
xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe:

queen’s cushion

Lancelot rescuing a lady from the bath, from British Library Add. 5474, 13th c.
Lancelot rescuing a lady from the bath, from British Library Add. 5474, 13th c.

Dear Internet,
Monday I had a massive panic attack that came out of nowhere and incapacitated me for the entire day. I did breathing exercises, 5 minute meditation, and various other exercises and nothing changed. I called on TheHusband who had me run through a few mindfulness exercises, several times, but it was almost utterly useless. My heart beat so fast and loud, you could watch the skin on my chest bone wiggle.
Somewhere in all of this, I took a shower — for I was to get ready for work, see — and found myself having a hard time breathing in the shower and my fingers were starting to go numb while my heart raged on. I climbed out of the shower, turned the taps off, and padded down the hallway and called in sick. There was no way I was going to be able to dress myself, let alone make it full a full day at work.
I downed a half a Klonopin, waited 30 minutes, and then took a full dose.
I was back in bed wearing jim jams, hair wet, glasses on, and waited for my heart to subside. It took nearly an 1.5 hours from the first dose to that blissful moment when the rapid beating just becomes a quiet murmur and my body is at ease again.
I slept for six hours.
I woke sometime in late afternoon, TheHusband brought me lunch in bed, and  this was the rest of my day. At various points I used the bathroom and the watched TV, but I mostly dozed and  stayed off the Internet.
I took another Klonopin sometime around 9:30PM and was asleep within the hour. From the time I went to bed on Sunday night and to the time I woke on Tuesday morning, I was only awake for 6 hours. Maybe 7.
What caused it? I’ve been known to have had panic attacks while I was in midst of joy, so on one hand, it is hard to say. On the other, I can start to pin point various things that are making me insane. Projects that need to be done, but won’t get completed without me even when other people are attached. Things that I attempt to pass off to other people to take the load off of me, but which are getting dropped and forgotten. My own passions are getting wrapped up in various things that are pulling me away from my goals, but which are more lucrative so I chase them and not my dreams. Then I start to feel guilty for not putting the time in for those dreams because I’m too busy wheeling and dealing over something else.
Then there is the Internet of course, for you are never far from the drama laden land of high school cliques. I can’t seem to shake you no matter what I do.
So it is everything and it is nothing at the very same time. It has the smell of the past, for it reminds me of that very awful time in 2002 when I cut out the cancers and ran far away to reinvent myself. It is clear now no matter how much good work is being done and how forward I push things to make changes, I am forever tilting at windmills. With very little backup to support me, I am running against a system that refuses to change or won’t change or finds the necessary changes to be unnecessary.
But it is interesting how little public support I get on projects yet privately I am told are worthwhile cases to push for. Hardly a single fucking person wants to get their hands wet or upset the status quo. Because it is easy for them to say such things to me privately, they have nothing to lose. But supporting me publicly is a sin means they might get their knuckles rapped and shamed for going against the grain. And I am tired of  the hyperbole being laid at my feet on an almost daily basis, dressed up as supportive words. Either you stand with me or you don’t. If you don’t, get the fuck out of here.
What I can control, and what I can create and thrive, is work that is related to me and only me. That rejection of this work will only make me better, stronger, whereas with the other work, it strips you naked and forces you to submit to a system that steeped in history and heredity. That work, where only the like will talk to like, who will navel gaze until they have become contortionists, and who will only give props to those of their ilk, their kind. Celebration for things that aren’t really all that important but can be dressed up and taken out as if it was the most important things in the world. Work is not important, but showmanship IS. This is what I’ve learned. If you suck enough cocks, drink with enough vendors, and finger fuck everyone else, you too can be part of the inner elite. You too can have BS awards for superficial things that have no meaning other than to a select few. I don’t have time for such foolishness. My time has become, now, ultra precious.
Maybe it is time for me to burn the walls and plant a fuck you kiss to my detractors, and start anew.
Yeah, maybe it is time.
x0x0,
Lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe: 2009