A quick check-in showing my current emotional state. (Higher numbers mean greater degrees of emotion.)
- Depression 10% 10%
- Anxiety 40% 40%
- Stress 45% 45%
Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scales
Thankfully, things have leveled out again this week. It’s been a rather calm week with few incidents to set things off. Our winter storm lasted a few days but by mid-week, the snow was pretty much replaced by the typical drizzle that predominates winters here in western Washington.
It’s Saturday night as I write this which means it’s a work night. I found a way to trick myself not to freak out on the drive into Seattle from Everett: I kept my brain occupied, thinking about what I was going to write tonight. This really helped instead of getting all worked up thinking about having to deal with people again. Before I knew it, I was at my exit on I-5 and I hadn’t had a single anxious thought. I’ll have to remember that from now on.
I did get a call this week from my boss. Due to some staffing issues, my hours may be changing. This entails two things:
- My spouse and I could be working the exact same hours. This is a great thing because he works 3-11 pm Mondays through Fridays; I currently work 7pm – 7am Saturdays and Sundays. This means we never have an entire day off together. Instead, we just grab an hour here or there between weird sleep schedules and attempt quality time.
- My total hours per week would increase from 24 to 40. Of course, this means more opportunities for anxiety at having to deal with more people. I know second shift is a little busier than what I currently deal with but it’s still not bad. My volume of human interactions would increase about 33%. No big deal. Plus I would have the benefits of more money and more time to work on the novel and the site in my down times.
It’s all conjecture at this point so all I can do is wait and see. We got a new staff member this week and it all depends on how he works out.
(Oh, we can thank the little mouse I talked about last week for this – apparently the female working this shift saw the mouse Monday night, freaked out, and refused to spend the rest of the shift inside our post. She quit the next day. I realize everyone has their phobias, but it was just a baby – its body was maybe an inch and a half long at most. And it was just looking for someplace to get in out of the cold. ) Oh well. Now there’s mouse-proofing all over so hopefully it will be smart and stay away.
I spent most of my time this week working on the story instead of this site. And in doing so, I began to feel somewhat more confused about things than I did last week.
To begin with, once I committed to using a particular set of tools, it seemed that I began to have doubts about those decisions. Am I doing this right? Is this the best way to do it? Etc., etc., etc. – the usual rigamarole that I always find myself going through.
Instead of giving in, however, I’m trying to hold my ground. Granted, I still may make some changes: I began playing with Plottr a lot more this week and found that it’s capable of doing a lot of what I was planning to do in Craft Docs or Bear Notes.
Is it the prettiest thing to work in? No, definitely not. I know I can be somewhat of a user interface snob and it’s strictly a get-‘er-done type of app. But it does do that well and the developers keep adding new features that make it more powerful than the first time I looked at it. Thus, it may move up the list as being my primary tool of choice. We’ll see.
Secondly, I started having doubts about the story again but on a more foundational level. Am I just wasting my time working on a novel, when, instead, I should really be working on a memoir?
As I’ve intimated before, I have a pretty extensive history with abuse and trauma at the hands of family members and religious organizations. Sometimes it gets exhausting trying to come up with ways to talk about what I need to in this story without going into the exact details of the actual events.
During these times, I just want to spill everything in some sort of psychic purge. It would be so freeing to just stand naked, identity known, so friends and acquaintances could see what created the man they think they know. Why I became the religious nutcase back in high school and everything I was trying to hide then. Why I chose to exile myself for most of my life even when I yearned for community so damned bad. Why I’ve almost thrived during this COVID crisis when others have gone bonkers from lack of human interaction.
I’ve actually seriously considered changing things up and going this memoir route. After all, a lot of the folks who played major roles are now gone. What’s there to lose? (Only my dad is still alive – at least as far as I know as it’s been 5 years since I spoke with him.)
Our last conversation was him telling me I was being too sensitive – even though Trump and the GOP hated LGBTQ folks like myself, I just needed to get over it because they were what the country needed. Especially after that n***** Obama and what he did to the country.
That was the last straw. I never called him back. The overt bigotry was bad enough but there was this: even though he’s known he’s had a gay son since the mid-80’s, he’s never once showed any acceptance or support in all that time. I’ve made plenty of excuses for him – yes, he’s this redneck 80 year old living in the sticks of Georgia – where, honest to God, one of his neighbors once got his daughter pregnant. But, Jesus forgave the neighbor and all’s well. (Right.) So, tired of making excuses for him, I cut off any further contact.
I hate to admit it, but at least once a month I google my dad’s name to see if his obituary is out there on the web. I’m not sure how I will react when I see it. And if you couldn’t guess, Tim’s father in my story is modeled pretty heavily on my own.
Whew! God, I can get so heavy sometimes. I’ll end with some news in a more positive vein.
I signed up for an online class developed by Lauren Sapala, who is “a writer, writing coach, and an INFJ. [She] also wrote the book The INFJ Writer, a writing guide for intuitive introverts, HSPs [highly sensitive people], empaths and all other sensitive, struggling artists.” (https://laurensapala.com/about/)
The course is called, “You Are a Writer – Getting Past the Fear and Finally Moving Forward” and deals with toxic procrastination and perfectionism, apparently something INFJ’s and INFP’s like myself deal with. (If you’re not familiar with these terms, google MBTI – the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a personality test with roots in Jung’s theory of personality types.)
I plan on working through the course and posting my experiences on this site in case others are looking for something similar. I’m really excited about this as Lauren, in her intro videos, almost described me perfectly in so many ways. The course sounds like it can get pretty heavy psychologically as it deals with family relationships, enmeshment, and co-dependency, but if it helps free me from what’s holding me back, I’ll gladly go through it.
The course consists of 8 sessions and I plan on watching the first one this weekend. Keep on the lookout for my thoughts and experiences while working through it which I’ll post on the site. (I’ll also post a brief entry in the Writing Tools category with links to it and Lauren’s personal site.)
With that, I’ll get back to work on the story. Talk to you soon!
Photo by Daniel Gonzalez on Unsplash