How I spend my time

I was in a meeting today (because I work in an office, and meetings spawn in offices the way fungus grows on fruit) and I had the pleasure of listening to two co-workers arguing over the placement of a column in a report.

They spent at least ten minutes debating this one thing. I felt absurd, listening to them. Here I was, sitting in an office, listening to two grown adults with (as far as I know) functional brains discussing whether a column should be on the left or the right.

I know why I’m there, of course. I’m a highly skilled consultant, among other things, and I was there to answer questions about this particular report. Ultimately, I would be responsible for making sure their column was placed exactly as they wanted it. But I was merely a spectator to the argument itself, and I almost tuned them out after a few minutes. Very unprofessional of me, I know. Conduct unbecoming of someone who was being paid very well to sit there and listen to what was effectively a very petty concern.

When it passed, and I finally escaped from the meeting Purgatory, I realized I desperately wanted to be anywhere else, and preferably writing instead. But it is not to be, because I have bills to pay and writing will never pay them.

Such is the way of things, dear friends. Sometimes I wish I could earn more from writing, so I would never have to listen to such nonsense again.

//shay

It’s going to be okay

I just want to tell you this, in case you think things are not going to be okay. They will be. You’re going to be alright, even though it seems like the darkness will never leave you right now.

You’ll find a way. It’ll be your way, not what you’re told to do, not what you’re expected to do. Whatever that way looks like, make sure you know your whole heart and mind when you follow it, and you’ll be okay.

Remember this much: you have already succeeded in taking another breath. You have already accomplished something powerful by getting this far. And though the darkness creeps in around you, it will never consume you. There will always be a part of you that looks at it and can see through its lies.

You can do this. I believe in you. I can hear the laughter in your voice, and see the sun shining in your eyes. You’re going to be okay.

//shay

Health

My health is in constant flux, as many of you know. In spite of my posts about being sick, most of the time I do quite well. I exercise. I eat properly. I practice self-care.

My most recent experiment is in weight loss. I don’t really have any particular goal to be thinner; I have no care for body aesthetics. My interest is in what I can do with my body, and how well I can do it, and I’ve reached a point where my weight is now too high for me to be effective in my exercise. Weight presents a barrier because so much of exercise is so hard, when you weigh more than you should.

So I must consider weight loss. I know the score, that it’s likely impossible or it’ll require a sacrifice of time and mental energy of which I may not be capable. But attempt it I must, or my body will not do what I desire of it. Nothing else truly matters except that.

I have many pitfalls to navigate, not the least of which is that I’m sensitive to sugar and processed carbs, and not eating at carefully defined intervals could lead to me getting very foggy and sick. Yes, I suspect I’m pre-diabetic, and I swear by all the gods, I cannot allow myself to get any further than that.

So… I have work ahead of me, above and beyond my usual writing. But I will still post here. Why not? This is rapidly becoming my journal, of sorts, despite the fact that I’m an anonymous entity. I stand in solidarity with everyone who has body issues and desires to life their best life.

//shay

Friends

It’s so wonderful to talk to friends, isn’t it? I had the pleasure of chatting to an old friend today over the magic of the Internet. I’ve had many friends over the course of my life, and many I remember most fondly. Most I try to keep in touch with, even if it’s only as a connection over Facebook.

The bonds between friends are precious. You’ve heard the saying, “blood is thicker than water”? The true meaning of it has been shared around various sites for years. The complete phrase is actually “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb”. It means that the bonds we choose–the covenants between friends and companions–are far stronger than the bonds forged by chance, through familial relationships.

I do like that saying. It’s endearing to me. But it also misses out on a fundamental truth: that the strongest bonds are those forged by the blood of the covenant and the water of the womb. The friends we choose from among our family are frequently the ones closest to us.

Call your friends, when you have time. Sometimes talking with them about nothing can be the most meaningful part of your day.

//shay

Another rejection

In my other writerly life, I’ve been sending out a particular short story to a few different magazines to see if they’re interested in picking it up.

I’ve been rejected roundly and completely from every last one. It is what it is, I guess. The latest rejection came in last night. I suppose I should feel more upset about this, but frankly I haven’t the emotional energy for it. I chose the path of the self-publisher years ago, for better or worse, and this short story is destined for Amazon if no one else is interested in it.

Like I said yesterday, we shouldn’t be afraid of our failures. I’ve been working to simply let go of the negative feeling that hits me when I get a rejection, to accept it and parse it and ultimately forget it. I’m more bothered by the fact that I gain nothing from a rejection apart from the nebulous knowledge that someone wasn’t interested in something I’ve written. Most are boilerplate, you understand, so it’s not as if the editor in question actually tells you what they didn’t like. Such a response is useless to me as an artist.

So it goes. I’m nothing if not pragmatic. If you’re also a writer, dear friend, I hope your own rejections don’t cut you too deeply. All we can do, of course, is simply write more stories.

//shay

Do something often enough…

…and it becomes a habit.

I’m almost forgetting to post every day. Almost. I remember before I go to bed, and even though it’s late, I must write something.

The value is in the effort, you see. You have to try to write something, because you may surprise yourself and create profoundness, or beauty. The practice is the most important thing.

I’m reminded of a study I heard about some time ago. A professor instructed half of his students to make as many ceramic pots as they could, without worrying too much about their quality, and he instructed the other half to focus on making the best ceramic pot possible, no matter how long it took to do each one.

What he found was that the students who simply made as many pots as they could produced pots that were significantly better than the students who tried to make the best pot possible. Isn’t that interesting? It shows that we learn how to improve by doing something repeatedly, and imperfectly, rather by trying to achieve perfection all at once.

So I’m not afraid of my mediocrity. And you should not be either. Let us celebrate our failures as long as we learn something… and focus on making the effort that goes into them a habit.

//shay

I’m tired

Not emotionally, or mentally. I’m just tired.

It’s the kind of tired that’s welcomed, because you know it will lead to a long, deep, restful sleep. It’s the tired that comes from a long and productive day, that sinks into the bones and lets you know that now is the time to dismiss all concern, leave the Internet to its own devices, and go to bed.

It yawns, and stretches, and my soft blankets call to me. Time to sleep. Tomorrow is another day. May it be as welcome as this one.

//shay