Fear of Commitment

If I’ve got a motto for 2018 I think it’s gonna be commit. I feel like I’m behind on everything and I have a ton of things I want to do but haven’t. I spent December working on a single project, a possibles bag for my magical kit, and while I did work on a few other small projects, coming back to this one again and again until it was done was fucking magical.

Last year when I decided to do it anyway, I got a little carried away. I said yes… a lot. To a lot of things. Over and over. It was awesome – I got some new opportunities at work and I tried new crafts and new things. And I didn’t finish all of them, which is okay! But I got really distracted, and I found myself feeling like I wasn’t actually doing anything, and that was less okay.

Follow through is hard, but it’s necessary.

To that end, I’m limiting myself to two of the many, many challenges that start at the beginning of the calendar year. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I have no writing goal or commitment. I gave myself permission to stop banging my head against the wall after NaNo and I haven’t figured out what to pick back up yet.

Instead on the storytelling front, my only commitment will be #BeatTheBacklist. I’ve got a ton of books in my ebook libraries that I haven’t read yet, including some magic books I very much want to get to, as well as a fair-sized stack of physical (mostly craft) books just waiting to be read. I’m hoping for a book a week from the TBR Swamp, and we’ll see as we go if that needs to be adjusted up or down. (Maybe I’ll do short reviews here even! We’ll see.)

The only other thing I’m taking on is a meditation/shadow work course Tommie Kelly of Adventures in Woo Woo is offering through his Patreon. Meditation is definitely a thing I benefited from when I was doing it regularly, but I’ve let it lapse, so this is as good a reminder as any to rebuild that habit. I did a bit of guided meditation looking for someone to be a guide and got myself led to Luke Skywalker, thanks astral plane, so clearly there’s work to be done.

Keeping it simple, and doing my best to make it work, are the plan for this year.

Project Do It Anyway

I was trying to decide what my tagline for 2017 should be. I found that the keep going refrain last year was quite helpful in a lot of ways, and I want to try harnessing that energy again.

Unsure, I opened Instapaper for inspiration, since I’d been stuffing link after link in there for days.

Skimming down, I found a Chuck Wendig post: Write Despite.

Immediately below it was a post from the Blogess: Stay Afraid. But Do It Anyway.

Feel the fear and do it anyway is a thing I’ve said to myself thousands of times as I fought off anxiety, intrusive thoughts, and checking compulsions. It’s supportive. It’s also relevant to my desire to work on my set points this year, modeling a willingness to reach for what I want regardless of whether I think I deserve it.

Magic is made up of candles and risks, and I’ve got lots of candles. If I want to push my game, I should be trying more things, maybe failing and maybe succeeding, and being okay with either one.

I’ve been a perfectionist all my life, and I am a long-time bet-hedger. Underpromise and overdeliver is what I live by life by. Watching 2016 stomp through my firmly reserved expectations was hard. Letting go is harder. But you have to throw the spaghetti to see what sticks.

I like the idea of that, though.

Not practical? Too selfish? Do it anyway.

Too high level for me? Do it anyway.

Scary? Hard? Do it anyway.

Sounds like what I need.

Perception

Sometimes I struggle a great deal with the details I share here. I wonder how I come off to y’all, both my regular readers and random passersby. Do I overemphasize the negative? Do I sound too perfect?

I second guess myself a lot. Social anxiety and OCD meet at Social Scrupulousity Park, where I worry that I’m a terrible person and everyone was right to hate me in high school. I still worry I’ll say the wrong thing and hurt people. I’ve done it before, I’ll do it again.

I get caught up in these thoughts and I shy away from blogging. I know that’s not an answer, but sometimes an answer seems too far away and besides, I could be doing homework or something. I’ve got plenty of excuses.

I’m better, though, when I’m not ignoring things. Keeping busy keeps me from getting too hung up. I’m thinking about trying to post every day this month, to see if it keeps me thinking. What do you think?

New Things and the Same Old

You may have noticed it being a little quieter lately. There’s a couple of reasons for that. The big, obvious one is that I’m going back to school.

Apparently I just didn’t feel like I had enough to do with myself. No, that’s a lie. I have a few things keeping me busy, but I could be doing more. So I signed up for more.

I’m not very good at settling or relaxing. They’re just not things I do. Right now there’s things at work setting off my OCD really badly, and homework is actually a really good distraction for me. It keeps me facing forward and moving.

So I expect to be largely MIA for a few weeks, though I intend to keep doing the PBP posts, and I’ll probably do at least one other post a week – maybe a Project Protagonist post, or maybe  a check-in like this, or maybe a Writing Wednesday. Maybe more than one. I tend to get more done when I’m busy.

All of this combines to make me… less than social, though. I’m not on instant messenger as much, and I’m not on Dreamwidth, and I’m just not up for dealing with a lot of people-ness. All my social points are getting spent at work.

I’m writing this as much for myself as for you guys – if you’re like me, you don’t really notice whether a blog gets updated once a week or five times, you’re just reading whatever comes through your feed reader. It can be weeks of silence before it occurs to me that I’m not seeing much from a given person.

Writing it out helps me process my feelings and what’s getting stuck where, so that I’m better able to attack it. So, here it is in black and white. (Or cream and dark grey, I guess.) Let’s see where I am next week, okay? Hopefully it’ll be better.

Blog Award

I completely forgot to post about this! The very kind Anne gifted me with a Liebster Award last week.

“The Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. The word “Liebster” comes from German and can mean the sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, most beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.”

I’m supposed to answer some questions and make up some random facts, but to be honest, if I waited until I had the attention span to do that, the tab with her very generous recommendation would be sitting open for weeks. Instead of nominating other blogs, I’m going to suggest you check out the other sites she nominated and the links in my sidebar if you haven’t already.

If that’s not enough to keep you busy, you might also want to check out:

Happy New Life

Today I prepared for the most important magical working of my life.

I ritually bathed and chanted runes. I prepared the tools and offerings. I tweaked the ritual and wrote my oath. My working partner did the same.

And then we got married.

I don’t think I’ve ever been happier or more sure of a decision.

Second new year’s never going to be the same, but I can’t think of a better way to move into 2013.

Scorekeeping

One year ago today, I began laying out my 2012 goals for Deb‘s New Year, New You project. I divided them into five categories, which became the five main post categories on my blog, and spent the following week outlining them in greater detail. It felt appropriate to loop back around now and see how I’ve managed, as well as think about where I want to go next year.

  1. Health – I have insurance. I had my two-year surgery followup and all the other check-ins I was due for. I could be doing more in terms of my diet and the like, certainly, but I feel like I hit all the big flashing buttons in this category.
  2. Work/Wealth – I can probably call this a clear success, in that I found a much better job than the one I had at this time last year. My job isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty good. For the most part, I like my coworkers and I like what I do. But it’s still not what I want to do for the rest of my life, and my financial goals have also morphed some over the last year. I’m thinking about getting back into theology. We’re thinking about adopting, which requires a bigger apartment and a huge commitment. This requires a lot of rearranging of priorities, and it is an ongoing process. Still, there was a definite victory in this category during 2012.
  3. Mental/Neuroatypicality – My first impulse is to say that I didn’t make any headway in this category, but I think that’s untrue. I conquered my fear of driving, if only for a few weeks. I made a lot of progress unpacking my baggage, even if it’s still strewn across the dressing room of my mind. Hopefully I’ll have more to show for it next year.
  4. Creative – I wrote a quarter of a million words this year. I won NaNoWriMo, but more importantly, I’ve been writing regularly outside of it. I’ve done some painting, some jewelry-work, and a lot of photography this year. I learned to rug-punch and to needle-felt. These are all net gains. And yet I feel like I don’t get enough creative time in – I steal my writing hours during my commute and my lunch at work.
  5. Magical – I have a regular practice, which I didn’t have last year. I pushed my own boundaries, especially working with the planetary energies and in joining the ADF. I haven’t decided yet how I feel about the ADF, actually. But I set out to do more and I did more, I can’t argue with that.

So what’s next? Pretty much the same things. I want to apply the efforts in different areas – I think I want to try to focus on health and wealth because they’re the two that do not come easily to me. Before the new year, I plan to check back in on these.

Wish me luck!

Advent-urous

English: Advent wreath, First Advent Sunday
English: Advent wreath, First Advent Sunday (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So apparently it’s Advent. I didn’t realize UU churches went in for that, but I got to the UU service this morning and suddenly Christmas carols.

I understand that every week can’t be songs about the dark goddess, but I guess I was just kind of caught off-guard. I really like the UU church overall, and it’s not that I have a problem with Jesus per se. I just haven’t been to a church service that sang O Come Emanuel since my Catholic magician phase.

It definitely wasn’t the same as a Catholic service. For one thing, they changed the words (and even some of the notes) in O Come Emanuel. I was really bothered by that because (a) I love that carol and (b) there was a fancy classical music section that didn’t pretend to be non-denominational. Either go all the way or don’t. I have my issues with the pope, and with the way a lot of Christians act, but I still have a soft spot of a lot of the ethereal-atmospheric carols (O Holy Night, Carol of the Bells, etc) because I loved them as a kid. I don’t mind them the way I mind some of the more obnoxious ones.

I did notice that for their actual Christmas Eve services, the UU church up here has two – one for Jesus, and then one that’s for the solstice. (You get three guesses which one I’m attending and the first two don’t count.) There’s also a labyrinth walk the week before, and we’ll be attending that as well. (The second we’ve attended there!)

In general, though, things feel like they’re looking up a bit. Work is still a mess, but it’s a different mess, and it’s a mess that I feel has a chance of clearing up in the not too distant future. NaNoWriMo is over and I can go back to my regular writing schedule. The fact that I have a regular writing schedule that I’m relieved to return to is definitely making me think I might have to re-evaluate NaNo participation next year.

Oh! I should warn y’all that I’m planning to do the Yuletide Blog Festival so there will probably be extra posts this month to go along with that.

Augh, November

I had some pretty grand plans for November. There was NaNoWriMo. There were other writing goals, too. I was going to get my apartment organized, finally. There was going to be insulating of windows and soldering and painting and…

Yeah, none of that happened. I started strong, taking Samhain and NaNoWriMo Day off work. But then there was all the election drama. A Million questions about my wedding plans, which are assumed to be immediate. (There was a blog post over at Aedicula Antinoi yesterday that summed up my feelings on that.) My mother decided November was the perfect time for ongoing updates about my cousin’s stage 4 cancer. Between those things, I lost a lot of the productive time between the beginning of the month and the big deadline at work, and oh yeah, two of my favorite coworkers were run off by my boss, and then the boss was fired.

All of these things are important! Having work to do keeps me employed! I want to be able to get married! I want to know how my cousin is doing! But it made for a very long month and a lot of dull plodding along in my writing. That meant that wordcount anxiety and existential angst about why I do NaNo took even more fun out of writing. It was a vicious downward Lizard Brain spiral.

I’m pulling out of it now, but it took the fun out of everything for about three weeks and required that I actually stop writing for several days to reset. I’m still not great. But I’m better.

So that’s why I haven’t been posting much. How are you guys doing?

A Sunday Confession

I have a confession to make, you guys. I’ve been cheating on the ADF.

The version of the flaming chalice currently u...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I spent today at church! I did the same thing last Sunday, actually. This was our third time showing up at the Unitarian Universalist church, and I’m always really impressed with it. The greeters and ushers are extremely welcoming, and each week there’s been a part of the service that really touched me.

We’ve already been invited to an LGBT potluck, asked if we are looking for a wedding venue (since it passed!) and just repeatedly welcomed. It’s not that I haven’t felt welcomed at the ADF rituals I attended at Trout Lake Abbey – because I have – but this is something that’s local, that’s weekly, and that appeals to my inability to settle on a single religion.

Right now I’m not making a lot of progress on my Dedicant Path – I did a very basic Samhain because I’ve been sick and stressed. I’m not reading a whole lot on the mailing lists. I haven’t done any of my book reports yet – I’ve got a couple of Baltic hearth books I could ask for permission to use for my hearth culture reading, but I haven’t bothered to ask the preceptor yet. Or I could use Travels Through Middle-Earth, which I already own and everything, but I’m really not feeling the Anglo-Saxon or Norse cultures lately.

I think it’s just the end of fall and winter coming on. Winter is when I tend to ask myself why I care about X or Y thing. I’m evaluating whether I want to renew my ADF membership when the year is up, what I want to do for upcoming holidays, whether I want to keep doing NaNoWriMo in the future…

Yeah, I said it. I am not very excited about NaNo right now. Admittedly, some of that is probably because it’s week two, and week two is generally considered the hardest part of NaNo. Last week, between the election and family health crises, I was too stressed out to focus on writing for several days. I’m almost caught up now, but I’m wondering what I get out of NaNo, and what I want to get out of it.

When I was in Tempe, I really enjoyed going to write-ins because, over the course of time spent together, I felt like I’d become friends with the other people in the region. NaNo had a social aspect that I don’t feel like I have here. I also don’t feel like I need the motivation specifically to write in November – the last few months, I’ve been very regular about writing both fiction and non-fiction.

I like challenges that make me struggle to do things I don’t otherwise do. Story-a-Day was exciting this year because I’d never won it before and I wasn’t sure I could do it. National Poetry Writing Month is awesome because I don’t spend a lot of time with poetry during the rest of the year. But I’ve won NaNo. I don’t really have anything to prove there, and if I’m not getting the social aspect either, then I have to ask myself why I’m doing it.

I think the answer is “habit” and I don’t think that’s necessarily a good enough reason to do it again next year.