kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
1. A remarkably efficient trick to stop me neg-stimming over People Who are Wrong on the Internet, particularly on Facebook: message whoever the host is, and ask if it's okay to continue to respond or if they'd rather I dropped it, making very clear that my default course of action is to drop it. (Their space, their rules, their capacity to moderate, etc.) At the point at which they say "actually I'd rather that thread stopped there" I feel basically completely fine about not continuing.

2. Minor hand injury, everything is fine, I'm just amused. Read more... )

3. Oh also: I got an e-mail from the Irish government today! ... I submitted the wrong form of my birth certificate and need to submit a different form within 21 days. I have made this my mother's problem. And they didn't specify any other issues with my application, so...? Maybe Irish citizenship soon.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
  1. food )
  2. Also food. )
  3. Still food! )
  4. I am still chewing over last week's Elementary, and redemption arcs and chosen family and boundaries and necessities and narrative imperative in tension with multiple kinds of emotional satisfaction, and the things I find myself wanting -- superficially -- from the story, given points-of-view, and the odd and bittersweet relief at instead getting what I need. The murder plots make no sense, but then they mostly didn't ever; I am still very much here for the characters.
  5. My new CEA card arrived in the post yesterday, which means I will stop feeling faintly guilty about "wasting money" every time I go to the cinema. This is a Good Thing, given how much I'm looking forward to Hidden Figures.
  6. I'm having a really tough time writing an abstract this week, for a variety of reasons, but in the face of that I got a draft in more than 18 hours before the deadline that I was actually reasonably happy with, via the iterative-improvement approach to writing. It needs substantially rewriting, but I've demonstrated that my techniques work, and I've got reasonable confidence that the substatial rewriting wasn't in fact me wildly misinterpreting what was going on.
  7. I said no to someone, and it was fine. (And indeed several other someones, which was less fine but which left me feeling better than I would've if I'd stayed silent.) I told someone I'd screwed something up, face-to-face and more-or-less straight away rather than stewing for six hours over sending an e-mail, and it was fine. Both were really difficult, and I did them.
  8. I appear, via UCH, to have found a sustainable set of strength-building exercises to do that are resulting in measurable improvements. I'm dealing with a lot of complicated Feelings about this pretty well.
  9. Some stripy tulips were much reduced in the supermarket last week; they've been sat in a glass jar on the dining table slowly drying out and turning interesting shapes ever since, and they make me feel soothed and safe and at home.
  10. I am forever gently amused by the thing where, when A is around, we sleep under a single lightweight duvet and are frequently too warm. When he's away, I end up nesting in a pile of that duvet, my three-season much-larger covered-in-dinosaurs duvet, a weighted blanket, and a big soft non-allergenic stripy blue blanket -- and I end up comfortably warm, and with a lot of weight on me, and it's very nice to have occasionally.
kaberett: Reflections of a bare tree in river ice in Stockholm somehow end up clad in light. (tree-of-light)
-- two ways to break a world.
The first: an end by force; to grind to dust
and scatter to the heedless brilliant stars.
The second: love, and warmth, and gentleness.
This time an egg: the smooth horizon's curve
that shelters and thereby defines your dreams
will unchecked choke: a softer, smaller death.
Instead: take heart and hope; so startling bare
your fresh-cut teeth, and stretch across the shards
of every fear that held you small and close.
Bewildered, daring, raise your face anew
to unimagined unexpected skies.
If this is breaking -- oh, then let me break
and, having broken, break, and break again.
kaberett: Reflections of a bare tree in river ice in Stockholm somehow end up clad in light. (tree-of-light)
A concept I've been playing with over the past few days runs a little like this: you are the protagonist of your own story.

What's your character development?

-- simultaneously and consequently, I've been thinking harder about what constitutes character development. Where I am at the moment is at trying to tease out the difference between how one thinks and what one thinks; I suspect I would more reliably consider changes in or to the former character development than the latter.

(So what's my character development? Thought branches down two paths: the first, of internalities versus externalities, and legibility in each; the second, that an awful lot of CBT is aimed at facilitating what I've here described as character development, and the most obvious example in myself to me is, well, nobody has to be wrong, and the associated reduction in splitting.)
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
(or, Alex reinvents entire subfields of psychology in an extremely half-arsed fashion, Part N in an ongoing &c)

Read more... )
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
First, a poem I keep coming back and back to through the years:

Between | Michael O'Siadhail )

Second, the thing I'm playing wall with most this week (and for the past few months, to be honest) appears to be the concept of desire. I'm tangled up in finding it hard to treat wanting as anything other than binary: something one does or doesn't, in effect, completely divorced from emotion (so "I want to, but it's impractical" is something I interpret - and to some degree experience as - "I don't want to"). Which - isn't healthy, but is also a very typical set of experiences/behaviours/beliefs/systems for people I shall euphemistically class as of my background.

Read more... )

It's clearly being brought to the surface by the current round with depression (about which I am feeling less immediately despairing this week, between no longer being in a high-progesterone stage of my cycle and working myself to pleasant physical exhaustion and having just spent three-four days in close proximity with one of my best friends), but this is an ongoing issue I ought to work on, sigh.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
1. Yesterday's sudden ramp-up in crazy did have a specific trigger, when I went looking for it, and was my brain shouting at me that something specific was wrong and I needed to pay attention to it. Hurrah that the escalation-wossname still works.

2. I worked out why it escalated that rapidly, too, from a fairly innocuous starting-point.

3. It is still the case that when I work out What The Problem Is the screaming crazy deescalates pretty rapidly.

4. In point of fact I had spent several days beforehand feeling mildly uncomfortable about tangentially-related-thing, which is probably a sign that I need to pay more attention to mild discomfort rather than assuming it'll go away (or arises because of Me Being Unreasonable as opposed to Me Pattern-Matching Subconsciously).

5. I've still got the baseline mads going on, but they're much more tractable baseline mads.

6. It wasn't sulking about not-a-PTSD-diagnosis; it didn't feel right, it didn't fit right, and it wasn't right. Which suggests that the baseline mads are also not about that.

7. I have mitigated the worst of the cause of the Screaming Crazy and am thinking about how to address the outstanding bits of it.

<3 Sorry for worrying you!


Feb. 17th, 2015 09:12 am
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
1. So I was saying that I hoped my supervisor was suitably pleased with my pile of data from this run? SHE WAS. She was, by her standards, extremely effusive; I am basking gently in the glow of having been told that I made the right judgement calls about the slightly difficult mass spec session, that I got a significant amount of good data, that the reproducibility of results was great, that I've done really well with my standard deviations given how low the concentrations I'm working with are. She was just really really nice about my dataset just being... really good work. Basking.

2. I crashed out at 9pm and woke up spontaneously at 6; I had a nice relaxed morning pottering about (packing bag for tonight, eating breakfast, making hot chocolate), got into work at 8am, had my supervisor tease me gently about it (she normally gets in around 7 but today I beat her...), faffed with some more data (including fixing the problem in my 'orrible plotting script that I identified last night after I'd put computers away to sLEEP), tidied my desk, replied to some e-mails, ... yeah, pretty pleased with myself. And I slept super well, so.

3. Help help I am seriously considering setting up a side-tumblr called "kaberants" for the sake of engaging with irritatingly wrong text posts without having them clutter up my set of nice pretty pictures??? (Today's discovery-via-tumblr of the morning: Emily Blincoe's photography.)

4. It is a source of great pleasure to me that it's now light at 7am; soon I will start getting the District line into work again (because it runs aboveground for most of the trip, whereas the Piccadilly is underground for this section). Also, I tamed my hair.

5. Indelicates gig tonight! And I have reason to believe they'll be playing lots of stuff from the upcoming album, which appears to be about SPACE SCIENCE and SPACE ROBOTS and CHOICES and consequently I cry everywhere at it every time :D :D :D :D

(and 6: facesfriend points out to me that if I think he is being ludicrously indulgent of me because he adjusts the toaster to provide me with toast slightly burnter than he prefers it, this is possibly an indication that my perception of myself as Really Difficult To Deal With and Always Making People Go Out Of Their Way is skewed.)
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
Two irritations, first of all: Read more... )

Better things:
  1. Vienna Teng. Still on a kick. Lots of Antebellum (title) and Recessional (I want to search for her in the offhand remarks; who are you, a stranger in the shell of a lover? dark curtains drawn by the passage of time...) at the moment. (Also quietly but consistently, Blue Caravan: my true love is a man that I haven't seen in years/he said go where you have to, for I belong to you/until my dying day; so like a fool blue caravan/I believed him and I walked away...)
  2. I got my act together to phone Student Finance England back. I mostly didn't explode in a shower of anxiety, though I did end up slightly snappishly saying "if you're going to use my name all the time, call me Alex", but I think that given that she was, well, using it every other sentence; and I had introduced myself as Alex at the beginning of the call... I did also end up interrupting some, but that was because she was reading off a hideously unclear script that wasn't really relevant. Apparently they really do want me to send them duplicate copies of the letters detailing my endometriosis that they already have, because sending them the exact same copies will mean that I've still got the incurable condition I had at undergrad that I might otherwise have got better from...? Anyway, this is turning into a rant, but the point is, I Did The Thing.
  3. I continue to enjoy the Toby Daye books.
  4. Guiltknitting is on the home stretch - last block of colour, final bit of beading, then finishing.
  5. I have in the oven more of the puttanesca pasta bake, which is brilliant because it means that I am sorted for meals for the rest of the mass spec run.
  6. Supervisor and lab manager concurred it wasn't my fault that the mass spec was playing up (and with any luck it'll behave itself over night so I can start getting data tomorrow).
  7. I have successfully bought the tupperware my supervisor instructed me to, and additionally replenished our stocks of Sainsbury's Basics Italian Hard Cheese and Osem parev chicken-style stock powder.
  8. I have a microwaveable waterproof soup pot thing that has a steam release vent. Realisation of the morning: I can prep hot chocolate in it and microwave it once I'm at work. WINNING HERE.
  9. I tricked myself into rendering the kitchen semi-habitable while dinner was cooking, hurrah, including some long-overdue breadpet-management. (On the downside my hands are still recovering from some insect bites - even with antihistamines in my system I react quite impressively - and are consequently Not Best Pleased with me for the washing-up. No, I can't wear gloves, they're almost all latex and I refuse to use disposables.)
  10. ... yeah, actually, I'm really pleased with myself about work stuff - productive conversation with my supervisor in which I requested a meeting to discuss two different areas of the literature in addition to talking about conference wossnames and my 21-month assessment. Maybe if I'm feeling really enthusiastic I'll have an outline of the talk to bring with to said meeting. It is really nice feeling semi-competent.

(oh, oh let me be your Augustine)


Jan. 14th, 2015 07:47 pm
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
I've been thinking a lot lately about intentionality and choice-theft and the giving (and gift) of space in which to make choices. I've also been thinking a lot about the ethics of the ways in which I handle and encourage and shape social interactions, and about the extent to which I explicitly voice what it is I am doing so people can decide whether they're comfortable with me doing it.

... and I've only just noticed that of course this all comes up in the ways it is coming up because I'm reading [personal profile] recessional's MCU fic, and particularly Natasha has been Making Appearances, and... whoops. Fandom as therapy. Again.


Dec. 11th, 2014 08:19 pm
kaberett: A sleeping koalasheep (Avatar: the Last Airbender), with the dreamwidth logo above. (dreamkoalasheep)
Lyrics to that one Vienna Teng song I keep quoting at people. )

Last night I sat on Brighton beach and listened to the waves come in and ate chips and onion rings and talked with [personal profile] sebastienne about this and that and the other and bravery - various different media we imprinted on, which boil down to: you can't be brave without being scared.

Which -- obviously resonates with all my current Feelings about being afraid, and the varieties thereof; but also ties in to something else I've been thinking, that I fake bravery by calmly and quietly making space in which other people feel safe to risk speaking their hopes, thereby neatly avoiding ever being the person who goes first or ever being the person who looks scared or, really, ever being the person who takes the risk. I close myself off with fear, and dress it up prettily enough that by and large people don't notice. (I'm perhaps being unfair to myself here: I put my shonky python up on github, and I put poetry up here, and both of those terrified me to the point of day-long adrenaline spikes when I started; and now they're just things I do, without fuss, and that represents more progress than I think about terribly carefully most of the time.)

A bit relatedly, I've been thinking some about compassion and generosity, and about how I might consider going about feeling compassion for people who've hurt me (specifically, I was thinking about how in the hells I might ever feel compassion for my father). And I... don't think I can. I think I can pick apart how they got there and feel pity for them, but that's condescending; compassion, I think, presupposes an equality I don't feel inclined towards; perhaps that I don't feel safe permitting? Something to come back to, I suspect.

& lastly for tonight - trees-post to come tomorrow - we have home internet again; and I am deeply frustrated that a gorgeous wing-backed purple corduroy sofa left on the kerb by some neighbours for rubbish collection tomorrow morning is just too awkward for me to have managed to get it down the stairs solo when I got home at 1am, so I am just going to have to hope that the "please don't take this away" note I left on it is respected and I can badger my housemate into helping me get it down the stairs in the morning, because it is squooshy and comfortable and the right shape for curling up on and I really want it, okay, and I even know where in my room it would live.

Goodnight, Dreamwidth. xx
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
  • Despite not even a tiny bit being in MCU fandom, I look forward enormously to [personal profile] recessional's Winter Soldier shortfic snippets - they seriously make my day; they feel like a gift every time, as does Mia's art, as I've mentioned, and a whole bunch of things the rest of you do, that just feel like moments of grace. I was feeling slightly wistful about wanting to be able to provide that, those bubbles of joy, and then I realised that probably actually I do - probably some of you do react to my poetry the same way, and that is a wonder in itself.
  • I had an excellent conversation with @taliskimberley at WorldCon about craft vs inspiration wrt poetry/lyric, and about how the 50-poems-in-a-year project I have going on is about teaching myself to trust craft more.
  • I was at a poetry event a few months ago, about mental health and poetry, and one of the participants - I think one of the support acts? - made a derogatory comment about "confessional" poetry. It's been getting to me; I'm struggling with the fact that most of my poetry is very short, is intensely personal, and is about experiencing the world as myself in a very direct sense, rather than having... grand sweeping scope? And I'm mostly okay with that, but occasionally I let the thing rattle me (and, surprise, it was a middle-aged white dude being all "pfft who needs confessional poetry anyway it's just DULL"), and I'm trying to work out how to work with that.
  • On an entirely different topic, while drifting off to sleep the other night I had an obviously brilliant insight about why we're so drawn to narratives where a protagonist has a destiny to fulfill (into every generation, The Boy Who Lived, etc), and then I fell asleep before writing it down, and now I am managing to reconstruct it only piecemeal - something about having purpose, about external executive function, about finding a place in the world, about what it means to turn away from manifest destiny and why we seek it out, and so on. Perhaps I will be able to put it back together at Some Point; perhaps not.
  • One of my bits of brain-homework that I've been stuck on for a while is "It’s easy to ignore our talents when we measure them with the wrong yardstick. Not everyone is good at public speaking, computer programming, or heli-skiing—and not everyone should be. This diversity of talents is what makes the world so interesting. Ponder: Which of your own natural talents, preferences, and abilities have you been judging by a faulty yardstick?" Now I reckon I'm pretty good at knowing my capabilities and ways I want to improve them in; I don't think are many things I'm actually good at that I'm overlooking/ignoring. So, er, would you all mind saying if you think there's anything that meets this? Because I suspect finding it this difficult is a good reason for me to keep staring at it. *chinhand*
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
It is actively triggering. Please please please put it behind a descriptive cut. Please use content notes. Please let me know so I can not. read. it. -- because it does not play nicely at all with my history of disordered eating.

This goes for numbers. It goes for calorie-counting. It goes for target amounts lost. I do. not. want. to. know. If you're not willing to use content notes/cuts, please tell me now so I can unsubscribe, because I need to not see it.

For reasons I completely fail to understand we're now at three in about the past month. I have absolutely run out of cope for asking people politely and individually. Please just don't fucking show me that shit.
kaberett: Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson sit side by side, facing forward, heads slightly tilted towards each other. (elementary-faces)
I occasionally mention the concept of making. the job. smaller. Overwhelmed by a task? Okay, alter your concept of "success" to something manageable. You're not going to write a novel today, but you can write the prologue. Or half a chapter. Or whatever. And then you can do another half chapter tomorrow. And then you get to the end, and you look up, and there's a novel.

Counselling and mindfulness and a whole host of other things have, over the years, trained me to at least consider the possibility of don't make the job larger. That's not a framing it's been given explicitly, but it's not exactly an unrecognised phenomenon: to some extent, think sneaky hate spiral (ALL OF THE THINGS ARE PROBLEMS), but also catastrophising (THE WORST THING IN THE WORLD).

For me, it tends to go a bit like this: the Thing is terrible. If I am already overwhelmed, it is even worse than that. I cannot possibly control or have any effect on the Thing [note that this is a distortion: instead of making the job smaller, to make it less overwhelming, I abnegate agency and power in order to do away with choice and responsibility, both of which are Hard]. Anxiety about the Thing then gets displaced onto anything that looks even slightly similar within a large radius: "there is no point in even trying to Deal with the Thing, because it's not like I can handle the Badger either." And thus I spiral further and further into telling myself I'm shit and incapable and incompetent and can't manage anything, and get distressed about wider irrelevant putative problems that may not even be problems, and all the while the Thing looms larger and larger above the foothills of self-hatred.

Mindfulness techniques, as it turns out, have really helped me with this. The meditative practice of sitting with thoughts but gently redirecting one's focus to one's breath, or heartbeat, or whatever, has an awful lot in common with looking at the thought that goes you are too incompetent/ill/crippy/lazy to be on this PhD programme, you can't even adequately read and synthesise literature, there's no point even trying to fix the transfer report, you might as well fail out now and be done with it and - not ignore it, but nod at it, show it to the waiting area, and return to the pargraph at hand.

I sometimes summarise this - possibly via Pratchett - as you do the job in front of you. There's no "just" about it - like I said, it's taken me years to get to the point where I can semi-reliably do this under pressure - but over the course of this evening I've realised just how far I've come in this respect, and I am enormously grateful.


kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)

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