kaberett: Clyde the tortoise from Elementary, crawling across a map, with a red tape cross on his back. (elementary-emergency-clyde)
Hi, I'm Alex, my pronouns are they, I have hilarious boardgame-related trauma; I'm going to want five minutes to read the rules in silence before we start; and if I ask a question about gameplay that isn't addressed to you by name and you're not [personal profile] me_and, please pretend I didn't say anything.


As I periodically mention, mostly whenever I make notable progress of any kind, for a variety of hilarious reasons I find the vast majority of boardgames intensely stressful, and this gets worse the less I know the people I'm playing with. Like I said in my previous post, over the past two years I've gone from "cannot even start to play a game I've had long-term interest in, in my own home, with my partner, who I trust, with no-one else present, without bursting into tears twice just reading the rules" to "getting a bit of an adrenaline kick when I start my second new game of an afternoon with strangers, in a pub, when I was already primed for social anxiety for reasons that do not need exploring at this juncture".

Read more... )
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
1. Yesterday afternoon, at 4.30pm, I sent off the latest draft of the current paper to my co-authors in advance of our meeting on Tuesday. I had been working at it steadily, in small chunks every day. At no point did I stay up past midnight working on it. It isn't perfect, partly because it can never be and partly because most of the outstanding stuff relies on getting input from a co-author who's been avoiding my e-mails since April; I'm very pleased with myself for maintaining sensible sleep cycles, and for sending it off "unfinished", because I don't think there is actually much to gain from me carefully polishing the presentation and formatting of an appendix that is not yet complete.

2. The casserole my mother bought me (I think when I started the PhD) is currently full of apples I brought home from my parents' on Saturday evening; I've done about half the bag, and everything smells correct. (It's James Grieve; they're mostly not available commercially, but they're what I grew up with, and I'm always faintly disappointed by apples that aren't them. So: I gathered up a quantity of them, and I'll gather up a quantity more when I go for dinner tomorrow, and I'll jar them, and I'll have enough to put on yoghurt and in crumble and in cake for the next year, I hope.)

3. Passing a pound-a-bowl market earlier today, it transpired that the cardboard crates of two-or-so kilos of blueberries really were one quid each. So I got one of those (I was not going to buy more, to get home on public transport), and I need to decide how many to freeze and whether o jam any and if I want to make clafoutis happen, and so on and so forth. This is a lovely problem to have.

4. Shortly afterwards, while poking around charity shops looking for yet more tablecloths (pace the Graun), on my way home from a hospital appointment that was uninspiring but unproblematic, I found a pasta maker for fifteen quid. Nobody I asked said it was a bad idea quickly enough, and that's how I ended up heading home on public transport with a lap full of pasta machine and two kilos of blueberries. "...", said a friend. "How does this stuff even happen to you so much" "I really don't know how you live like this" "But well done" -- which I will take. (This also, conveniently, provides me with My Next Cooking Goal. I think I probably don't care about the spaghetti attachment but I am eyeing up the ravioli one...)

5. I am sitting in the corner of my sofa, facing the French windows, looking out on the grass and the sunshine. (I love this house.)

6. I am now, after today's adventures in public transport, most of the way through CN Lester's book Trans Like Me. I keep crying over it in public. I have been earwormed with a song off Come Home, Not Again (and have just put it on: I'm used to breaking - but not this time/Of all the things you've taken, I'm not giving me from mine/I know I'm better lonely but alive).

7. On which tangentially-related topic, I recently got my act together to actually listen to Jesus & His Judgemental Father's latest, It Might Get Better, and I just absolutely adore the lyric my breakfast is an existential crisis. And I have a whole pile of books to curl up and wallow in, which I'm very much looking forward to -- Provenance, which I haven't yet had brain for, and the new Max Gladstone, and the new Nnedi Okorafor along with some of her back catalogue, and all the Kai Ashante Wilson I just acquired, and...

8. Board games! On Sunday I went to a board game social being run by my BSL-teacher-now-friend (having been a longstanding friend of A's)! I negotiated social anxiety in the run-up! I played two new-to-me games, with one person in the group each time that I didn't previously know, and it... worked? I didn't cry? I panicked a bit at the start of the second one but actually it was okay? I did the thing? I won one of them? I... am really, really proud of myself. I am so aware of how much progress this is: eighteen months ago, or thereabouts, I finally finally managed to persuade myself to sit down with a rulebook and an Adam in our living room and have a go at playing Thud!, which I'd wanted to basically since I saw it being play-tested at a Discworld convention. I think I ended up crying twice just reading the rulebook, while A was in the kitchen carefully giving me space to have a panic? I ended up crying a bunch more over the course of our couple of experimental collaborative games? ... I just played two new-to-me games with strangers, on no more prep than breezily informing people that I have hilarious boardgame-related trauma, would want to spend five minutes anxiously reading the rules in silence before starting, and that if I asked a question about game mechanic and it wasn't addressed to you by name then pretend I didn't say anything and let A answer. I... am so pleased with myself.

9. ... slipper socks. I sort of resent that I like them so much, and they are the precise opposite of what the podiatrists I was seeing wanted me to do for wearing around the house, but fundamentally I really hate slippers and would by defaul be barefoot but also my feet get really cold really quickly. So now I own two pairs of ridiculous slipper socks, and I wear other socks underneath and slouch around in them, and I spend much less time with my feet painfully cold?

10. ... and on Thursday I'm heading down to Brighton for The October Ritual, an aquarium trip, and Terre á Terre, which I've been curious about for a while.


There is lots that is good that is going on. I'm spending the weekend in Cornwall (well, driving to and from -- a lightning visit is To Be Made), and while there will be Wrangling To Be Done I am also, very much, looking forward to going (however briefly) home.
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)

*facepalm*

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.

Bravery

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

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