There’s a troll in my head

No, really.

For a very long time, I’ve been unwilling to be alone in my own head by choice. Things swirl around in there and get really weird. I’ve said that much, but not more, to people in the course of conversation, usually to justify why I fidget and am always seeking some sort of cerebral input. This is partially why I’m incapable of shutting the hell up most of the time. There are things going on in there that I’m trying to drown out. “I can’t be alone in my own head” is usually the phrase I use. It’s been so long since I’ve bothered to analyze this quirk, that this is all it had become to me. Yup, can’t do it, can’t be trusted, lah-de-dah.

I have been analyzing this phenomenon lately. For a few different reasons. One of the trains of negative thought I had been drowning out has resolved itself, so that particular channel of emotional saltwater(thank you, Merlin Mann, for that wonderful phrase) was closed off. I have recently listened to a few different podcasts that mentioned mindfulness or the anxiety brain chatter that keeps feeding itself in the brain’s echo chamber. (the anxiety brain chatter stuff is mostly from a Stuff to Blow Your Mind episode from January 2013. it’s wonderful. If you have any interest in the science of anxiety, that particular segment is definitely worth your time.)

So, eventually I begin to understand that just because I’m not tuning in to the bullshit my brain is trying to feed me, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m not being affected by it. And there have been other things I’ve been consciously thinking about. I have a newly acquired friend who has found herself in a situation she isn’t fond of. When I was in her shoes I found a way to cling to the cliff I was falling off of, and I found a place to survive, and I have existed there ever since. She, on the other hand, after she found her survival spot and recuperated, has essentially said, ‘screw this’ and is climbing back up that damned mountain.

Why didn’t I think of that? Seriously. It’s inspiring as hell. I’m just sitting here on my little piece of rock, and she falls down next to me, and is all, “Hey, what’s up?” And I’m like “Just hanging out”…  and she’s already figured out how to make herself a rope. So now, (and lets stretch this stupid metaphor just as far as we can now, shall we) I’m looking around me at all the little bits and pieces of stuff I have on my little niche on the cliff, and I see that, really, I have the stuff laying around to make myself a rope, too. Looks pretty easy, so why not? I’m smart enough, I’m a tough little chick. Let’s do a little thinking about climbing up there myself…

And this is my general state of mind when I decide to try a bit of mindfulness. I decided to tune in for a minute to see what that voice in my head is trying to tell me. I don’t intend to actually heed these words, but I’m curious. I’ve been struggling mightily with the anxiety/depression monster for a while now, and I wonder how much of it has to do with that muffled bitchery I can hear in the back of my head.

Hooboy. It goes something like this:

“Well, that’s fine for Jamie, she gets up and does stuff. She has drive and she’s smart and SHE actually uses her potential. What have you done with YOUR brain lately? You never follow through with anything. You can’t even get up early in the morning and go for a walk. You can’t quit smoking, you can’t do anything that requires more effort than a load of laundry. Why are you trying to be like her, anyway? Can’t you figure things out on your own? Pretty sad that you have to be a copycat and do stuff other people are doing because you don’t have any friends. Think this is gonna make people like you better? You can’t control your emotions, what makes you think YOU are capable of controlling anything at all?  Much less your future. You’ll pick the wrong thing to focus on anyway, you always do. You’re going to disappoint everyone, and you’re going to make things worse for yourself because you don’t have the sense to leave things alone”

And on, and on, and on. It was actually much worse, much more abusive, and much less coherent. It was a battering ram of all the reasons why I shouldn’t even bother. With any of it… ever. It was brutal.

And now I’m not cowering under anything scared to proceed so much as wondering how on earth that nagging bitch managed to devour the little voice that’s supposed to be there. You know, the one who whispers, “you can do it” and “don’t give up” in your ear when you are having a tough time. Where did THAT one go? How can I find her and save her? This is an intolerable loss. No faith in myself at all. NONE. What happened? And why does this whole thing make me feel so sad and confused and cheated?

And then the actual, relevant question becomes something even more confusing and just as crippling as that troll voice. Perhaps even more so. Because who wants to climb up a cliff using a damaged rope? I’m going to sabotage anything I try to do unless I make that troll shut the hell up. And I don’t know of a way to make her shut up except to go ahead and try to make the rope anyway. Which means I will fail. I have no idea how to break that cycle, but I’m certainly going to try. Not cool, brain, not cool at all.

Get back on that horse, bitch! (Part 2)

I’ve always wanted to ‘Be a Writer” As a hobby, of course. I’m realistic about most things! It would be pretty cool to write for a living, but that requires way more dedication and attention than I’m capable of.  At least right now.  I’m that person you know who talks too much. I have a bunch of stuff to say about a lot of things. And every now and then I have these THINGS that I feel like I need to share. But, really, I’m quite probably following people around telling them stuff they really don’t have time for, Or typing out stupidly long facebook statuses because all the stuff I think about wants an outlet.

But then there was this thing that kept happening. I would try to start a blog. I would spend hours thinking about what the topic should be. I would decide on one, and get to the signup process of the blogging account, and then? Then I wouldn’t be able to come up with a title I liked, and WITHOUT fail for YEARS, this would stop me in my tracks, and I would just forget about it, until the next time I had a bunch of stuff to say and no one to say it to, and the process would start all over again.

This time, I tricked myself. I mentioned in my previous post that I had a bunch of things click. It wasn’t all about the fiber slut stuff. Some of it was about blogging. Some of it was about my health, and gaining weight and muscle. It all mashes up in a beautiful way and it starts here. I’m not allowing myself to edit this post too much. Only to add stuff in to make a more coherent chain of rambly thinking, and to fix any horrible typos, etc.

The most recent out of control facebook post actually turned into my first blog post. I noticed it was out of control, pasted it into notepad, and went to bed. Instead of going through all of my stupid steps of fail, I asked a few friends to save me from myself. Someone else titled this blog for me. Instead of getting stuck on the username and web address, I just typed whatever was in my head. and before I had a chance to think about it for ONE more second, I finished my out of control facebook status and dumped it here. This is the companion to the fiber slutting. This is the other thing, except instead of knowing I’m good at it, This is just something I’ve always wanted to do. I just couldn’t get out of my own way long enough to let it happen.

Part three is about my physical state. That is also a story for later.  I have a system for it, and I’ll be sharing my triumphs and failures on that front as soon as I get it running, so to speak.

So, here we are.  Every day, I will create something. It might be something brilliant, and that would be cool. It might be absolute shit, and, you know what, that’s ok, too. If it’s not a post here, It’s going to be something crafty.  It might be something completely different. As long as it uses the parts of my brain that makes neat stuff, it meets the criteria. I will either publish it here or I will update whatever project I have going on, on Ravelry. Finished projects and bragging (and bitching and whining and laughing at myself) will happen here, though.

Here’s to getting out of our own way. Here’s to opening up old dusty boxes and getting excited about the stuff that was packed away and rediscovered. Here’s to taking the steps required to shift shit out of neutral and find your bliss.  Here’s to friends that say or do the right things to help you, even when they don’t realize that’s what they’re doing.

You know who you are. Most of you, anyway. My husband probably doesn’t know, but he helped my finding a hobby that I have no interest in, which got me thinking, “Hey, I used to do stuff that made me happy..”  Kris also might not know, that taking the plunge with that fantastic etsy shop got me thinking about being crafty again, but now he does. 🙂 Cheers. and thanks.

p.s. and I promise, from now on, I will edit these messes. Right now, I’m distracted by a chocolate chip cookie that is calling my name, and a really pretty pile of yarn that is in my lap. 😉

Aside

Get back on that horse, bitch!

When we moved back to IL 5 years ago, my fiber slut days were, literally, packed into boxes and forgotten about. (Bigger aspirations were put on the back burner, and those are staying right where they are. They still look good with dust on them.) I wasn’t on the verge of greatness or even profit with this, but I was hitting my stride. I was on the verge of A THING. And then I gave it up and forgot about it because, well, sometimes that’s what you have to do.

I had sketched out a gorgeous afghan and was in the process of making it. I was figuring out how to mix colors and dye yarn and have it look EXACTLY how I wanted it to. I had decided that, IF I could sell the batch I had just dyed, I would go ahead and put that money back into what I was doing, learn to spin my own yarn, Start researching my own source for really good yarn blanks, Fire up an etsy shop… and and flail around with that to see what happened. I felt like I was actually good at something tangible. It made me happy. I didn’t care whether I turned a profit. I just LOVED what I was doing.

The entire batch sold. Quickly. And then I had inquiries about when I was going to get some more ready to sell. I had a couple hundred dollars in my pocket for more supplies, and I was excited. I was going to go on a few road trips and try to find a yarn blend I was happier with for dying. I wanted to visit a few farms and learn about co-ops and learn about the animals the fiber was coming from. I wanted to know all the stuff, from the critter to the finished product. All the steps. And I wanted to learn how to do as much of it as I could, by hand. Not so much so I could actually DO all of it by hand, but more so that I had a solid understanding of everything that goes into the process. So I could be better at my parts of the chain.

Then, within a few days, we had decided to go home. I reinvested nothing. It all went towards the move. I packed up my excitement and my plans with all of my stuff. Because, well, sometimes that’s what you have to do.

I don’t regret moving home, at all. I am happy we are here. I’m close enough to my family that I can get in the car and get to them all in an hour or less. I don’t know why I never unpacked all that stuff and got back into all those things that made me feel so good about myself. It probably has a lot to do with the transition to a full time job when we got here. I had more time to make huge messes and more time to plan and execute my little projects back then. All of my carefully curated goodies are either repurposed, or sitting in storage, in who knows what condition.

But some beautifully random things have happened in the past few weeks, and things sort of clicked into place for me mentally, and this evening the universe gently screamed at me that it’s time to drag some stuff out and reconnect with who I was and what I was trying to accomplish with that particular set of passions.

This time around, I have access to a decent camera. This time around, I know which things to set aside and which things to actively pursue. This time around, I understand that it’s actually OK that no one else in my personal circle gives a damn about the stuff I’m doing. And that I’m not going to make anyone upset with me for finding ‘my own thing’. I don’t know why I felt like that before. It was nothing anyone else did or said. I just thought it was selfish to have my own brand of geekery, that I was taking something away from those I loved if I was pursuing a thing that was my very own.

I’m not so sure about that last part. I’m probably going to revisit that guilt headspace at some point. It’s just the way I am built. But I’m ready to start feeling that satisfaction again. Having a look at a project and KNOWING it is beautiful, and I came up with it myself. Pulling a huge mess of yarn out of the pot and watching it dry into the gorgeous color I was trying for. Experimenting with different methods and colors just to see what would happen. Looking at something pretty and thinking..knowing, that I DID it. I MADE that thing, and it is awesome. Taking road trips to see what was around that had to do with what I was doing, So I could learn more stuff about all the things.

It’s time to start doing things again that make me feel like a rock star. It’s time for road trips to alpaca farms and fiber mills. It’s time to make a mess and turn that mess into something beautiful. It’s time to take pictures of what I do and plonk them on the internet just to see what happens. It’s time to get inspired, and then watch yarn dry for hours. I want to add outdoor natural kettle dying and spinning to my list of THINGS I CAN DO.

It will take time and probably a few tears. I have to vacuum the dog hair off of, well, everything, get an inventory started, and sell a kidney. I’m pretty sure my dyes are all destroyed, and I know I only have one yarn blank. But my excitement has been officially unpacked. And this is a thing that I KNOW I’m good at, or, at least, I can be. Even if I never sell another thing, I will know this as truth. And it feels pretty good.

Another part of this story (I TOLD you, I had a WHOLE bunch of stuff just click into place!) Is actually about this blog, and it is a post for later. But in the meantime: I know I’m a rambling idiot. For this post and the next, it is by design. Bear with me. It will get better, and it’s for a reason.