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Tag: work

School is for Healing

I’ve been coming to grips with some stuff about what I’m studying lately, which is largely that 1: I really enjoy machining, but 2: I do not believe that I am capable of being a manual machinist in a traditional shop and I don’t see that as my future. 

It’s a weird sentence to write, sitting at a table in the student center waiting for my next class, but I haven’t been able to convince myself otherwise. I don’t have the physical stamina to operate heavy machinery, or the emotional stamina to be the only trans person in a shop. It’s hard enough being the only trans person in my english class. 

I’ve stopped and asked myself a lot over the last three semesters What am I even doing here? Why am I doing this to myself? What’s the point?  

I asked these questions before therapy today and then talked about it a bit at the end. Why do I keep going if all it seems to be doing is dredging up pain and trauma I haven’t dealt with and didn’t know about?  

And the answer is because the only way I can heal from the lies I was told about my worth, my abilities, about college and school, about learning, and teachers is to expose myself to it.

The only way I can recover is to face the terror every day and learn through experience that everything I was told for so long is bullshit.

I’m at school to learn what school is like, to learn how to learn, to learn how to navigate organized education, to learn that not every teacher is my mom reincarnated. I’m here to force myself to face a field of unknown mines and survive it. 

If I’m lucky I’ll finish my certificate, I’ll get an associates in something eventually, a nice perk would be placating capitalism. 

But I’m here to heal myself through exposure. Apparently. 

Maybe that’s valid too. 

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burnt out on week 4

“It is important for me to take care of my mental, emotional and physical health at work”

This was the takeaway from therapy last week. I don’t know that I’ve done particularly well with it so far.

I learned one of my coworkers supports Trump and I would be lying if I said that didn’t bother me and loom over my shoulder in the back of my mind all day every day. I try not to let it interfere, or get to me, or otherwise influence how I interact with him, but the fact is, it does bother me. I work remotely so I don’t have to see him and am guaranteed some kind of safety through that, but it’s still a lot…on top of an already demanding and stressful job where people have FEELINGS at me all day.

I am starting week 4 and burnt out as fuck. I’m unsure both how to fix it and if I want to spend that energy. My work sets us up for failure before we start every morning – as the story goes with a small, understaffed IT firm, I guess. We’re booked and every day there’s more. They changed how our ticketing system works so it’s even more obvious how utterly impossible it is to keep up with requests and clients and communicating. It makes it hard to feel like there’s any headway, and when a client loses their shit at me, it’s my fault for not calming them well enough.

There is only so much that humans can do, and the expectations here aren’t able to be met by mere mortals. It’s triggering and reminds me of my childhood where I was expected to be capable of more than is humanly possible and reprimanded when I failed regardless of how much I’d gotten done already. My parents set me up to fail in life and my work is setting me up to fail every day before it even starts.

It’s grating and draining and not tenable.

It’s hard and I’m tired and I just want to flip tables and run away.

But I can’t.

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on Windows 10, Art Work, and Self Care

I was apprehensive about updating my laptop to Windows 10, especially after getting it and needing to wait for patches for games to work on Windows 8. Since the entire reason I have a windows laptop is to play PC games, it seemed like a good idea to not rush into upgrading until I knew I would still be able to play something.

But the other thing I was waiting for was the roll-out, because Win10 launches on a rollout so the other day I got the notification that it was ready (and that I could switch back) so I thought I’d give it a try.

First of all, everything still seems to run – Guild Wars2, Origin, Minecraft, Steam. And Secondly, my laptop has finally come to grips with it being a laptop and gotten rid of the tablet interface and strange outside-of-desktop fullscreen apps. Which means, there’s a twitter client, and I’m not accidentally popping out to the start screen at random, and the UI is generally nicer and easier to use because it’s in laptop mode. Of course, if you have one of those “it’s a laptop! it’s a tablet! what is it even!” computers, there is a tablet mode for you.

So, I like it, and I can play my games, and have twitter open on the desktop instead of in browser, and Microsoft Edge is actually a pretty nice browser.


I haven’t drawn a proper E.R.A. comic in a couple weeks and I’ve been feeling guilty. It’s not that I don’t want to or I’m lacking motivation (it’s not), it’s just that the last couple weeks have been intense. I don’t want to apologize for not drawing because of exhaustion or need to self-care, but I did realize something – a couple things actually.

1. I make my best art when my physical and mental health is taken care of. Depressed Kiery’s art is still (pretty decent) art but it’s not as good as the things I’m capable of making when I’m actually doing okay.

Which, has what to do with E.R.A., exactly? I draw when I’m not okay all the time, in fact I make a lot of angsty comics because they’re important for my mental health and they’re great – I often keep coming back to reference the comics I made out of frustration because they’re powerful and they stick. But unlike the one-shots I usually do, E.R.A. is a story with a lot of arcs and… I’m going to be honest here – it terrifies me.

I’m not used to writing long stories that don’t end after 10 panels or go on longer than the length of a children’s book. I don’t even think I’ve successfully written anything longer than a short story for NaNoWriMo.

E.R.A. is a story that I feel like needs to be written regardless of how much it terrifies me and makes me stare at my insecurities about my ability to write interesting fiction. I think about it all the time, I have pages of notes that are arcs ahead of where we are right now that are constantly be added to and revised and the world is growing. It’s really magical and amazing and scary.

So sometimes, if I am as utterly exhausted as I have been, and it’s all I can manage to doodle to a prompt…..I don’t end up sitting down for hours to draw E.R.A. because I know I’ll scrap it. I’ll be spending energy becoming frustrated because it’s not what I know I could make it be if I only just let myself rest. So instead, I rest, and come back to it stronger and better and prettier, and make something I’m at least a little more proud of than I would have been if I had made it when I was burnt out, just to say that I had made it that week. I really want E.R.A. to take off massively and my theory is that it has to be consistent in order for that to happen, but sometimes, I just can’t.

And I think that’s okay. Because I make the rules for this particular comic, and I want it to be as amazing as I imagine it. It’s a process and I’m not there yet, but I know the days I’m incapable of even coming close and those are the days when everything else is telling me that I need to rest.

2. My health and sanity is more important than my productivity.

It feels scary to be writing that professionally, but it’s true. If I want to keep making art (and writing code) I need to remember that productivity shouldn’t come at the expense of my health and calm, because I need both of those in order to make anything and be able to actually live. That I make cool things is just a perk of me being me, it’s not my point or value. I’m saying this just as much for myself (and for coming back and reminding later) as anything. My value is inherent and it’s not based on what I make even though what I make has the potential to be really amazing (and I hope it is).

So at like 4 this morning I finally reached a point where I was calm, and I’m just going to spend the rest of the day trying to stay in that zone and have some Kiery chill time.

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Quilting. (or busy kiery is busy)

I’m thinking I’m going to try and do a mystery quilt this fall/winter.

So far, the rest of the year looks like this:

Work

Film for two (going on 3?) web series

Read some fantasy books on my list (or if all else fails, comic books – I did this last year when I was working, before bed, it was great for unwinding and sleeping without the “I’m going to stay up until 3am to finish this!” side effect)

Game night thursdays (and the occasional Warmachine night/tournament) and WoW/random video games with people – I foresee a good bit of halo.

Quilting (or crocheting or whatever)

And general artsyness, including my show on Friday.

Holidays and gingerbread and shopping are in there somewhere too. 🙂

It feels a little crazy, a little overwhelming and I get a little tired and scared at the thought, but mostly I’m really excited because I like this, I like being busy and doing things – I have some of my coming paychecks already spoken for: backing a few indiegogo/kickstarter projects, Mystery Quilt, and Mists of Pandaria and more than likely GW2 and a phone upgrade…and presents, and art supplies, and clothes, and tech. This is what I spend my money on guys – This is also what I do with my life and I love it, I think it’s fun and that’s a good thing.

If posting is scarce until January (you never know with these things), you know why.

 

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Thought.

Today I was listening to a 4 part youtube series by Ira Glass that was just….REALLY good for anyone doing *anything* creative. Most of it had to do with story telling, which was great as it pertains to my screenwriting, but something else he said – something about bridging the gap, really struck home. I’d found this saying on Pinterest before, but didn’t know where it came from until today.

The Gap

I’ve been dealing with a bit of frustration myself. I see images so clearly in my head, but there’s a huge gap between what I want it to look like and what it does. Something’s lost in translation and I’m not good enough yet to paint more than echoes of what I’m really thinking, let alone being able to describe with words to people who ask, what it is that I see and what I want my stuff to look like. There aren’t words for it that make any sense in order and the best I can do is look far away and blush and say something that is the closest I can describe but really doesn’t match what I mean in my head to begin with.

“photorealistic” is as close as I can come to saying I want my paintings to have more depth and natural-ness. But I don’t want it to look….real. Actually, I specifically want it to not look real, I just want the things in the scene to look more real-ish. I want my characters to be more than flat outlines. I want the painting that I’m working on right now (writing while the layers of gesso dry) to look as clear and glowing as it does in my head. It probably won’t, and when I’m done I’ll be fine with that. But I decided today, after listening to the youtube thing, that I don’t care how long it takes me, I’m not going to stop, I’m going to work hard, and eventually the paintings I see in my head will make it to the brush in my hand – the movie that I see when I close my eyes will make it to my screen and I’ll be happy with it.

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