sheafrotherdon
03 May 2017 @ 07:41 pm
 
This is my week at work


 
 
sheafrotherdon
30 April 2017 @ 06:00 pm
Mah, kitty. *  
* likely only people who have read Smeckday will know what this means, but it's evocative all the same.

Hello, friends! I am vegging out after driving 650 miles over two days to go to my friend's mother's memorial service. She (N's mom) passed away earlier this week of cancer (fuck cancer) so another friend, T, and I drove down there yesterday and back today. The weather was awful yesterday, although today we managed to thread our way back between storms without running into any severe weather (a good thing since when I checked the weather this morning there was a flood warning for exactly where we were headed with the advice "Turn around. Don't drown." in large letters. Um.)

It was lovely to see N and to see her childhood home, and I was reminded again by the fact that simple presence can be everything. I had no good words for the situation, but that we showed up meant a lot to N, and I am so glad that eloquence was not required. We drank wine, met her father and brother and sister and cousins, and simply existed in the same spot as her for a little while. I'm so glad we went.

Now that I'm back I'm looking at the week to come and wondering how to get everything in. I owe feedback on several documents, and I've already extended a deadline once to accommodate my inability to . . . . well, no. To accommodate my being triggered. So nothing has been done unreasonably, but I still feel a big doofus for not getting stuff done on time. Fie. I have fifteen one-on-one meetings this week, my usual standing meetings, and an all-hands meeting tomorrow at 4. And between times I'm supposed to get things done. How? one asks.

Tomorrow a big national organization is going to announce that I am one of eight new people who've been invited to join their advisory board, and that is fun! I'm excited to get the work done that being a part of the organization involves, especially since they're paying for me to stay at a $400-a-night hotel in Boston in June for a series of meetings I need to take part in. I will never have stayed anywhere so fancy, and I very much hope that I can maximize the time I spend in the hotel room to soak it up, ha. The downside is that I don't think I will have a chance to see Boston itself. Maybe another time.

Would anyone like to come over and fix me dinner? That would be awesome.
 
 
sheafrotherdon
25 April 2017 @ 04:50 pm
 
An update:

The secretary wrote me back yesterday, and apologized profusely. I wrote back and said that misunderstandings happen and that I was glad we had cleared things up.

I secretly delighted in her apology, proving I am not actually the bigger person.
 
 
sheafrotherdon
23 April 2017 @ 06:14 pm
 
I just read a lovely essay by Parker Palmer, titled The Gift of Presence, The Perils of Advice. Here's a little piece of it:

Here’s the deal. The human soul doesn’t want to be advised or fixed or saved. It simply wants to be witnessed — to be seen, heard and companioned exactly as it is. When we make that kind of deep bow to the soul of a suffering person, our respect reinforces the soul’s healing resources, the only resources that can help the sufferer make it through.


(You may not be someone for whom 'soul' resonates, but I think there are a lot of other words that can apply - inner self, private self, etc.)

It's such a gentle essay, and it prompted me to think about how many times I am quick to advise. I have a lot to learn about listening and being present; but what a sweet little note on which my weekend can end.
 
 
sheafrotherdon
23 April 2017 @ 02:40 pm
 
Good things:

* Spending the weekend with loved ones. I hung out with the nieces yesterday, with two dear friends, and with another friend and her family. I saw a former co-worker this morning. All of it was lovely.

* Tonic water and lime without the gin - delicious, and perfectly okay to drink at 11am.

* Windows open, and the scent of lilacs coming in on the breeze.

* Window-shopping for some small graduation gifts. I think I've found the perfect thing for each person.

* Figuring out that the derealization I'm experiencing at the moment seems to come when I go from a fairly confined space to a larger space, or from a space where I'm concentrating on one person to a space where I register that there are lots of people. So, for example, after talking to my friend M, yesterday, I walked to my car, and the whole world tilted in that much more open space. Or I was at brunch with a friend in a busy restaurant, but I was focused on said friend, so the fact that it was big and busy didn't hit me until we were leaving. It's helpful to know there are patterns, because then I can manage things much more effectively.

* More organizing of things, and a big box of clothes taken to Goodwill.

* Cadbury's creme eggs on sale for 23c each at Target

* Quiet
 
 
sheafrotherdon
21 April 2017 @ 02:38 pm
 
Oh, for pete's sake.

Several things happened today.

1) I made the decision that I could not go into my place of work. I woke up with body pains, anxiety, dizziness, and fatigue. I had sensory overload (the sound of my PJ pants swishing as I walked downstairs was like nails on a chalkboard). I felt shaky and nauseated. I called my therapist but there were no cancellations for today or Monday.

2) I wrote to my area secretary to ask her help with some things I had planned for today. I had planned everything well ahead of time for an informal visiting speaker - organized a/v, ordered catering, paid for the catering, organized the publicity etc. All that I needed today was for someone to be a point person should the speaker (who is very self-sufficient) have any difficulties, and for someone to pick up the food.

3) Area secretary was great and promised to take care of anything that came up.

4) I went to the local coffeeshop to get tea with someone, because I needed to talk about what was going on with me, and more, to have human contact. The coffeeshop is not far away, does not have florescent lighting, and at certain hours is not particularly busy. They didn't have music playing, which was a godsend. While waiting for the person I was meeting, I saw my former boss's boss and said hello. I sat down while I did this because I felt crappy.

5) Secretary, while picking up catering, saw me in the window of the coffeeshop with said former boss's boss. Secretary got back to work and wrote me to tell me she saw me there.

*hands*. I wrote her back to say that I was not faking, and that I appreciated her help today. She has not replied. And I am left with two choices - to leave it at that, and run the risk of alienating her / having her think I'm ducking my work responsibilities, or to disclose my disability to her and explain the myriad decisions that led me to be in the coffeeshop in a pair of ratty sweatpants and a t-shirt, talking to my former boss's boss, while juggling a dozen different mental and physical problems.

For anyone with an invisible disability, this is sadly par for the course. But wow, it is the last thing I have the spoons to deal with today.
 
 
sheafrotherdon
20 April 2017 @ 05:58 pm
 
I ran a 90-minute meeting while dissociating today, which was trippy. I was dizzy and exhausted and no one seemed particularly real to me and all the colors around the room were too saturated. I would have stopped, but I missed a meeting with these same folks on Tuesday because I was processing the trigger from the day before, so it felt, in the moment, like I really had to be there.

Now I feel wiped out and sad, but I'm in my body and the world feels real again. Here's hoping that continues tomorrow.

There isn't really anyone I can turn to at work and say, "my disability is really making things difficult right now. I need help," and that's leaving me feeling really isolated. My job is specialized enough that no one can step in and fill in on a moment's notice, exactly, and not all of my co-workers believe in PTSD (as if it's a question of faith). I'm left wondering how to fulfill my obligations without forcing myself to lead a meeting while dissociating again, because that is not good for anyone. And I don't want to let the co-workers silence me, but fighting the good fight about disability when I'm in the middle of a rough patch is not something I can do.

I think perhaps a conversation with HR is in order, although I've no idea of what to ask for, exactly. But having someone at work acknowledge this is a problem would feel like an important thing, so maybe that's where I start.
 
 
sheafrotherdon
17 April 2017 @ 06:03 pm
Oh for pete's sake  
I was all in this morning, ready to take on the day!

And then I was at a presentation, and, without warning, someone showed a scene from a movie with a sexual assault in it.

Goddamit.
 
 
 
sheafrotherdon
13 April 2017 @ 11:24 am
 
Today in therapy I uncovered a new instance of sexual abuse. More behind the cut. Please read, or don't, with your own self-care in mind )
 
 
sheafrotherdon
09 April 2017 @ 10:17 am
Sunday  
My mom and I had our regular Sunday phone call this morning. My mom has a new hearing aid, which is (obviously) better for her in her regular life, but it doesn't work so well as the last one when it comes to being able to hear people on the phone. I got a crash course in how my mom no doubt lives day to day - when she didn't understand me on the second try she would make an affirmative noise and say something generic ("That's good, then," or "Oh! Well." etc). It clued me in on how much she must miss and cover for, and also gave me an opportunity to concentrate on listening instead of speaking, since she couldn't understand much. I finally worked out that if I held the phone right to my mouth she could hear me, so the second part of the call worked well. Anyway, lots of food for thought about disability (my mother does experience her loss of hearing as a disability) and accommodations and what I, as a hearing person, take for granted.

It's been a pleasant couple of weeks at chez Cate. My job is going really well. I have enough time to do what I want and need to do, and the projects I'm working on are really satisfying and explicitly social justice related, which is great. Last weekend I helped at a workshop for teachers who wanted to learn Native history, held at a Native community not far from where I live, and it was the most amazing experience. I learned so much from the other workshop leaders, and I felt like my contributions made a difference, and the teachers were so engaged and thoughtful. I get to do this again in June, and I'm looking forward to it so much. I came back with such a strong sense of purpose.

By Wednesday, after working 10 days straight, I hit a wall of "I have no can." So I bought myself flowers - a luxury, but when I think of all the ways of coping in the world, a pretty benign way of dealing with things. And they have cheered me through the week in my office and into this weekend, sitting on my coffee table. That and the sunny weather after almost two weeks of rain has put a spring in my step. Ha. Spring. I see what you did there, brain.

I haven't seen Jan in a month, and I miss that outlet. It's been a simple case of not having the money until now, and while I'm doing really well in everyday measures - I feel much more sane, much more patient than I did in, say, February - there are some things I want to root out. I fly to anger so quickly at the moment, at the least little thing, which suggests there's some built up something there that I need to dig into. I also need to work out how to be angry at the things that are unjustly happening around me and channel that anger into action. At work, especially, I've been angry and then just shoved the thing aside because I don't know how to productively deal with what I'm feeling. I've been doing that in a couple of relationships, too. All that does is mean there's a reserve of anger the next time something happens, which means I react out of proportion to the actually event. Much to talk about and noodle through this Thursday when I finally see Jan again.

But overall I'm feeling pretty content. It's hard not to when there are surprise daffodils outside my window, and the sound of birds, and I have a cup of tea, and the dishwasher and washing machine are doing their cheerful business. Happy spring, everyone up north (and happy fall to those down south).
 
 
sheafrotherdon
03 April 2017 @ 05:30 pm
 
Anyone on DW have any info on what the new user agreement at LJ really means? (If it's innocuous? Yay! If it's not? I'd like to know.)
 
 
sheafrotherdon
25 March 2017 @ 12:31 pm
 
Today I went to yoga, despite the fact that my sides still hurt from yoga two days ago. Win one! And then I did not drop out of down dog even once today. This is such a win! I have crappy upper body strength, but getting better, and I hung in there by mentally chanting "I got this, I got this." JOY DELICIOUS.
 
 
 
 
sheafrotherdon
21 March 2017 @ 08:29 am
 
Dr G. nailed my hyper-vigilance for me yesterday. She puzzled out that I am feeling overwhelming stress about money, a situation exacerbated last week by my knowing that I had a finite amount of money to spend while I was away, and I'm finally letting myself feel that stress. Usually I would self-soothe by spending money (as a backward way of saying to myself "you still have money") but because that's not possible, stress hormones are dumping into my system constantly. That triggers my PTSD because that's how PTSD works - it's triggered by physical reminders of overwhelmingly stressful situations in the past - and hence, HV.

Makes complete sense. It also gives me a little breathing room, because as always, if I understand why I'm doing a thing, I can live with it much more easily.

She told me at the end of session how proud she was of me, and what a difference there was in me from the very first time she saw me. I got a little teary, and I thanked her for everything she's done for me. And that was that. I made an appointment when I left with the new nurse practitioner, and a new chapter of things will start with that appointment in June.

I listened to some On Being podcasts yesterday as I drove to and from Dr G's office. One was about how PTSD manifests in the body, and the psychiatrist talking about it said that he first began to understand what trauma is when a veteran he was treating for terrible nightmares came to his second appointment and said he hadn't taken any of the medication that he'd been given to help him sleep. He said that he needed his nightmares to be a memorial to all his buddies who didn't come back from Vietnam. And the psychiatrist said - that's what PTSD does to people; makes them living memorials to a thing that's not happening anymore.

It's the first time I'd heard that sentiment in exactly those words, and it shook me. PTSD means that I think of my abuse and assaults as present-day things, things that are always with me, things that condition my day-to-day life. But they're not happening. I am living a life free of abuse and assault. That realization was so profound. It doesn't magically make my PTSD go away, but it does give me a different framing for what I experience. Here's the podcast if you're interested.

I also listened to a podcast about ambiguous loss - loss where there is no body (such as in a natural disaster) or no definitive end point (like losing someone to dementia, or divorce). And at one point the psychologist speaking said "Closure is a terrible word in human relationships. Once you’ve become attached to somebody, love them, care about them, when they’re lost, you still care about them. It’s different. It’s a different dimension. But you can’t just turn it off."

Wow. I mean, of course, yes? But I really hadn't thought of it that way before. It made me think a lot about my last relationship. I think about it often, in part because it was abusive, and so it's intrusive as all my memories of assault are. But I did love the guy - mistakenly, misguidedly, but I did - and that went away. Thinking about "you can't just turn it off" gave me a new perspective on what it is I'm processing. The same goes for thinking about my dad. So I'm turning those things over in my mind, and maybe I'll write something more pointed about that in a while.

I'm realizing doing something like listening to these podcasts needs to become part of my daily routine. I absorb so much toxicity from the world we live in - particularly the U.S. political situation - and I'm not doing nearly enough to build up alternate resources for myself in hold everything in balance. So that's something I want to make a real point of doing - giving myself time and space to remember the qualities and values that are meaningful to me in a positive way, rather than simply noting their absence in the federal government. And so this morning I'm making a second cup of tea and I'm going to sit with a book and read something beautiful. I hope there's beauty out there waiting for you, too ♥
 
 
 
 
sheafrotherdon
20 March 2017 @ 07:19 am
 
I am back in my own home again, and it feels so good. I had a lovely time in Minneapolis, and I love staying with my friend, but there is nothing quite so good as your own stuff and your own bed. I slept like a rock last night (save for the massive thunderstorm that graced us at dark o'clock).

Still, I am realizing that I have been hyper-vigilant for at least a week now - that I was tensed for danger the entire time I was away and that I still feel some vestige of that this morning. I have no idea what caused it, only that I was primed for fight or flight the whole time. I have some digging to do there to ask my body what it's reacting to. And I'm out of practice in dealing with this, in finding ways to assure myself that I'm fine.

I see my psychiatrist this morning. It's my last visit with her - she's retiring altogether, even from teleconferencing - which marks the end of an era. I have been seeing her for at least seven years, maybe longer (the dates are fuzzy for me), and she has been such an agent (angel?) of change. The practice from which she's been teleconferencing is going to hire a nurse practitioner to help take up her patients, and I think I'll try her before I try anyone else. I hope it works! I really don't want to have to do the mammoth search for a new medical practitioner, especially since there are none in my own town.

Perhaps as one of the last things I ask her, I will ask for a Xanax refill! A fitting way to bring both threads together right now.
 
 
 
 
sheafrotherdon
17 March 2017 @ 08:45 am
 
Hello, friends! It has been an epic week here in Cate-land.

Monday, I met with my bankruptcy lawyer - a new guy who works in an office in a nearby town rather than my own. I really liked him. He was a direct, no bullshit kinda guy, and was super clear about how things would progress. He's slammed with tax stuff at the moment, so it'll be about 10 days or so before we formally file, but he walked me through everything, and I will get to keep my house and car. And - this was a great relief to me - the lawyer fees for the process are all packaged up with whatever else I pay to my creditors in my Chapter 13 settlement. I had to pay $500 on Monday for filing costs, but everything else I'll pay off over five years. Whew. I had no idea how a person facing bankruptcy was supposed to pay for a lawyer, but now I know. So that was an intense experience, but ultimately a good one.

Flew to Minneapolis that evening for business, with many delays because of bad weather that morning that had set the whole chain of flights for the day off kilter. But I have to give credit to Delta - they brought out pizza for everyone while we waited, and snacks and water, and they were unflaggingly patient and cheerful with everyone who had questions. Big thumbs up (especially compared to [personal profile] siria's awful experience with United this week. She left Wisconsin on Monday and got home in the eastern time zone on THURSDAY. Criminy).

Since then I've done a lot of business-related research, and met with a bunch of people, including the editor of my last book. Turns out, once I talked to her, that I realized I have 90% of a second book ready, so I spent one afternoon this week outlining it. Such a good feeling! I also stopped by my favorite bookstore in the world (or, at least, in the parts of the world I have shopped in) and it's such a restful, beautiful place that I was just delighted by everything. And I got to charge books as a business expense. Win!

I'm enjoying being in a big city and having access to many delightful things, especially food that I wouldn't usually get to enjoy in my own small town. That said, I am tiiiiiiired. I'm not sleeping well for reasons that escape me, and having the most whackadoodle dreams. (Last night I was in some sort of Matrix-y set up where I survived by getting hold of a mackerel/swordfish the size of a boat and stabbing people with it.) I think perhaps I'm feeling very professionally "on" this week in a way that I can't quite shake when it's time to wind down? I'll keep digging on that one.

Today is a day for writing, which I'm looking forward to. There's something so relaxing to me about the rhythm of my fingers tapping away at a keyboard, and it'll be fun to start to see the shape of my book. Woot! Happy Friday, all!
 
 
 
 
sheafrotherdon
12 March 2017 @ 09:16 am
 
Yesterday was such a lovely day - a reprieve from all that is stressful right now. I spent the morning hanging out with my friend AM (I'm in Chicago) and then at noon met up with other friends (who were staying with family) and we went to see Hamilton! (Again, for me! And again I did not pay for my ticket. I am SO FREAKING LUCKY.)

It was wonderful - I fell even more in love with Lin-Manuel Miranda, that he could write this beautiful thing that can be produced by multiple, wholly different companies, and it blows your socks off no matter what. This time my seat was high up, but that was great, because I got to see the choreography and lighting from a really different perspective. I just had a blast, and laughed and cried, and was completely worn out by the end of it. But then! It was Broadway Cares day, so they were accepting donations and selling certain items to raise money. So I came home - for $20 - with a real Reynolds pamphlet from the show, signed by the Burr and Hamilton we saw yesterday afternoon. Eeeeeee, it makes me so happy. (Other souvenirs included a Hamilton cocktail glass with a cover so that you didn't spill (procured with a cocktail in it) which is going to become my cocktail travel cup. Farmer's market? Mimosa in a glass! Afternoon at a friend's house? Gin and tonic to go! (All these places are walking distance from home, I hasten to add)).

And then I took everyone to Cindy's, one of the bars inside the Chicago Athletic Association hotel. It's up on the roof, and there was a patio with big fire pits, so we sat there and bonded with two other people sitting there who were going to see Hamilton that evening. (The drinks were out of this world, including the very complicated kiddy cocktail the bar tender made my niece for free, which she adored, especially because it came with a flower in the top.) And then as we were picking up all our stuff to leave, including a prominent Hamilton poster, some more people came by and one of the women exclaimed, "Did you just see Hamilton?" We said we had. "DID IT NOT JUST CHANGE YOUR LIFE?" she asked. So that was cute and funny.

I spent the evening hanging with AM and her sister, whom I love to pieces, so it was a lovely evening. And around 11am this morning we are headed back home, before a snow storm hits us and dumps 5-6 inches of snow. ("WHAT?"). I'm traveling to Minnesota tomorrow, so I hope that the roads are clear for me to get to the airport by the afternoon. I'm glad we're getting some snow, as we haven't had any major snowfalls at all this year, but I'm also all *shakes fist* it had to be tonight?

My appointment with the bankruptcy lawyer got bumped up to tomorrow, so by noon I should have a good idea of what I'm doing and I'll have paid my retainer to get things moving. I hope everything goes as smoothly as it can!

How are your weekends?
 
 
 
 
sheafrotherdon
10 March 2017 @ 07:52 am
 
The date is set - on March 21st I will meet with my lawyers and we'll file for bankruptcy. I will pay $500 as an initial retainer for this service. I've gone back through my work-up of my situation from January and updated it to the new amounts owed for March - a thoroughly unpleasant task.

And then yesterday I came home to a note on my door saying the county sheriff's office had tried to serve me with legal papers, so I had to go down there to pick them up. It was a summons - and I thought, at first, this would be to do with the bankruptcy, that one of my creditors had hit the point of suing. But no. It was from the other person in the car accident last summer, suing me for damages.

My mind blanked and I got to my car and started sobbing and drove to my lawyer's office because I didn't know what else to do. All I could think was 'but I have no money!' and 'how much more wiill this cost in legal fees?' The lady who runs the office was so calm and kind, and she reminded me that insurance usually covers this. Once the head lawyer was done with his client she talked to him called me back and affirmed that I should contact my insurance company and scan and send them a copy of the summons. I should also get them to confirm they'd defend me in this matter. I sent everything off last night, and hopefully I'll get that confirmation today.

It's all handleable, especially if I take it one thing at a time. But my god, this is a lot all at once.
 
 
 
 
sheafrotherdon
08 March 2017 @ 06:26 pm
 
I went on strike today. I recognize that it speaks to a certain privilege that I was able to strike - no one at my job would have to stand in for me and my actions did not displace responsibilities onto the shoulders of others less able to strike. I'm single, so there's no one in my home who usually requires emotional or domestic labor from me, and I don't have kids to look after. I wore red pants and I did buy batteries at Target, but that was it for my purchasing. And my niece and I had a long conversation about international women's day and what it all meant.

It felt really good. And precious, like a stolen day.

What was particularly fascinating was that initially I didn't know what to do with a day without work. Even weekends are, for me, full of errands and chores that allow me to do my job the other five days. This was a stolen day - a day free from responsibilities. And at first I didn't have a clue how to use that.

So I did laundry. And then I noticed that my kitchen was suffering from random corners in which I was stacking things to deal with later. So I dealt with them - rearranged my tea cupboard; moved some objects around; put excess plastic bags in the car to take to be recycled; rethought how I stored platters and cake plates and the like. The result is a kitchen with so much less clutter shoved in corners, and more counter space to use for other things. And I can think of no other occasion where spending 30 minutes reconfiguring my tea cupboard would be a good use of my time.

And perhaps that's the point - when we get a day to do only what we choose to do, the smallest things bring delight. And so often those things are forgotten in lieu of utility, and yet whom does that utility serve? Capitalism and patriarchy profit from my working like a good little cog in the machine, but do I? And when the tea cupboard is reorganized, how many other bigger, more powerful ways are there for me to do something in this world?

I took the time today to watch the documentary 13th - Ana Duvernay's film on the meaning and effect of the 13th amendment since its passing. It is flat-out amazing. I'm pretty well versed on the history of the 13th amendment, Jim Crow, civil rights, and such, but I learned so much that I didn't know. (ALEC? I am appalled that I didn't know about ALEC. Jesus.) And I had to reckon with my privilege - the privilege that means I didn't know this stuff, that I haven't had to grapple with it personally. I have to do better as an ally than to wait for a documentary to show me just how much more I need to give / think / do. But now I do know. And I need to take action.

I watched my niece after that, and we had a great conversation about International Women's Day, and who counts as a woman (trans women and femme folk, not just cisgender females), and what feminism is and why I am so proud to identify myself as a feminist. It was a perfect little moment.

Happy International Women's Day, friends. If you're a woman, I stand with you, and I"m committed to educating myself to be ever-more present and useful to you. ♥
 
 
 
 
sheafrotherdon
04 March 2017 @ 08:20 am
 
Hey-o, what a strange old week this has been.

Last weekend I started with the beginnings of a cold, and almost immediately it settled in my sinuses again. By Monday the headaches were so severe I had to leave work after lunch, come home, and go to bed. Tuesday I took the whole day off. Wednesday I went in as usual and came home after lunch again. They were awful - pressured, sharp, painful. It was driving me nuts.

Thursday morning I added caffeine to the cocktail of decongestants and saline spray etc and it seemed to help. Off I went to therapy (for the first time in a while, because I can't afford the sessions right now, not until I've reached my health insurance deductible) and Jan and I had a good chat and caught up with what had been going on. I told her about the headaches and she said, "do you think they could be psychosomatic?" And my response was, "That's a really good question!"

Psychosomatic doesn't mean an illness isn't real, it just means that the cause is mental/emotional. Jan pointed out that the only time the headaches got better was when I was lying down - when I was complete out of action from everything else in my life. True. And there were other things to consider, too - like the fact that last Saturday I went to yoga for the first time in four months, and stretched out and moved things that hadn't stretched out or moved in a long time, all of which can trigger memories / emotions that are locked into our physical body. I'd also had some stressful things going on at work, so . . . we came to no direct conclusion, but it's worth me thinking about more. Perhaps the best evidence that it may be psychosomatic is that the headaches have been minimal since then. Bodies and brains, yo. Bodies and brains.

We also did EMDR on a meeting I had on Tuesday after which I was furious. It was good to dig into why that was, and how ultimately it circles through about seven emotional states to get back to insecurity or feeling a lack of affirmation on my part. The good thing is I can communicate to my colleagues that I need that affirmation, which I haven't been doing, so there's a ready solution to some of this. And it's always useful to remember that when other people make me angry it's generally because of something in myself, even if they're assholes themselves.

Jan is also having me keep a Joy Journal, in which I write down moments of joy during the week. Her hypothesis is that we all feel joy much more than we think we do, but we don't make an effort to remember those moments, and sometimes they're fleeting, so we forget they exist at all. It's also much easier to carry a narrative of 'bad things are happening!' around than 'I had four moments of joy today!' so this is a practice to train my brain to look at things differently. I dug out a journal and have been toting some colored pens around with me, and it's a pretty fun activity. And sure enough, I do experience joy, even on days when people drive me up a tree.

Other than that, I got to focus hard on a couple of projects at work this week, and that was really satisfying. I also got to set up two business trips - one to the Twin Cities in a week or so, and one to Virginia in August - and having those little changes in routine scheduled lifts my spirits. I'm seeing Hamilton again next Saturday - yay! - and even better, I'm seeing it with my friend's daughter, who is 10, a huge fan, and has never seen it. Being in her company is going to be incredible.

I'm excited for my weekend, and have no idea what I will fill it with yet. Which is part of the fun - getting to ask myself, "Self, what would you like to do now?" is always such a great way to plan out a day. And my self tells me that right now it would like another cup of tea, so off I go!