Identification Issues

WELL THEN. This is WEIRD.

Admittedly, I’ve had this thought recently, but I really thought it was insecurity because I haven’t been writing lately.

What if I’m not really meant to be a writer?

Nicki’s Insecurities

Yeah. But then I was looking through my RSS feed reader (because I’m old and I like that particular way of keeping track of the blogs I like) and I saw a post by NaNo – “Pro Tips from a NaNo Coach: Writing During (and About) Times of Trauma“.

Huh. I’ve written about trauma before. But I don’t need to worry about that this year.

Nicki’s Actual Thoughts

I actually thought that I didn’t need the article because I’m not a writer and so I wouldn’t need the advice.

*record scratch*

WHAT. THE. ACTUAL. HECKIN’. HECK.

(I’m trying not to swear.)

I can’t pinpoint for how long, but I’ve considered myself a writer for years now. Probably since I started co-MLing for our local NaNo region. That’s over 10 years. That’s a long time to stick to an identity, and then to just have it slip away when I wasn’t paying attention?

How did that happen?

You all have heard the story. I had a vacation planned (convention) in January and then I came back and got the flu, and then I got Shingles, and that all combined just ground writing to a halt. And oh, yeah, then we all got shut in for Quarantine, and it’s been FUBARed since then. Pandemic, etc. Personal family crisis, etc.

So I haven’t been writing. And I’ve been OKAY with not writing, because I was creating on YouTube in its place. I couldn’t write because Life, but I could record videos and post them online. Creating is creating, and that need was met.

But I’ve been a writer for ages (I tell the story about the 4th grade book about cat eating mouse that I wrote/illustrated a lot, too, so I won’t retell it), and to not feel like a writer right now is…

It’s making me uneasy.

I made another identification shift this morning, too. Unrelated to writing, etc. So that’s not helping.

I’m so very confused.

I’ll settle into things eventually, I’m sure. But for now…

Confusion.

Self Care and the USPS

I have decided that as an act of self care, I will be purchasing a book or sheet (or two) of first class Forever stamps every month for the rest of the year.

I am doing this to avoid having to send mail with the ugly postage meter imprint of bright red ink which is my alternative when I forget stamps. I used to keep a book of stamps at the office, and I have somehow let that habit lapse. It was wonderful, though, when I realized I needed to send something out because of a forgotten birthday or anniversary, or because a sympathy card was needed, or just because. I just reached into my sticker and emergency card container (yes, that’s actually what’s in it), grabbed a card and stamp, and I was ready to go.

I am doing this because I love to send mail. For whatever reason, I had three pieces of Real Mail to go out today – one note of thanks, one just because card, and one I love you and miss you card – and it felt so good to put those in the outgoing mailbox. I have always loved receiving mail, but I didn’t think about how much I love sending it as well. Not until this morning.

I am doing this to support the USPS. I won’t get into the politics of it. I’m just going to use the service I love to keep mailing Real Mail to friends, family, and possibly other random people. In fact, I can think of at least five or six people I need to reach out to so they can get in my address book and get into circulation.

I am going to add this event to my calendar. Maybe I’ll end up with too many stamps. That will be a reminder that I’m not reaching out enough. Maybe I won’t have enough stamps. That’s okay, there’s still a postage meter available at the office.

I am not going to feel guilty about spending this $12-24 dollars every month. It’s not allowed. It’s self care for me, to put out messages to friends and family and people who need them. Maybe I’ll even allow myself to send mail to a couple YouTubers who have PO boxes, just to see how it feels to know that they’re getting a small message from me, and to imagine what it might be like to actually get mail like that myself.

It feels like a good plan.

Oh, hello!

The use of exclamation point in the title of this post may imply that the author is doing better than they actually are.

Or not. Right now, actually, I feel okay. I am doing laundry, which means I am not in the house with most of the issues that have been causing considerable stress. This either means I’m really good at compartmentalizing, or there’s something wrong with me that I’m able to “turn off” my stress/anxiety/depression when I’m not around the triggers for it.

Meh. Something along those lines.

So, how are you? Taking care of yourself? I hope so. Maybe doing laundry is that for me. I’m not sure. At the very least, as I mentioned, I’m not facing the consequences of my stressors, because they are in another location, or I haven’t been forced to look at them closely (that will happen tomorrow night with one of them, unfortunately). So I’m calm-ish, able to get some perspective (no one is dead, or currently in the hospital, and we are together – we will be okay), and I have a little time for me.

Currently, time for me includes working through my four journals (bullet journal planner, Start Today journal with gratitudes and goals, shared journal, and personal journal/occasional YouTube planner), watching a Minecraft Twitch stream, thinking about meditating and filming when this is over (not at the same time), and planning a book recommendation list to add to this blog. That’s kind of the plan for the day, actually. I have a couple hours left before laundry will be done, so I may get quite a bit of it accomplished.

My friend pointed out something in the comments that I’m really embracing right now. After ranting about “niche” for a bit (I probably very nearly have that rant out of my system), my friend pointed out that

I don’t know what I’m doing
and you can’t stop me

really is my niche right now.

I love that. I love that so hard. Because yeah, with the establishment of this blog, after having so many others, I did kind of sort out that I will write about whatever I want to write about, whenever I want to do it, because ultimately this has to be for me before it will ever be for anyone else. In fact, it may only ever be for me in terms of I may never gain a huge following. Will I allow it to survive that long? I sincerely hope so, but it’s hard to tell.

And that is going to be my niche on YouTube, too. Another friend told me her advisor told her to just make the videos right now, that her niche will reveal itself with time. And yes! That, too, I love. Because while right now I’m just going to Do The Thing, at some point I could narrow things down and things could really have a definitive theme. Or a different theme, I suppose. It’s okay to change.

it’s okay to change.

I need to remember that. Change is normal. Change is life. Nothing is static, and getting comfortable with change is going to change (ha-ha) my life in a good way. Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is good.

Hard, maybe, but good.

So I don’t have to be the person I am now in 5 years, or 5 months, or 5 days (although that last one seems drastic).

Hmm.

I may have gotten off track today.

That’s all right.

I love me anyway.

I hope you have a great day today.

And if you aren’t having a great day, I hope you have an okay day.

And if you aren’t having an okay day, I hope tomorrow is better.

Loves.

Lectured

I went to my very first well-doctor/new patient appointment today. I don’t think I’ve been to the doctor without being sick since I was little. I only go if I’m not feeling well, and it takes flu-level sick (or that one time with the back pain while pregnant) to get me there.

In January, when I got sick, I found out I was no longer a patient with my previous doctor, which was absolutely a blessing in disguise. I didn’t like the guy, and his office was very far away. So I went to the little CVS Minute Clinics for the flu and for shingles, and promised myself when I got better I’d get a regular doctor.

So I made the appointment on Tuesday, and I was able to be seen today. It worked really well! My doctor is nice and energetic and probably a little younger than me, and it turns out that I’m relatively healthy. Blood pressure, etc are splendid. It’s just…

Well, I’m fat. I knew that. It’s hard to miss. So I got a little lecture, but it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting.

I told her I’d been walking lately, and she launched into the lecture about, well, if you want to lose weight, it’s all about the carbs/sugar. And I was like, no, I’m not trying to lose weight, I’m trying to move more. I’m not even worrying about my food right now. I don’t care about that. I can focus on this one thing – walking, and then at the end of March, trying to run. I can focus on that, and when that’s a habit, maybe we’ll talk about food.

But she did mention a thing – because don’t think for a second that me telling her that “losing weight” is a phrase that if I focus on it will guarantee failure stopped her lecture – that was kind of interesting. Along with her “carbs are not good”, “yogurt is full of sugar and pasteurized so much to erase any probiotic bonus (except Greek yogurt”, and “fat will stay in your digestive tract for 9 hours but sugar’s in your bloodstream in 60 minutes” spiel, she mentioned something about sugar and protein on the nutrition label.

I don’t know how she got on this particular point, because one moment she’s telling me that breakfast cereal, yogurt, and granola bars are bad, and the next minute she’s telling me that on the nutrition label you should be looking for sugar in the single digits, and protein in the double digits. Come to think of it, she might have been talking about granola/protein bars. That would make sense. But I just glommed onto the Sugar 1, Protein 2 bit.

So anyway. I’m still not going to be worrying about what I eat, if I’m honest, although I will keep what she said in the back of my mind. “Diet” is another one of those words that you might call a “trigger” – I’m not going on another fucking Diet ever, but thinking about nutrition is totally something that seems possible.

Once the moving is a habit. And the water. And I’m still working on both.

Oh, and I get bloodwork tomorrow! I feel so Adult. 😉

February, I’m getting really tired of you trying to copy January’s sh*t.

Actually, February (with one recent exception which I will not mention other to say that it involved Junior Youth and everyone is fine) wasn’t too bad to me. In fact, I finally started doing one of the things I’ve vaguely wanted to do since I got back from the RISE Weekend in January.

Screenshot of Apple's Activity app showing closed circles from Feb 9-24

I have been doing the “move your body for 30 minutes a day” thing! I’m really proud of myself. I haven’t been so physically active since the late 90’s, early 00’s when I tried the Body for Life program. The flu knocked me out of that one, and I just never got back on track.

As much improvement as there’s been in my head in terms of accepting how my body looks (mostly) and being happy at peace with my weight (more or less), I am decidedly unsatisfied with one particular piece about my health.

Two particular pieces.

  1. My knees.
  2. Getting winded when walking up stairs

I mean, my body is pretty strong. It carries me around. My blood pressure is normal. But my knees, man. I can’t crouch, or they’ll give out. I don’t do squats for fear of the same. And I absolutely cannot kneel on the floor (which has made my first two attempts at yoga go particularly poorly) without significant padding because my knees will feel bruised for a week.

And stairs. I get winded. I want to be able to walk up a flight of stairs. That is all.

So, yeah. I’ve been moving. Walking is my favorite move, but I’m trying to do some yoga, too, because I want to be a person who likes yoga nearly as much as I used to want to be a person who liked running.

Speaking of running, I’m also going to be doing the local, in-person, couch-to-5K group in March, and I’ve signed up for the local breast cancer walk/run event in October. This is kind of exciting for me, because, as I just mentioned, I used to really want to be a person who liked running. I even bought a pair of honest-to-goodness running shoes about five years ago, but then I never ran in them. This is clearly a side-effect of the previously mentioned personal development conference that I did in January, as that company is putting on a 10K/half marathon event in December. While I had no intention of doing that particular run at the time of the event when it was revealed (nor do I now), apparently the idea took root.

And oh yeah, I’ve also been practicing getting comfortable in front of a camera! It’s nothing fancy, I just occasionally remember to take my picture when I’m out for a walk. Clearly not every day, but once in a while. I tend to take them at an angle (that’s the best I can manage one-handed), and I’m not always in a good mood (see picture #4), but they’re turning out well. I might keep the practice up, and post them in a group from time to time.

And that is just about all I wanted to say! I hope everyone else is having a fabulous month. See you in a bit!