The biggest barrier I face in doing anything significant is "being overwhelmed." It dogs me in business, art, sometimes in relationships, and it's also been the biggest outstanding obstacle to resolutions.

It's clear that I can do some pretty impressive shit (Satirical Politics, CFS referendum, Transition, Art, Writing, The Switch) and most this means engaging in giant complex tasks. So how do I beat the inertia and fear? Breaking things down into manageable steps, and pushing what can be done later completely off of my plate for today, and next week or next month, and as long as it takes to just concentrate on the stuff in front of me.

So the idea here is to keep it simple and high-priority.

I divide the year up into ten parts. It's a kind of astronomy meets traditional calendar religion meets film kind of thing (if you get the last reference, you're my kind of people!). And I use this to incrementally increase my targets.

1. Jan 1st thru Imbolc
2. Imbolc thru Equinox (Ostara)
3. Ostara thru Beltane
4. Beltane thru Solstice (Litha)
5. (break) Midsummer thru July 1st - time to reflect, alter and reconsider
6. July 1st thru Lammas
7. Lammas thru The Equinox (Mabon)
8. Mabon thru Samhaine
9. Samhaine thru Yule
10.  (break) Yule thru January 1st

I have four resolutions and three of them have incremental benchmarks. Each "tenth," I pick two targets to move their benchmark up a notch. This gives me a little wiggle room in case things prove challenging.


Tasks:

1. Pack a Lunch

I've done a pretty good job of becoming frugal over the last few years. I can live well for not a lot of money. But I spend money eating out when I don't need to - and when I don't want to. Now, when I'm eating at home, I can cook like a champ. But I don't take it with me. Time to do better.

Goal: Pack a lunch. As in a meal. Not just a granola bar.
Benchmarks: 1x/week, 2x/week, 3x/week

 

2. Get up and go Outside

My mental health, sleep and pretty much everything else improve when I get up and go outside within an hour of waking for at least thirty minutes. If you are not a home-based entrepreneur (or parent), you may not realize that you can get up at a reasonable hour and have what looks like a productive day on paper without leaving your house until after dark. This is not good for me. I get cranky and weird. So, I need to fix this.

Goal: Get up and go outside within one hour waking, staying outside for at least half an hour.
Benchmarks: 3x/week, 4x/week, 5x/week
 

3. Analog Hour
This one's about mindfulness, relaxation and all kinds of good stuff. I can pull this off in transit. I can do it socially. But I'm not good at being on my own. Instead, I have an ingrained habit of staring at a screen. It started in my youth as a way of disassociating. At the time, it might have been a good idea seeing as the combination of bullying and dysphoria drives other people trans to worse ends. Still, it needs to go.

Goal: Spend one hour on my own with the computer closed. Not screwing around on my phone. Not watching TV. No "screen time." Unless it's dialing a phone for a nice chat.

Benchmarks: 2x/week, 3x/week, 4x/week


4. Actor's Accountability
This is all the rage among actors, as self-directed professionals (that are known to be a little... flaky). You meet. You plan. You do better. And if you don't, you know it probably was outside of your reasonable locus of control.

Goal: Every month, I will meet with other actors to plan out career foundational. The first month will be setting up the meeting.
Benchmarks: There's only one.
 

New Rules

1. Posture
After recovering from neckstrain from hell, I have found that oneofhte muscles in my arm is partially paralyzed. It's weak and inhabiting my ability to do stuff. This probably comes from interactions with someone I used to date. It might from the time I got thrown at that play party in 2010 - the time I was saved from breaking my neck (or, indirectly, getting irradiated at Fukushima) because I turned my arm into an "S" shape? Well, I also hit my head, which snapped my neck back, but I didn't think about it at the time. Or it might have been more recent - from picking up my date and wanting to free up one hand if you get my drift, and just carrying too much load. The leading hypothesis is that my vertebrae are probably sandwiching a nerve - it's hard dot tell. On reflection, it's most likely a bit of both.

Also: my posture sucks. I don't want to wind up in a hunch when I'm eighty. And I look great when my posture is good.

The rule then: pick one: when on my cellphone / checking email / checking my reflection or seeing my shadow - I check my posture.



2. Don't lend money

Because it leads to having got ask for it back and/or never getting it back. I don't think that I've got the money back on a single one of the loans I've given out in the last two years. I kept a spreadsheet of all the money I leant out - it's a on the level of "rent." This has got to stop. There are other ways I can support people. 

There will have to be exceptions - picking up lunch this time, covering a car rental (and of course, just giving people objects, services or money is fine). But anything involving other people and the words "pay you back later" need to be small, and never in doubt as to if/when they'll be paid back.



In reserve:

These are important, but, in the interests of not feeling overwhelmed, didn't make the cut. I will revisit these later:

1. Spend time in an altered head-space pursuing personal development. Doesn't matter what it is - it could be meditation, or character work, or booze, or sensory deprivation. Whatever.

2. Specific acting skill development

3. Studying second language
Revised resolutions after a week of trial.

52 weeks in a year - 1st week is trial, last week +1-2 days is setting down old resolutions and drafting new ones resolutions

 

1. Improve my sleeping habits.

A. I will make a weekly entry about sleep and post it on social media

B. Each month, I will select and use a different technique from the below list and use it *4* nights per week. I may implement two during the same month, or abandon one after two weeks to try another. Once I have tried all of them, I will review their utility and implement two. After one month of that, I will implement a third. A fourth may then follow

- Put a SAD light on a timer (January 5-31, or February)
- Reschedule the activities that keep me up late
- Dark hour. No blue light.
- Sleep journal
- Pre-bed shower or bath or other evening ritual
- Electronic device to track nocturnal movements
- Keep a firm wakeup time
- If I wake up after "first sleep" I will stay up for about 90 minutes

 

2. Relaxation
Once a day, four days out of the week, I will do one or more of the following for a total of 30 minutes
- Meditate
- Pray
- Go to the pool or sauna and float or sit
- Cuddle
- Something sexual
- Make non-professional art
- Do something gender-confirming
- Journal
- Daydream
- Play boardgames
- Watch a TV show
- Cook

Once every month, plus twice in one season, I will do something relaxing and new over the span of at least 6 hours. It could include one of the following. 12-hour activities can count as two.
- Bake
- Cook something new
- Go on a pilgrimage
- Travel somewhere and sleep a lot
 

3. Adopt a skin regimen
- I will do three of (exfoliate clean, tone and moisturize) 3x per week until Imbolc
- Starting at Imbolc, I will do all four
- At equinox, I will do this four times a week
- At Beltane, five times per week
- At Solstice, I will review and use the practice as needed


4. Write for one solid hour, 3x per week


5. Do voice practice for ten minutes, 3x per week
 

6. Get a permanent body modification
Equinox: investigate options and pick a top two
Solstice: investigate methods and providers and pick a top two
Equinox: arrange it
Solstice: make it happen


7. Clean my house for 15 minutes, 2x per week


8. Cultivate a human relationship, 4x per week
This could be writing a note of thanks, making a phone call, or having someone over for dinner. Whatever it is, it needs to cement a sense of community and/or foster interpersonal intimacy.

 

I will revisit these resolutions at Equinox and solstice, making adjustments as needed. If I feel I've sufficiently integrated a practice, or that it's not useful to continue pursuing, I will swap it out for another.

Woke up in the middle of the night. Whenever I closed my eyes, I would lose all sense of scale. A hand as big as a mountain floats in a bed unimaginably vast, like my senses encompass the whole of space. That and a sinking feeling in my throat. While reminiscent of unpleasant experiences I've had on morphine, it was disturbingly similar to night terrors I had as a child. 

Prayer and visualization provided little comfort in this underworld-like space. Opening my eyes provided some relief at first, but this waned and I was left in a vast cavern. I turned the lights on and, even looking around my room, it seemed as large as a dyson sphere.

Focusing on action seemed to help. I got up and took a shower. This helped. Journaling now. This feeling is still there in the background.

 

It seems that my sleep apnea is very much reduced. However, vivid and emotionally intense dreams wake me up due to their intensity.

A bunch of goals. In no particular order. With externally-imposed deadlines noted

1. Finance The Switch (March 31st 2014)

2. Finance The Vegan Roadshow (April 30th 2014)

3. Finance Monsterhearts (January 2015)

4. Actualize Project Basilisk (August 2014)

5. Run for city council (September 20th-November 20th ish 2014)

6. File for court with Greg Hughes (December 15th, 2013)

7. Find stable LTR (October 15th, 2014)

8. Prep Elchis Network (...???)

9. Exchange "Studio" for "Roommate," "Shed" for "Studio" (January 1st)

10. Develop Art Plan (...???)

11. Get up at 7-8:30 with a full night's rest. (...???)

12. Investigate investing (...??? - but the sooner, the more effective)

13. Employ skin-care regimen  (...??? - but the sooner, the more effective)

14. Take  multi-vitamin  (...??? - but the sooner, the more effective)

15. Meditate (...??? - but the sooner, the more effective)


 

Top Goals

1. Finance The Switch (March 31st)

2. Move studio to shed, find roommate

3. Meditate

4. Finance The Vegan Roadshow

5. Recoup money for robbery of phone


 

Obstacles to #1

A. Trans people are marginalized, broke and small in number.

B. Executives don't get trans people or geek content.

C. We want to be The First Series With A Trans Lead and the CW and BBC and who knows what else are coming up on us.

D. We're a little green.


 

Knowledge and Skills Needed

1. See financing plan.

Specifically:
- bridge and gap financing
- tax credits
- merch strategy,
- solicitation



Whose help I will need.

Co-workers
- JF
- HG

Community

Family

Government agencies

Finance people.

- SP

 

The plan is to do something every day to get this to happen. Failure is not an option.

From an email:

"My mouth tastes like a mix of pop rocks, iron and salt but my sleep apnea has cleared up, which is cool."

"I’ve been having vivid dreams - dreams in which I was thinking “is this a dream?” and settling on “well, no.” Just to be on the safe side, I’m reading text several times to see if it changes. So all signs point to “awake. I'm told this is normal and should pass.”

It's been around six and a half years since I went on blockers and hormones.

And fuck, do I ever miss rectifying biochemical imbalances via well-tested pharmaceuticals with pleiopsychotropic (i.e. not-really-understood and numerous mental) effects .

Of late, I'd been having short, intense spells of falling down a mental hole. And no amount of mindfulness could take the edge off. Of course, I had trouble with the mindfulness - but was the determining variable situational or neurochemical? Well, no matter how awesome my life was, I still felt kinda crap. So if it's situational, it's complicated.

So, after talking to and getting support from three friends of mine with related problems, I did the smart thing and phoned the mental health line. They gathered that I wasn't about to off myself, so they put me on a list. Days later, I got a call back from a staffer. She mentioned a program that my friends have been through. This required a referral.

I saw the doctor on Wednesday. He recommended a combination of drugs and therapy.

I had a very bad experience with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI's) as a youth. They muffled my emotions and my feelings of body and sex which made it hard to figure out I was trans - and the stress from being closeted was the lead direct and indirect cause for the mental ill health for which I was prescribed said SSRIs. They also made it impossible to orgasm and landed me in the hospital with severe stomach pains.

Not realizing that they were a problem, I was on them from shortly after puberty until I was 22. Fuck SSRI's. Right.

Here's the thing. My mum has anxiety issues. And my father had a fatal case of depression. And my grandfather died of complications after a decade-long decline into Parkinson's - that was a shitty way to go. When you have one parent with a moderate neurochemical imbalance, and one parent and one grandparent who died from them, maybe it's a bit fool to think that you can game your way out of the depression.

I'd had some experiences with other medication that left me feeling rather good for a week as a side-effect. I mentioned this to my doctor.

"That's dopamine."

Now, a dopamine deficiency is what causes Parkinson's.

So when he suggested that I instead take a dopamine reuptake inhibitor, one that wouldn't cause sexual side-effects and which might, in the long term, avert a slow decline into what's basically a whole-body paralysis (eventually you can't swallow or talk) I said yes.

Side effects are most intense for the first two weeks. And apparently, the stronger the side-effects, the greater the indication that it's doing something that your body needs.

Well, the inside of my nose is as dry as waking up from anesthesia, my dreams are even more wild and vivid than usual and most of the time, my mouth feels... weird and I feel like I just drank two cups of coffee. And it seems to be getting more intense. I am looking forward to this wearing off, but the ride is interesting.

This is in theory a good sign. But it scares me a bit. A friend of mine (her initials are not "RL," so let's use that handle) started on Adderall. I remember saying that she seemed weird, but she swore by it.

Adderall is a drug for attention deficit. And it also contains an amphetamine-analogue.


This marked the beginning of a two-year decline. As with many Adderall users, RL got a lot done - but like the college student who drops some pills the night before an exam, then stays up all night organizing her record collection, she lost all sense of task priority. This made employment impossible. Paranoia. Hostility. Almost total social withdrawal. I miss her. I'm also very angry at her. It's hard to bridge these with mental illness and addiction.

I have explained to her that I think the drug is fucking her up. But when she misses a few doses, she gets so addled and depressed that she goes back on. She believes that this is her natural state without the drug. I remember her from before, and I believe that this is her state in withdrawal from it.

                 I want to have a word with whomever is prescribing her the shit.

So I have a lot of reasons to be skittish.


What can I tell? I'm getting a lot of work done. I think I'm prioritizing well. Not great, but maybe better than I was a week ago. It may also be that I'm more aware of not prioritizing. Of course, I have a new productivity program, so that may be a factor. And I feel better. Now, the latter may be situational rather than neurochemical. Wellbutrin generally doesn't work this fast, so it may be optimism over my mental health, getting home after a long trip followed by illness, or it may feel like I have some space at work. And my clitoris got at least semi-repaired. On the other hand, things in my small business are something like "possible hope in the face of possible total catastrophe," my financial situation is the worst it's been since my early twenties, and I rarely see people outside of work.

But one thing is clear - the irrational one-hour period around sunset of horrible mood and feelings of futility? Diminished on some days; gone on others. Let's hope it stays like that.

It's only thee days so far. That's a small sample set.

If you see me in person, feel free to analyze my behaviour and speak to me.


Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to prioritize myself into bed. I have an early call to set tomorrow.

        Where I will be playing a dude.

             In a lead role.

                And that is another story.

 

 


Actually, you're not used to getting what you want.

You're used to getting what you pursue

Or rather - of being able to get what you pursue.

And you believe that it's wrong to pursue what you want.

So you don't pursue things very hard.


This, as you ay be aware by now, is a foolish way to live your life.

Let's fix that.
I just took the giant chart of progress tracking down from my bedoom wall. This last year's resolutions was notable in that the results were clearly quantifiable and trackable. This, combined with clear goals, is a clearly superior method.


Read more... )

So. Success on exercise, leadership, frugality, specific skill aquisition, and having hot needles stuck in my face. Fail on meditation, vacation, making art, shooting a crossbow and doing fun sexy things. This was the year of burning midnight oil.  So 2013's theme is going to be "Self Care"
Quarter-year review of resolutions

1. Pursue romance. Fall in love. Get laid more.
Definitely dating...


2. Continue to practice physio. Regain the use of my arm.
Slipped off on it. Getting back into it. Mobility definitely returning/increasing. Wrist exercises commence Thursday.


3. Get cardio exercise 2+ times per week
In training. Should get specific instructions this week


4. Meditate, pray or whatever twice a week for 1⁄2 hour each time.
Not doing it. Journaling though.


5. Listen to my body about sleeping, sun, time outs and food.
Doing better.


6. Playtest and name my storygame system
Playtesting it. Named: Interstice.


7. Dance
Finding excuses to dance.


8. Give myself permission to be feminine
Not sure what this entails. Exploring greater flexibility in body-language. Feels natural. Need to do more Have been thinking about it - but how to execute it?


Addition:
9. Address work-life balance.
Taking one day per week, more or less. One day out of the shop to be sure. Need to set a schedule: at-work, or not-at-work

Women-only pharmacy reverses policy excluding transsexual and intersexed women


Also see the Femininjas's Website

I still have some concerns about whether the gentrification issues have been addressed, but this, at least, is good news.

I understand they need volunteers, and this is a good time to make change.
Every week, usually on a Tuesday, I ask myself the same question:

My lips are cracking, especially in the corners. I wonder if I'm getting enough vitamin B

And I answer the same way:

Given that my classmates comment on my fondness for leafy greens. And given that this problem shows up only on Tuesdays. And given that Tuesdays are the day after electrolysis. And given that electrolysis involves a heated needle being poked in and around my lips. Perhaps I can conclude that the problem is not a lack of vitamin B.

At least until next week.

Unfortunately, the circumstaces leading up to my peeling beeswax off of my naked chest were accidental, not intentional.

Fortunately, I have successfully just made a large amount of scent-free hair pomade. I got the recipe from an article on chemical sensitivity.

If you want some, or know someone who would like to try it, let me know.

(So now, to avoid wax-splashes, I am wearing an old apron that says "Graham" on it)
Being sick is irritating me. I want to be at work, kicking CFS ass. It's the big push now. We're expecting their cross-Canada "volunteer" swarm starting today.

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