Daily Reflection: #002 — Respite

All things considered, I suppose I’m doing well. That doesn’t mean anything objective, however; last night I experienced symptoms of the beginning of a depressive episode. But given everything that’s been happening, the fact that it wasn’t more extreme, and that it is less severe today, is something to be glad about.

I have personally been going out more…though it is a bit much when most people aren’t masked (and some of the unmasked people are sick). We have had family visitations…again, not-masked, or poorly-masked. The rest of February, into March, looks like more of the same: not because it has to happen, but because people have been cooped up for three years and are tired of it (and not thinking too well).

I’ve debated raising the question of whether these decisions are based more on emotion than on rationality. But I don’t think I’ll like the (emotional) response I’ll get, from that.

I’ve been in the process of applying for jobs, on top of everything. I have come to the realization that I should not throw away the past 13 years of work and school experience, simply because my favored position in a Library setting is away from customers (and doesn’t look like it will ever budge on that stance, even if basic front-line “Librarian” jobs are the gateway to everything else [which they shouldn’t be: different specializations require different skill sets]). There’s actually a chance to get behind the scenes, now that I have training and my Master’s. I’ve just never experienced it, before.

Of course…I can get back to my Writing practice. When I look back at my written work, I can see that it actually is decent. That’s even if I don’t end up becoming an Editor. The issue is letting the work be what it wants or needs to be, and not what I’ve already decided it should be.

Writing can take quite a toll on my self-concept and emotions. It will reveal things about its author of which, the author may not have been aware. So yes, it can be fun; and yes, it can be stressful. For me, to separate the two would be to divest myself of responsibility for the characters and content I’m creating, when I know that both ultimately arise from my own state of being.

One of my real problems, here, is that working on this project makes my own only partially-functional adjustment where it comes to the state of the world apparent in a way that I can see — and also, judge. I’m told that I have a particularly high level of “insight”, which is a Psychology term for self-awareness. This is undoubtedly a good thing, at least where it comes to everyday functioning. It’s not great, where it comes to self-judgment in creative endeavors. If I could read without judgment, that would be different.

Well: if I could read without judgment, I’d likely be much better-read, where it comes to Fiction.

Normally, I wouldn’t have been aware of the impact of my psychology on my writing; but by the time I got to college, I had been in Psychiatric treatment for years. By the end of Undergrad, I learned to read my own writing as someone who is not the author: from the perspective of a reader analyzing my own work as I would analyze anyone else’s. That’s what got me to stop writing, in the first place. Well, that, and the crushing depression. Self-analysis requires self-compassion and self-knowledge that I did not have as a young adult.

There’s also the possibility that I was judging too harshly all the other published writers whose work I had to pick apart…even though in some cases, the works were so problematic and so lauded (by whom?), that the response was understandable.

Right now, I’m trying to go through therapy at the same time as I’m writing. It’s almost a best-case scenario. Almost. It would probably be easier if we weren’t coming out of three years of Pandemic stress and isolation. I’m thinking that the anxiety I’ve been going through about being around other people again, is the major reason I’m experiencing symptoms of depression.

But I guess if there are periods in which I feel better and more productive than I do much of the rest of the time, there’s got to be some balance for that, on the other end.

The benefit of taking a Professional job is the fact that, should I actually get the job, I’ll have free time to devote to other things that don’t draw significant amounts of income on their own: like beadwork.

I’ve actually been getting back into the beading, albeit slowly (I’ve had significant interruptions, some of which were relatively stressful). Right now, I’m working on a simple Double Spiral bracelet in shades of yellow ochre and spruce green…but I’ve only been able to resume working on it, recently. Then there are the experimental Pillow Bracelet units I’ve begun (the ones with four Lentil beads around a 4mm round; I still need to figure out one or more closures, for that one), a set-up to work on Fan earrings in Lilac and Light Sapphire…and many more groupings of beads pre-coordinated with color combinations I’ve used before (likely given as gifts).

And I’ve wanted to try bead embroidery. I have the materials, and the instructions to try it for the first time. These are essentially self-published books by Jamie Cloud Eakin, which I’ve never actually read through or used before (though it is notable, how little a Publishing pedigree matters when you have books by Jamie Cloud Eakin [or Joan R. Babcock, for that matter — no, I’m not affiliated with either of them]); the question is whether the techniques work or not, and whether they’re understandable and useful). I’ve been thinking of trying to connect some small bead-embroidered cabochon units to the Pillow Bracelet units; but I’m not totally sure as to the practicality of that.

The Pillow Earring units — used on the square — don’t leave a lot of space in the outer round of seed beads (particularly in the tiny 15/0 sizes), and these are the same units as used in the Bracelet, just with a different thread path and different orientation (on the diagonal instead of square). It is notable that weaving the Bracelet should leave more space in the piercings, due to the fact that the threads don’t have to be fully and securely anchored at the start and completion of every unit. But I’m not sure that I’ll have the free space for connections, if I’m alternating diamond shapes with bead-embroidered cabochons. I’ll need room for at least two passes of thread…which necessitates fine FireLine (or possibly SpiderWire), and fine needles…or beads with larger openings, like Delicas. The finest FireLine I have is 3 lb. test; I know it goes down to 1 lb. test. I have no idea what that is going to do to the durability of anything next to crystal elements (as in the centers of the diagonal Pillow modules), however.

Sewing everything together sounds more or less straightforward if all parts are made with bead embroidery techniques. But connecting a beadwoven unit with a bead-embroidered unit, at the very least, is going to take some experimentation. It is Design work, though, as versus Production work. Maybe testing out designs would be of more interest, than just making something I don’t have to think too much about.

I probably have too many workable, potentially beautiful ideas for projects, and am overwhelmed at the prospect of starting (or continuing) any, right now. The idea (“dream”) might be more valuable than the execution (“reality”). That might be more characteristic of me than I’ve ever acknowledged before. It’s good just to be aware I have that tendency, however; it means I can recognize it when it shows up.

Today it was easier to sit down and write about doing things, than to actually do them. It’s also easier to buy the materials to make the things, as versus put in the time and work to make them. (Especially considering that accidental needle jabs are a way of life among beadweavers!) Of course…writing isn’t a waste of time, if one wants to be a Writer. And I’ve had a hard time writing anything, recently. Particularly, anything private, and by hand. I wouldn’t say it was quite traumatic…but maybe there is something to the thought.

The last time I was writing Fiction, I was in a very mentally unhealthy place.

Maybe I shouldn’t try and force myself to write, when I don’t want to — or don’t have the energy and fortitude to deal with what comes up. I tried it last night and…if I hadn’t, maybe I would have been able to ignore or work past my anxiety, instead of paying attention to it and letting it bloom. There are people in this life who can decide not to think about something, and then (so they say) actually not think about it. I’m not one of them. But there’s something to be said for intentionally not indulging anxious thoughts…

Published by Haruna

Haruna is a Librarian by training, currently pivoting from Public Services into Technical Services. Their undergraduate major was English -- Creative Writing, and they hold an additional small degree in Art (i.e. Visual Arts). They are now pondering whether a career in Academia is viable or desirable, given the current situation.

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