Welcome 2019: Goals and Thoughts

To start: I’m not totally sold on this new WordPress editor. I know when it came out people were PISSED about it, and honestly, I can see why. On the other hand, it has some cool features. What I’m really not pleased about is the apparent disappearance of the word count function — or maybe it’s somewhere here and I just can’t find it yet. EDIT: I found it. It’s…yeah, okay, I don’t like where it is now. You have to click a button to see it instead of it just being at the base of your editing window.

To continue: Happy New Year! I hope you had a great New Year’s Eve and Day and that you stayed safe and warm. On New Year’s Eve I went and got a CT scan, which was a terrifying experience as I’m claustrophobic. However, it will hopefully show if my spinal injury has deteriorated or not. (OK, seriously WordPress? You fucked up adding links? Jesus.)

Anyway, as I’ve thrown out my back three times in the past year, I think it’s time to see what’s going on back there and possibly get a referral to a neurologist. I was super lucky to get a CT scan before the end of the year, and going in and getting it was actually very fast. So I’m not displeased.

2019 is the year of feeling less crappy. #spoonielife Click To Tweet

I have decided that 2019 is going to be the year I get my health back. Or, more accurately, the year I stop feeling like 100% crap all the damn time. Living with a spinal injury and acid reflux and all manner of chronic crap as well as mental illness means that I basically always feel like shit, and I’m tired of it, because there are small interventions I can do to lessen that feeling like shit thing.

2019 is also the year of better communication and finishing up projects! It’s the last year in this decade, the 2010s, so I want to get some stuff DONE, you know? I also want to communicate better — by which I mean, actually send out newsletters on a regular basis and blog more. Also maybe get a keyboard that can keep up with me so I’m not having to correct for missing letters every FIVE SECONDS, LAPTOP, I’M TALKING TO YOU.

So anyway, I’ve got some goals. Some writing goals. (I have other goals too but maybe one set of goals per post, or this will be waaaay too long.)

Continue reading “Welcome 2019: Goals and Thoughts”

2018 End of Year Reflection

This month I realized I hadn’t posted here since July, and didn’t want to end 2018 on that note. So, an EOY reflection…and I would say an explanation of where I’ve been, but if you’ve been reading this blog for any period of time you know I tend to drop off the face of the earth for long periods.

I try not to do this, and I am working on it. But I think I also need to admit that perhaps my regular schedule is flurries of activity followed by periods of silence.

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Katje and the Complete Lack of Executive Function

I did say I’d get that Gwyn ap Nudd piece up this week, didn’t I?

Well, I wasn’t lying, but apparently my brain has had other ideas. I’ve completely lacked in executive function this week. Or more accurately, I have been plagued by executive dysfunction.

What does that mean?

Executive dysfunction is often dubbed “laziness” by people who don’t understand it, but it’s not laziness at all. I have executive dysfunction *and* I can be a very lazy person, so I know how to tell the difference. (Though often my brain likes to berate me for my laziness even when I know full well it’s executive dysfunction — because ill brains like to attack themselves. It is known.)

Laziness is “I should get up and clean the living room, but I don’t want to, so I’m going to watch Doctor Who instead and enjoy it.”

Executive dysfunction is “I really want to get the living room clean, and finish that blog post, and work on my novel, and do some publishing work, and do a load of laundry so I can have clean clothing, but I can’t. I’m sitting here unable to even get up to think about those things. I’m telling myself to get up, but I can’t. So I’ve put on Doctor Who but I’m not even really watching it; I’m staring at the TV screen and wondering why I’m so fucking broken.”

I have been in both these places. The second one is what I’m stuck in right now. I have been *trying* to force myself to get things done, to work past the executive dysfunction, and mostly I have been failing. I’ve also been trying to not be hard on myself, but the truth is that a lot of my responsibilities don’t really give a shit if my broken brain is acting up and making it near-impossible to get done the things I need to get done — they still need to get done and I’m the one who has to do them. So not beating myself up over it is easier said than done.

Even on good days I struggle with executive dysfunction. The stuff you see from me in public? The posts of chapters to Wattpad, updates on my Patreon, my weekly newsletters? Those things take inordinate amounts of energy even during good phases. (Not even getting into the stuff you *don’t* see from me in public. So much background work goes into indie author life.) This is not a good phase.

Honestly I don’t know how I’m writing this post right now. I managed to make myself sit down and start it, and I’m not going to get up until it’s done, because otherwise? It will languish on my hard drive for the rest of time. And I should post it, so you know what’s happened to Mythology Mondays.

They’re not on hiatus. I’m working on Gwyn’s post. It just might be…a week later than its first postponement. Gods, I hope. I hope I can get it up by Monday.

So, let’s say Monday the 23rd, Gwyn ap Nudd, then back to the every other Monday schedule, which puts Borvo on August 6th. Let’s say it, and then maybe it’ll make itself true!

It’s 5 am, so I’m going to go to sleep now, and hopefully tomorrow I will get more than a grand total of 2 things done.

Loonily,
Katje of the Broken Brain

Postponing this instalment of Mythology Mondays

I’m sorry, but I need to postpone today’s Mythology Mondays post. (Gwyn ap Nudd was the winner, by the way!) It’s not ready, and I’ve been under the weather for the past week or so. I need a bit more time to put it together and instead of rushing and trying to finish it today (and having the work suffer, as well as my health), I’m just going to put it off till next Monday.

WHICH MEANS there will be a new post on Monday the 16th AND on Monday the 23rd — I don’t want to get off schedule, so I’m going to do two weeks in a row.

Soooo I need your votes! Voting usually would close at midnight on Monday, but as the Gwyn ap Nudd post will be up that day, I’m extending the poll length to Tuesday, the 17th. Let me know who you want to read about on the 23rd. (Also, I’m changing up the poll this time ’round and allowing two choices per voter.)

Thanks for understanding, everyone. I’ll see you on Monday!

-Katje

2018 So Far (pretty good, with a side of “Fuck you Student Loans”)

I don’t know about you but my 2018 so far has been pretty awesome. Well, I say awesome. I mean, it’s been good.

I’ve started doing that Year in Pixels thing — I wasn’t even going to, but the planner I bought and put into my binder had it already laid out on a page so I was like, hey, why not — and I’ve decided that when deciding if a day was good or not, I’m not going to let the 5 shitty minutes color my view of the entire day. I am committing to being relentlessly positive about life, on top of very ambitious and driven. So I’ve had mostly good or great days this year, with the exception of a row of “so-so” days when I was down with the sickness (OH-WAH-AH-AH-AH).

'I'm not going to let 5 shitty minutes color my view of the entire day.' Click To Tweet

Also with the exception of a couple of bad days, courtesy of Student Loans.

Some background: Student Loans now does things through an online dashboard. You apply there and get info about your loans there. Since sending off my declarations on the 4th I have checked my dashboard relentlessly for news. They didn’t get my declarations until the 11th, and then didn’t update my page for another several days, and THEN last Sunday they told me my total funding was $1,293.

Cue heart attack.

Continue reading “2018 So Far (pretty good, with a side of “Fuck you Student Loans”)”

End of Year Reflection: Go Fuck Yourself, 2017

I feel like I’m saying that a lot these days. Every New Year’s I turn to the past year and scream BURN IN HELL YOU ASSHOLE and then turn to the next year like it’s going to be better. And then it’s not. Or it is in some ways, but worse in other ways.

Anyway, this year is no exception. 2017 was long and hard and yet surprisingly short, and while I’m glad it’s over I also want to hit Pause for a few days because I am so not ready for 2018, y’all.

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Help Me Help Out Vancouver Pagan Pride

I honestly cannot believe that September is more than half-over already. I feel like we JUST finished August.

This month has been a bit of a whirlwind of downtime for me, if that makes any sense at all. We did Pirates and Fairies on Labour Day Weekend; it’s our yearly excursion to the lake for fun and glitter. It gives new meaning to the term “glamping”.

Usually we have a really incredible time but this year it was *so hot* we had trouble functioning. Mr. Katje is usually the one up till 7am; he was falling asleep at 2am because of the heat. Our brains didn’t work properly and we just wanted to sleep the entire time.

Despite the heat we DID have fun, and got to hang out with some good friends and swim in the lake. Mr. Katje got sunburned; I did not. We both wore sunscreen.

After coming home I was so tired I was barely able to function during the week. I managed to help out my friend with getting things ready for the event she was organizing, Vancouver Pagan Pride Day, on Thursday the 7th. Then Saturday the 9th was the actual event and I was there all day.

It poured for the first few hours before finally becoming dry around 1pm. I was in so much pain that weekend.

Normally I’m a person who likes rain, but doing an outdoor event in the rain? Nope. Nope nope nope. I’ve done it multiple times and EVERY TIME I swear “Never again!” Especially if you’re selling books — NO ONE buys books in the rain. When you have that on top of “sitting in rain makes me hurt all over for days”….yeah.

However, I’d committed to volunteering at VPPD and I wanted to make the event as successful as possible, so I showed up and stayed all day to help out. My books were on the snack bar table, which was the community vending table this year. Didn’t sell any (told you) but that’s okay; I made some good contacts and new friends (YAY NEW FRIENDS). Worth the pain. 😉

Mainly, though, I was there to make the day a success for my friend. She has been working herself to the bone to make VPPD a great day for the community every single year, and it has been so hard on her. Rain hurts turnout, which hurts things like raffle sales, concession sales, and donations, which in turn hurts the event.

Events like this cost money. Quite a bit of money in Vancouver, which is a SUPER expensive city. We need to give back to events like these if we want to continue to HAVE them for the community.

Ok, I’m not going to get into a rant about lack of pagan infrastructure on this blog. That’s best saved for my blog at moragspinner.net…where I’m sure I’ll rant AT LENGTH about this particular thing, because it’s a huge thorn in my side right now/always.

But anyway, my point is: if you want pagan events to continue, you need to support them. If you can’t support them financially you need to support them in other ways…like word of mouth advertising to get people there so that there’s a bigger turnout and better chance of ACTUAL FINANCIAL SUPPORT.

'If you want pagan events to continue, you need to support them.' #VanPPD Click To Tweet

And rain hurts turnout. So this year…I don’t know the exact numbers, but we didn’t do as well as we should have. Actually, we’re kind of in major trouble.

TO THAT END (the point of this post, finally, sheesh).

From now until Imbolc, if you buy an ebook by either me or my mom at our Ecwid store I will be donating 80% of the proceeds to VPPD to help make up for the shortfall from this year’s event.

Continue reading “Help Me Help Out Vancouver Pagan Pride”

The Love You Give Is Enough

Yesterday I ran a lot into something that’s physically painful for me to see: clappy hand emojis between words. It’s an internet trend to make what are considered important points this way, instead of the old-fashioned placing of a period between each word. (What. was. wrong. with. that?)

You’re probably wondering why/how it makes me sick. The best explanation I can come up with is that my visual processor is over-developed and hyper-competent after a lifetime of having to make up for my auditory disabilities — my hearing is fine, my brain has problems processing and parsing sounds — and so when I read things, I experience them more vividly than people without that disability do.

My lack of ability to properly parse things I hear means my visual processor makes up for it by making me hear things mentally really well when I read them. This is why shitty punctuation in a book drives me insane. I can’t just skim over it when reading; it’s integrally a part of what I’m experiencing. It tells me how to “hear” things in my mind, and if it’s wrong, it will fuck up my entire experience.

(This is also why I loathe the practice of 2 spaces after a period. It makes my brain grind to a halt when I’m reading something, because one space is a normal pause between sentences for me. Two spaces is the emergency brake.)

My experience seeing the clappy hand emojis between words is to feel as if I’m being slapped or punched in the face after every word. Reading a sentence written that way gives me a headache and makes me nauseated.

And to be honest, even if it didn’t cause me physical pain, I would find it the most annoying fucking thing on the planet. So either way, I’d be stoked if people could fucking stop doing it.

Anyway. Yesterday I saw like, 3 or 4 tweets using this method so I spent most of the day feeling headachey and sick to my stomach. One of them, however, is what inspired this post.

This was from an account I used to enjoy following, and from someone I thought was pretty cool. Not only did they use the clappy hands emoji thing that makes me sick, but they used it to repeat a really damaging belief: “you can’t love somebody until you love yourself.” (I’m pretty sure that’s what the tweet said exactly; I just went and double-checked as fast as I could before getting too sick. Am super nauseated right now anyway.)

This is a bullshit idea and I am so sick of hearing it repeated.

An image of two people kissing is overlaid with text that says "You can't love someone unless you love yourself; You can't be happy with someone else if you aren't happy with yourself." Over top this text is a big red X, and the words FUCK OFF in bold black Impact font on a pink rectangle background.
I have strong feelings about this.

Working on self-love is, of course, important, and something I encourage EVERYONE to do. But the phrasing of this idea, the way it’s always put forth, makes it a zero-sum game: you cannot love someone until you love yourself. Unsaid in that sentence: your whole self. You cannot love someone until you love yourself 100%.

This idea leads to a horrible self-repeating spiral of self-hate. That sentence also says that if you DO love someone when you don’t love yourself, it’s not enough. It’s not GOOD enough. Your love for your spouse or sister or daughter or son or best friend — it’s not enough, because you don’t love yourself first.

And because your love isn’t enough — because you don’t love yourself — you are obviously not worthy of that person. And if you’re not worthy of that person, then you are, of course, not worthy of THEIR love and thus unlovable.

How the fuck are you supposed to work on self-love if you keep getting told that the love you give isn’t good enough?

I’m a broken person. I’m damaged goods. I always will be; doesn’t mean I want to be treated like I am. You can glue something back together, but those cracks will always be visible.

Most days I absolutely hate myself. But you know who I love? Mr. Katje, my husband. I love him so much I can sometimes forget what an awful person I am. I love him so much I can forget that I hate myself.

And Mr. Katje loves me, and because he loves me, he helps me work on these things. He reminds me to eat, because I can’t love myself enough to do that. He reminds me to take my pills, because sometimes I cannot take that care of myself. His reminders build up, and become my reminders: I eat because Mr. Katje loves me, so I am worth loving, so I need to love myself. I take my pills because Mr. Katje loves me, so I am not an unlovable monster, so I need to take care of myself.

Through his love of me, I am slowly, very slowly discovering self-love. It is self-love based in the love of another person.

I suppose people who believe that self-love must be entirely self-generated, a virgin birth in your heart, would see that as unhealthy.

I believe humans are pack animals and we cannot exist alone. I believe relying on oneself to the exclusion of all else is unhealthy. I believe we need each other in the same way we need food, water, shelter.

So I do not see my building up my self-love based on the love others give me as unhealthy. I see it as human.

I know Mr. Katje struggles with self-love, too. I know he has doubts; I know he has that voice inside that tells him he’s not good enough, not smart enough, not strong enough for me. I know he feels he’s not a good enough husband for me, because he can’t support me like he wants to, because he’s been damaged by a lifetime of society shoving it down his throat that if he’s not earning big bucks, he’s not good enough.

(Kyriarchy damages men too.)

He is enough. He will always be enough, regardless our money situation, regardless what lies society screams at him. And if the love he gives is enough for me, then the love I give has to be enough for him.

It’s not fair to ask damaged people to put everything on hold while they try to figure out how to love themselves, and then to tell them that if they can’t figure that out, they don’t deserve to love anyone else.

It’s not fair to ask that of anyone.

Spend time cultivating self-love, as much as you can. But if you cannot get that to 100% — that’s okay. If all you can manage is 5% on a good day — that’s okay. The love you give is still worthy. The love you give is enough. The love you give is not subtracted from by the hate you feel for yourself. This is not algebra.

We may be brokenhearted, but we are enough, and whatever love we can pump out of those damaged organs is enough. It has to be, or humanity doesn’t stand a chance.

Discouragement

It’s been a while since I’ve written.

We got a new tire for my car. Or rather, we got 5 new tires for my car and one of them turned out to work. The first time Mr Katje went to the scrap yard he got a deal on 4 tires for 200 bucks off a 2000 Dodge Caravan — ie, my exact car.

They didn’t fit.

I don’t fucking know WHY, they just didn’t fit. They should have. SAME CAR. That night included Mr Katje lying on the ground looking at this tire he couldn’t get onto my car and saying “Happy birthday, Dear, I got you the wrong tires.”

(Yes, tires were my bday gift. I turned 31 and I got a working car. #blessed)

So he went back and was able to return them (a VERY WELCOME SURPRISE) and got a different one which definitely DID fit. So my car got all fixed up in time for me to drive up to Sechelt.

So mom and I went to the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts, or FOTWA, or #SecheltWritersFest, or SCFWA, from August 17-20. We were in the tent selling books with other local indie authors.

We had a great time; I sold 2 books. Pretty good considering the overlap between SFF readers and people who go to festivals like that one is pretty slim.

Then we got back to our respective homes and Mr Katje and I went and watched the eclipse the next day, which was fucking underwhelming. I thought 86% totality was going to be pretty good but it was just disappointing. Didn’t help we couldn’t get any eclipse glasses so we had to look through pinhole boxes we’d made that morning.

When we’re 80 we’ll just look right at it because either medical technology will have progressed to the point where it doesn’t matter and we can just get new eyes, or we’ll be so close to the grave we won’t give a fuck.

Continue reading “Discouragement”