One of my 2017 goals is to continue to reduce my social media presence.
I've been working on this for a year, actually. I ditched the Gulf Coast Studio username. I was getting questions about my art, which is no longer for sale or commission due to disability, so I got rid of the handle on Instagram, Twitter, and Etsy. My Pinterest still exists, but it is abandoned. I'm still on Twitter, now back on my old username, but you most likely don't want to be there. I am a human rights advocate and I will not back down. I've blocked a lot of people, and a lot of people have blocked me. I'm not only good with that, I'm better for it.
I didn't mean to confuse LJ readers. I honestly didn't realize you were still there. I wiped out the old account...everybody's gone. I'll use it only to review my content for memoir writing. The newer account is still up, but I rarely post anything and it's usually a rant when I do, but thanks to my whole five readers for being there anyhow. I don't intend to add anyone else.
Tumblr is dead, pretty much. I never advertised it to begin with, so no big deal.
My Fitness Pal is still alive, but quiet. Username is ugottafriend.
My Google+ is as dormant as ever. You might as well email me.
My food and art blogs are eventually going to be revived, but I have no plans at this time to work on them. My priorities are elsewhere.
Facebook is under renovation. My settings have been pretty tight since late October, and that hasn't changed (and might not ever). Write me if you have a solvable problem. Disclaimer: I loathe and ignore chain forwards. Always have, always will. I hate being added to conversations and groups without my consent. Also, I don't like to friend people I don't know in person, but I sometimes consider friends of friends. I'm more than happy to converse with anyone who's following, and I will follow back if you want me to. That's the whole point of Facebook, in my opinion. If this wasn't obvious, I am single but NOT interested in anything but platonic friendship. That has been the case since my divorce, years before I joined Facebook, and I have never budged. I've gotten messages and emails, and I try to be kind and civil, but I have a line to be crossed and I have blocked many, many people for crossing it. To put it bluntly, I'm too sick and tired for that crap. I treasure my friends, though, and I mean that sincerely.
Ugottafriend.com will remain in some form...hopefully like this. However, if something happens to Blogger or to my domain name, I will be blogging somewhere, somehow. Simply Google me if that occurs, but I don't plan to leave this blog anytime soon. This is only for future reference, if applicable.
Thanks for being here and being my friend. You're awesome.
I don't usually do a "word of the year", but I have one on my mind, so why not?
It was going to be "persevere", but after two conversations with the folks at the sandwich shop next door, I've decided a more appropriate word is "allow".
Many of us are too hard on ourselves. If I had a superhero name, it would be The Overanalyzer. I look at numbers and societal norms, and I try to fit in. It's a bad idea, and a futile one at that. I'm not normal, and my circumstances aren't normal. Normal is based on the majority's accepted ideals, but I have to accept the fact that I am not in the majority. I have to set my own ideals, based on my life, no matter what others think of me. It's not their existence and not their business.
In my immensely-exhausted state, I have managed to make a few plans that I did not include in my list of annual goals. They're not very interesting, but I'm going to talk about them anyway.
I plan to cook (and eat) only as necessary.
My abilities are limited, to say the least. Sometimes, I spend too much time cooking (and in result, cleaning the kitchen), which ultimately makes me too tired and weak to do anything else. Bulk cooking soup for the freezer helps, and Schwan's has been beneficial to an extent. I plan to continue to do that during the cooler months, but it's not an ideal thing to do year-round in a tropical climate (storms = power loss = food loss). I want to make life easier with high-protein sandwiches, drinks, salads, and other foods that don't require a lot of effort. I'm not able to eat as much as I used to, so I'm going to eat smaller. I want to get away from "combo" meals when I go out, and I'm trying to get out of the mindset that a balanced meal is necessary. I don't have to follow guidelines for consuming food - meat, grains, dairy, vegetables, etc. - that are set for a typical adult. If I want to buy a rotisserie chicken and spend the day eating it, and nothing else, I am allowed to do that. If I want to eat a bowl of green beans, and nothing else, I am allowed to do that. If I want to eat peanut butter with a spoon out of the jar, I am allowed to do that. If I want to shovel in a handful of chocolate chips and call it a meal, I am allowed to do that.
I've had enough of the metaphorical flashing sign that demands that I eat a certain number of calories (and protein, and sugar, and fiber, etc.) per day. If I'm not dying of obesity, anorexia, or other acute food-related medical condition, do not intervene. That's me, talking to me. That's also me talking to anyone who says I'm wrong unless I do things the way they think I should. I told the sandwich shop manager today "We need to allow ourselves to live and stop being so hard on ourselves about everything. We only get one life."
Interestingly, my bathroom scale bit the dust on New Year's Eve. At first I was like NOOOOOO but then I said to myself "Self, this is a great opportunity to not replace the battery. It's doing you no favors anyway." That said, I will allow myself to stop looking at the scale. I still see doctors 4 to 6 times a year, and they always weigh me (whether I like it or not). Therefore, I won't be completely in the dark. I think about my weight too much, and I feel that I'll be better off mentally and emotionally if I cut myself a little slack.
I plan to sleep more, no matter when, where, how, and so forth.
I never, and I mean NEVER sleep at night. Sleep happens, if at all, during the average person's awake time. People love to bring this up to me, as if I wasn't aware, and as if I haven't strove for typical human slumber. Trust me, I KNOW. This has been a lifelong problem, and you pointing it out is not a solution. If the only time my body rests is during the day, so be it. This is my #1 battle in life, and I'm going to fight for it. For the sake of all that is right and good in the world, just let me rest, whatever it takes. I'm often my own enemy, but that's over. I will stop trying to fit into the societal norm of being up and around during the hours of blah blah and sleeping during the hours of whatever. I am tired of feeling guilty for lying in bed trying to sleep when everyone else is being productive. Everyone else doesn't have systemic disease. Everyone else doesn't have weak, failing muscles. Everyone else doesn't feel the non-stop pain or have to deal with debilitating, life-threatening symptoms on a regular basis. Everyone else would be doing the same if they never slept at night, and I wouldn't judge them for it. I've been alive 39 years, and I'm lucky I've made it this far. I will allow myself all of the rest that my broken body requires to make it through that annoying part of the day called "awake", no matter how abnormal my schedule becomes.
I plan to budget, somehow, without fear and obsession.
I am a heavy-duty financial planner. I am determined to know where every dollar goes, and I have done so since I was a teen. That's a great thing, and I highly recommend it for anyone with an income, but I let it get to me to the point of anxiety and depression. I run out of money before the end of every month, and that's a challenging way to live. It's hard not to panic and meltdown. I think about what I shouldn't have spent money on. I beat myself up and try to find ways to avoid it the next month. I don't care for shopping. I don't have many possessions. I've done things like reschedule doc appointments and try to force myself into an unreasonable grocery allowance, and I still have no money by the end of the month. I have to allow myself to face the facts and remember that worrying isn't going to solve anything. I have to eat. I have to go to the doctor. I have to have transportation. I have to pay for insurance and keep the power on and buy toilet paper. I'm really good with money, but the fact of the matter is my income is too meager to not run out. It's just reality. While prioritizing my budget and basic necessities, I must also allow myself to exist in the real world as much as possible. That means occasionally participating in a pot luck, or attending a cheap local event with my walker in tow, or visiting relatives, or watching a movie with friends once a year. There's nothing wrong with living. It would be of more concern if I didn't try to do these things.
In a nutshell, I need to allow myself to do all things in the way it suits my survival and well-being, without regard to expectations or judgment.
Enough said, am I right? Let's just move on to my annual resolutions review.
2016 Goals: *FINISH THAT DANG NOVEL. I DID IT! I finally spit out a rough draft, and I am ready for the long revision process. I can't wait to bring The Children of Mossy Hollow officially to life in a few years. *Cook one dish out of every cookbook I own. FAIL! Not only did I not do this, I have no excuse for not doing this. I flat out forgot. Booooo! *Do not bring Coca-Cola into the house! Pasta either! You guys, I did so well for 7+ months. Sadly, I fell off of the wagon in late summer. *Complete all art projects currently in progress. I didn't complete all projects in progress, but here are a few pics of what I did manage:
Postcard in progress for Twitter Art Exhibit
(It was completed and sent to NYC for charity)
Ink and Resin Pendants
Northern Night Sky
Zebra panel in progress
The Kandinsky-inspired work I promised
I have a lot more in the works. I'll share pics soon.
*Be less wasteful and more productive with my time. YES! I renovated much of my apartment, wrote like crazy, read a lot, and made new friends. I really feel like I accomplished this. Yay! *For the love of God...achieve goal weight already. Not quite. I have lost weight, but I haven't reached the weight I would like to be yet. I do hope to get there in 2017, but we'll see. I am close, though! I'm weary of making it a resolution, so it's not going on next year's list.
Favorite book of 2016: How To Love by Thich Nhat Hanh Favorite blog of 2016: Heart and Brain by The Awkward Yeti (Nick Seluk) Favorite album of 2016: Gosh, I'm not sure I have one. I've really enjoyed Pandora Radio this year, especially the instrumental stations. I like The Piano Guys, David Lanz, and of course an old favorite of mine - Richard Clayderman. I also listened to Dire Straits Radio a great deal. Favorite show/movie of 2016: Star Wars Rogue One, of course. It was fantastic. This is an oldie for sure, but I also loved seeing Labyrinth on the big screen. It was my first time watching the movie. Favorite moment of 2016: Meh. I'm going to have to say it's a tie between visiting my nieces in January for Sadie's 1st birthday, and my niece Jo visiting me at Christmas.
In spite of my unbelievable exhaustion, I've made a longer list for the new year.
~ Learn to play the Irish tin whistle via YouTube tutorials
~ Read all books and comics in my possession (not including textbooks)
~ Continue to declutter: unpack what needs to be unpacked, pack what needs to be packed, and get rid of what’s not being used
~ Renovate my 7 year old computer, backup all files, and prepare for a new inexpensive replacement because poor BessieMac is about to croak
~ Organize and knock out all art projects in progress
~ Tighten social media and reduce public presence
~ Take a watercolor painting class if health permits (this may have to take place online from my bed...which is ok)
~ Figure out my late MawMaw’s seafood gumbo recipe
Yesterday, I had a special guest in my home for the first time:
It's my niece, Jo!
She's five now. In fact, she'll be six in March. She is sooooo tall! I expect her to exceed my measly 5' 5" within a decade.
Jo loves to watch Food Network competition shows. Like myself at her age, she was perfectly content with cookware and utensils from the kitchen to play with. We had a go of the board game Sorry and played a few rounds of Connect 4 also, but the kitchen/dining room was definitely her happy place. :-)
In addition to pretending to cook, she helped me cook for real! We prepped a huge pan of dressing to go into the oven the next day, made a Christmas tree shaped chocolate bar, and baked cookies, which she dipped in chocolate and sprinkles (and they were excellent...very decadent)! Oh, she made a peppermint slushie too, completely on her own. I didn't even realize what she was doing until she gave me the bowl of melted peppermints in water and asked me to freeze it. It turned out perfectly, by the way. The kid is super smart! I regret that I didn't take photos of the food she helped make. My phone was on the charger trying to upload a video (which failed miserably, I might add).
Anyway, we had a GREAT time. I'm so glad I was able to spend the evening hanging out with her. She made a stressful week worlds better. :-)
It's been a crazy year for all of us, hasn't it? I'm not going to dwell on any bad moments we've dealt with, but I thought I'd share a bunch of photos of my year. I didn't format them to look all pretty, so forgive me if they are a little messy. I did leave most of them clickable for better viewing if you wish.
Away we go...
I unintentionally went red!
I later intentionally tried to go red, but it turned brown.
Beauty is not my thing, ladies and gentlemen.
I won a lovely art prize from a great group called Thalo on Twitter.
I made cute coasters (they're not perfect...a bit sticky, actually).
I cracked up a few folks with my cheesy "Fanta C" joke.
I set up tables in my living room and hosted a family game night.
I started gaming at other people's houses as my health permitted.
I made some new friends. :-)
A friend took me birdwatching, and it was a success!
I tried some new foods this year: Kimchi, Korean BBQ Chicken, South American Tamale, Filipino Chicken Adobo, Iranian Birdnest, Chobani Yogurt, Asian Steamed Bun, deep fried taco, and an avocado smoothie. Wow! I can't always eat, but when I can, I try to make the best of it.
I returned to Muscular Dystrophy clinic for documentation of my peril.
I visited the sculpture garden at the children's hospital.
I nearly lost my mind over the disgraceful Presidential campaign.
I was so tired, but enjoyed my first game convention. I even won a game or two.
I'm still recovering from that last one 2 days later. I'm extremely tired, and spending most of my time in bed because there isn't much else I can do.
I'm super grateful for the outings I've had this year in spite of my failing health. My friends are accepting and accommodating, and I appreciate that.
One thing I didn't post a pic of is one of my biggest accomplishments: NaNoWriMo. I reached my goal of writing the first draft of my novel, and now I am officially in revisions for God only knows how long. Probably years. But I'm happy that I made that much progress in the midst of so many ailments including sleep deprivation, muscle weakness, depression, and incredible stress.
I'm still feeling crappy thanks to the weather. My sinuses and allergies are going crazy. I want to drink Coca-Cola and sleep...that's all I care about this week. Next week, I have holiday plans, including a special visitor. Stay tuned!