lizcommotion: monarch butterfly on a branch (butterfly monarch)
  1. I found when our last dog passed that the first three days were the worst. I am finding on the fourth day that it is slightly less bad than the previous three. *crosses fingers* I know things are up and down, but -- holding on to hope.
  2. There was a litter of Border Terrier puppies born the day after Rogue passed. I like to think his spirit, or part of it, may have passed on to one of them. Or who knows where else! (My friend thinks he was the missing Panchen Lama, taking a short spiritual retreat.)
  3. The people in my guild were really understanding about Rogue's passing, and so I am no longer scheduled to do a spinning demo on the one-week anniversary of his passing. (And in fact don't have to help out at the craft show at all, which I feel slightly guilty about, but am fighting the imposter syndrome and reminding myself that I can help out  next year.)
  4. Going to attend my craft show and [personal profile] jelazakazone 's craft show on Friday with jelazakazone and my mother and maybe my partner.
  5. My aunt is getting needed medical attention in the UK! Hurrah! Have been so worried about her. *crosses fingers*
  6. Got/gave some much-needed canine attention yesterday from a friend's dog.
  7. Tea.
  8. Therapy today.
  9. Rearranged the bedroom, it looks really nice.
  10. Also gave me a chance to do a deep clean to help with allergy issues.
lizcommotion: Image of a lit tealight candle (candle)
  1. Achievement Unlocked: Bake tasty whole grain bread (helped greatly by finding whole grain bread flour at an Amish country store. In bulk :DDD)
  2. Ate real food yesterday (instead of caving to compulsion to subsist on leftover whipped cream from Thanksgiving.)
  3. Might get to visit with a friend's dog today. She really likes my belly rubs.
  4. Got an 8"x10" photo of Rogue at the beach hanging in the dining room now. It's nice to go talk to him. (All the other photos in the house were of Young Rogue, and that's really not how I think of him now...)
  5. My partner's aunt suggested I write a book about Rogue and...it's not a bad idea. Am considering structure. (Because really Rogue's story starts with the loss of our previous dog, and is deeply entwined with my own mental health/physical health issues. I don't mind also writing about those things though.)
  6. Slept pretty soundly.
  7. Music still really therapeutic.
  8. Back to knitting the afghan squares, as it means that I don't have to decide on a pattern because deciding things is really hard right now. However, if anyone wants to rec a good 2-color Fair Isle hat pattern that uses either fingering or worsted yarn, I'd be grateful. I am partial to snowflake designs at the moment.
  9. Only had two seizures since Rogue passed. (I am wondering if the stress of his illness was contributing to some of them.)
  10. Family and friends.
lizcommotion: drawing of my dog (small brown terrier) sleeping on a patio (rogue)
As Rogue was Rogue, I'm thinking...
  1. Wolverine (call name: Logan) BONUS: especially good name for a rescue pet
  2. An appropriate D&D/WoW/gaming character class (Bard, Warrior, Druid, etc.)
Now to convince the rest of my household, in time. Right now is not the time, because we're not getting another animal in the immediate future. But thinking about names is therapeutic for me, so, I had to share with someone and my partner just smiled faintly which is not the desired response.


lizcommotion: drawing of my dog (small brown terrier) sleeping on a patio (rogue)
Good things, but I do talk about grief )
  1.  
Just goes to prove that even on one of the shittiest days ever, there are good things to be found.
lizcommotion: A hand-drawn/colored lovely little creature with a knitted cap and piles of yarn behind it knitting a scarf (knitting creature)
"When I attended my father at his deathbed, knitting enabled me to sit still and pay attention. Knitting expanded time into a kind of spaciousness, allowing me to be present at occasions from which I would rather have escaped. What I lived informed my knitting and what I learned from knitting informed my life."

- Susan Gordon Lydon, Knitting Heaven and Earth: Healing the Heart with Craft, 2005

It is late, I am tired, I do not really have a more elaborate way of saying "ditto" except...

I had been feeling a kind of burnout, after knitting 8 holiday ornaments in three days. Something akin to hating stockinette but not wanting to try another stitch.

Then my friend who just moved to NYC and is an artist was talking to me on the phone when I was having a bad day. She was out and she was cold because there's a big difference in temperature from where she was before and NYC, and she couldn't find most of her winter accessories because moving.

A friend who is cold? That is a knitter's call to arms! At least, it was for me because I've known A. since I was 8 and we're still, somehow, friends despite a couple of bumps.

Long story short, I am no longer feeling blocked creatively and instead have many ideas. And she is getting a gorgeous set of warm things (assuming I finish the cowl soon, why did I make a plan that involved purling again?) with vintage buttons on them. WIN. *secretly considering keeping thing them for herself but knows that would break the magic spell and besides would not solve problem of cold friend and our heads are different sizes*

lizcommotion: A hand-drawn heart around the words "You are so lovely, you know?" (lovely)
Yesterday I was talking to [personal profile] jelazakazone about Viktor Frankl and his book, Man's Search for Meaning. We talked about a lot of things like imposter syndrome and creating crafts and dis/ability and trauma/bullying and it was really a very, very good discussion. (Thanks, jelazakazone!)

Anyway, I was thinking about how I find meaning in my life. What is its purpose? I used to think that I was going to save the world, somehow; I always planned to do Peace Corps until health got in the way. Dedicate myself to others, yadda yadda, which isn't healthy unless you have really good boundaries. It's a trap our society creates and reveres. A false pedestal (but then aren't all pedestals?)

For awhile I wanted to leave my mark on the world as a historian, perhaps by writing an important paper or creating an important bit of research. Once I started immersing myself in African/African Diaspora History, I wanted people to know about injustices that happened in the "Global South", which...burned me out. Again, an unsustainable goal without really good boundaries, but really the boundary is flawed because it all rests on other people knowing...and I had all this knowledge of past injustices burning inside me but it felt like there was nothing I could do with all this energy.

Right now I think my meaning is something along the lines of "create crafts and beauty and hopefully help people stay warm in the process, and help me stay healthy/sane through my creative outlets". -ish. I'm still refining, which is part of the "search" part.

content note: f*ck yeah, healing from trauma )

So there.

lizcommotion: A microsoft paint drawing of a muscle person that says "Xtreme muscle product" (Xtreme muscle product)
Yesterday I had a self-care victory. I am going to write about it here because I need to record these small (and in a way, giant) victories against the dread beast Imposter Syndrome and Brain Weasel at Large and Depression so that when I am next in the deep dark depths, I can have a written guide to help lead me out of Moria (and avoid balrogs).

Because depression is a lying bastard, and it makes you forget that you have gotten better again. It makes you forget how you have gotten through its clutching claws and gaping jaws.

tw: talking about recovering from self-harm/suicidal thought patterns; 2 nature photos under the cut )
Now let's see if I can do it all again next time it happens.

lizcommotion: Black and White Image with a mug, text reads "Come let us have some tea  and continue to talk about happy things" (tea happy things)
I rely heavily on "10 Good Things" posts both when I'm having "eeeeee! all is good!" days and when I'm having days that are...quite the opposite. They help put perspective on life and balance things out. Right now I'm somewhere in the middle, with a number of good things and yet...just found out a friend went in the hospital, and that is really not so great. Also our 19-year-old printer is having constant paper jams and I think our 6-7 year old desktop computer is also on the outs. (Fancy that! Electronics lasting that long in the first place...) My mother always says appliances go in threes, so I am somewhat nervous.

So! Am in need of 10 good things today, so I shall shower you with them. :D
  1. I have been having fun with the photography. I've been going out early in the morning for walks in the woods behind my house and taking pictures in the early morning light, as well as going through photographs of yore. I even put a bunch more up on society6, which you are under no obligation to look at or anything. But, you know, you can if you want to. (I am *so* resisting the urge to get a tote bag or stationary cards zomg.)
  2. While I was out this morning, I had a magical moment when I was next to two pileated woodpeckers. One even let me get close enough to wish I had a better camera, but I did get this shot:pileated woodpecker amidst some trees
  3. Light box is a source of stability in the mornings. Also light visor lets me walk around the house and bake in the wee hours of the morning if I don't feel like sitting in one place! Yay!
  4. I seem to be mostly over my cold.
  5. I have Ideas about making a poetry zine in 2014. We shall see what comes of it...
  6. My friend from elementary school who moved to NYC to become an opera singer? She is cold cold cold. And I can do something to help, because I knit! Also, the yarn I wanted was on sale. WIN.
  7. Partner and I have planned the Thanksgiving Day menu and it is mouth-watering. Also, I think, not so spoon-stealing in the cooking department.
  8. Partner and I are out to another of her relatives. This is a slow process, because, y'know, Srs Cultural and Familial Baggage. But her aunt Officially Did Not Care. \o/ Small victories.
  9. Decaf Coffee con Leche. Mmmm. Small blessings.
  10. Helped save a lost dog the other day. She was only outside her house we found out, but she was heading into the street and if anyone had chased her trying to "help" then it would have been very, very bad. All I could think of was how awful I would feel if Rogue got out of the house. Was very glad to help return her to her home.
lizcommotion: Image of a lit tealight candle (candle)
content note: religion (Paganism), spiritual manipulation/abuse (not many particulars discussed, more about healing from this)

I'm a hesitant Pagan due to some, for lack of a better word, spiritual abuse I encountered early on in my practice. It was manipulative as fuck and is taking me quite awhile to venture forth into Pagan practice again, even as a solitary. It's as though that spiritual element of myself got burned, badly, and the healing requires accommodations on my part as to how I practice so I don't reopen any wounds. Or that if I do reopen wounds, they're in a controlled environment and don't spiral out of control.

That being said: how dare he take that element of my life and corrupt it so? How dare he? And so I am making a conscious effort, at this time of the year which is always so tinged with both joy and sorrow for me, to take small acts and do them with the intent of being present, reaching out to my Goddess, and simply experiencing the turning of the Wheel.

For my own brain records (because, curiously or perhaps not, trauma tends to blur memory), here's what I have done recently with the intent of honoring this season of mists and mellow fruitfulness:

  1. eaten Pomegranate seeds and drunk goat's milk

  2. begun knitting an afghan, a long term project that I hope will be a thing of snuggly healing for me (and at the same time, I'm giving myself permission to stop if I need to and turn the squares into pillow covers or something)

  3. lit a fire, and am sitting by it right now

  4. written seasonal poetry

  5. listening to the yoga station on Pandora

  6. attempting to make Christmas Cake using a recipe that my gran gave me over the phone (and it's a very thinky recipe, because it doesn't include very many instructions. So I may just "have" to make several cakes. Oh no!)

  7. gone for walks in the cold and listened to the silence and lack of frogs, cicadas, and the like

  8. gone for walks when the weather turns warm and listened to the sudden surge of birdsong and cicadas and the like

  9. working on making my brain space safe for me again (through trauma therapy and EMDR). this is probably more than a season's work
lizcommotion: A leather journal (well-used) (journal)
[personal profile] staranise  has posted recently about the "freeze" response (as opposed to fight/flight, it's an additional lovely part of the body's response to stressors.)

Today I got to have another experience of that firsthand - I am pretty sure - and with partner's help actually identify the trigger(s). Because I thought I was having a good day. I went to the doctor, she was awesome and encouraging and filled me with not hope, exactly, but she didn't mention terrible things and was definitely in the Figure Out What's Wrong Scientifically Face, which is very reassuring to me. Then my mom and I went to a thrift store, I tried on some clothes which took a lot of spoons, we got lunch and I actually had an appetite, came home, I fell asleep.

trigger warning: sexual assault, trauma, body's response to trauma in a weird/scary way, PTSD )

So yeah, there's an example of the freeze response in action. Serious action. I'm leaving this unlocked in case anyone else finds it helpful; also because there seems to be a general discussion right now about flight/fright/freeze and I don't mind being part of that discussion (i.e. if you want to link someone to this, you are welcome to do so; just know that I may not have spoons to comment right away).
lizcommotion: Image of a lit tealight candle (candle)
Here for public consumption is a Giant List of Cope that I developed recently. I've made loads of lists of coping skills, but the thing I like about this one is that it's divided into categories. So if one category is not working, maybe I should try something from another sub-group. (Not my idea, by the way.) Obviously some things from one category could fit into other categories, but I put them where they seemed best for me. There may also be a crafting bias....Feel free to snag/adapt as needed.

Read the Giant List of Cope )

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