• Diaries

    even my third eye is sleepy

    Although I’m not actively practicing yoga atm, I’ve been studying it (as I am wont to do with random subjects). I like to study stuff by getting into communities and absorbing discussions.

    I just saw someone talking about how he’s done yoga and meditation a long while, and after his third eye opened*, he just didn’t care about over-performing at his job anymore. He was in a really competitive field and started getting poor evaluations because he stopped striving to meet stressful goals.

    (*A lot of people don’t like talking third eye or other spiritual/metaphysical concepts, but I argue it is only terminology, and we can call it whatever we want. I am not a literalist. The general concept here is reaching a kind of personal understanding that you feel like…everything makes sense. Self and universe in unity.)

    I opened my third eye a while ago. Now I’ve been off weed for three weeks, it has not closed (yet?). I still have this deep, profound sense of peace gained from years of psychedelic meditation. I am just not interested in artifice, external goals, or performing.

    I spent my 20s chasing goals but didn’t get satisfaction when I achieved them. Literally I did not celebrate hitting the New York Times Bestseller list. Didn’t celebrate when I hit my first million sales. Nor when I got an agent. Or any of the other milestones that seemed to matter so much when I was younger. It was everything for so long, and I spent so much time working on it, and then I realized it didn’t make me happy. I was so accomplished and i was never happy. I was just more scared.

    I am happy now. And so I am satisfied with what I accomplished Back Then, more than I used to be, but…I did that, so why would I go back to chasing goals again? I know now that isn’t where happiness rests. Happiness is something I can only give myself. It’s a matter of surrender and presence in the moment. (Theoretically I could feel this while chasing goals but I haven’t figured it out yet.)

    When I think about what matters now, it’s basically my family, of the furry persuasion and otherwise. It’s both scary to know that I can’t keep them forever (as losing my darling Annie has reminded me, yet again) but it’s also so satisfying to know I am with my family now and we are together and this moment is really good, and it doesn’t feel like anything matters beyond distributing snuggles and emotional support to mi familia. I’m just gazing at my dogs while I type this lol.

    Obviously I’m still doing stuff. I am still writing a lot and have a couple trunked books. I’m gonna finish Fated for Firelizards because I think it’s important to complete some projects. I am drawing and crocheting constantly, too. But I’m not doing any of this because I wanna accomplish anything beyond the moment of engagement with it. I’m not sure how to tell people what they will get out of interacting with my art (my purses are chaotic, my game is weird, my reviews are silly) because I am just experiencing the creation of it.

    I don’t feel unsatisfied, or like anything is missing. Art is just something I do because I am here and that is one of my most fundamental methods of self-expression and it’s rather like breathing, dreaming, thinking, or anything else I can’t stop.

    The weirdest thing about this peaceful state is the fact that I seem to no longer have any relevance in the world, and the world has minimal relevance to me, and I’m not entirely sure what to make of that. Surely this is not sustainable, just existing peacefully.

    I think the most hilarious side-effect of my shifted attitudes is that I give the vast majority of movies 5* because I just think they’re nice. lol. Did the movie establish and meet its goals? Was I amused? Five stars for you! And you! Five stars everywhere!

  • Diaries

    the scientist withdraws

    What kind of oddball drug tests herself periodically through withdrawal to see when the THC has cleared from her system? This oddball, right here. I got a pack of THC drug tests when I quit weed.

    These tests work the opposite from pregnancy/COVID tests: when you are negative for THC, you get two lines. So far I have only had the control line.

    15 days after quitting, I got the faintest line – meaning it detected very very little THC. This was using my most dilute sample (end of day, very well-hydrated) so I suspect I’d have zero line testing again tomorrow morning, but! I am getting there.

    Technically *any* line is a negative because these tests are qualitative (yes/no) not quantitative. Community apocrypha says you pee clean after a month, but I might get there sooner – pretty wild considering I was such a heavy user for almost a decade. But it also makes sense considering that I was cutting back the last couple months and mostly inhaling (versus edibles), which clears faster.

    I’m still expecting to have weed-related cognitive issues for months, even when it’s out of my system. I am told I could remain intermittently foggy for almost a year. Also, THC binds to fat, and I’ve stored a bunch in my adipose tissue. It can release if I lose weight or exercise hard.

    The process isn’t linear, is what I’m saying, but this is cool progress to experience.

    I told my spouse that I was drug testing myself and I was like “I know it’s really weird, but–” and he was like “No this is just you having a scientific mind, like always, and it’s why I love you.” I love him. It’s true though — any excuse I have to run tests on myself, I will do it.


    I haven’t been posting Sara Reads the Feed posts (or much else) mostly because this quitting process has totally thrown me off my groove. I’ve made mood-management, self-care, and adjusting to sobriety kinda my full-time job during this period, which is also how I got off nicotine and alcohol. It’s telling myself “this is the most important thing right now” and giving myself lots of space to Feel Stuff.

    Of everything I have quit, weed is by far the easiest on me. Alcohol was emotionally easy because FUCK THAT STUFF, it is POISON. Nicotine was the worst. The most brutal withdrawal, the most intense cravings. But I did that! I am free. It’s awesome.

    Still, here I am, babysitting myself again. Hopefully this will be the last substance abuse self-babysitting for the rest of my life. It’s funny how I feel Very Done With This but I am neither embarrassed nor regretful about what all I’ve done. That was just like…the road. You know? That is the road I was on. No hard feelings, cannabis, but we’re done now. Thank you for what we had together. Bye. Can’t wait to see two bold lines on the drug test.

  • Diaries,  slice of life

    Annie (2008 – 2024)

    I resent that other people have emotions. That they have weight. I resent that other people must need to take space during a time when I cannot hold the weight of my own emotions. I wish I didn’t have to be a mother when I’m very sad. I wish other people would be fine without me. I wish I could just fall into the donut hole of myself and stay there until I feel better. Once the weight becomes not so smothering.

    ~

    Sixteen years ago I got a kitten. She came from a box behind a grocery store. She was riddled with mites and ticks. We took care of her very closely, our first medically complicated mammal-friend.

    She grew up so loving that it was annoying. She couldn’t take no for an answer. I tried to give her to my sister so I wouldn’t have to keep dealing with that tortoiseshell attitude, but at the last moment, I got way too sad. I loved her much more than I recognized.

    So she stayed.

    ~

    I don’t want to remember everything because it just makes me feel sad.

    ~

    The cost of loving very, very much is hurting very, very much when something ends. And everything ends eventually. You know you’ve been lucky if it hurts a lot.

    They say that our little mammal-friends give us the best years of our life, and then the single worst day of our lives.

    ~

    This is the last of the cats my husband and I had before we got married. She was a little box baby found in a Walmart parking lot. We nurtured her through ear mites and ticks and watched her grow into the biggest personality. After I had Moonlight, thirteen years ago, little Miss Annie ate one of their baby bottle nipples and needed $3000 surgery to remove it. I spent a while calling her the other things I could have used that money for. “Little Miss Caribbean Vacation.” “Little Miss Used Car.”

    When Little Sunshine was born, Annie used to curl up in bed with both of us and lick the baby’s head. She would put him down for naps like that. When he went through the grabby baby hand stage, she loved it and would position herself so that he could squeeze her face.

    We chose not to remove a tumor that developed on her shoulder. It grew very aggressively, and she couldn’t compete with her siblings for food/water anymore, so we gave her the entire spare bedroom as an apartment. It helped her perk up a ton. She spent her last year in there getting multiple daily visits, where I would groom and tend her, and we would snuggle extensively. I loved her more in this last year than I have ever loved a cat. Something about taking care of someone who is sick becomes so intimate.

    Her tumor became so large, it really bothered her. She seemed worn out. I made a little sweater for her with a webbing inside to hold crocheted cotton bandages, that way we could cover the tumor and the kids could still visit. But she was so tired. It was time. I miss her already.

    ~

    There is no dying without regret. It’s one of the things that makes it so hard. You can’t do it perfectly. It’s like how you can make a birth plan when you’re pregnant, listing out all your preferences, but your body and baby will decide how it happens. Death never comes at the right time. It’s never pretty. It is hard and unpleasant.

    ~

    I do think we will meet again someday, somehow, in some form.

    I truly believe that.

  • Diaries,  facebook

    Imbolc awakenings

    Posted 1/27/24 at 9pm.

    Day One of my new weed-free life went well. I pined for my vape several times but got over it quickly. I have no appetite, I still felt stoned all morning, and now I’m getting that weird empty feeling. That’s all fine.

    My weirdest symptom of withdrawing from cannabis: My gag reflex is back, and it’s more sensitive than I’ve ever experienced.

    I did not discover that by doing the thing you’re thinking about. But go ahead and think that I did, because it’s much funnier.


    Posted 1/28/24 at 8am.

    My vet told us that if you see a pitbull with a docked tail, it’s not a breed standard, but a sign the pitbull injured its tail wagging too hard and it couldn’t heal because the pibby wouldn’t stop wagging, so they dock for safety. Literally pibbies are such happy dorks they wag their tails off.


    Posted 1/28/24 at 4:30pm.

    I think it’s really funny how I excuse drawing mostly women by saying “I’m not as good at men,” but I was just looking through all the 3D assets I’ve acquired and…it’s almost entirely hot girl stuff. lmao. I should be honest with myself that I just like looking at hot girls and that’s that.

    I haven’t done art commissions in a long time but I took on a Very Special Project for a friend of a friend, which has me going back into 3D. I have so much stuff. I forgot I actually know how to do this. I was getting pretty good at rigging and lighting scenes and stuff.

    I guess I wonder…how do people kinda…keep track of all the skills at their disposal as they age? I’m in my mid-30s and I’ve been obsessively following interests all over the show so long, I am getting to a point where I forget how much I know.

    Like…I used to know enough about fitness to pass a physical trainer test. Before that, I knew a *lot* about being a doula and lay midwife. I used to volunteer in women’s health counseling. I have learned crochet. I cartoon, I draw charcoal, I do 3D modeling and layout, a tiny bit of digital painting. I’ve got bits of some programming languages. Very technical with computers, even worked with mainframes in the past. Did facilities & maintenance a couple years. I still launch a new website every year or so. A construction class once. Lots of biology and botany! I’m a writer obviously. I can write very diverse styles and formats. I’ve researched tons of bizarre stuff like poisons, history, demonology, trauma care, etc. And whatever else I’ve forgotten! Parenting stuff? Baby stuff? I could probably still give lectures on any of the above subjects.

    It seems like by the time you hit your 50s or 60s, you must just be utterly *pouring* experience out your ears. Doesn’t it get to be A Lot? HOW DO YOU DO THIS?

    I’ve always laughed at the Sherlock Holmes “attic mind” thing where he’s like, I just throw away the stuff I don’t need to remember anymore. Obviously that’s not how brains work. But I kinda think you gotta be able to throw this stuff out somehow.

    Otoh, this makes me look at all my older friends with enormous heart-eyes because I’m like, omg, you guys must feel this too yeah? You guys must have EVEN MORE THAN ME. I want to sit at everyone’s feet and listen to them tell me about the specific cool stuff they know.


    Posted 1/28/24 at 8pm.

    Day Two of my weed free life has me LAUGHING that I was so scared to quit because so far it is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING compared to nicotine, lmao. I guess they really aren’t kidding when they say that nic is the second (third?) most addicting substance in the world. Wow, man. I kinda wanna go back in time two yearsish to when I quit nic and give myself some hugs. That Was Some Shit All Right. How does ANYONE do that.


    Posted 1/30/24 at 10am. Bluesky.

    I do not like football or Taylor Swift, but I am very reluctantly amused to watch the NFL learn they’re small potatoes compared to a pop star and learn to take the knee for her influence on the media.

    Ever since I read this paper about how sports constructs gender – and put it together with the kind of cis womanhood that is constructed by Taylor Swift’s brand – I suddenly understood why my nonbinary ass finds the whole thing annoying, though she is demonstrably as skilled as any artist I follow.

    I’m like, “Everyone says if you don’t like tswift, you’re sexist, but I don’t think I am? Am I sexist?” and kinda sat in that a while. But no, it’s just my general inability to have any interest in binary gender and the commercialization of it as such. Same thing that bounces me off a lotta romance.

    Hey! I just scrolled past another post describing what’s wrong with me if I dislike a music artist. “If you have a negative reaction towards her as a person, it’s because our society still goes after successful women in a way that men avoid.” There is a lot of simultaneous right and wrongness going on.

    Aside from being unable to grasp personal taste, the number of posts I see that act like taylor swift is somehow subversive is…staggering. I assume that people who think she’s subversive are living in very oppressed regions/cultures tbh. I must be coming from such a wildly different perspective.

    Her fanbase is so hostile, I have tried to just mute/block everything related to her name on platforms where that’s possible so I can try to know as little as possible, and hence Not Be A Negative Nelly, but it feels like I’m being beaten over the head with a club by this pop culture moment.

    All that said, I like tswift more than I like the nfl, reluctantly, given that she is the kind of person who would date Matty Healy, but she has given many fewer young men major brain trauma than the NFL. So i’m like, go ahead, Taylor, eat them up.


    Posted 2/1/24 at 8am.

    The injection for King’s cancer has gone *really* well. He seemed to feel so crappy the first couple days. The tumor got all bulging and swollen and black and gross. I think the mast cells were releasing crap into his body as they died off, and the steroids/antihistamines/etc could only do so much. He was very low.

    Yesterday the last of the tumor fell off. It just shriveled into a black raisin and disappeared (I don’t need to know what King did with it, let’s pretend it fell off). Now there is a hole on his stomach. Just a big round clean circle leading straight to muscle. Sounds gross, I know, but it’s *extremely* clean, great margins, no signs of infection whatsoever, inflammation reducing. And basically the instant the last of the tumor-raisin fell off, his mood improved 20,000%. He’s cheerful again!

    The circle is already constricting so I suspect it won’t be long before the tissue closes up and then it will mostly be a memory. We’ll keep an eye for more tumors obviously. Hopefully we won’t have to do this a lot in the future, but right now it’s looking really really good.


    Posted 2/1/24 at 9pm.

    Okay y’all. I’m now six days from quitting cannabis. I still feel stoned most of the time.

    THC, the complex of psychoactive compounds in cannabis, binds to fat cells. I gained sixty pounds from the low point of my eating disorder (I was hospitalized January 2020) through the depression of the pandemic. That means I gained sixty pounds while absolutely *slamming* sources of THC. That means I have sixty pounds of adipose tissue stuffed with it. I’ve been doing daily walks, and once I start walking, my body releases a bunch and it’s like I’ve taken a massive bong rip. I’m stupid and kinda stumbly. (I’m avoiding driving for now.)

    Also, your body makes a ton of receptors to accept the flood of chemicals that THC provides. Once you stop adding new sources of THC, there’s all these empty receptors weeping for neurotransmitters. It’s going to take a while for my body to regulate receptors to the amount of chemicals I produce endogenously (and I’m probably producing less endogenously at this point too).

    So basically, I feel foggy and stoned all the time, but also completely bereft, like my brain cannot get any traction. Weirdly, I am not really fighting with cravings. I don’t feel any urge to relapse. My mood is mostly okay. But I also just…kinda…don’t exist. Mentally. I’m spending so much time standing/sitting around staring at nothing.

    This reinforces that I’ve done the right thing, tbh, and realizing what a commitment it is to regain sobriety/clear brain makes me just wanna never use it again. I mean, you really do gotta pay the piper eventually.

    It’s really nice to be sobering up (sometimes I feel awake) and realize how much I’ve grown up, though. My eating disorder is a *lot* of the reason that I got into alcoholism, nicotine, and overuse of cannabis. Getting my eating disorder under control is easily one of the best things that has happened to me in my life, period, end of subject. I used to live as an enemy and stranger to myself, and I’m now so fully inside my body, perfectly happy with it, genuinely grateful, and I just don’t have all those difficult feelings that I used to run away from anymore. Having food become a source of cope and comfort and bonding with family was massive. I think I’m probably going to lose weight from quitting cannabis because I don’t have the munchies 24/7 anymore and I don’t even think of it as a benefit? I’m happy to just let my body rearrange into whatever.

    I feel really good. Just. Also completely empty, unmotivated, and almost braindead. lmao. It makes it hard to feed/hydrate/exercise myself, and I am struggling to remember my prescriptions, and that part will make me feel crappy. But everything else is a big gray blanket of nothingness.

    I was hoping to finish writing Fated for Firelizards in February but at this point I’m not married to it, just because I’m even less verbal than usual and I think recovery needs to be a priority.

  • Diaries

    diary of a reformed stoner, day 2

    Day One of my new weed-free life went well. I pined for my vape several times but got over it quickly. I have no appetite, I still felt stoned all morning, and now I’m getting that weird empty feeling. That’s all fine.

    My weirdest symptom of withdrawing from cannabis: My gag reflex is back, and it’s more sensitive than I’ve ever experienced.

    I did not discover that by doing the thing you’re thinking about. But go ahead and think that I did, because it’s much funnier.


    I guess I’m afraid of losing the third eye that it feels like I gained from being on enough cannabis to experience psychedelic effects, over a long period of time.

    Hang skepticism up on a hook; I’m not being especially silly here. Usage of psychedelic substances just changes the scale of perspective. You lose a lot of mindfulness/immediacy of the moment and your thoughts turn to the universe. Greater rhythms seem more obvious. It’s a really nice meditation aid. I have done a lot of soul-searching about myself and my position in the world. It’s lovely-weird to feel like you can gain clarity when you’re zooted all to beans.

    One of the reasons I decided to quit-quit instead of just switching to edibles is because I think that sense of perspective needs to…not be a daily thing. Or even a weekly/monthly thing. I am not a universal being, haha. I’m a human who exists inside of skin. I am sitting at a table, I touch the wood grain, my cats meow at me. Frankly the matters of THE UNIVERSE are so big as to be none of my business.

    But I will miss it!

    I was already cutting way back so I was mostly just getting the soporific lazyguy effects of cannabis anyway, realistically, full honesty. The last couple months was just sitting around feeling vaguely paranoid and sleepy and coughing up junk. Like, that’s not a beautiful glimpse of the universe, and I have to be SO HONEST about how stupid it would be to remain in a groggy/sick state.

    I feel extremely silly typing this out because I think you all know that psychedelic insights *feel* very meaningful and fascinating, and they can be personally useful, but it’s also like. Yes Sara. You can’t do that all the time. It doesn’t actually mean anything.

    But I really LOVE feeling like there is no differentiation between myself and all the other star-stuff in this universe. I find it harder to hate anyone now that I “see” we are made out of the same thing. That we are all here together in this universe-scaled system in the way that proteins are together in our cells, doing our lil guy jobs to make the cell work, and the cell working makes the organ work, and the organ working makes the body work, and the body working makes the community work, and–

    Do I get to keep those insights? Will that profound feeling of completeness, oneness with the stones and the earth and my friends and my enemies and my plants and my cats, will it stay? Can I keep it when the chemicals fade from my system, or will the chemicals take away my ability to feel that unity because it was only chemicals all along? What if the world is a bleak magicless place that isn’t pumping along to the great music of existence?

    This is why I think I should get into yoga. And maybe transcendental meditation. lol

  • Diaries,  facebook,  slice of life

    sliced life~

    lmao. Okay. So King *needs* to be on Benadryl leading up to the procedure for his cancer. It’s a mast cell tumor; he needs an H1 antihistamine to keep inflammation down so it does not spread. In the past, I have not had trouble giving him pills with his kibble.

    Today I discovered he’s been hiding half his Benadryl under his pillow!!!! omg dog I AM TRYING TO SAVE YOUR LIFE.
    Anyway. This dog, he is so human in his facial expressions. You can really tell what he’s thinking all the time.

    I tried putting his pills into cheese to dose him. He started delicately eating the cheese so he could pick around the pills, like he wasn’t entirely sure why I’d given him the gross-tasting cheese but he was game to eat it anyway. Basically spitting out the pill parts.

    Again: OMG.

    I just grabbed the pills and opened his mouth and put one on the back of his tongue so he had to swallow (which I used to do to administer pills on a difficult dog).

    King was MORTIFIED. He ran off to the other side of the kitchen to STARE at me, and I swear to God I could tell he was thinking, “Wait, it’s like that? It’s serious? I *have* to do it? I had no idea it was *like that*.” I could see the little gears turning in his head to recontextualize this activity from “mom keeps giving me gross cheese” to “I have to eat this whole thing OR ELSE.”

    So this smart beautiful boy gagged down the next piece of cheese with the remaining pills. Consciously, deliberately, looking at me to make sure he was doing the right thing. He resisted the urge to chew. And then we cheered him on and petted him a lot and King was like, “…huh.”

    We practiced swallowing cheese chunks whole after that. He decided the game where he Eats Quickly and people are Very Happy is actually a lot of fun, and he would be happy to keep playing that game as long as the cheese holds out.

    This is good news because I am afraid this cancer boye has many medications in his future.

    I feel silly realizing I should have just “explained” to my dog that we’re taking medication now because he would have just done it. Instead I gave it to him without telling him and of course he was like “surely this is a mistake. gross. ptooey.”

    I’m just amazed at what a personality he has, and how obviously, consciously he registered that Mom Is Serious This Time and he changed his mind. I didn’t have to like…actually train him. He just modified his behavior. It’s insane. He’s so smart. He’s just a fuzzy little baby person. I need him to live forever.


    Actual verbatim quote from 9yo Sunshine:

    “I’m going to build this engineering box on my own. It’s for ages eight to twelve, and I’m nine, but I’m as mature as an eleven-year-old, which is basically an adult. I can do it.”

    and i’ll be damned if he didn’t build the engineering project on his own. he only needed help with this tiny rubber band, and we sorted that with tweezers the project didn’t include.

    i feel like i noticed how quickly my now-13yo was growing because they’re my first and oldest, thus always the oldest kid I’ve ever had, and I fall easily into the trap of thinking Sunshine is still my tiny baby (since he will always be the youngest child I’ll ever have again). but now he’s actually almost an eleven-year-old which is basically an adult.

    we’ve also been having incredibly complicated conversations about his emotional landscape (he is dealing with ongoing grief from our dog’s death two years ago, and our current hospice cat) and it’s just amazing to see how much he’s grown inside where i can’t see it. i just get glimpses of this whole wilderness in there, while the outside is still a very cherubic little tanned blond angel with golden eyes. (can you believe i have a blond?)

    his sense of reciprocity is also so clear. he has sturdy boundaries. he loves serving and helping and taking care of people, but he also expects that people will repay him in kind overall. he won’t let himself be used. he’s a force of nature. so yes, he’s also still having a lot of trouble at school and getting into big trouble because he doesn’t see a reason to act respectfully toward adults he doesn’t feel respect him. i can’t be mad tbh. he’s not wrong.


    My 13yo Moonlight is finally old enough to observe the years-long pattern of Mommy’s Interest Swings. Notably, they have seen how I went from having a gazillion plants to having 0.5 gazillions of plants and stuffing our house with yarn instead.

    (Note: Plants and crochet are very compatible hobbies. Plants go where it’s bright. Yarn goes where it’s dark. There is room for NOTHING ELSE IN THE HOUSE. NOTHING.)

    I told Moonlight how I’ve been having stress dreams where we have to move houses quickly, and I can’t figure out how to move my plants. I’m like, “I just love them so much, and I have a lot, and I really have no idea how to move them now? What would I even do?”

    So seeing me creating weird little crochet dolls, Moonlight asked, “Aren’t you worried you’re going to start having nightmares about having too many dolls following you everywhere, once you don’t love it as much anymore?”

    and i was like omg now i’m worried about it

    Too Many Weird Dolls Dreams might be the creepiest potential classification of dream. And I have some pretty freaky dreams about aquariums/vivariums gone wildly beyond my control, so Moonlight might be onto something here.

  • Diaries

    Words I don’t understand

    Ikigai is a Japanese word without a direct equivalent in English, though I suppose it could be considered the spirit of life, what makes life worth living, the quality of it all. I read about it in an interesting article about robots for assisting dementia patients. (Wired) Not in basic life tasks like hygiene, but in improving the general experience of living for people who have major cognitive impairments. Treatments for things like dementia often involve regressing into happy memories, but some researchers want to help folks enjoy their present and future for as long as they have it, and that means improving ikigai.

    Until the last couple years, I had a good life. I have been successful. There wasn’t anything to complain about. But I was struggling internally, and it felt like all the good stuff happened around this giant gaping bleeding wound that would never heal. I could never forget about the giant gaping bleeding wound. I’d have loads of fun, experiencing beauty and the regular gamut of emotions, while also constantly gushing blood. It feels like it would be easier to say life was fine – even good – but I had poor ikigai.

    This ties into my other favorite word English doesn’t translate directly: bildung. Bildung is the German concept of self-growth, a journey of becoming better and more yourself through time. You may have heard of the bildungsroman, which is like a coming of age novel.

    In order to improve my ikigai, I needed to have a whole bildung, and that was kinda the first half of my thirties. I feel so much happier than I’ve felt before. I’m not all the way healed, but this seeping hole is crusting over and getting scabby. Could I think of a grosser metaphor for something pleasant? Life is messy and gross and good.

    I’ve also been thinking about quality of life through one’s declining years. I’ve been the hospice for several sickly, aging animals now, and although I haven’t yet needed to care for an aging relative (knock on wood), I contemplate it because age is coming for all of us eventually (hopefully). I think about how little children don’t remember much of anything. But we try to give them great experiences and so much joy within the cognitive limitations of childhood. If we lovingly embrace our aging elders, even through the heartbreak of knowing this is a regression rather than a progression, could we also enjoy each other better, longer? Could we all have better ikigai?

    I’m probably using the word wrong, but I just like the concept a lot right now.

    ~

    Although I’ve been feeling more peaceful and healed, I feel I’m missing out on supporting my family financially. I’m doing stuff in that direction slowly, trying to amp myself back up for more work, but I tried last year too and kinda slipped so I feel less confident about my ability to get my feet under me. Heck, I also tried to get my feet under me for a yearish of college and slipped at that too. They have been gentle small slips as I attempt gentle steps, but it’s not been too encouraging.

    I used to get a lot of pride and self-worth out of bringing ample bacon home for my family. I’m no longer confident I can do that, and it’s really not just a blow to my ego (long since faded–like I said, I’ve been healing) but also it makes me feel really uncertain about myself. I always supported myself since I was 18. The last year or two, I have not contributed as much as my spouse. It’s scary! And I honestly feel like I don’t deserve this time to reorient myself, like I am not pulling my weight.

    We don’t mind living a smaller life, mostly. We aren’t hurting. We aren’t having lavish vacations anymore, but I don’t think it markedly changes the quality of life for me! Like all the stuff I used to go out and do and spend money on was as much stress as positive influence, on the good end of things, and I appreciate the less-stressful life at home that has allowed me to flourish in new creative directions.

    Normally I remember this and I’m good. The most productive thing to do is just focus on getting better at working again in healthy ways, and really put my energy into that, not so much beating myself up for what I can’t do compared to my past. The past is the past. Yanno?

    I’ve been feeling a jolt once in a while lately. Like a cold splash or an electric shock. Like I just woke up 7-8 years ago, realized I hadn’t released a book in months, and have an immediate panic attack. I used to release almost monthly. I was always searching for new opportunities, making connections, marketing, straining through books. The life I’m living right now was my fear. I would have seen myself as utterly worthless. It took years of growth to get to a place where I stopped valuing myself based on external factors at all, and started realizing I have inherent value, but sometimes it’s like…all that growth just vanishes in a blink and I’m scared and bleeding again.

    What am I so afraid of? Taking it easy now doesn’t mean all my past accomplishments stop counting. And my current non-financial accomplishments are so meaningful. Moving away from a capitalist sense of value has been really important for me.

    I almost feel like this is a sign I should shake myself around a little and step up my effort on working–in healthful ways, of course. Indulging fear won’t help me, but I gotta get motivation somewhere? I really do work every day. I write plenty. But I think I need to really focus on finishing the twelve thousand unfinished projects sitting out there. I feel so much better whenever I have something to show for my efforts.