Kiss5Tigers

The 5 Tigers represent the big things in life. This blog is about facing them.


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Just Do the Thing

It’s a simple concept, and I even wrote a whole post about it, but somehow I keep forgetting.

I have been avoiding writing for a while now, no cards, no journaling, no blogging, no working on my book. No writing.

And it got to the place where writing just seemed like the biggest hurdle ever. Getting out the pens or opening the laptop seemed like an insurmountable obstacle.

Of course it’s not.

I went to an artists’ group today and the first part was some guided free writing. Just doing the writing got the juices flowing.

Then we worked on personal projects and I got out my notecards. I wrote about 10 of them during the meeting, with stamps and everything. I mailed them already.

Now I am blogging for the second time in 24 hours.

Do the thing. Don’t get sidetracked. Don’t wait for the right moment. Just do it. (Thanks, Nike.) Start. Because once you start, you gain momentum. The law of inertia says that once something is in motion, it will tend to stay in motion until another force acts on it. And you thought inertia was just for objects at rest!

I’ve been blowing off the morning pages that Julia Cameron recommends in The Artist’s Way. And now I see, for me, even when there’s nothing to say, I need to discipline of daily writing. It primes the pump. It gets things flowing.

Wow, maybe the expert really does know what she’s talking about, fancy that!

So I will finish this entry and go write the rest of the current box of cards, and then we’ll see what happens. I might even work on my book tonight.


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Way Too Early Friday Morning

It’s Thursday night, it’s Friday morning, it’s that gray area when you get to decide what time of day it is.

By the clock, it’s 1:29 Friday morning. By my sleep habit, it’s the middle of the night on Thursday.

Funny how it’s getting up that makes it the next day, not the clock. Although this is a planned all-nighter so sunrise will make it the next day.

But it will still be today. I might even still have the same clothes on.

What’s going on, that I’m not sleeping?

My daughter got mugged in Deep Ellum last week and we need to go to the DMV to get her a replacement ID.

Mugging. That’s something you don’t like to think about. When I was young, when ATMs were a new phenomenon, we used to carry $20 “mugging money” so that we wouldn’t get knifed for having no cash. Nowadays, well, apparently my daughter was slipped a mickey. She says it was GHB, but since she didn’t do a drug test, I have to wonder how she knows. Maybe date rape drugs are surprisingly common these days and the young folk know the difference. I don’t know.

I just know she freaked out, legitimately. She had a chain maille chain attached from her jeans to her wallet and they broke the chain to get the wallet. Whatever else happened, this was a determined mugger. They also got her phone and her vest, but she got those back. A friend of a friend recognized the vest and knew it didn’t belong to the person wearing it. They got it back with the phone and left them with a local club management, then put the information into the grapevine.

I would rather they had called the cops about this, but my opinion is immaterial. Not to mention ACAB. My kid is, well, alternative looking. Not someone the police would find sympathetic. Doesn’t mean she somehow doesn’t deserve sympathy, but she’s not a Plano girl, blonde highlights straightened hair perfect teeth cheerleader type. She’s a tough little green haired sprite in Doc Marten’s and black denim. Not the right type to be a victim.

So I am up all night, to be sure we get to the DMV early. Last time we got there about 11 am, they were already booked for the day. I figure I need to pick her up about 7 am and be there before 8. You just never know.

In other news, I found some Sesame Street stamps for my mail. I figure, the way things are, people deserve a postage stamp that will make you smile and remind you of childhood. I will get some mail together tonight as part of my staying up. I have some things to send out for my Etsy shop (I sold a hat, yay!) and a box of cards to write. They’re already addressed, I just need to put messages in them. I also have a pack of postcards with liberal social issues on them that I want to send out. I want them to go to people who appreciate them, though, so I might put up a lottery.

Mr Momo Kitty has stopped vomiting, so either it was a hairball or it was a stomach virus that passed. Charli Cat has been trying to sit on the computer all night. She succeeds from time to time, and then I have to move her. Right now she is sprawled on the back of the sofa behind me.

That’s about all the news from here. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.


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Downswing?

It’s been a while since I posted, but then I’m not writing much at all.

I haven’t journaled.

I haven’t written letters.

I haven’t worked on my book.

Now the question is . . . Is this just a normal swing of mood that will shift in the future? Or is this because we have cut back on my mood stabilizer?

I don’t feel any different mood-wise, but I am behaving a little different, so I have to ask what’s going on?

That’s one of the things about being medicated for my bipolar: the drugs keep my mood fairly stable but my behavior still fluctuates. I have a kind of cycle still, I just don’t feel it.

The height of summer, which it is right now, is not a high point in life for me. I don’t like summer, mostly because I don’t like heat. I don’t have a beach body so I don’t feel comfortable running around in shorts and a tank top. Summer is not fun for me.

It took me getting diagnosed to realize that I do have a seasonal mood cycle. I just thought I was one of those kids that loved school. Now I think my cycle says fall is better.

It is also August 19. The 19th in and of itself isn’t a bad day, but Mom died August 21 so there is another reason for me to feel a bit down. I don’t feel actually sad about it any more — I mean, I was 19 when she died and that was 35 years ago, I’ve been without her longer than I had her — but I do feel a bit, I don’t know, nostalgic? melancholy? wistful? The word in French is triste but it is only translated as “sad” which seems so prosaic. It’s a more delicate feeling than simply sad.

So since my feelings are pretty steady, I have to look at my behavior to know what’s going on. I am sleeping a bit too much. I might be eating too much. I am dragging getting going in the morning (that’s a lot of “ing”). I am not writing letters or making hats. I did do some shopping, some books and some stationery. I ordered the stationery supplies online, it should take a couple weeks to get here. I observe that my behaviors look like depression for me.

I also have a job interview tomorrow. I am not sure I want the job. It sounds like a home health aide job with peer specialist requirements. They want someone who can drive clients around, which I don’t feel good committing to with no air conditioning in my car. I don’t really want another home health aide type job. Plus it pays $7 an hour less than the government job does, that’s a loss of $14,000 a year. Not a hit I’m willing to take on a permanent basis. On the other hand, it’s in the field I’m interested in pursuing and they require the peer specialist certification, which I want to get. It would be one route to getting it. I don’t like feeling like I’m using people, but they’re just using me to make money, so I also think I shouldn’t feel that bad about it.

I think it is really the cycle and the season. Not so much the meds, at least I’m not willing to say that yet. So the working theory is to hold on for now and see what happens. Expect this to pass in about a month. Maybe less. But expect it to pass is the important part.

Everything shifts with time, in my world.


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Online Mentoring

I belong to a group on Facebook that is run by an author named SARK. Every couple of weeks she does a live online mentoring session and this evening was one of those days.

One of the exercises was to listen to 10 statements and decide which ones made your heart race, in either the scared way or the excited way.

I picked these statements:

  • See with fresh eyes
  • Invest in yourself
  • Give yourself fully

As a writer, and I am calling myself a writer these days, I always want to see things in a way they haven’t been seen before. I am looking for new words and new ways to describe things. There aren’t really any new things in the world, well a few but not in the area I am writing, so it’s all about saying things in new ways. The best way to do that is to see with fresh eyes.

Oh, investing in myself! This is so hard to do! It feels selfish to spend time and energy on me. But I do things like support groups for myself, so it’s about how I frame it I guess. Support groups are part of my wellness plan. Wellness is important to me for balancing my life. But self care is part of wellness, and self care is more than bubble baths and mani/pedi spa days.

As a creative, investing in myself is also investing in my creativity. It’s going to museums and reading good books. It’s journaling over coffee and meeting with artistic friends. It’s working through my resistance and doing the creative work I feel called to do. Pampering is fine, but part of investing is doing the work, making the emotional investment in the project.

Giving myself fully is a little scary. It involves being whole-hearted in my chosen involvements. So much safer to just dip a toe in and when things tank there is no real commitment. But so much richer to risk full involvement. And if I’m looking for fresh eyes, being all in is a good way to find them.

It’s all about building a life that is more alive, I think. It feels like it’s different aspects of the same trait. Enthusiasm, maybe? What my cousin calls eating the world. Although the world is a buffet and I would want to fill myself with different things than she does. Which is fine, perfectly acceptable.

There was also a guest speaker, Brian Andreas. Brian had a great metaphor about going to the store and buying milk. What is the thing you need to do? Buy milk. You might also get cookies or fruit, but milk is the goal. Do the thing, buy the milk. Whatever else happens, do the thing.

I’ve also been reading The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. He talks about different kinds of resistance and how some of them even look like doing important work, but it if distracts you from doing your creative work, it’s acting as resistance. So thinking of the milk metaphor, don’t worry about balancing your checkbook or putting gas in the car or what you’ll do when you run out of milk in the future. Just buy the milk. Stop worrying about self-improvement or getting the perfect work space or what if you run out of ideas. Right now, jump in, do the thing.

So I am now a writer. I am writing a book on wellness. Not that I have anything particularly new to say, but I have a unique perspective as a person living with bipolar. And if it works for me, it might help someone else out.


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Tuesday Afternoon is Neverending

It’s been a Tuesday.

Nothing much has happened, which is fine.

I napped most of the day until about 4, which is not fine. I need to stop screwing with my sleep schedule.

I finally had a stack of stuff fall onto my bed. I have, or had, about 10 rubbermaid tubs stacked against the wall at the end of my bed. One of them has been slowly crushing under the weight of the tubs above it and the shift of having a cat sleep on the top of the stack. I don’t know when it happened, sometime late morning or early afternoon, but I went in my bedroom and everything was laying on the bed. Right where I lay at night, so it could have been worse.

I am being lazy. I still haven’t picked them up and it is after midnight. Of course I’m not tired yet, thanks to all the napping.

Tuesday is a slow day for me. There is a support group but they meet at 10 am which is early for me. I tried very hard to get up this morning but I slept until 9:45 so I just wasn’t gonna make it. I’d like to be more consistent with that group. It’s Recovery International which I find very useful, but since I am up after midnight, I don’t get up very early.

So the upshot is, I don’t get out of the house on Tuesdays and I don’t get to have conversations with people. I miss the contact.

Now the rest of the week is full. Wednesday is group and an online mentorship. Thursday is unemployment orientation, group, and DBSA meeting. Friday I have coffee with a friend. Really this keeping busy thing is the most important part for me. I just need to keep practicing getting up early so I make it on time for Thursday.

I have done some research for peer specialist pay. Apparently upstate New York is considered to pay well, and a friend says they are being offered about $12.50 an hour. I make more than that working for the government, makes it hard to give up the on-call position.

Also I live in Texas, where mental health is not a priority so I’m sure the pay is less. I have learned that the Medicaid billing rate in Texas is about 1/5 as much as other states. But I need that Medicaid certification if I want to work in the field. And I do.

An online group where I belong has just listed addresses for a mail pod. I now have a whole new list of addresses to send stuff so I need to get busy with it. I have a stack of people I owe snailies to, too. About an inch, maybe 2 of letters needing replies.

I am currently reading too many books: Eat, Pray, Love ; Keep Going ; and A Book That Takes Its Time. I also ordered several zines from Microcosm Publishing so I’m reading those, and there are the books we use in groups. For someone with no focus, I do a lot of reading.

Well it’s almost 1 am and I have a bed full of boxes to deal with. Now that it’s getting a little cooler, I might be able to manage. Texas in the summer is not comfortable.


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I Think It’s Settled

I think — I am not sure, but I believe — the unemployment situation is going to work out.

The person I talked to on Friday said to remember to apply for my next payment on Sunday, so I did. And today I went to the payment page, it said that I had deductions equal to a week twice, which means I won’t get paid this week. However, it also looks like I won’t owe further money. I won’t know for sure until I ask for payment again in 2 weeks. But for now, things look positive.


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Everything and Not Much



Wow, it’s been a week, where have I been?

It seems like not much is happening but every day is full.

I’ve been napping a lot. I seem to sleep 10 hours. I get out of bed after 8 hours and then fall asleep on the sofa in the living room. I am trying to find things to do to keep myself awake. My doctor would like me to go for a walk but even at 8 or 9 in the morning, it’s too hot for me to do that. I would do yoga but F is asleep in his recliner so I don’t really want to turn on the sound.

Unemployment is giving me grief. I was scheduled for orientation on the day before my vacation, at the time I was due at the passport office to pick up my passport. They assign you a time to get it, so that wasn’t actually negotiable. However I had reason to believe the orientation could be flexible.

In the past, I actually blew off the orientation appointment and it did not interfere with my payments. I just rescheduled the orientation. It wasn’t a big deal. I didn’t realize it was a requirement. This time, I tried several times to reschedule. I called in more than once. I left voice messages. I did not get a call back. I thought it was okay because I gave them notice more than once that I couldn’t make it and needed to do it another time.

I was wrong.

Unemployment decided they didn’t need to pay me because I missed the orientation. They decided this after they had already paid me. They want their money back. And they won’t pay me again until I refund it.

Well, I don’t have it. I had to catch up on rent and phone. I put gas in the car. I paid bills. I mean, it was spent.

Now I do want to be clear, it was NOT spent on my trip. The trip was paid for before I was even eligible for unemployment. The trip was already budgeted. Not that I have to justify where unemployment payments go. This is insurance and I pay into it when I’m employed. It’s my money, not welfare. But, that aside . . .

I also told them I was out of town and they decided that meant I was unavailable for work, so they want the money back for that week as well. So that’s over $1000 they want back from me, and frankly I don’t have it. I have been to doctors and picked up medicine. I have bought a book or two. I renewed my Barnes and Noble membership. I’m not outrageous, but money doesn’t go very far.

Now really if there had been work, I would have been doing it. But there is no employment for me. I am working toward it in the mental health field, but it won’t pay as well as the government does. Still, I am looking, to see what I can find.

However my friend P has found an opportunity for me. He knows someone who makes jewelry who needs help marketing it. I know a bit about posting on Etsy and maybe DeviantArt. I can maybe get her started for a stipend. Of course, it’s only any good until I get called for work. P suggested I take a percentage of the profits, but I’m thinking an hourly rate might be better. I don’t need to get paid right away but I can’t for example mail anything that gets sold if I’m in another state. So internet marketing consultant could be a thing.

I also got the chance to facilitate a few groups in the past 2 weeks. Three people told me I did well, so I’m feeling pretty confident about my facilitating skills. I don’t feel like I actually did very much. For example, one group we had a new person come in who burst into tears when we asked how he was. I didn’t know what to do, but the group did. They gave him Kleenex and water and support. It was amazing. I got credit for it, but I think it was all on them. I am facilitating again next week and the following week, assuming I’m not called for work.

And I do hope to be called for work.