Tag: growth (page 1 of 2)

500 Words on Dynamism

Everything changes.

I’m finding myself thinking about the paradigm in Mage: the Ascension that some refer to as the Metaphysical Trinity. It’s a cycle that consists of Dynamism, Stasis, and Entropy. As I prepare to leave the start-up life behind, hopefully forever, and move into a position in life that is more stable and less inducing of constant low-level stress, at least on the employment front, it feels more than anything else that this cycle in my life is moving from Entropy into Dynamism. Things are changing.

With the benefit of hindsight of the recent past, it’s clear to me that for the latter half of last year, I was existing in that state of Entropy. I was struggling to hold myself together, constantly afraid of things falling apart. While those fears have not entirely left me alone — part of ongoing grief is the knowledge that lives can be shattered with no explanation at any moment — I’m trying to grapple with and understand them, rather than just letting them exist without engagement or pretending they either don’t exist or will somehow leave me alone. To cope with them better, I’ve had to grow, to change.

I’ve been taking a hard look at my expectations and goals for myself, as well. What is it that I actually want? Am I my own person, deep down? How much have I relied upon or catered to the perceived expectations, needs, or wants of others, especially those closest to me? Employers, partners, family, friends — my relationships have, by and large, been defined by not my own guidance, but the influence of others. That, too, is something I need to try and change. I want to live a healthier, more personally fulfilling life. Not an easy thing when your previous experience and head weasels have spent years telling you that your self-worth is irrelevant in the face of your utility in the hands of others.

That can and must change. Everything changes.

My hope is that, with the nature of my day-to-day stressors drastically changing, and a more stable structure being introduced in the form of new employment, I can build on top of that foundation. If there is a core of good things upon which to base change, the change is ultimately for the better, no matter what form it takes. And I know that the people who love & care about me want to see me thrive, not shrivel. Entropy causes me to shrivel. And, for now, I am leaving that nadir of the cycle behind and moving towards better things.

Even the cycle will change. Things will settle into a recognizable, even comfortable, pattern for a time, and then they’ll break down through personal perception or life circumstances, only to change again. As much as I know I can’t go through these changes alone, at the end of the day, I do need to find my own way, to kindle and shine my light to guide myself through change.

Everything changes. And so must I.

The Hermit from Mage: the Ascension tarot art by Joshua Gabriel Timbrook

Turning The Corner

The site going down for as long as it did feels like part of the last gasp of an awful time of my life coming to a close. Until now, I simply haven’t had the resources to do things like pay a large invoice like the one for my host, even a yearly one. Along with finally securing a good and lucrative job that plays to my strengths and fosters a healthy environment, my mental and emotional turbines have spun up to a good level of power. Above all, I’ve done a good deal of work in being more gentle with myself, and remembering that, no matter what I or anyone else might say, I’m only human.

Even now, at times, I struggle to refrain from being hard on myself to the point that people say I am “beating myself up.” Home and work life are both in a form that remind me that it’s okay if I don’t have all the answers, or insufficient spoons to do a particular chore. It’s much better in the long run to admit that you don’t know than pretend you do and be found out later. That’s part of the problem I have with the whole “fake it ’til you make it” thing — I’d rather be known for who I really am than have people engage favorably with a false front conveying false knowledge and false confidence.

I’ve dealt with those people. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

Showing up as myself, the person I’ve been working hard to be for over a year, is something to which I’m unaccustomed. My habits have always been to make more room for others, turn myself down for others, get out of the way of others. I’ve always seen putting myself first as too selfish, too disagreeable. Some of my experiences pointed towards that being the truth, and I bought into that as the rule, rather than exceptions. But with a little thought, and the growth I’ve experienced, it’s clear that looking after my own best interests is neither disagreeable nor selfish in the way that taking all of the cookies or drinking all of the beer is selfish.

If I am looked after, I can produce, write, and be there for others.

I’m the only person I can rely upon to look after me.

Therefore, to look after myself is not selfish.

That’s been the crux of this corner upon which I turn. Giving more thought to myself, my words, and my actions — it’s still a bit new to me. I still need reminders that my feelings and opinions are just as valid as those of the people around me, and that I am allowed to occupy the space in which I exist. I’ve had trouble believing that in the past. Some of my more recent experiences could have reinforced the notion that I am unworthy of friends, affection, or success. It’s taken a lot of effort to fight back against those feelings, those learned behaviors. I’m still unlearning them, and teaching myself new ones. I don’t want to perpetuate old habits, pattern arguments, or anything of the sort.

As far as I’ve come, as much as I’ve done, it’s all just part of turning a corner.

And turning a corner means that the journey, and the work to make it a survivable, lucrative, and memorable one, is far from over.

Tuesdays are for telling my story.

Merely A Setback

Kael'thas by ArtDoge
Art by ArtDoge

Been feeling the Blizzard bug nibbling at me lately.

As much as I would love to dive back into Azeroth and prepare for the new expansion to World of Warcraft, there are a lot of things I need to take care of in the real world first. Things have been quiet on the YouTube channel (save for someone having fun with the dislike buttons – you go, whomever you are! *big grin*); despite picking up a new microphone and finally getting Balthazar in a running condition, I haven’t produced a new video for the last couple of weeks. This past week was a six-day workweek, and I’ve been having bouts of insomnia every night of it, yet haven’t had much energy to be overly productive outside of work.

Hooray! I’m depressed again!

There are times when depression leaves one with enough energy and motivation to go about some basic tasks – feeding myself, taking a shower, getting to and from work, being on my game at work, etc – but beyond that, one has very little in terms of both of those things. There are others when victims of depression don’t even have those to go on, and I’ve certainly had my bouts of building a blanket fort and curling up inside. But this is not one of those times. This depression, be it the usual pervasive mix of hindsight and contrition, or seasonally affected, is merely a setback.

Likewise, losing yet another home, having my car sit in a non-street legal state, and playing perpetual waiting games with potential oaths of upward motion are all merely setbacks.

I’ll keep doing everything I’m able every day. I’ll find a new rhythm. I’ll move to a place of my own. I’ll return to writing fiction, to vlogging, to streaming Hearthstone, to truly loving life. I’ll learn to cope with my moods and thoughts in an active amd positive way, as opposed to merely in hindsight with a mix of nostalgia or contrition. I’ll learn to love myself – fully, truly love myself every single day.

Thank you for bearing with me in the meantime.

Vlog #7: “The Road”

Vlog 7
Click the image!

What a lovely day to talk about the future. There are two roads that lead in that direction, and this week I talk about those roads and which one to take – and, more importantly, the paths we should NOT take.

If you like what I’m doing with these, please feel free to subscribe or support me on Patreon. Thanks in advance!

Zone Control

Paradoxically, talking about comfort zones makes me uncomfortable.

Not because they are strange things, or because I don’t understand them. I do. I know consent is a vital, essential thing, and you cannot and should not cross into someone else’s comfort zone without that consent. When you do, apologize and back out. At least, if the offended party tells you directly. They may take other action if they feel deeply uncomfortable or threatened. Or simply slam the metaphorical door in your face. And that’s fine. At the end of the day, we must take care of ourselves on an individual, internal level. And that can mean avoiding the external to whatever degree we must to maintain or reinforce our comfort zones.

All of that is comprehensive and understandable to me. It doesn’t make me uncomfortable.

My relationship with me, my own comfort zone, and how it’s interacted with others… those things do.

Josh has been one of those people who’s stumbled headlong into someone else’s comfort zone, crashing through a wall Kool-Aid man style if the Kool-Aid man was a well-meaning but ultimately destructive doofus. That’s probably the kindest I’ve been to Josh when regarding his mistakes. I do feel that, for the most part, his heart was in the right place, at least most of the time. While it doesn’t change the fact that Josh made bad decisions regarding getting along with other people, trying to imagine him complexly helps me not want to dig up his corpse and shoot him again.

The othering of my past self is something I’ve been working on. The more I change, the more I examine myself, the more I become acquainted with everything inside of me from my Shadow to my action matching intention to (I’m getting to it) my comfort zone, the more I feel the distance between who I am now, and what I was before. And because of my actions, because of the influence and insight of those I love, because of my stubborn refusal to swim in my own fucking bullshit for one second longer, that past self, that Josh, is a thing. A corpse. A creature, an individual, that I kicked to its knees, shot twice in the head, and buried in an unmarked grave out back. Josh-that-was. He is no more.

I am very uncomfortable referring to who I was and what I did before in the first person. It fucks with my comfort zone.

When I catch myself doing it, some of the emotional creatures – the “head weasels” that appeared regularly in Innercom Chatter (which I really need to get back to doing) – start crying out more loudly. Anxiety, contrition, depression, and anger all claw and squeal for my attention, to buy into whatever it is they’re selling. The idea that I have not changed. The idea that I still need to be punished further for what Josh-that-was did. The idea that sustainable happiness, sustainable Relationships, sustainable peace, are things I will never truly know. The idea that I should just get out of the sight of everyone I know before I do something else fucking stupid.

These feelings, not invalid, come from honest places, deep and dark ones. I do my utmost to not act on them, as those actions would have consequences, while the feelings themselves do not. I keep telling myself that.

I worry that’s more of my own bullshit talking.

Then I remember that just admitting that I have these fears, these worries, in a broadcast as loud as I can make it to anyone willing to listen places me apart from a lot of people. I’m focused on the path in front of me, the one I walk by myself. I have people in my corner, as well as their own corners, shouting support as loud as they can to make sure I can hear. And I shout it to myself. Sometimes in a whisper, sometimes at the top of my voice. Whatever I need, when I need it, however I need it.

Sure, I’ll have moments of discomfort. I’ll have bad moments where I lose sight of my goal. I’ll stumble and pinwheel my arms to keep myself from falling into that threatening but inviting stream of flowing self-deceptive antiquated childish bullshit that still runs beneath all I’ve worked to build within myself.

But this is within my comfort zone. This is something I can and will control. I will continue to be honest, clearly and immediately and consistently honest, growing and nurturing the things that matter to me, reaching out to those I love, and making damn sure my footing on my path is certain and that, at the end of the day, I love myself like my life depends on it.

I no longer care if the world knows what my secrets are.

And I am not throwing away my shot.

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