Archive for November 23rd, 2016

Deep focus, the work, boundaries, and self-love. Of Tigers and Feathers – Day 90

I’ve been reading about attention residue, the power of deep work and intense focus, and the value of showing up consistently. I’ve also been reading about listening to what my body tells me, burn-out, the treasure to be found in returning to a more natural rhythm for my body’s cycles.

There’s the usual questions of whining versus being aware of limitations, of treating the self well versus laziness, and the sacrifices that we make in one area to fulfill another.

Facts:
Many of my friends live 12 hours away, 13 now with Daylight Savings Time. My morning is usually the best time to catch up with them to chat because otherwise I’m trying to talk to people at work.
I work best in the mornings right after I get up, if I don’t allow myself to get distracted by other things.
The work that I truly want to get done won’t get finished on time if I don’t get my ass in gear.
I’m depressed. It’s official because my period’s gone wonky again; I’ve gained weight because I’m stress-eating like mad; and I’m tired all the time.
I’m still fighting off sick and coughing up stuff in the mornings with a sore throat if I overdo.
The schoolwork does need to get done. In fact, one could argue that it’s of way higher priority than my work. On the other hand, schoolwork is doable with a fritzed brain, but the work isn’t.
Trying to rebuild a social circle while juggling the work and schoolwork is proving to be difficult. Made more difficult by complications.

New discovery:
I realized today when RTing things about Trump, that I was actually afraid that what I was RTing would come back to bite me in the ass when I return to the US.

Back in undergrad, when I said something college-kid-innocuous about killing myself if I had to eat at the student dining hall one more time, I later got a stressed-out phone call from the international student advisor saying that I’d been accused of being a terrorist threatening to shoot other people.
Other people. Not even myself. Never mind that a gun hadn’t even been mentioned.
That was how a bystander had parsed my words. Because I’m Asian. Because I’m other and therefore I can’t say something even vaguely violent without alarming the white people.
I got very careful about how I spoke in public after that. Be sweet. Don’t make waves. Never let on that you’re dissatisfied because otherwise “we can deport you/kick you out and you can always go to another school/go back to where you came from”.

Back then, however, I wasn’t truly afraid to speak my mind if I had to.

Now though? I am afraid. With every person that Trump picks for key positions in government, I get more and more afraid. I haven’t been this afraid since I lived in China, years and years ago.
Sites would get taken down without notice. The internet would get cut off if you searched for the wrong term. The government could and did make lives miserable if they didn’t like what you were saying. The forum that I belonged to got “audited extensively” a couple of times and it was nerve-wracking waiting for the verdict, waiting to learn if we could still congregate together, if everything that we had wrote and worked for would simply be taken away.
I spent six years terrified that my opinions would land me in trouble. Every time the internet cut off on yet another search I thought completely innocuous, I’d sit and wait, terrified, for the phone call or the knock on the door.
I never expected to feel the same kind of creeping horror, the ice that slides down the the spine, when discussing USian stuff. Things that are our right to comment on and expect answers to as American citizens.
The chill has already started, and so it behooves me to be more careful, more aware of what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.

So boundaries. Self-care. Self-love. Being true to the self and to the world that demands authenticity now more than ever.

I think what would work best as a start would be to commit to going to sleep at 10pm, or 11pm at the latest. 10pm is preferable because I have 8am classes and because I’ve found that the work is easier in the morning, assuming a decent night’s sleep. (no promises of this, however. the nightmares have gotten exponentially worse since the election)

I’d like to get back to waking up at 6am or earlier, so I can get in a solid hour of writing before I need to go to class or anything else. 5:30am would be best, or maybe even 5am, because that would give me 2 to 2.5 hours.

While I’m working, I’m going to turn off all notifications for everything. Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, etc. I’m vaguely concerned about wikipedia and my ability to get completely lost in research. With everything I’m reading about attention residue, there’s two ways the research could go – so long as I remain on topic, then it might not affect the writing adversely, or it’s possible that if I got too interested in something not immediately pertaining to the writing, then it might affect focus. I’ve tried leaving the research until later, and it just doesn’t work for me, so that’s unfortunately not an option.

I theoretically have only two days a week when classes are going to affect my ability to talk to people in the US in my mornings: Monday and Tuesday. I figure that I’ll survive. Boundaries.

I’m going to keep up the social media/news ban. I’ve lapsed a couple of time and I’ve noticed that I haven’t done well after. I guess I could reward myself with terror and horror once I get my work done, but I might refrain since I’m not certain how easy it is to get Bupropion in Taiwan. And speaking of which, apparently Bupropion literally gives many people hives, aka uticaria. What the everloving hell? Suddenly much becomes clear…

I’ve really lapsed on the exercise thing, and I want to get back into doing at least 10k steps a day, resuming the 30 day plank challenge, and the sun salutations. If nothing else, the 10k steps should help with mood stabilizing and hopefully stall the worst of the stress weight gain.

As for in-person socialization – meals still need to be had, but I might need to either cut out the afternoon teas, or insist that we actually do some work while at the coffee shops.

Let’s see how this goes.

Boundaries. Hope. Discipline. Love. *sigh*