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Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Knitting Pattern: Umskipti (Fingerless Mitts)

According to the Internet, "umskipti" is the icelandic word for transition. I liked that as a name for this project because it evokes the transitions between the elements of this pattern (eyelet rounds, twisted rib, stockinette, and garter stitch) but also because it's the first pattern I've ever sat down and designed, knit, and recorded, which marks a transition of my own - into the realm of knitting design.

I've wanted to start designing patterns for a while now.  I've been knitting for years and I think I have a pretty good grasp of the art.

I wanted to start with something small that would be easy to work out, easy to share, and easy to knit.  I thought a cozy, bulky pair of fingerless mitts would be a great place to start.

This pattern has three of my favourite elements in knitting - eyelet rounds, twisted rib, and garter borders.  I love how twisted rib seems to pop so much more than a regular rib, and I think eyelet rounds add a touch of whimsy to items that might otherwise come off a little utilitarian. Garter borders just look clean and cozy at the same time.  I wanted all these things, and I wanted something that would be super comfy.

I had one almost complete ball of Álafoss Lopi by Ístex (89.5 grams of a 100g ball), and I figured out that should be just enough for a cozy set of fingerless mitts that I could wear at work (it gets chilly in that call centre).

Alafoss Lopi in Golden Heather

I'm beyond happy with the result.  I think the mitts are absolutely adorable, and I love the chunky look that the bulky yarn gives it.  I'm glad I went with the eyelet rounds - it jazzes them up a bit, and I think the garter border around the fingers finishes the look really well.  The slight variations in the yarn colour are something I adore about this particular colourway.

Let me know if you like this pattern!

Needed:
Yarn:  I used one ball of Álafoss Lopi by Ístex, but any bulky/12ply yarn should do. This yarn is a little scratchy at first, but it softens up beautifully over time, and it is beyond warm. The colourway I used is Golden Heather (9964).
Needles: I used 6mm (US 10) circulars, but you could easily knit this on DPNs as well.
Techniques: knit, purl, knit 2 together, knit through the back loop, yarn over, knitting in the round.

The Pattern:

CO 20 stitches.  I used the backward loop cast on as it's what I was taught first and it tends to be my go-to.  If you prefer a sturdier cast on, feel free to CO in whatever style you prefer. Join in the round, being careful not to twist. Place a marker if you like, but the tail of the yarn is what I usually use for small projects like this. It's pretty obvious where you started.  If you need to adjust it for size, make sure to do so in multiples of 2 stitches.

Cuff:

Round 1: knit
Round 2: purl
Round 3: (yo, k2t) around
Round 4: purl
Round 5: knit

Begin twisted rib (ktbl, p)"
Knit in 1x1 twisted rib for 3.5-4". Mine was about 13 or 14 rounds.

Transition at wrist:
Round 1: knit
Round 2: purl
Round 3: (yo, k1, yo, k2t)x4, (yo, k2t) the rest of the round (Increase by 4 stitches to 24 stitches)
Round 4: purl

Hand:
Knit 3 rounds
To create the hole for the thumb, switch to knitting flat. Purl back, with the wrong side facing you, and then knit stockinette for 6 rows, creating a gap for the thumb.

When you come back on the 6th row, which should be a knit row, join again at the thumb hole you created, and continue to knit in the round for 4 rounds.

Garter border at fingers:
Round 1: purl
Round 2: knit
Round 3: purl
Round 4: knit
Round 5: purl

BO loosely.  Too tight and you won't have room for your fingers to move around.

Thanks for knitting! I'd love to see other people's FOs of this, so make sure to do a project page on ravelry (if you're not on ravelry, why aren't you?!).

If you want to sell your FOs from this pattern, feel free to do so (obviously not an industrial scale).

This pattern is also on ravelry.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Letting In

The first time I was in love, it was a situation in which I developed strong and honest feelings over the course of the year and a half I was with my first boyfriend.  In the same time frame, I fell hard and fast for one of my best friend.  (Obviously, neither of those relationships worked out.)

Next time I fell in love, it was a little faster, and started out with all the fuzzy crush feelings, was interupted by a break-up and a year apart, before spending another year giving it a second go. After that ended catastrophically, I told myself I'd never get back together with an ex.

The next time, it was another one of those slow building loves that was messily truncated by the ridiculously passionate feelings that I felt immediately for my most recent ex.

It was never difficult or scary to fall for the next person in line, until this time.  Maybe that's because every time up until now, I have been the one doing the leavig.  Fed up, or on to something new.  Every time I fell in love again, it was fun and exciting and something new to look forward to. And then The Breakup happened last year, and I was more heartbroken than I had ever been.  Despite being in love many times,with different people, I had never been in love like that.  I don't think that makes the other times less real - just different.

Being the romantic that I am - which is just a ncie way of saying co-dependant, I think - I've gone and done it again, but I have never fallen in love like this before, either.  This has been the scariest Fall my heart has ever experienced.

Suddenly, I know what it's like to be the people I walked away from.  That was something that broke my heart in it's own, side-bar way when my ex first left me last year - knowing that this was what I had made people that I cared about feel.  It was an awful realization, and one I am still learning to forgive myself for.

Aside from a taste of it when I was sixteen and in love with my best friend, this has been the first time I've really experienced a true heartbreak, and falling in love again has been the scariest thing in the world - but also as easy as ever.  Easy in the sense that I just kind of blinked and realized it had happened, not easy to deal with.

It's difficult to realize that after spending a year slowly putting the pieces back together, I've taken my repaired little organ, somewhat deformed now from piecing it back together, and just handed it off to someone else.  "Here, this is precious to me, and I don't even think the glue has finished drying yet, so it's really very fragile right now.  But I'm going to trust you not to break it anyway."

And it's so strange that I've done that, because I've entrusted this person with this fragile piece of myself, and at the same time, I find myself sitting on the edge of my seat and watching them hold it, tensing up every time their hands shift - I can see it crashing to the floor and breaking again.  But I've done it now, so all I can do is have faith, right?

I think this Letting In of new feelings is as important as Letting Go of the old ones.  Because, what good is repairing the heart if you're just going to put it in a glass box and never letting anybody near it?  I could have done that with the pieces and saved myself the effort of patching it back together.

And maybe it will get broken again, and I'll have to put it all back together again. And it will either be more fragile than ever, or sturdier for all the glue, tape, and staples it will take.  But I know myself, and the first thing I'm going to do if that hapens, is hand it off again, and hope the next person won't drop it.

Maybe this means I am a fool, because I keep on trusting.  But I can't imagine a life in which I kept my heart to myself.  It feels selfish.  I want someone to have it.  And I think that that is actually one of the healthiest things about me - I can't shake the hope that someone will truly treasure that precious little organ.


Saturday, 1 December 2012

Letting Go

Last week I finally hit the breaking point with my ex.  Those of you who followed me over here from my old blog and/or my catharthis blog will know that this has been a long time coming.  Considering he dumped me almost eighteen months ago now, I should have hit this point a long time ago, I know.

I'm actually really angry.  Angrier than I have been in a long time.  And not just angry at him.  I'm angry at myself for letting it get to this point.  I'm angry at my mother for sewing such co-dependent traits in me.  And I'm angry at him for hurting me - there is no way I'm letting him off the hook for this one.

I'm not going to go into detail here about what the last straw was, but suffice it to say that hypocrisy is alive and well on Planet Ex, and it just broke the damn camel's back.

This post isn't about that, though, although that is the precipitating factor.  This post is about the process of "Letting Go".

"Letting Go" is one of those things you hear a lot about in self-help lessons and internet forums about being dumped.  And to an extent, I think a lot of what you hear about "Letting Go" is a lot of bullshit, but there is some merit to the idea.

For me, I had to learn to Let Go of a lot of things, all at once. 

I had a lot of plans wrapped up in that relationship - I was going to get married and have babies and a whole future with him.  So there's a big chunk of my future I had to Let Go of.  I had to Let Go of the financial stability that comes with having a partner that you're sharing the costs with (in a way that roommates just don't).  I had to Let Go of the family I thought I had gained through our relationship, the friends who showed their true colours when I responded to the breakup by plunging into the worst bout of depression I have ever experienced, and the constant comfort of someone to hold me to sleep every night.  I had to Let Go of the person I thought had become my best friend, and I had to Let Go of the trust I had placed in him.

All of that was scary, but it was only half of the story.  All those positive things I had to Let Go of went hand in hand with other things that I had to Let Go of in order to move on.  Like co-dependancy; I had to let go of that (I'm still learning to Let Go of that).  I had to Let Go of the pain that kept me attached to him, because at least it was something he was still feeding.  I had to Let Go of the belief that I deserved to be treated the way he did, and that he was always right and I was always wrong.  I had to Let Go of the belief that he was the only person who would ever love me, and the belief that I would never love myself.

The whole process is terrifying.  And I haven't finished it yet.  I didn't Let Go.  I held on for so long.  I continued to pour my energy into a relationship with a man who continued to lie to me and do things that hurt me without feeling any remorse because it was his life, and if I wanted to be his friend, I should respect his choices - never mind that if he wanted to be my friend, he should be considerate of my feelings, as friends just should be.  I refused to take that last shred of my heart that he held between his teeth and chewed on from time to time.  I held on so furiously, because if I didn't, then all the effort, and all the pain, and all the tears and screams and dreams and hopes and love would have been for nothing.

I had to finally learn that Letting Go isn't always the same as Giving Up, and even when it is, Giving Up isn't always the same as Failing.

A week ago, I finally Let Go, and I did Give Up; I Gave Up wasting my time on someone who didn't deserve it, someone who never bothered to waste his time on me.  I Gave Up on him, but in the process, I stopped Giving Up on myself.

The next step will be to Let Go of the anger.  I learned with my father that staying angry means they remain in control of you.  I do not want him to have any control over me any longer, and that involves Letting Go of my anger towards him and towards myself.  That's the next step I have to take, and it is the hardest one that I will take, because it always feels like anger makes you strong.  But what it really does is hollow you out, and fill you with rot.  I'm done letting other people turn me into something I'm not.

I'm Letting Go.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Is My Beauty Really Only Skin Deep?

Recently, my friend posted a link to this article on facebook, about combatting body dysmorphia by teaching by example - the author of the article makes it a point to tell her daughters that she, herself, is beautiful.

I really like the message of this article, and I think it's incredibly important for mothers to teach their daughters to be happy with their bodies.  From my own experience, it works.  My mother struggled with her weight for the majority of my childhood and teenagehood, but she always taught me that starvation was never the answer, that moderation was key, and even when she was frustrated that she couldn't fit her clothes, she never said things that made me think she hated her body or who she was because of that.

And that is something that I internalized.  I've never had problems with how I look, or at least, within reason.  I wish my nose didn't have that bump, but I recognize that it suits my face and my other features. I wish my feet were a little smaller, but only because it would make finding shoes a lot easier, and feet are generally ugly anyway.

But I was always told growing up that I was beautiful, and pretty.  Quite quickly, that turned into "hot" from the boys I knew; I developed early-ish and had breasts and hips by the time I was about fourteen.  Even now, almost eleven years later, I have nice breasts and a slender waistline, and curvy hips.  I'd like it if my butt were a bit rounder, but again, it suits my frame well enough.  I know that men and women find me attractive, and I consider myself attractive.  I am certain that a large part of that is that I fit into conventional standards of beauty - tall, slender, large-ish breasts, blue eyes - and so I have not recieved quite as much negative media reinforcement for certain traits.  Instead, what I got growing up was the message "tall and thin is beautiful".  Well, lucky me, my genetics have made me tall and thin.

But what about the other side of the coin?  My mother never taught me to hate my body, but she did a pretty thorough job of teaching me to hate myself.  I spent my teenage years being called a variety of names - stupid, selfish, manipulative, a bitch, a whore, a cow, among others - by my mother.  And just like the way I internalized accepting my body, I internalized those thoughts about myself.  I was told things like "Don't let your good looks go to your head," and "Eventually, people are going to look past how pretty you are and see the real you."  I was being told that I was pretty and beautiful, but that it was just skin deep and that beyond that, I was worth nothing, or that nobody would want what was inside me if they ever got a glimpse of it.

It got to the point where as an older teenager, I truly believed that the only worthwhile thing about myself that I had to offer was my body.  My body was beautiful, but I was not, as a person.  So of course people were only going to like me for my body, because who in their right mind would like me as a person?

So I dressed in ways that showed off my body, I felt most comfortable when I was showing cleavage, and wearing short skirts to show off my long legs. I felt far more comfortable when people were distracted by my looks than when people were learning about who I was.

I still struggle with this today, and I am terrified of not overcoming it.  I recognize the issue, which is, I think, the first step, but I continue to fall into the thinking traps that I have become so used to.  But it worries me that I may not overcome it, because what happens when my body begins to change?

I am going to grow older, and my physical body will start to change. Eventually I'll sag in places I don't know.  I'll get wrinkles, and I'll probably gain some weight.  If I ever have children (who knows?) I'll have stretch marks and my breasts will change.

What happens then, if I still believe my body is all I have to offer? Without that on the table anymore, will I believe I have anything to offer? Will I continue to believe I am beautiful as I get older?  I hope so, but even if I do believe that I am still beautiful, will it be wrapped up in "Well, I look good for my age" rhetoric?  Will that affect how I believe others will find me worthy?

I know it's important for me to believe I am beautiful, and I do.  I've never had a problem with that.  Maybe that's part of the problem.  Yes, I fell into the body type that the media told me was beautiful, but that's all the media ever told me was beautiful - commercials and ads didn't also add that being creative or honest or a good reader was also attractive.

But I know that it's also important for me to believe what's inside me is beautiful, too, and worth offering.

People focus really hard on telling the girls who don't fit the conventional beauty standard that it's what's inside that counts, and this is so important, because they're getting way more negative reinforcement than I ever got about their bodies.  But I think it's also so important to remind the girls that get the positive body reinforcement that they are so much more than just their bodies.  That they can be beautiful on the outside and on the inside.

It's something I'm working towards believing about myself, and I truly hope that if I'm ever in a position where a girl like me looks to me for guidance, that I can teach her that while she's young - that who she is inside is just as worth offering as who she is outside.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Procrastination Poetry

Instead of writing my novel, I have instead written a poem.  And then I found some other poems I wrote this year. If they stay hidden on my hard drive, then it was for naught. Maybe I'll put them in my novel. Either way, here. Have some poetry.

spaceship
I'm building a spaceship.
I'll crawl right inside it.
I'll solder it shut
and be still.

And the dark will set in,
around my spaceship of tin,
And I'll close my eyes
and be still.

one of many
I am not his first;
and he may not be my last.
I'm not the only one
he's ever loved,
and I've loved many.

But does that not make
our love all the more
special?
That it exists right now
when it might never have
existed at all?

And does that not make
our love all the more
precious?
That it exists in such
uncertainty?

careless
Does love grow
from shared experience?
If so, no wonder these roots
are so deep
so deep inside of me...
I have shared so much,
so much of myself with you.
Right from the start,
you reached into my chest
and grabbed my heart,
you've had my heart in your hand,
and when you walked away
you took it with you,
whether you noticed or not.
And I'm left to grow a new heart,
devoid of any experience
shared with you,
the thief, my careless thief.
My new heart cannot know you,
experience life with you.
For if it does,
you'll just take it, too,
when it loves you.
That's what you do.
That's who you are.
That's what our experiences have taught me.
That's what our love - my love - has taught me.


Stopped
I stopped being pretty
when you stopped loving me.
Now I look
like my heart feels:
every crack shows,
every bruise.
Now I look
like I feel:
lost,
for I've lost you.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Dead-Tree Diaries

That sounds like the name of an HBO drama, but what I'm talking about is actual paper journals and diaries.

I used to keep them religiously.  I still have most of them and sometimes I go through them, and it's weird to remember things from when I was a kid that seemed so important at the time, but I would never even remember now if I wasn't reminded.

I still have a journal, I always have one on the go, but I've gotten really bad at keeping it up to date.  It's something I actually beat myself up over a lot.  I feel like maybe if I wrote in my journal more, I'd be more at peace, or something along those lines.  Like it would help me sort out my thoughts or something.

But I don't know. The journal I have on the go now I've had since I started university in 2006.  It literally spans six years of my life, my entire undergraduate degree, and I plan to get a new one in January when I start grad school - I feel like that's a good time to end it.  It's one chapter of my life and I don't think it would do it justice by including the next chapter as well.

The thing is, to fit six years in one journal, I definitely did not keep very good track of my life.  There are times when I wrote incredible regularly, and times when I wrote once every few months - one gap is almost a year, I think.

I tend to get mad at myself for that.  I look at the gaps and think, "When I'm ninety and losing my memory, these are all I'm going to have to hold on to, this is going to take the place of my memory, and I am going to have these huge gaps..."

But, I'm starting to think that maybe that isn't a bad thing.  Maybe some things are better off not being remembered.

I wrote a little 'epigraph' in the front of my journal (which, when I got it, I named "Tapping the Dream Tree" after a collection of Charles deLint stories) a few weeks ago when I flipped through it and realized it spanned my undergrad.  This is what I wrote:
It's amazing what can change in six years.  This is an entire chapter of my life, my years as an undergrad, in one book, and it simply gets progressively worse and more miserable.  I hope the next one goes the other way.
And, mellodramatic as that sounds, it's true.  My initial entries are really hopeful and excited.  Three long-term boyfriends, two sad breakups, one unrequited puppy love, estrangement from my family, a year and a half of near-crippling depression, and one really, really awful breakup and heartbreak later, it's a depressing fucking read.

Of course there are good things peppered throughout it.  And of course I am glad I documented the awful things that happened to me.  But I'm also glad that I didn't document every passing ache and pain and moment of fear.  Because, to be honest, these last two years have been some of the hardest of my life, and I feel like I'll remember them for long enough.

When I'm ninety and losing my memory, maybe that will be more of a blessing than a true loss.  There's enough of it in that journal for posterity, a history of my life could be cobbled together well enough.  Any archaeologist could easily fill in the blanks if they knew my online usernames.

I love the idea of paper journals and diaries.  I think there is something special about them, and there will always be a part of me that wants to leave something more tangible than my web presence behind (well, you know, in a post-apocalyptic future, we may not have the Internet anymore, and maybe journals found in ruins will be all the archaeologists have to go on - that is seriously the logic that silly part of my brain takes).

But I think it's important that I remember that it's not a bad thing to leave some stuff out.  Not everything needs to be remembered and recorded.  Some things are better off forgotten.  It's okay if I leave things out, purposefully or not.

In the end, life should be more about living it than recording it, anyway.  And while it is a good exercise and a good way to organize your thoughts, it's just an addendum.  It's not really the story.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Why I Hate Being Single, And Why That's Okay

We live in a society where women have fought very hard for what freedoms we have.  The feminist movement and women's rights movements in general have worked their asses off to gain the right to independence that women deserve because they are human beings.

However, because we (as a collective, over time) have fought so hard for it, I think we can get a little tunnel vision.

I really hate being single.  I so much prefer to be in a relationship.  And when I tell people that, they usually respond with "But you're a strong, independent woman! You can do it on your own! You don't need anybody to be successful and happy!"

First of all, I know that.  When I say I prefer to be in a relationship, what I am not saying (but always seems to be interpreted) is the following:
  • I can't go on without a man (or a woman, but people mostly assume man because I am straight looking/acting)
  • I don't know how to live independently
  • I can't do things on my own
  • I will never be happy if I'm not in a relationship
  • If I don't have a partner, my accomplishments are somehow diminished
  • My success must be measured first and foremost by my relationship status
I am not saying any of that when I say I prefer to be in a relationship and single life is really not for me.  I like being interdependent.  Not co-dependent, where you can't go on without the other, but having somebody around who you can rely on for support when you do need it - because none of us are islands, no matter what anybody tells you.  The feminist movement was not meant to alienate women from their communities in order to make them completely independent of other people.

And I prefer to have an intimate partnership with someone.  The casual freedom of being able to hook up with whomever I choose without having to take into consideration another person's feelings is nice, don't get me wrong, and I've taken full advantage of it.  But I much prefer being intimate with people that I have a deeper connection with.  It makes everything so much better for me.

And I like the companionship.  I know I can get that from close friends, but we all know it's not the same.  And it isn't supposed to be the same, and that doesn't diminish the relationship I have with my friends.  It's jsut different.  And the companionship of an intimate partner is something that I want in my life.  Because for me there's always friendship embedded in my intimate relationships.  I can't imagine being someone's girlfriend without them being one of my closest friends.  I like the blending of intimacy and friendship that those relationships bring.

I find it frustrating that I have to justify to people that I would rather be in a relationship than single.  I find it frustrating that people think that me saying that makes me weak or naive or not independent enough.  If I never find someone, I know I'll live a happy and successful life.  But if I do find someone, I know I'll be that much happier.

And this is just my experience.  In no way am I writing this to be prescriptive and trying to tell all women that what they need is a partner to make them truly happy.  You do what you gotta do, because you know yourself better than anybody else does, and only you know what will truly make you happy.  Don't let anybody tell you that you do or don't need a partner to be happy.

And, I'm taking that advice.  I know I can live my life as a happy, single person.  But I'd rather live it as a happier, partnered person.  And there's nothing wrong with that.  Knowing that about myself means I can strive to make myself as happy as possible.

And I'm not going to push it.  I'm not going to settle for less just because I'd rather be in a relationship.  I don't mean that either.  I still want the partner(s) in my life to be truly compatible with me.  I don't want to end up in some loveless marriage just because I don't want to die alone.  I would rather be single than in an unfulfilling relationship.

And that's how I really know it's okay for me to prefer to be in a relationship.  Because when I say that, what I really mean is I prefer to be in a healthy and happy relationship.  I won't settle for less than that.  They're never perfect, I know that.  And my politics and lifestyle might make it difficult to find the right person(s) for me.

But in the end, I know that I don't have to feel ashamed, or weak, or naive, or traditional, or like I'm setting back women's movements just because I want a partner in my life.  Because as a woman, I have the right to live my life as I choose.  And I choose to include having happy and healthy intimate relationships in my definition of a successful life.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

I'm on the YouTube

For some reason, I haven't blogged about this before, although it's mentioned in my about page, but I'm on the YouTube.

I am currently running a series of videos in which I do dramatic readings of my crappy teenaged poetry. The poems are bad, the result is ridiculous self-depracation. I figure if I don't laugh at me first, someone else will, so I may as well jump on the bandwagon first.

Secondly, as of tonight, I'm launching a more or less daily vlog attempt. I say more or less because I don't want to promise anything daily because I'm a lazy person, and I'll probably just not do it some days. I say attempt because, well, it's an attempt.

The video and sounds quality isn't very good. I have a B.A. and a job as a hostess at Boston Pizza - I can't afford anything more than the camera and mic that are built into my underpowered netbook. I edit my videos using Windows Movie Maker. Pretty sad, eh?

Anyway, you can go check it out, if you'd like. It's a barrel of laughs and monkeys. The first vlog isn't actually up at the moment, but will be shortly, as my poor netbook is currently slowly slogging through saving it as an appropriate file.

If you have any suggestions for future videos, or blog posts, let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

List Magic

I love lists.  Lists are awesome.  I got distracted by YouTube while writing this post, and do you know why?

Because I didn't have it on a list.

List are the simplest and best organizational tool.  You don't need any fancy tools but something to write with and on.  I can be somewhat disorganized, and I have tried a variety of different styles of dayplanner, in both electronic and dead-tree formats, to varying degrees of success, but do you know what I always come back to?

Lists.

A short time ago, I wrote a post about motivation, and how hard it can be to get motivated.  Well, lists can help with that.  There is nothing easier than making a list.  I know people who make tonnes of lists and never do anything on their lists.  That's not exactly a great plan, but at least they've got the first step down?  And once you have a list, there is nothing more satusfying than getting to cross stuff off of it.  That is where the motivation of the list lies.

In order to really get myself going, I like to make lists with easy stuff on it.  At the beginning of the day, I'll be like, okay, I actually need to get stuff done today, so let's make a list.  And the first thing on that list will be "Eat Breakfast", which is great, because then I eat breakfast, and I can already cross something off my list.  And accompanying that is a sense of accomplishment!  And then you want to cross more things off your list because it makes you feel good, and before you know it, you are the most productive person in the world.

Lists are also great for overwhelming projects.  You know those projects that just seem so damn big, and you have no idea how to tackle it because there's just so much to do.

Well, you break it down, turn it into a list of little things you can do.  And then, because the parts are easier to deal with, and crossing each item off gives you that sense of accomplishment that motivates you to cross te next thing off the list, before you know it, you've tackled the entirety of your large project and you kicked its ass!

Finally, you can use this to your advantage when job hunting.  I quite often get the question "what's your worst trait?" in job interviews.  I hate that question.  What do they want you to say, "I'm just so darn nice, it's a curse, really." I don't think so.  But no employer wants to hear something like, "Well, I can be hard to motivate."  That just makes you sound lazy.

So, what I do, when I get that question, is respond with something like the following:
Well, I can be kind of scatterbrained.  But over the years, I've come to recognize that, and I've found that making lists really helps me to focus and prioritize what I need to do!  Not only that, but it's super motivating to cross items off the list, I just find it really helps me to get what I need to do done! I always feel so accomplished when I finish a list.  It's a great way to keep me focussed, I'm really glad I figured that out.
 And I mean, I don't just run it off like a memorized spiel, I add the thoughtful pauses that make it look like I'm thinking about it on the spot, etc.  Make it seem natural and organic.

And it's not a lie - I do find that making lists focusses me and helps me to prioritize the things I need to do - and I always feel better about myself at the end of a day when I managed to get all - or even most - of a list crossed off.  I try to aim for at least 75% completion, and I try to include fun stuff, too (like "read a chapter of my book"), just to keep the the motivation levels high.

Try it, I'm certain it will work for you.  And if it doesn't, well...  I don't know what to say to that.

Let me know how lists work for you, or if you have any other suggestions on staying organized and motivated!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

MOTI-EFFING-VATION (This isn't very motivating)

Pardon my French.

Do you ever have those days where you're like, "Holy shit! I'm starting with a clean slate! I'm going to get my act together! I am going to exercise and eat carbs low on the glycemic index and stop having conversations with my cats!"

And then you make a schedule and it usually looks something like this:

  • Monday: 
    • Wake up at 7, meditate for 15 minutes, then 45 minutes of yoga
    • Breakfast! something powerful and healthy!
    • Sometime before or after work (haha, I don't even have a real job) spend an hour out of doors!
    • Exercise for 30 minutes before bed!
    • Go to bed at a reasonable hour, like midnight! (Stop taking laptop to bed)
  • Lather, Rinse, Repeat for the rest of the week, except Saturday, which will be your day off, and Sunday, which will be your hangover day
 And you're like, yeah! But it's Wednesday, and I can't start something like that in the middle of the week! As of Monday, I'm turning shit around.

And then, two weeks later, it's 2AM and you're still on YouTube looking up videos on how to get motivated to get your shit together, and writing it all down and making lists, but not doing it.

Man, there's no secret  to getting motivated.

You just gotta do it!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Metamorphosis

Hi folks,

So, this is my new blog. I'm going to be retiring the old one. I feel like it's time to reinvent my internet persona.  I've just graduated from university with a B.A., I'm gearing up to leap into a master's programme.  I'm trying to get more involved with the outside world and less wrapped up with my own shortcomings.  I think a new blog is part of that.  Something a little more detached, thoughtful, and maybe even professional (hah! yeah, right) than the old blog.  If you've come here from there, you know what I mean.  If you haven't, you don't need to.  I'd like to leave that me behind. It's time to reinvent myself.

The transition is still happening, so there may not be much activity here in the meantime, but if you'd like to keep abreast of my oh-so-fascinating life and thoughts, go ahead and update your bookmarks or blogrolls or whatever newfangled feed-reader you've got plugged into your brain.

Cheers!

Wooden Bird