Overwhelmed in October

At this point in my life, I should know better, I really should, and still, habits that were set down as I was growing up are terribly hard to break. It’s October now (even if the trees aren’t saying so). My day job is in retail, so this means that we’re starting to set our Christmas merchandise out, which is triggering my mind for winter gift giving holidays. I have, for the last decade, been all about giving handmade gifts. Except for one year, most of these have been story collections. I don’t make a lot of things; knitting is a newer addition for me, and most of my gift recipients live far away, so baked goods is out of the question. Hence, stories. Because I learned the fine art of procrastination at the knees of the reigning Procrastinator Extraordinaire, I still haven’t got the knack of getting stuff done on time, and most of the time I force my recipients to enjoy a small bit of Christmas in July. (Why, yes, I am blaming my mother. Only, not so much with the blame. Family legacies are important; who am I to judge?)

Christmases growing up were, uh, special. Anyone else who grew up with an alcoholic parent will know exactly what I mean. Oh, the joy, the wonder! Will they behave? Will they ruin everything? Will they embarass us in front of family while we all pretend that nothing is out of the ordinairy? (Okay, so it wasn’t exactly out of the ordinairy for us) It rarely went past embarrassing — he was charming when others were around — but it was still stressful. Decades later, despite not celebrating Christmas myself anymore (we do Yule, heathen style, so it’s close, but different, and my partner and I are incredibly laid back so it’s incredibly low-key) the whole leading up to the winter gift giving holiday totally stresses me out! Gaaaaaaargh!!

This year, I’m mostly prepared. I have my giftees mostly done — I have one more knitted item to make, and then all the finishing touches to do, and I can see them being all done by mid-November, easily, so they’ll ship on time and arrive on time and it’ll be a first! After the holiday I’ll even share what I made, with pictures, because I’m proud of me. I know that I’m mostly prepared, and still, the creeping sense of time running out and me flailing around, failing miserably, is crushing at the edges of me. This time of year is also full of death-anniversaries that horribly depress me.

And then! Then I decide, hey, why don’t I officially start the new novel and set deadlines for the first draft during this, my most anxiety-laden time? Wheee!

But, you know, life is going to keep happening. We all have our issues. Wild fluctuations in my anxiety level and how I cope with those fluctuations are a part of my life. Likewise with migraines. I’m pretty much resolved at 33 that they’ll both always be a part of my life. The trick is to not let them rule my life, and that means not letting them make me not write or set writing goals.

It’s important to navel gaze and name these things, even if we end up sounding like disease-or-condition obsessed people who are all about their conditions, because navel gazing and naming these things allow us to find tools to help us deal with our issues/conditions/psychoses. If I’d never delved in to learning about Highly Sensitive People, I’d’ve never realized that part of my overwhelming anxiety was due to the fact that I let myself get overly stimulated when out and about, and I would have never started putting on mental blinders and limiting my activities out of the house. Which is good, because I was starting to limit my activities anyway, but in a way that made me go out of the house less, and that actually made it worse, made it harder and harder to leave the house. Tools! Appropriate tools to enhance life. This is good.

Am 1k words into the WiP. This is exciting. October will be about focusing on that, and getting knitted finishing touches done, and, hopefully, some short stories that are plaguing my mind.

I am longing for snow.

What projects are you working on now? What are you itching to work on?

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6 thoughts on “Overwhelmed in October

  1. H.E. ELLIS

    You sound like an amazing woman, and I imagine it would be quite a gift to know you in person. I hope your migraines subside and you have better days coming!

    Reply
    1. Jolene Post author

      Thank you 🙂 I personally think I rock, though I’m actually a lot less chatty in person. Um. Unless we talk about books. Or critters. Or the general stupidity of people. Migraines are evil! The horrid secret is this weeks batch have been largely self-induced (which likely revokes my whining rights, but self induced or not, they suck) and could likely have been avoided, but I think we all have moments of not wanting to have to think about the fact that we are no longer fifteen and our bodies cannot handle the abuse they used to be able to handle. That’s my story, at least.

      Reply
  2. lykeiaofapollon

    You sound like me…getting your craft involved for gift giving lol. I often give paintings for the holidays. Right now I am working on a slew of paintings for a local Yule Bazaar featuring different pantheons including Khemetic, Hindu and Nordic(hoping to make some money to catch up on bills argh!) and I was asked to do a gallery spread for the He Epistole ezine so there is that too 😉
    And coincidently my day job is at a retail store too *grin* I am still flabbergasted at the christmas displays seated right next to the halloween section, and here we haven’t even passed Halloween or Thanksgiving. It is no wonder I am always christmased out before the holidays pass 😉
    I think I understand your sensory input in a way because I have that in different forms. For one I used to get highly anxious in crowds and had to learn to block myself and pretend I am in my own little cocoon which has helped it considerably. In another form I am somewhat photosensitive. My skin has very little sun protection and so I burn easily (like it is saying light huzzah suck it in!) and it sames to be the same with my eyes since I am known to get light-sensitive headaches of varying strengths (on the plus side I do have graet night vision if there isn’t an artifical light source to distract my vision *grin*). It sounds though like you have been making some great progress in dealing with your sensitivity issues! This is great!

    Reply
    1. Jolene Post author

      Gosh I really let a bunch of replies slip by me! I’m sorry. Your paintings are fabulous; those have got to be some priceless gifts. How’s the bazaar project going? I’ve been in retail long enough now (*whimper*) that it doesn’t phase me. When Beth started her spinning in July, she talked about doing Halloween themed yarn, and I stressed that, no, in July she really needed to be thinking Christmas and Yule, not Halloween. Which is sad, but that’s how it is. We were setting Halloween at my store and the customers would groan, and my only response was, “we’ve got a few pallets of Christmas toys in our warehouse waiting for the shelf space . . .” I understand the need for it (and can I complain too much about consumerism when I work in retail? Not really) but that doesn’t help not get seasoned out months before the season.

      Reply
  3. Beth

    I’m struggling with getting my new yarn-centric Etsy store online, still. And I kind of wish that I hadn’t debuted my new blog before getting the store up, since getting new posts churned out while trying to get the products listed is NOT happening.

    I am proud of your knitting. So there. ;P

    Reply

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