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?