reflections, week 16

we’re back on the saddle after a week off from updates, y’all! it’s honestly been absolutely wild over the past two weeks, between SAT and PSAT and a paper due for my grad class and my husband’s 30th birthday and then preparing for Passover since I’m hosting seder for the first time this Friday… but I’m taking a minute in the middle of my spring break to breathe and reflect.

write something every day (except Shabbat). this definitely hasn’t happened in the last couple of weeks, as might be expected according to the aforementioned wilderness. I even missed my weekly updates for the first time! I had a lot of dreams of getting caught up over spring break that haven’t panned out, particularly since I’m now sick (as is the case every time we have a school break)! I’m not super convinced that things will be very different over the next week or two, since I’ve got another paper and then it’s my 30th birthday, but maybe things will even out again in May?

be better about money. this has remained pretty steady—that tax refund was really life-changing because I’m finally caught up on payments and I have a little rainy day fund. I worry that the rainy day fund will just be a summer fund, as it often happens… but J is finally employed and I think this summer might be a little easier than usual… fingers crossed!

self-validate more. this was harder to do when I lost my writing momentum, but I’ve been trying to be kind to myself and just remember that I’m doing so much stuff and I’ve got mental illnesses and it’s honestly a miracle I find enough time to do the essential, let alone the extra stuff. I just think I need to rethink my priorities for this next quarter a little bit.

fingers crossed I’m back here soon—I did miss the chance for reflection last week! 🙂

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on touch and boundaries after trauma

(cw: sexual assault, PTSD, complex PTSD, trigger responses, dissociation, emotional abuse, relationship violence)

the last couple of weeks have been, to be frank, an absolute mess. the stress at work was beyond wild because of this past Monday’s site visit, the results of which will determine whether we get funding to continue our personalized learning journey—and then I had an interesting conversation with a colleague on Thursday the 30th that left me too shaken to write about until, well, now.

it started out innocently enough. we were discussing something unrelated and I mentioned to my colleague that I missed seeing them around, as we just have not coincided in a while. they breathlessly revealed that they have been taking some time off because they were sexually assaulted and are trying to recover from the experience. they then went on to describe the situation in pretty specific detail—and, as (bad) luck would have it, it was really close to my own experiences with assault.

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reflections, week 14

I thought last week was difficult—but nothing could have prepared me for this week. I had a pretty intense PTSD episode (post incoming), did some laundry, and tried to keep my head afloat. on a bright side, the walkthrough happened this past Monday and it seems to have gone quite well!

write something every day (except Shabbat). I actually did write every day except Shabbat this past week, not even including academic work, and it was super exciting! I’ve started Camp NaNoWriMo strong—okay, it’s only three days, but I don’t usually start on the 1st so I’m giving myself credit—and I’m actually excited about this story! we’ll see how this goes!

be better about money. I got my tax refund today and I’ve never been more excited to see a deposit in my savings. I’m trying to keep at least 40% of it in savings, so we’ll see how that goes—but all I did with that money today was pay this month’s bills early (aaaaaaand buy tickets for Endgame for myself and some of my closest friends since it comes out my birthday weekend)! I’m gonna also buy some supplies for my classroom and some hair products from ULTA because I’ve been waiting forever to buy them. but overall, I feel pretty excited about making good money decisions lately, including accepting a summer job that I know will be more work but will pay way better than my other option.

self-validate more. my therapist actually remarked on this just this past Monday, as I told her about my PTSD episode and managed not just to avoid negative self-talk but also give myself props for how I handled things. I’m also sitting on that post (I’ve literally got five in the queue), but I’m trying to figure out what makes the most sense when (and what I can finish first).

until the next time, in whichever post that might be!

reflections, week 13

this past week has been… rough. I don’t know if I’m just taking my therapist’s retirement harder than I thought I was or if PSAT bootcamp at work is just ruining my whole vibe, but I’ve dissociated more in the past week than I have all year so far—and I wasn’t stellar on my goals, either.

write something every day (except Shabbat). this was, for the first time this year, a total fail this past week. I wrote what was essential for grad school because I absolutely had to—but there were way too many days where I went, “I could write right now, but I could also just play this new The Sims 4 game pack…” and that just was not a productive approach. I’m hoping to try Camp NaNoWriMo (yet again, lol) next month just to see if being surrounded by other people who are excited and writing will get me, well, writing.

I’ve also gone back to the idea of trying to establish a routine. I really think part of the issue is also that I do so many other things sitting at that spot on my computer, so my ADHD brain is struggling to conceptualize writing when we don’t have to as a task we do there—but sitting literally anywhere else would give me issues breathing (due to the cat being all over every other surface) or just completely isolate me from everyone else in the house. So I think I might compromise by getting an old netbook back into shape and using that to be my writing computer? If I keep it plugged in near my other computer, it might be easy enough to switch between the two and focus on writing for a little bit.

be better about money. this hasn’t been stellar this whole month, to be honest—I made the grave mistake of being too excited for my tax refund and, since it has yet to arrive, I am struggling. I have to spend this weekend getting caught up on my finances and setting a plan for next month, or my 30th birthday plans are not going to be the only thing that I have to drop next month. on a bright side, I have remained strong on all my canceled subscriptions!

self-validate more. this was exceedingly difficult this week because I did so poorly on the other two resolutions and I have, in general, been in a really weird emotional place lately. however, despite some negative self-talk rearing its head this week, I’ve managed to not berate myself or go into a self-loathing spiral—and I’ll take that win, damn it.

until the next time, in which I will be discussing my issues with my nemesis, the laundry!

reflections, week 12

a couple of days late because I’ve been wrapped up in Purim and birthday shenanigans for our lovely roommate, M! we slept in and baked and had ourselves a mini Marvel marathon—and I did a fair amount of processing over the fact that my therapist of eight years is retiring at the beginning of May and I have to figure out whether I want to find a new therapist or try and fly solo for the first time in a long time. we’ll see…

write something every day (except Shabbat). this has been a tough week for this; I haven’t even kept up with my bullet journal! what I have written has been piecemeal and unfocused, none of it going to any actual project I have begun this year. I haven’t even made progress on any of my drafted blog posts—which has been equal parts obnoxious and exhausting.

be better about money. this has been better than expected and, thanks to the fact that my husband might be working soon, I expect I will be able to keep making progress towards this. right now, my focus just has to be on not spending my whole tax refund on taking us on an amazing vacation somewhere new but I am so, so tempted.

self-validate more. I haven’t had a lot of opportunities to do this lately, mostly because it’s been a wild week, so I’ve been focusing on being kind to myself more than anything else. negative self-talk has been a huge problem for me in the past, so even just avoiding continuing down that path if I start on it has been progress.

until the next time, y’all!

reflections, week 11

it’s absolutely wild at work with an overabundance of meetings and way too much administrative work on my little teacher shoulders, but at least things are going well enough! here’s our weekly update:

write something every day (except Shabbat). I started keeping track of the days I write for academia on my spreadsheet, although I am not including them in my word count—and, as expected, tracking it showed that I have been consistently writing almost every single day, just not always creatively. now that I have finished the wild term with a double course load, I’m excited to try and challenge myself to write creatively every day, even if it’s just some scribbles… and I’m starting to grapple with the question of whether my dissertation word count will, well, count.

be better about money. the most exciting development here is that, once the CPA review is done at the end of this week, I will finally be able to file my taxes! I’m 5-6 weeks behind my usual schedule, but I’m honestly just relieved I will finally be able to do that. I’m also hoping to cement my summer position soon so that, between the bit of savings and the tax refund and the summer job, I’ll be able to stay in a good place financially even through reduced earnings in the summer.

self-validate more. writing a final paper for a class in which my (soon-to-be, I hope!) dissertation chair was my professor was nerve-wracking because she gave me the freedom to use that assignment to explore potential research options—but it also meant that I needed to buckle down and feel confident and validate myself through the process. It was a really interesting exercise, to say the least! the growth continues…

until next time!

reflections, week 10

hello from germlandia! I’m home sick for the second day in a row, which has been excellent time for me to reflect/stress about everything…

write something every day (except Shabbat). I haven’t kept up with typing up all that I’ve written longhand, but I’ve written most days! I did see someone on Twitter talk about how, instead of writing every day, we should be aiming to set up routines in which we can write productively and consistently… at some point, that will be my goal, but right now I’m just going to try to keep this writing thing going for now. I’ve also been uneven about keeping up with my bullet journal, which now seems like a good marker of how well/unwell I feel… more on that when I write my inevitable Q1 reflections on bullet journaling at the end of the month. 😉

be better about money. we’re halfway there now, in the sense that everything is being paid on time… but I dip into the red more often than not on the last few days before payday, which isn’t ideal. I’m hoping that, as soon as I get my tax refund, I can give myself a cushion in there and then continue paying everything on time (probably moving to auto pay!) without overdrafting myself. I’ve managed to get caught up on everything and my credit score has begun to recover from “depressed and broke!Elle” aka “summer Elle,” so we’re moving in the right direction.

self-validate more. I’ve realized that, for all that I’ve grown in this, I’m still seeking external validation/approval when it comes to sending responses (such as emails) that I’m nervous about, as well as whenever I have negative feelings about someone or something. I know that this is just the healing process after years of being gaslit—but sometimes it’s hard to realize that you have not made as much progress in learning to trust yourself again as you would have hoped. I think I’m going to ask my friends to remind me that I’m supposed to validate myself whenever I ask them to validate my response/feelings, so that way they are holding me accountable for not depending on them for it… we’ll see.

my two-classes-at-once term is ending this weekend, which is exciting and also frightening… next up, taking my last course before the research prep course, preparing for my comprehensive exam, and screaming into the void about my dissertation. I expect we’ll have more posts about grad school coming soon…