on being "productive enough"

okay, let’s take a moment and get real—we live in a capitalist hellscape and it’s made us hyper-focused on productivity and a global pandemic is probably a great time to shed that obsession… except, that’s not gonna work for all of us. some of us crave routine and structure; some of us have become the primary (or maybe only) breadwinners in our households due to the shelter-in-place orders moving across the country so we need to make it work.

so, then, what is being productive enough?

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a note from your flaky friend

Screenshot of a text conversation that reads as follows:
A: [9:29AM] I'm running like 10 minutes late because of who I am as a person but I am trying to hustle
B: [9:30 AM] Sounds good. See you around 1015
B: [10:07 AM] Just got here and sat down. See you soon!
A: [10:09 AM] I just parked and am heading on over!
yes, this is a real screenshot of a real conversation… sunshine is there to both protect this person’s privacy and highlight that they light up my life.

hi, hello, it’s me, your flaky friend. you might not have said this to me, or about me, but I’m sure at some moment I have canceled or amended plans at the last-minute and you’ve sighed and been like “yeah, that tracks.” I might’ve even called myself that in the multi-text message and prefaced it message with 35 apologies and some self-deprecating bit like because of who I am as a person in order to soften the blow.

the truth is, I’m not really a flake.

I don’t cancel because I don’t want to see you or because I don’t care about your time or because I think someone else is more important than you. I just have a bit of, a, cutlery issue and I run out of spoons very often. (not sure what I mean by that? you can read the Unified Cutlery Theory here, explained much more concisely than I could do it. no, really, go ahead. I’ll wait.)

so, how does the cutlery relate to me canceling plans? let me illustrate this for you…

(cw: mental health issues, particularly depression and anxiety; discussions of ADHD; mentions of societal fatphobia)

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what is a legacy?

to quote Lin-Manuel Miranda, “it’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.”

(cw: death, absent parent, complicated feelings about grief)

A photograph of a beach during the sunset.
One of the beaches where I said Kaddish for my father while I was home.

I have not written on here for the last almost two months because February truly was the worst month of my entire life—so difficult on so many levels that I am still trying to process… most of it, to be honest. some of the things from the last seven weeks will continue to affect things as we move forward but, for now, I’m going to take some time to talk about my father.

my father died on the last day of January, on Shabbat. he was fifty-one years old and he walked himself into the ER with some shortness of breath—and then had a massive heart attack and keeled over. I got the call from my younger sister, who is twenty-seven, who had been called by my father’s widow. I didn’t understand what she said the first three times but, once I did, I switched into big sister mode and started trying to take care of her until the end of the call. I then called my mother and told her, and she hung up on me because she was so shocked, and then said she’d call my sister and figure out what had actually happened. I was at a Shabbat dinner with new people when my sister called—a group of lovely Jewish women of color—and they rallied around me and packed me a takeaway bag, got my stuff, called me an Uber, asked whether I needed them to book me a flight, hugged me, prayed over me… a really lovely moment where I saw how strangers can come together to care for one another. I then got in my Uber and cried on the way home, still a little shell-shocked.

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2020 reflections, week 2

hi everyone! I’m so excited to write the first weekly update of the year (although it’s the update for the second week, haha). I don’t anticipate that updates will always be this long, but since I did a lot of set-up work over the past week, I’ve got a lot to report!

create a writing routine. not a lot of progress on this yet—I’ve got some ideas and things are aligning for it, but I haven’t really deployed it yet (other than scheduling blogging time for Wednesdays, which I’ve been doing since last year). I have been good about logging stuff for my bullet journal and I did create a journaling/reflecting routine at least, so that should work moving forward. I’m hoping that this will improve moving forward, especially now that things are flowing with some of the other goals…

be responsible with money. this was a pretty good money week—things got paid on time and I was good about knowing what was due when. this will definitely be more of a long-term thing for me, so I’m waiting to see how things develop—but one of the things I wanted to do was to reduce the amount of times I got food delivered and I definitely did that! I’m also doing some inventorying in my closet right now and trying to schedule some time to slowly make my way through my room and start cleaning out the multitude of things I’ve accumulated but don’t use!

(recurring cw for the THIRD goal: mentions/discussions of mental health [specifically anxiety, bipolar II, ADHD], psychotropic medications, weight loss, food/nutrient/calorie tracking, intermittent fasting. if any of these could be remotely upsetting, please take care of yourself and skip that whole section! to make it easier to know what’s where, I’ve tagged mental and physical health in bold italics.)

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starting 2020 off on the right foot.

y’all, somehow I’ve kept this blog alive for a whole year! and I blogged at least a handful of times every month… which is honestly pretty impressive considering how wild last year was. I started this blog with a post about resolutions and executive dysfunction so it seems fair to revisit that in the new year.

(cw: weight loss, body image issues, debt, mental illness, executive dysfunction)

last year, I chose to do three things and, overall, it went pretty well—even if I fell short of the actual goals I had set for myself. I wrote more than I had in any previous year; I really improved my finances; I improved my self-talk. great wins! so, for this year, I’m hoping to continue working on two of those and add three new-ish things.

behold, this year’s goals (vague on purpose, as I have sub-goals for each that I will be tracking privately):

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reflections, week 51

a day late, but here’s our second-to-last updates!

write something every day (except Shabbat). I’ve done some scribbling and done some thinking about several projects, but nothing in true progress… and I expect I will be working on my dissertation nonstop throughout the break so academic writing is most likely all I’m going to do. I officially have a dissertation playlist (which is almost exclusively Bastille, tbqh), so I expect that will also help me powering through. 🙂

be better about money. I did end up paying off those two accounts I said I would, which was awesome, and now I just have to grab a few Chrismukkah presents with this next check and get provisions for our little Chanukah party… but I’m getting some emails that indicate my student loans might go into repayment sooner than expected, so I do think this is going to remain an area for me to work on next year. I just think I’m going to have to get a little more specific than this year’s goal…

self-validate more. I celebrated myself when I paid off those two accounts, and when I took a lot of steps to take care of myself recently, including scheduling a bunch of doctor’s appointment and actually going even when they’re in the afternoon and I’m exhausted. I feel strongly that I’ve really improved in the way that I talk to myself, and I’m exploring different ways to take care of myself that I can add to next year’s list…

one more update until the new year… see you then!

reflections, week 50

hello from testing logistics hell! admin’s out of town and we’ve got 108 students testing tomorrow, so please feel free to send any good vibes, thoughts, and/or prayers our way! in the meantime, here’s a quick check in:

write something every day (except Shabbat). this continues to be a struggle all around, particularly as I’ve been handling more logistics at work. the biggest issue for me has been that I haven’t been working on my dissertation proposal as I should be, and I’m not sure if it’s the stress of that of the pressure I’m putting on myself or what, but this feels like I’m crumbling more than a little bit. (I wrote more about the issues with progress on my dissertation, and with my workload in general, on Twitter yesterday.) I’m hoping that, once the test is over (tomorrow) and it’s time for winter break from work, I can spend a couple of weeks actually working on the damn thing. fingers crossed. and don’t even get me started on the bullet journal I’ve abandoned…

be better about money. I was able to get current on every payment last Friday, bless, and will most likely be paying off one more credit card before the end of the year—so, if nothing else, that feels awesome. I know I will have to continue working on this next year, and probably for the rest of my life due to my impulsive spending tendencies, but I have made more progress than I expected on this and I’m excited to celebrate that growth.

self-validate more. this has been tough over the last couple days as I have struggled with my lack of progress on my dissertation—and with the fact that I have to explain to my dissertation chair that I’m essentially falling apart in the face of this task. I’ve managed to not engage in negative self-talk for the most part, but haven’t necessarily avoided the negative thoughts or the self-blame. I’ve been really steady in this throughout the year with few exceptions, though, so I am not feeling too terrible about this setback right now.

until next time… two more updates and then I’ll have a new set!