Thursday, July 20, 2017

R.I.P. Chester Bennington - 7/20/2017

It's not been a good day.

Between getting caught up on vile asexual discourse on tumblr to just feeling out of sorts and undernourished, the last thing I wanted to come my way was this bit of heart breaking news.

Chester Bennington, vocalist for beloved nu-metal band Linkin Park, committed suicide today. On Chris Cornell's birthday, of all days. No coincidence there - Chester was admittedly really broken up about Chris' suicide a few months ago.

We're losing a lot of really good people in the music industry and this bums me out, but I'm especially torn up about this death because Linkin Park got me through some of the worst years of my life. I was a huge fan as a teenager, and a lot of their lyrical content centered around feelings of self-worth, betrayal, looking for a place to belong, etc. All things I could relate to in my quest to find myself and people I could trust at that age.

Even now, I still really love throwing on Hybrid Theory and screaming along to some of Chester's gut-wrenching growls.

This has not been a good day.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Skittish Socialite - 7/12/17

I will never ever deny that as an introvert I adore spending most of my time (outside of work and necessary errands) at home, by myself, doing whatever I like. Which is usually reading, cleaning, or watching Let's Play videos on Youtube featuring my favorite gamers. (Shout out to CinnamonToastKen!)

But even a skittish cat like myself has to get out and be a little bit friendly once in a while.

So a curious thing happened about a week ago - someone I used to work with (kind of ) here at ARCH reached out to me on Facebook and asked if I'd like to meet up for drinks and chatting some time. Now, I had never had a proper conversation with this person before, so I was mightily surprised to get that friend request let alone a request for IRL company.

But I said yes, and we made plans to meet at one of the local bars in St Paul on Tuesday. It ended up being a pretty okay experience - we have a lot more in common that I had anticipated so that was kind of neat.

I have terrible self-esteem though and automatically assume I'm the world's most annoying, awkward, and unpleasant person to be around, so I was surprised when she wanted to make plans to meet up again. Am I really an okay afternoon companion?

I'm still grappling with that one.

We might meet up for sushi.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Challenge: 27 Things People Don't Realize You're Doing as an HSP.

My favorite site for introvert related articles and goodness has recently listed this interesting gem: 27 Things People Don't Realize You're Doing as an HSP. 

While not exclusively related to introversion, many Highly Sensitive People are also introverts and as I qualify as both an INFJ/P AND an HSP I figured I would give this list a go and see how many of these things I agree or disagree with.

Let's get into it:

1. When you’re in a loud, busy place — like a bar, restaurant, or party — and you shut down because you’re overwhelmed by so much sensory input.

 Yes, to the max. I tend to get really quiet and kind of withdrawn. I've been accused of being both bored and tired because I tend to find myself staring down at a table or the floor when I zone out to protect my brain.

2. When a commercial that shows abused animals comes on TV and you have to change the channel, because seeing such cruelty nearly makes you burst into tears. Likewise, you cover your eyes during a gory fight scene in a movie because the blood and violence make you feel sick to your stomach.

Well, I don't really watch much television these days - but to be honest the televised suffering of others doesn't bother me as much as it used to. Secondhand embarrassment, on the other hand, is excruciating. Cringe humor is it's own kind of torture.

3. When you have a particular bedtime or morning routine because doing things the same way each day brings you comfort. Chaos, change, and the unknown can be quite stressful and overwhelming for you.

I do have a morning routine, but it's mostly centered around making sure I'm quiet as a mouse and not waking my partner up - that's about to change though since we'll be in a different space and I'll have more working kitchen space. Daily breakfast - here I come~!

4. If your roommate or significant other walks up behind you without making noise, you jump sky-high like a frightened cat when you do notice them. Because of your sensitive nervous system, you tend to startle easily.

 I do startle easily, but honestly it's hard for most people to sneak up on me. I'm always alert and I ALWAYS hear people coming.

5. When a friend, coworker, or partner raises their voice slightly at you and you immediately become anxious. Dealing with conflict — even minor disagreements — can quickly become overstimulating. Likewise, when there is ongoing tension in a close relationship, such as with your spouse or a family member, you might feel physically unwell and have trouble sleeping.

When people raise their voice at me, even if it's just my perception that they're angry with me, it's SO HARD to not just burst into tears and make an idiot of myself over nothing. I try to keep my composure as much as possible, and then go have a cry in the bathroom. As for relationship tension - yes, sleeping difficulties and chronic pain prevail.

6. Even when people who are complete strangers are fighting (like a couple at a nearby table in a restaurant), you get uncomfortable.

Hmm...mostly I find myself empathizing with the party who's on the receiving end of a verbal onslaught. Unless they deserve it. Then I'm 100% behind the aggressor.

 7. In school, when the teacher scolded another student for something, you became anxious, even though you had nothing to do with the situation.

Not really, no.

8. When you have to finish an assignment or a task by a deadline and you become increasingly stressed out to the point where you can only think about that one task — HSPs tend to be quite sensitive to time pressure.

Sensitive to time pressure? Yes. Motivated by deadlines? Absolutely - I love deadlines, it's my best motivation for prioritizing tasks.

9. When you fall in love, you fall hard. It feels like your whole world is changing. This can be exhilarating, but so exhilarating that it’s almost overwhelming. You’re happy about this exciting change, but regardless, it’s still a change, and that can make you feel overstimulated.

I don't fall in love, so this is kind of a moot point.

10. Being a sponge that constantly absorbs the moods of the people around you. Sometimes this gets to be so overwhelming that you want to be by yourself, just so you can feel only your own feelings.

Truth. 100%. My partner always brings his bad day home with him and even if he doesn't say anything about it as first, I always pick up on it and his angry tension just invades me. It's awful. This kind of thing happens at work too, if coworkers are in a bad mood.

11. When you feel so exhausted after a busy day at work that you head straight home and lie down in a darkened, quiet room to calm your overactive senses.

Nope. My wind-down period is much more gradual. I actually try to get as much done right when I get home before all that "busy" energy wears off. Because once I'm done, I'm done.

12. When someone who is wearing very strong perfume walks into a room and you have to move away from them because the smell is overpowering to your ramped-up senses.

Dude, perfume smells often make me want to vomit. Or give me awful headaches.

13. When you refuse to eat certain foods, like seafood or berries that are very tart, because the smells/tastes cause a very strong reaction in you.

I'm a foodie - I LIKE strong reactions in food. But I can admit that I can't stand the smell of vinegar and I don't like any kind of "moldy" cheese. Like brie.

14. When you get so hungry that you can’t concentrate on what you’re doing — HSPs tend to be especially sensitive to dips and spikes in blood sugar.

Hangry is a very real thing.

15. You don’t drink coffee because caffeine has a strong effect on you. Likewise, alcohol affects you very strongly, more so than most other people.

No, I NEED my caffeine intake - I don't sleep well so the boost does me good. But if I have more than two cups on an empty stomach I get kind of nauseous and jittery. Which isn't fun. Alcohol used to affect me strongly, but years of consumption kinds of dulls it.

16. When you can pinpoint exactly what makes a room physically uncomfortable or unwelcoming — bright florescent lights, chairs with hard backs, or the way the furniture is arranged.

Yes. Feng Shui is a thing too, people. Energy flows and blocked energy is super unsettling.

17. When you have a very strong reaction to art, music, or other beautiful things. No one else seems to be as moved as you are; beautiful sounds or sights can put you into a near trance-like state.

Maybe before I developed a serious and prolonged case of depression. But being truly "moved " by something is rare these days.

18. Because you have a vivid inner world, your daydreams and nightmares are intense. Similarly, you tend to be a creative, artistic, and imaginative person.

Yes. I pretty much live in my Marvel Universe dream-world where I'm a kickass anti-hero that works under Tony Stark and occasionally dates Loki. Or whatever.

19. When you’re in pain — like a headache or an injury — you really feel it. HSPs tend to have a lower pain tolerance than non-HSPs.

Indeed. I have a bruise on my thumb from banging against the car window too hard last night and it's impossible to ignore. And migraines? I'm out, like totally out. Incapacitated even.

20. When you tell your friends that you can’t hang out tonight because you feel so overstimulated already — from a busy work day, a busy weekend, or stress in your life.

Introvert Burnout is real. Social hangovers are real. Depression Mode is real.

21. You avoid going to stores when you know there will be a lot of people there; it’s too much noise and activity for your sensitive system.

This is exactly why I prefer to do my grocery shopping at, like, 3 am. When possible.

22. When you’re sensitive to the volume of music or other things. You’re always trying to move the controls by a millimeter or two to get the level just right.

 Mostly applies to work phones - I keep the ringer volume super low because ringing phones are not only jarring to me, but also anxiety inducing.

23. When you notice little things in your surroundings, like how your friend’s mood subtlety changed when you brought up a certain topic. When you point this out, your friend is surprised that you picked up on that detail.

 .....Yeah. I'm often called psychic or intuitive for reasons like this.

24. When you don’t get enough sleep so everything feels literally awful the next day.

I have a hard time even getting out of bed on days where I had little sleep the night before. It's like moving through a fog and a headache is sure to follow.

25. At work, you end up doing a worse-than-normal job when your boss is watching and evaluating you. For HSPs, the mere presence of a person who is watching them can be overstimulating.

I HATE people watching what I do. Imagine having to train in new people at work and being SO self-conscious that your trainee starts to wonder if you know how to do your job. Heh.

26. When you feel things very strongly — sadness, anger, and joy.

When I'm angry - I'm angry. When I'm depressed - it's deep. When I'm amused - I can't stop giggling.

27.You seek meaning in everything you do, from the career you chose to the relationships you maintain to the conversations you partake in. As an HSP, you want to engage with the deeper aspects of life.

Mostly yeah.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Settling into Change - 6/23/17

I'm experiencing kind of a surreal moment right now. This is the last Friday I will ever sit in this office. This is the last Friday I will ever sit at my desk in my nice little corner, in my frigid little basement office, in this old-as-balls building on University Ave.

Next Friday, I will be reporting to our new offices several miles north of here, up in Little Canada. Don't panic - I still have access to transit, it's just gonna be a nerve-wracking adjustment. I don't handle change well.

As evidenced by how weird I feel right now.

Yesterday, we started pulling everything off the walls and suddenly the space in here felt like it was looming in on us. A bunch of stuff (decor, excess furniture, etc) was piled into the conference room and we had a "silent auction" for some of it. Either we claimed it or it went to a good home in the dumpster. So I have, next to my desk, a scuffed up file cabinet that will be re-purposed into a cute little nightstand in my next apartment, a piece of wall art that I'm certain is going to look fabulous in my new kitchen, a tiny vase I can FINALLY put all my cute pink sea glass into AND a deck of Uno cards. Correct.

So all this is in my office with me, while I wrap up any last minute scanning and such. It just feels surreal.'s still our office yet it's not. I won't even have the same desk when we move - the desk I'm currently using is going to belong to an employee named Cecilia who works in a different department. Her name is taped onto my furniture right now.

It's weird.

At least I'll have a 4 day weekend for Independence Day - which is convenient because we get the keys to our new apartment that weekend as well. So it'll be busy, full of change, anxiety-inducing, etc. Like most holiday weekends are, for me.

Stay tuned....

Thursday, June 8, 2017

After the storm blows over....

...there is only the quiet stillness and the aftermath.

There's a full moon tomorrow - the Strawberry Moon or the Strong Moon - it's supposed to herald in a period of vim and vigor, of strong sunshine and reckless abandon.

Which is funny, because I feel anything BUT that, and it seems I'm not the only one. A couple of my fellow tumblr witches have been blogging about how purposeless and useless they feel, too, leading up to this full moon.

I wonder why that is.

In my case it's because I'm coming out of a really nasty sort of manic thing - a short period where I was getting really drunk, self-harming, and generally lashing out at people. But now that it's passed I simply feel - nothing. Numb. Kind of fuzzy. Directionless. Motionless. Suspended in the void, with no end in sight. It's not a pretty mental place to be.

With any luck though, once this full moon passes I'll be able to latch onto the coattails of that vim and vigor it promises and ride my way out of this funk. We'll see.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The bottom drops out

So it's almost 1 pm. It's a hot, hazy, and humid Saturday - the first time it's reacher 90 degree F here this season and we're lethargically lying about, trying to summon the will to venture outside or even eat....

Yesterday was bad.

I'm coming out of a relapse and I'm not fully in my right or rational mind - so I posted photos of my self-harm wounds on social media. The backlash was swift. And intense. I guess I kind of expected that. I didn't expect to lose friends over it though - instead of offering support or even wishes that I get help for what's eating me, I got "You'll regret that." "You should stop." "Please don't hurt yourself." And while that's all very well and good, does absolutely nothing to address the fact that I'm hurting and THAT'S what should have been the focus of any comments. People will tell you to stop self-harming because it's a piece of knowledge that makes them uncomfortable, not because they actually care about the suffering of the person self-harming.

What a wake-up call.

Color me enlightened.

So a handful of people unfriended me yesterday and two of them even blocked me, so I can't even reach out and offer constructive criticism about better ways to respond to people with severe mental illness.

And this bitch....this one bitch....

She had the nerve to write me an essay long comment about how posting about my mental illness on Facebook isn't going to get me the help I need or "cure" me, like I didn't already know that, and how cries for attention would only backfire on me. It's just funny, because she approached it very much like a neurotypical presenting a case to another neurotypical, and NOT someone who was in a weird mental state where reality was in flux. So naturally, I lashed out pretty hard against her. What did she expect? You're trying to condescend to a mentally ill person who isn't quite right in the head and you expect a rational and understanding response? Fuck yourself, you don't get it.

Good riddance to that person too. It's my fucking page, I can post what I like and maybe I put those photos up for posterity and as a reminder that you never know who in your life might be suffering silently. I guess we're all just supposed to keep that suffering to ourselves or ONLY reach out to medical professionals/therapists. Well that's nice, Alexsandra, but we can't all afford to see medical professionals about ailments, certainly not when a therapy session costs $100 a pop and you have no health insurance. Hmmmm...

I'm just venting. I really am. Clearly....I can't do it anywhere else. And this is my blog, so if anyone comes in here and tries to tell me what I can post in my own motherfucking blog, I'm probably gonna lose my mind. Ugh.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Thursday, June 1st, 2017....

There's something to be said about endings and beginnings.

Yesterday, something ended for me. Today, I'm afraid of what might begin.

Content Warning: Self Harm, Alcohol Use

Friday, May 5, 2017

Open Note Bowing

Things are progressing a little more slowly with my violin learning that I might like, mostly due to work overload and the resulting stress and exhaustion, but I have learned some very useful bits of information about how to prepare my violin and bow.

I had no idea what kind of tension is required for good playing, so I've done a fair amount of reading and Youtube perusing, as well as messing around with my own bow to see where it feels and plays the smoothest, so I think I have that problem ironed out.

I also got it in tune. It was all kinds of wonky straight out of the box, one of the strings was even slipping off the neck. So once I got that sorted out I sat down with Tyler's electric tuner and hammered out the sequence of G, D, A, and E. Fine tuners are a godsend, lemme tell ya. If I had to do all of that using the pegs, I would have been in a world of hurt.

So now, following my Youtube instructor's advice, my next step will be to practice bowing on the open strings and getting to know what each note really sounds and feels like, before moving onto 2nd and 3rd finger "fretting".

Maybe I'll have time to do that on Monday...

I won't get anywhere unless I start with the basics, right?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

I bought a violin the other day...

So I had a little too much to drink the other week, and I got to talking with Tyler about how I've always wanted to learn to play the violin - especially after seeing Lindsey Stirling in concert twice.

Since I had some money for leisure hanging out in my bank account, I decided to purchase a student violin off eBay.

It's from mendini, and came with extra strings, rosin, and a really nice case. I've only messed with it a bit but Tyler helped me tune it up so it's mostly ready to play.

There are some great tutorials on YouTube for beginners, so once work stress settles down I'll start learning in earnest.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 20, 2017


So I'm sitting here at my desk, in my office, very quietly freaking out. You see, today I have suddenly had all of my former coworkers duties piled upon me after only a VERY brief training period yesterday. And let me be frank, I did not want her job. I still don't want her job.

So I'm sitting in my office dreading every call that comes into our department, every interpreter who comes in with a question, every email that gets forwarded to my work inbox. Because I am NOT prepared. I am NOT ready for this. And my boss isn't even in the office today - so I'm really floundering right now.

I'm on my third cup of coffee, too. It's only 1 pm. Gods help me.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017's a promotion...

It would seem, this is the nature of office work. First, your boss loads you up with more and more tasks relevant to your position as they believe you are comfortable. Then, they start asking for personal favors like scanning documents or fetching coffee. And finally, after the only competent person in the office tenders their resignation, your boss asks you to take over THEIR job duties on top of yours.

Which I guess is technically a promotion.

Thing is....I don't want it. I'm not interested in taking over my coworker's job. Her position is very HR orientated with a lot of receptionist work. It involves answering phones all day, talking to interpreters and applicants, setting people up for orientations or classes, sending emails out to people and keeping track of a lot of information. It's very high pressure and customer service oriented.

And that's just I'm quiet. I'm introverted. I'm socially anxious. If I wanted to be a receptionist, I would have applied for those kinds of jobs. If I was cut out for customer service, retail wouldn't have destroyed me the way it did. If I didn't have a phone phobia, I could have gotten easy work in a call center.

I really can't do her job. And she agrees with me. Everyone else in the office agrees with me. It's just not a good fit - they're better off hiring someone who's more cut out for it. And I need to stress that point to my boss, repeatedly it seems. I mean...if she doesn't listen to me I'll have to quit - I can't allow my anxiety to get out of hand again.

So I guess that's what I'm really worried about. That if I give an inch and even "temporarily" take on some of the duties of my coworker, that I'll be stuck with them. And then I'll get sick again - and since this company doesn't even offer health benefits - I can't afford to have a mental breakdown.

I'll just have to gather my strength and schedule a time to sit down with my boss to tell her where my boundaries are. It'll be scary and nerve-wracking but I need to do it.

Sorry to vent to you, dear readers. I just needed to get some of this off my chest.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Um, hello....? Is this thing on?!

Hi. Hello. How are you?

Every time I post a new entry here, I can clearly see that there are at least 20-30 of you who might be regular readers. Who are you? Why are you checking out my blog? Come here often?

Introduce yourselves! I want to know who's here and what keeps you around! I like to think of blogger as the last real ol' fashioned bloggosphere for us weirdos who want to post a little more than a heavily edited Instagram photo.

So leave a comment for me and let me know some stuff about you - like your name, age, where you live, basic interests and hobbies! I want to know my friends here!


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

My Ever Changing Beliefs

When I say beliefs, I mean of course, my spiritual beliefs. You may have come to realize that over time, your personal beliefs on the divine have changed radically, as have mine. This post is an attempt to summarize just how much my personal spiritual beliefs have changed in the last decade or so.

I'll preface by saying that I was not really raised with religion. My mom had my brother and I baptized Methodist when we were infants, but beyond that I never really had any particular belief structure forced upon me. We went to church, perhaps, twice a year and only if we felt like attending - my grandparents preferred that we attend church with them on Christmas and Easter, but this was not something my mother enforced.

So I was largely reared without too much religious dogma, and as such was allowed to have free reign over how I interpreted things I experienced as a child. Faeries in the woods at grandma's house? You bet. Fish-tailed monsters in the lake? Sure thing. Opening up doors and stepping through to other worlds? A popular play-time theme. Imaginary friends might not have been so imaginary - indeed.

I came into this world with a sense of wonder and magic about me, and while I lost that sense for a good number of years, I'm slowly regaining it.

In middle school, I had a friend who was utterly convinced she was a vampire. I suspect a large part of this was due to the influence of her older teen cousin, who was really into BDSM and blood-play and enjoyed the role-play involved, but she took it wholeheartedly. Even styled her entire persona and lifestyle around it. Melissa was a vampire. Good for her.

But she also told me that I was a witch, even if I didn't know it at the time. As a youngster in middle school, I was preoccupied with crushes, homework, family problems, and my own crisis surrounding puberty and gender-conformity. I didn't have time for make believe things like faeries and monsters anymore....but she was insistent that I had some magical ability. And it was the first time in a LONG time that I toyed with the possibility of opening that door again.

In high school I started practicing Wicca. Finally, a whole slew of resources for the budding magical practitioner! Something that wasn't centered on a male-deity and upholding outdated gender tropes! A belief system that was about love, and light, and female empowerment!

I dove deep - and I started finding things that just didn't add up or jive with me. I can't tell you how many times I pushed the concept of the Three-Fold Law onto other people and nodded sagely when other Wiccans scolded people for asking about love spells. How I defended the concept of duality between male and female - that each were equal and powerful in their own ways. But deep down, some of it really squicked me out and so I had to do some serious personal analyzing.

Wicca, and lots of other New Age movements, regard womanhood as sacred. While this isn't inherently problematic, it ends up veering into trans-exclusive radicalism pretty quickly - especially when you equate womanhood with the womb and ability to procreate. This reduction of women as vessels, even sacred vessels, was something that REALLY rubbed me the wrong way as a young Wiccan. Menstruation wasn't something to be proud of or experience joy over - it was an inconvenience at best and painful at worst. The ability to bear a child or become a "mother" wasn't something that resonated with me either, but Wicca told me that I should cherish that obligation. It was what defined me as a woman.

The maiden, mother, and crone thing just didn't make much sense to me either. That a woman was either a child, a vessel for another living being, or a wizened old lady felt really limiting. Where was the agency of the woman who wanted to be a warrior? A hunter? A lesbian....even?

So much of Wicca ended up feeling very transphobic, Euro-centric, and wrong. Energy wasn't either "male" or "female" - associating feminine energy with being passive, nurturing or calm was incredibly sexist. Same with assigning the characteristics of strength, aggression, and virility to males. Oh, but they cried! We all have both male and female energies within us!

a) That's kind of insulting to someone who might experience gendered dysphoria
b) Not everyone (myself included) identifies with the binary and...
c) Do you really think the incredible energy of the infinite cosmos is bound by our human insistence on duality?

So I had a lot of soul searching to do on my journey as a witch - and ridding myself of some of the problematic beliefs that I held was an important step.

I also used to be a soft polytheist that bought into the Three-Fold Law and was deathly afraid of curses and hexes. Today, I'm a definitely a hard polytheist (though I don't call myself pagan or currently work with any deity). Today, I can say without a doubt that I see no evidence whatsoever that every action I take will come back to me 'three times' and I've definitely cast a curse or two in the past. I no longer use terms like feminine energy or male energy - I don't really buy into the concept of duality - but I will substitute in "destructive" or "creative" to describe the intent of certain energies.

I no longer believe my power as a witch is a gift from the Goddess, but rather something inherent in me to cultivate as I wish. I no longer believe that all spirits are good or want to communicate with witches - there are plenty of nasties out there. I no longer believe that for spells to work, you have to cast a circle and call on certain entities to make sure it all goes right...I can be as creative as I want in combining different elements in my practice.

Even today, what I believe still has the capacity for great evolution and expansion. The more I come into contact with others and hear their stories, the more my beliefs change. The more I practice my craft and refine what works and what doesn't for me, the more my beliefs change. And that's okay! Change is a good thing.

How have your spiritual or personal beliefs changed over time? Let me know! 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Challenge: 25 Contradicting Things About Being a Shy Introvert

This week we have another gem from Jenn Granneman, and this one is all about the contradicting nature of being both shy AND an introvert. I figured, this'll be good....

25 Contradicting Things About Being A Shy Introvert

I was pretty disappointed. Read the article here and see for yourself how short and stilted it really is.

1. Wanting to be left alone but not wanting to be lonely.
~ I think this is across the board for all introverts, not just shy ones. Nobody wants to feel lonely. If being alone makes you feel lonely, you might not really be an introvert.
2. Wanting to be invited to social events but not always wanting to go.
~ It's always nice to be invited, it means someone is thinking of you. But wanting an invite doesn't make you shy. Not wanting to go doesn't make you shy either, unless the reason for not wanting to go is that you're nervous or afraid of going for some reason.
3. Wishing other people would notice you but avoiding the spotlight at all costs.
~ Definitely mostly just a shy or socially anxious thing. I have no real desire to be noticed, but I'll deal with the spotlight if I must and do it gracefully.
4. Having deep thoughts every day, but when you try to explain them, they never come out quite as eloquently or profoundly as they sounded in your head.
~ I think this is something a lot of introverts experience, shy or not. If you spend a good deal of time alone and you don't regularly have deep or meaningful conversations with people, your ability to do so is going to be a bit rusty. 
5. Wanting to have deep conversations with other people but not wanting to get the ball rolling by making small talk.
~ Small talk in the bane of every introvert's existence. Not wanting to engage in it doesn't make you shy.
6. Wishing you had more friends but not wanting to actually introduce yourself to new people.
~ If the reason you don't want to introduce yourself to new people stems from fear of judgement, you're shy. If you don't want to introduce yourself because the ensuing banal small talk is excruciating, you're just an introvert. 
7. Being known as the “fun/quirky” one when you’re with close friends, but being known as the “quiet/shy” one when you’re with people you don’t know well.
~ I can be quite quirky with people I know and I am definitely quiet with people I don't. This doesn't make me shy, it makes me selective in who I give my time and energy to. 
8. Being praised for how confident you were while giving a speech or presentation (you rehearsed for hours); fumbling your way through small talk with your classmates or colleagues afterward.
~ Again, definitely just an introvert thing. 
9. Knowing the answer to the question the teacher asked but not wanting to raise your hand and have everyone look at you while you talk.
~ Again depending on the reason, you may just not feel like bothering to answer but on the flip side you might be genuinely afraid of having to speak in front of your peers. Totally different level.
10. Having an idea or question in a meeting at work but being too shy to speak up.
~ Again, if it's fear of judgement prompting this introvert may not be super prone to sharing a concept or idea in front of the whole group, but a one-on-one meeting with a boss or senior colleague shouldn't be an issue.
11. Quietly doing a great job on something at work or school but not wanting anyone to make a big deal about it.
~ Some people just aren't fussy and don't think they deserve praise for doing exactly what they were supposed to. Others are uncomfortable having people notice them or look at them - different stuff here. 
12. Wanting to get away from a long-winded extrovert but not knowing how to interrupt them or exit the conversation without seeming like a jerk.
~ I'm not sure this is a shy thing. 
13. Wanting to hang out with your significant other or best friend in the same room but not wanting to actually talk to them.
~ Just an introvert thing. However, if you're too scared or nervous to actually SAY this to them, that's indicative of shyness.
14. Being hilarious and clever while texting or messaging online; being awkward and shy while talking to someone IRL.
~ I tend to speak the same way in person as I do in text/email so I can't really relate to this one much.
15. Desperately wanting to find your soulmate but being terrified to say hello to your crush.
~ Most people get really nervous around their crush and don't know what to say. If you're an introvert, this issue might be compounded. If you're shy, even worse.
16. Being told at work or school that you should speak up more; being told by your best friend or spouse that you talk too much about your niche hobbies or interests.
~ Again, I'm not really seeing anything that correlates to shyness here.
17. Feeling just fine but everyone keeps asking, “Are you okay?” because you have Resting Bitch Face (or Resting Sad Face).
~ LOTS of people have this, regardless of their personality type or level of social anxiety.....
18. Caring so much about the people in your life and treasuring all the intimate, fun moments you’ve had with them but rarely telling them how much they mean to you.
~ It's not because we're scared to do so, it just feels kind of awkward and we worry that we don't have the right words to express it.
19. Getting sad because friends don’t invite you out but then remembering that you haven’t texted/reached out to anyone for months.
~ This could be for lots of reasons. Because people are busy. Because people have been sick. Because people just don't feel like hanging out. If you're sad about lack of contact, reach out!
20. Wishing you could loosen up and have fun like everyone else but your overly self-conscious thoughts stop you.
~ That's social anxiety!
21. Wanting to sleep but not being able to turn off your over-thinking mind.
~ That's anxiety, stress, etc. 
22. Wanting to talk about something that really matters to you but worrying that everyone will be bored by what you say.
~ Definitely shy or socially anxious behavior. 
23. Going out with friends on a Saturday night even though you know you’ll get an introvert hangover.
~ Sometimes this is just called making a choice to keep one's friendships strong. 
24. Wanting to make an impact on the world but not wanting to leave your house.
~ Could be a lot of reasons for this one too.
25. Wishing you had just one person who understood your weirdness but wanting to be alone most of the time. 
~ I'm a loss. Some of these things are just normal tendencies for almost any introvert and then some are just straight up behaviors that only socially anxious or really shy people exhibit. I mean, you can totally be both, but these things aren't necessarily contradicting of each other.

What do you all think? 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Joining The 21st Century

I did something remarkable over the weekend - I joined the 21st century and acquired a smartphone. You have to understand how radical this is for me. I've been using the same budget flip phone for the last four years and it's only NOW starting to break apart a bit. Still perfectly usable. I had a hard time adjusting to my Chromebook, which is also at least four years old, because the OS is app based and all functions are stored on the cloud.

So I ordered a new phone on Virgin Mobile's website a few weeks back and had it shipped to my mom's place (debit card address complications - it's resolved now) and this weekend we drove through a damn blizzard to go pick it up. It's the same brand as my flip phone, so I felt comfortable at least staying in the same " family" and it's Android, so I'm familiar with a lot of the app functions.

Let me introduce the Kyocera HYDRO Reach:

It looks a little blue-hued on the stock photo, but it's pretty much black. It runs a mini-version of Chrome OS and comes with a bunch of useless pre-installed apps - many of which I already disposed of. After activating it Sunday night, I proceeded to spend much of Monday afternoon customizing it. I changed up my wallpaper, set my notification sounds, and even installed the tumblr app.

The biggest hurdle now is getting used to the keypad. I'm not really a huge fan of touch-screen technology, so texting has been a headache. I'm sure I'll become accustomed to it though.

To test out it's battery life and video quality - I watched a livestream of a Youtuber gamer last night and even played an episode of a Korean drama. The battery only dropped about 30% and the device itself didn't get too warm. So I'm fairly impressed.

Tell me the story of your first smartphone (if you possess one) and what features were most notable and interesting to you! 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Challenge: 17 Ways Being An Introvert Is Different In Your 30s Than in Your 20s

I would like to start a weekly segment where I find articles (usually in list form) about one thing or another that's relevant to me and then challenge them, bullet point by bullet point. And the point of this is to show that we can't all be painted with the same broad strokes and that all of our lived experiences can paint radically different pictures than might be generalized.

So this week's article is:

17 Ways Being An Introvert Is Different In Your 30s Than in Your 20s

Follow this link to read the article yourself! It was posted on Thought Catalog recently by Jenn Granneman, author of the upcoming book The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World. Her assertion is that people's lives drastically change from 20 to 30 and that how our introversion manifests will change as well. Okay, sounds fair. Lets see how it stacks up against my personal experience now.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Korean Drama - Introverted Boss

Recently, I started watching a Korean drama commonly called My Introvert Boss. A better translation is actually "My Introspective Boss" (based on   내성적 ) or My Shy Boss - because of this character's personality.

Anyways....My Introvert Boss follows the story of a young singer (Chae Ro Woon) who's sister tragically jumped to her death while working at a large PR firm called Brain. Three years after the fact, Ro Woon is determined to find the cause of her sister's death and so she begins working as an assistant - intent on getting the scoop about her sister's former boss Hwan Gi.

Hwan Gi is the featured "introvert" of the series. He has a private penthouse/office at Brain and is hardly ever seen or heard. Even his personal secretary doesn't know what he looks like - she's been instructed to never look at him directly. We, the audience, see him as a foreboding figure in all black, accompanied with an oversized black hoodie. To the unsuspecting, he's the very essence of weird, cruel, and bizarre.

Ro Woon is intent on painting him in such a light. In the aftermath of doing so, she finds herself working for him with a small team of other PR agents on a side project called Silent Monster. And finally, we begin to see the truth of Hwan Gi emerge.

This isn't just some introvert who prefers a LOT of solitude, Hwan Gi deals with some major social anxiety and is painfully shy. Hence why I believe a more apt title for this series is My Shy Boss. I've seen 13 episodes of this series thus far and I have one very strong conclusion about the character of Hwan Gi:

He is not an introvert. At all.

Hwan Gi WANTS desperately to interact with and be comfortable around other people, but his intense social anxiety prevents him from doing this. Instead he panics and gets lost in his own head - keeping his thoughts to himself and never expressing anything coherently to the people around him. When he does try, it often comes out stuttered or shouted or completely misunderstood - the greatest fear of someone with social phobia. And so he shuts down even more.

Ro Woon meets Hwan Gi at the pinnacle of his shyness - he's been keeping an eye on her ever since her sister's death and taking great pains to make sure he's never seen. The guilt of knowing who she is and what happened to her sister weighs on him as well. But with Ro Woon's exuberance and willingness to listen to and get to know a person she had harshly misjudged, Hwan Gi starts to come out of his shell and into his own abilities.

I've been watching this drama on and under every episode there's always some comment about introverts and what introversion is. Many are operating under the misconception that an "introvert" is someone who is either 1) Shy. 2) Socially Anxious. 3) Hates people. or 4) Is Depressed. As an introvert myself, I really want to clear up some of these concepts.

Introversion and Introverts:

If we look at the noun "introvert" it means to turn inward or upon itself. Introversion is the act of directing one's attention inward. Introverts are often said to be more reflective, inwardly focused, withdrawn, and quiet - and while some of these things generally hold true - it is not what truly defines a person who is an introvert.

An introvert derives their personal energy from spending time alone and focusing on personal interests whereas an extrovert recharges by spending time around people and focusing on external happenings. Operating under this definition, we can assume that an introvert feels most at ease and comfortable when spending time in a quieter setting doing what they love or enjoying the few precious hours they may get to themselves.

Contrary to popular belief, introverts are not inherently shy, socially anxious or misanthropic. Introverts are not more likely to be depressed or anxious, but as a result of a tendency to be more self-reflective might be more aware of such conditions in themselves than an extrovert might be. Not all introverts are incapable of socializing or hate it entirely, but they do tend to feel very drained and exhausted after prolonged contact with other people. Unlike the extrovert, a introvert needs a period of time alone to recharge and relax.

Introversion is not a psychological disorder and is certainly not classified as a mental illness, but some introverts may exhibit signs of avoidant personality disorder. An introvert may find that they become easily overstimulated in certain environments - like crowded spaces, loud stadiums, public transit, etc.

Think you might be an introvert? See if these Nine Signs apply to you.  What other misconceptions about introverts have you heard? Have any questions? That's why the comment box exists. 👍

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

A Monday in March...

I can't, for the life of me, understand people who STILL think climate change is a hoax. Yesterday, March 6th of 2017, a tornado swept through a chunk of Minnesota - doing damage to trees, roads, and houses. It's the earliest recorded tornado in Minnesota history. We normally don't get tornado producing storms until late May or June.

Yesterday, it was 65 degrees and super humid. Today, it's 30 degrees and there's snow on the ground. If you think a 30 degree temperate drop in less than 24 hours is "normal" you need a reality check.

When they say March comes in a lion, this is not what they meant!

But I digress. How are you, fair readers? I hope all has been well in your realms and hearts. 

All kinds of things are falling apart in my realm. A member of my rather extended friend group died recently. Our vehicle is having problems - either the motor mount is coming loose or we have front axle problems. Things are crazy at my job and I'm still stuck proctoring oral exams - but at least I'm getting the hang of it now.

Some things are also falling into place. I now have internet under my name and access to pretty much any xfinity wifi hot spot in town. The electric bill is a lot lower now that the bulk of winter is over. I've started doing to basic yoga again to loosen up the body I've been neglecting for months. I'm even in the process of upgrading to a smartphone.

The normal ebb and flow of life it seems.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


I really thought my life was going to become easier to manage once I had steady paychecks coming in. Boy, am I naive sometimes....

True, I can finally manage to pay the bills that used to give my partner so much anxiety and anger. Like rent, utilities, groceries.....I can even spare a little bit to buy myself something here and there...usually just at Goodwill. But I've managed to pad my work wardrobe pretty successfully with secondhand items.

I've been at my administrative job for almost two full months now. I thought the job was going to get easier as I acclimated, but true to form I've only been handed more responsibilities as the days wear on. The good news is that I might get to hand off my OMTE stuff to a "temp" while my senior and I get to work on integrating a new database system. This is apparently going to be intensive and time-consuming, so I made it a point to bring up this particular aspect of my job to see if I could hand it off to someone else. It's looking promising.

The only thing I have to do is schedule the times for a few more applicants and then I can pass the actual test proctoring off to someone else. Good deal. That whole business gives me MAD anxiety and I'm glad to be done with it so I can return to simple and repetitive data entry.

And hopefully before I need to return to that job duty, other members of our office finally come back and everything goes back to the way it was. That would be ideal.

In my downtime, I've been indulging in Korean dramas again. I recently watched the much beloved Goblin and tonight I finished up Legend of the Blue Sea. Both were kind of fantasy based while set in the modern era and I REALLY enjoy that kind of genre. So I might be looking for others of their kind to catch up on.

....My hair is growing out too. I got it cut recently because the back was getting dangerously close to resembling a mullet and now it's chopped into a psuedo-bob that's gonna look real cute as it grows out. Which it is - I'm happy. For some reason I really want long hair again and I can finally afford to maintain it.

That's all. It's late.

Happy Valentine's Day and Taco Tuesday......where's my tequila?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

I'm at a loss here...[TW:Politics]

I've been seeing some jarring and frightening headlines recently. I've been screen-shotting some of them, for posterity.

 Badlands National Park took a stand against the gag order handed down by the Trump Administration and continued to post fact-based pieces of science that have been continuously deleted almost as soon as they're posted. Freedom of Speech is under attack.

The Administration is pro-keeping secrets from the public that could have potentially disastrous effects on them. What is this, 1984?

This one hits the hardest. If this one passes, businesses and corporations will be able to legally discriminate against LGBT+ individuals, single mothers, and unwed heterosexual couples, because it effectively places religious rights over the rights over individuals.

DAPL and Keystone are now a go, thanks to Trump signing them into action, despites months of protesting against them by Native and Veterans alike. It's worth noting that Trump has stock invested in the company proposing the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Friends. Comrades. We've entered a very dark time. The rise of Facism and Dictatorship are upon us. I don't know if it can be stopped or who's strong enough to stand up and continue to fight against it. I'll be here, as long as I can, spreading information and updates where I can until even I am silenced.

I won't go quietly into that good night.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

...It's not a promotion...

You know how when you start a new job, most places will kind of ease you in with simple and repetitive tasks and then kind of build up your duties as you get comfortable with them? My job is the same way...📠

The first few weeks involved hand strain and getting really intimate with my desk scanner. Then I was asked to help put together some files for a client audit and while I really had no clue about the ins and outs of doing that, I still did what I could to the best of my ability - and then I stayed late with my boss to help her wrap that whole project up and got quite familiar with how frustrating it is when you realize past employees didn't do a very good job of keeping track of our contracted interpreter's files...

It genuinely makes me wish I'd been working here longer so they'd have better and cleaner records in their systems.

Now though, I've been assigned a task (as a matter of delegation of duties for a coworker who's out with a new baby) which makes me absolutely recoil with anxiety and stress. Phone work - and not just any phone work. Phone work where I have to set up appointments with prospective applicants, I also have to administer to them 100 term medical exams over the phone.

Just today I set up an OTME (Oral Medical Terminology Exam) with a Spanish speaking applicant for next week. Tomorrow I have to call a Hmong speaking applicant and a Somali applicant to set up times for them. Joy. But at least I've mastered the art of making an outgoing call on our multi-line phone system.

All this in addition to scanning in New and Not-Contracted files to the system, scheduling in bathroom breaks, and maintaining optimal caffeine levels. So it's picking up.

The good news in all this is that I get my second paycheck this Friday and it's looking pretty well padded. Woot!~ $$$

Friday, January 20, 2017

I'll get you, my pretty....

...and your little dog, too.

So our upstairs neighbor got herself a puppy dog.

This is distressing for a multitude of reasons:
1) There are no pets allowed in this building. Part of the lease agreement.
2) This individual is irritating enough on her own, now she has a yippy little "therapy dog" in her unit.
3) It makes noise, constantly. So she makes noise, constantly.
4) There is dog doo outside my window.

I'm not against companion animals in the slightest, I know how therapeutic they can be to have around if you're lonely, depressed, suffering from anxiety, house-bound, etc. And so I totally understand why a person would want to obtain a cute, small animal to keep them company.

But that animal should NOT bark, whine, and yip at all hours of the day and night when your walls are thinner than paper and everything echoes. That animal should NOT piss and shit right underneath your neighbor's living room window and you certainly should NOT leave it there. (There are city laws stating you have to clean up your animal's defecate or you could be fined, pretty heftily.) You should NOT have to stomp loudly in your animals direction to "scold" it, because the only individuals suffering from that are the neighbors below you. You should NOT clap your hands and proudly exclaim "Good boy!" right outside your neighbor's window every time your animal takes a crap and doesn't use that opportunity to run out onto the road.

In other words, if you're going to keep a small animal (like a dog) in an apartment complex, use good judgement and keep it quiet and clean. Don't annoy the hell out of your neighbors every chance you get, just because you can. Because, believe it or not, some of those neighbors might be logging every offense and violation, dating and stamping it.

Because that's what I'm doing. And if she doesn't get her shit together, quite literally, she's gonna go away.

Monday, January 16, 2017

24k gold face masks and 3 weeks on the job...

Three weeks at my new job down and one paycheck later....I sit at my desk with a splitting migraine and listen to my upstairs neighbor blast her music and scold her new yippy "therapy" dog....

But life could be worse.

At least now the fridge has some food in it and I'm no longer starving, save for the generosity of my work crew and their predilection for buying the office lunch. I have new hair products, so I'm no longer using leftover baby shampoo to scrub my hair clean. I have an extra set of nice pants to wear to work now, so that I don't show up with the same pair of black trousers three times a week. That might have been getting noticeable....

At Target I picked up this cheap face mask from Miss Spa that had 24k gold flecks in it. I don't think I'm that big a fan of having my face look that shimmery, but I'm sure it's a great product to use before a night out on the town. Just not my style.

On Sunday afternoon, we took an hour long bus ride to go have sushi. Next time I'll refrain from ordering a bunch of rolls that are overstuffed with weird ingredients. Cream cheese and sushi should never mix. I'll stick with sashimi and miso soup from now on....

And like an adult, I also paid the electric bill and put more money on my fare card for transit. In two more weeks, I'll have an even bigger paycheck, because that one won't be punctuated by three missed days. Then it'll be time to pay rent and buy more groceries. Adulting for the win!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

"Lets Talk about Witchcraft" Questionnaire

Learning about others’ practice, assumption free! Get talking, get chatty, these aren’t hard and fast questions, so go where the prompt leads you.

1. Is your craft secular, or does it intersect with religion/spirituality?

~ While I do consider myself a casual pagan (belief in multiple deities, spirits, etc) my craft itself is pretty secular. I don't really attach any religious dogma to it. You won't find an invocations to deity, any kind of Wiccan structure in my spellcasting, and certainly no prayers. Not in my craft anyways....on a daily basis though I have been known to ask certain goddesses for help in reigning in some intense emotions. "Give me the strength to not strangle this racist piece of human filth"....kind of thing.

2. Spell language: do like it simple? Do you dress it up? Is it poetry? Is it silent?

~Most of my spells don't involve much in the way of chanting or verbalizing, unless it's to state an intent or seal an intention. Rhyming and poetry often feel stilted to me and kind of fake, so I prefer to just keep things simple and to the point.

3. On a scale from “Kitchen Witch” to “I could burn water”, how much of your witchcraft takes place in the kitchen?

~ Some of it does, most of it doesn't. I do cook herbs into a lot of my food and I'm always mindful of what that might impart. But usually the extent of my kitchen witchery is stirring my coffee a certain way and infusing it with magical energy.

4. On a scale from “TechnoWitch” to “I broke the internet”, how much of your witchcraft incorporates technology?

~ A good amount of if these days, actually. I'm always reblogging emoji spells and internet magic to further charge and cast it. I've noticed that the energy of the internet and the ease of transferring intent using electricity has truly tangible results, at least for me. 9/10 - will continue using.

5. Herbs: essential? confusing? no thank you? if I could get my hands on some?

~ Only what I normally cook with, so things like basil, garlic, red pepper, cinnamon, etc. And I don't really use them in magic outside of food related stuff.

6. Tools: handmade only? natural materials only? I only need my will? anything works if I want to use it?

~ For me, as a low-budget witch, pretty much anything goes. If I can spare it in daily use, I'll probably use it for some magical purpose or another. It's kind of all about the intent you give that item or your association with it. 

7. Do you work with the elements? perhaps not air earth fire water? no connection to them?

~ Not sure I work with them so much as take advantage of the associations often tied to them. For spells that involve letting go of something or cleansing something, I might use a particularly windy day in which to cast it. For workings involving structure and stability, I'll probably use some dirt. Fire is great for energy related work....Yeah, I guess I do work with them.

8. Do you do spells for others? Do you or would you buy or sell services?

~Spells? Not really no. I might if someone asked me nicely and didn't have any weird intentions about it. Like, I'm not gonna cast a love spell for you, you're on your own in that department.

9. Divination: Yes, no, maybe, try again later? Methods?

~ I use Oracle cards, Tarot just isn't for me. I'd love to try my hand at pendulums someday (if I can find just the right one!) and I do use spirit boards but that's less for divination and more for spirit work.

10. Do you write all your own spells, use ones from books, or a combination?

~ Ha, I'm lucky if I ever write any of my workings down! But typically I use a combination of other people's ideas morphed into something that works well for me (usually removing all religious context).

11. Love spells? Curses? Discuss.

~ Love spells work, and they can work effectively. But they almost always backfire and have disastrous consequences at one point or another. Because love is fickle and really can't be pinned down and controlled, no matter how much you want to. You'd be better off casting a spell to attract love to you or to make yourself more open to love - in all forms. Regarding curses....I am pro-curse all the way. 

12. Moon phases, planetary correspondences, day of the week, hour: irrelevant or key?

~ I almost never know what phase the moon is in and I only just found out recently that Mercury was going retrograde. Big whoop....

13. Is witchcraft an everyday thing? Is it only for special occasions? Lots of ritual? Just a few words? Both? 

~ In a sense, it's an everyday thing because I AM a witch every day. Am I always spellcasting? No. Do I hold rituals often? No. I don't even acknowledge my spirit companions all that often. But I am always aware that I am a magical being and I hold power at my finger tips. I just don't need to use it all the time.