Still keeping you all in the loop (if you want to be)

Ever since I started writing back here in November, I feel compelled to keep you all in the loop of what's been going on in my life. It's funny; I've tried private journals and diaries before but never really stuck with them past a few days or up to a half a month, despite the appeal of being able just bleed raw feelings onto the page. Maybe the accountability of posting in public appeals to me more. I hope to write at least one personal post every two weeks; I used to try to share the SNL reviews once a week each Saturday but found that was such a grind. Maybe I will get back to that schedule for the other part of that blog, but I think that will probably only come with a backlog of content ready to post.

I had a good long weekend; Nova Scotia implemented a February statutory holiday a few years ago and my workplace is one of those that closed for the day. I decided that I didn't want to worry about whether I used the downtime productively or not; in the past I would make vague but grand plans about what I would do with a huge block of time off (I'm going to write! I'm going to take pictures! I'm going to socialize! I'm going to finally clean my apartment!), only to get depressed when I inevitably spent the whole weekend in bed or surfing the internet without really engaging with anyone. I didn't do anything overly exciting but I did try a new doughnut shop I've heard good things about, and generally felt well-rested.

The next few days went pretty well, despite some sluggish starts in the mornings: I got a postcard from one friend travelling in Ireland on Tuesday, met another friend for some post-work drinks on Wednesday, and went to a comedy show on Thursday, where I saw a few friends perform, ran into another I hadn't seen in a long time, and drank with a few more good folks at Charlie's.

I also decided to start taking my computer out to coffee shops to write again; I find I get better flow when I'm outside of the apartment and there are no attention-hungry cats trying to distract me. So far, it's paying off a lot more than it had been in the past; I don't know if it's the meds, or there's just a little bit more "openness" in my writing, but the words are coming again, and I feel connected to them. I'm trying set aside regular weekly time to work on my writing or other creative pursuits; tentatively this is going to be every Thursday after work, but I'm considering doing a second weekly "cafe time" to force myself out of the apartment.

Unfortunately, the last weekend was a bit of a step back. The sluggishness from the start of the week seemed to take over my body on Saturday, and by Sunday I just felt tethered to my bed. I've been feeling a bit more moody, impatient and grumpy for much of the week, as well as the physical heaviness that hadn't really been around for a few months. I don't know if this is my meds starting to plateau off, or if it's just other stresses just piling on each other that need to be vented, but I hope this is just a temporary setback. I'm trying to self-care my way through this: for me, this involves making sure I taking the time to read, write, listen to music, and making sure I take care of errands (I just slow-cooked and froze a bunch of stew to curb my tendency to eat out), but I still sometimes find myself eating my feelings, and sometimes my thoughts are so loud that I can't hear the music I'm listening to.

I'm not the greatest at reaching out one-to-one. It's easier to just make a social media post and hope that the likes or comments provide enough of an endorphin rush to lift my spirits, or that someone else starts the engagement for me. But when I feel low or anxious, I never feel certain how any one-on-one communication will be received, or if it will just be wasted spoons. I'd rather just post something generic and have people opt in. I sometimes wonder if I'm capable of writing a lengthy and intimate letter anymore; there's such a performative aspect to much of what I say or do that I feel like I can't fully be vulnerable.

If a post didn't get any likes or comments, did anyone actually look at it?  I pore over my site analytics a little carefully, trying to figure out who was actually looking at it. I can guess who some of my readers are strictly by seeing the logs showing geographic location and how they accessed the page. I'm guilty of really superficial engagement; I use the like button as a way to indicate I've seen something, to express general agreement, or to trick the social media robots into showing me more content from that person. Are algorithms just meant to isolate the losers of the world so they don't take attention away from the already-popular? When I'm online, sometimes I just want to feel like I can connect on a human level beyond the thumbs up, the heart or whatever. This is why I like reading blogs, especially if I know the people behind them.

The next month is going to require me to be a bit more frugal than normal, so I have to be careful about how I use my time and money; I probably won't be going to Charlie's or to any shows for the next few weeks, so if I want to see people I'm probably going to have to suck it up and reach out, unless someone else does first. I have to get out of this opt-in mindset and tell people what I want.