Wednesday, May 17, 2023

The Nostalgia of Ink and Paper

 I grew up loving the tactile feel of stationary. Journaling stationary, postcards, greeting cards, notebooks and more, all empty, awaiting the perfect moment when a person's imagination turns to a creation. What once was a private concept born of a mind's eye becomes a tangible expression of thought to share, communicate with others. All the empty pages ready to soak up the contents of one's mind.

It's a writer's curse and blessing to see such potential of these pages. The smell and feel of new, unused pages bound by spines and spirals feels fresh, elegant  but intimidating. The first words set a tone. They must match the energy this empty book deserves. Will the first scribbles miss the mark? What if they land flatly on the paper, forever staining it with subpar markings? Oh, the anxiety of new beginnings!

I still have quite a modest collection of stationary. I find that I utilize them in fewer and fewer creative ways and much more as daily doldrum type tasks. To do and shopping lists tend to fill the pages where my inner most thoughts used to go.

As I grew up, the bound pages turned to blank, stark white single papers twisted firmly into a typewriter. The keys were concave and slick. The letters struck the paper with force, imprinting it with neat, ink letters. Tick, click, tick, ring. It was also tactile , but in a different way.

That way of filling pages soon turned digital from there. The keyboard still made a clicking noise, but more subdued. The paper would be a blinking curser on a screen until I filled it with letters, no paper to be seen unless I decided to print my creation.

Now, the keyboard is a screen and there is no clicking to be heard. I miss the feeling of taking pen to paper, even if I do appreciate the ease and efficiency of digital writing. There was always a quiet beauty to stacks of filled journals or a recipe box of small note cards neatly written, ready to be flipped through.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

When the Struggle Bus is Over Capacity

 This week has been long. I think most of the previous weeks in 2022 have been as well. The air feels thick with stress, tension and low level anxiety everywhere I go. From stores to office buildings all the way into our homes, the world as a collective whole has felt tense to me this last year. I mean, truthfully it's felt this way since 2019. Tensions built and pulled back the last two years causing most of us to become accustomed to at least a low level of stress buzzing from our environments at all times, which has led many people to experience burnout. There's simply too many conflicts co-occuring in our lives at once on a constant basis. We can't address them all. There's no space to relax and regroup before the next. Some people do perform better when challenged by a stressful situation, when the event is singular in nature. Having to meet a deadline or having to rise up and out of comfort zones can be stimulating for us, leading to creative solutions. Our brains get a surge of adrenaline. The issue is when the challenges keep coming at a rate to where rest isn't possible, or the problems are not solvable. Maybe they aren't even unique, new or huge, but they're always there, hanging in the background, breathing on the backs of our necks, nagging. This constant state of low level stress ends up feeling like a gray cloud that hangs over us making the air around us constantly thick with a tinge of oppression and anxiety. It's difficult to keep a healthy perspective on life when our daily environment feels this way. We feel exhausted, defensive and agitated. Human nature dictates that we save our small amount of resources for ourselves and our families. People guard their time, money and energy fiercely under these conditions. We find ourselves unusually snappy at others and others to us, thus the cycle gets stronger. Burnout is ugly and uncomfortable. It also feels very personal. I shortens our vision, making us feel like we're the only ones suffering, or even perhaps, that others are the cause of our current blah state. We feel victimized and look for the perpetrator. That all too frequently ends up being anyone who hits us the wrong way, in the wrong moment, causing a backlash from us.


Most of the articles written about issues such as this have this nice list at the bottom of things we can do to alleviate the problem. I wish I knew. I don't think there is a singular solution to this complex, worldwide tense state we seem to be experiencing. Between war and a global recession, we are all suffering. The only advice I have is to remember that. We are all struggling right now. Emotions are high and energy is low for everyone. Be kind. Remember we're all human, so practice empathy and compassion when dealing with others. Literally, those things are a skill. The more you practice, the better youll get, and the better you get, the more positively you can affect the world around you, leading to more of the same. We're all in this together.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Sensing Fall

These are my favorite days. The sky is a clear light blue and the days are still warm, bordering on hot, but mornings leave you needing a jacket. Early fall feels full of change. Reminiscent of school days, maybe. Things feel new. The air is light and the trees are beginning to change color. 

I have experienced this change of seasons 43 times now, yet somehow each time feels new. Every year from September through to November, I feel in awe of the seasonal change of fall. Unlike winter and summer, which their arrival never feels pronounced, fall and spring is always short, but beautiful in color and weather. 

I definitely don't live in an area known for beautiful landscapes or pleasant weather. However, I think its important to find something interesting, something positive and something worthwhile in every day, in every environment. 

There is so much stress, illness and unknowns occurring in my family's life currently. There is no denying this as a fact. Still, i try to take tiny moments in my day to search for those things I mentioned above. My brain stores much of my life experiences as sensory information, so its relatively easy for me to feel a calm moment just by experiencing something in my environment that reminds me of calm/happy moments of the past. The smell of cut grass, blooming flowers, newly fallen snow, leaves crunching underfoot... these are all examples of things that bring me peace, joy and moments of calmness in an otherwise chaotic world.

What kinds of things trigger peaceful feelings for you?

Saturday, March 13, 2021

My Habitual Time Sucks

 Shortly into February I took a break, or at least greatly reduced my social media use. I thought it would for sure lend me the time I needed to get back to writing and creating. Ahhh.... Not so much. I had envisioned this waterfall of creative energy just leaping out from my inner, now more focused thoughts. While I did have more focus during this dry spell of social media, it did not produce the time I expected it to in the way of large, uninterrupted blocks. I guess that's maybe what part of the allure is of scrolling endlessly through posts, pictures and videos. We only have a few seconds, maybe a minute, so we pick up our phone to check notifications. Nothing wrong with that. For me, seconds turn into minutes and by the end of the day I feel like I've mindlessly scrolled my day away in small chunks of time. I feel annoyed with myself and vow to do better tomorrow, but then tomorrow comes and with it the same hectic schedule while I once again take micro-breaks with my phone that leave me unsatisfied and overwhelmed. 

What I yearn for is a meaningful experience. A genuine connection. Those can be had online. I'm not one to dismiss the value of internet friendships. There are quiet places tucked away online where we can find kindred spirits and the interaction is full of depth and human connection. I am grateful to have found a couple of such corners. But, somehow inside of my primitive brain lies the belief that more is better, so I set out to find a hit or two of dopamine in the way of scrolling and app surfing.

I guess I am just thinking out loud, so to speak. I don't have an answer to all this and am not expecting any from my readers. I find it a productive process to empty the contents of what has been lurking within my brain, going into circles onto a page of neat lined words, and pretty paragraphs. This is a physical release that allows me to view everything from a different perspective than the one I have as a running stream of thoughts inside my mind. 

When I began blogging something like twelve years ago it was mostly about my children's autism. Then that shifted to advocacy. I also became aware of my own autism during this last decade, so I filled many pages about my own experience as a woman with Asperger Syndrome.  A few years ago I opened the content to include my thoughts on introversion, as well. My particular writing style has bent and shaped itself around these topics offering new paths for me to explore as a writer. I think it is this style I like the most. There is no point to prove or confining topic to be boxed into with free style writing. The words flow as they are inside of my thoughts onto this space with the only challenge being for me to adequately piece them all together in a way that conveys my vibrant inner world to readers.

As I work to assess my habits concerning time management I hope that I can slowly reintroduce the idea of journaling a few times a week to as a tool for introspection. I think it would be helpful to me, despite if anyone else were to read what I write, or comment about it or not. 

If you are reading this and want to reply, do you do any sort of journaling? What kind? If not, what is your creative outlet that allows you to release your emotions?

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Couch Days

This was definitely a couch day. 

I awoke to colorful kaleidoscope images growing until the patterns disperse like fireworks in a 4th of July sky behind my eyelids. At the moment of semi-conciousness where my slumber ends and I fill into my body from the dream world far away I am welcomed by these dizzying colors. I open my eyes to try to focus through the fragmented light patterns as they fade into the dimmed sunlight that crosses the foot of my bed.

It's a migraine and vertigo state I have found myself in.

These days are not long, or short. They just are. Malaise and melancholy are states of being that defy time. It's an awareness of pain, confusion and blurred content all at once. It's a brain fog that submerged all thoughts into a dense tangle, leaving me to wonder what I came into rooms to do, or finding myself in front of an open refrigerator with forgotten plans. I wander through these days feeling far away and lonely, as if the physical pain wasn't enough. 

I find some kind of solace in the routines I follow for comfort. I settle into my favorite spot on the couch. The familiarity of this spot, of the space that I call home envelopes me. Strangely, these walls feel both confining and soothing. I'm both grateful and resentful for this life. 

It's approaching midnight, pulling this day to a close. I stare out the window before making my way to bed. The January sky is a muted glow of heavy clouds, illuminating the bare branches of the trees. Maybe snow? Winter nights feel so hushed and still. I love the way street lamps light the empty streets and glowing windows dot the houses with cozy people inside. 

Surely the morning will greet me with a different story than today, a blank narrative for me to influence.