Self-Care 2016: Now Featuring Clean-Eating, Podcasts, and Hate Mail

Hello again. It's me.

The past month or so has been filled with a lot of self-care stuff, trying to take care of areas of my life I ignored during May, June, and July while I prepared for my grad course and the script development lab and wrote up/filled out the form for my third and hopefully-final promotion. Then I went to a mini-conference as part of a leadership program at Stuffolk and they had this unit on stress and time-management -- I scored a 27/30, putting me in the high-stress-you're-gonna-have-some-serious-fucking-problems-soon-if-you-don't-knock-it-off category. I already kinda knew I was there, in that red-zone, but, you know, being one of maybe two people in a room of 20 who identified as having high levels of stress made me realize who fucking tired I am of being that person.

So, as the story goes: changes. We'll see if any of them make a difference. Some beach time with the kiddos, some household maintenance, some personal maintenance (running, yoga -- like, yoga-lite, don't be impressed -- eating cleanly and trying to figure out how to be less of a basket case most of the time). Reading. With the kids, by myself, usually at night. A lot of slow-and-steady, early-morning class prep so that I will be better able to focus during the semester. Listening to podcasts while I do the decluttering around the house or driving to the various places suburban life dictates. (I'm on season 2 of This American Life's Serial; all caught up with Hot Source, my brother-in-law's comedy show; and in and out of Slush Pile, the Painted Bride Quarterly's transparent editorial-process-as-radio-show, which is interesting and terrifying at the same time.)

A couple of days ago - a week ago? -- I received a hateful email out of the blue from an account that was promptly deactivated. It was sent to my Stuffolk address, so I suspect it was from a disgruntled former student who didn't like the grade he or she received or the way I ran my class or something I said in class that challenged his or her world view. Who knows, really. I can't imagine anyone in the larger world outside of Stuffolk would have the energy or time to send hate mail to me. 

I enjoyed posting this shit to social media and having my friends and allies defend me, although after a while it just felt uncomfortable and self-serving and left me thinking that maybe my hater had, to a small degree, a point. (I.e. Here I am doing it again! Haha! The hilarity!)

Well done, hater.  Well done.

Still, I'm comfortable enough with myself that I can have misgivings about my actions but not consign myself to "mindless and despicable." I know I'm neither of those things. Most of the time. I mean, look, hater-buddy, I'm having a hard enough time getting my contemporaries to read my poems. Why would I imagine anyone would read them a century from now? 

(On that note, my beginning-of-the-year full-court press on the book publishing world has resulted in a month of fairly steady rejections. So there's that.)

Anyway, he loves me. So there.
All this is to say that I'm in a weird place. Feeling calmer -- which may be a result of the elimination diet (I begin reintroduction of "trigger/allergy" foods today so THAT might change). Feeling also a little sad, sometimes a little ambivalent. But thoughtfully, if that makes sense. And feeling also a little restless. Not in a mid-life crisis way -- which would be right on time, actually, as I turn 40 a few weeks from now -- but in a I'd-like-to-see-some-kind-of-fucking-payoff-for-my-efforts kind of way.


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