700 Posts and Counting

The post that went up today (the day I’m writing this and a week prior to this post going up) was the 700th post on my blog (which means this is post 706). I have no idea what the average word count is on my blog posts, but I think it’s a pretty safe bet that my blog is the longest thing I’ve ever written, in both terms of word count and in reference to the passage of time. What an accomplishment, right? 700 whole posts! That’s so much stuff! Probably a lot of interesting stuff and some absolute drivel. After all, they can’t all be winners and I used to have a far less rigorous process for weeding out dumb or bad posts. Still, the sheer volume is worth celebrating. Turns out all I needed to be this productive was a task that had no real end goal other than continued activity. Can’t finish a book to safe my life most times I try, but I can do this without end.

Given how long this past winter felt like it lasted, it feels strange to realize I’ve been updating this blog six days out of seven for nine months. I’ve made it through almost another year of posting without the stress and obsession it took me the last time I tried to update this regularly. My, how I’ve grown. I still wish I had the capacity for more creative work each day, but given the rise and fall of my personal stress levels due to factors mostly at my day job or tied to the world at large, it feels like I should just be grateful I’ve managed to keep this up without falling behind or scrambling to get a post up long after my usual posting time (which happened A LOT the last time I did this). And, you know, I actually am. I feel like I’ve gotten better at working incrementally and applying personal discipline to every aspect of my life except cutting myself off of video games at a reasonable hour when I’m playing something that scratches my “control” itch.

At the same time, it feels like nothing has changed. Which is demonstrably false, given that I’ve spent a bunch of time thinking about myself and my life, resulting in a decision to use different third-person pronouns. There’s more, but I’m not really into sharing personal information on that level these days and honestly the pronoun thing was a pretty big deal given that it took me thirty years to convince myself it was worth considering something that would only serve to make me feel more comfortable and happy with myself and then most of another year to actually take action on it. That feels like enough to be writing about publicly, you know? All the other stuff is my personal business and literally no one else’s.

I talk a lot about how I feel on this blog. I do a lot of processing, exploration, and expression here, putting my feelings out into the world in hopes that they resonate with other people. Who I am, how I identify, my sense of self… All of that is my own business and not something I feel comfortable pinning down by writing it out. As some of my poetry indicates, I’m happy to allow myself to leave most of that stuff without a clear definition. After all, people grow and change frequently, maybe more so than we would like at time, but enough that I feel like codifying myself is only ever going to be a disserve to my future self.

Which isn’t necessarily to say that I won’t ever write about myself in that way or that I won’t ever talk explicitly about identity and myself on this blog, just that I haven’t yet and might never. I’m not committing to anything at this point because the future is a wild, unknowable thing and I honestly couldn’t have imagined being in the position I am now, a year ago. But it sure feels nice to reflect on my blog, the past year, and how much has changed (and, you know, to choose to focus on the positive changes in my personal life, specifically). Maybe a year from now I’ll be doing the same thing and wondering why I ever hesitated on some thing I can barely even allow myself to consider right now. Just about anything is possible.

Vocal Reflections

I’ve always struggled with hearing my own recorded voice. It seems like a common thing to feel self-conscious about, given how different we sound when we speak and when we hear a recording of ourselves speak. Once upon a time, this discomfort could be easily blamed on tinny-sounding audio or poor recording equipment, but now as the ability to record and playback audio in high quality becomes ever more available to anyone with a smartphone or a hundred dollars to spare for a decent USB microphone, we’re forced to confront that fact that it’s just us.

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There’s Time Enough Yet Today

Some days last an eternity. Seconds pass with the agnozing slowness of sunlight creeping across the floor, a change that only seems to happen when you find a momentary reprieve with some distraction or another. Hours pass with the glacial pace of trees growing once they’re past the point where you can use your own height as a point of reference. No matter what you do with a day like that, it always feels like a waste.

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Silence And The Heart Of The Problem

It can be difficult for me to take a moment to quietly think something over.

I’ve spent so much time trying to fill the space in my life that used to be occupied by friends and living in the world at large. Podcasts, audio books, music, video games, and even talking to myself. So much of what occupies my days is something I started to help me get through the periods when I feel like the weight of the pandemic is going to crush me.

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Slow Change And Matters Of The Self

There are moments in a day, as I pursue my usual routines and common pastimes, that I find my mind at rest and my head empty of thoughts. These moments frequently arrive on the tail of simple thoughts, small ideas bouncing around my head as I direct myself toward some goal or task. A reminder to thoroughly scrub my scalp in the shower. An errant consideration about skipping the current song on my playlist. Some spark of imagination or creativity ignited by the podcast or audiobook I’m listening to. A recollection of something I meant to do earlier in this room I just entered but had forgotten until just now. As my body responds to the thought, taking action, or my mind files the spark of creativity away until I can focus on it, I become aware of the sheer size and emptiness of my mind in those moments.

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I Have Post-Workout Sludge Brain

As part of my general efforts at improving myself and my life, I’ve started waking myself up at 6am again (something that I stopped doing a couple months into the pandemic) and immediately getting out of bed so I can exercise. Even with the extra hour I’m spending on working out, this has meant that I’m now at work by 8:30 every day, thirty to ninety minutes earlier that I was previously. Even though I’m only getting up an extra hour earlier. After all, if I get out of bed and start working out right away, that means I’m not spending thirty to ninety minutes of every morning laying in my bed, browsing twitter or reading comics on my phone. Or, you know, wallowing in depression as I struggle with motivating myself to get out of bed and actually do stuff with my day.

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Talking “Post-Pandemic” Sounds The Same As “If I Won The Lottery”

I was talking to one of my friends about how he is hoping that his daughter will be able to start getting vaccinated soon. There was a bunch of discussion about how the vaccination effort is proceeding, discussion of how US government is failing its people, and how life changes when you can dial the pandemic anxiety down a bit after everyone around you is fully vaccinated. Not that you should throw aside all precautionary measures and join the growing throng of people pretending there isn’t a pandemic, but just that you can accept a small increase in risks taken because you’ve had a corresponding decrease in risk of severity. He talked about going out to restuarants again, safely as can be of course, and it got me thinking about what it would be like to be able to just go out to dinner again.

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This, The Year of Our Pandemic, 2022

It can be difficult to nail down a change in perspective. Sometimes, you know the change was within you. You see the world a different way now. Some part of how you interact with and perceive the world is different. Sometimes, the world has changed, either gradually or suddenly doesn’t matter since you tend to notice it all at once regardless. What is within your view has been altered and now things look different to eyes that have largely remained the same. Sometimes, the world hasn’t changed and you haven’t changed, but you’ve noticed something for the first time.

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Happy New Year, Same As The Old Year

It’s a brand new year! Sort of. Like always, this was written a week ahead of time so expect my actual reflections and thoughts in another week. This is my, uh, pre-reflections, I guess? It’s difficult to think about a new year when the old year is still hanging around and the holidays are still to come. Things don’t feel very “ending” right now, since I’ve been so busy and stressed with work that today is the first day I’ve actually conceptualized what a day in 2022 might look like.

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False Summer

It takes only a moment,
The space between whispers of wind
On a scorching September day
As the sun roasts pavement
Two feet from where shadow shelters
A wilting garden unaware
Of how little time it has left,
And the past mixes with the present.
Fingers tracing rows and lines,
Too large now to intertwine
With the holes left in the table
Made of rubber-coated steel,
But still looking for something to hold.

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