Reclaiming my time

Thanks to Representative Waters I will never forget this phrase.

I know it was a while back, but give me some slack: I’m a woman who’s been working in IT most of the past 20 years. Don’t think I haven’t been in those meetings a hundred times in my life. chuckle

Anyway.

Something’s been stuck in my craw the past several years and I finally have some words to wrap around it.

I don’t work for free.

I mean, I know that’s not a revelatory statement. We go to work to collect our paycheck and, when we’re lucky, do good things with people whose company we enjoy. That’s not the kind of work I mean.

I’ll give one example: a company whose product I use almost every day used to have a really neat feature where they’d feature a customer using the product and have a small gift card as a reward for being the featured customer of the month. It was clever and creative and people had a lot of fun conjuring up photos for the set and showing off their product collection.

You probably know what’s coming. This was in the pre-Instagram days. Instagram effectively killed that fun feature because hashtags are absolutely a thing, and instead of one person doing fun customer-based marketing, you can have thousands doing that same marketing for free, joyfully.

Look, I’m not as cynical as that sounds. If I were running a business, I would absolutely make the same move. Frankly it’s still a great company, they’re fantastic to their customers, and I still use their product nearly every day. And for a while I tagged some of my Instagram posts to be featured on the website because that was fun for me.

I don’t do that much anymore, not because I like my collection any less. I just feel less performative in my enjoyment of it. It’s so distracting and kind of gross to read a lovely post about an outfit choice or experience and then have twenty brand hashtags at the end of it. Sort of like those bullshit soap commercials where they commodified self worth and the lack thereof.

Turns out I enjoy things and experiences more when I don’t give a shit how they look on the Gram.

Not only that - and this is the real point - putting together extra curated Instagram posts is WORK. Work framing and composing and promoting and tagging and all of that stuff. And it’s work that I bet a ton of people who are not “influencers” (what the fuck ever that means) are doing for free for huge ass brands that don’t pay for the amount of marketing they get off it.

Also? I feel like there’s another post/rant coming about the value of just being yourself in a world that wants to hashtag, quantify, and market you.

Yarn Queue

Something I enjoy about living someplace that has actual seasons (apologies to Mis Angelenos but those aren’t seasons, amores) is choosing my activity by the season. With autumn looming and the weather cooling, I have a stack of crochet projects wanting my attention.

First up (in progress) is a TARDIS hat for FH. I’m using this pattern, with some modifications. I want wider ear flaps and cute braided ties, so I’m gonna do that. I also found something a bit more subtle that I’ll probably make for myself later, in this cute slouchy hat. I like the “heyyyyy, isn’t that . . . ?” feel of the second one. FH wants ear flaps. There you go.

After the first TARDIS hat will be this Lost Souls shawl for one of my sweeties. They requested black and white and I’m not sure if it will be Beetlejuice stripes or some intricate motif work. I’m thinking stripes are more likely.

Then I’m planning a hat for another friend. I don’t have the pattern picked out yet but I have the yarn and it’s gorgeous. This lovely shade of green nearly matches my friend’s eyes, and I think they will be stunning and pleased with it.

And of course there are the usual blankets, beanies for myself, et cetera. But I’m finally settling into seasons and truth be told, really enjoying them.

Hiking

We did a little walkabout yesterday.  I’m never sure if I should call what I do hiking, but why the heck not?  

It was another beautiful Oregon spring day, as you can see. 

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I don’t know what those yellow bushes are but they are pretty and the bees seem to enjoy them. 

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That view. 

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I thought this looked a bit like a firecracker.

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We had to maneuver a few downed logs. 

On mental health and related issues

I've been thinking about this for a long time - and by "a long time" I mean close to a decade.  I always want to say something, but I'm never sure what to say, so I think some more.

I guess the easiest way to do anything is to be direct.  I have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is an anxiety disorder.  As often happens, the anxiety often calls its good friend depression, which is, you know, suboptimal.  I won't go into the specifics of what happened or anything like that, except to say this.  Shit happened when I was a kid.  Nobody knew how to deal with it, so I bottled it for roughly 25 years.  Part of the reason my anxiety was so bad for so long, is that I bottled shit and sat on it and didn't deal.  I think that's why I want to say something.  Sproglet Crafty was not prepared to deal with it, and I grew up in an environment where we Do Not Talk About Things! so, yeah.  It's completely understandable, and now these are different times so there's less need to bottle shit up.

I got myself into therapy almost fifteen years ago.  I've been open about the fact that therapy and antidepressants saved my life.  I'm eternally grateful that I got lucky with the first therapist I called, and that the first antidepressant we tried worked well enough for me to stay with the therapy.  There are a million other things I am grateful for, but I'm not writing a novel at the moment.  

Anyway.  I just wanted to say that if you're struggling, it's OK and you're not alone.  I'll pop some links down into the end of this, in case someone stumbles across this and wants to click through.  And to borrow Wil Wheaton's words - be kind to yourselves and each other, ok?

Make it OK

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Crisis Helpline - you can text this one, you don't have to talk-talk!

And if you like podcasts, The Hilarious World of Depression is one of my all time favorites.