Tag Archives: personal

A Crafty Update: March 2019

I’m sewing again! I got some beautiful fabrics back in 2018 from The Spinning Weal in Clevedon, and I hadn’t yet got round to doing anything with them. Well, I finally pulled out my patterns, and I’m making two things – a skirt out of the solar system, and a space dress. I managed to lay out everything and then cut it all, so the next stage is to start sewing…

(And yes, the skirt has pockets. The dress might do if I can work out how to put them in, because POCKETS!)

Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of the solar system fabric, but it’s awesome.

I’ve got enough space fabric left that I could make another skirt, or I could potentially use it for my Dr Who cushion…which, thanks to a day spent sewing while listening to family talk, is progressing quite fast!

Cross-stitch "anyone -rtant"

Imposter Syndrome

Wait, why are they asking me? I don’t know this. I’m just pretending to know the answers. Everything I’m saying is a guess and someone’s going to tell me that I’ve got it all wrong. I’m making this up. I’m just thinking that I’m allowed to do this. I’m going to get told to stop and that I’m not good enough and that I have no idea what I’m on about…

(Also, emailing authors who have written books that I really admire is still the scariest part of the job.)

I’ve had a few people approach me recently – either through work or privately – and ask for professional opinions. After all, I’m an editor! I read and write and edit and I Know Something About Books!

And I’ve agreed! After all, this is my job. This is what I love doing. I can do this!

Except…

Wait, they’re listening to me?

I think the worry kicks in when I realise that people are accepting what I take without the customary large pinch of salt that I automatically put on anything I say. After all, I know that I know nothing; but everyone is nodding at me, and going away and actually implementing my suggestions, and…

It’s like they think I know what I’m talking about.

Which I do, of course. I’ve been doing this for a while, and if nothing else, I know enough from experience. I’ve been through these situations, seen what works, seen what doesn’t. I do know what I’m on about! Except…

And then my brain and I just go round in circles for a while.

Being asked to read things – or, y’know, doing it for my job – is fun, and satisfying: it really is. I love being able to read things and re-write a blurb, or tweak a synopsis, or point out which parts of a novel could be strengthened and which are already really strong. I love reading new stuff and emailing the author with “So where’s the next bit? Ooh, ten chapters? Yes please!” I love being able to help.

And I am good at it – with the proviso that I can always, and will always be, learning more. I am definitely not as good as I want to be, and it’s such a wonderful experience to see people with more experience and more talent working. Editing’s such a strange skill that it’s really interesting to see how other people do it!

It’s just terrifying that other people seem to agree with the half of my brain that thinks I’m worth listening to!

5 Happy Things: February 2019

I’m still getting whacked by anxiety (a combination of suddenly shifting sands on something I thought was more settled, a problem that’s rumbling onwards and I just want sorted, and my brain being an arse) – so I’m going to do happy things because they make me happy!

via GIPHY

1.Blues dancing

I’ve been learning bits of blues with my partner, and oh my goodness is it hard! I used to dance as a child – modern, ballet, tap – but learning to dance with someone else is so hard! That said…I’m getting better, and it’s so much fun. It’s taking me a little while to relax each time and we’re still struggling to put together a reliable playlist, but it’s really fun to do.

2.Ducks on the river

I get to stop and watch the ducks on the lake or the river on my walks to and from work, and they’re always entertaining. Sometimes it’s the swans attempting to fall asleep (gracefully, despite being blown around in circles) and constantly being disturbed by the moorhens; sometimes it’s the Canadian geese flying in on their daily commute;  sometimes it’s the ducks, quacking around in circles; and sometimes it’s just a bunch of geese who have Opinions about Things and want to tell each other VERY LOUDLY.

(Geese are still gits.)

3.Friends

It’s my colleague asking, very seriously, “So how are your weasels today?” It’s one of my best friends sending chocolate, yaoi or a snippet of her latest writing. It’s spending an hour sitting in the V&A with someone I miss dearly and don’t see often enough, just catching up. It’s my gaming group asking how I am, even briefly, before we get into the serious business of trying to thwart the purchase of coffee and then ensure that the boat is full so it can’t be traded. It’s getting a coffee from a friend halfway across the world, a tweet from an old colleague in another city or a silly cat gif from a friend across the room. I am ever grateful to have such wonderful people in my life.

4.Cats

via GIPHY
So, we’ve got two methods of getting the cats to come – as, I suspect, have all cat owners. The first is a deliberate one; we use a whistle. It usually means they get a treat, so they do come…eventually.

The second is to open a packet that may, conceivably, possibly, contain cheese. However, as it’s Schrodinger’s Packet of Cheese, they have to be there at your feet to ensure that it does contain cheese until it is discovered that it does not, in fact, contain acceptable cheese.

(Unacceptable substitutes include lettuce, spinach, mozzerella, pasta, rice and cereal. Also unacceptable is not actually giving said cat any of said cheese once it has been ascertained that the packet does, in fact, contain acceptable cheese.)

Yowling of course makes the entire process go faster, and reminds the human that they are starving and never get fed and therefore that packet had better contain cheese!

Of course, if the packet doesn’t contain cheese, they never wanted any anyway and what do you mean they were yowling? No. Not us. We’re far too dignified to beg for cheese.

Cats are weird.

5.Flowers

A vase of daffodils on a striped table

Snowdrops in the woodland, blossom on the tree outside my back door, and daffodils in a chipped mug. Spring’s coming!

Just whackin’ some weasels

I’m down pretty badly with anxiety and tiredness at the moment, so nothing much to say today – I’m in London this weekend seeing friends, so hopefully I’ll be back at full force on Monday!

Have a quote from Dr Who to brighten your weekend – unfortunately I’m not sure of the source.

Dr who quote

Duelling Weasels: conversations about mental health

One of the strangest and most amazing things about my life at the moment is the fights I’m having with weasels. Over the last few months, I’ve been having so many wonderful, painful and helpful conversations that identify and clarify the voices in my head; both with my partner, and with friends – and with myself!

It has mostly been my partner who’s responsible for the growing. We’ve both got a lot of background from growing up and from previous relationships – as has anyone, I suspect – but after starting off our relationship on an entirely honest foot, it’s just continued from there. Our conversations are peppered with mental health shortcuts; weasels, pins, owls, tangles, ducks, balloons – they do all make sense to us, honest! – and they all really help to be able to analyse how we’re feeling and what we need.

But the best thing, the most amazing, and sometimes most painful thing, is the ability to say, “I feel like this. And I think this is why.”

The first step is usually being able to identify an emotion – to stop, and think, “Well, ouch…but this is what I’m feeling”.  Sometimes I can’t identify it, or it’s a tangle of things; a lot of the time there’s multiple strands to any emotion, and it takes time to unpick them. So it’s just slowly untangling, or appreciating that maybe it’s too big a tangle, and putting a pin in it to come back to. Sometimes it’s just a case of different expectations. Sometimes it’s a complete misunderstanding. And sometimes it’s just a weasel sitting in my brain going NYAAAAAhH. But very often, I’m able to sit there and think, “Yes, I can put my finger on this. I’m angry/sad/upset/jealous/hurt/hyperactive/depressed/nervous.”

But identifying doesn’t mean suppressing it – that’s something I’ve been trying to work on too. Things like jealousy and anger and frustration are healthy! If I’m angry, it means something’s wrong. If I’m jealous, it means there’s something I need to deal with. If I’m miserable, it’s often just my brain having a depressed moment. It is really hard, when I’m feeling something, to make myself stop and analyse when all I want to do is scream or grumble or curl into a ball. It’s hard to stop the knee-jerk reactions, and just be able to step away. But it’s also so, so satisfying to be able to recognise it; to say, “yes, I’m feeling that – and that’s ok. Let’s look at why.”

And it’s really satisfying to be able to talk about it; to try to figure out why I’m feeling like this, and what – if anything – I can do. It’s something that I’ve noticed in my interactions with my partner, and with friends – and I think, I hope!, that it’s making all of my relationships healthier. If nothing else, it’s preventing misunderstandings based on past experiences or a missed word or simply an email with no context – and if it means that I can be a happier and healthier person, then I think that’s a really good thing.

So, self-reflection and talking: hard work, but absolutely worth it!

(Also, weasels are derps.)