I’ve written myself into a corner

a four-panel web comic by poorlydrawnlines.com. the scene is outdoors with a few clouds in the blue sky and a few mountains in the distance, with a dark-haired man in the foreground. first panel: 'good morning, sad earth.' says the man. second panel: 'good morning, sad child.' says one of the mountains. third panel: 'hey.' says the man with a frown. fourth panel: 'I'm a sad adult.' says the frowning man, pointing at himself.

I have spent so much time carefully crafting what kind of things I write here, that I’ve just about taken away my ability to write a regular-ass blog post that isn’t an essay. It’s not that I can’t write one, it’s that my neurospicy brain got into a comfortable and important-feeling process rut and a now a ‘day in the life of Nix’ is not on the list of approved content.

But this is my brain and my website and I am going to write a regular-ass blog post.

guess what I’m working on in therapy

My whole life, I haven’t been able to describe anything in particular as making me happy. I think that phrase just doesn’t work with my personal symbol set for understanding myself and the world. Right now, especially since summer is so hard — I have seasonal affective disorder with bonus climate change terror, plus one trauma anniversary, among other things — it’s been more important to me to look for what I enjoy and do those things intentionally.

If I didn’t have the therapy support for it, I don’t know how I would navigate how shitty it feels to be knocked out of commission every time the air gets bad. Right now, prior to the wildfires beginning in Canada, the air quality has been literally dangerous to breathe. So even inside the house, I’m affected by the air quality, which means I’m sick a lot right now. I have a lot of migraines and a lot of MCAS flares, which include fun symptoms like depression and mild (haha) anaphylaxis. The meds shelf in my bedroom probably looks overwhelming to the casual observer, but it keeps me as functional as it’s possible to be.

I have the kind of trauma that causes me to believe that in order to enjoy something, I need to have earned it, but the criteria for ‘earning it’ are vague and not up to me.

Being sick sometimes feels like a loophole for me, so I don’t feel as upset with myself for spending an afternoon with Netflix or a video game; but it’s also hard to actually enjoy those things when I physically feel so bad.

It’s the time between, those days when I feel pretty good and I have enough bandwidth for whatever the day might bring, when I have the hardest time letting myself just enjoy something for the sake of itself.

So I’m working on it.

to prove it, here are a few things I’m letting myself enjoy lately

I finished watching Another Life on Netflix. I almost never finish a series, because I don’t generally let myself just watch something simply because I like it, but I goddamn did it. It’s a really good scifi show with a trans character with neopronouns (ze/zim/zir) and they do NOT die at the end. Or at any point.

I started a big knitting project that I’ve been putting off for several years, because I love the act of knitting and the fascination of feeling a piece of fabric that I am actively creating, one stitch at a time. I am good at knitting and this helps me feel physical and emotional enjoyment when I pick up the project, hold it in my lap, and start knitting the next row.

A couple of years ago I backed a game on Kickstarter, Mask of the Rose, by a developer that I love, and the game was finally ready for backers about a week ago; today I actually started a new game and let myself be immersed in the music and the story.

I remembered that I can use the Hoopla app to borrow ebooks and audiobooks from my library, and I went a little nuts and checked out too many things at once. I finished We Do This Til We Free Us, although that was less about enjoyment and more about education on abolition and what that could look like. And then I remembered some books that I loved when I was a teenager devouring books by the dozens each week — and some of them are available as audiobooks, so I have been listening to The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay (it’s the first book in The Fionavar Tapestry series) and it is marvelous. I love it. I forgot how much I loved those books and now I get to relive it but from a new perspective.

I’ve even got a little backlog of things to do next!

Ash of Gods: The Way was recently released, and I got it almost immediately because I enjoyed the first game, Ash of Gods, so very much. I haven’t started playing it yet, but I am looking forward to being just as emotionally moved by this new piece of the story as I was by the first game.

There is a neat stack of knitted sections of a rainbow-colored blanket that is waiting for me to steam the pieces out, match them up, and stitch them together so that I can knit the border and have a finished blanket. It’ll be the first large blanket I’ve ever made and it’s for me, not for anyone else, which is all by itself kind of amazing.

My hair has gotten out of control again; apart from the undercut maintenance that needs doing, I’ve got the bleach kit and the hair dye I’m going to use for updating my color. It’s so faded right now and so grown out that it’s mostly dark brown with a pale pink section on the top. It doesn’t look bad, but there is a way I like my hair to look and this isn’t it.

also, these random things

  • We ran out of butter a few days ago but it’s not grocery day yet so in the meantime I have to eat my breakfast raisin bread DRY, which of course I can do, but then I recalled that one can make butter by shaking the absolute fuck out of a container of cream, so I did that and I am very proud of myself and it’s very tasty.
  • You know how sometimes you’ll save a container, and then you’ll save another container that’s the same kind of container as the first one, and then months later you find yourself with several stacks of containers that constantly fall over because they’re in the way and there’s not actually anything you can do with them? Yeah, I got rid of them. FINALLY.
  • I also remembered the life hack that my mom taught me literally decades ago, which is if you need an ironing board but you don’t have access to one, you can use a folded towel on a level surface as long as you’re careful. I like to steam out my knitting so it’s not all curled up, and I took a small box and a towel and made myself a little steam-the-knitting station so I can have the satisfaction of working on a project that is now more aesthetically pleasing to myself.
  • I’ve listened to Saddy Daddy-O on repeat so many times that I have all the lyrics memorized. What a hilarious amazing song. I heard it on TikTok, y’all (it’s the Lexapro song and it SLAPS, please do not revoke my memes card). And now it’s on Spotify.

I took too long to think about writing this post and now it’s almost four in the morning and I need to go the fuck to bed.

I love y’all. Thank you for being here.


featured image is a photo by qinghill on Unsplash

Nix Kelley
Co-parent to multiple kids. Writer. Death doula. Member of the Order of the Good Death. Seeker on the Path of Light. Queer, non-binary, & trans.


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