Henry

We have a new addition to our little family. His name is Agent Henry Orange, but we just call him Henry for short. 

We got him from a friend’s farm. He’s a little over a year old. Up to date on all his shots and neutered. His little claws have a habit of finding my toes under the blankets and doing a number on my living room area rug. Still, he’s adorable and very sweet natured. 

It’s been a transition for Shelby to adapt to a new sibling. This photo was taken only moments after the photo above was to document the relational progressof the two: 


She’s nearly 17. So I can understand the transition it must be to have this younger male cat suddenly appear for the first time. It’s still an ongoing process, but time is making it all work itself out. The first time they got into the same bed with us was a start:


Even though some weren’t very happy about it:


But it’s been getting better.



But we think Henry will get along just fine in our family. 

I’m just doing my job

“Are we having a meeting about how big Emily’s file sizes are?” 

“What?” 

“Emily sent a huge file through WeTransfer the other day. It’s too big. People don’t delete things off their computers and it takes up a lot of space. I’m not making fun of you for it. We just need to send lower res files to China.” 

I refrained from rolling my eyes.

“Oooookay…whatever.” Our Director dismiss him and with a hand wave sent him away. 

Design files can be large. We send large files all the time to our team in China via WeTransfer that are high quality in hopes it doesn’t cause any more barriers in communication than there already are. Our Director wasn’t going to sweat it. Still, the fact that this Engineer came down to the first floor and interrupted our meeting to “not poke fun at me” really upset me. Were we not clearly talking shop in a meeting? Was I supposed to respond well to that? Was I supposed to be offended? What was the point of making an example of this? Why bring it up? 

He happened to be CCd on one of the e-mails I sent to China two weeks earlier. It was a file full of warning labels to go on a newly manufactured product. He sent me a private e-mail saying:

“Thanks for your work on this. This file size is huge!” 

“Yeah, it is. Design files usually are when you drop more files into them. Would you like me to send you a smaller low res one for your records?” 

“No, that’s okay.” 

Literally the entire thread of e-mails. The last I had heard of the whole thing, up until this meeting when he so rudely let himself in and announced it as if it was some kind of ongoing problem. Ignoring that he spoke over someone. Ignoring the half closed door. 

There are very few times in life that I can count, where in the moment of conflict I felt very personally attacked and offended. Most of those occurred with my brothers who know how to push my buttons just right. I take what I do seriously, but I don’t take myself very seriously. So things even out in time, or I just push it down passive aggressively and deal with it on my own later. But in public, and in general, it takes a lot to get me offended. Though, lately with how anxious and hypersensitive I have become, it’s happening more frequently that I’m minorly offended or bothered by something in the moment and I express it but after a couple days it goes away and I can get back to my life again. 

This for some reason brought that offense up a notch. I was livid. Embarrassed to be made an example of over something I knew no one else could care about, but for some particular reason this Wednesday at 10 am….I cared. I was being called out over something trivial…no…less than trivial…something down right stupid. After all, why was it my responsibility to make file sizes smaller for people who forget to delete them? There is something called “in window preview” that allows you to look at the file online and never need to put it on your computer. Also, is it not the computer users job to be responsible for their own divice’s data space? Why is that my responsibility?

It’s not. It’s not my responsibility. I just need to let it go and let it die. No one else is bothered by it. I shouldn’t be either. Besides, I’m new. I’m still learning. I ought to give myself grace, since others clearly are not. I’ll get over it. I know I will. It just pokes a little bit more today. 

Great Creative Expectations

https://embed.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius

I keep forgetting this TEDtalk exists. I had seen it first when I was in college learning to cope with the high expectations of creativity: that you have this creative resivoir that never ran dry and always pumped out good ideas. I had been taking 22 credit hours to graduate at the time. It was a stressful, anxiety ridden, and all around confusing semester. My boyfriend had gotten kicked out of school and had to head back to California while I navigated my final semester on my own. I felt abandoned. Unsure. And all around used between my relationship that was long distance, and the demands of being a graphic design student in her final semester.

I had logged on to TED.com and just went to the category “Creativity” and just let it play through the videos randomly. This particular video had struck me so deeply that I remember feeling a sudden and complete sigh of relief. Going to a Christian school had its benefits, and the source of my creativity was one of them. God was the Creator who made me creative, and all my creativity was a source from Him. What a wonderful and reassuring affirmation.

I had forgotten about it, as I often do in my humanness. 

I was at work today when I heard it again. It was a stressful, anxiety ridden, and all around confusing Tuesday. My creative juices exhausted as I attempted to come up with more and more variations of a package design for a product just new to the market. “A culinary innovation” I had thought, but then rejected for its cliche nature and discarded with the rest of my bad ideas. I needed feedback from our marketing director, who, of course, had blown me of for the past few days, and I was sure would do so again. 

I turned on TED.com for some videos on food. A desperate attempt to come up with some kind of revolutionary idea. Of course, I didn’t come up with anything. Instead I sat staring at the screen in hopes something would just come to me. A couple adjustments and mistakes were corrected, and as the talks kept speaking, I found myself less working on the project and desperate to be doing something else. The videos were relevant to my job after all, so who could really yell at me? Eventually I started clicking on videos in the side bar, craving information that was outside of my usual everyday, and looking for a challenge. Looking to learn something new.

I was about 5 videos into my listening when I played the video, and about five minutes into viewing it I had recalled having heard this talk before. As she spoke that sense of relief came over me again, but not in a religious or supernatural way (though that is still largely a part of my life), but in knowing I was one of a collaborative team. 

Collaboration is another buffer creatives can maintain to protect them from the stress, high expectations, and struggle of creativity. Being one of a group of people working towards the same goal certainly takes the pressure off. It makes sucesses more fun. It makes losses less burdensome. It makes the artists more humble knowing their work was part of a contribution, and it gives the artist an awareness that full credit cannot come to them for each success. They were part of a bigger story, a contributing part, but not the only contributing part. 

So as I sat in my chair, fully aware of how far behind this package design was, hearing my e-mails chime as they came in from the factory in China wondering how all that is going…I realized I can only go so far as my contribution allows. If we as a team are working together, I had to wait for the together part of it. I have exhausted my resources. I showed up for my part, and my marketing director had a lot of other parts he had to show up for too. So my job was as done as it could be until I got feedback. The pressure was off. I had done all I could do, and I was so thankful to find this TEDtalk again. 

I Suck at Friendship

I saw that she had tried to call me, about 15 min after we were supposed to speak. I had planned and reschedule on her already for our phone call, but once again, my brain failed me. Not that I had forgotten this time, but I had laid down for a nap with every intention of calling her on time, then proceeded to sleep through the alarm, then proceeded to wake up thinking I had woken up in time, then proceeded to fall back to sleep. I had felt terribly about it upon realizing that I had missed her call. So much so that I texted her back and tried to make up the lost time. 

Before I was married, I hardly forgot or missed a date. Now, it’s like I can’t set a date to save my life. I forget about it or I double book it or I just can’t seem to get myself together enough to make it on time. The worst part of it all, is that if I fuck up my own social life, I fuck up my husband’s. He knows so few people, and I’m the only one who contacts anyone to hang out because of it. His social life is entirely dependent on me. The introvert of the two of us. Ironic. 

I feel like I’m unintentionally pushing people away. I want to see them. I want to spend time with them. I care and love them very much. I just am so sucky at keeping plans since I got married. What’s worse is that I promised I wouldn’t do this to people. I promised that my marriage wouldn’t make me fall off the face of the earth, because it had hurt my feelings so much to have my friends do it to me. Yet, I’m so tired being at the beck and call of my workplace and then having to come home and be at the beck and call of my husband. There really is no such thing as introverting and down time anymore. I can’t have days where all I do is nap without interruption. I can’t have the silence, or the daydreaming I used to, or at least, not the same quality of it. It’s like my brain can never refresh fully because the presence of another human being is there, forever. It’s weird. I don’t like it. 

Part of me hopes this is temporary. Another part of me knows it isn’t. My husband is having a difficult time making friends of his own in the area. So he relies on me to make them for him. So here I am juggling the social life of an extrovert. Tired. Exhausted even. Neglecting my friends who are single for the couples I had so long also been neglected by until I was no longer single. I feel like I’ve only been married for a few months and the only respite I got out of it was a buissness meeting to IL(which was super fun and I really ought to write a blog post about it, but I’m not sure I’ll get to it), which doesn’t sound relaxing at all, but was a nice step outside of my husband’s life for an overnight, and a refreshing step back into my own world. A very clear step of only having to worry about myself again. The way it used to be. 

All that sounds super selfish. I’ll admit it probably is. Which makes me feel like a shitty person. I don’t feel like I should play mother like this. I don’t feel like I should be responsible for my husband’s play dates. I’m hardly good at being responsible for my own. To be honest I really haven’t had my own play date in a long time. Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I need to have my own separate friends again, the ones who aren’t another couple. Individuals I can keep in touch with and have all my own. Knowing myself though, I’d probably forget those dinner dates and such as well. Maybe I’m just destined to be a shitty friend forever. 

Bad Weather Girl

“It’s supposed to rain tomorrow.” 

“Really?” 

“Yep.” 

The weather isn’t something I pay much attention to for some reason. At least not like other people seem to. It’s not something that occurs to me to pay attention to. It doesn’t really demand my attention like other things in my life. My projects at work do. Juggling things at home does. My insurance does. The weather is hardly on my radar. 

I have a few coworkers who seem to know the entire weekly forecast. They know every nuance. A change happens and they’ll tweet about it. If it changes while they’re asleep, they announce it to the world as if it’s a perfectly normal topic of conversation. Though, I do recall lots of movies and books speaking about the weather being just that. It just seems like such a trivial topic. Who has time to pay attention to it? Are people’s lives so dull that the weather becomes such a primary part of it? Do people not have enough to worry about? 

I can feel it when I wake up though. Very strongly. I’m very physically and emotionally affected by weather. Perhaps I ought to pay more attention to it, but I like waking up to the surprise of it. The unpredictability of it. The disorganization and unstructured nature of it. The unpredictability of it. I like my life that way. Unpredictable and unstructured. I just can’t make everything in my life fully structured no matter how much I try. I associate it too much with work. I like living the pieces of my life outside of work on the fly. No plans are the best plans much of the time. Of course there is a mild bit of planning. Little tasks that are in my brain, but if the weather doesn’t permit an activity, then it simply doesn’t happen. Most of my plans tend to be indoor anyway. 

I get wanting to think trivially though. Or even thinking more structurally. When you make your world smaller it becomes simpler. You can organize things better. My husband thinks that way. Compartmentalizes things. Organizes his world in a very meticulous and sensible manner. He knows the weather. He knows the details of his life.  Not that he is a small thinker, but his plans are smaller and more sensible. His opinions and his creativity may not be, but those things he takes action on and implements are. I’m not that way, but I can appreciate that kind of thinking. 

Some days I’m disappointed that I can’t think that way in my home life.  Why is it that I can manage deadlines and designs but not plans at home? I think it’s because I fear inflexibility. My whole life I have had someone in it who is structured and inflexible.  Setting a plan means having something inflexiblesometimes. My brothers both have anxiety problems. My husband does too. I was always the one who had to adjust to the weather of their personalities. I can’t predict their storms. I can’t tell when the clouds will roll in. So I roll instead. Why? Because it creates better harmony. Less disappointment. Less conflict. Better environmental climate. Is it exhausting? Yes. Is it worth the effort? I’m not sure in reality if it is or not. It certainly makes my life easier. Or gives me the perception that my life is easier. 

Back to that fear of inflexibility: I see the torment and insecurity that inflexibility causes in the lives of my loved ones and coworkers. How much it prevents people from having experiences. How it inhibits intelligence, rationality, and growth. How lonely it can be to be inflexible. Of course this is all only my perception. It seems like a really difficult life from an outside perspective. I suppose in context they’re comfortable and that’s what matters to them. They need that. Because fear takes over and causes chaos. To me, chaos is inevitable. The unexpected is expectable. Most things are not so chaotic that the world will end. Most average storms are endurable. But, admittedly, I am not Everyman. 

I see in myself the problems flexibilities can cause. I often go into tasks expecting the worst and being pleasantly surprised when they go well. It can make a person very critical and even cynical. A dark person. A passive agressive person. Which I tend to be, and pass it off as sarcasm and morbid humor, though less so when I’ve been drinking or had copious amounts of coffee…like now…which has been the entire fueling of the blog post and broken my streak of prolonged silence. 

The biggest issue with being flexible is that it requires you to set inconsistent boundaries. Some days it all works out. Others it doesn’t. Which can be super annoying to some people. You also can spread yourself too thin because you want to be flexible for everyone and people please more often than you’d like. You over share options and personal information which also annoys people. Basically, you can become a problem. The very thing you try to avoid. You become the unintentional and unpredictable  storm. Which often makes me a bad weather girl.