Friday, January 8, 2016

Five Fandom Friday: How I Changed in 2015

This week's 5 Fandom Friday isn't exactly fandom-y but I think that's why I like it so much. I don't care how much you like Star Wars or YA fantasy, your fandoms aren't your defining characteristic as a person. I always feel like I know a blogger much better after a serious, non-fandom-y post than a fandom-y one. I guess I'm just a Serious Sally or something. Fun comes later! First, bare your heart and soul to me!

5 Fandom Friday is a weekly blog meme put together by The Nerdy Girlie and Super Space Chick.

1. I value my time more.

I talked about this, uh, yesterday. And a month ago. But it's something I'm beginning to discover not only in my jewelry work but in my professional work as well. Until editing work picks up again (which it should soon, tack och lov!), right now my biggest income-earner is tutoring. I sat down, crunched numbers, looked at the time I was spending not only with my tutees, but the commute, and the time I was putting in on lesson plans, activities, and materials and decided: I am not paying myself enough.

At the beginning of December I let my tutees know that I was raising my rates in 2016. It wasn't an insignificant increase, but based on research I did, my new rate is much more in line with the market. Did I lose any customers? Not permanently. Did I see a drop in business? Yes.

However, for around the same amount I was earning before, I have so much more time. Half of my weekend used to be busy (longest commute there and back + 2-hour session = hard to muster energy for the rest of Saturday) and now it's free. I can be social! A few days after this client said they would be taking January off (and letting me know about the rest of the year after), I got the idea to have people over to watch Groundhog Day on...Groundhog Day. A Tuesday. That's a bad day for most people, and now that I've valued my time more, that's okay, because I can have my Groundhog Day party on the Saturday before.

2. I got over my bad break-up with exercise.

Note that this is stock photography. I only wish I had nice
hardwood floors and an adorable kitty.

Real talk, you guys: I was never a star athlete. Shocking, I know! I played kiddie soccer as, well, a kiddie, and then softball for a few years (which I always hated because I sucked at it, but somehow continued to sign up for it or be signed up for it or pretend I loved it or something, I can't remember), and then that was it.

Of course, when you're a chubby kid, well-meaning adults will try to find a way to get you to magically become athletic because scaremongers have convinced them that chubby kids are doomed to get heart attacks and cancer by their 40s.

So I looked forward to adulthood as this glorious, beautiful time where I wouldn't have to exercise or play sports or go to gym class. And that's mostly been my adulthood. There were times when I flirted with exercise, but it was always part of a "not a diet, ~*~*~lifestyle change~*~*~" period where I was trying to be smaller, and sometimes I almost liked it but inevitably it wouldn't work and I would bounce back to "FUCK YO' EXERCISE, TIME FOR STAR TREK AND PRINGLES."

2015 was the year I finished the Star Trek marathon and the can of Pringles. Metaphorically. I finally saw exercise as a tool that would improve my health (not my mood, never my mood: sorry health nuts but nothing will ever destress me and lift my spirits as much as a good book or destroying the competition at bar trivia) and, on a woo-woo note, how I felt in my body. I got back into daily yoga after years of off-and-on. I should probably do a whole post about yoga at some point, but here I'll just say that since the gentle stretching is something noncompetitive that I can practice in the privacy of my home, it's a lot easier for me to get into than hardcore cardio stuff. (Exercise-induced asthma means cardio needs to be approached with care and caution.)

I also made it a goal to do "some" cardio on our exercise bike every day. I learned two things from this. One: I hate that bike. The seat has no cushion (NO cushion! at all!) and sitting on it at all is torture. Two: I like walking.

The second one should have been obvious, but it wasn't. It wasn't until I was trying to get out of my promise to myself to do "some" cardio that I realized walking (and walking outside) was enjoyable. In the desperation to find an alternative, either my subconscious had given up its last resistance to movement, or forgotten all of the complex rules we have about what movement "counts," or something else, but suddenly walking from Gullmarsplan to our apartment on my way home, or taking walks around the neighborhood, seemed fine. Good, even.

I even started weight training with free weights, something I previously thought was only the purview of jocks and meatheads. But more on that later (much later). I'm still a weak-ass newb.

3. I got fatter, and I got okay with that.

Mostly okay. But I'm trying.

4. I took my writing more seriously.

2015 was  the year of editing 2014's first draft from NaNoWriMo. This is significant for a few reasons. First of all, it's a coin toss whether or not I even the first draft of anything. Second of all, even if I do finish a first draft, I usually just let it sit and rot (digitally) forever. This was the first year I actively worked on and revised a piece of fiction...maybe ever. I'm on the third round of revisions and it's not even close to done. Prior to that I would maybe do the one token revision I needed for creative writing workshops and call it a day.

5. I stopped putting up with bullshit.

Clerks is one of my favorite movies of all time, and I think the reason I love it is because Dante and Randall remind me a lot of myself and my high school best friend. I have principles, sure, and I can lose my temper and even pick fights pretty easily (in certain company), but at the end of the day I am mostly passive and a pushover. I am that guy who you can call to open the store for you, even if I wasn't supposed to be there today.

So when I stop putting up with bullshit, it looks different than how other people might envision themselves doing the same.

Did I tell anyone off? No. Did I start responding to idiocy in Facebook comments? Hahahahah, no. But I thought long and hard about the kind of people I wanted to share my life with (in a general sense). Who should I grant access to? Who should I deny?

For a couple of weeks I stressed over whether the people I dropped would find me elsewhere, talk to me elsewhere, ask me why I had unfriended them. Nothing came of it.

For a lot of people, clicking the unfriend button on Facebook is just another thing, but the stress of that potential confrontation kept me from doing it for months.

I set boundaries with other people, too. I did this explicitly—informing people that I was not going to discuss certain topics with them, ever—but also in a more interior, subtle sense. I allowed myself to walk away from conversations if I had nothing to say, instead of manufacturing a hollow response to the latest Real Housewives of Nevada update. I started to hold others accountable for their actions and how they treated me.

Some of these changes happened quickly, others were a long time coming, but they were all important. How did you grow in 2015?


  1. Walking rocks! It's my only form of exercise, and I'm OK with that. :)

    1. My higher brain knows this, but my lizard brain still struggle(s)(d) with BUT EXERCISE SHOULD BE ~*~HARD~*~, WALKING DOESN'T COUNT instilled in me by....whatever.