Mice, Pee, and Sleep Deprivation

That title sounds a lot more interesting than this post will be, but here we go.

I’ve been struggling for some reason, struggling to fall asleep. I guess I probably have to blame the holiday we had in the US at the start of the month…though even when I think about that, I was in another country and was still managing to go to sleep at a decent time. And it was only to Montreal (Canada) which is the same time zone as me. So that’s a pretty debunked theory. To be honest, there was probably some night where I was out all day, either from watching a movie or recording a podcast and didn’t get home until midnight and then still needed to unwind and decompress and so I stayed up late and I haven’t been able to kick the habit and now it’s 1:40am.

I tried to just go to sleep, but even before I welcomed the blue light of death from my laptop I was wide awake. The boyfriend and I enjoyed a day where we left work at a normal time and…then I dragged us to the library. He’s got homework from an online class and I have a script for Animation Complex that I’ve been working on for literally like two months that I’ve finally had a breakthrough of sorts on. So we powered through. Library closes at 9, headed home and cooked one of our Blue Apron meals1 2 and by then it was 10. Still a solid 1.5 hours to work (factoring .5 for hygiene and whatnot, y’all)  before 12, when I usually go to sleep. I’m pretty good about switching off electronics a half hour before bed, trying to get it up to an hour, but again, it sort of sucks when you only just get home past 11 and there’s still stuff you want to do as well as boring domestic stuff you need to do.

I’ve been way better at managing the time I have…when I have it…which isn’t often…which is fine until it’s not fine. It’s fine until you grow resentful. Which is why I cling to my weekends so desperately, and tend to consider weeknights a loss. I really do need to rework that. Part of it are little things that are unavoidable like my slightly-longer-than-wanted commute, which is a compromise to live in a city that I both adore and can afford.

What does this have to do with mice and pee?

As I was leaving the library today, I made my way back to the parking garage a block away. When I rounded the corner to enter the concrete labyrinth, I was startled by a small mouse running past my feet–practically on top of them–from a patch of grass to a small hole where two slabs of sidewalk overlapped to create a perfect mouse hole tucked away. Mice don’t freak me out. I used to have a pet mouse actually. But any sort of wildlife excites me.3 I’d much rather explore a cove filled with snails, crabs, oysters, and hermit crabs than go hiking, or walk around a swamp looking for turtles and egrets. The highlight of being dragged hiking to Bear Mountain is the small zoo with animals that are either in rehab or permanently unable to return to the wild, like the adorable 3-legged fox.4

I stopped dead in my tracks and followed the mouse until it disappeared. I was SO excited, like, sincerely thrilled to see a small sampling of wildlife in a populous downtown, especially in a dang parking garage. I was so impressed with the little one, but my Eliza Thornberry bubble was immediately popped by my less than enthused boyfriend. This is not a dig at him though. I get it–it was late, his brain was fried from the day job followed by more work, and we hadn’t eaten in eight hours. BUT A MOUSE!!!

It didn’t help that the stairwell inexplicably5 smelled like pee. Human pee. Very strongly. BUT A MOUSE!?!

Hey, if our human noses are absolute shit, imagine how that poor mouse felt. I think that’s what I appreciated about that moment. Well two things.

1. The fact that two people can get two VERY different takes on a moment:

1a. I optimistically saw the mouse’s determination to survive in full force as it flourished in a seeminly unlivable environment. To be honest, I was immediately reminded of my favorite episode of The Magic Schoolbus, a…season four episode, I believe6 where the students are all transformed into animals and they learn about how different animals have adapted to survive in urban environments. To be fair, it was also my favorite because three of the kids turn into foxes and like, foxes are my jam.

Boom found a clip:

1b. The bf on the other hand, was totally skeeved out that this nasty wasteland of a parking garage he had to pay to store his car in had mice AND smelled like pee.

2. Two is the same as point 1a, but it’s my take on the situation and therefore the correct one and thusly I wanted to focus on it. Animals survive with so, so little, especially when you factor in how much humans have taken away from them.

It makes me want to survive better on what little time that I have. If it takes a few minutes in a stinky stairwell looking at a mouse that’s no doubt young, scrappy and hungry7 to remind me of that than GOOD. I’m grateful.

Please enjoy this video clip of an elementary school teacher feeding her students literal garbage:

It’s now 2:15am. Good night.8

1 Delicious shrimp po’ boys
2 I should really do a post about my experience with them…
3 Except squirrels, seagulls, and Canadian geese. Fuck those guys.
4 Car accident
5 Not that I want an explanation, christ.
6 I know it’s season 4 because I re-watched that whole show on Netflix. Fight me.
7 #YayHamlet
8 Told ya this was a shit post. But at least it wasn’t a shitpost. </nerd>

When You Know Your Writing But People Don’t Believe You

A few weeks ago, I was very proud of myself for a very simple thing. I showed somebody some in-progress writing that I was working on–a script, more specifically–that I was planning on shooting soon. I’m the type of person who managed to go six years in art classes and rarely show any of my work. I’d go out of my way to game the system, to wait until the end of class or show something else or show something intentionally bad, like stick-figure thumbnails of what the final product would look like in order to avoid it. It was, is, and, fucking hell help me, the biggest issue that I deal with as a creator. There’s a whole memoir in me about my art anxiety, imposter syndrome, mental handicaps, simple fear, and just oddly and inexplicably low self-esteem I have about the creative side of myself, to the point that I still can’t even call myself an “artist” or “writer” or “creator” without feeling like an asshole. For fuck’s sake, my very first post on this site in 2014 directly addresses this issue: this blog is meant to be a direct, opposing force to said feelings.

This person didn’t know this about me, but did know that I don’t show things often, I don’t talk about things often. If I’ve done so with you, congrats! I love you and we can unceremoniously boil you down to being a safe space for me in trying to find my own self-love. The friend I was with is the type who likes to link everything back to parental issues; things like how you dress or eat, whether you wear makeup, things that seem asinine at times. But I know there is truth to some of this. I’ve read enough Malcolm Gladwell books to not ignore the nature/nurture argument just because it presents things I don’t like. I do think that this particular friend places too much emphasis on it though. It’s sort of like that scene in The Devil Wears Prada where Meryl Streep’s character schools Anne Hathaway’s over a blue sweater and the illusion of choice.While not a perfect or full picture, the scene serves as a reminder that many of the things we do, the ‘choices’ we make in our daily lives are not necessarily our own, or we aren’t fully conscious of them or their origins. But at the same time, Anne Hathaway’s character, for whatever reasons, did make the choice to buy that sweater, not knowing the context that Streep’s later presented. But I understand that this was more about the options available to a person.

When I showed my friend the script, I was proud of myself, and my work. But my friend immediately picked it apart, which in and of itself is not the problem. Despite aforementioned issues, I am not immune to criticism and it’s benefits, as well as the divorcing of the actual criticism from the person who is delivering it (in terms of your personal relationship with them vs. their input as a critic). My friends biggest issue wasn’t so much the content itself so much as the fact that I was even showing it to them. To them, this proved that it was not ready–that I was not ready–if I needed reassurance from someone else. That if I needed a second opinion, it invalidated my confidence in the piece. They then went on to argue that the writing was trying to be something it was not, completely neglecting any potential context or reason why I would write something in a different–in this case, more formal and academic voice–than my usual casual blog post or my usual way of speaking.

So I defended myself. I took his criticisms about the tone and voice of the piece to heart and did make some changes that bettered it. But I also explained that I was happy with it, and just happy that I was finally making again and wanted to share with someone I thought would be happy and supportive. I thought they specifically would appreciate the piece as it was about a topic they enjoy. I explained that the educational nature of the piece prompted me to avoid my usual f-bombs, anecdotes, and brazen casualness.

To them, I got defensive. That this reaction was a reflection of how I feel about myself. Which it totally was. But not in the way that they were assuming.

Continue reading “When You Know Your Writing But People Don’t Believe You”

Year-End Highlights 2016

At first, I was going to do a month-by-month highlight of the year, but that seemed a bit redundant considering that this year I started doing a literal monthly recap at the end of each month. Not implying, jokingly or otherwise, that you should go back and read those, as those really do tend to be more for me (as is this whole self-indulgent blog 🙂 ). I think instead I’ll just muse about some top things that I remember from the year.

That being said, this is focused solely on moi, and only on the highlights. There were lowlights of course, between larger global and national concerns, a loss in the family, and just other personal struggles. But I think that I’m slowly becoming a more resilient person.

Continue reading “Year-End Highlights 2016”