Metapost: An Honest Answer

Well, that was a lot of fun yesterday, wasn't it? Whew. I, uhmmm, apologize for the meltdown.

First, I want to thank everyone so much, so very very much, for all the kind things said in that thread. I'm planning to print that out and post it on all the wall space around my computer for the next time I'm feeling down. Thank you, a thousand times over.

Second, I feel that I owe everyone some background. I found out two weeks ago that Husband would have to travel for two days next week for work. I figured I'd be all better from spinal surgery by then and he didn't really have a choice so... yeah. Yesterday I found out that the two days next week (starting this Monday) will be four days, and I simultaneously noticed that I still can't get out of bed or go to the bathroom without help. So I'm a little on edge worrying about that. I also just found out from my Mom that four of the eight medications I've been on for almost three weeks are powerful depressants that have a cumulative affect over time. So apparently I'm very sad right now, and I apologize that got dumped on you.

Husband and I had a long talk about all this last night, and I had some topical dreams as well and I've come to the semi-following conclusions:

#1. I need to recognize my depression and deal with it. That means walking away from comments if they're too much for me to deal with and not fretting over "but the space safeness!" while I go gather spoons. I apologize in advance if this policy hurts the commenters with fewer spoons available -- I hope I can ask everyone to be extra vigilant and helpful about safe space moderating.

Recognizing depression also means walking away from the blog schedule for the moment and taking time to read and recharge and sleep. We're entirely pre-posted through to July 8th, and after that we might have some open threads while I catch up. I have a whole thread of you wonderful people reassuring me that that's okay so I'm going to go on a limb here and believe you. (That's hard for a workaholic like me!)

#2. And I really do mean that I'm going to have to shut down the computer today and stop pre-posting like lives are at stake here, and I need to go get some perspective. I have been amazingly (and unhealthily) wrapped up in this thing where I've not "missed" a Twilight day since I began in 2010 (except for that one week where I found out Dad had cancer) and I've got to recognize that this isn't some kind of contest against myself and that worlds won't end if I miss a post or two per month. Or if I post something different that day!

#3. With regards to schedule change-ups, that also means that some days there will be posts about other things instead of the regular things. There may be Disney posts on "Twilight days". There may be Hunger Games posts on "Narnia days". This hurts my schedule-loving soul, but it ensures (I hope) that I can't be burnt out by any one topic or any one fan base getting to me. (Speaking of fan bases, I am never mentioning ASOIAF again. No offense, ASOIAF fan base! It's not you, it's me. Husband is disappointed, but okay with that.)

#4. Twilight I do intend to change up so that one chapter is covered in a month-or-less, depending on richness of content. This is merely because I want to get to Breaking Dawn someday and some weeks it's hard pointing out the same flaws as the last week. (At least Left Behind has phones to mock!)

#5. I realized yesterday that I have needs that I've been neglecting in favor of the blog, specifically, reading and writing. Last night it hit me that these things are not an either/or with blogging. The reading results in reviews, which I've always just seen as "filler" posts, but which I now think can be conversations in their own right.

My fictional writing I have hesitated to share with the board because it feels very personal and what if I fail and who wants to read that anyway, but I have a whole thread of people saying they'd read what I wrote on freaking-potato-farming, so I'm going to take a risk here and fold some writing exercises into blog posts. This way, I can get some writing done, I can still feel good about marking off the days on my Blog Calendar and providing content, and maybe we can all still be happy. I hope so.

#6. I have revised the Comment Policy. Here are the relevant new bits:

This is a safe-space, single-person blog run by a woman with a full-time job and an all-the-time disability. My goal is to "cheerfully read too much into things" into order to have a jumping-off point for feminist discussions about modern society and privilege.

If you find that a piece of art you love is being discussed here as problematic, read this first. Know that I'm not judging you, nor am I condemning the author or the work. Recognize that I am only using this work as a starting place to discuss something deeper in our society. Please leave behind any baggage you may be holding from other discussions where someone else, somewhere else did unfairly judge you. Read this and think about how your post may affect others. And then, I encourage you to join the conversation, and thoughtfully discuss social issues.

Thank you all, again. I'm going to go take a break for the rest of the day, but I love you all. And I am sorry for the meltdown and changes and everything else. Thank you for sticking with me through all this. Thank you.


Yamikuronue said...

I know how you feel with the "same shit as last week" syndrome. Some weeks I can't even begin to look at This Present Darkness because... it's just so BORING. When there's something to talk about it's great but in between there's long stretches of characters groping about in the dark and short timeskips.

Carolynn said...

Don't be sorry for the meltdown. It's okay to have those. :)

CleverNamePending said...

Look at it this way. Even robots break down sometimes.

Gelliebean said...

I've had to come to the realization that my occasional meltdowns are my body's way of telling me "Something is GOING to change, or else," and that they are a very natural way of dealing with stress beyond what a person can reasonably handle. No shame attached, no need for apologies. You have my love and support and good vibes coming your direction (I picture it as happy sparkly rainbow waves flowing through the interwebs, but I'm very childish that way) :-)

JonathanPelikan said...

Wow, this'll be the first time anything I've written has gone to print -groucho marx cigar wiggle-

Number five in this post made me think of a suggestion: Maybe we can have 'open writing threads' or something where you can post a bit of your writing, if you're comfortable with it, and in the thread, we're encouraged to give feedback on that or post up our own stuff to get feedback on from others. I know there's a forum thing up for it, and especially for longer chapters and whatnot the forum system is better and more permanent, but perhaps the thread could be for 'shorter' things? Like a few pages, max, an excerpt?

chris the cynic said...

but I have a whole thread of people saying they'd read what I wrote on freaking-potato-farming

I'm now very interested to know your thoughts on potato farming.

I met a potato farmer from upstate once (as a reminder, the state is Maine) while in Italy. He had the thickest Downeast accent I have ever encountered, it was beautiful, though not always the easiest to understand.

Brin Bellway said...

I'm now very interested to know your thoughts on potato farming.

I don't know about Ana, but for me the best part is at the end when you get to go digging for edible buried treasure. Also, unlike half the things in the family garden, I actually like potatoes. So the buried treasure is edible in more than just theory.

April Marie Gilbert said...

Do not apologise for you having a meltdown. Your mental health is more important than you sticking to a posting schedule. I would rather have occasional things from a more mentally healthy ana rather than a degrading mental health ana. If that makes sense. And by all means if YOU need to step away for a few days and recharge and sleep please do it it. Even if you need to step away so you can read a book you want to read. If that is what makes you happy, do it. Even if all it does is recharge you, do it. I have had weeks where I'll step away from my computer minus putting a playlist on and just read because I can't be bothered to deal with anyone else. So I understand the feeling of needing to put something down and walk away to do something else.

Smilodon said...

Gelliebean, I totally agree that the breakdowns are your body's way of telling you to change things.

One idea for days - maybe writing exercises open threads? Do people do those and enjoy them? I say this purely selfishly, since I really, really enjoy the bits of writing commentators do in response to deconstructions, and anything that encouraged more writing to be posted here would be a Good Thing, IMO.

Loquat said...

Writing Prompt open threads could be awesome. You could post something wild like "Modern-day descendant of an ancient clan of were-pigs. Discuss." and watch us go to town on it.

Will Wildman said...

I didn't get to the prior thread in time to say all of the good things that everyone else said (but, you know, louder), but I am glad to see this one, because it sounds like you're doing exactly what you need to do. All of the changeups incoming sound fine and appropriate and I hope they make things a lot easier on you, because the standard you've been holding yourself to is frankly superhuman, and while the (positive) results are obvious, you have gone way past the point of earning All Of The Blogger Breaks.

(I'm not quite sure what is meant by writing exercise threads, so I look forward to finding out.)

chris the cynic said...

(I'm not quite sure what is meant by writing exercise threads, so I look forward to finding out.)

I would guess something like a writing prompt, but I don't know for sure either.

Silver Adept said...

This sounds like a very sane and sensible plan. And it sounds like things will be even more creative from here on forward.

Most importantly, though, we are cheered to see that you are taking time for yourself and readjusting so that you avoid burnout and spiraling into the depression.

And we want to know what secret you have to growing giant spuds.

unbeliever536 said...

Good to see you relaxed. Like everyone else said, your mental health is more important than a constant stream of twilight posts.

(Chris and Will: looks like maybe writing prompt + response?)

Patrick Knipe said...

I'm really glad you're taking these steps, Ana.

I'm not alone in admitting that this blog is important to me. The things you write about and your points have actually had an influence on me. In 10, 20 years, I'll still be writing- even if I hadn't read this blog, I'd still be writing. But because I have read it, what I actually write will have changed. A sizable impact on my writing has happened, thanks entirely to you and this blog.

Aidan Bird said...

This sounds like a wonderfully sensible plan. The most important thing is that you take care of yourself. Also, nothing wrong with a break-down. I've had them myself, and like another poster mentioned, it's our body's way of letting us know something isn't quite right - that our needs aren't being fully met and our stress level is too high. I'm really, really glad you're taking care of yourself, and this plan sounds like a good compromise so you can still do all that you wish to do and stay healthy too.

Just so you know, I'll always come to this blog no matter what happens because I love everything you post here. You are just so wonderfully insightful and the posts are so interesting. You have really opened my eyes to a lot of problematic elements in some of the stuff I love, and I just adore reading your thoughts on it because it's chock full of wonderful goodness that really helps me put it all in perspective.

It's also helped my own writing, for now I can look through my writing and really think about what is in it and really see what may be or may not be influencing my writing and way of thinking. You've had a wonderfully positive impact on my life, and I just love coming here and sharing your posts with my friends. A lot of your posts have really jumpstarted fun conversations with friends as well, and they were good conversations. So thank you for that.

I truly think I should be thanking you for sharing your thoughts and yourself with us.

theKatriarch said...

I wasn't online yesterday so couldn't respond in that thread, but I want to chime in as another lurker saying please don't feel guilty or like you need to apologize for taking care of yourself. This site has become one of my favorite places on the internet, and I hate to think that providing all this thought-provoking content has been causing you pain and stress. I hope you have a relaxing and restful break and are able to focus on healing up from your surgery and reading something just for yourself. I noticed that the sequel to Bumped is out now; saw it in a store yesterday. Wanted to get it but I was on my way to a wedding and the hardcover wouldn't fit in my little purse. But just thought I'd mention, in case you didn't already know. I hope you start feeling better soon.

Rakka said...

Hugs to you, Ana. Take all the time you need to feel better. Sending good thoughts your way.
I love reading your blog because of the insights and the way you point out the problems in-text as reflections of problems in the society, and the things to learn in your posts and the comments is just great.

Amaryllis said...


Take care of yourself, and we'll be delighted to see you when we see you.

dj_pomegranate said...

When I first saw "#6. I have revised the Comment Policy. " I read it as, "#6. I have revised the Communist Party" and I was wondering if this blog was about to move in a radically different direction.

I'm a lurker and haven't ever commented before, but I wanted to pipe up in light of this and your previous post to say that I love your writing and insight. I am always really excited to see a new post here. I am glad you are taking care of yourself -- I'll be here to read whenever you post something!

Ana Mardoll said...

When I first saw "#6. I have revised the Comment Policy. " I read it as, "#6. I have revised the Communist Party" and I was wondering if this blog was about to move in a radically different direction.

Did I not mention in the ABOUT ME page that I'm the leader of the Communist Party? I need to add that in. ;)

Kit Whitfield said...

Oh dear. Haven't been around in a while, and I just swung by ... sorry to hear you're feeling so bad.

I'd just second what everyone else is saying: blog as much as it takes to enrich your life, and no more. You're nobody's court jester and it's not your job to entertain people past your own health and strength. Just take care of yourself and, when you feel up to it, work out a regime that you can sustain.

redsixwing said...

Ana, I missed the relevant thread this weekend, but I love your writing and this space, and I'll hang around pretty much no matter what you talk about, because you'll talk about it like you do. :)

Kit Whitfield said...

Also? If you value your reason, avoiding George R.R. Martin is the smart decision. Doubtless the majority of his fans are perfectly reasonable and pleasant people, but there's a hella splainy subsection, and a hella defensive subsection, and, bluntly, a subsection who are almost certainly drawn by the macho men and assaulted woman and are not going to react well to a feminist discussion of his books. They seem to trawl the Internet for places where Martin needs defending - and by writing on Twilight, you're probably also in the sights of that brand of misogynist who likes to hide it by bashing icky girl books and loving on books with rapist heroes, and writing on Martin is only going to bring them out of the woodwork.

If you wanted to write about him, I think you'd need a much stricter comment policy and a my-blog-my-rules-go-cry-moar-if-you-don't-like-it attitude. Which you could always adopt if the desire to blog about Martin got strong enough, but ... yeah. If you're feeling fragile, giving him a wide berth is the thinking woman's choice.

mmy said...

My advice (like many others here): Blog as much as makes you happy. Control/moderate in a way that makes you happy.

hapax said...

Ana -- I am so sorry to hear that you have been feeling hurt and discouraged.

But you don't OWE anybody anything here. This is your playground. Do what you like to make it a safe and happy space for you.

J. Random Scribbler said...

...aaand somehow I missed the existence of this post before commenting on the last one. Just wanted to let you know I support your decisions. I'd still love to see your take on ASOIAF, but agree with the majority here that it's probably not worth the effort and pain. Please take care of yourself.

depizan said...

Glad to hear things are a little better. Like others have said, no need to apologize for the meltdown. Meltdowns happen to us all.

storiteller said...

I'm glad to hear that you're committed to taking care of yourself first and foremost. I am totally the sort of person who says "I don't need sleep - I need to Blog!" so I understand. And I write a lot less than you do.

I'm now very interested to know your thoughts on potato farming.

My thoughts are probably less interesting than Ana's, but I was actually planning on writing about that today.

Ana Mardoll said...

I actually picked THAT topic at random, probably because we saw that on Dirty Jobs a few nights ago, so by all means LINK so the potato people can read. :D

chris the cynic said...

I can definitely believe that Mike Rowe could make learning about potato farming interesting. (I also, as stated, believe you could.)

Ana Mardoll said...

Thank you! You watch Dirty Jobs too? I love it! And his personality really is essential to the show.

It strikes me, though, how sad/frustrating/tragic it is that these difficult and dirty jobs -- most of which are truly essential for society to function -- are (a) underpaid and (b) work painfully long shifts (12+ hours or more). It just makes me really sad.

chris the cynic said...

I haven't actually watched in a long time, but what I remember is pretty much exclusively good.

From the beginning I liked that that you saw the crew. Because I always think on shows where the host goes into horrible places and whatnot, what about the camera people and sound people who have to endure all the same stuff?* Or even when it's not a question of endurance they're always invisible. I think one time I saw a crew member on Mythbusters (which I gave up on long ago because of irreconcilable differences with their methodology) which was when someone burn his eyebrows off and ran into a bathroom (I think) to look at the damage in a mirror. Caught a glimpse of camera person in the mirror.

If you're making a work of fiction I understand why the people doing the work of actually making the show have to be invisible, but otherwise they're the reason for the show in the first place, I've never understood why they always have to hide offscreen, and in Dirty Jobs not only do they get credit, they have faces, they have names. Spoken aloud. Not hidden away in the credits.


And on the topic you brought up, yeah, it is sad. I have a lot more respect for the average sewer worker than the average politician or CEO, and if there's a question of who contributes more to society, it's the person who makes sure I'm not trudging through sewage. (Though, if they were doing their jobs, politicians would play a bigger role in that.)

It definitely does seem to be the case that the people who keep things running are invisible and underpaid. Which is part of the beauty of, "She works on the guidance system." It reminds you how much those people matter. Dirty Jobs does the same if you imagine, "What would life be without these people?"


It's the Everest question: You hear that so and so summited Everest and that's impressive but you wonder, "Well what about the Sherpas?" Where's their fame.

Ana Mardoll said...

Seriously. I mean, if nothing else, Dirty Jobs has made me re-think any zombie apocalypse story I might ever write because GOOD GRIEF there's a lot of invisible stuff that I just take for granted. Like mice in storm drains *not* building up to epidemic proportions because there are people who take care of that.

(I continue to adore your Goldeneye references.:D)

I like that you get to see the camera-people too, because I think the same thing: if it's hot in there for the HOST, what about for the guy lugging the giant camera around?

Another social commentary from the show that has been in my mind is how much the whole "illegal immigrant" scare thing really is a crock. Because, yeah, there are Born And Raised Americans just beating down the doors to sit in a cramped hot hole all day sexing* baby chickens until the work is done for a 15 hour shift at what is almost certainly a "per crate" wage and therefore probably below minimum hourly wage.

Not that I didn't already know that was a crock, but this just brings it home very viscerally.

* Sexing = Determining the Sex Of. I agree there needs to be a better term.

Brin Bellway said...

by all means LINK so the potato people can read.

Will the king come on his magic carpet to read it? Won't that make Mr. Flibble cross?

(Why yes, I was raised on Red Dwarf.)

(Well, not on the ship itself, of course.)

storiteller said...

A post on growing potatoes and other veggies that grow under the ground, to satisfy all of your potato growing needs. Unfortunately for my church picnic and the potato salad I planned to bring, it features almost no actual potato harvesting.

Ana Mardoll said...

*sigh* Do you ever make a vow to yourself that you're going to stop engaging in destructive behavior and then KEEP DOING IT? I remember that on June 24th I promised myself I would Acknowledge The Depression and Take It Easier and here it is July 3rd and I've still done blogging or writing or business-building every day since then without pause. At least I haven't broken down in that time, but that's more a testament to my family than to me.

I'm going to take my own advice and take tomorrow off from writing and I'm going to rest. Thank you all.

chris the cynic said...

I forgot to say this in the other thread so I'll say it here. Good luck. I hope taking the time off works out exactly has you hope.

Loquat said...

Here, let me distract you from work with a video of a Japanese cat jumping into boxes.

depizan said...

Rest up, do something relaxing and enjoyable (read a good book?), and feel better.

We'll all be here babbling about who knows what for your future entertainment.

Ana Mardoll said...

OMG, that cat made me laugh so hard.

Thank you, Chris and Loquat and Depizan. Thank you all.

Post a Comment