February 22, 2019

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I consider February a self-love month. Well, not this February. I’m not necessarily struggling with self-loathing (no more than usual, she laughs, making everyone uncomfortable), but it’s been harder to “take my time” and “have compassion for myself” this year.

It’s the whole New Job thing; it’s going well but it takes me a while to adjust to change. This afternoon I told my boss, “I notice I’m not performing at the level I did at my old job” and he looked at me like I was apologizing for breathing so much library oxygen. “There’s a lot to take in,” he said, “and no one expects you to hit the ground running.” I realize that I’m pretty uncomfortable being a beginner — not knowing what the acronyms mean, the social dynamics, or how to get my blinds unjammed. So, I tell myself my favorite piece of Captain Awkward advice: “You are a beginner, not a failure,” and I try again next week.

  1. How Students Engage with News, Project Information Literacy. This is the executive summary of this larger report, and I think it’s interesting to see the trends in how college-age students are taking in the news. A lot of us will recognize behaviors in these statistics, not just college students — the news can be overwhelming, we get a lot of our news from personal conversations, and sharing news stories on social media makes us feel like we have a voice. This recommendation was my favorite piece from the study: “Bring the value of context back to news coverage. News organizations need to provide hypertext links and add valuable contextual information to news stories while increasing investment in “explanatory” and “solutions journalism.”
  2. How Do I Deal with My Partner’s Feelings When They Eclipse My Own? Asking Bear. This advice column letter has some great practical steps for partners of people with Big Emotions. “I, for example, have all my biggest feelings immediately upon hearing or knowing something – that’s the peak of the graph – and then in the hours and days that follow I calm down and am able to discuss things more easily without yelling or crying or spending my energy on not throwing things. In general, and probably not accidentally, my lovers and partners have tended to be people who have the opposite graph: they receive new information with calm equanimity, and then they build up over the next little while to their biggest feelings about something before coming down the other side. […] It’s not uncommon, in such pairings, that the person whose big feelings come right away gets a lot of attention for them while the person whose feelings develop slower doesn’t. That can be because the person who peaks sooner is “finished,” emotionally, with the thing before the later-peaking person get to it. This is a tough dynamic, especially when the later person ends up feeling like they give a lot of emotional support but when they eventually need it there’s nothing doing.”
  3. Words as Feelings, Aeon. “Save those rare exceptions such as onomatopoeias, where a word mimics a noise – eg, ‘cuckoo’, ‘achoo’ or ‘cock-a-doodle-doo’ – there should be no inherent link between the way a word sounds and the concept it represents; unless we have been socialised to think so, nurunuru shouldn’t feel more ‘slimy’ any more than it feels ‘dry’.Yet many world languages contain a separate set of words that defies this principle. Known as ideophones, they are considered to be especially vivid and evocative of sensual experiences.” This is a beautiful concept. I love the implications that ideophones have for poetry, for embodied words, for the intuitive way that some words feel… “Ideophones move us a little closer to understanding how, through sounds alone, two individuals can share sensual experiences across time and space. They should remind us that language is deeply rooted in the body; that each word is, in some small way, a performance-piece that deploys many of our senses. ‘Poetry helps you see things in a new light, helps you savour words, is evocative of sensory scenes,’ Dingemanse told me. ‘That is exactly what ideophones do in many of the world’s languages.’”
  4. The Ryan Adams Allegations are the Tip of an Indie-Music Iceberg, Laura Snapes for the Guardian. “The industry has been slower to reckon with its abusers post-#MeToo than other art forms […] because the myth of the unbridled male genius remains at its core. The male genius is the norm from which everyone else deviates. He sells records, concert tickets and magazines. And because he resembles most of the men who run the industry, few of them are in any hurry to act when he is accused of heinous behaviour, lest their own actions come into question.” I think some of my readers are in the music industry/scene, and I hope you click through and read this whole piece, as well as other thoughtful writing by women on this story. What is happening in the mainstream is happening on the local level too, and I’m pretty tired of seeing creative women sabotaged and minimized.
  5. Reflecting Journaling: A Daily Practice, The Librarian Parlor. “Reflective journaling helps one see the connections of their work through a critical and analytical lens. It can assist you in generating ideas, inspiration, and self-awareness at work. For example, do you notice any patterns in your work? How do those patterns intersect? How do they differ? By writing these questions down you begin to reflect on your work in thought-provoking ways.” This comes from a library blog but the advice is excellent for anyone I think. She urges us to consider a reflective journaling practice, a safe and stable place for you to record your progress on goals at work, projects, and conflicts. It’s a way to see patterns in your work habits and well-being, and it can also function as an amazing record of your perspective if you ever need it for HR stuff. I use one journal for both personal and work reflections (note: for me, that’s not the same as my planner with dates or to-do lists), so journaling is an important part of my life. Do you journal?

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