I’m Learnding!

During the Updating Gap I performed in a radio show in the park, something I’ve done for the past few summers through Flatlands Theatre Co. A free, half-ish-hour show is put on each Monday in summer through the park, performing old programs like Burns & Allen, Flash Gordon, and mysteries like Sam Spade. Initially, I hadn’t intended to do any of them, because the audition calls came during a time when I was feeling kinda low and I felt no interest in putting forth the energy. So I stayed home.

But the sweet thing about local amateur theatre is the connections and sense of community, so not long after auditions closed I got emails from two of the summer show directors saying they’d thought of me specifically for a part. They and some of the other cast members are Flatlands lifers who I’ve had fun with on various shows in the past, and although I was still feeling low I felt quite encouraged to be thought of like that. Their practice times worked with my schedule, but my impulse when feeling low is to cocoon up and try to “conserve energy” until this thing blows over.

But this time I finally realized that my previous low times have all been mitigated by spending energy to continue socializing with friends, or taking part in group activities. The practices and the show turned out to be a lot of fun, and I don’t regret taking them on.

Then last week, on a bad evening emotionally, I made an effort to reach out and talk on the phone with my brother Corey while playing Warframe. Again, it seemed illogical — I barely feel like looking another person in the eye, why would I go out of my way to be social — but it was a big help, and Corey’s somebody (it turns out) who understands mental health struggles and was eager to hear how I was doing.

I’ve recently gone back and restarted The Mindful Way Through Depression which confirmed, after all this, that part of the spiral of depression is that “shutting down” impulse, the narrowing of one’s focus and life activities in order to try and protect oneself and “get sorted out” before facing the world again. But many times that impulse is exactly the wrong one. What’s weird to me is that I must have read those words in the past but they just didn’t land, the way they have done now.

Guess I’m growing and learning a little. Guess I still have further to go.

Thing I Saw: Captain Marvel, which was lots of fun and better IMO than the Ant-Man sequel. Still haven’t seen Endgame. Maybe I never will, just to be a freak who’s seen the entire MCU except Endgame.

Thing I Learned: Lots about the choices that went into Atlas: Nine by Sleeping At Last, a wonderful musician who has been writing songs about each of the Enneagram types. I happen to be a 9, and this song kinda wrecked me emotionally when I listened to it. Then the podcast and deep dive on the 9-type wrecked me again, but a little less. I hated it! A recommended experience! Go check out the song and podcast, and ones about the other types.

This is just the song portion.

Choosing Courage

Yesterday, I applied for a new job. It was very scary. I still have my job at Jelcan and don’t actually plan to run out anytime soon, but this was an exercise that I was encouraged to undertake by my counselor and one or two other people.

Some weeks ago I got a Hot Tip that a rural school south of town was hiring a permanent part-time Library Technician. The person who tipped me off knew that I had investigated becoming a librarian last year and was just forwarding this to me in case I was still interested, as apparently those positions don’t actually open up very often within our local school district.

I looked it over and while I technically qualified, my first reaction was to dismiss the idea. I did mention it to my counselor George, and he immediately asked “So are you going to apply?”

“No!” I said, a little taken aback.

“Well, why not? You don’t actually have to accept the position, if they offer it.”

This was actually news to me. My assumption was always that you didn’t apply for a job without full intent of accepting, but George said (and others have since confirmed) that sometimes you just explore options because you can. Or maybe you find something out in the interview that doesn’t work for you, such that when they offer the job, you end up saying no. Expressing interest doesn’t automatically mean that you’re obligated to say “Yes” to anything.

“But either way, I have to disappoint somebody,” I replied. By which I meant, what if this new thing turned out really interesting but meant that I couldn’t keep my current job at Jelcan? And I’d have to quit and disappoint my family? Or what if they people at the school were really interested in me as a candidate, and I said no, and disappointed them? That’s a tough thing for me. But where we landed was that…well, in a way, it’s good practice. It isn’t feasible to go through life keeping literally everybody happy, and as George put it, the worst person I can disappoint is myself. By never trying things.

So! I drafted a cover letter, created a resume (most people polish old ones but it has been an age since my last one, so let’s start fresh) and in doing so actually came to get a little more confidence in myself and the skills and abilities I have. The act of “selling myself”, even on paper and before I’d sent it in, was actually kind of a boost. And then yesterday, after checking my attachments twenty times, I hit send! Well, after also counting myself down from 5 and getting just enough courage to hit the button.

Maybe nothing will come of it. I guess we’ll see. But I’m putting myself out there, and that isn’t a thing I do often.

Thing I Saw: Nintendo’s E3 2019 Direct presentation was live today, and there wasn’t a drop of Metroid news in site. DISAPPOINTED!

Thing I Learned: A lot of Final Fantasy music just went up on Spotify, so I’ve been playing through the OST for FF VII and rediscovering a lot of music that I remember but doesn’t usually get played. (Deep cuts, if you will). Nice to hear this stuff in high quality again.

I’m Grateful For: Good friend times had yesterday. I brought Mike back to the airport, and had a good chat on the way. Then later, played more A Way Out with Jared and laughed myself silly.

I don’t know what an “Official Visualizer” is? Looks like a music video to me?

Things Left Behind

Since last week I’ve been obsessed with a new game called Outer Wilds, a first-person game about jumping in your ramshackle spacecraft and exploring the solar system. It’s completely free of combat and has pretty excellent graphics and visual style. At its core is a mystery about an ancient race of aliens that arrived in the solar system, built a bunch of things, and then vanished; your job is to learn more about them and find out why. To this end, the game has a really well-designed journal system to keep track of the various story threads you can tug at, and you can explore locations in any order. As a person who loves exploration in games, this thing has grabbed me hard, and “obsession” is honestly not an exaggeration. I actually dreamed about it a few nights ago. Periodically throughout the day I’ve been going “Oh! What if I tried to do this to get into there?” and then I can’t wait to get a few moments to get to my console and try it.

It’s also surprisingly relaxing and low-key funny! Last night I was exploring an orbital probe cannon built by the aliens, and decoded a string of cute messages between the husband-and-wife caretakers of the cannon; about how they’d gotten specific instructions from the Construction Yard not to overcharge the cannon when using it, but that they were definitely going to do that because why build an orbital cannon and not push it to the limits? Later, when exploring the Construction Yard, I found another string of messages by the engineers, who had already assumed the married couple were going to try and overpower the cannon, so its “100% power level” was intentionally placed a little lower on the settings in order to keep everyone safe.

I love it.

On a total change of topic, Monday would have been my Mom’s 69th birthday. Lloyd ended up joining me as I went out to her grave in the morning, grabbing small coffees with cream and a muffin from McDonalds on the way. Small-with-cream was her regular order whenever we’d go out together, and we’d often share bites of the muffin. I drove out there last year with one from Tim Hortons, and I think I’m making this…like an annual thing.

She’s buried in the cemetery of the church she grew up in, Glencross, which is about 10 minutes south of Morden. It’s relatively small, and surrounded by trees and farmland. There’s almost no traffic along the roads during the day, and generally nobody at the church outside of services and events. The cemetery runs behind the church and is shaded by old trees from a lightly wooded area nearby. It is a wonderfully peaceful place.

So we stood for a bit, sipping our coffees, reminiscing and chatting a little about things in general. Sometimes we just stood quietly, hearing only birdsong and the wind in the trees. We’d both been there only a few weeks ago for Grandma Hoeppner’s funeral — mom’s mom — so we strolled over to that grave as well, before leaving quietly. On the way back to the car, we both lifted our cups in a kind of salute to Mom.

I know that she isn’t “there” and it’s just her earthly remains. I believe that she’s in heaven now and isn’t sad about any of this, and as such, a visit like this is really just for us. But I’m happy that one of the places we can go to remember her is so peaceful, and I hope it stays that way for a long time to come.

Thing I Saw: A dog wandering freely down the sidewalk near my house, with nobody around. Stray dogs are not common in our town, so one immediately assumes that this pupper (a golden doodle? I think??) escaped from somewhere. I got out of the car, raised my hand and used my nicest tone to call it over and see if I could get some info, but it ran away. Doesn’t it know I’m a friend to all dogs? (There was also a cat wandering around nearby, so maybe they were doing an Incredible Journey thing)

Thing I Learned: The James Beard Awards are sort of like the Oscars of the American culinary world.

I’m Grateful For: Honestly, living in a market where I’m not priced out of my favourite hobby (video games). I get to play so many new things for cheap / free these days it’s crazy, but going abroad — especially South America — I know gamers are asked to pay a lot more for some of these experiences.

A lot of Final Fantasy music was just put on Spotify, yay