My Plans for Winter Break

November 21st, 2019 // Status Report

I’ll be sure to update you all as often as I can.

Painting

I know I haven’t been upfront with my personal life on social media, but I’m learning. I’m a senior (more or less) at SCAD and my major is dramatic writing. I was fortunate enough to take a “Painting Basics for Nonmajors” course during the fall quarter of my junior year. We painted with oil and I was blessed to have a roomie who had a case full of oil paint. I only had to buy Sansodor and Liquin, which were used for two different purposes, and only a few bottles of paint, which was great because my rent had gone up $275 when I moved in with her and others. I didn’t have much money and the quarter was stressful, as every fall quarter seems to be, but I was able to escape it with the paint. Cupcake eventually moved out and she left me with her paint case and easel – the easel was lost in transition, but her case is in storage. I’m hoping to be able to get it out of storage and paint to my heart’s content. Of course, I’d love to sell some of the paintings, but I enjoyed painting, more than I thought.

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One of my paintings

I always attempted to experiment with color when I sketched back when I was younger, but sketching and drawing was always more challenging for me because I couldn’t draw exactly what I was seeing. This isn’t an issue when it comes to painting. My professor at the time said that I had a “painterly” style, which meant that nothing was harshly defined, and her words helped me realize that (duh, not everyone paints the same way) I didn’t have to try too hard to make everything look perfect. This was not only due to my lack of experience (I can’t paint well if I don’t paint often), but it did take some of the pressure off for me trying to paint everything I see precisely as I see it.

Because of my professor, I have found a love for painting that I didn’t know I had and I want to paint more. I’d love to attempt to paint my characters, and I’m fairly certain that if I have the materials and the time, I’ll add painting to my activity list.

Knitting

I took on knitting as a hobby because I was feeling depressed last summer and I needed something to do when I couldn’t fall asleep. I was also struggling with a desire to be productive despite being depressed, but I never had space in my mind to work on any writing projects and I would feel guilty for laying around, watching youtube all day.

Back in elementary school, I had attended a knitting workshop once, but I don’t remember much of it. I remember mildly disliking the process (perhaps I had shown up late) because I didn’t know what to do.

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Double moss stitch

Nowadays, I really like it. Youtube has been immensely helpful – there are videos on every single stitch that I want to learn how to do, and I have a few favorite channels now. There’s Studio Knit and Sheep & Stitch. I’m on Studio Knit’s newsletter and I get her emails every few days. It always gets my gears going when I see a new email.

I’ve been knitting for a few hours every day this past weekend and while I still feel a bit down, watching my hands create something tangible despite feeling crappy helped me feel a sense of accomplishment, which alleviated the crappiness.

I finally finished making a cloth for my crystal babies and now my next project is handkerchiefs, preferably three or four with different stitches. I want to start making scarves, but I’m a bit behind, given that it’s cold out already.

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I think as far as winter gear, the most I will be able to make would be a few hats, and I’ll be sure to post an update on my projects on my twitter or business instagram.

Knitting is a fun time, and while most of my yarn is in storage with my paint, I still have 3 colors I can use.

Self care . . .

As I said before, fall quarter is usually pretty stressful because you have to jump right back into the swing of things. This quarter was probably the most stressful for me, either this one or sophomore year’s fall quarter, and I’ve been neglecting my face.

I’m on birth control, so it helps with the acne, but I’ve been noticing a few breakouts and I’m going to stay on top of them. I also tend to neglect the rest of my skin when I’m stressed out or depressed, so I’m going to be sure to moisturize everything, from skin to hair… This probably sounds pitiful, but I get caught up in homework (struggling) and the commute to and from Savannah every day was draining. Not making excuses, but it was hard to find a solid routine.

That shouldn’t be a problem anymore and I feel like this is one of the side effects (?) of depression that no one really talks about: the unavoidable self-neglect.

Of course, once I come out of a depressive episode, I start to play catch up. I’ll clean my room and do laundry, pay extra attention to my body and do more self-care, and I’ll even start writing and knitting again.

However, if you’re discovering that you’re depressed and haven’t been able to find your way out, I’m here for you, and so are volunteer counselors who would love to talk to you and help you feel better.

The holidays and wintertime are rough for everyone. For some, they start to grieve. For others, they feel lonely. For those with depression, they feel more depressed and weighed down because it’s cold and dark outside, and the early evening darkness makes it harder to fight off bad thoughts. Your depression is lying to you, okay ? You’re going to be okay.

. . . with a focus on my mental health

My words for self care also pertain to my mental health portion of this post. I realize that I said most of it just now, but I am going to start cutting myself some slack and take better care of my mind.

I was upset the other day and I realized that “hey, I can talk to a counselor online for this!” Yes, that was a real thought for me!

The hotlines you hear about are free, which is a godsend for me. I’m still between jobs and I have no money for a therapist, but we are blessed to be able to still reach a counselor (volunteer or not) for free and still get some help. Please feel free to reach out to them – they want to help us.

So, as well as talking to counselors, what does taking care of my mental health look like?

Reading

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I’m going to finish Bessel Van Der Kolk’s book The Body Keeps the Score. It’s a bit worn out from the summer. It discusses how the mind reacts to trauma, particularly childhood trauma. Worth a read.
I have his second book as well and it focuses on healing. It’s also in storage at the moment.

Other means of Escapism

I spend too much time in my head, either feeding my anxiety or worrying about being productive. How do I cut myself some slack? I start watching Netflix and Hulu. If I had the spare cash, I would probably sign up for Disney+, and best believe that the only reason I can even watch Netflix is because Wells Fargo paid for it, and now I owe them money. It’s a sad reality, but hey, I can start watching the Umbrella Academy and start Supernatural over from scratch.

Learning

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I’m also going to be learning over winter quarter. I’ve been editing Blood of the Fallen for years now and while I’m still revising and adjusting characters, I want to keep learning along the way. Not only does this mean more reading fiction (for fun, hopefully), but this means watching youtube videos that analyze scripts and reading books about screenwriting
You might be saying, “Aren’t you supposed to be doing that anyways?”

Absolutely, but I haven’t had the room in my head for it. I wanted to have some sort of schedule over fall quarter (and even now), but I think I’ll keep myself on a loose leash and do what I can every day. It helps if I’m excited, and I’m not bashing anyone who has a solid schedule that they stick to, but I have way too much to recover from mentally and I want to take it easy.

Preparing my Youtube Channnel

Thanks to that lovely car crash I was in at the beginning of November, I realized that life is too short, and I mean that. I used to let fear hold me back from doing so many things (a Youtube channel for one – look through my old posts. I debated this forever) and I’m not going to let that happen anymore.

I also realized my fears, in regarding my youtube channel. Too many unknown eyes, too many internet trolls, and I guess I’m scared to be boring. I tried to problem solve most of these problems like so: celebrities suffer from trolls and “haters” all the time, and I’m not saying I’m anything special. I’m saying I’m not – which means that if I encounter any unfriendly people, I’ll just have to have the courage to keep my head up and keep it moving.

I keep mentioning that I have “to recover” and I’m talking about my recent and first relationship. There was too much unpleasantness going on that took a toll on my mental health, so now I’m trying to recover from that. This relationship decimated the progress I had been making, in regards to my mental health, self esteem, self confidence, etc. and while I’m not completely ruined, I’ve noticed a negative shift in all of these things. I guess I’m worried about that showing through the screen, too, but I know that no one is ever really ready for anything, so I’m taking that into consideration as well.

I think winter break is going to be nice and quiet. I’m going to become a hermit for a little while and focus on myself. Write and read as often as I can. Knit when I’m not feeling good. Paint when I get my paint . . . It’s going to be great.

What are your plans for winter break? Are you on break yet?