Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A Tuesday Hodge-Podge

I am sitting in a Starbucks, drinking a so-so tea. I have a networking event to attend this evening, and it doesn't make traffic sense for me to go home before the event. I brought some work to do, but find that my brain is not willing to focus on it. My work at my main gig today was pretty intense, and involved a lot of user interface design, which is not something I enjoy or think I am all that good at. And yet, it falls to me to do it on this project, so I do my best.

Anyway, I can't focus on the work I wanted to do, so I'm going to write a blog post instead. It will be a hodge-podge, because I doubt my brain could handle anything more intense.
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The networking event is one that sort of scares me and I almost convinced myself not to go. Then I asked myself what "grown up me" would do, and it turns out she'd totally go to this networking thing and work the room like a boss.

It turns out, imagining "grown up me" and asking what she would do is a pretty good way to figure out what I should do to achieve my goals.

Grown up me is way more confident and willing to put herself out there than right now me is.

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On a related note, it turns out you can be 43 and not think of yourself as really being "grown up me." 

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I really appreciated all of the tips and ideas people posted in the comments on my post abut style, or the lack thereof. I had just about convinced myself to hire a stylist to come in and give me some tips and help me sort out what I need to buy... and then we took our car in for some service and discovered we needed about $1700 of repairs. 

We are very fortunate to be able to absorb that sort of surprise without too much trouble, but it did make me think that perhaps spending several hundred dollars to figure out what clothes to spend another several hundred dollars on wasn't the smartest thing to do right now.

So I decided I would have to invest time, not money. I spent a little over an hour trying on everything in my closet. I filled a garbage bag full of clothes to give away. I made another big stack of clothes that I should probably give away, but that I would first try on with other things- I did the first pass through without doing a lot of mixing and matching.

I have identified a few things I could go and find that would alleviate my immediate issues. I need some professional blouses that work for spring/summer here. I need a new black blazer. Unfortunately for me, both of these are really hard things to find. I will almost certainly need to get things tailored, if not just made to order outright. The problem with getting things made to order outright is that if I do it through the online services (definitely the easiest optiion for me- I can shop at night), I can't return anything I have made custom. I've already got one skirt that fits beautifully but didn't turn out to be as flattering as I thought it would be.

I might start with the easier things: a pair or two of casual pants (maybe crop pants) for weekends, and some new black shoes. 

On the other hand, I had a really hard time figuring out what to wear to the networking thing today, so maybe I should suck it up and go find some blouses.

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I am a complete hair product skeptic. I tend to think that hair products don't really deliver on what they promise in their labeling, so it doesn't matter which product I buy.

But.... I needed some new gel/mouse/styling product, and I picked this L'oreal Boost It mousse and damn, if that didn't really do what it said it would do.

I wonder if I need to reconsider all of my hair product choices now.

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Over the weekend, I wrote a Tungsten Hippo post about finding short ebooks. There are more publishers to watch for than there were when I started Tungsten Hippo. I still wish for a better browsing experience on Amazon, though. I don't want to limit my searches to the publishers I know about.

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I've been thinking a lot about having control over my own reactions. I want to be better at responding to BS in a way that doesn't derail me from my goals. I think the first step to doing this is being able to recognize the BS as BS, and accept the anger or sadness it creates in me without letting those emotions control how I respond, because even when those emotions are completely justified, expressing them in the moment is not always the best choice for me.

I am not all that good at this right now. I am pondering how to get better. Anyone have any tips?

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I think I'll close there. It is almost time to go network like a boss.

11 comments:

  1. "having control over my own reactions"

    I did CBT in grad school for test anxiety, a full however many week course from a place that specialized in it. I use it *every day*.

    It did take a lot of practice and work to get it to come automatically (which I did because I was desperate to no longer be anxious and depressed and to get back into control of my body). But it really changed my life, and not just in the big ways like not having panic attacks or being able to have a low-pain natural childbirth but in little every day interactions. It also decreased but did not eliminate my stupid cold sore flare-ups (man I wish it eliminated them...).

    Also Crucial Conversations might be worth a reread. And pretending to be an anthropologist studying an alien culture. Or better, pretending they are misbehaving 3 year olds.

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    1. I should probably do this. My main hang up is that I'll have to figure out whether it is covered by our insurance, and if so, where I can go. We make this stuff so hard....

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    2. The neat thing about CBT is that unlike talk therapy there is a finite number of sessions (if you go to a specialist). I paid out of pocket, but it was on a sliding scale. I don't know what options are in San Diego.

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  2. I have noticed that my range of emotions has shrunk and that I channel everything into anger; I imagine that's what men routinely do. But I don't get sad or scared or anxious or a variety of other things any more, I just get very angry. I think it has to do with constantly operating at a very high level of stress and not feeling like I am allowed to be a wuss; everyone expects $hit to be together at all times (kids, students, colleagues) and it seems that being angry is the only allowed emotion to be expressed as it doesn't signal weakness. Patriarchy. Apparently, my masculinization (is this a word?) is complete.

    So yeah, my useless advice and one that I totally didn't come by on purpose is to become a dude and funnel all feelings into anger.

    N&M, I hear you on the cold sores. I have been getting canker sores more frequently since baby no 3, but fewer colds overall. Can't afford to get sick, I supposed.

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    1. I get patronized if I show anger, so I basically have no acceptable emotional outlets in a work environment. I must just be zen. I actually think being zen when confronted with BS would be a great skill to have... but I am not so great at it yet!

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    2. What helps me is writing ranting letters to the offenders, where I pour out all I really want to say in all its expletive-laden glory (also often rant on the blog, although that is often greatly tempered). I don't send these letters (although I have come close a few times), but the act of writing is cathartic and having it out there to re-read does help. It's almost as if I feel heard.

      Your main contractor gig, is it with the place you used to work? No wonder they still push your buttons. You are a brave woman to keep working with them.

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  3. How was the networking thing?

    I often find it weird that I've got a kid now and I'm still not viewing myself as grown up me most days. I wonder when that changes? It must.

    I used to function primarily on rage like xykademiqz but during that time I also had to learn to mask my reactions. It turns out that learning to mask them was the useful tool I needed to also learn to put a little distance between myself and the situation so that I didn't blurt out something I'd regret. It's not always a useful thing to have emotions on delay so I'm working on bringing that back to a middle point where I react appropriately when a reaction is warranted and do not to BS things that do not deserve a reaction.

    I don't know how to turn that into actionable advice though!

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    1. The networking thing was OK. Hard to tell if I made any useful contacts, but at least the actual program was interesting!

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  4. Did you know there is an Aussie pie place in Westwood LA?

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    1. Yes! That's where I had dinner when I went to Bindercon! It was yummy.

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  5. Anonymous6:58 AM

    I am also learning how to deal with my feelings and how to express them in a more effective way. It's really tough to do so as a woman for almost anything you show can be de-legitimated... What has helped me is learning Buddhist meditation. I am not saying that you should become a Buddhist, I am just saying there are very good tools in their way of meditation that can help us to be more aware of our way of thinking, what triggers us and not getting too attached to our emotions and thoughts. Not being a slave to them, learning to get some distance of it, allow us to answer in better and more effective ways. It also may help us to be more understanding when we see people saying BS..which doesn't mean we will accept it and let them go on with it, but it enrages us less.
    Another book I've just started reading is Crucial Conversations tools for talking when stakes are high... So far, so good...
    I also am always looking for people who know how to answer to BS and others in a more intelligent and graceful way than I do... and I try to learn from them.
    Sarah

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