Week 2: Time Audit

My main activities in the last week have been:
Image from page 59 of "Higher psychical development (Yoga philosophy) : an outline of the secret Hindu teachings" (1920)

  1. Yoga
  2. Skype conversations/social media
  3. Face to face meetings with new people
  4. Making rose beads
  5. Getting from point A to point B, and then back to point A again. This has by far consumed the most time.

If I were to strike two from the list, 2 and 5 could go – although 2 has its own significant value to me, which I can discuss later in the week.

There are also significant chunks of time that go to listening and caretaking for my partner, especially lately as a lot of the old teamwork has slide away for reasons to be explained soon.

How much time went to each one –

yoga, a minimum of 15 minutes a day, Skype – too much time, although much of it is also during transit time, 3, one or two evenings a week which seems good, 4, mostly a one or two off thing and it is very, very time consuming so won’t happen often, and 5 it’s a minimum of 3 hours round trip every time I hop on the bus. I may benefit from learning more about what’s in the Sunset as that’s a shorter bus ride for me. Or not, who knows?

Week 1: Check-in

1. Morning pages 7/7. I’ve been packaging them with a morning routine that includes yoga first since morning pages first can worsen my mood while yoga first improves it. I’m under a lot of stress. I need mood improvers any way I can get them.

2. Yes! I did do my artist’s date! I happened to catch the Legion of Honor on its free admission day – and figured out that parking on a weekday isn’t too terrible.

3. Significant issues with recovery: when it comes to artist’s dates, I often experience a sense of immobility. In Minneapolis it was the “have i run out of things to do?” Well no, but my schedule became pretty hard to manage when I made physical fitness a bigger priority and all my classes had to be at night because of the car situation. Here, it’s two things: many of my artist’s date things are tourist things. Tourist things are expensive in San Francisco. The other is that this is a new city i don’t know that well, so I experience brain freeze when it comes to getting there and exploring. Any artist’s date will pretty much consume my day because there is no easily getting around, there is no driving to a convenient location, there’s none of that. Since I live in the Outer Richmond, a place willfully ignored by the MUNI (and the 5 line is always overcrowded) it’s an hour bus ride just about anywhere in the city. So that’s just two hours in mass transit alone, and then the time I spend exploring. It’s not a great situation. I am getting more into Golden Gate park and discovering that – as my allergies allow.

Artist’s Way: 5 Other Lives

You’d think this would be easier for me than it once was. It’s not.
Snap Out of Your Stupor
(image from Wackystuff on Flickr)

5 other careers/lives I might enjoy/imagine:
1. A burlesque dancer.
Not really new for me, but it still seems like so so much fun.
2. A tour guide.
Seriously, that seems like fun work. I worked as a volunteer museum docent in high school and it was ridiculous. But a place that is well planned? That could be fun.
3. A character actress.
Actually, there are opportunities for people of all body types where I live now. I’m genuinely considering it.
4. An archivist
There’s something calming about daily acts of historical preservation – no to mention all the dirt I can get.
5. A boxer
It’s ridiculously risky, but it looks so gratifying. I am opting to start weight lifting so there’s that.

Artist’s Way: a letter in my defense

A Letter from Home
Dear Universal Editor:

Teachers are like cops. They either get in for all the right reasons or they’re exactly the kind of people that you just don’t want in that field. That’s what I got with those three elementary teachers, and several other teachers along the way. I know from hearing the stories of others that it isn’t just crappy teachers in public schools. Nuns appear to be a particularly vicious phenomenon, and by now we’ve all heard about the conditions of the field of Catholic priesthood, the non-behavioral regulation of private schools, and the government interference that makes it impossible for the good teachers to even hang on and teach.

I know from my own experience that really, most teachers  are bigots. I got treated poorly, as though my own contributions were somehow invalid or faked, until I encountered a teacher who raised a fat kid herself, and who probably was a fat kid at some point. I’m positive that my grades were at least half a point higher than what I was given by my kindergarten, first grade and fifth grade teachers. I’m also certain that as more children of color started attending those schools, their bigotry focused more on them. Now, I know I had good teachers – and they were few, and far between, and easily burned out as punishment for actually caring.

After all, kids of color are more likely to be disciplined and denied their education. I was just the fat kid around before the people with darker skin showed up.

I know what happened to me, and I know it had nothing to do with what I created, what I turned in, what work I did – after all, I would turn in things that were smart, right on and funny alongside my thin male counterpart and his would be praised for “humor” while I would be docked for “attitude” despite relevance to the lessons. So no, the problem was never me. I did my very best, but my teachers did not make an effort to be their very best, and took out their own fears of having a fat body and their own assumptions of my laziness over the very clearly hard work I put in front of them.

So in my defense – I was an awesome student.

My teachers at T-Ball, however, sucked ballz. Given their bigotry towards me and towards the poor kids in class, they had no business teaching at all.

– Diana

Enemies of my Creative Self Worth

There have been far less since childhood. But there are a few from back then that I didn’t visit in my Creative Monsters Hall of Fame.

Mary Gullick, Zoe Gullick, Marjory Gullick, Chloe Gullick - outside Altoncourt, Killara? c.1909 from Gullick family, c.1909-1922 / photographed by William Applegate Gullick

Mrs. Bleach

My kindergarten teacher  –  she often complained of my daydreaming too much. She  definitely valued me less than the other students. When most of them accidentally called her “mommy” she let it slide. But since she really hated my mother for reasons unknown to me, she really would not let me call her that. She also often demanded I ask for the bathroom “properly” as in “May I got to the restroom?” when other five year olds in equal need of relief could just ask for any old term that didn’t get their pants peed in. Obviously there was more to the attitudinal abuse than just misunderstood creativity – and more’s the irony, it came out that she’s distantly related to me. Perhaps she’s one of those that caught the narcissism gene, and given I was already large at 5, she probably identified the scapegoat gene in me.

Mrs. Pile-of-

My first grade teacher – another one who had some shit with my mother going on behind the scenes. She often liked to blame me when someone near me talked to me in class, reprimanding me instead of the real instigator. When I told her that she was mistaken (since she only seemed to notice when I spoke) she seemed to take some glee in saying I “had the shoe on the wrong foot.” Years later she tried to convince me a dog that was not mine was mine – she just had this condescending view of me, and truly thought I was stupid. She then got defensive when I snapped at her that I could recognize my own dog.

Mrs. Rat

My fifth grade teacher, who, notably, had some kind of friendship with my kindergarten and first grade teachers. She really had a weird fixation on me, and despite often disciplining me with little or no cause – once for smiling during a lesson, not even disrupting anything – seemed to think I should remember her fondly. I don’t. I distinctly remember her giving a good citizen award to every girl in my class except me. She also demanded that I become a “scholar.” I was 11. 11 year olds do not need to be scholars, they just need to turn in their homework on time, which I did. She seemed convinced i did not belong in the Gifted and Talented program – my test scores were low the year before because I was ill and my mother did not really prioritize my healthcare like someone who wants her child to live a long and healthy life. Honestly, I wasn’t “pretty” like the other girls in the gifted program, and that was where her insistence I didn’t belong came from. I’m well aware that the attitudes of all three teachers had everything to do with fat bigotry, but also with some bizarre ongoing conversation about my family. Ironically, she was the one that found the poem I wrote and dropped forgotten – but I suspect it was really Mrs. Wilden, the more open-minded of the fifth grade teachers, that recognized I could write.

I was friends with one of my fourth grade teacher’s sons in my late teens/early twenties. When I told his mom these stories later on, she refused to believe me.

Artist’s Way: My Blurts, My Affirmations

Unidentified woman trying on hat in front of mirror, Washington

Blurt: I’ll never be good enough for the San Francisco writer’s scene.

Affirmation: I am worthy of participation in my new community.

Blurt:This place is too big – I’ll get lost in it.

Affirmation:  I will find my way.

Blurt:People will reject me because of my body/appearance.

Affirmation: My body is a vehicle that delivers me to the people I will most benefit from knowing.

Blurt:There are people out there looking to take advantage of me.

Affirmation: I will find friends worthy of my trust.

Artist’s Way: Take 3

Sometimes in creative recovery you have to rewalk the steps, even after great successes. This is what’s happening with me right now. At the moment, my life is chaos – I am living in San Francisco, and much of my life has changed. While I have two books coming out this year, I am feeling out of touch with that deep, listening part of me that creates art. So I am once again walking the Artist’s Way myself, hoping to dig into my new framework. Especially since I am learning so much of self really is tied to geography.

This year’s Creativity Prayer

infant CEO hawks Karo!_4914464575_oI am Pagan, but I often use the term “God” rather than Goddess or specifics. This offends my fellow Pagans at times, and since getting offended about another person’s non-invasive religious practices, I mostly ignore them. God in my mind is Good Orderly Direction. God has also never been a gendered concept to me.


Leaving the church wasn’t about seeing the female in God. It was, at least partially, about how the women in the church with me were treated and expected to behave. It was about the expectations placed on me that devalued my talents and abilities as a human being. It was about not wanting to spend my life baking cookies as a form of social competition and making catty comments about fellow congregants. It satisfied the women I was raised with, but all it did was make me see them as less than worthwhile human beings. I just wanted to hang out with the person (?) that answered me when I prayed with questions.  That being doesn’t hang out in churches but will come in if you happen to be there. That’s what the whole Pagan thing has always been about for me.


Hello God –

How are you? Really?

I am getting a lot better about asking you for help with the small stuff, but there’s still some resistance. I think it’s your reminder that the big problems – war, pestilence, crazed police officers – every single bit of that can only be truly resolved with small steps. Billions upon billions of small steps.

Please help me stop resisting the impulse to ask for help. Please help me tell the people I love what I really need, and give me the courage to tell the people I trust what I’m experiencing. Help me find friends – you helped me build a strong network of wonderful friends of diverse backgrounds and interest in the Twin Cities, and now I need your help doing the same in the Bay Area. Remind me that it took time and effort before and it takes time and effort now. Remind me to ask myself “Why am I doing this for myself?”

Please help me get my writing groove back. Help me find the place where the words come easy and fast, where the ego steps aside all the way through the last draft, and help me find a way to be a good quality writer while stepping up how much I produce. Please help me get some clarity about my career. I don’t know exactly who I am, and I don’t know exactly what I want beyond the surface needs of money and security.

Help me disengage from my sense of obligation, since I feel like right now it’s my most negative motivator and a manifestation of my inner critic. Obviously I still need to meet deadlines and do the work I am paid for as a matter of acting honorably – but please help me break from the sense that “people need this, and so I must…”  Free me from doing things simply because I get paid – help me find work that will put me in that blessed state of flow and union with you.

Amen, So Mote It Be




Believing Mirrors

boys behind bars!_4795635876_oBelieving Mirrors are people that reflect back belief that you are a worthwhile individual who can accomplish what you set out to do. I have a significant list – I have become incredibly lucky in the people I find since I started this path.

1. Mike – he really is my fanboy. I’ve had to block him from notebook reading over it.

2. Lisa – she has believed in me and supported me since the late 90s.

3. Ruth – she’s smart about things, and reminds me that effort for effort’s sake is not a good reason to do anything.

3. Xiane – we haven’t talked lately and I miss her, but when we do connect it’s always about mutual encouragement.

4. Cynthia – she looks to the heart of the trouble, and helps me step back a little when working things out.

5. Tonya G – I kind of wish she and Cynthia could meet. They’d adore each other. She’s always been my chief sane maker.

I have more at this point in my life – so many more. But I still have a weird thing about the number 6 and don’t want to assign it to anyone I care about.

25 Wishes

Priestess of Delphi by John Collier Probably the one I have the most in common with of all the great ancient priestesses.
Priestess of Delphi by John Collier
Probably the one I have the most in common with of all the great ancient priestesses.

1. I wish I could get around the city easier.

2. I wish I had more friends here – a lot more friends.

3. I wish I could find the more hidden occult shops.

4. I wish I spoke Spanish/remembered Spanish better.

5. I wish I had friends to go dancing with.

6. I wish I could finally polish off my reading stack. Someday, someway.

7. I wish I could find a writing program I can afford.

8. I wish I could find poets that were as amazing as my poetry group in Minnesota.

9. I wish I knew exactly where I wanted to point my career right now.

10. I wish I didn’t feel an obligation tug of war with Fat Chic.

11. I wish I could finish this consent culture essay and feel right about it.

12. I wish I had more time to stretch and see to my physical health every day.

13. I wish I could do all the exercise, all the social, and all the professional things I need to do.

14. I wish I had more time for that Lynda thing – it’s not really working out in terms of time commitment. 😦

15. I wish I didn’t feel so overwhelmed all the time.

16. I wish Mike and I could both establish strong support systems out here.

17. I wish there was more Pagan stuff in SF itself, but since almost no one can afford it…

18. I wish I could find a decent therapist out here.

19. I wish I could feel at peace with the rest of my past. I’ve buried the crap with my family, now it’s the stuff that I’m actually culpable for.

20. I wish I could fly up to see my friend Joe.

21. I wish I could travel to see Lisa and Tonya – they are all in that direction too.

Wait a minute, they are all in that direction. Why am I still sitting here?

22. I wish I had a clear sense of my place with my volunteer gig.

23. I wish I had some form of steady income of my own again.

24. I wish I could overcome my 1:1 social anxiety issues.

25. I wish I could take a vacation on my own – or maybe get in on a writer’s retreat. Maybe after I do that portfolio.