Struggling

Content Warning: Discussions of mental health.

In the information on my splash page I state, “I fight anxiety and other challenges.” Right now those other challenges, and the anxiety, have me struggling. And it’s all been a little too much. My projects are suffering. I’m suffering. And I’m entirely overwhelmed.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still doing things. But it feels like dragging myself through mud filled with broken glass. I’m slowed to a painful pace in everything I do. And everything takes so much more energy than it should.

I’m going to have to let as many projects as I can sit idle for a while, though not many can.

Saishi – The first is my Japanese Hair Accessory class. I’ve postponed the class for a few months. I’d like to get some more research done before I feel comfortable speaking to actual people on the subject.

Bardic War is entirely done. Which is a huge relief. Unfortunately the recording of the Original Poetry warpoint seems to have disappeared from Facebook. I did record my portion, just in case though. More on that in the next section. The best news is that the East/Atlantia alliance won the war!

Laurels’ Challenges are essentially done. Helping to set up pages for entrants was fairly quick and easy. I will need to meet with each of the Laurels for the challenges I entered in about a week. You can find my entries here. The recording of my performance for Bardic War is also available on that page.

Consort’s Champion of A&S – I have a discussion later this week with the Consort’s Bardic Champion for a potential joint initiative.

1000 Tanka – not a project I can stop, nor do I want to. Writing poems is often very cathartic for me. They serve as an outlet for my emotions and creativity. I find writing them helpful for my mental health. So this stays. Current count is 626.

The writing desk sits Patiently waiting for me To pick up my brush

There are more poems to write, Another story to tell

Samurai Training – this is also something I will not be giving up. Physical health is vital to mental health. I’m still struggling with my injury, but I get stronger every day.

Language – it seems that I’ve moved to a Monday through Friday schedule for this. Unit 3 milestone today and then off into unit 4.

This blog. Not something I want to give up. I may not get the posts up exactly when I want to, but they will go up.

Secret Project – I have one secret project that I can not put down that is the source of a lot of my stress. I talked it through with a wonderful friend this morning and have a clear plan for my next few steps. But this project tests the limits of my skill and that has had me paralyzed with fear for over a month.

Listing it out you may not wonder why I’m still so overwhelmed. Perhaps it has something to do with not being willing to make some projects idle? But there are also things on my plate that are not SCA/Heian related projects. I have responsibilities to my family that can not be put down. There’s also still a pandemic going on. And I’m still reeling, months later, from both the death of my companion parrot and the loss of my job. Both have me in tears daily. I wish I was exaggerating.

So, yeah, I’m struggling. And I’m still doing my best.

It Feels Good to Finish

I get to mark a few things off the list this week starting with Bardic War.

Bardic War – My live performance of Original Poetry is complete. I have no idea if I’ll ever know how I scored, but I’m proud of the job I did. It hasn’t been posted to YouTube yet, but it can be seen on Facebook. My performance is at minute 33. The A&S warpoint will go live on YouTube later this week. I’ll post its link when it’s available.

Laurels’ Challenge – Officially done with the entrant part.* I entered into (1)The Planning Stages – for this I created a document explaining how I planned my travelling outfit complete with pictures of my first longhand notes. (2)Stretch That Comfort Zone – for this I created a small write up of how I planned for the performance and how I felt before and after. (3) Solo Performance/Bardic War Performance – this one required that I share a bit about the process and a performance. (4) Period Poetry – for this one I submitted a brief description of my inspiration for the 3 poems that I wrote for my performance:

Delicate branches Exploding in pink blossoms Brighten the garden

One wonders what Spring whispered To prompt such a sudden blush 

***

One hesitant bloom Unnoticed amongst the rest Waits, undecided

It knows Spring can be fickle And tomorrow might be cold

***

The occasional Chill of early Spring will be Forgotten quickly

The gardener is patient As he goes about his work

Once the website goes live I’ll include a link.

1000 Tanka – Current count: 600.

Language – I’ve learned how to say a thing is clean or dirty, whether something smells good or bad and I know that feet are called ashi.

Samurai Training – Definite progress! I’ve been upgraded in the difficulty of my physio exercises.

Consort’s Champion – the official handoff of regalia is complete. I know that we had already done our recording, but we appeared “in court” at the recording session this week. I actually wore my regalia, a sash and a collar of office during my Bardic War performance. His Majesty Alberic praised me for the job I’ve been doing so far as Champion in waiting (Poetry Month Challenge). There were a lot of big feelings. This will be in the June 13th court. And now back to that * I put on Laurels’ Challenge. Being Champion makes me a Kingdom level A&S officer. As such, I have the privilege of helping the Ministry of A&S when called upon. My first bit of helping will be setting up webpages for a number of entrants to Laurels’ Challenge. It’s going to be fun work because I’ll get to see a few of them before anyone else.

Momentum

I hope the bit of momentum I have after completing a couple of things can carry me through and help me finish a bit more.

Travelling Outfit 2.0 – I finished the new sleeves on the asetori. I may take a pause on this project for a little while.

Consort’s Champion – I met with the outgoing champion and received the regalia. My partner filmed the handover, and then edited it with some music. I think it’s magical. It’s been given to the webminister. I’ll post a link to the court it’s used in when it goes live in June. It was very surreal to do something in garb with another person.

Bardic War – My documentation and entry video have been submitted for the A&S war point. I’ll post a link to the YouTube video after it airs with timestamps. For the Original Poetry performance, I recorded a full dress (except glasses) performance and had people review it. The overwhelming response was to increase the pause between my verbal documentation and the poems, and between the tanka themselves. I was more critical than the people I asked for review. This will be a live performance streamed live on YouTube on the Bardic War channel. Original Poetry is slated to start at 9am this Sunday the 16th of May and run to approximately Noon. I do not have any idea where I will be in the order.

Laurels’ Challenge – I need to continue to fill out the document I’ve started for the planning challenge and create a framework post for the stretch your boundaries one to be filled out with final thoughts after the performance. I’ll need to read over what kind of information is wanted for the bardic performance and original poetry challenges. 4 challenges may seem like a lot, but 3 of them center around my the three poems I wrote for the Original Poetry warpoint for Bardic War, so it doesn’t feel like a lot.

Language – Slow and steady wins the race.

Samurai Training – I think I’m getting better. I’ve been able to accomplish all of my exercises staying in the “sore” range of sensation. More professional help tomorrow.

1000 Tanka – Current count is 581.

The rhythmic tapping Of the handle of my brush On the writing desk

Words marching to my heartbeat Advance across the paper

Responsibility

All hobby progress stops for mundane needs. It has to be that way. There were things I just didn’t get to this week.

Samurai Training – My age is playing a larger factor than I thought it might, I guess. I get injured more easily and sleeping wrong put my shoulder out of commission for days. But I say this not for sympathy, just to acknowledge that it will be harder now than it would have been 12 years ago when I first authorized to fight. And that’s ok. It’s going to take time to get into the kind of shape I have to be in to fight heavy list in the SCA. And even if I discover it’s not really for me, I’d prefer to get into shape now and stay that way. I’m not getting any younger, but being in good condition will help me live better and longer. Currently I have an hour of exercises of physical therapy, a two mile walk and a light calisthenics routine every day. I’ll probably add yoga back in soon.

Consort’s Champion – The Poetry Month Challenge is now complete. There were 62 participants who wrote more than 450 poems. There were 7 people who wrote to each of the 30 prompts and a couple more who only missed one or two. I’m very impressed. I also created an East Kingdom wiki page so the poems could be easily found and read. The page just provides links to the individual Facebook posts, though a Facebook account is not needed to click on the link and read the poems. This Saturday I’m meeting with the outgoing Sovereign’s Champion of A&S to do that in person, in garb recorded hand off. That should be a lot of fun. And a little stressful.

Bardic War – I got the confirmation emails about the two war points I’m involved with. I have one week to finish things for submission on the 8th. I still need to practice the poems in front of people. I hope I can manage it all.

Laurels’ Challenge – No progress aside from a little thinking.

Travelling Outfit 2.0 – No progress.

1000 Tanka – Current count is 557. I wrote this one for the end of the April Tanka Challenge and the Poetry Month Challenge:

A month of poems Drawing now to a finish As the last day ends

Gathered words released in lines Meaning given to phrases

Language – I’ve missed a few days, but I’m still determined to learn.

All in all I’m a little overwhelmed and I’m feeling a lot of pressure. There’s a lot to do on a short time frame. There are people counting on me, so I’ve got to do my best.

Too Many Projects?

Well, I think I’ve gotten myself into it this time…

I’ve added projects to my list. I know I wasn’t supposed to, but, well, you see…

Bardic War – This is two-fold. (1) I volunteered for the A&S war point and need to reformat my existing documentation into the preferred format, I think I’ve mentioned this… (2) I was asked to also perform some period original poetry. This will be a live zoom event in May. I’m already super nervous. I don’t enjoy performing, but I felt it my responsibility as a Champion to do what I could. SO… Because tanka are quite short, I thought it best to compose a conversation between lovers and perform three to four poems in a back and forth. I have three tanka and my verbal documentation written so far. That may be it. I may have composed the right things. I need to perform the poems for friends via video and get feedback.

Laurels’ Challenge – There are a number of these that I would like to meet. I have to send an email by this evening to put myself in for the challenges I’m interested in answering. Most of these tie in to existing or already completed projects. That is not to say that it will be easy or not take very much time, because it will be difficult to meet all of the challenges and it will definitely take a good amount of time to do so.

Travelling Outfit 2.0 – The asetori is sitting, languishing, as I decide whether to take the side seams in or not and whether to redo the collar. The side seams may not be necessary, but the collar is wrong and will never lay quite right as it is now. I still hate the idea of ripping things out of this garment. With Pennsic officially postponed for another year, I will not have to have it ready for that war point. So there is at least that.

Champion – Poetry Month: more than 50 poet participants and 250 poems so far. It’s eating up more of my emotional energy than I had anticipated. Still very worth it. I had the suggestion come in this week to collect the poems for an East Kingdom wiki page. It will be a lot of work to do, but if my poets are interested, I’ll do it. This would be an after May project though. I’m trying not to add too much to my already overflowing plate…

1000 Tanka – I hit 500 and wrote this to celebrate:

Five hundred tanka Written in less than six months Halfway to the end

And now to repeat the work And write the next five hundred

Language – Today I will hit my second “milestone” in the program (Rosetta Stone).

Samurai Training – Professional help has been enlisted for my injury recovery and I keep adding exercises back as able. I’m going to attempt running again this week…

Saishi Class – I added a period source for the class, a comment from Sei Shonagon’s Pillow Book from the First Day, or New Year celebrations. “This is the day when members of the nobility who live outside the Palace arrive in their magnificently decorated carriages to admire the blue horses. As the carriages are drawn over the ground-beam of the Central Gate, there is always a tremendous bump, and the heads of the women passengers are knocked together; the combs fall out of their hair, and may be smashed to pieces if the owners are not careful. I enjoy the way everyone laughs when this happens.”

I also found a reference about a guard who was poorly powdered and added that to the Heian cosmetics research I have also started. I found some wonderful tidbits in articles, including a 97 page Master’s Thesis by Rebekah S Hunter entitled Aesthetics of Womanhood of Heian Japan. I’m looking forward to diving in to it at some point soon. I have a feeling I’ll be able to add information to a number of my research projects and classes that are in the works. After all, what’s the point in learning something if you’re not going to share it?