Y’all! What up! I have been taking a break from WordPress, but I have a lot of thoughts building up in my head so I wanna start getting them out. From least to most (word)pressing.
First of all I’m grateful that there is a safe space here I can turn to when I need it.
Here’s what’s up:
My physical space: plants
I moved apartments, and this one gets way more light; I’m taking advantage of that and propagating! I have just 3 plants; I’m hoping to make some more. Currently, the result is a bunch of discombobulated plant bits hanging out in various containers on my windowsill. I have no idea how it’s going… here’s a tally:
- Cut my bamboo down. I left the rooted stump, and I’m rooting the shoot in water. I cut the stump below a node, stupidly, so now even though there’s a bitty new growth poking out a good inch and a half of the top of the stalk will probs shrivel off eventually.
- The aglaonema (chinese evergreen, marketed as “plant of steel”, ever resistant to my brown thumb, like that time I left for vacation for 6 weeks and didn’t water it…) is doing great. It had already put out new growth off the bottom of one of the stalks on its own (what initiative!) I cut the longest stalk, and I’m seeing some potential new growth poking out. The top half of the cut stalk is being rooted in soil; the leaves are in 2:1 soil and perlite. Future work: replace the soil, which I’ve not changed it in 4 years, though fertilizer keeps it fresh.
- My zebra cactus, Spike worries me. He had 3 “clumps” that were growing off the main, rotted-out root ball; 2 are in soil and 1 is in perlite. I put some leaves on soil to see if they’ll sprout anything; they may not be healthy enough though to propagate from. Many of the leaves are brown and wrinkled; hoping some part of Spike will find the strength to carry on.
From my plants, I hope to channel my love for taking care of things, my love of all things green, and my love for bringing the outdoors in. I also hope to learn to have more patience; I’m definitely having trouble keeping my hands off. LET ME TAKE CARE OF YOU! WHY DON’T YOU NEED ANYTHING!!
If I buy any plant going forward, I’d love to grow a vine or an African Violet. I love love love ferns but apparently they’re really sensitive, and bonsais but I killed one my mom gave me when I was 10ish and I still feel guilty about that.
My physical space: reorganizing, redecorating
In a streak of good fortune I met a fellow grad student in the market for a couch I’ve been trying to get rid of… and she was looking to get rid of a rocking chair! We made the swap, and I didn’t even know I needed a rocking chair so bad. I love it so. It’s great from working on my laptop; I might not even NEED a desk…
Then I finally hit on some more good luck and found cotton sheets at TJMaxx! (as opposed to polyester… no thank you.) Before, I only had one incomplete, ill-fitting and garish sheet set; now I have 2 new sheet sets that fit my deep mattress perfectly, and 2 new pillows at a reasonable price. My first bedding update in 6 years; and now when I want to change the sheets I don’t have to wash them the same day (which means I can wash them more than once a season…)
Also, I recently got rid of some old clothes and plan on doing another purge soon. I have a “purgatory” under my bed: and underbed drawer where I stick things I doubt I’ll ever wear again. If I don’t miss the stuff after a few weeks (aggressive I know), or barely notice that it’s gone, then out with it! At some point I’ll hit up Buffalo Exchange (where hipsters do their closet minimizing) and Goodwill (where regular people do their closet minimizing) and find new used clothing. No more brand new clothing purchases for me (with the exception of basics. And underwear.)
So, updated room, upgraded bed, clothing purge. Not bad for fall cleaning.
New academic year, new organizational scheme
I am now using a Personal Kanban (a board with 3 columns: “backlog”, “in progress”, and “completed”, moving sticky notes with to-do-list points from one column to another; this allows me to see my progress) and a Bullet Journal (a flexible-formatted individualized to-do-list-cum-goal-tracker-cum-journal). These allow me to see my tasks clearly, as well as to log what I’m doing and externalize the thoughts in my head. I’ll let you know how it goes once I settle into a groove. It’s getting hard to stay motivated with my project, so I’m using the bullet journal to write something about gratitude, and I might start writing down daily motivations.
On peer counseling
I did peer counseling training this year; not sure what to expect! I hope to contribute to a positive environment in the grad school, to help mitigate the isolation of the PhD for other students.
On being more open
I wall off from people when I feel shame. Like I’m a diseased limb. But the more I reach out to people the more response I get. I don’t know why I think people don’t like me, or that I don’t get support I need. I don’t know what support I need most of the time, so I can’t even ask for help. So yeah, generally, it’d be great to get better at stating my needs and allowing myself to be more vulnerable.
This is an issue because I sorta had to hush up my needs lately, or at least that’s how it feels, and remove myself from some group dynamics that didn’t feel good. So I’m hoping it’ll get better as I reconnect with people on terms that are beneficial for everyone.
This touches on the issue of mitigating the isolation of the phd in general; 47% of phd students are diagnosed with depression, and given how little emotional stability I’ve had since I’ve started, I believe that statistic whole-heartedly.
I have to treat my shame. I don’t have to feel isolated. I’m in NYC, but I’m not alone.