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When I'm not here, you may find me wandering the pages below. (If I'm a regular visitor to your site and I've left your link off or mislinked to you, please let me know! And likewise, if you've blogrolled me, please check that my link is updated: thisroamanticlife.blogspot.com. The extra (a) makes all the difference!)

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Body: in sickness and in health

I won't lie; this body and I have had our issues with each other for many years. Body image -- sure. Physical and mental overextension -- comes with being a Type A kind of girl. I still struggle with these things, so they show up from time to time in my writing.

More recently, illness, pure but not simple, has added itself to the mix in a multi-system sort of way. And the challenges in figuring out exactly what's gone wrong are many. As problems have revealed themselves in the last few years, beginning with reactive hypoglycemia in late 2008, I've documented them here, partly to gain a little clarity on managing complex conditions but mostly to give voice to vulnerabilities I feel but don't normally share with anyone face to face. Better out than in, they say, right? (Oh yes, humor is one way I deal.)

The links below cover the different angles I've examined (and from which I've been examined) within that experience.

Travel: neither here nor there

When the person you're married to lives two time zones away, you log a fair number of frequent flier miles. And if you blog about commuter relationships, you log quite a few posts en route too.

Since we're no longer in separate places, I blog less often from airports. But we do travel -- together now! -- which is much more fun to write about. So in addition to thoughts on our years of commuting, the links below cover the places we've been as a pair and, in some cases, the adventures that have happened on the way.

Writing: the long and short of it

Why do I do it? Good question. Maybe it's not so much that I like to write but that I have to write, even when the words refuse to stick to the page. Believe me, I've tried doing other things like majoring in biochemistry (freshman fall, many semesters ago). Within a year, I'd switched to English with a concentration in creative writing and wasn't looking back.

After graduating, I taught English for a few years and then worked as an editor, which I still do freelance. In 2007, I applied and got into an MFA program at a place I like to call Little U. on the Prairie. I finished my degree in 2011 and have been balancing tutoring and writing on my own ever since.

The following links cover the writing I've done about writing: process, content, obstacles, you name it. It's not always pretty. But some part of me loves it, even when it's hard. And this is the result.

Heart: family and friends

I'd have a hard time explaining who I am without being able to talk about the family I grew up in as well as the people I've met beyond its bounds. But even with such context, it's not easy! In the simplest terms, I'm a first-generation Asian-American who has spent most of this life caught between cultures. That, of course, doesn't even begin to describe what I mean to, but there's my first stab at the heart of it all.

That's what this group of posts is reserved for -- heart. The essential parts of my life whose influences I carry with me, for better or worse. The links below cover what I've written as I've learned how these forces work within me, for me, against me, in spite of me. They anchor me even as they change me, and they keep life interesting.

Recommended reading

What do I do when there's too much on my mind and my words won't stick to the page? I escape into someone else's thoughts. Below is a collection of books and articles that have been sources of information, inspiration, and occasional insight for my own work.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Powering through

The end of my summer course is coming up very shortly, and the project I've taken on (let's call it "thesis in disguise") is demanding some long hours.

The scope of it has turned out to be too large for the length of this mini-semester -- no surprise, given the amount of material I started with -- but whatever I turn in to my professor on Sunday won't be the end of the work. Just a "here's how far I got" submission. I'm hoping, after that, to keep going with this research into the fall so that it might help generate the writing I wasn't able to accomplish in the spring. So far, it's already done that -- just a few paragraphs, nothing huge. But they feel solid, and that is huge to me.

I'm wary. I feel like I'm emerging from a hole or a cave or somebody's badly ventilated basement. I'm afraid of things that will send me back to that place. My parents are coming to visit in exactly two weeks. And I think, if you've been following along, you know how much of an impact they can have on me, despite my best efforts.

The parents Troubadour love their food -- love eating it, planning where they'll get it next, taking special trips just to enjoy rarer forms of it, talking about it ad nauseum. An extended visit from them means their food obsession, among other delightful traits of theirs, will be unavoidable. For me and my food anxieties, this is suboptimal. Issues of control and neglect that have entangled us since we became a family get exacerbated, which either leads to ugly confrontations or one or more of us stuffing our emotions away because that's just how we've survived with one another.

Obviously, stuffing how I feel into the equivalent of a mental basement doesn't make for progress on my writing since my writing is about how I feel ...

So I'm putting some professional backup in place. First, the nutrition guru I found a month ago. Secondly, the counselor she recommended for the other work -- beyond just food -- that has to go hand-in-hand with the work I'm doing with her. I've started seeing the new counselor in the last few weeks, and I feel much more at ease with her than with the previous guy. So they're my go-to peeps for the twelve days in August during which D and I will be playing hosts (and afterward too).

In the meantime, we're preparing the house. We've had boxes in the hall since our guest room painting project began, and they've needed a place to go. There's no basement here, but we do have a garage, which Marketing Sis helped me paint last summer.

So last week, D and I finally got around to this:


What is it? Well, let's try a different view:


No? All right, then; how about this:


Yes, we put up shelves! And I learned how to wield this:


My parents, and all the insecurities they revive in me, may be looming in my future, but for a few days last week, I got some major !!! from revving that drill.

Now if we can just get everything sorted onto the shelves before my folks arrive ...

8 comments:

Good Enough Woman said...

12 days! Wow! Dude. That is a substantial amount of quality time. I hope that you have some family laughter mixed in to temper the anxiety. Are either of the Sisses comming? And I'm glad you hear you have a new counselor that you like! And the shelves? Awesome? Whatcha gonna put on them?

BigLittleWolf said...

Is this a "good news and bad news" or a "good news in reality land" in more ways than one?

Maybe it's a matter of perspective, even if there's anxiety involved. But then, there's anxiety involved in most opportunities for growth, and no, I'm not trying to be new age about his. I'm much too pragmatic (and weary) for that.

My thoughts: you are smartly putting support systems in place - personal, interpersonal, and those supports you installed with that drill, for those shelving units. Nice metaphor, don't you think? Assuring that you can store and hold up what you must - visibly, accessibly, but out from under, during the parental stay.

I'd say that's good news and good news. Awareness and support systems are always good news. And I'm thinking you can do this, just as your progress on research is - as you said - solid. More good news.

Powering through, indeed. You're doing it.

French Fancy said...

Well done on dabbling with the old power tools. I've got lots of catching up to do on your blog, which will take place over the next week or so.

For the time being just hang in there - they will be in *your* home and perhaps the family dynamics will be different - but 12 days is a very long time.

C. Troubadour said...

GEW -- alas, neither of the sisters Troubadour will be coming this time. But yes, the shelves! So far we've got all the childhood memorabilia boxed up and stored as well as house maintenance supplies and sports gear. I'm truly amazed at how much room is left (and hoping it won't fill for a long time).

BLW -- you're so right, anxiety and growth go hand-in-hand. Thanks for the encouragement. On some days, the prospect of the visit doesn't feel like it will be too much; on others, it threatens to immobilize me. So yes, I'm all for getting support systems in place! These feel dependable.

FF -- hello there. It's good to see you again! Yes, it is technically my home. But that didn't stop last year's dramas from unfolding. I'd like to expect better, but I don't think it's worth the disappointment. This year, I'll try to be pleasantly surprised.

SuziCate said...

Ha, nothing like a power tool in the hand to get a feeling of control! I hope all goes well with the visit. I am so glad you have a go to system prepared for you. Will be thinking of you and keeping you lifted in prayer.

ck said...

I would use up all the !!!s in my possession if I found the motivation and drive to wield power tools and put up some shelving. I'm sorry a visit from your parents induces such stress, but at least you've found a good outlet for how you're feeling. When I feel that way the only thing I accomplish is pacing my house and moving piles of stuff from one room to another. But again...power tools? !!!

Kelly said...

I understand the anxiety and stress brought on by the parental unit. If either of my parents were planning to be at my house for longer than a few hours, I might just ante up the money to buy them a hotel room. Ugh. Could. Not. Handle. It.

Good luck -- and, yes, it seems you have done the necessary work to get through this unscathed.

C. Troubadour said...

SuziCate -- thanks for thinking of me. Yes, that drill did wonders for my mood! D has a few other tools I might enjoy getting to know in the future, but for now, I think that's about all the power I need. (The table saw is just too intimidating!)

CK -- believe me, it's taken the better part of this year to get those shelves done (and that's if you don't count the painting from last August). I think we ordered those brackets back in March? We like to stretch out our home improvement projects so as not to wear our so-called motivations thin ;)

Kelly -- welcome! You know, if it gets hot enough during their visit, my parents just may seek a hotel room. We don't have air conditioning. Guess we'll see what happens.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Powering through

The end of my summer course is coming up very shortly, and the project I've taken on (let's call it "thesis in disguise") is demanding some long hours.

The scope of it has turned out to be too large for the length of this mini-semester -- no surprise, given the amount of material I started with -- but whatever I turn in to my professor on Sunday won't be the end of the work. Just a "here's how far I got" submission. I'm hoping, after that, to keep going with this research into the fall so that it might help generate the writing I wasn't able to accomplish in the spring. So far, it's already done that -- just a few paragraphs, nothing huge. But they feel solid, and that is huge to me.

I'm wary. I feel like I'm emerging from a hole or a cave or somebody's badly ventilated basement. I'm afraid of things that will send me back to that place. My parents are coming to visit in exactly two weeks. And I think, if you've been following along, you know how much of an impact they can have on me, despite my best efforts.

The parents Troubadour love their food -- love eating it, planning where they'll get it next, taking special trips just to enjoy rarer forms of it, talking about it ad nauseum. An extended visit from them means their food obsession, among other delightful traits of theirs, will be unavoidable. For me and my food anxieties, this is suboptimal. Issues of control and neglect that have entangled us since we became a family get exacerbated, which either leads to ugly confrontations or one or more of us stuffing our emotions away because that's just how we've survived with one another.

Obviously, stuffing how I feel into the equivalent of a mental basement doesn't make for progress on my writing since my writing is about how I feel ...

So I'm putting some professional backup in place. First, the nutrition guru I found a month ago. Secondly, the counselor she recommended for the other work -- beyond just food -- that has to go hand-in-hand with the work I'm doing with her. I've started seeing the new counselor in the last few weeks, and I feel much more at ease with her than with the previous guy. So they're my go-to peeps for the twelve days in August during which D and I will be playing hosts (and afterward too).

In the meantime, we're preparing the house. We've had boxes in the hall since our guest room painting project began, and they've needed a place to go. There's no basement here, but we do have a garage, which Marketing Sis helped me paint last summer.

So last week, D and I finally got around to this:


What is it? Well, let's try a different view:


No? All right, then; how about this:


Yes, we put up shelves! And I learned how to wield this:


My parents, and all the insecurities they revive in me, may be looming in my future, but for a few days last week, I got some major !!! from revving that drill.

Now if we can just get everything sorted onto the shelves before my folks arrive ...

8 comments:

Good Enough Woman said...

12 days! Wow! Dude. That is a substantial amount of quality time. I hope that you have some family laughter mixed in to temper the anxiety. Are either of the Sisses comming? And I'm glad you hear you have a new counselor that you like! And the shelves? Awesome? Whatcha gonna put on them?

BigLittleWolf said...

Is this a "good news and bad news" or a "good news in reality land" in more ways than one?

Maybe it's a matter of perspective, even if there's anxiety involved. But then, there's anxiety involved in most opportunities for growth, and no, I'm not trying to be new age about his. I'm much too pragmatic (and weary) for that.

My thoughts: you are smartly putting support systems in place - personal, interpersonal, and those supports you installed with that drill, for those shelving units. Nice metaphor, don't you think? Assuring that you can store and hold up what you must - visibly, accessibly, but out from under, during the parental stay.

I'd say that's good news and good news. Awareness and support systems are always good news. And I'm thinking you can do this, just as your progress on research is - as you said - solid. More good news.

Powering through, indeed. You're doing it.

French Fancy said...

Well done on dabbling with the old power tools. I've got lots of catching up to do on your blog, which will take place over the next week or so.

For the time being just hang in there - they will be in *your* home and perhaps the family dynamics will be different - but 12 days is a very long time.

C. Troubadour said...

GEW -- alas, neither of the sisters Troubadour will be coming this time. But yes, the shelves! So far we've got all the childhood memorabilia boxed up and stored as well as house maintenance supplies and sports gear. I'm truly amazed at how much room is left (and hoping it won't fill for a long time).

BLW -- you're so right, anxiety and growth go hand-in-hand. Thanks for the encouragement. On some days, the prospect of the visit doesn't feel like it will be too much; on others, it threatens to immobilize me. So yes, I'm all for getting support systems in place! These feel dependable.

FF -- hello there. It's good to see you again! Yes, it is technically my home. But that didn't stop last year's dramas from unfolding. I'd like to expect better, but I don't think it's worth the disappointment. This year, I'll try to be pleasantly surprised.

SuziCate said...

Ha, nothing like a power tool in the hand to get a feeling of control! I hope all goes well with the visit. I am so glad you have a go to system prepared for you. Will be thinking of you and keeping you lifted in prayer.

ck said...

I would use up all the !!!s in my possession if I found the motivation and drive to wield power tools and put up some shelving. I'm sorry a visit from your parents induces such stress, but at least you've found a good outlet for how you're feeling. When I feel that way the only thing I accomplish is pacing my house and moving piles of stuff from one room to another. But again...power tools? !!!

Kelly said...

I understand the anxiety and stress brought on by the parental unit. If either of my parents were planning to be at my house for longer than a few hours, I might just ante up the money to buy them a hotel room. Ugh. Could. Not. Handle. It.

Good luck -- and, yes, it seems you have done the necessary work to get through this unscathed.

C. Troubadour said...

SuziCate -- thanks for thinking of me. Yes, that drill did wonders for my mood! D has a few other tools I might enjoy getting to know in the future, but for now, I think that's about all the power I need. (The table saw is just too intimidating!)

CK -- believe me, it's taken the better part of this year to get those shelves done (and that's if you don't count the painting from last August). I think we ordered those brackets back in March? We like to stretch out our home improvement projects so as not to wear our so-called motivations thin ;)

Kelly -- welcome! You know, if it gets hot enough during their visit, my parents just may seek a hotel room. We don't have air conditioning. Guess we'll see what happens.