The blog of D Kai Wilson-Viola

Author, advocate, designer, mental health advocate and parent. 

A 2021 retrospective…a bit late ;) #mondayblogs #yearinreview #lifetheuniverseandakitchensink

A 2021 retrospective…a bit late ;) #mondayblogs #yearinreview #lifetheuniverseandakitchensink

Hi there guys. Normally, doing these, I do really try to get them up either as we’re travelling home on the21st December, but as everyone saw, I posted something else instead. So, I’ll do the retrospective today, and tomorrow we’ll do the ‘coming in 2022’.

I got nothing done…

I think the first thing to acknowledge is that personal goals wise, I’m not further visibly forward, but I did a lot of…I guess it’s ‘behind the scenes’ work. I did have a quieter, calmer year in some ways. Supporting the kids, supporting my partner, and trying to plan for what comes next. I think that though I did very little, overtly, there were a tonne of really great conversations that eventually led myself and my business partner to something we’re working on now, which we’ve tagged ‘AOK’.
Goals wise, too, I didn’t published a dammed thing last year, and only really rebooted this blog about three months ago. I’m still working through how best to handle all of that, if I’m honest, but what I do know is that I’m a lot happier now with most of the things I write, when I write them.
I did start a Substack.
But, because I got ‘nothing’ done, I spent a lot of time with my family. I have regulated my sleep schedule a lot better, though I do sometimes need to switch to LA time to do some stuff, it’s not frequently expected of me. I’m sure next year may change that, but it’s ok. Mostly I’m just grateful for the space to think and spend time with my partner, son and daughter. We bought a Cricut so my daughter and I are still into doing crafty things, we all go out to get photos of stuff, we got to do the UK Games Expo this year…it’s all been really good and really comforting in many ways. None of us have gotten really sick, nor have we caught CV19, but we’re all fully boosted now, and flu shots to boot. We’ve been *very* lucky.

I did lots for clients….

So, I’ve said ‘I got nothing done’ but equally, it’s been an ok year for getting work done for clients. From tomorrow, I’m developing something that cuts back on the clutter for one client so it ‘just works’ and building sites for two others. It’s all looking really solid. I learned Divi a lot more, I’ve been upskilling both for my business and for my uni stuff and I’ve had a lot of fun along the way. I love coding, but I love solving puzzles more.

I (started to) heal a bit…

I think it’s fair to say this year I got on with the rather hard work of starting to heal. I’ve not had an exactly bad life, but I’ve been through a fair few really bad scrapes and my mental and physical health are kinda dented for it. I do totally think I’m dealing with some form of adrenal issue right now, though I’m also quite worried I’m anaemic again, but most of what I did was read, learn, sleep, and just accept that I can’t do everything, or work on starting to accept that. I laid foundations though for this year too – knowing what to do and when to do it hasn’t been the easiest thing for me, but I’m working in advance with a lot of my stuff now and though I sometimes bounce off deadlines, I’ve met quite a few too.
in July, I was discharged from therapy. I’ve done everything I could with them, my therapist was moving on, and instead of getting used to another stranger, given the current pandemic based restrictions, we decided that it was best just to close my file and move on. I can go back if I need to.

And I took up more exercise

Last year, I was just starting Mount Fuji. I completed that and went on to do Giza, Petra, Everest and started The Great Wall of China. In total, I walked about 540km, based on my Fitbit tracking.
I started walking outside by myself too. Didn’t last long, but will be coming back. In November, I went for a Ludosport Discovery session, fell in love with the sport and have now completed enough form 1 training that I can duel, and did for our closing session of the year, winning my team three points. I was rather shocked I managed it. I think everyone else was too, as I often refuse to duel, or withdraw when afraid. I am dealing with a lot more panic attacks though, but we know why and we’re working on that too.

I read… A LOT

Because I didn’t get to do very much in the way of travelling, I’ve mostly adventured through my books. Which, if I’m honest, has mostly involved serial killers, thrillers and murder mysteries. My Goodreads year in review isn’t *everything* I read (cause I’ve got books I read through Netgalley that haven’t or won’t log yet) but it’s close. If you want to see my year, it’s here, but seriously, a lot of it is basically true crime. 😉 Some of it was also audiobooks, which I count.
I think the two books that stayed with me this year though were The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig and we’re currently finishing off Leviathan Falls, which is the final book of the Expanse. And finishing the show too.

Wrote too…

I completed both Camp Nanowrimos and Nanowrimo proper this year, and in the end, it turned out that though it felt like I was pulling teeth, I wrote close to half a million in 4thewords, and another 750k in my various files. Not bad going but next year is going to be a bigger challenge. I didn’t publish anything that wasn’t someone else’s to take from me and put out there though.

And yeah, then there was the ‘also watched’

We watched so many good things this year but I watched less in some ways than my family. And more in others. I had more true rime on in the background during the day, but I’ve watched far fewer programs, and have promised I’ll watch a few of the pertinent ones when we’re back at our usual spaces next week.
Outstanding for me though had to be Loki, Scrubs (which we binged to the last season then pretended that one didn’t exist), Elementary, which we’re catching up on, The Expanse…you get the picture. We’ve started watching Titans season 3, The Witcher Season 2, and The Expanse season 6, and we’re looking forward to The book of Boba Fett, Obi Wan and more.

Gaming

Gaming this year has mostly been about my Switch and our PS5. We’re both having a blast, no pun intended, playing through Fallout 76, though each of us can’t play with each other as it’s not cross-platform. Been playing games on the Switch too, but there’s nothing of note that I’ve played, really. I enjoy Surviving Mars, but a lot of what I do is just play through stuff for a little bit, get listless, put it down. So a lot of my time has just been spent mindlessly shooting things, which I’m kinda good at.

Meditating, self care, religion, oh my

I always leave this bit to last, so if people want to skip, they can.
I meditated almost as much as I walked this year. I’ve found Headspace to be an excellent way of dealing with my sleep issues and the sleepscapes and I have become best buddies during the Pandemic. But we already knew that from listening to the stories Calm put out last year. I decided to stick with Headspace, not Calm in the end, simply because I got on better with Headspace.

I’ve been home to my temple twice this year (which means I’ve been home to family twice this year) and moved my ‘I have to go do something, let’s go to my quiet spot) to a place nearer our current home. It’s not perfect, but it meets most of the needs of what my rules are. I’ve also enacted some pretty radical self-care, but that, and some other stuff will be in the books, in the new Year.

I’m sure I’ve missed tonnes, but I’ll be honest, I’m still not sure this year was actually a full year if that makes sense. Time isn’t right still, not since the interminable but necessary lockdowns, and we’ve been working through as much of being present and grateful as we can, but I’ll also be real about this, a bit of me is still sobbing away in the corner that something so horrible is ongoing.
I may write on that later, but I’m healthy, I’m here, I’ve picked up some new skills and hobbies and though I lost my gran, as a family, we’ve been far more blessed than we could have expected, so really, I can’t complain.

How was your New Year?

When she sing, she sings “Come home” #mondayblogs #rungirlrun

When she sing, she sings “Come home” #mondayblogs #rungirlrun

(Don’t Google that, if you plan to watch Loki, the TV series, as the titular character sings it).

I’ve been equal parts restless, equal parts full of wanting to get on with changing things, but not having the energy to do any of it. So, as is my usual tactic, I’m actually travelling today. I’m going home.
Tomorrow morning, I’ll be heading to my temple, called Goddess Falls. It’s known as another name in Edinburgh, but I’ll be taking my lightsaber with me in the morning.

Travelling, thinking, going home

We’re hoping that we get to go (so, either this’ll be going out as I’m on the road – in fact, I should be just getting to our end destination), and my tradition is to think and write and make notes, and hope that nothing goes wrong while I’m out of touch. Maybe do a bit of crochet, which I’m teaching myself.

Mostly though, today is a holiday. So Joyous Yule, may the wheel bless you as it turns, if you celebrate. And Merry Christmas/Happy holidays too!

And books?

Every week, I talk about putting out books, about editing, but I’ve been slow. Really slow, so I’ll keep trying but honestly? Pressure has never been my friend, but I’ve got to start moving on with my books. So, I’ll be thinking about that too while travelling. We’ve got little TV trays for our knees, so I’ll be travelling with one of them, my diaries, and my surface. Just in case.

Going home though… it is in my bones. I’m a Gaelic gal to the core, to the point that I feel home in my very soul. I bring a little bit of it back every year for my shrine.
Today also marks the 25th year of being a standing High Priestess. Solitary, but still… it means this year I think I’ll be talking about my beliefs, my dreams, and what I’m doing it with my books to honour that stuff.
But…regardless. I hope your Christmas period is good. I hope you see those you love. I hope you get to spend time with your family. I’ll be taking time out with mine.

Advance/retreat #mondayblogs #mentalhealth #rungirlrun

Advance/retreat #mondayblogs #mentalhealth #rungirlrun

When I was discharged from therapy, I knew there were going to be times I went a bit off track. What I didn’t expect was one of the things that I’m enjoying – a lot – was going to be the thing that totally destroyed me this month.

I’m not saying either that it’s actually about the people at the group I’m participating in. In fact, I think they’re making it easier on me, and instead of things being unbearable and stuck, it’s just nightmares and stuff to work through. But being triggered is a really wierd thing.

Mostly because I’ll be realistic about it – there’s no reason to believe that I’ll be beaten to a pulp, just for being me. There’s no reason to believe people will hurt me. It doesn’t change that not only does it happen, but it’s painfully obvious that I’m not going to get over it as easily as I’d like.

Then, there’s the added pressure

I keep saying this, and the more often I say it, it feels like I’m minimizing what is going on, but it often feels like the things that I take on are always looked at to see if they’ll benefit others.
I’ve spent the last haze of days talking about various things with various friends, but the overriding sets of conversations have been in three categories. One, insulting, and asking why I’m doing (x). They’re being removed from my life.
The second, which is also the least of the interactions I’ve had, have been encouraging.
And the third?… It seems to come up more and more, but I’ve spent the last six months or so telling people ‘no’. No to coming with me when I go to projects. No to visiting with us for now. No to introducing people to other people.

The power of ‘and’

I’ve been looking at the fact that I keep saying that ‘they don’t mean to do this.’. I’m telling them no, they’re arguing, they don’t mean it vs, I’m telling them no, they’re arguing, they don’t mean it and it hurts me.
The ‘and it hurts me’ is the bit that really gets me though. I’m not sure how to get passed or around that, but I’m thinking about that.
And isn’t any more of an excuse than ‘but’. It feels like it, though it’s more about making things sit right with me. Because honestly? My life is about how I survive it. If I need and, but, however, and other mitigations and codicils to forgive people because they don’t see things my way (because maybe, just maybe, I’m wrong). Regardless, sometimes I find it hard.
It’s not all bad. The power of and got me to various projects that I’m really loving and starting a new blog, and re-evaluating a lot of the time I’m spending with myself. It does feel very much like advance and retreat though. Two steps forward, four back. And honestly? That’s therapy, I guess?

And…and Ludosport

The power of and got me to continue Ludosport. I’m reactive, on edge and tired and I’m learning a new set of skills.

I’m exhausted every night we train, and I’m losing weight.

There’s a few things I can’t really get my head around, like the fact that I’m having nightmares (triggers, aren’t they … just wonderful), and that’s interfering with my sleep. I don’t blame any of the people training me – in fact, as long as I keep telling myself ‘and it’s ok’, I’ll hopefully learn to sit with the things triggering me.

Wanna see my lightsaber? 🙂

Not a euphemism 😉 And see me?
All shared below 😉

The last week of * (42) – what is success anyway? #Mondayblogs

The last week of * (42) – what is success anyway? #Mondayblogs

This is 43?

Quite honestly, I’m not entirely certain how I feel right now. There are so many different things that I’ve been thinking about. How we measure success. What we consider ‘worthy’ work, when we think about our lives, and how we decide to measure what we’re doing. Like water over rocks, we often smooth away the knowledge we don’t like and find a way to let it settle. And time, like water down a hill, never stops.

Judgement – my own worst enemy

Self-judgement that is. And I think that’s true of all of us. We’re ALL our own worst enemies when it comes to deciding if we’re ‘doing what we’re made to do’. Which in itself is a loaded sentence.

I really hate the whole “we’re human beings, not human doings” concept. It distils and negates a lot of the struggle we all have with the needs and responsibilities, the wants and the necessities we all carry and balance. I’m a human being. I am.
What I am right now?
A little bit stressed, a lot melancholy. Because I’m judging myself against a list of things that I just can’t expect to meet.
What I can say though is that I’ve achieved a lot that isn’t ‘obvious’. I was discharged from therapy, and told I’d successfully completed the work they wanted me to which is…awesome. I went into recovery care with the local unit over seven years ago. I moved two years ago, this week, to the unit the county over. I’ve put a commendation about Dr C. and my nurse, M, with my MP, I feel that strongly about their care. The whole NHS should be praised, for the last few years, of course, but the team that cared for me over the last few years especially, since just after my 40th birthday, are people that went above and beyond and made a real change to my life.

The grain silo, Being Human and more…

I’ve talked about these essays but never finished them. Some are actually in ‘And Miles to go before I sleep…’ and expanded upon. So, along with the retrospective coming for the rest of this week, and looking forward over the weekend (the blog is going to be busy), but I’ll be releasing the essays ‘The Grain silo’ and ‘Being Human’, along with the pre-order link for ‘And Miles to go before I sleep…’ over this week. I’ll maybe even get to talk about the major business project we’re launching. On Saturday or Sunday, I’ll release our sort of calendar, and aspirations we have. And they are aspirations. Not deadlines. Not must do’s. The pre-orders are fixed, but.. other than that, we’ll adapt. And the we in this case is my beloved, my family, my friends and I. Being Human isn’t to be alone. And I’m not.

In the wastes, on the curves

In the wastes, on the curves

The last few weeks have not been the best for me, but by far and away, the things that hurt the most are, if I’m honest, the way a few friends have reacted to my boundaries. And how, from there, pulling in to defend myself has been ‘abandoning’ them. And how that’s left me with issues with all sorts, from what I do from here to my religious outlook, to how I move on.  I don’t think I’ll address all of it here, it’s a bit complex.  The two bits I want to touch on are boundaries, and being out in the barrens.

Boundaries 101

I’m actually fairly odd in the sense that I don’t ‘like’ boundaries for myself. I feel that it’s very artificial to tell someone you ‘can’t something’ that isn’t basic human decency. And that, I hate to say, was my first mistake. The rank bitterness alongside that first mistake and trying to understand why people behave this way has been painful. Adding to the depression that was already settling on me, I’m really struggling to deal with anything right now, but, as I’ve been asked to write some mental health books if I get through this bout of crippling misery. But it’s made me evaluate a lot of things, and why my life isn’t ‘right’ and it all comes back to routine and boundary. Both of which, my brain seems to process much the same.

On the curves?

Honestly? There’s another word for what happens when I lose everything, whereas this is kinda like where I end up when everything is gone and I’m left to clean up a mess or three. And there are many versions of this place.  There’s the one I deliberately create when I need to move on from a bad place, and have to destroy it to cut ties.  There’s the one that happens when I’m sick and can’t tend my stuff, and then there’s this one… This version of it though is kinda worse. Because it’s a bit of both. In an irony, I’m honestly not sure even *I* really understand, when I’m sick and come off routine, that’s when the trouble really starts.  Free spirit and all that, I still need a pretty firm framework. And currently… I’m not sure I know what to do.  I feel horrible, if I’m entirely honest.  I’m not exercising or eating regularly, I’m not sleeping correctly.  I’m disrupted understandably, because of the changes in the house (we’ve still got our BED to replace).  And I feel a bit like a brat, if I’m honest, but we’ve changed so much in the last month and a half, and it’s been a lot of ‘I don’t really get the choice’ belonging disposal, as the garage flooded/was damaged.  Again, I’m well aware I’m lucky.  It’s not everything I own.  It was a LOT of my books though, a lot of stuff we moved and stored (I’m now learning that storing in the garage is not for cardboard boxes.  So, we’re converting what we are storing out there to plastic tubs.).  It was stuff I’d protected when I left my ex.  It was mine.  It’s gone now.  I don’t feel happy (Marie Kondo lied) – but I’m so overwhelmed, all I can really say was it was books, and some other ‘stuff’.  Because at some point, to keep dealing with the garage, I had to just stop paying attention.  So, I’m a little bit miserable, if I’m honest.  I do really feel like of everything that went, it was old toys and lots of my things.  It’s not *accurate*, but it’s been something I’ve learned over the last year – there’s a difference between what I know, what the reality is, and how I feel about it.  And that I’m not – really – right or wrong.  Just sad. We then did the conservatory, the dining room (converting it to my office, in part), and we got brand new couches (I’ll share some before and after photos once we’re all settled properly).  But, for someone that doesn’t *like* change, it’s been a lot for me to deal with. And it’s stirred up stuff I really don’t like. This is where I say ‘no more’.  Not no more change, just no more slipping schedules, no more ‘skip exercise, can’t be bothered’. No more accepting that I have to feel this way.  We do, most of all, get to decide how we react and change things, if we can, and quite honestly, I would be remiss in not trying.  I’ll be stuck within the limits of my spoons, of course, but I think some of this is…inertia.  So I want to deal with that. Maybe it’ll turn out all I have is the spoons for this, maybe it’ll turn out that I’m just tired and not doing as well as I could because I’ve accepted that.  I honestly can’t say on that score.

But…there’s more…

The thing is, this time, I’m going to talk about it, and whether what I’ve learned this year works, starting from about as close to ‘base’ as I get.  And, quite honestly, though I’m not in a place of complete ‘clear board’, I *am* close enough that I can maybe get this to work. I’ve still not decided exactly *how* I’ll be talking about it. Whether it’ll be a blog, or vlog, or a mix, but, as I’ve also been tagged to talk mental health for a series of books, and burnout is a real thing that often leaves people in barren areas a lot like this,  so maybe this isn’t quite so self indulgent as it feels, and I should be less self-conscious.  There are other elements to this, such as our complete inability to remain pregnant, which I don’t think is exactly helping my state of mind, but mostly, I’m just struggling to find my way, and I want to do something about that, even if that something isn’t what others think of when they think of the stuff I’m talking about.

To start?

To start, I’m going to do something about my wake/sleep cycle.  And eating regularly.  And, I’m going to see about exercising daily.  That’s the framework.  Everything else, like work and writing will still happen, and fit in around the other stuff… but….that’s what I’m going to focus on for a bit. Hopefully in time to start back at uni, who knows.
Advance/retreat #mondayblogs #mentalhealth #rungirlrun

Starting Monday armed…

Well kinda.

While we were home, Tempus mentioned that the lightsaber company he’d used and was really impressed with, was running a really good sale (he got his May 4th), so I sprung for one.

Believe it or not, that’s the same hilt, just one had a flash, one didn’t. Comfortable, CNC milled, mine is bronze/silver, while Tempus has a single tone silver one.

They’re designed for a duelling system called Ludosport. While I may not join my partner for training, I do like the idea old designing a routine to exercise (and ness about).

It is, of course, missing its blade. But only because I wanted to get this photo…

Feels appropriate from #Pridemonth.