This is a public issue of Enthusiastic Encouragement & Dubious Advice. Feel free to share it!
Hi Friends! How’s it going?
I have recently started learning a song on the ukulele, which I mentioned in last week’s newsletter. This is a really Big Deal™ for me. Not because I’m learning a song, but because I am learning a song while Nicole is home. I have always had general terror around people seeing/hearing my process. In college, I’d never show up to a writing workshop without a story I’d already self-edited multiple times. I’d never show up to a musical theatre workshop without already having a highly-polished performance. I understand theoretically that workshops are for learning but I don’t ever want anyone to be present while I’m learning.
Let me backtrack a bit. I grew up in a household where A-minuses were not celebrated. I’m not complaining nor am I bragging. All A’s were expected. A-pluses were celebrated. My wife tells me that growing up, her parents would be proud if she got B’s. This is a highly foreign concept to me. Needless to say, the majority of my self-worth was (is?) based on academic achievement and being “the best.” Which, when I was no longer in an academic setting was a rude awakening and by “rude awakening,” I mean “triggered a massive depressive episode from which I have never recovered.”
So. I’m learning a song on the ukulele and I’m hitting a lot of wrong chords and my incredibly lovely wife insists she’s happy to hear me making music no matter what. She would never dream of criticizing me, much less when I’m learning. Come to think of it, what kind of asshole would do that? The one inside my head, I guess. My learning of a new song is only partially about the music. The other part is learning how to be kind to myself while I’m learning. I’m no obstetrician, but I’m pretty sure no one pops out of their parent’s vagina as a fully-formed ukulele player.
And right now, I have nothing but time.
I don’t think my wife is too thrilled that I’m learning a sad song BUT OH WELL.
What got me thinking about it was this article from TED, “How to be Kinder to Yourself,” where I’ve pulled the following two quotes:
When you are self-compassionate, you’re actually doing something very specific for yourself — you’re noticing difficult thoughts, showing up for them, and creating a sense of psychological safety for yourself.
Self-compassion is a necessary part of our journey; it’s about recognizing that you are doing the best you can — with who you are, with what you’ve got, and with the resources that you’ve been given.
Guess that article was Resource #1!
Resource #2: ResearchBuzz and CoronaBuzz
How do I even describe the wonderful little slice of the internet that is ResearchBuzz? Tara Calishain has run ResearchBuzz since 1998. I think I learned about it maybe 10 years later when I was in library school. I’ve followed via RSS ever since and on Twitter shortly after that.
ResearchBuzz is a blog with daily digests of curated “news and information about search engines, databases, social media, and more.” At least, that’s what it says on the homepage.
What it really is is curated posts of really fucking cool shit that I’d probably not hear about because even my internet is a bubble. For example, this post from late January has info about a digital archive of Hawaii literature, Pinterest launching a virtual “make-up try on” feature, a new project aiming to create the first archive of Greek oral history, a bill in Vermont wanting emojis on license plates (lol wut?), and more! The posts not only have links, but Tara takes the time to write a small paragraph about what the link is and why it is interesting.
With the vast amount of Covid-19 / Novel Coronavirus information, the usual ResearchBuzz posts might have gotten overrun by pandemic content so Tara started curated posts under the category CoronaBuzz and they also come out daily.
Resource #3: Purrli
A few years ago I changed my text message sound to a cat’s meow and holy shit, my life LEVELED-UP EXPONENTIALLY. When my phone meows in public, it’s a fucking RIOT. I literally had some dude looking for a cat in the bananas at Trader Joe’s one day.
Early in 2019 I learned about Purrli. I’m a sucker for a good ambient sound mixer and Purrli is, you guessed it, a cat purring. You get to personalize it in a bunch of ways, like tempo, tone, distance, and if there are any meows and how frequent they happen.
If you can’t tell, I love cats. I had a cat for many years. Currently, I do not have any cats, but seeing everyone loving on their cats while we’re all sheltering in place is definitely making me want one. Nicole tried to convince me to get a hairless cat but then we learned that they leave little anus-prints if they sit on shiny surfaces and we have a large, glass coffee table so I noped right out of that option.
That’s it for this week! If you enjoy this newsletter, feel free to forward it to a friend and/or give me a tip!