The Importance of Napping

Friends,

It has taken me nearly seven years of post-secondary education to fully grasp what it means to appreciate napping. It is no secret that I am an insomniac, meaning that I spend many nights awake in bed full of anxiety, full of anger or general angst, full of love or hate or anything really but full nonetheless and uncomfotable. If I get 4 hours of sleep (newly 4 as of Graduate school, before this term it was 5) hours of sleep I am a functioning human. Any less I need multiple cups of coffee to keep me going.

I’ve spent multiple afternoons, exhausted from lack of sleep and mental demands trying to nap. I’ve taken a graval, I’ve had little sleep numerous conseqcutive nights, but none of these exhausted moments resulting in naps. Maybe on the special time when I’d be commuting somewhere, or reading a particularly bland audiobook, but for the most part naps never enetered my life.

Not until about three months ago.

For example today I woke up from a cough-medication-induced slumber (due to this awful chest cold I’m battling) to read a heart-wrenching theories reading, attend a 2 hours free yoga workshop (whcih was essentially just grounding yoga work at the Drama Centre with friends), walking home, eating junk food and then settled into the longest of my theories readings…To which, half an hour into it, I drifted quietly to sleep. I woke up drooling on my sweatshirt and my playlist droning on some sad Joni Mitchell beauty that always plays when I read. My life, it seems, has turned into drifting off to readings about love, and drifting in to songs about love.

I could not be more grateful.

I no longer get angry when sleep visits me unexpectedly because otherwise it would probably never arrive at all. I welcome it, with open arms, and as long as my reading eventually gets done (I jumped up right after finishing the article to write this before starting the last of the readings due for next week so I could get everything out before inevitably screaming at my ipad as Richard Schechner tries to convince me that 9/11 was “art” and I’d be too angry to write about anything else) then I am fine with unexpected napping.

Especially on days like today where I have little structure binding me to anywhere outside of my bed. If I’m in a class, or running a rehearsal or on the subway–all placees lately where I’ve found myself drifting off and nustling into peaceful slumber, then it becomes an issue. I do not get angry when those driftings happenn though, I just have to work harder to prolong its presence until a more acceptable time.

~a foggy lullaby~

xx Jess

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Thoughts While I Wait for the Chicken to Finish Cooking…

1. I’ve had like twenty amazing, meaningful conversations today that have made me angry and happy and grateful. I’m pretty lucky to have full days like that. Instead of complaining about not having this with the same person consistently I should be more grateful it happens at all.

2. This belini is kind of flat but also very delicious. Like a booze-y juice.

3. I need to remember to start looking for New Year’s outfits/makeup inspiration considering last year I was ready by this time. Can I re-wear the same dress? Can I try new makeup? Can I actually have something cool to do?

4. I am going to be waking up earlier than I have all semester this upcoming week to practise yoga and I am worried that I will give up halfway through because I will be too worn out from work. Any tips on motivation?

5. I need to make some time to go through my clothing and re-evaluate my outfits and stop buying things that I don’t need, and repurpose articles of clothing. This might be a handy thing to add to my Syllabus, because its essential to mental health.

8. My chicken SMELLS done but doesn’t LOOK done.

7. I wrote five poems this weekend. FIVE. I wrote FIVE POEMS THIS WEEKEND. I haven’t written poetry in months and then all of a sudden they just were there, existing, infront of me. So that’s cool. I would like it if this continued on happening, and if so, maybe I could share? Maybe by the end of the month? Maybe? Don’t hold me to this.

8. There is nothing like accepting the stress that you feel in your life as normal. That sounds strange, but when you lean into the stress instead of rejecting it and shaming it then everything becomes a little bit easier…it almost doesn’t become stress. Basically, just try not to worry all the time.

9. Who am I? I just re-read that above note and…man…Stop worrying? Seriously.

10. Chicken’s done.

xx Jess

Creating a Holiday Syllabus

Let me clarify, this syllabus is for myself.

I tend to do this any time that I have some time off of whatever I consider myself doing “full time” at the time. For example one summer I challenged myself to read 5 books of varying genres each month. Sometimes prescribing an overarching goal for myself leaves me very little room to enjoy my free time and relax. So I’ve decided to take my dedication to structure beyond that, and create a sylabus to follow during my almost-one-month Christmas break in December.

Let’s face it, when we have time off we tend to binge watch that tv show we were saving until after exams and eat too much and drink too much and spend time with the ones who matter to us. Trust me, there’s nothing wrong with that, but I have a running list of documentaries, books, novels, articles, essays, tv shows yes and people to spend time with, and not a ton of time void of school in the break to do all that I want. So I want to go through and find what’s the most important, and give myself something to do rather than “be bored” over the break.

While snuggling in the DVLB (best Waterloo coffee shop in the winter months, if you ask me) I will have a preloaded kindle book by Jessa Crispin amidst my pourover coffee and notebooks. I want to listen to podcasts for a reason that are interesting and thought provoking while baking Christmas cookies or Knuts and Bolts.

How do I go about choosing the things to focus on? Well friend, it has been a long 3 months of graduate school, long and exciting. There have been readings from tons of theorists and some of which have inspired me to look furhter and create projects or myself. So that’s where I start, I’ve given myself 3-ish projects to work towards for the new year that are outside of schoolwork and creation.

I am going to keep those to myself, but let’s just say the content that I need to work through consist of works from disabled theorists, sexual education laws in Canada, feminist poetry internationally, online coding and website development. Every day I write down a new book or poem to check out or buy, every day I make another note to watch or search for more articles about something else. Every day I take about ten minutes to research something new, lately it has beenn the nature of getting an abortion in Toronto (for research reason) and also the nature of the topic online in the construction of womanhood.

This kind of thing is important to me because I love to be challenged and engaged in things that I actually care about. This is the first term I’ve ever experienced this much inspiration to write but also engagement in the content of what I am learning. I do not care about everything I am reading or writing or talking about in my classwork, but every single thing I’ve read has led me to something interesting reflected back to me in my own work.

I am so grateful to this program for providing me with the opportunity to exist within my own theory for a full year. How lucky is that?

I have only just started constructing this document but if you’d like to follow along or are interested in what exactly I’m going to be looking at I’ll be updating my Google Docs over the next month leading up to my Holiday reading list.

And as always, I like your face.

xx Jess

Warmed Up to Toronto

I have never felt like this.
Okay, I have, when I was living in London. A lot of aspects of my graduate school experience so far has been similar to my semester in London: few friends but good ones nearby, late sleepless nights, a huge city to explore, limited courseload and independence. What is different right now is that I was not exactly the most excited to get to Toronto and explore…or live a life, which is what is different now.
I’m creating a life here.
It might not seem like it from the outside, but for me just going out to a show with friends on a Monday night contributes to my mental map of the city. It expands the places that I can go alone, and this was about the time during my London semester that I was doing just that: heading out on my own. I feel like I am actually living a life.
Despite having hundreds of pages of readings, and papers, and two jobs and responses and all kinds of school-wise commitments I have found myself remaining social, keeping up a relatively consistent social life (albeit with a very small group of people, like not even a group, like…very small) but a social life nonetheless, and there is something so exciting to me about waking up and having a schedule that is routine but also mine. I feel like I can go out and get groceries, and get my mail, and decide to go to a market or a bar late at night or order pizza at 3am on a Wednesday because I CAN.
This is my adult life.
I love my program, more than I’ve ever loved school before. I feel smart, and have fun reading and learning and having conversations with people. I love every workshop, or every event that I attend, I write lists of things to look up later or a reading list for Christmas (it is long and full of disability theory but it will be fascinating nonetheless) and I am extremely happy.
I am happy.
And I am creating work. I’ve been writing small notes or word documents or pages in notebooks, and now that I’ve finished my show and my time is about to open up marginally I bought myself a new notebook today explicitly for my own writing that I can bring to classes so when I need to write something down pertaining to a project I’m working on I can have a place for it.
I just feel….good again. It’s been a long, long long time coming for me to feel like I fit in somewhere.
And here it is friends: its right here.
I mention a lot that I don’t feel at home anywhere, or don’t have the feeling of HOME-ness like I did anywhere else but London…But I’m starting to really think there’s somewhere for me elsewhere, other than that beautiful damn city, and its turning into Toronto.
Toronto, my home, the city that I am thinking of changing my cellphone number for, looking for a home for a few years in the coming months, seeking out pathways and employment and networks. Maybe a yoga studio, maybe a book club, maybe an art gallery or makers club that’ll take me. There’s a place for me somewhere, no?
I’m not happy all day everyday. But I am happy everyday.
Xx Jess