September 2nd, 2019

Celine: Pixel

Moving and keeping busy

So, other than one or two game reports on nibble-sized mobile games, we haven't been super active on Dreamwidth lately. A lot of life stuff happened and it had the combination of leaving us (mostly me) incredibly busy, and often too frazzled and despairing to want to talk to people anyway.

Life in the old apartment had been growing more and more unbearable over time, but things finally reached the "I can't take this anymore, we have to get out of this hellhole" point... uh, about this time last year, like a month or two after I'd just signed the new lease for that year. Oops. So I've been in putting up with it mode for a very long time now, but the time finally came and the move has finally happened. It was brutal. I was reduced to tears on several occasions. But by God, somehow we survived, and things on the other end are so much brighter. We did it. We made it through.

There's a very strong link between the state of your home and the state of your mental well-being, you know? If everything is constantly a mess, then just living in that all day, every day, is enough to give you something approximating depression. This, of course, saps your energy and your will to live, which makes it impossible to find the strength to fight the chaos, and therefore things stay a disaster all around you, and therefore things stay a disaster inside your head, and you fall into this self-reinforcing feedback loop of everything being awful forever. It got to the point where I was almost physically incapable of cleaning anymore even if I wanted to, because once debris had sat there for long enough, I became blind to it. I'd step over this sort of vague pile shape every time I needed to go in or out of the closet without even thinking about it, and the thought that hey, that is a pile of clothes, which you can pick up and put away literally did not occur to me. It wasn't that I was lazy or chose not to tackle that pile, I just... couldn't even wrap my head around the concept that tackling that pile was an option. It was just part of the scenery, like a matte painting, and not something one could change.

It took the specter of moving, when everything had to go, to force the issue.

I had a hellaciously long commute to and from work every day and zero time to do anything besides get food and go to bed when I got home. Our apartment was small and cramped, in disrepair from negligent management, there were bugs everywhere, and just... on one hand, it was very clear why we had to move. I don't think I could have survived another year there, let alone subject Sara to it. She deserved better. We deserved better. On the other hand, packing up everything we own and moving is easier said than done, and I was not mentally or emotionally ready to face the challenges of it while still balancing work life and all the personal creative projects to which I habitually over-commit myself.

It turns out that the intersection of "I mentally and physically cannot do this in the time specified" and "I have to do it; turn-in-my-keys day is next week" is having a complete breakdown, and I'm sorry my closest friends and loved ones had to see that. For everyone else, I ended up disappearing from Dreamwidth because I was feeling sad and tired and irritable and in no mood to deal with people, but also out of a sense of... shame, I guess? I hated anyone knowing that we lived like this.

Things are looking up now, though! Hard as it was, we pulled through, and we're enjoying a clean slate for the first time in over a decade. The good news is that said feedback loop also works in the other direction; there's something about living in a home that is clean and nice and good, that's more spacious and closer to work and less run down, that's actually spotless for pretty much the first time since I can remember, that's... inspiring? It's nice. Look at the collection shelves all set up in the big and pristine living room! That just... makes me happy. I like just sitting there and looking at those, or wandering around from room to room, just drinking in the fact that this is our life, now.

Anyway, we moved at the end of July, and this last month has mostly been spent unpacking and unboxing and putting everything away. During that time, we've also taken some time to ourselves. We'd mentioned before that Sara's birthday celebration had to be postponed because her actual birthday fell right at the peak of preparing-for-the-move stress and it would have been miserable to try anything then. She deserved a good birthday, done right. We finally got around to that once we were in the new place and the dust had settled some. It ended up being a good move, because we were both feeling a lot better, happier and more energetic, and that enabled us to make a major breakthrough that has been eluding us for some time now.

We switched.

I think the trick before was that we'd gotten too caught up in expecting a complete change, thus leading to those issues we experienced where Sara didn't know how to move our body's limbs when she was in front because she'd never done it before. This time, I tried putting our mental processes into three piles instead of two: the moods and emotions and preferences and everything that made up the Celine personality, the same that made up the Sara personality, and the basic body stuff like breathing, walking, moving one's hand to scratch an itch, and so on. The system can handle that. We're just shifting whether it's the Celine or Sara Personality Core on top, you know?

That perspective shift was the key that allowed Sara to come forward, take over, and go on a hyperactive tear. She drew some doodles (Sara's first art, everyone!) She got on IM in a tornado of "AAAAAA I'M ALIVE THIS IS SO AWESOME HI EVERYONE I LOVE YOU" that lasted until the energy meter suddenly hit 0 and I was instantly shunted back to being me again. Classic kitten reaction, bounce bounce bounce bounce bounce flop zzz.

We watched Finding Dory (which is really cute and good) and that was Sara's belated birthday! For her birthday present, I made a donation to the Eden Reforestation Project, since you know her and the environment.

As the dust continues to settle (There's no more stuff to unbox! We're done moving in as of today!) Things may slowly settle down a little, but old habits die hard and I'm still very bad at relaxing and getting sleep when I could be over-commiting to all those projects. Current to-do list:
  • Deal with the discard pile (shred the box of ancient financial documents, see if anyone on Craigslist wants what's left of the old dresser, etc.)
  • Resolve internet situation (turns out I do use a bit too much bandwidth for mobile hotspot data to completely replace having a home ISP after all, but I still refuse to go back to Comcast. New place has a balcony, so a locally run fixed wireless service might be an option. Must call around and get something set up with someone at some point.)
  • Digital cleaning (email and art gallery inboxes, etc.) now that physical is done
  • Update Sara's page on (she's a cat now)
  • Keep an eye out for commissioning more art once references are updated and target artists are actually open
  • Update with, geez, lots of little stuff here and there really
  • Work on player content for Istaria (they're soliciting suggestions if someone wants to write quests for them and such, and I have an idea I'd like to submit when it's done)
  • Work on Warm Fuzzy Game Room videos, still have a couple tone-setting episodes to start with and then the Interlight stuff
  • Do something with, the domain I bought for said videos without actually having put anything on it yet
  • That Pokemon SoulSilver LP
  • Like a zillion other games I started and want to clear
  • Oh yeah, didn't I have like a novel or something?

The fun never ends.

But, you know. At least we're a lot happier now.

So, how have you all been?

This is a cross-posted entry that originated from Please leave all comments there; I am no longer actively maintaining my LiveJournal blogs.