Welcome to 2021, everyone! It’s 32 degrees Fahrenheit and pouring sleet in Urbana, Illinois this fine New Year’s morning. The dog has already thrown up on the carpet, and I feel like there is a hole in my forehead above my left eye that’s exposed to the wintery cold. It’s an icepick headache kind of morning.
A New Year of Bullet Journaling
But I will not be daunted! I have plans for this New Year, and I will do my best to set them in motion today. Starting with the list I created for myself for the day in my new Bullet Journal.
I have made a couple of videos already about my new bullet journal on my YouTube channel (Archer and Olive Subscription Box Unboxing and January 2021 Bullet Journal Setup) but just in case you haven’t seen them, here’s the gist: I’m chronically ill and bullet journaling partly to get more done with less confusion but mostly to show myself what I can accomplish with a tumor in my head.
For the next 365 days, it is my plan to color a GPI (general pain index) diagram every morning. I’ll be using AutoDesk Sketchbook (it’s free to download and a great program if you can’t afford Photoshop or Illustrator) so that I can just open a new file every morning, assess my pain, color in the general pain index accordingly, and tuck that information away for future reference.
Maybe I’ll learn something new about what makes me pain worse or better. Maybe I’ll be able to help my doctors understand me better. And maybe I’ll just get into the habit of being mindful of my body first thing in the morning and learn to take better care of it. Who knows what the end result will be, but I’m eager to find out.
Here’s my first day of GPI coloring. I just grabbed a diagram I found on the internet like the ones they hand out at the doctor’s office and saved it as a .tiff file. The color range I’ve chosen is snagged from thermodynamic images I found online as well. The difference is that instead of them representing temperatures like red equals hot, blue equals cold, red equals the worst pain (8-10 on the pain scale) and blue equals the least pain (1-3 on the pain scale.) Purple is zero, meaning no pain.
I made this diagram about two hours ago when I first woke up, and it is already outdated. Chronic pain is such a dynamic thing. When I first woke up severe pain covered about 20 percent of my body. Now we’re closer to 80%. To the point my hands are getting numb and there’s a dark red strip of red across my lower back now—about where the blue and green section meet on the posterior image above.
Dear God. Dan just took this picture of the gas grill on the patio that we regretfully forgot to cover at the end of grill season. I am going to be nursing a lot of aches today, and so I cut this blog post short. More later. Happy New Year, guys.
I’d like to invite you to Zentangle with me today. But first, an update for everyone who’s morbidly curious about the woman with the brain tumor: I’m still here. 🙂
It’s 46 °F in Urbana right now, and it’s supposed to be cloudy and rainy for the next couple of days. I checked the weather app on my phone just to be sure I wasn’t lying to you all about the forecast, but just know that my body already told me yesterday we were in for some crappy weather.
I took my last dose of weed chocolate (a chocolate peanut butter indica candy bar) last night to quiet the loudest of the aches and pains, and my pain level is still tolerable this morning. But I know that will be wearing off shortly. I can already feel the future settling in.
I have some oils and a couple of loose joints, but they are just not as effective as edibles for me. I really wish the dispensary would go back to curbside service right now. I can’t describe how badly I do not want to be inside the dispensary. Not only do I not want to brush my pandemic hair, put on actual pants, and increase my chances of being exposed to Covid-19. I just don’t want to do people-ing today.
Might they bring my order to my car if I call and ask nicely and explain that I’m a med patient? Yeah, maybe. But I hate the phone, too. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m going to be using up my vape and tincture remnants because I’m having trouble shaking off this depressive mood.
So let’s talk about something else instead. Like my YouTube channel. I didn’t post anything for the entire month of November because my creative resources were entirely drained after Inktober, but I’ve posted twice so far in December. Go me!
One thing that motivated me to start drawing and recording again was buying the first-ever Archer & Olive subscription box. (They gave me a referral link. Use it to get 15% off if you’re in the market for some premium bujo goodies: http://archerandolive.refr.cc/emilysuess)
The subscription box is a limited-supply quarterly thing (you can watch me unbox the contents here) that cost about $70. I would normally feel guilty about spending that much money on notebook and stationery supplies, but 1.) I just deserve to be happy sometimes, and 2.) I am confident it’ll help me grow my YouTube channel.
So anyway, the unboxing video didn’t perform so well. I actually had a net loss of subscribers the day I posted it. And that bummed me out. It’s not that I need every video I make to do well, but because the video was outside of my usual it took me longer than usual to edit it. Plus there was a voiceover with it, and that adds about 4 extra hours of work. There’s definitely something deflating about putting all your very limited effort into something that you’re super geeked about only to have the world be like, “meh.”
I plan to keep doing the bullet journal videos, though, because bullet journaling is what’s going to help me organize the rest of the content I produce. I figure I might as well have to camera rolling while I’m doing it. The #bujo community on YouTube is huge, and it seems like such a great fit with Zentangling. Anyway, I’m excited about it, even if no one else is at the moment.
Anyway, there’s a new Zentangle-only video up today for Patrons (tomorrow for everyone else). If you could use some simple, cheerful art to brighten your day, you will probably really enjoy this one featuring the pattern Alcatraz by Diana E. Marshall. In it I draw the Zentangle art at the top of this page. It’s not an overly intricate tile, so it’s a good Zentangle to try if you don’t consider yourself artsy but still want to Zentangle with me.