Self Care Musings

Between planned leave and taking time to support Lady M as unplanned leave I seem to have ended up with enough down time for my brain to go sideways without a focus. It’s not unlike the scenario of counting spoons as a marker of mental reserve levels, but coupled with a degree of existential flatness that I choose to believe is a side effect of being present for loved ones and work colleagues alike.

One of the best self-care things that I remind myself to do is not feel guilty about doing very little, because in these moments that is what I need; but it’s not easy – my whole upbringing and history has been based on the value of achievement, so my every instinct is to see sitting and doing nothing as a waste of time rather than of taking time for myself.

I find myself being apologetic if asked what I’ve done and responding that I’ve not done much beyond read, play games, or sketch. I should be cleaning, solving world peace, or inventing sliced bread 2.0 for this time on my own to have significance.

Never mind that my thoughts are with my partners, who have both been or are about to be visiting hospitals for different reasons – or with organisational issues around work that really can wait until I get back because I have peers and staff who can and will deal with anything unexpected in a field that is basically getting books and information in the hands of the right people in a reasonable amount of time.

Never mind that I have had no contact or news from most of my family or friends for a while (since coming out mostly, but I’m sure that’s coincidental because I hear through other channels just how busy their lives have been) – or that we’re nearly at a point to be able to have serious conversations about buying our own place at long last, as long as no one else dies or has anything catastrophic happen in the immediate future.

I worry about the future of my work, about my enthusiasm for writing and cosplay, about my health, about the health of my loved ones, and about how tired I feel all the time at the moment.

But, I am loved, in a huge cloud of support that uplifts and surprises me at every turn – from partners, our metamour, my colleagues, my daughter, friends – and it’s nearly payday, which is a nice bonus.

As ever, I know I’ll be okay, especially when I remember that it’s okay to look after myself so that I can recharge my own batteries to keep the black dog in its kennel.

Mentoring Musings

Wherever I work, sooner or later it dawns on me that I’m not the new person, and indeed am looked on to be teaching the tricks of the trade to new people. Even more interesting to me are the situations where people that I have trained and coached are then in a position to be showing the ropes to new people.

I’ve had a lot of that recently at the library on both fronts. I have new starters that I’ve been setting to shadow staff to who I only recently taught the basics and helped past anxieties of dealing with the unexpected; and I have new deputies to who I am unveiling some of the “dark arts” of rotas, branch admin, and how to handle certain personalities among staff and customers.

I think I’ve been more gratified by watching how well people I’ve mentored be able to instruct and teach others in turn. It has felt like another tick box in the quiet assessment of how they’re doing and boost of the confidence I have in the people I manage.

It’s a simple pleasure, but also one that chimes with my own belief that people are generally happier when they understand their jobs and feel confidence in what they are asked to do, as they realise the breadth of their own skills and experience.

It’s almost as if I know what I’m doing..!

Lazy Days

I usually have Mondays off, so the current hot spell of sun is allowing me to feel like I’m actually experiencing a summer for a change. This week I also have Tuesday off as I randomly took it to break up this end of the month while finding ways to use up leave.

The combination of the Summer Reading Challenge and people insisting on wanting to take holidays with their families makes it a difficult time to take leave without leaving places understaffed, but I refuse to let that override my own need to take breaks from the joys of managing libraries.


So, as I have tomorrow off as well I’m not currently feeling the “oh gods what am I doing with my day off” feeling that usually crops up the day before returning to work – and that’s just as well given how hot it is. I have instead taken refuge in the local Costa to abuse their air conditioning while I read and try to do some writing.

The book has been on relative hiatus of late because my laptop is definitely creaking and on its last legs now, spending most of its time just updating and whirring it’s fans at me – we have a backup desktop that I plan to use as a backup machine but I think I’m going to have to bite the bullet and buy something simple and convenient to write on.

I’d better start saving up.

Chilled Out Saturday

Lady M is out for the weekend with Lady S, so I’ve spent today playing on the Xbox, watching films, and sketching odds and ends – oh, and drinking wine left over from the authors event that we hosted at the library mid-week.

That went well – I got drafted in to do the front of house and introductions and ended up juggling emergency services calls when someone got assaulted outside the library during the event.

All’s well that ends well on that front, but it did serve as a gentle reminder of just how petty day to day drama is when confronted with a young teenager with blood pouring down his face.

So yes, I have a few days off now, which is much needed as we’ve had a very stressful time of late with Lady M’s health. As of Wednesday, we have a relative all’s clear on a cancer scare, depending on the results of x-rays etc – all of which is a relief.

Did I mention I’ve been drinking wine? There’s probably a statute against tipsy blogging somewhere, but then again it’s a Saturday night and when better to blow off some steam?

Following On…

Following the shenanigans of the other day I was a little nervous about getting the same bus home, but so far no sign of the ever-so-delightful person and their elbows so either they’re not a local or karma has clipped their wings (if you believe in that sort of thing)

Thank you to the people who’ve reached out over what was basically a very minor altercation compared to what some people have to suffer.

And on we go.

Did I Just Get Queer-Bashed?

As a great many people will attest, when I have my nose in a book I’m not all that good at paying attention to my immediate surroundings. My journey home yesterday was the cap of quite a stressful hours, so firing up the Kindle app on my phone and re-reading the Fuller Memorandum (Charles Stross) seems a good way to distract me from the joys of travelling in a packed, standing-room only bus.

I’d found a good little corner to rest in, wasn’t blocking any access for anyone, and was happily reacquainting myself with The Laundry when I felt a sharp elbow in my kidney and heard “f**king queer” from a woman who was in the process of leaving the bus with small child in tow.

Being generally wrapped up in what I was doing it took a few seconds for my brain to process what happened and what I’d heard, by which time the doors were closed and the bus on the move again.

It hadn’t been a particularly heavy blow, but given I wasn’t in her way it could only have been deliberate and as I looked up I saw various bemused expressions on people’s faces – so I can only assume they’d seen and heard it too.

I choose to believe that no one asked if I was okay because I wasn’t reacting with anything other than confusion and that frankly I was towering over everyone else around me.

What prompted it? The only thing I can think of was that I had still had my nails painted black and red in my Harley colours from the weekend.

It didn’t really impact me until I got off the bus and headed into Tesco to get food for supper, and I fired off a quick grumpy message on our group chat. My amazing partners were quick to express shock and reassurance and aside from some lingering irritation I’m largely just brushing it off as one of those things

At least, my rational brain is. My more primal angry side wants to rage and confront the person, but what’s the point? I wasn’t really hurt, more bemused, and as both Ladies M and S said: she’d probably be highly jealous that I had two awesome partners and a job that I love, even on stressful days.

I still want to growl though.

Pride: We Were Not Ready

We’ve been meaning to go to Pride in London for ages, but never got round to it, usually because somehow it always seemed to be on either when I was working a weekend, or had a prior engagement. This year we determined was going to be different.

Was being part of a throuple part of this? Yes, a little I’ll admit, along with having started to go to munches and engage with the wider LGBTQ+ community rather than rolling relatively solo (so to speak). It’s brought us to know a more diverse and vibrant set of individuals and hear their stories.

From doing so, it became clearer that with so many more important problems in the world than who loves who, it is more imperative than ever for us to stand up and combine celebration with protest. To be a voice and representative for those unable to do so, or who would be at serious personal risk if they did.

So Pride it was, with some fellow cosplayers from Squad UK, and the promise of a glorious hot day. We thought we were ready. We had water, sunscreen, hats, and a rendezvous at Oxford Circus. We were there a little early, and got to see the crowds rapidly swell to fill streets normally thronged with shoppers and tourists.

Being the centre of London shopping, everywhere was decked out in rainbows. Tube stations, shops, buses, you name it, with many shops deploying extra staff to encourage people in out of the fierce sunshine. Somehow that just made everything seem more vibrant.

More and more families appeared, multiple generations to support and cheer on the parade, and everyone was just… relaxed. People of all shapes, sizes, ages and origins chatting, sharing jokes and observations, making room for each other, encouraging and supporting people. It was lovely, and heartwarming.

But it was very, very hot. I’d love to report that we managed to stay for the whole parade, let alone attend any after parties or shows, but the need for food, more drink, and shelter from the heat, let alone a break from the crowds, left us reeling away about halfway through.

We eventually ended up at The World’s End in Camden to meet some other people from Squad UK to celebrate some birthdays, and Lady M got to watch England beat Sweden before we made a break for home.

All in all, what a positive and extremely packed day. We will definitely go again, better prepared now that we have a better idea of what to expect. We were not ready!