Time Off

On my way out the door at work today I quipped that it was finally my turn to have a holiday – and at least in the respect that its not been leave taken in support of anyone else it’s true. I’m not going away anywhere but will be off work to decompress for a couple of weeks.

I can already feel my anxiety trying to get traction as I ruthlessly turn off all work electronics and tell myself my team are all adults and highly capable.

It’s definitely needed as it is that time of year again when the fireworks make life very uncomfortable. My PTSD is in many ways much improved, but it’s difficult not to flinch at unexpected pops and crackles with no obvious source.

I have at least managed to keep it all together and even managed to deliver a brief talk for a black history month event celebrating the leadership of the Stonewall Uprising and what eventually became the Pride movement. I had the usual pre-speech nerves that then disappeared once we started, and so that felt a good positive end of the working week for me.

Yes, it’s only Thursday, I know

National Libraries Week

Here in the UK, its National Libraries Week and I’m very proud to be doing my bit to help promote it. I was asked to put together a ‘day in the life’ style blog post about my role, answering some questions in common with other people in the service at different levels – and we’ve had various bits released through the week.

Libraries are a thing that I get very passionate about, especially when it comes to supporting and engaging with our local communities. We see people at their best and their worst through their whole lives; and at our best equip people with opportunities and knowledge to take control of their own lives.

Libraries have never just been about books. Librarians have always been subversive in the face of censors. I’m proud of what I do, and I’m proud of the people who work for and with me.

I’ll just put this soapbox down over here now…

Long Days

I’m still, in some ways, processing the death of Queen Elizabeth and the change that brings to the sensation of what I’m calling the touchstones of normality. That said, my work has required me to be involved in making sure that protocols and agreements are rolled out effectively in how my libraries operate and communicate at this time.

There’s nothing outrageous, just a lot of communication and relaying of questions up and down the chain – and thanking everyone working for me for their hard work and resilience during some fast-changing times.

That’s partly why today I herded the polycule all into one place so we could just spend some time together at Geek Retreat to chat, gossip, and support each other. One touchstone may have gone, but we have each other and the affirmation of being in each other’s company as another touchstone.

Tomorrow will be a quiet day of recharging batteries and, for me at least, some prepping of options for the D&D game in the evening.

New Term

It’s all very exciting. Along with many others, the cub has started at his new school today. As is traditional,all his clothing is of the “he’ll grow into it” fitting, but he still looks proud and perhaps happier than he expected.

Another new facet is that we’re now in that process of building his confidence to be home alone. We’ll get there. Right now I’ll settle for him getting in the habit of knowing where his house keys are. Small steps…

In the meantime my own learning journey continues with more elements of a Leadership course. It’s been made available to me both as part of the day job and in connection to the staff network role. I wasn’t entirely sure about it but I’m not one to turn down free learning opportunities. I’ve been pleasantly surprised and energised by the course so far so that’s a nice bonus.

Quiet Improvements

After the whirlwind of the last few weeks these last few days have been quite pleasant. That’s not to say there haven’t been moments that prompted the odd eye roll, but in general my stress levels have been a lot lower

Mostly that’s because the frenzy of events has finished for a little while, and also because my staff reminded me I can actually give them jobs to do on top of their day to day stuff. This was all wrapped up in a concern for my health that was heartening.

In the meantime I’ve been carrying on with a piece on Allyship that I’m starting to socialise now I’ve got the basic copy done, and have spent an afternoon wrangling accessibility issues. I need to get some more sensitivity reading done but I’m feeling confident in the piece at the moment.

And this evening we had the regular Destiny stream on Lady B’s Twitch where we pretended to be space pirates for a while.

Tomorrow we need to get the cub’s school clothing sorted ahead of the new term in Monday. He is not looking forward to it.

Write-ups and Sign-ins

So, back to work today following my unexpected derailment with a kidney stone yesterday. That was my body telling me to be sensible in hot weather (like the whole of Saturday at Pride and then a glass or two of wine on Sunday). Cue a day of painkillers, a hot water bottle, and the consumption of my own bodyweight in water to flush everything through.

I had (mostly) meetings spread through the day, but also got asked to put my Staff Network hat on to write up the corporate Pride report for the network. It seems to now be an annual tradition to get me to write such things, and as I was halfway through doing something specifically for the library intranet anyway it was only a quick skip and a hop to turn it into something more extensive and stick some photos in there.

That made for a positive end to the day at work, and since then I’ve caught up on TV and started to set up for a second D&D group to run monthly, with some colleagues from work. That’s a nice little side project. With any luck we’ll also be back into the adventures of the DDC this weekend as well.

Busy, busy.

Camberley Pride

I was wearing three metaphorical hats today and no physical ones as a sunny day dawned on Pride in Surrey at Camberley’s Recreation Grounds.

Eight in the morning saw me assembling the library stall as part of a wider group putting together stands in the Surrey County Council marquee and there was very little let up from that point.

My metaphorical hats were those of being one of the Library Group Managers, of being co-chair of the LGBTQ+ Staff Network, and part of my extended polycule as we coordinated various vehicles and modes of transport to get there. Somehow the plate spinning didn’t get out of control and I was able to slip between the competing roles with ease, which was helpful.

The whole day has been amazing – a much bigger site than last year at Godalming and thankfully all on a level rather than the entertaining slopes we coped with previously. The route of the parade was also far longer, weaving through the town and shopping centre before heading through residential streets to the park. Barring one very small group of teenage boys trying to be edgy we also had nothing but support and cheers from the crowds who had turned out. If there were counter-protestors (as had been threatened) they didn’t disrupt or dismay anyone.

Instead I was able to support colleagues, network with politicians and other organisations, mind our library mascot for their appearances, and still spend time with my loved ones and the assorted children we had with us.

We may even have persuaded our political portfolio holder to get his face painted with flowers and he very gamely let us decorate him in celebration of his being a fantastic ally both of libraries and the lgbtq+ community.

I’m home now, footsore, slightly sunburned, but fed and watered. Everyone has been delivered home to where they need to be, and I’m having my last cuppa to round out the day. It’s been a good one, and so’s the cuppa.

Approaching Pride

Even with having a part in preparations for work’s presence at Pride In Surrey this year I’m still feeling unready – but mostly because I’m not sure how I’m actually going to get there. There are train and bus disruptions so I suspect I may have to get a taxi, and this just considering me. Somehow we’ll get the whole Entourage there

In the meantime I have a stack of flags in my bag to use as table cloths on the day. So that’s useful. I need now to start thinking of what I’m going to wear on the day and use as props. To be fair if these are the biggest worried I need to deal with I’ll be fine.

Then next week starts my Leadership training, which I’ve gained access to with my Network Chair role as well as my managing and mentoring a group of managers in the day job. While I’m not expecting anything life changing, I am looking forward to it, and it is already opening doors.

Now, if the anxiety and depression could all nip off down the shops and not come back, that would be helpful.

Nominations

I’m in the process of drafting a statement in support of a nomination I’m making for a staff awards event. My main problem is concisely reducing the statement to only 500 words. This is not a lot when considering the range of criteria asked for and the range of things that has promoted me to make the nomination.

If this is the worst problem I have to deal with this week, I shall count myself lucky.

Even if the award isn’t given, the nomination will be a public sign of support for incredible work, so either way there’s a positive outcome. And yes I’m being deliberately vague at the moment as I’d like it to be a surprise.

Celebrating the positive achievements going on in the face of all the challenges is important, and is something I love being able to do.

Brain Fog and Taking A Break

I’ve been reminded that I do a great job of looking after and supporting my staff and really should look after myself as well. The conversation then veered across into reminding me that I should actually be using my leave. So I’ve taken the subtle hint and will be taking a few days.

Well, after I’ve sorted the next few days out, because dropping everything at a moment’s notice helps nobody.

I was going to write something about the joy of dancing and connection, but my brain fog is rolling in, so I’ll save those musings for when I can make them properly. An early-ish night calls.