Categories & tags

In a move that has taken me completely by surprise, I have categorized and tagged all my blog posts in the span of less than 24 hours.
Huh.

The categorization scheme is definitely not set in stone, and the tags are somewhat messy because I haven’t been able to decide whether I want to stick to the original, descriptive function of tags or use more “quirky” tags of my own. The former approach has the benefit that it allows other people to find stuff I’ve written by tags, and to know by sight what a tag actually means, but the drawback that I have to decide which content of each post is relevant enough to tag, and that I’ll accumulate a lot of tags over time. The latter approach allows a looser tagging policy (if I decide to throw lots of different things together under the tag “bananas are made for butts”, who’s to tell me that’s wrong?), but loses some (or even all) informational value.
So right now I have a hybrid system of some unique(-ish) tags and some boring old normal ones.

Anyway, here’s a handy guide to help you in case you find my system confusing!

The categories:

  • Becoming better
    This is a category for posts about various attempts of mine to improve myself, build better habits, fix brain bugs, troubleshoot social interactions, and generally improve my mental or physical health.

  • Blog Meta
    Pretty self-explanatory, really. Promises to post more, excuses about why I haven’t done so, challenges, posts about what to expect, etc.

  • DBT workbook series
    In which I blog about a Dialectical Behavior Therapy workbook I found online.

  • Gender and related phenomena
    Gender (cis and trans), gender relations, feminist stuff, and anything else I feel fits into this category. (Probably also sexuality if I ever post about that.)

  • Skepto opines
    In which I muse about stuff I know little about that has little or nothing to do with me, including media, social issues, communication, and whatever else strikes my fancy.

  • Stories of my life
    The category for posts in which I talk about something I’ve experienced and analyze various details in hindsight.

    • short stories & updates
      Short stories from my life buried in the middle of other posts, updates about things that have been going on in my life and such. (Probably will not be used in the most consistent way, because I’m not exactly sure what to count as short story.)

  • The ACDC
    The acronym is short for “awkwardly circumscribed dialogue chronicles”, a (rather civil) back-and-forth between me and a trans-exclusive radical feminist who has objected to the term TERF (hence the awkward circumscription). Enter at your own risk. (Posts in this category will not be categorized or tagged any other way so people who don’t want to read them can avoid them more easily.)

  • Welcome to the zoo
    My category about political events and happenings. The category name stems from Greek philosopher Aristotle’s description of humans as “political animals”.

The tags:

Self-explanatory tags (“music”, “abortion”, etc.) will not be described here, just custom ones.

  • fucking technology how does it work
    Tag for everything I write about failing electronic devices, programs I can’t handle, and anything else to do with technology, positive or negative.

  • my food is problematic
    Tag for anything to do with food (and my relationship with food), originally a Firefly quote.

  • relationship sailing
    Everything I write about my own relationships to people. (Maybe also commentary on relationships in general, if I post some.)

  • transgender adventures
    Catch-all for anything transgender-related, adventurous or not. (Most things trangender seem to be adventurous to some degree, but I’ve spent too many hours in waiting rooms and/or lines to think all are.)

  • tsuyoku naritai
    Literally translates to “I want to become stronger” and is an alternative name I considered for the “Becoming better” category. Ultimately I decided against it, because it’s not exactly informative, but I still wanted the sentiment in there somewhere, so most of the posts in the category will be tagged with this. If you want to know more about this, go here.

If you have suggestions for improvement or would like something tagged I’m not currently tagging (out of interest, to avoid it, or for any other reason), let me know and I’ll consider and/or do it.

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Twenty posts in twenty days: the review

Yesterday concluded my twenty days of blogging in a row. It feels like it’s been much longer, to be honest: it has already become a habit. Multiple times today, I squirreled away stray thoughts “for today’s blog post” before remembering I didn’t need to write one, usually with a slight feeling of disappointment, which I view as a very good sign.

So here I am, writing one anyway!

Starting out, I was afraid I wouldn’t have ideas to blog about every day. This fear was partly justified: sometimes I really didn’t have ideas, and ended up writing short, boring posts about mundane, boring stuff.
Which is great! This blog doesn’t feel like a blog for high-quality, well-researched, well-written content anymore, it feels like a collection of random ramblings about random topics, which is exactly what I wanted. Blogging has become less of a daunting task and more of an actual recreational activity. The thought of needing good posts is one I kind of shrug at now: well, too late to have only good posts, so fuck it.

I was also afraid I’d feel too pressured by the time constraint. Surprisingly, that wasn’t really an issue: while I did hear the clock ticking sometimes, and eventually had to decide posts uploaded after midnight counted, the deadline didn’t feel too threatening, and it was a great help. I couldn’t wait around for good ideas, or carefully plan each post: if I had no worthwhile ideas, no structure, and not as much editing as I would have liked, well, random ramblings had to do, so I just put some down and threw them online without thinking too much about it. And sometimes they actually developed into unexpected and somewhat interesting directions. (Or at least I think so.)

Sadly, it did not help with any of the “big” posts I’ve been putting off. I mostly felt like I had too little time for them anyway, so I ended up focusing on the more urgent thing and not working on anything else at all.
I still want to get to them eventually, though. I also have the DBT series to continue, and maybe one or two ideas that went unused to write about.

I’m thinking about continuing the challenge going forward, or modifying it a bit to see what happens – maybe write four blog posts a week, so I’ll have more time to work on longer ones? I’m not sure I wouldn’t just use the additional time to procrastinate, though. And I do have some other stuff to do as well.

We’ll see what happens, I guess.

I also feel like I should make categories, start tagging stuff, and archive this whole mess somehow, because with all the new posts it has become too chaotic for my liking. Although I could also use the opportunity to tweak my theme a little (or a lot), and that makes it a whole big project…
And tagging and organizing stuff is complicated anyway: thinking of and committing to a good categorization scheme is hard, and renaming and retagging is mind-numbingly boring. (In related news, most of the files from my old laptop are still a mess, now stored in folders on the new laptop which are aptly named “from backup and still unsorted”. Incidentally, they in turn contain lots of older folders with names like “old stuff”, “miscellaneous”, “other” and such.)

Ah well. Maybe my lowered inhibitions will extend to the categorization scheme, and I’ll just throw my posts into big, vaguely-named piles and call it a day.

 

Twenty (bad) posts in twenty days

Once again, I have fallen into the same old pattern: lots of thoughts and ideas to blog about, lots of doubts and anxiety about my ability to write well enough to do them justice, and a rather empty and forsaken blog as a result.

I made this blog for the express purpose of writing things that nobody really cares about, just a low-pressure place for me to put my word-vomit, no matter how dull or trivial or self-absorbed (hell, I explicitly called it “navel-gazing”!), and yet here I am, stuck again, because the performance anxiety I feel is not due to pressure put upon me by some place, but by the little perfectionist in my head. Not even my inner critic – that one’s useful, that one’s just what I use for editing passes to find typos, ambiguous sentences, run-on sentences, and other small(ish) mistakes. No, the perfectionist is not the one who finds mistakes in work I’ve produced, the perfectionist is the one that doesn’t want there to be mistakes. The perfectionist is the one holding up the shiny, smooth ideal, making all my words seem dull and clumsy in comparison.

I can’t count how often I’ve resolved to kick the perfectionist to the curb and just spew tons of clumsy words. All I know is that it has never worked so far, at least not for long.
Sure, I’d only spew clumsy words in hope that the experience will help me spew less clumsy ones down the line – maybe that’s my mistake? But I don’t think I can give up that hope.

I’ve had the idea to challenge myself to write twenty blog posts in twenty days, no matter about what (no distinction between important/unimportant topics), no matter how shitty they turn out. (Or do one of those half-horrible, half-awesome blog marathons of “one blog post every hour for twenty-four consecutive hours”, although that might be difficult to fit around real-life obligations.) Maybe I should do that. Alternative ideas would be to write for a fixed amount of time every day or to write without editing, although these seem less likely to work – the latter could just result in me obsessing over every single sentence for ages because I only get one attempt, the former might just lead to me dicking around for the assigned time span (writing lots of things I delete again almost immediately until time is up, probably).

Right now my brain is freaking out about this prospect, because what if they turn out horribly?, but that’s kind of the point. They could turn out horribly (and quite a few will, no doubt). And the world will keep on turning, and I’ll have twenty more blog posts on this blog that was never meant to be high-quality to begin with.

So. I think I’m going to do that. If I count this one, I’ll be done on February 1st! (And, as a bonus, they’ll probably turn out really short, since I only have very limited time for each post.)

Blogging is hard (and so are many other things)

Once again, it turns out that consistent blogging actually involves a decent amount of work and self-discipline.

This is not horribly surprising, since exactly these requirements also killed off my previous attempts at blogging, but it is somewhat disappointing that it also applies to this blog, which was intended as a really low-quality, low-effort blog right from the beginning rather than a blog filled with thoughtful, in-depth analyses incorporating lots of facts and citing all sources. I figured that since I spend a considerable amount of time navel-gazing anyway, writing some of that down and posting it would not take much more effort.

Continue reading “Blogging is hard (and so are many other things)”

Hello!

I have a new blog! (This one.)

Its name, “omphaloskeptomai”, is intended to be a description as well: navel-gazing. Well, the correct Greek term for navel-gazing would be “omphaloskepsis”, but that domain was rudely snatched away in 2006 – rudely because to this day, to this day, it contains nothing but the generic “Hello, world” post. Its owner apparently abandoned it right at the beginning, but never bothered to formally close their account, which is simply horribly inconsiderate. Did they think nobody else could possibly want that name?

Anyway, due to their bad manners, I had to call my blog here”omphaloskeptomai” instead, which should loosely translate to “I navel-gaze”. It should work just as well. (Which, considering it’s quite a mouthful, is probably “not at all”, but so be it.)

I had no idea what category to put it under – for some reason, WordPress lacks a “self-centered millennials mouthing off” category – so I put it under “Mental Health”.  I don’t know how fitting this categorization will turn out to be, but I do hope that venting about stupid stuff my brain inflicts upon me will make me feel better, and I expect to do a bunch of that here, so it fits somewhat. (Do these categories even make any kind of difference? They didn’t have them last time I made a WordPress blog, if I recall correctly.)

I originally started a tumblr to navel-gaze a few years ago, but that got overrun by reblogs pretty quickly (tumblr doesn’t have a commenting system, so you have to reblog anything you want to weigh in on. Plus, other people kept making really insightful and/or funny posts. Or posting cute animal videos). Also, half of my followers over there are porn bots, which are a hassle to block, and some people I know in real life know it, which is absolutely my fault, but makes venting quite awkward. (Have you ever wanted to write a post complaining about your roommates knowing that there’s a chance they might read it? Not the most pleasant feeling in the world.)
Plus, tumblr got taken over by Yahoo a while ago and is apparently losing Yahoo money, so they might shut it down – they’ve done it to other platforms before. So lots of people are fleeing anyway, or at least getting alternatives to fall back on if the unthinkable happens.

Whether this blog will actually contain anything but three meager posts (all promises to post more, naturally) six months from now is questionable – I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t, and you shouldn’t be, either. But if that happens, I will simply close down my account (do you hear that, omphaloskepsis thief? That’s what you do to not be a butt if it turns out you don’t need your domain anymore!) and probably try again in a few years or so.

While an introductory post seems to be in order, I am not going to write one – any time I try to figure out what to write about myself in how much detail in such a post, the task just seems to grow and grow and grow until it becomes too big and scary for me to ever actually do it. You’ll get to know me as we go along, I suppose. (I might write a small “about” section, although I have similar trouble with those.) If there’s anything you want to know about me, feel free to ask.

That’s it for now. See you later, hopefully!

(Fun fact: wordpress automatically capitalizes the “P” if you only capitalize the “W”, but not if you don’t capitalize anything. And the original capitalization will still show up in the editor, but not in the finished post. How very fascinating and slightly unsettling!)