GHDR 2022 April 4 Report: Working Through the List

Posted Monday, April 4, 2022 by Sri. Tagged GHDR

GHDR stands for "Groundhog Day Resolutions. For an explanation, see the GHDR trope entry!

2022 Activity Ideas

  • Bring Back Challenge-a-Day
  • Create as part of a social group
  • Track for forward achievement, not for the past
  • Commit to using SSG for the new site

2022 Platform Goals

  • Develop Srigarten features
  • Use Discord to Encourage Creative Sanctuary
  • Describe the DSri Creative Mission

2022 Personal Goals

  • Be less angry and sweary
  • Develop more conviction
  • Work with ADHD
  • Work with Trans Identity
  • Develop Sri-ness

It's April 4th, so it is time for a review! I've looked through my list of 2022 GHDR-related strategic goals and have checked off the ones that have seen progress. I'll go in order really briefly first to gather my thoughts.

1. Complete: Website SSG Tool

I've been pretty happy with using Eleventy as my site generation tool, especially because it is a twofer: not only to I get to work on my own site, I also get to practice using the Javascript development skills that I'm currently using to pay my bills. And some day, these skills may give me the foundation to create app versions of my PDF tools!

However, I've had to backburner a lot of this due to immediate project concerns. I'm very behind on where I wanted to be on my current project, the scriptable simulation engine for student use. The GUI is kicking my butt with soooo many details, and I was getting very burned out working on it by myself for so long without direct support. Thankfully that support is starting to roll in after I raised how much of an issue it has been. Here's to sunnier days!

2. Progress: Srigarten Features

I previously had labeled this goal as "develop and make public", but I'm now in the stage of developing the site as my personal knowledge management system. I've named it Srigarten like 'kindergarten, except for Sri' as a space to play. For me, playing is doing a lot of thinking based on observations that leads to imagined improvements in the world.

I'm keeping track of the related project notes in the [Sri KMS](/Sri KMS/) collection. Right now they are a kind of jumble, but it's been great to have a place where I can edit, find, and share the information. There's quite a lot of advanced functionality I need to add in the months to come, but I'm feeling super positive about it!

A couple highlights:

  • I've added some supporting categories beyond the main ones that support ELBS: 'exemplar', 'iota', and 'squirk'. These are not yet indexed because their names are not yet final, but the basic idea is 'exemplar = great example', 'iota = interesting fact or artifact', and 'squirk = sri personality quirk'.

  • I've added a command line tool that will create new entries for me and open the file. As the directory structure is getting pretty convoluted already, this saves me considerable aggravation until I can build a custom Knowledge GUI or something.

3. Progress: Discord Creative Sanctuary

I've been running a blog-related Discord server since 2016, which has since morphed into a coworking space that I'm actively managing every day. It keeps morphing into new and interesting forms based on who is using it, and I regard my job to make the experience welcoming for people who have things to do and also are looking for a bit of camaraderie/inspiration outside of work.

I think I've finally solved a long-standing dichotomy between two kinds of "energy" that I'd like to promote. You might recognize these from the blog:

  1. critique and analysis of a subject, exploring different points of view without prejudice
  2. unabashed love of a subject because it makes people happy

These two energies are incompatible, and I've had problems creating the feeling of a "safe space" for discussing the latter types of subjects. While I can emit the openness in person, the server structure itself also has to reinforce it in a way that is intuitively obvious to people who don't know my intent. Up to now, every time I have tried to create a room where "Type 2" energy, someone invariably injects "Type 1" critical discussion into it and kills it dead.

The solution came to me while doing a room reorg: instead of putting the Type 2 rooms in the same area as Type 1 (our Discuss in Depth #talk-subject rooms, they are now going into the consolidated Social Hub category where we already have #subject-club rooms. I expressed the difference like this in our ops room:

For example, consider a hypothetical talk-pandas versus panda-club.

In a talk room, any discourse about pandas is fair game, even critical discussion of other tangential subjects that can be lept-to from the panda core subject. You could question whether pandas are evolutionarily suited to exist.

However, if a conscientious but panda-critical person were to see a room called "Panda Club", they might get the idea that dissing the subject might not go over well should they go in with their contrarian panda-questioning rhetoric.

There are different kinds of "freedoms" associated which each kind of room:

  • Talk Rooms - critical civil discussion! We've had good luck with this!
  • Club Rooms - passion and appreciation of a subject! This is what I want also!

Both kinds of energy are really important to me, and by extension I think this is also the balance I'm struggling with regarding my own website, especially in its current form.

4. On My Mind: DSri Creative Mission

In a similar way to the coworking server, being able to describe what I do is again on my mind. The site is organized around Explore Learn Build Share (ELBS) principles; I'm hoping to make it really clear what each category might have inside it. My old website suffers greatly in the clarity department, thanks to it growing out of a long personal journey. As a result, I feel it's difficult to engage with.

In addition to ELBS, the insight about "talk vs club" rooms adds another piece to the puzzle. I've just added a new mission entry to keep tabs on this.

5. Being Less Angry and Sweary

I confirmed my fears through a friend: my tendency to get mad at animate objects is offputting, and this makes me feel terrible. When I am already frustrated with the speed of my progress, and then hit something that adds more delay or has misled me. The swears pour forth and scares away all the good vibes :-(

On reflection, there are other variations of this too, when I am specifically expecting "professional behavior":

  • When I encounter what I think of as bad craft or poor design in product that is supposed to be professional, I get really salty. I can hold it in for a while, but if I see more than three issues related to a subject in which I have expertise a very strong negativity builds inside. It's strongly judgmental and it doesn't really do me any good other than a prompt to design something better. Still, the negativity isn't something that I need to internalize with that, and if it leaks into a group design project then it is toxic.

  • Another variation of negativity is when I expect someone to know their job due to them being in a position of authority. I also expect them to have empathy for the people they are guiding. While this doesn't often get expressed, it builds-up as frustration internally which does me no good. This manifests as leaked disdaain which is also toxic in a group setting.

  • Finally, I expect people to make and communicate decisions and follow-through with them, especially if I am part of the effort. It's not important to me whether the followup is fast or excellent...I just want to know that the effort I'm putting in isn't going into the void, and see something that we can work on. In the absence of this, frustation builds up and I feel like I'm being taken for granted. In the worst case, this leads to snippy language and veiled criticism that does not create an atmosphere of trust.

I used to place the most importance on emphasizing COMPETENCE to the highest degree I could, but thinking back on my early design career I cringe. My social interaction with people did not bring joy to people. Instead, it put most people on guard and made them feel judged. I did not build teams. I did not create camaraderie. I started to learn how to do that in my mid 30s, but I've still carried the baggage of these frustrations all these years.

Here's a link to the original talk, which is worth watching in its entirety

I happened to stumble across a quote from Brené Brown, Texas firecracker researcher, on Letting Go of Blame. There's an animated excerpt of one of her talks that I found absolutely gut-punching:

Blame is simply discharging of discomfort and paint. It has an inverse relationship with accountability. Accountability by definition is a vulnerable process. It means me calling you and saying, "hey my feeling were really hurt by this" and talking. It's not blaming. Blaming is simply a way that we discharge anger.

People who blame a lot seldom have the tenacity and grit to actually hold people accountable because we spend all of our energy raging for 15 seconds and figuring out who's fault somethign is. And blaming's very corrosive in relationships, and it's one of the reasons we miss our opportunities for empathy."

All this time, I've thought of accountability as being able to do what you say, and thought holding people accountable was to point out what they were doing wrong when something felt like it was important. But this definition really is at the heart of what I've been missing, I think. It's already helped me a lot this past month. Hopefully in time, my swearing will be the COLORFUL FUN KIND OF SWEARS, not the kind tinged with rage. I guess this is a lesson better learned late than never, but my stomach hurts thinking of all the times where I picked rage over empathy, because of my own doubts about my competence and the acceptance I believed that hinged on it.

Looking Ahead

While I had wanted to start the Challenge-a-Day process this month, I am actually still stuck with work. There is a tremendous amount of work left to do that I didn't fully account for, so I've got to really push on that and try to maintain a modicum of positivity throughout it. It looks like my hoped-for summer sabbatical is not going to happen too, and this is a crushing feeling.

That aside, I predict that I'll continue to work on the following anyway when I'm taking a break:

  • Continue to developer Srigarten features. Image support is probably the highest on my list, as I want to reintroduce newspaper-style image formatting into the system.

  • I have my first full appointment with my PMHNP-BC tomorrow regarding ADHD treatment as well as the issues around possible ASD and GAD diagnoses. There will be a lot of personal history to relate tomorrow.

And that's it for today's report! Just rolling along, trying to get to the point where COMMUNITY, CREATIVE OUTPUT, and getting comfortable EXPRESSING MYSELF as a kooky trans non-binary person of color of a certain age without fear.


Feb 2

Kickoff - Defining the goals for 2022.

Mar 3

Focus Level Up! - Initial goals cleared. Added "daily making" criteria.

Apr 4

May 5

Much Mental Processing - Thinking through mental health issues.

Jun 6

Too Much Work - Burned out on work. No report.

Jul 7

Back to Meeee! - Work commitments ending, looking forward to focus on my own work.

Aug 8

Setting Strategic Horizons - Need for "singular focus" stronger than ever. Hypothesizing goal-less strategic planning strategy based on structured procrastination.

- extra-

Related journal entries Defining Archetypes, Defining Goals, and Defining Operational Goals dig into the conditions for setting strategic horizons. Reboot Complete is the summary of progress made.

Sep 9

Progress in Four Phases - Warming up to meet my strategic horizon goals took time, but the systems of the past are proving useful in the present!

Oct 10

Fighting the System, Letting it Be - Limited progress on the big yucky goals that must be done, reflections on the challenges, and a reminder maybe that I should just let things be beautiful.

Nov 11

Battling Impairment, Finding Heart - Addresses long-standing mental impairments as "personal fact" that GHDR does not directly address.

- extra-

Dec 12

A New Roadmap - The key insights about ADHD, ASD, and Personal Mission summarized.