The first #ForkTogether meeting, and what went wrong

On the 30th of June, we had the first Fork Off Together meeting, for which the goal is to fork off from the Mastodon project. The idea had been simmering for a while, and the required logistics was a lot bigger than one person could do on their own, yet, I tried to do it on my own.

Let me explain, I was not doing it on my own per se, but rather I was doing a lot of the preparations for this one meeting alone, even if I had two people that I worked fairly tight with, at one point my head just got too tired to properly communicate with others about what help I needed, so it more or less got easier to “just do it myself”, or ask my live-in boyfriend for help, as I could point and grunt at things, when words wouldn’t come out properly.

So, what went wrong with the first meeting?

To start off, over all it was a good experience, but we definitely had some teaching moments which we seemed to, as a group, react well to.

However, I want to start by pointing out what went wrong from my side ie what I could have done better or different. This isn’t about placing blame, but rather a reflection on why I did it the way I did.

So, my initial idea was based on something that I had experienced and learnt when I was active in the Pirate Party here in Sweden between 2009-2014. The organization had a way, which is common (from my understanding) for certain types of organizations, namely the type that has a lot of smaller organizations under the same umbrella. Eg. political org or youth organizations that wants to try and get funding for their work locally.

Having this kind of meeting, is a way to make it easy to start up one of those new small orgs, only requiring 3-5 people, and being youth orgs it meant that they could get a little money from the government. This also doubles as a means to encourage youth to get engaged in activities which will in the long run keep them too busy and away from crime, (but don’t quote me on this, this is just my general understanding of the concept).

What I tried to do was leverage that knowledge I had, to have our own startup meeting, and jeebus I had to try really hard to not accidentally use that term.

In the political org case, it was easy to adopt the same bylaws, coc, operational plan etc. because we were all part of the same organization. This was definitely my first mistake.Unfortunately I didn’t mentally connect the dots until the actual meeting, and I couldn’t have done it different at the time.

I need to highlight here, that the accepting the bylaws and things during the first meeting of this kind was based on it being a sub-association of a bigger org. There wasn’t supposed to be a need to do to much with the bylaws and if there was it would’ve been done before the meeting.

In my foggy mind I didn’t get this out in time and worded correctly. Heck, I had even said “no we won’t draft bylaws” before I realized the translation in full. I could have, and probably should have, checked myself when I realized that that document translated to bylaws. But I didn’t.

Another member of the meeting wrote some good reflections about this type of meeting too.

If that was my first mistake, what was my second one?

I thought that I could distance myself from responsibility and active choices by leveraging that I was just inviting people to a meeting. I didn’t want to make decisions for us, and this was the only way I knew how.

This isn’t as much a mistake as it is paradoxical. Mostly because either way I make decisions and it becomes a really weird situation. Especially if I couldn’t get all the info out of my head as fast as the questions came my way.

About 14 days in I was able to entirely fall apart, and did some public spectacle which didn’t reflect well on me, and also ended up possibly harming the project, I pushed away some people I really wanted in on the ground floor.

I could make excuses, and I could try to explain myself, but it won’t change anything. However, what I can do is recognize that I did screw up and that I can do better in the future. I understand my why, and that means that I can take preventive measures.

So, what preventive measures can I take in the future?

A big one, delegate. While we were 3 people working together in the early days, the same people who’ve also rejected any direct involvement in management, or interim-committee or the committee / board for the first year of this project, I did a bulk of the work and had trouble getting stuff out of my head.

When I felt like I was about to entirely break, the incident referenced above, I should’ve let go right there and just set up a Discord server and invited everyone, and continued to contribute to the group in their process of preparing a meeting together etc.

But at the same time, if I hadn’t done the meeting the way I did, I would not have learnt the lessons I did, so this is a double edged sword, imo.

So, what went right?

I took my time, and worked through it slowly. I built small road maps for myself to guide me along the way and asked for help when I felt stuck.

I need to remind you all that the survey blew up way bigger than I had ever expected. I think by the end we had almost 200 responses to the survey, and over 120 saying “let’s do this”. [link to the shared data on June 11th]

I couldn’t have planned for that, but when it happened I tried to baby-step my way through it.

The meeting, even though it was long and had it’s issues, was also pretty damn fantastic. The way I had translated Swedish meeting formalities to a discord server turned out to work pretty well, and once people got a hang of it they seemed to appreciate the somewhat rigid structure.

I hope, that using this experience I can create a template for hosting a first meeting when a group of people want to start an org together, and maybe I can help someone else avoid some of the problems that we encountered. Because there’s some solid structure here that definitely can be reused. That said, I will be publishing a separate post about the actual meeting structure and how set it up.

In a relationship with Anxiety

Someone updates their facebook status. “is in a relationship with”. a sentence that is rarely finished with anxiety. chronic pain. fatigue.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that I am in an open relationship with anxiety, chronic pain, and chronic fatigue (CFS). I am also in a relationship with my partner, who lives with me, and helps me deal with these destructive relationships which I can’t get away from.

It is like I am married to Anxiety, and we aren’t allowed to get a divorce, nor live apart. So we live here, together in this house, which is my body.

On bad days we will fight, and break things, anxiety will push stuff around inside of our shared house, which also happens to be my body. Anxiety doesn’t care though. Anxiety doesn’t care if they are hurting me, or our shared house.

JUST KILL YOURSELF

I have accepted my fate, that we have to live here together. So, like anyone in an abusive relationship, I… let Anxiety go through the motions, I let them run through the house and wreck things. While I sit silently in a corner hiding.

the constant tension, the fear that they’ll break something. break me. hurt me so much that there is no return. parts of the house become off limits though, but in order to keep anxiety only located in my chest, tension spreads, to shut off the exit routes. My arms, my hands, wrists will contort, as I am trying to calm down anxiety inside of me.

Unfortunately Anxiety will have none of it. “Calm down please.” -NO THE WORLD IS ENDING. “look the world isn’t ending *point at window*” – NO? NO? Okay, BUT FUCK YOU YOU BITCH FOR TELLING ME I AM WRONG.

Anxiety is not reasonable, and not necessary a creature of anger. Just that the rest of the body goes into shutdown, to take care of Anxiety. We care for them, and the concerns they have, we want to help. We want to rationalize. but we end up paralyzed, while trying to calm them down.

Hi, friends, I’m in a relationship with anxiety. – HOW DARE YOU TELL ANYONE WE ARE TOGETHER. I’m not comfortable with you talking about us with other people. Stop it. STOP IT.
Anxiety will always tell us to not talk about them, we are only allowed to talk with them. But when we do, they lead the conversation. Or they make sure we are both quiet.

As I writhe in pain, pain caused by Anxiety, I am told “just break up with them”, by someone who’s never been in a destructive relationship. Who has never feared for their life.

When I talk about Anxiety, they punish me. and I hurt more. I can never talk about them without them showing up, and wrecking havoc in our house.

Sometimes they leave for a while. I don’t notice, because I am occupied with activities that I can’t do when they are around. I can do things which I love, and would love to do more. things I don’t have energy to do when Anxiety is home.

when Anxiety is loud, I get quiet. I may go and rest. Or try to find an outlet, or a distraction. Like eating. Let’s sit down and break bread. Let’s eat, to feel better. -FATTY, why are you eating that? Stop eating. eat more to calm down. Just another piece of crunchy chocolate. chompchomp.
It never helps to eat with anxiety, but I always wish, that today it will work, just this time.

I see myself as a very outgoing person, a happy person who enjoys the company of other people. But on days when Anxiety is present, I am not me, I am quiet instead of talkative. And I just want to hide, because why should I spend time with people if I am not me.

I don’t think Anxiety will ever leave me. And I just have to make due. Sometimes I can rationalize with myself, rather than Anxiety. I will ignore Anxiety’s answers to my questions, and look for my own answers. Sometimes I have to repeat the question over and over, until my voice can be louder than the voice of Anxiety. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.


This is a short essay, and not nearly exhaustive on the subject of living with anxiety.

First week of work

I’ve been working with my new job for a week. This is the first day that I’m taking a real day off. I tried om Saturday, but I had fires to extinguish. 

I slept 14hrs, and woke up around 13.00. Sleeping this much reminded me that I’ve been neglecting my naps and rest time. I’ll elaborate on this, just have to go through a few other things first. 

Yesterday my live-in boyfriend pointed out that I have been working a lot more than I’ve clocked. Which made me realize that I need to compartmentalize my work more. 

So these things connect, obviously. I need to delineate what my work entails, so I focus on that during my work time. While doing so I also need to delineate my work time as well not just clock in when I’m already doing work my accident. 

This will free me up from stress, because this is my work box [work], this box entails (these chores). Then outside that box I chill and focus on my studying for that designated time. And take my god damn naps! 

My studies,  I’ve already compartmentalized, which has helped me a lot in staying healthy. Basically I’m just borrowing from what I learnt when I started school again in January, after a year sick-leave. 

Maybe I’ll do more updates like this! 

For reference, I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which makes getting a job scary and exciting at the same time. 

“I’ve had a day”

“I’m having a day, a week, a month…”
I recognize myself so much in this. I kept chugging along, for years, just one more crisis to manage, where to live, how to eat, how to pay rent. Get through my courses so I’d be eligible for student loan so I could do those things.

Watching this video, really hits home. I’ve not felt purpose in a very long time, until just recently (the past few months).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYqHSo5aKkM

When someone asked how I was doing? “Good and bad, chaotic but smiling. He he he” I’d laugh it off, the bad. The stress. The chaos. Sometimes I’d rant for a few minutes on what’s been up. Like when I moved 6 times in 2.5 years, and didn’t know where I lived anymore.
I still have nightmares of not knowing where I live.

That awkward, nervous laugh… It’s just to stay alive, “if you smile you trick your brain that you’re actually happy”…

last year I made a new friend, who lived here in the house. She always smiled and was very cheerful. But I could see that behind her eyes were unhappiness. She was suffering as much as I was. We met before I got sick-leave due to my exhaustion.

Other people around us said “Uhhg, she’s so false, always cheery and smiling all the time”… I’d sit in silence regarding this, most of the time. Until I didn’t. “we have to trick ourselves, to stay alive, by smiling” is what I wanted to say.

I ended up with, not wanting to out her, out that her mom had brain cancer, and that she was as stressed and broken as I was (the few conversations we’d had had revealed this), saying: “You know, you don’t know what she goes through, you don’t know what’s behind that smile, some people just use it as a coping mechanism, to keep swimming”. Maybe that wasn’t the exact words… But that’s what I tried to say.

Someone who you may see as just false, is probably struggling, every day is a fight. Every breath is a fight.
You have to keep living, until one of two things happen: You catch a break, or you die.

Supporting people in such a situation, with the littlest you can, is a huge thing. Stepping away and not attacking people that You Do Not Know In Depth And Personally is the right thing to do.

I’ve had people help me pay rent in my life. Know what? I’ve helped people pay rent too.

The people who’ve had the least, are usually those who are ready to give the most when needed. They will remember their own shitty situations that they have survived to get to where they are today.

Giving to someone who has very little, will by extension help someone else in a shitty situation in the future, because these people will be so ready and alert to other people’s needs.

Any time when I know I can pay all my bills, and food for the entire month, and that I have another salary / income at the end of the month I do help other people. Maybe not always with much, but something little can make such a huge difference, it can mean the difference between having medicine this month, or having food at the end of the month.
I have a friend who’s fallen outside of the social security system. I buy her food at least once a month.

Today you probably look at me and go “you just got hired for a job, what are you complaining about.” Yes. Yes I did. I am privileged, but also incredibly lucky. Just dumb luck, that @sargoth sent me a message “psst mastodon, register” (before we hit 40k users here), and another series of events leading up to this.

I hadn’t had my period for 110 days because I was stressed about not knowing how to survive the next year, just trying to get through the next few months of studies..


This is a copy paste of a rant I wrote on mastodon.

Out of the Closet: I’m Fat

I have not just temporarily gained some weight, which I’m going to lose soon again. I mean, yes that may happen, but it is not sustainable from a mental health point of view to continue waiting for myself to have enough energy to “deal with my weight”.

here’s a short snippet from my twitter which kinda sums it up:

there it is, I’m fat. I admit it. I come out, if you so will. And I accept it.

the only way for me to be healthy mentally and physically is to accept myself just the way I am right now.

I got my health back

Yes, and no. It is partially true, and I notice improvements every day. I also notice where my limits are and take a step back, take a mental note and try to remember for next time to not make the same mistake again. But back to the good stuff, I got my health back!

On Monday I started school again, we had the same 2 introduction classes as last year (when I tried to start but ended up with sick-leave after 3 weeks). This detail is quite important, I attended more or less exactly the same thing twice but a year apart. There it was, black-on-white, I could compare what happened, how I felt, and what the rest of the week looked like.

Last year I came out of the two introductions completely exhausted, ready to pass out. The lunch break in between I had asked to sit quite separately from everything and everyone else with my friend, to get some quiet. I recall eating a lot of chocolate to get me through.

This year I came out of the two introductions surprised that I could come out of 4hrs worth of lectures and not be completely foggy. That I could come out of the first one and still be able to think. Over lunch I did avoid the loud cafeteria, but ate my food a little earlier and then took a 40min walk during lunch. I took time to practice the calm, because I had wound myself up a bit just before the lunch break. And I came home, still functional. And I cooked dinner.

The difference is so clear, that it scares me. I don’t think I’ve been feeling this okay at all since I started studying. Maybe at the beginning of the 2nd year, but I was still at a deficit. However, that summer I had gotten a good 4 weeks of rest and reset. But I wasn’t on the meds that I am now, so I was suffering from other issues.

I could’ve come out of this and talked about it earlier in the week, but just going through the rest of the week, getting to study my assigned days, getting through 2 assignments! Not even sitting with it last minute. As well as taking my break day on Wednesday. It just feels like all the pieces are falling into place.

Now, don’t get me wrong I can still get super exhausted if I don’t watch myself, currently I can allow myself to practice and find a way to live functionally. And I am still on part-time sick-leave (at least from the doctors side).
This whole experience also brings me back to 2009, when I was coming out of my long term sick-leave (3 years) and I met someone who had been in a similar situation, burning out. They showed me that I could come out of it, but that in order to do so I would have to find a regime that worked for me. That detail I wasn’t really ready for then, but I am now, and I’m doing it. So I’m incredibly grateful for having met them.

Black and white

I’m so sick and tired of people viewing the world in black and white. We no time for nuance in our posts, our streams. There’s no time and no space. I’m right you’re wrong, I’m wrong you’re right. Black. White.

On top of this, we have algorithmic bubbles, bubbles of views, where most of the ideas that I get to see, is ideas which I agree with. And if I don’t agree with it I can choose to see less of that particular content, I’m not reporting it, not blocking the person, just muting their PoV, and strengthening my own world view in the process.

When someone disagrees with us? We go to attack, we find faults in their grammar, we find faults in their cosmetics, we distill what we believe they are arguing for into two or three words letting them know that we aren’t interested in their ideological nonsense, and that they are wrong. You are dismissed.

Even when that person genuinely wants to open up a conversation, find an agreement, is there any common ground? What is the root of the problem in our society? What can we together do to fix it?

Even if we hate each other, we can only fix this if we work together, and find a root. Maybe we need a grass root, but we need to start growing.

The world is not the worst it’s ever been, it’s just that negative reporting gives more clicks, yields more money. It pays the rent. No one cares if things are going well. Heck, we don’t even care that much about the bad stuff that’s happening. We are too busy, too busy with work, 8-10hrs / day, maybe even 2 jobs, and kids. When are we going to have time to change the world? Someone else can do it for us.

It starts with you, and me, and your neighbor, and your friend’s best friends grandmother. We are all in this together, and we need to take steps to take care of each other. We need to just take a little bit of time to help someone else.

Not tomorrow, not next week. We have to start today.

Kan vi alla hålla med om att vi behöver en hållbar flyktingpolitik?

Vi måste prata om detta, inför Partiledardebatterna, och under den:

Kan vi börja prata om skatteflykterna, och dåligt planerad användning av skattemedel? (så som den fina kryssningsbåten till flyktingar som stog tom måste betalas för och blev en rättsligt tvist, kolosalt höga hyror för asylsökande/flyktingar där uthyrare går i vinst)
Kan vi börja att verkligen titta på Hållbar-utveckling för att ta emot flyktingar?

sustainable

Här är lite länkhjälp om hållbarhet. Känner ni någon riksdagsledamot, eller partiledare, eller blivande partiledare? Prata med dem om detta, låt oss starta ett riktigt samtal! Snälla?

1 – Make them partners, not just recipients.
2- Homes for refugees: eight new designs for conflict housing
3- Urgent Housing Solution – Scandinavian sustainable design at it’s best

Detta är bara ett axplock, det finns så mycket goda idéer där ute. som är genomförbara.
Vissa kommer argumentera: men vi kan inte bara ge dem hus och hem gratis, det kostar pengar. Det är rätt! Men vi kan hjälpa dem att hjälpa sig själva och varandra. Då får vi en fungerande integration och ett fungerande ekosystem.
De som flyr och kommer hit är från alla promenader i livet. Läkare, byggarbetare, lärare, hårfrisörer, designers, etc etc. Ser vi inte hur de kan hjälpa att bygga upp hem, och få i ordning?

Vad händer om vi prioriterar intensivkurser till de som redan är lärare? Så de sedan vidare kan hjälpa fler att lära sig svenska?
Vad händer om de som är pedagoger och psykologer får jobba med de barnen som kommer, får hjälpas åt för att hantera traumat de gått igenom för att ta sig bort ifrån kriget?
Vad händer om de som vet hur man bygger får bli sysselsatta med att hjälpa till att bygga hem till de som kommer?
Vad händer om de som är läkare, undersköterskor och sjuksköterskor får hjälpa dem runtomkring sig, kanske tillsammans med tolk och svensk doktor att ge de personer som kommit hit hjälp med sjukdommar och skador de har?
Vad händer om de som kan sy, får sysselsätta sig med att reparera, sy nytt? Finns det företag idag som har restprodukter som vi skulle kunna låta gå till nytta?

Ser du vad jag menar? Ser du hur detta kan vara en hållbar hjälp? En hållbar utveckling, som bygger sig själv, som inte måste kosta så mycket extra?

Fight the world. Save the world.

Currently the world is making me incredibly depressed. And I don’t have the energy to fight it.

I am a fighter at heart, no question about it. I am of the strong belief that I can’t expect other people to do things that I wont try to do myself, i.e. save the world.

Currently the state of affairs are however driving me nuts. 8 months and counting, and I don’t have energy to save the world.

I get whispers in my ear, telling me that I have to save myself first, before I can save everyone else. I can’t save other people from drowning, if I will drown in the process.

But I want to, I really want to help make the world a better place. What can we do?

For me, that currently am in a state where I can’t really do anything, there are tiny minuscule things that I can do, and then hope that people will pay it forward.

Examples: 1) I’m now a proud patron of Magnus Andersson the current leader of the Swedish Pirate Party, for $25 a month. Those who know me know that 6 years ago I was a candidate in the Swedish election for the Pirate Party. In that situation I also had people who helped me because they could. Right now I can’t go out and work for the Pirate Party myself, but I can help those who do.
2) a few days ago, a lady on Twitter asked if people would be interested in sketches for $15 so she could pay the rent. I signed up, and went ahead and helped.

I do what I can. Sometimes I need to remind myself that I do help as well.

Coming back down to earth

I was high, so high. Up in the clouds, happy and energetic. I knew it wouldn’t last.

Let’s talk about it. Let’s talk about what happens when we come back down from the high. You and I wont be the same, but here’s my side.

It started two days ago, but I didn’t realize. I vented on Twitter, thought it was fine. I went from my happy day-time-mood. Where I’m functioning, and smiling. I took my naps like I should, so I wont crash. I didn’t crash. But at night it came crawling. The thoughts. Why can’t you do more. I have to take baby steps. I talk about it, I talk about it with pride, that I can take these small steps.

IT IS NOT FAST ENOUGH.

Small steps, moving me forward, or not actually moving me at all. Am I getting better? Stress running around inside of me.

I’m fine, it’s good. I’m getting better.

I take my naps, I’m doing what I’m supposed to do. I need to balance. on a ball. on a plank. BALANCE. One wrong step and …

… everything

falls

apart. Again

I recognized it.

It was ignored when I woke up.

Loud voices. My own. Words battling.

Last night anxiety visited me. I shared with twitter, but not with A. Why didn’t I? The anxiety, my old friend, familiar. I managed to calm down and sleep.

Did it boil? Yes, maybe. But today it burst. And when I began crying I couldn’t stop, and I was too exhausted to fight the bad voices. LOUD. SCREAMS. telling me: THE END IS NIGH. I had to hold my self, clench my fist. Stop myself, stop any possible action.

A, wanted to give me space. That was when it broke out. I couldn’t ask for help, I couldn’t talk. the same repetitive words spinning around and round inside my head. Clenching harder.
My sobs reached him. He came and comforted me.

How do you tell someone you love that your mind is SCREAMING at you that you should make him leave, so you can die in peace?

I came down from the high. I see a world in need, a world I want to help. But first I need to help myself, someone else has to save the world.

All this will be brought up with my doctor. Be comforted by the fact that I can talk about it.