What Makes Me Tick?

Let's be real: 2020 was rough. Between COVID-19, the anti-science movement, the whole "armed insurrection" thing, and others I've probably blocked from memory, this has been a draining year. I've been recovering from burnout during a year specifically designed to wring every last drop from me.

So how am I here? How did I find the energy to revisit my business and work to rebuild it?

I mean, I can point to a singular event if I want to. Abigail Thorn's coming out video reminded me of why I transitioned in the first place, and she helped me realize: I'm not getting what I want out of my life. Working for my mom was a special kind of hell, especially after she threatened to fire me for being transgender. I don't want to ever end up in that kind of position ever again, where my income depends on the whims of a single person.

But that's not enough. Sparks fade, fires burn out. This epiphany was enough to get the ball rolling, but it didn't keep it rolling. I burned out again.

So how do I get that ball rolling again? What gives me the energy to keep going, to keep making new things and improving my life?

What makes me tick?

  • Making a thing, then looking at it and going "I made this, and my life is better for it." This one is a pretty high-level one, but the feel I get from seeing something I made in motion? Knowing that I've added something concretely useful and beautiful to the world? That's special.
  • Creating something that's aesthetically pleasing to me. See above.
  • Sharing the things I've made and inspiring other people. Knowing I've made a difference in someone else's life, knowing that I've had a positive effect on people gives me a subtle glow that warms my heart.
  • Helping other people. Being able to solve a problem that was plaguing someone else is a good way to stoke my ego, make me feel special, and make me feel like I can fix the world - and feeling like I can do something often inspires me to want to do something.
  • Discovering something new, wonderful, and joyous. Whenever I find a new story, or new art, or new show, or whatever that I fall in love with, my first impulse is to dig up everything I can related to that thing - most often via TV Tropes.
  • Finding a unique solution to a problem. That moment when everything just clicks into place where before there was just a befuddled mass of puzzle pieces, that "eureka" moment.
And while I'm at it, I decided it would help me a lot to figure out what saps my soul, what drains my drive, what put outs my fire. Understanding what busts my groove may also help me keep my groove going, as one can conquer one's enemies by knowing them.

    What burns me out?

    • Repetitiveness. All work and no play makes Lexi a dull girl. All work and no play makes Lexi a dull girl. All work and no play makes Lexi a dull girl.
    • Working in the shadows. I thrive on attention, so the corollary is that without attention, I wither like an unwatered shrub.
    • Dealing with exhausting people. Thinking about how to manage a social interaction in real-time where failure means my life is going to suck? No thank you.
    • Working on someone else's schedule. My body and mind are tempestuous forces of nature that tick on an unpredictable schedule. I may be looking to take on the world one hour and looking for the nearest sleeping surface in the next hour. Trying to control that is like trying to control the wind.
    • Working on a problem I can't solve. This is the metaphorical equivalent of running an engine block on a cinder block mount, the hamster running on its wheel going nowhere, the humidifier/dehumidifier system that Adrian Monk made in that one episode of Monk.

    So that's me. What makes you tick? Let me know in the comments, or ping me on Twitter at @The_Recreator!

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