Categories
Emotional Work

Day 446 and For Myself

Some days I forget I picked up the habit of writing every day for myself. It might feel like an obligation or a burden or even a sacrifice. Today it feels like a sacrifice. I want to be spending my time elsewhere. But I’ve committed to doing this habit every single day for myself. And when my desire to write conflicts with another desire, it’s a challenge to form a good narrative.

I have to ask myself honestly what priorities do I put off so that I can always write every single day? Am I sacrificing other things to give myself this daily writing habit? Of course, the answer is yes. Every act, every decision, every time we apply our focus it is a choice to pick one priority over another.

I am in this moment sacrificing time with someone so I can maintain this habit. I pulled myself away from someone to put finger to keyboard (a much less romantic turn of phrase than pen to paper) so I could prioritize myself and my habits.

And that’s ok. I want to put this habit first for the few minutes it takes me. It doesn’t make me a bad person to pull away to do this for myself. I don’t need to justify it. This is what I choose. Getting comfortable with the responsibility for my choices is the bigger challenge. As it is for us all.

Categories
Chronic Disease Emotional Work Travel

Day 443 and Chores

I’ve got a mix of personal and professional and familial reasons I’m spending the month in Europe (mostly in Germany). But one of the reasons was to get some time apart from my husband Alex. Yes I know it sounds kind of shocking. What a bad wife!

We’ve barely been apart during two years of pandemic living. I also had an additional year or two where he was my primary caretaker during medical challenges. My reliance on my husband is something I am very forthright about. I’m deeply grateful for what he has enabled me to do. But we both felt like our marriage would benefit from being on my own for a little as the pandemic becomes more manageable and my health has become stable.

It’s been amazing and invigorating to be on my own again. Anyone who deals with me closely has noticed how much more inspired I am to be in a new place on my own. It’s enabled me to see some of my coping mechanisms more clearly. For instance, my inner child feels safer in the chaos of new things because she got used to moving a lot when I was little. That has given me a gift for startup work, but it also means that I can become resentful and stifled if I feel trapped.

But I’d be lying if I didn’t disclose that a big factor in needing to be on my own was to learn if I could do my own damn chores. Holy shit I still absolutely hate how much I energy it takes to keep me clean, watered, medicated and fed as a moderately disabled person. My husband is a natural caretaker and I will happily enable that.

It’s so much damn energy from my limited reserves to care for myself. Alex has always done it better than I do. But if I’m apart from him I don’t have the backstop of him picking up the maintenance work of my life. I wanted to know if I could survive it. In order to freely accept his love and help I needed to know I could live without it.

And I am. This Saturday was dedicated to grocery shopping, laundry, doing dishes and tidying the Airbnb. I had to lay down and rest because of the effort of my day “off” from work. But I did it. Kinda. I still haven’t put the comforter cover back on the bed. But I’m working my way up to it.

Categories
Travel

Day 436 and Got A Guy

“I have a guy” was the most reassuring phrase my godfather could say to me as a child. I’d be trying to get something done or get access to something and he’d tell me a story about “his guy” and how we’d fix the problem. I decided when I grew up I wanted to be someone that “had a guy” for everything just like my godfather.

Before I give the impression that my godfather is a mafioso I should probably clarify he’s a nice Irish boy from Long Island and is a music agent. But agents do have to solve all kinds of weird problems. Heck, I went to him when I was thinking of getting married but wasn’t sure if I was emotionally prepared and he said “I’ve got a therapist” and well I’ve been seeing Dagmar for seven years now.

Needless to say I’ve prioritized networking as a life skill. Not the grimy kind you associate with parties or LinkedIn, but the sort where I take time to meet new people and shoot the shit. If you spend any time on Twitter you’ve probably noticed my greatest joy is just talking with folks. I follow all kinds. And I’m pretty hooked up because of it. I’m usually only one or two people removed from the person I’m trying to reach. Maybe that’s why venture capital has worked out so well as a career for me. I’m a master of the warm introduction.

But after the last 48 hours or so I’ve finally found an institution that I cannot seem to crack. I’m running headfirst into the limits of what my “I’ve got a guy” skills can do. And that system is the United States Immigration System. Apparently I am just not good enough to get an appointments for a tourist visa. I cannot even imagine how hard an actually immigration or work visa would be.

And I’ve tried everything. I’ve tried my Congressman. I tried my Governor. I tried people that have worked for the state department. I’ve tried folks that work in foreign affairs. I’ve tried rich folks that are immigrants. And holy shit I’m getting absolutely no where. I feel pretty fucking defeated. I’m not giving up but I’m starting to realize that Americans have no idea just how broken our immigration system actually is in the wake of 9/11 and the Trump years. We can’t even get tourist visas done. And frankly I’m angry about it. But mark my words I’m going to find a guy.

Categories
Medical Preparedness Travel

Day 419 and Back to Normal

One of my friends texted to say “I’m shocked the hygiene theater at EthDenver failed as half my team has Covid-19!” Which is of course sarcasm. But we are all back in action. Consequences be damned! I’ve booked conferences through June. A venture fund that backs my husband just booked their CEO summit for an in person gathering. I have finally started eating at restaurants indoors again.

But for all this ridiculous talk of getting back to normal it’s just a lull. I’m happy to be out there as I’m confident in my immunity and my own risk tolerance based on having had an infection and being up to date vaccines. But it might not remain that way. And for plenty of people their risk calculus can’t be as liberal as mine. We’ve left behind the immune compromised. America doesn’t give a fuck about the disabled.

I hadn’t really meant this as a Covid post but rather it’s an introduction to this striving for normalcy. The pandemic is wrapping up and we can “Get Back to Normal” is more slogan than reality. If only because there is no going back. We’ve got the annoyance of all the second and third order effects of the pandemic to deal with now. And that is going to suck more than the pandemic

Faith in institutions is shaken and probably damaged for an entire generation. Health and medicine will make big strides as we finally address long virus issues. Maybe more chronically ill folks get better care. But for most people their trust in science is shaken. Not sure if the good will outweigh the bad yet.

We’ve also normalized a wide swath of government interventions we’d previously never tolerated. But it’s for our own good! Sure but who decides on the good going forward? What might else it get used for? And more people than I’d expected cheered on this kind of meddling in our daily lives. All for the greater good obviously. But I’m worried what happens when fascists get to decide on what is a greater good. And since we’ve normalized intervention it will be harder to push back.

I really do believe things are becoming more chaotic. We’ve accelerated a whole swath of changes that are going to shift our world. Some of it may be in good ways. I certainly plan to make a lot of money investing in the belief that we will adapt swiftly and positively. And either I’m right and we survive and so I make a lot of money. Or I’m wrong and it probably doesn’t matter. We’ve got to leap into the unknown to find out. But back to normal? Sorry buddy but we live in interesting times.

Categories
Finance Internet Culture Startups

Day 414 and Empire’s End

Being at a crypto convention in 2022 is something else. It’s full jubilee at the end of the world shit. You are surrounded by millennials and gen-zers who know in their gut that their future has been stolen from them. And instead of being pissed they decided to build. And they decided to gamble. And it’s not clear which one is which sometimes.

You’d be forgiven being a nihilist right now. Capitalism looks like an excuse for the oligarchs to consolidate state and private power to enrich themselves. Everyone is soaking in student debt and working shitty interchangeable jobs for corporations owned by private equity. No one can afford a house. No one is stable enough for a marriage and children. Our fucking parents won’t retire and won’t listen to reason when we say their neighborhood needs more housing density.

But if you are in crypto the future looks pretty rosy. You are discussing real estate for your second home and the tax advantages of different jurisdictions. Swapping stories about your friend who accidentally didn’t set up estate planning and his company had a big exit and now he’s got to pay full rate to some expensive Democratic run city and state. If you are at the nice cocktail parties you are building the future and the venture capital is flowing and it’s possible that this is the next big wave of innovation. It’s time to fuck around and find out.

But not everyone in crypto is part of the smart money. Not everyone has institutional backing and the professionalization of long time startup operators coming to build real value. Right right below that success is a teeming horde of brutalized and completely marginalized people who are praying they hit it big on some new coin or hot new NFT project. They saw Bitcoin and then Ethereum go to the moon. So now they are praying to the full moon and hoping they ape into the next big thing.

But what’s scarier is that the prevailing attitude is who cares if it’s risky because no one believes they are going to have a future anyway so you might as well gamble. They might get lucky and build the next Google if they join the right DAO and buidl. Yes I typed buidl. I’m a degen too. I’m a doomer that isn’t convinced the empire is going to hold for much longer. And if I’m going to watch it all crash down I want to be a part of building something better for all of us. Maybe we get lucky and innovative faster than the apocalypse. To be fair, humanity always has in the past.

Categories
Startups

Day 412 and Status Anxiety

I’m attending Ethereum Denver through the weekend. If you aren’t familiar it’s a fairly substantial crypto conference with wide appeal and good credibility across the entire ecosystem. I don’t have any special hookups nor do I have a careful plan of attack. It’s my first time attending a large industry event as an investor.

Truthfully I’m incredibly nervous. I’ve never been on this side of the table before. I’ve always attended events as a founder. Which is an entirely different mix of status and social positioning from a venture capitalist. Founders are the cool ones. The top of the social hierarchy. It’s the hardest job in the business and in exchange we revere them as a kind of messianic class. We all place our belief in the people who start building from nothing. Even if you haven’t yet had a big success it’s the act of beginning that has the potency. Anyone who has the guts and steel to try to make something new is part of that rarified class.

So while I ostensibly have more power than I’ve ever had in my entire career, I also feel a slight sense of social anxiety. This is the first time I’ve not been in the anointed. So in a very real sense I’m walking in without any of the power that I’ve had before. And I’m a little scared.

Will people think I’m cool? Will I get invited to go to the right parties? Will the right people want to talk to me? Will I look good enough? Will I be able to hold my own such that I can capture the attention of other peers?

I’m used to needing to network hard to find the money. I’d roll into events with my team squashed into one room and we’d plan out every single minute to maximize our budget. Now I’m the one teams will be searching for pitch.

It’s this strange blend of gaining new status but missing the old place and position in a culture that has me a little nervous. So if you find me at the conference know that if you are scared to strike up a conversation you are not alone. We are all looking to find each other and connect.

Categories
Aesthetics Emotional Work

Day 410 and My Own Valentine

I’m quite fond of Valentine’s Day. I like flowers and chocolates and cards. I like wearing bright pink. I like all the hyper feminine consumerism around the entire Hallmark holiday.

I’ve got my own rituals and routines for the day. I used to go to White Castle for their white tablecloth service with my friends. Yes that’s a real thing they do. It’s an absolute blast to get table service when the food is sliders. It’s a wholesome experience that somehow no one does ironically. They once let me take home all the balloons when I had the last reservation of the night.

But I am particularly enjoying Valentine’s Day this year because I’ve made a commitment to self love this year. I came into the day with a spirit of accepting myself in whatever condition I arrive in. It’s a glass half full approach in a time where it’s easy to look for downsides and depression.

I hope if you are considering committing to more love in your life that you start with yourself. That on Valentine’s Day you focus on giving yourself the love you’ve always wanted. Maybe it sounds as silly to you as having sliders with table service at White Castle. But I promise both experiences are far more than a critical ego will allow. Go ahead, open yourself up. To love and little hamburgers. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Categories
Emotional Work

Day 405 and Okayness

I wasn’t in my “okayness” this morning. My focus on self love hit a snag on hormones. I woke up with a migraine and menstruation and I wanted to treat myself as an attack surface. So I asked my Twitter feed to tell me how they got to okayness. And it was beautiful.

I am often struck by how if you share your vulnerability with people they will open up with their own. The joy I get from connecting with you in the fullness of being ourselves gives my entire life meaning.

What seems even wilder to me is that this kind of connection happens on Twitter. It’s crazy that out in some virtual world, the metaverse if you will, the most human needs are met. We can see each other on a phone application. It’s enough to take your breathe away.

I’d encourage you to browse the thread as it’s filled with insight. People take long Lindy walks and do their nails. They lower their standards and raise their spirits. They integrate shadow elements into their identity. They take little risks and embarrass themselves. They imagine the tweet they would send at the end of the day with their accomplishments. But most of all people make things. That even when being a human being seems like an impossible challenge our capacity to build gives solace.

Categories
Internet Culture Startups

Day 404 and My Process

Being sick gave me an investing process. I have ankylosing spondylitis which is an inflammatory condition of the spine. It’s well controlled but still affects my day to day routines. It means I spend a lot of time in bed on my phone online. And this is how I generate alpha.

I spend my entire day on Twitter, in Discord, in DAO governance chats, in news RSS feeds and on Reddit. I’m extremely online. Terminally so. Like a LOT. I’m talking twelve hours a day. Which has turned out to be great for deal flow and diligence.

Being extremely online gives you some significant tactical advantages as an investor.

  • Persistent read of zeitgeist
  • Always online intaking discourse that will move market sentiments
  • Omnipresent availability to founders and ready to interact

Being online and intaking discourse gives me additional time and analysis with emerging trends, personalities and opportunities. By the time something has gained traction I’ve already made a move. I can move fast and confidently ahead of others because I’ve just had more time with the materials.

In somewhat bleaker terms I already live in the metaverse. Having a disability gave me early access to new ways of living online by forcing me to live a lot of my life virtually. If I wanted to socialize I had to do it in bed. I had experience with this before the pandemic. And I’m already been living where the rest of the world will be migrating now. You are gentrifying my neighborhood.

Categories
Emotional Work Startups

Day 402 and The Most Me

I am coming slowly into 2022 in its fullness. Perhaps I am living in seasonal time this year. I am feeling the wholeness of what the moment brings and January is about becoming. So it wasn’t surprisingly that clarity of purpose has been sharpening for me. I am ready to commit to self acceptance as the theme of my year.

I felt somehow today that the only thing that really mattered for my success in the world was radically altering any perception I had of myself as negative. That I was here to love even the parts of myself that cause me shame and fear. The only thing that will take me where I want to go is loving myself. That self love was actually the key to all troubles personal and professional.

“You know, loving awareness—even if you haven’t heard the phrase before, you know what it is. Those moments of spacious, calm, thorough, tranquil connection with whatever portion of existence you’re currently exposed to, where nothing is being challenged or conceptualized, but rather is just allowed to appear, in radiant suchness, without resistance or fear.

How I Attained Persistent Self Love

I’ve discussed the emotional work I do on the blog at length. The Family Systems Therapy and it’s exploration of the inner child. The shadow work and integrating of the whole of oneself. But I do often reject the crucial step of feeling like I am fundamentally alright. I am ok. I am enough.

I’ve committed to “a bit” where I lavish myself with self improvement and luxuriate in needing to make every measurement better. I’m obsessed with finding metrics to improve. And so I give myself little problems to fix. Maybe I’ll eat poorly so I can feel bad about my body composition. When instead I could just eat what I like and accept that maybe I’ve made other priorities than my figure. I don’t need to agonize over trivial shit.

But equally I don’t need to agonize over big shit. So I’m not a perfectly credentialed super star. I’m more of an eccentric. I don’t live like other people so I see other things. My existence is the selling point. If what I bring to the table is what you want then I am the right partner for you. If am I not then well tautologically I’m not for you. Partnerships are accepting what everyone brings.

So through the end of this year I am going to bring self love and acceptance to my writing here. In letting myself be seen I can more fully bring myself to my partners. Being a startup investor that means I must be present for my founders, their teams, and my own LPs and stakeholders. I’m bringing the full depth of my being because that’s also going to bring the best returns. Because being ok. Accepting the moment and it’s inhabitants? That brings us the creative potential to solve whatever is in front of us without judgement.