Seven November Shifts

    1. Pick a topic you want to understand and start studying it. Give yourself a semester of Spanish or biology, sociology, geometry, or American history perhaps?
    2. Start without forethought, without know-how or talent. Start with bad ideas. Start begrudgingly and without confidence. Just start.
    3. Arrive early so that you have time to look around.
    4. Ask yourself what you are not doing, and then do more.
    5. Give yourself space to be more than one thing, and give each thing that you are its own space to grow.
    6. Turn notifications off. Better yet, silence your phone entirely and put it in another room. You do not always have to be reachable.
    7. Take care of people and things that need taking care of, but remember that some things—and people—can, should, and will take care of themselves if you would only let them.

***

Thanks for reading! If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter for inspiring reads + existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering. Or help support what I do by sharing a virtual cup of coffee.

Post inspired by Nicholas Bate

Photo by freddie marriage on Unsplash

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If We Were Having Coffee // We’re All Entitled to a Little Time Away

Hello dear readers! Happy Sunday, welcome, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.

I’ve been up since just after dawn this morning, cooking breakfast and doing my best to get the house in order before we head out for a birthday dinner celebration tonight. I’ve been busy, but I’m tired too and everything is taking twice as long as it should. So, I’m late and I’m afraid I’ll have to rush through my coffee date with you. I’m sorry, but I’m happy to have any time at all!

So, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. The weather is warm, the coffee is good, and I don’t want to waste another minute on apologies and excuses. Let’s chat while I can!

“When traveling with someone, take large doses of patience and tolerance with your morning coffee”

— Helen Hayes

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you, once again, last week was an incredibly busy week for me at work, but, I would also tell you that it will—hopefully!—be the last very busy week I have in a long time.

I’ve been able to get through my work in record time and that means going forward I will have a lot more time to devote to writing.

Next week I have my last two tests scheduled, and just a few small tasks, the rest of the time I plan to spend on my newsletter, which hasn’t come out in months and this blog which has been sorely neglected.

I know it’s hard to tell from your side of the screen but I do have some ideas I’m working on. I’m writing, but I’m jusnt not finishing anything. I’m writing, but I feel unsure of what I am saying. I have lost my sense of an audience. I have lost my intentions and confused my message with myself.

I’m considering creating a new space, a place to dump all of my angst and neurosis, my bad ideas, and my day-to-day comings and goings, observations, and struggles so that this space can once again be what I always intended it to be—a philosophy of life.

I’ll share more details soon.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my anxiety has been really bad these last few days.

Most of it is simple social anxiety. We had been preparing for a Halloween house party at a close coworkers house and I’d had very little time to put together costumes or make a dish to bring, let alone to emotionally prepare for meeting people I didn’t know, or to hang out with people who I knew very well.

I have a weird habit of over analyzing my social interactions and placing far too much importance on every conversation, word, or gesture. I worry that I am always making a fool of myself and that when I leave people will talk about how weird or irritating I am.

I’m aware of how unnecessary all this worrying is, and I know that people find me generally enjoyable to be around but for some reason, I still can’t control these intrusive thoughts or make it stop. Instead, I just let my mind do its worrisome thing, but I don’t let it hold me back.

I still went to the party last night. I found a costume (my girlfriend and I went as hipster versions of little red riding hood and the wolf), I made a dish (an easy crockpot salsa verde chicken), and I had a good time. I may have laughed too much or too loud. I may have talked too much. I might have over shared and annoyed someone, but this morning it just doesn’t seem to matter anymore.

I had a great time and so did everyone else. That’s all that matters.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I didn’t even know where to begin to tell you how this past week’s news cycle has affected me. The world beyond my driveway has become significantly scarier and the news is getting harder and harder to watch.

I no longer trust our government to take care of its people. I no longer trust that America, while deeply flawed, is moving forward with good intentions. I no longer believe that the “arc of the moral universe is bent toward justice.” I believe it must be bent by the weight and strength of good people willing to do the work and those kinds of people seem to be in short supply anymore.

I may no longer believe but I still have a small hope. It’s fragile and in order to protect it, I’ve had to distance myself from the rolling news cycle on TV and online. Bad things are happening and we’re all entitled to a little time away—to process, to rest, and regroup when we are ready to fight again.

Make sure you take it when you need it too.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’ve just about had my fill of Halloween fun. I know the trick-or-treaters will be around this Wednesday but the feeling of Halloween always seems to pass the Saturday before when festivities can be held with morning to recover after. I’ve watched plenty of creepy shows and watched all my favorite spooky films. I’ve been to haunted houses and a party. I’ve gorged myself on too much candy and soon I will hand out what treats I have left. Halloween is over, and surprisingly I’m not sad. I lived the season to its fullest and I am very much ready for the winter holidays.

I’m ready for everyone to start being a little more thankful and a whole lot kinder too. I’m for giving gifts, and, I’ll admit, receiving them too. I’m ready for richer flavors and savory spreads of meats and pies! I’ve even got the new year, and it’s celebrations and resolutions dancing around my mind. I’m ready to count down the end of 2018 and begin a new year of possibility.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the sun is shining low through the west windows and my stomach is grumbling. It’s time to get ready to go out for dinner.

I hope you had a good week. I hope the weather is as warm where you are as it is here and the trees are bursting with just as much color. I hope you aren’t feeling hopeless I hope you know it’s okay to rest your heart when you need. I hope you made time for you and that the next week will be even better than the last.

Until next time.

***

Thanks for reading! If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter for inspiring reads + existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering. Or help support what I do by sharing a virtual cup of coffee.

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli

Photo available on Barn Images

If We Were Having Coffee // Soaking It Up While I Can

Hello dear readers! Happy Sunday, welcome, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.

I’m up a bit early this morning and rushing through my normal Sunday routine because in just a few short hours we are going to a much-anticipated Beetlejuice movie party with a few of our couple friends. Before we go though I’ve got to whip this mess of a house back into shape, find time for a short nap, and make sure there is plenty of time for catching up here with you.

So, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. I’ve got the windows open and plenty of cold brew coffee ready, or I can make a cup of Chai or Earl Grey tea if that’s more your speed. Let’s talk about last week!

“She sips her coffee, sets it down, stretches her arms. This is one of the most singular experiences, waking on what feels like a good day, preparing to work but not yet actually embarked. At this moment there are infinite possibilities, whole hours ahead.”

— Michael Cunningham, The Hours

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my week away from regular work was just as wonderful as I hoped it would be. Working for a school district means I got a much-needed break from the kids, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have work to do.

When I’m not riding the bus with the kids I also work as a trainer helping new employees learn how to work with these special kids. My training team is being moved to a new office across the parking lot so I spent the week moving not just our workstations, but all the equipment we use and even the large cabinets we use for storage.

It was hard work and I’m proud we were able to get so much of it done. Unfortunately, we got news that the new building we just moved into would be closed for 10 days in November, so we halted the move and put half of the equipment back into the old space to move moved again once the roof is done.

To be honest, I’m not looking forward to going back tomorrow. I miss my kids, but having a quiet office was really nice. Between our routes, the lounge can get awfully crowded and loud and there’s really no place to rest your mind and recharge and there isn’t always tie to go home.

On warm days I can stay on my bus. I can write, or read, or listen to podcasts. I can even take a nap if I want but I scheduled a lot of work for myself this in an effort to get it all done before winter so there won’t be a lot of time when I can get away. It’s going to be another hard week for sure.

***

If we were having coffee, I would take a moment to remind my American readers how important voting is and how especially important voting is in this year’s midterm election. I’m lucky to live in a state that makes voting easy. Here in Colorado, it’s super easy to vote by mail and there are tons of 24-hour drop off location across my city. I know it’s different in every state though, and for some voting is really inconvenient, but I urge you to please, please, please, try to make a plan and to please, please, please, drag along a friend or family member too.

I won’t assume your political leanings but I know all my readers are at least people of good intention and I am a believer that while the details may differ between us, a lot of the political strife we are going through is due to not enough “good-intentioned” people voting,—not to mention a severe lack of “good-intentioned” people running for office—and too many self-centered and hate-filled people voting—and running for office.

So, please vote. I don’t care where you live or who or what you are voting for, just get out there and vote!

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you while last week winter seemed in full swing, this week we’re firmly back in fall with temperatures climbing upwards of the low 70s. We feared that there would be no autumn for us at all this year and that summer would give way right into winter, but it turns out it was just a momentary confusion that has since cleared up. This past week we’ve seen steadily increasing temperatures and quite a bit of sunshine. I’m soaking it up while I can before the long cold settles in.

Yesterday my girlfriend and I spent the whole afternoon out of the house. We had tickets to “Repticon“, a yearly expo for reptile and exotic pet lovers. My girlfriend fell in love with about 10 chameleons and I say plenty of beautiful snakes I’d love to add to my little collection, those beautiful animals—and their prices!—I realized I’m not quite ready to take on another 20 to 40-year commitment. The ones I have already demand a lot of time and command lot of space in the house. We’ll need more room, and a lot more free time and energy before we can take on another pet.

After Repticon, we did a little shopping at a nearby outdoor mall to stretch our legs and do some shopping. When our stomachs started growling we walked over to a favorite burger place of mine and gorged ourselves on food we knew we’d regret eating later.

We tried a delicious hard cider and after lunch, we made it our mission to hit up every liquor store on the way home in search of a few cans to take home. It only took two stops and, since we were feeling lucky we decided to pick up a few more Mega Millions lotto tickets to try our luck a second time now that the prize has climbed over a billion dollars!

By then the sun was beginning to set and a cool breeze began to blow reminding us that while the days may be warmer the nights are getting colder all the time. We went home to settle on the couch with our pumpkin cider and a few good movies: The Fly and Starship Troopers.

It was a good day.

***

If we were having coffee, I would (reluctantly) tell you that I failed at every single one of my goals for Fall Break. I did not manage my time on Facebook, I actually think I got worse and I am considering deleting the app entirely from my phone. I did not write anywhere near as much as I hoped to. I may have figured out what my problem is and I may have even figured out the solution too. I’ll explain more when I have the courage to. I didn’t make my pocket notebook, but I did at least get my measurements down and I found some paper to use. I didn’t read at all either.

I have no excuses, and I offer no apologies, to anyone or myself. I had a good break and that’s what matters. I’ll try again this week. I have a plan and my editorial calendar is back in front of me. I’m clearing out a second area of my “creativity room” to use as an analog desk so that it won’t be such a pain in the ass to move from writing to “making”. My books are back in my backpack and I have recommitted to my midday and before bed reading time too.

Productivity will resume with renewed enthusiasm this week, I promise.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my stomach is starting to grumble which means it’s lunchtime, which means I have only a few short hours now to eat, finish my chores, squeeze in a power nap, and get ready for the movie.

Thank you for stopping by to chat with me. I hope you had a good week and that you found time for you—to get outside, to do something fun, to make something, or to accomplish that thing you set out to do. I hope you are well and I hope you let me know either way in the comments below.

Until next time.

***

Thanks for reading! If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter for inspiring reads + existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering. Or help support what I do by sharing a virtual cup of coffee.

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // A Much-Needed Break

Hello dear readers! Happy Sunday, welcome, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.

We’re getting a preview of the winter to come today with temps hovering just below freezing and a few inches of snow predicted to be on the ground before dinner time. Normally snow days make me miserable and mean but today I have a clean house and a determination to write something, read something, make something, and spend a little time with you. I feel good today and I won’t let the cold and the dread of a messy work week commute tomorrow ruin that.

So, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. The coffee machine is out of commission but there’s plenty of coldbrew and I’ve even got some delicious earl grey or chai tea if you’re in the mood for something warmer. Let’s talk about last week!

“There is something—for me—about coffee that is deeply personal and healing and always comforting.”

Meg Fee

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that it is finally Fall Break for the district I work for and that means a much-needed break from the bus and the kids. Don’t get me wrong, I love the kids on my route but after a while, you can start to feel a little burned out by all the little daily frustrations of keeping your bus safe and peaceful.

Unfortunately, fall break doesn’t mean no work at all. It just means not having to go in so early and not having to stay quite so late. Oh, I have the option of taking some time off if I want to but a whole week without pay is really going hurt when payday comes around. So, I’ve chosen to go in and help around the office instead. My training team is moving to a new office across the parking lot and I’m hoping there is at least 40 hours worth of paperwork and equipment to move over to the new space

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that the week leading up to Fall Break was quite a stressful one. It’s always stressful at work before breaks, though. There are deadlines looming and more to do than usual but mentally you are already off and it’s hard to focus or to care.

Not only that but I’d gone and scheduled twice the amount of work I normally would for myself. I thought it would be nice to start my break with a lighter workload and head clear of worry. It was hard but I got through it all and I’m feeling pretty proud of myself for it too. I did everything I promised myself I would even when I was tired, and miserable, and cold. I showed up, physically and mentally, even on days when I didn’t have to and now even though I still have to work next week it’s going to be a whole lot easier.

It as close to a real vacation as I can get right now.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I wish I had some grand goals to accomplish for Fall Break but time has had a habit of getting away from me lately and once again I’m caught unprepared for the opportunity. But rather than set myself up for failure I’ll just go with the flow and do what I can when I can. I have just a few, mostly ongoing ambitions this week.

  1. Manage my time on Facebook.  The amount of time I have spent on that godforsaken app has been steadily increasing despite never actually feeling good after being on there. There really is no reason to log in more than once or twice a day to check in on family or catch up with my favorite groups and I think a purge of liked pages and companies is in order as well.
  2. Write constantly, and exclusively, for this blog. I’ve made some tiny progress toward getting back to my old posting frequency but not nearly as much as I want to. Lately, it just feels like nothing I write is any good and I never feel like I am making the point I set out to make, but writing something is better than writing nothing especially when you are learning to practice.
  3. Make a pocket notebook. I’m tired of sorting through scraps of paper and post-it notes at the end of the day. Plus, it’s hard to turn those crumpled and jumbled thought fragments into anything resembling a blog post, let alone a newsletter or a publication pitch. I need a pocket notebook, and I think making one myself sounds fun!
  4. Keep reading. I’ve got three books going at once right now. The Iliad by Homer, On the Geneology of Morals by Friedrich Nietzsche, and The Collected Poems of Emily Dickenson. I did really well trading my nap time for reading time more days than not last week and I stuck to reading at least two pages and as much as 30 minutes before bed every night. I’m doing great, I just need to keep doing great.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that this weekend was pretty stressful too. I’ve been trying to facilitate an environment of forgiveness in my family after some big changes resulted in a lot of harsh words and hurt feelings. I thought going back to having weekly-ish family days together where we could have dinner and catch up might be just what we needed but all agreed to attend only if we could meet on the neutral ground—my house. The thought of entertaining, cooking, and even the cleaning I would have to do sent my anxiety through the roof!

I spent all of Friday night and most of Saturday cleaning every nook and cranny of my house and freaking out about dinner, drinks, and how the hell I was going to keep six adults, a toddler, and a newborn baby entertained for 6 hours!

But despite being nervous and worried the whole time, we actually ended up having a great night. The cosmopolitan cocktails I made helped loosen up the tension and the new baby kept us entertained when we ran out of things to talk about. All in all, it was a success, so much so I’m worried that “family day” will only be held at my house from now on.

Sadly all still isn’t forgiven in my family. The problems are still there, laying unaddressed and unresolved, but for the kid’s sake—and for mine—it seems we can still get together and let our hurt and anger go long enough to remember what we still like about each other. We can still laugh. We can still find a way to care, to say nice things, and to enjoy a good meal. I think that says a lot for the kind of people we are and goes a long way toward finding forgiveness…one day.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that judging by my empty cup and my growling belly, it about time I got up and got some dinner started before all my Sunday shows are on.

I do hope you were able to find time for you, to accomplish something you’ve been meaning to or to do something fun for a change. I’ll still be around if you’d like to tell me how your week went and what you’ve been up too and whether it’s warm where you are or if winter has reared its ugly head near you too.

Until next time.

***

Thanks for reading! If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter for inspiring reads + existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering. Or help support what I do by sharing a virtual cup of coffee.

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli

Photo by andrew welch on Unsplash

Seven October Shifts

  1. Seek boredom. Create space and time for having nothing at all to do, to watch, to listen to. Go someplace where there is no one to talk to. Make time for you and raw reality to become acquainted again.
  2. Accept the impermanence of things. Autumn is a time of uncomfortable, undesirable, uncontrollable change. It’s best to change with it because it’s a fight you’re only going to lose.
  3. Get tough and resilient again. No more complaining. No more stalling. You are tough enough, brave enough, and as capable and deserving as anyone else. Dust yourself off, accept the current state of things, and figure it out.
  4. Pay attention to your attention. There is a war going on for your time and you haven’t shown up to fight for yourself. Reclaimed your time for you. Work with mindfulness and intentionality.
  5. Trade one episode (or one hour of TV) a night for 500 written words. Trade your nap time for 30 minutes of reading.
  6. Learn to practice. Every passion is a marathon and the only way to win is to train every day. Practice with an understanding of your own ignorance. Practice with forgiveness of your inadequacy.
  7. Embrace what makes you wild. Pursue it.

***

Thanks for reading! If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter for inspiring reads + existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering. Or help support what I do by sharing a virtual cup of coffee.

Post inspired by Nicholas Bate

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // All Good News

Hello dear readers! Happy Sunday, welcome, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.

It’s late, again, I know, and this time I have no excuses. I slept in after a late night out with friends. When I woke up I realized I was out of milk for the coffee and drinking it straight up was too much. I had to settle for tea and headaches all day. So, I was lazy and I what little energy I had I felt like spending on cleaning the house and cooking. I made a pear German pancake for breakfast and chicken sausage and creamy polenta for dinner.

But I missed chatting with you and felt I couldn’t go to bed before I had told you all my good news. So, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. Let’s talk about last week!

“I like coffee because it gives me the illusion that I might be awake.”

— Lewis Black

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that Tuesday’s doctor’s visit and colonoscopy ended with the good news I have been waiting to hear for over a year: no visible signs of inflammation! The new medicine is working and, for now, my ulcerative colitis is under control and I might actually b in remission. Of course, I still don’t feel as well as I’d like but I think that is down to diet, lack of exercise, anxiety and lingering low-level depression, all as usual.

So, now that the weight and worry have been lifted off my chest I can start to focus on these smaller issues. I’m planning to look into medications for my anxiety and to start at least jogging again in the morning. I’m looking closely at the keto diet which more than a few of my friends have started but which I am highly skeptical of. I want to lose a few pounds, just 10 to get me back into some of the clothes that no longer fit me.

I want to take the next step toward feeling like myself again. I want to figure out what my new normal is and enjoy it for a while, while I can.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I AM AN AUNT AGAIN! My brother’s girlfriend gave birth to a very adorable and very BIG baby boy just after midnight on Friday. Sadly, he was breech and mom had to have a c-section which was a bit distressing and then we found out yesterday he is jaundice and will need phototherapy and a few more days in the hospital. Nothing much to worry about, and nothing this family hasn’t seen before, but definitely a real bummer.

I had hoped this joyous event would do more to bring my family together after all we’ve been through these past few months. Some progress was made but I wonder if we might have taken more steps back than we had forward. I feel like I’m walking a tightrope between the warring sides and hoping not to step too far either way. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings and I certainly don’t want anyone angry with me.

For now, I’m letting everyone know that I am here for them all and I am fighting to keep the lines of communication open wherever I can. What I’m not doing is fighting anyone’s battles for them or deciding based on hearsay who is right and wrong and whose feelings and actions are valid or understandable. I practicing accepting every person’s emotions and perspective as important and worthy of the space it takes to process.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that the work week didn’t go quite as expected. All the work I had hoped to get done fell through and was rescheduled to the coming week. Now I have twice the work to worry about but I just keep thinking about how proud I’ll be of myself when I get it done and I try to remember that after it’s over I’ll have a worry-free week waiting for me on the other side.

Fall break is coming up and even though I still have to work I won’t have to go out on the bus and 90% of my coworkers will be at home leaving the building nice and quiet. I can not wait!

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that last week I went back to using an analog editorial calendar and I already feel so much more motivated, organized, and inspired.

I’ve decided that going forward I am going to split my time between writing here, sending pitches, and working on some personal projects. I’ve been spending too much time in front of the TV lately and not enough time with a good book or pen and paper. I’m trading one episode a night of whatever show I’m currently binge watching for 500 words before bed. That’s the compromise I’ve made with myself.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that this weekend was one of the best I’ve had in a long time. Yesterday (Saturday) was “penny admission fee for Colorado residents” at the Denver Museum of Contemporary art. They had a museum-wide new exhibit up I’ve been wanting to check out called “Fieldwork” by artist Tara Donovan. Her work wasn’t like anything I’ve ever seen before. I love how she takes everyday materials, stuff I use and handle all the time, and makes these huge otherworldly pieces out of them. I was in awe!

We went with another gay couple we work with and who we’ve grown close to over the years. They’re so much like us, and still different enough that we feel energized and inspired after hanging out with them. They infuse us with new perspectives and remind us that we are still young and there is still so much life to explore and enjoy.

After the museum I showed them my favorite lunch place and after stuffing our faces we all went home to recoup for dinner and a haunted house that evening.

We drank too much at dinner, or maybe just enough, and had a blast at the haunted house. We have plans for a movie party in a couple of weeks and a Halloween party at the end of the month. I’m trying to get as much socializing in before the holiday season stress and all the time I’ll have to spend with family.

***

If we were having coffee I would say it’s very late and very soon I will have to go to bed if I want to have any hope of getting a decent start to the week. If I can get Monday right I have a real chance.

I hope you had a productive week. I hope your weekend was relaxing. I hope you learned something new, surprised yourself, and that you found something to be proud of. If you didn’t, if things didn’t go your way or if the world is asking more of you than you can find to give, I hope the next week will treat you better.

Until next time.

***

Thanks for reading! If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter for inspiring reads + existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering. Or help support what I do by sharing a virtual cup of coffee.

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli

Photo by Goran Ivos on Unsplash

Currently // September 2018: Summer is Over and I am Too Late

Summer is over, long over, but I am having a hard time accepting it. These warm afternoons lull me back into a false hope that there is still time yet to make the most of summer but in the evening the golden leaves dotting the trees wink at me mockingly as the cool air creeps in and I am reminded that I am too late. Everything is changing now, the leaves, the air, even my mood and there is no way to stop or slow it. Summer is over and I have to move on now too.

So, I’m trying to find the beauty of Autumn and figuring out what the season can mean to me if I’d let it. I’m preparing for the clouds and the cold, the blowing snow and the sadness they bring. I’m trying, as I do every year, to figure out how I’m going to get through it.

But first, here is what I am currently:

Writing that unknown thing I talked about last month. To be honest I haven’t actually written it any of it anywhere that it can be read. It’s still all in my head but I am working on it and it is becoming clearer every day. Its slowly taking form as a sort of “genetic profile” of trauma. It’s an exploration of the toll that generations of oppression, discrimination, misogyny, abuse, and poverty have had on one life, my life.

Making no progress at all toward creating any art at all. I had pledged to start utilizing my DIY art journal but I let myself down once again. It sits unused and unloved on the “analog desk” of my “creativity room” where I no longer go because I no longer want to face such failure. I hope I can find some inspiration and some courage in October.

Planning for, or rather, preparing for, winter. I don’t far well emotionally over the colder months. Winter is a time of hibernation, and sometimes, death. It depresses me, but this year I want things to be different. I want this winter to be a time to learn to be resilient again. That is what I am preparing for. This year, I will learn to be more accepting of change that makes me uncomfortable. I will learn to face cold, and dark, and dreary with more optimism. Sunshine or snow, there is still beauty in the world. Sunshine or snow, I still have a life.

Anticipating all the spooky goodness October will bring. Halloween is my favorite holiday, despite the season. Well be checking out a haunted house or two, a creepy outdoor mall crawl, and our friends are throwing a small costume party. There are quite a few of my favorite creepy films playing at the Alamo too, including an American Psycho all you can eat cereal party, a Beetlejuice movie party, and one of my girly favs, a Practical Magic movie party. The Shining will be on Netflix starting tomorrow too and I’m always looking for some classic horror recommendations to check out. If you know of any good ones drop them in the comments, please.

Reading On the Genealogy of Morals by Friedrich Nietzsche, still, but a lot of progress has been made. I’m working my way through the third essay but it is proving even harder than the first two to grasp. So hard I had to take a short break and read The Three Theban Plays by Sophocles. The plays were amazing, but I actually enjoyed the introductions and the translation notes more. So much so that I was inspired to The Iliad further up the queue right after The Collected Poems of Emily Dickenson and The Soul of an Octopus which is technically my reward for finishing with Nietzsche, eventually.

Watching The Sinner, a limited crime, drama, mystery series on Netflix about a young mother who stabs a stranger to death on the beach one day and a messed up detective who tries to help her figure why. I’m also watching The Deuce and Insecure on HBO, and Shameless on Showtime, all solid shows I recommend, but you know what I’m not watching at the moment? The news! Because lately it just leaves me…

Feeling utterly defeated and hopeless. The Supreme Court confirmation hearings and the Republican effort to rush through Brett Kavanaugh is so sickening I’ve hardly been able to turn on my TV. To be clear, I do believe Christine Ford. More importantly, though, I believe that her claims should be thoroughly investigated. I want the truth about Kavanaugh but this is a lot bigger than him. It’s about the process. It’s about stopping for a minute to be sure we are doing the right thing, the thing that won’t keep us all up at night with shame and regret.

Fearing what the doctor will have to say this week. While I was sick this month I took cold medicine that I knew was a big no-no for people with ulcerative colitis—I was desperate!—and now my stomach is all…messed up. So, this week I’m getting another colonoscopy, yay! I’m afraid of bad news, but for some weird reason, I’m more afraid of good news. I’m afraid of wasting everyone’s time. I’m afraid people will think I am faking it, or at least being overly dramatic. I’m afraid everything looks fine and we have to hunt for a new explanation for all the pain I have been in.

Reflecting on free will, inevitable human suffering, and death, as usual. Since I’ve started reading Shakespeare, literature from Ancient Greece, and all the classic novels I missed in school, I’m struck by how much of our art is about how fragile, stupid, and sad human beings are. They take all those big unknowns, the big scary things we cannot face and make them bearable to look at. I don’t for a second think I could ever count myself among them but they do make me feel less alone. They understand. They help me understand better too.

Needing my family to start feeling like my family again. We received quite a few shocks over the summer and we’ve yet to recover from the blows. Thing’s have changed that I don’t think can every be unchanged but I had hoped we could find a new way of loving each other. I had hoped for more forgiveness and understanding, but I’ve been let down. Now, I’m in need of it. Now, I’m not asking I’m demanding. Now, I am being pushed past my own limits of understanding. I need something to get better before even I am too far gone.

Learning German, maybe? I was learning some basic Spanish with Duolingo but I feel like I’ve gone as far as I want to with the app but I miss using it. So, I thought, why not try a whole new language. Well, not completely new. I did live in Germany for a short time as a child. I still remember how to count to 10 in German but I’ve forgotten everything else I learned. I thought it might be fun to see if I can get any of it back.

Loving how focused I have been on my work lately. I wish I could find the same motivation for writing but at least I am doing something, and my day job at least pays, you know? It feels good to focus on what I have to do for a while and not hate it so much. It feels good to go to work and love what I do again. It won’t last, I know, and I still want to take some of that focus and put it where I know I will be most fulfilled but for now, I love doing what I do, every day.

Hating how much time I wasted in life. I know we all have regrets. I know each and every one of us wishes they could go back in time and choose differently. We wish we knew then what we know now, that’s life, I know, but I’m having a hard time letting it go. I’ve come a long way from where I once was, but now that I want to go further I find that on paper I’m not much to look at. I wish I had more skills. I wish I had a degree or two under my belt, and a lot less fear. I hate feeling so useless, stupid, and low. I hate that my self-worth depends so much on decisions I can never go back and remake.

Hoping that we are far enough into the school year now that things will start settling down. We’ve been short-staffed for a long time now, and without enough driver, or assistants, or even enough buses but somehow we make it happen. Somehow, we get all those kids to and from school safely, every day, but working magic like that takes a toll and the morale plummets by the day. I am one of those lucky ones who counts her friends among her co-workers but it’s getting harder and harder to see them so stressed out. I hope relief is on the way soon.

So, yeah, all in all, September was a good month, just really busy. I can’t say I’m sad to see it go but at the same time it going just means we’re getting closer to the cold and to the end of the year. I’m not so happy about that but life goes on, no matter how hard we try to hold on to right now. So, what’s best is to just move right along with it. I’ll go into October as happily as I can.

But what about you? How did September treat you? How did you mark the end of summer? Are you a fan of fall? Any good horror film recommendations? Have you lost faith in democracy too?

Let me know in the comments!

“It was September. In the last days when things are getting sad for no reason.”

— Ray Bradbury, “The Lake”, The October Country

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The inspiration for these posts comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

Photo by Jonah Pettrich on Unsplash