Currently // January 2018: I’m Glad Its Over, but I Wish It Wasn’t

Oh my gosh it’s a whole new month, and I am late posting my “Currently” list! One day January was dragging, and I had plenty of time, then POOF! the next day it was gone. I had so much planned, so much I had hoped to have done by now, and of course, OF COURSE, life has thrown curve ball after curve ball, and nothing at all has turned out the way that I wanted it to. Turns out there was a whole lot of day job work waiting for me right around the corner from the holidays. Work that left nearly no time at all for writing, or reading, or art.

I’ve seen posts on Twitter from people proclaiming that their “2018 will start on February 1st, January is a free trial month. I think I will head into February with the same mentality. January was a trial month. A month for easing into the year. A month to get my feet wet in and to get all that “other work” and procrastination out of the way and now I can spend the next 11 months of 2018 doing great things!

But first, here is what I am currently:

Writing all the things, when I can that is, but none of it has been worth sharing. I have a couple dozen ideas for blog posts, newsletter topics, Twitter threads, essays, poems, zines, and book chapters all scribbled out on post its and pieces of scrap paper but nothing coherent, nothing fully realized, nothing tangible. I’m getting there but so so slowly. I’m working on being okay with that.

Making a new journal/diary, and a new art journal. I used this tutorial for the journal, but mine is going to be all black on the outside, of course, and hot pink on the inside. The pages are all printed, each with a different pattern: some ruled, some with dots, other with hexagons, and triangles, and more. The art journal is a combination of this tutorial and this tutorial. The pages are all different sizes, thickness, colors, and textures, and I am full of ideas and very excited to finish it, and very afraid to finish it too. I’m taking them both very slowly, trying not to let my fear get the best of me. Trying not to freeze up and let myself down.

Planning our wedding, for real this time! We’ve pushed our date back for the last time and have just under nine months to make this thing happen. We’ve set up a Trello board, we’ve designed our save the dates, and we’ve gathered venue options to start visiting. Were entirely overwhelmed but we’re taking it one step at a time and trying to remember that 10 months is more than enough time if you make sure to do a little something every single day.

Anticipating Valentine’s Day with my wonderful wife to be. We’re going to brunch at a jazz place we found by accident last summer and seeing a ballet performance of Romeo and Juliet. Of course, it won’t compare to the 1996 film starting DiCaprio as Romeo and Harold Perrineau as Mercutio. Maybe we’ll watch that too, afterward.

Reading The Oresteia by Aeschylus, still. I need to need to need to finish it soon before I fall too far behind my 30 book reading goal for the year. I think id better go book shopping soon. It helps to have a good book waiting for you after you finish a difficult book. It keeps you motivated.

Watching The Chi on Showtime, a show about the day-to-day violence and grief people of Chicago’s face, and Hate Thy Neighbor on Viceland, in which comedian Jamali Maddix travels around the world meeting alt-right, racist, and homophobic groups. I finished Scandal, and I’m catching up on Grey’s Anatomy but I have long since forgotten why I like either one.

Learning Spanish still, but not much else at the moment. I had hoped to sign the International Women’s Health and Human Rights Course but with work, and the wedding, and winter getting to me, it wasn’t a good time. I attempted to complete the course late last summer, but I was applying for the Bitch Media fellowship then and couldn’t keep up. I’ll try again for the February 24 enrollment date. In the meantime, I will be catching up on the Crash Course Sociology playlist.

Feeling exhausted! I don’t know what it is, but I am having a harder and harder time getting out of bed in the mornings. I feel sleep deprived and zombified. I’m drinking more and more coffee all the time which I suspect is only exacerbating the problem. I blame winter.

Needing more time. January has dragged on longer than any month should, and still it doesn’t feel like enough. I’m ready for it to end, but I wish it wouldn’t. I need more time. More time to sleep. More time to do the things I want to do. More time to check a few more items off the to-do list, to make a dream or two come true, to rectify a regret. I need more time to take care of myself. I need more time with the people I care about who seem to be just as busy, exhausted, and depressed as me. I’d like more time to let myself care and more time to connect. Most of all, I’d like more time to do nothing at all.

Loving love! Normally for me, February is all about Black History Month, and I’m still mindful of that, but this being the year I am getting married, all I can think about is love. I’ve been with my girlfriend for over 15 years, and I have learned so much about connection, caring, and compassion. I’ve learned how to equally be an individual, and be a part of a couple too. I’ve learned how to grow with someone. I’ve learned how to love in healthy ways, and I’ve learned how to articulate the way I need to be loved too. I’ve learned and continue to learn every day what words like marriage, relationship, compromise, and “happily ever after,” really means. I love that real life, hard, messy, angry, frustrating, deep, quiet, and calm kind of love.

Hating this new trend in America where we base a person’s worthiness, “American-ness”, is based solely on how much they can contribute to the economy. How much product can you generate? How much supply will you be able to demand? If you can’t work, invest, or buy you aren’t welcome. I thought a person’s life was priceless? I thought life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness were non-negotiable? It is our responsibility! It is our problem. IF not us, who? Aren’t we trying to do better? Do better!

Hoping that the focus on queer, non-binary, and all femme identifying people and the harassment, violence, and suffering we all face on a day-to-day basis continues. It’s about fucking time we address rape culture and the lengths our institutions will go to turn a blind eye. It’s about time we come together, support one another, and demand, DEMAND, acknowledgment, validation, and justice. I’m strengthened by the bravery I seen. I’m encouraged by the response. I’m hopeful that fewer women will carry such burdens and such pain with them in the future.

All in all, January was, honestly, a pretty hard month, but not in every area of my life. Some very good things were started this month too. I’m doing my best to remember that and move on with determination and focus. February will be short, and Spring is just around the corner and with it warmer weather, my birthday, and Spring Break! I just have to get there. I just have to remember that I’m happy. I’m in love. I have to remember to be grateful.

But how about you? How did you spend the first month of 2018? How are those resolutions holding up? What are you looking forward to in February? I hope all is well, and I hope you can find a way to care for yourself, take care of your to-do list, and take care of the people you love in the coming month.

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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 cup of coffee.

The inspiration for this posts come from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

Featured photo is by Nathan Wolfe on Unsplash

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Currently // December 2017: Nothing Has Changed, but Everything is Different

The ending of a year is always a strange time, but ending this particular year is quite a bittersweet thing. This past year was full of disappointments, death, and shocking setbacks but so many of us learned so much about ourselves and the world around us, and we came together! We grew stronger! And we’ll grow stronger still. A new year might be starting, but the same old work has to be done. So much has changed, but so much is still the same too. We have to bring 2017 into 2018 with us, as much as it hurts and as hard as it is.

With that in mind, while I have quite a few resolutions—big and small, personal and more worldly too—for the coming year, I only have one intention, to make an effort, to keep making an effort, every single day. No one really believes that these new year’s resolutions work because we give in, give up, and let it go until another year ends and another year begins, and we try to try again. But why waste so much time? Three months from now, when the effort gets hard, and the missteps start adding up, don’t give up.

I won’t give up. I will start again, a new me with renewed effort.  Every day is a new chance to start over. Every day I can be a new me, not just once, not just at the start, because there is no start, and the end was all in your head. You, I, we, we have to start looking at this a little differently. Discipline, focus, effort, those are the words we have to bring with us into the new year.

But first, here is what I am currently:

Writing slowly. Starting this year, I will be trying a new way to write. I am going to try word counts. I’ve never been good at them because on days when I don’t want to write it feels like torture and when writing feels like torture I write crap. But, I’m wondering if 400 words of crap might be better than no words at all. So, I’m starting with 400 a day of words that aren’t for this blog. It’s not a lot, but if I start with 750 or 1000, I’ll fail by January 31st. I’m going to start slow and give myself a chance to make a real habit of writing again. Slow and steady through 2018 is the goal.

Making a new journal, and some other bookbinding and paper goodies. I love writing by hand. Every day I fill in two pages of my Moleskine large ruled notebook, but I’m coming to the last pages of this one. As much as I love this brand, it’s pretty boring to look at, so, I’ve decided instead of buying another, I’m making my own, and I plan to make it very interesting. In the process of researching how to do it, I came across a lot of tutorials and inspiring examples that made me want to try other things, notepads, pocket notebooks, planners, etc. I need to make something with my hands and, loving words, and reading, and paper the way that I do, bookbinding feels like a good place to start.

Anticipating  So much pop culture goodness in 2018. There’s going to be some amazing movies dropping: Black Panther in February, A Wrinkle in Time in March, and Solo: A Star Wars Story in May, and the TV shows: A Handmaid’s Tale, and the return of Westworld, plus Game of Thrones, and maybe Atlanta. Oh, and the winter Olympics!

I’m also looking forward to the 2018 midterm election with great enthusiasm and anxiety. I’m hoping for a blue wave to wash across this country and cleanse the bad taste left in my mouth from the last round. I’m hoping we can take back our dignity and have faith once again, for the first time, in our institutions. I’m hoping the course can be corrected and compassion will return to Congress, for the first time, too.

Reading The Oresteia by Aeschylus. A trilogy of Greek tragedies—“Agamemnon,” “The Libation Bearers” and “The Eumenides”—that follows members of House of Atreus through murder, revenge, and eventually the end of a family curse. Apparently, it is the only surviving example of such a play and considered Aeschylus’s best work. I had never heard of it before but instead chose it from the many used books I won from Macrolit.

I didn’t hit my goal of 30 books this year, I only read 22, but it’s better than the year before and I plan to do even better in 2018. I’ve set another goal of 30 books, but I’m secretly hoping to read 40. I’ve carved out 30 minutes of every afternoon to read, and if I feel up to it, I can read before bed too. I’ll be getting a new library card, and trying ebooks again too to remove any financial obstacles. 30 books, no excuses!

Watching Black Mirror season 4 on Netflix. I have waited all year for this show. To be honest, I binged it in two days, and I’m already done, but it was so good I plan to watch it all again. The wait was worth it and not for a second did I feel let down. The” San Junipero” episode will always have a special place in my heart but some of this seasons came close to topping it. I highly recommend it! I’ve also finished The Crown, and I’m working my way through Planet Earth II.

Learning nothing right now. In the latter half of the year, I let learning go. My goal had been to watch a new Crash Course episode every day, work on a little math, and complete the International Health and Human Rights course on Coursera, but I didn’t get to any of it. So, I’m trying to start again. I’m trying to come up with a plan. I love learning, and I never want to let myself think I have done enough, learned all I needed to, or that knowledge and learning are not a top priority in my life.

Feeling a lot less stressed now that the holidays are over but also more stressed because some big changes are coming around the corner. My mother is moving in with us again, we’re fixing up the house, and we are getting married, I’ve been driving and slowly getting over this phobia so I can get my license in the next few months. After all that there will be school and maybe, possibly, talks about finally expanding this little family of ours. I feel like my life is going to begin soon, for real this time, and I am so happy and scared.

Needing a little love and patience, now more than ever. My anxiety has been worse, and depression is only barely being kept at bay. I’m doing my best to be strong and face my fears and my future and to do while working with my partner rather than against her. We need one another. We’ve made so much progress together this year, and I want us to keep going. We have to remember to love each other and be patient with each other, no matter what! We’re both flawed, but we’re both good, and smart, and creative, and worth every frustrating moment and every ounce of strength it takes to listen, communicate, and compromise too.

Loving that this year I will get to ring in the New Year in style, surrounded by my friends and my girlfriend. Not that there is anything wrong with easing into another year, but we’ve done that, and as nervous as I am to look nice, and have fun, and not make a fool of myself tonight, it feels good to do something different. It feels good to know that I will be with people. I’ll have people who like and care for me with me, and I’ll have complete strangers too. People I don’t know and may have nothing at all in common with except that we are alive right now and got to see another day, together. It’s beautiful. Plus there will be an open bar!

Hating how these little breaks from work never seem to be enough. The weekends aren’t enough either. I want so much more time to enjoy the things I love, my family, my friends, my hobbies, and my pets, but I’m always kept away by work and by trying to find work that can get me out of this work. I hate that this is just the way that the world works. That we all have to spend so much time doing things that don’t make us feel good just to keep a roof and a bit of food. My job isn’t the worst, but it isn’t what I love. It isn’t what I wish I were doing. It isn’t for a lot of you I am guessing, and I just think it’s all such a sad shame.

Hoping that in 2018 we can all find a way to spend a little more time doing things we love, without guilt or fear. Work is a reality, but it doesn’t have to be all there is. It shouldn’t be all there is. There can be hobbies, and side hustles, and small joys all your own. Ones that you make happen and that no one can take from you. I hope you find some, make some, and share some too. I’m going to make things, and write things, and put more of myself out there for you to meet. I’m going to learn to say no to people and help others to say it too. I am going to learn to say yes, and hell yes, to myself as much as possible too.

All in all, this year was a batshit crazy one, and I am 100% sure 2018 will be just as batshit crazy or worse, but I’m here, and I am happy, despite it all. I hope this year was good to you, and if it wasn’t, I hope 2018 will be full of fresh starts and all the healing energy you need. I will post a proper list of resolutions and goals in the coming days, and if I feel up to it we may have a little coffee chat later too, but if I don’t see you, please, stay safe out there and remember that tomorrow you will be a the same you that you were today, only new.

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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 cup of coffee.

The inspiration for this posts come from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

Featured photo is by Luke Hodde on Unsplash

Currently // November 2017: Preparing for New Beginnings

It’s been a strange month. The weather feels much warmer than it should be, which you would think I’d be excited about considering how depressing I find fall to be, but it’s hard to enjoy when the days are so short. It’s cold and dark when I leave the house, and it’s cold and dark by the time I get home again and there’s never enough free time in between to get any sun on my skin. Still, I’m feeling much better than I usually am this time of year.

I’ve never made it a secret that I’m no fan of either Thanksgiving or Christmas. I grew up in the kind of chaotic home where tempers flash easily under the emotional and financial burden of the holidays. There is just way too much generational trauma floating around.

But I’m an adult now, and every year I resolve not to let that stress get to me or my relationship. Some years I win, some years I turn into my parents. This year I am winning. I’m practicing healthy communication and making time for self-care. I’m having fun spending time with my family and friends and looking forward to celebrating the New Year spectacularly and to taking on 2018.

But first, here is what I am currently:

Writing the things I always meant to write and no longer writing what I hope will lead to money or notice. For a while, I fancied a future as a freelance writer. I thought I might make my money by adding my voice to the current discourse forgetting that my wits run at a pace too slow for the news cycle or the speed of the internet. I’m built for pen and paper and months, maybe years spent on a single project. That is the kind of writer I have always wanted to be and from now on the choices I make will reflect that

Making room in my home for a new, more creative me. I’m finally following the advice of Austin Kleon and separating my digital spaces from my analog spaces. I now have two desks in my “creativity room” (three if you count my girlfriend’s watercolor desk) one with my laptop, phone, and speaker, and another with newspaper clippings, markers, bits of cardboard, and colorful paper. I want to make something next year, and I need a space in my home devoted to it so I can start devoting space in my mind to it. Now I just have to get my ass planted there. That’s always the hardest part.

Anticipating Christmas break! I might not care much for the holidays but working for a school district means I get two whole weeks off. Not off completely, I do go in and work on a few projects, some paperwork, and do a bit of cleaning up but having a couple of weeks away from the kids helps reset the mind and keep me from burning out and snapping. I will work fewer hours though and devote more free time to—you guessed it—writing! Oh! And I’m looking forward season 4 of Black Mirror, which Netflix has refused to share the release date for but I bet it’ll be very soon!

Reading Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. It’s interesting and easy to read, but I’m struggling with it. Here’s a fun fact about me, I don’t do comedy. I like to laugh and every so often, I am crack a good joke myself, but I have to laugh alone. I hate feeling pressured to be amused by something. Good Omens is trying to make me laugh and that makes me not want to read it at all. BUT I found a way through it. I joined a weekly reading challenge in the Buffer Slack Community where we agree to read a certain number of minutes a day or week. It helps knowing I only have to suffer through 15 minutes at a time.

Watching Godless on Netflix. Actually, I already finished it, and Alias Grace too. Both were really good! I already had a feeling Alias Grace would be good because it was another Margaret Atwood story, but Godless really surprised me. I’m not a big fan of Westerns normally but the characters, mostly bad ass women, felt real here. No one was all good or bad, and no one was safe. I highly recommend it!

Feeling up and down, but still as hopeful and curious as ever too. I’m beginning to suspect there may be a pattern to this emotional roller coaster ride I’ve been on lately and I suspect that ride may have a lot to do with my hormones. I’m turning 33 next year and some days it feels like I’m a second puberty. My body is changing in ways I understand even less than when I was 14. I hope next year I can get some answers to why I have so much anxiety and such low self-esteem and sadness when I have every reason to feel just the opposite.

Needing a win! It’s been a while since I won a contest or had something I wrote accepted somewhere. Granted I haven’t been trying all that hard, but a few rejections have made getting back up a little too hard to do at the moment. I want to write new. Some piece of poetry, or a personal essay, or a piece of flash fiction that someone would love to publish. I need to feel like I’m making progress….

Loving that it has been two whole years since the last time I considered myself to be a smoker. I put down my last pack of Marlboro Menthol the day before Thanksgiving, 2015, and while I may have had a drag here and there, maybe half a cigarette once or teice, since, I’m still so proud of myself. I love my clear lungs, my improving health, and my sense of taste and smell. I love knowing I’ll never have to stand outside in the cold killing myself slowly because of addiction. I love being free, feeling strong, and knowing that one less thing in this world has control over me. It’s not easy and even as I write this, prou, I still miss it, but I love living too much to go back.

Hating white male privilege. I’m sorry I know that may set some of you off or turn some of you away but I’m tired. I’m tired of lawmakers. I’m tired of sexual harassers. I’m tired of the trolls. I’m tired of the excuses, the denying, and the arguing. I’m tired of explaining. I’m tired of not saying anything. I’m tired of the ignorance and the insensitivity and the refusal to just listen. I’m tired and I’m already renewing my call for More Women of Color in my life and in my social media feeds, in the shows I watch, in the podcasts I listen to, and the voices I amplify for 2018. I urge you to do the same.

Hoping that I can spend this last month of the year surrounded by love and light and all the people who bring joy to my life. I need that more than ever I think. This year has been a hard one, both physically and emotionally. I hope I can let go of all that disappointment and start again. I hope we all can. It will be hard but I hope we can all help each other to get there. 2018 has to be a new beginning for us all.

All in all, November was a good month. I made some big decisions and I made time for myself and my loved ones, but it isn’t over yet. I still have so much to time and love to give before the year is out. I just hope there will be enough month to give it all in.

But, what about you? How did November treat you? Did you spend Thanksgiving with family or friends? Did you cook or clean? Have you started your Christmas shopping? How stressed are you right now?

Let me know in the comments!

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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 cup of coffee.

The inspiration for this posts come from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

Featured photo was taken by photo by Noah Silliman on Unsplash

Currently // October 2017: Autumn is a Second Spring

It’s feeling like fall for sure now, both outside, with the clouds and the cold winds, and inside, with my craving for big blankets, hot tea, soups, and cuddling. My temperament has come to match the typical Colorado Autumn, one day sunny and 70 degrees, the next freezing and flurries flying. I’m all over the place, up and down and unhappy about it.

I’m still trying to be grateful and see the good in the season too, but every cold day makes it harder to be happy and hopeful. I found a quote attributed to my favorite Absurdist, Albert Camus, that goes: “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” I’m sure he didn’t mean anything so cheery as this cherry picked quote would have you believe but I do like it and choose to pull a hopeful meaning from it.

Not that the fall is like spring, with everything coming to life and being born anew, but that everything is going through its necessary change. Growth isn’t always beautiful and changing fucking hurts sometimes, but it’s necessary and good. Winter is coming and with it a time for focusing on myself for change.

But first, here is what I am currently:

Writing at a real desk again! I took advantage of a few days off over fall break to clean out and rearranged our “creativity room” and make a new writing corner for myself, and just in time too! It’s too late to get my shit together for NaNoWriMo, but I might be able to pull something out of my ass for ZineWriMo! (A quick thank you Sea Green Zines for letting me know such an event and group existed.) Which fits right in with my project goals. I don’t expect to have a finished product by the end of the month, as last minute and disorganized as I am, but I hope to get a good start have something to show come December 1st.

Making real life things and not just internet things. Lately, I have been feeling pretty lost. The internet is a big place, and it’s full of thinkers and writers far smarter, funnier, and more well connected than I can even dream to be, so I need to stop dreaming, and just be. I’m scaling back my social media use and refocusing on making, sharing, and building community. I plan to keep my eyes on my own corner of the internet for a while.

Anticipating the crushing disappointment that will come with my not so shocking rejection from the Bitch Media Fellowship for Writers 2018 program. I worked hard to get an application in by the end of August, and I am so proud of myself for trying, but I am under no delusions about the competition. There are too many writers with more to say and the talent to say it better, writers more deserving than me, and that’s okay. To even be rejected by Bitch Media will be an honor.

Reading Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare, whew! I’m not very good with plays, it’s hard for me to follow a story that is made entirely of dialogue, but The further I get the more I get the hang of the story, and the more I enjoy it. I was lucky to have found a Barnes & Noble edition (I picked it up at a thrift store) with plenty of notes and explanation throughout on the language and history of the play and England as it was in Shakespeare’s time for context. This is my first reading of Shakespeare, and I’m happy to find he’s actually pretty funny, and there is plenty of wordplay and a good dose of sexual innuendo to keep me interested too. Next up I’ll be back with Virginia Woolf reading A Room of One’s Own.

Watching Stranger Things 2! I actually finished it last night, so I’ll probably start the analysis show, Beyond Stranger Things, to keep me going for a little while longer. There isn’t much else that has my attention. The Duece is over. I’m not as enthusiastic about Mindhunter as I thought I’d be. Transparent is getting too weird for me. I’ve been rewatching all seven seasons of True Blood, but I’m almost done with those too. Thank God Shameless starts up next week!

Feeling a bit down on my body right now. I’ve been gaining weight steadily since at least the beginning of this year but the problem isn’t the weight, it’s my clothes. Nothing fits me anymore, and I can’t really afford a whole new wardrobe, and I can’t keep trying to work and live in clothes that are so tight they hurt so I have to find a way to get back down to my skinnier self. There is a gym around the corner from me that I’d like to join, but I don’t trust myself to actually do it, so I’m going to start by working out at home, by the end of November I want to have a plan and a routine down pat!

Needing more time to spend with family and friends. The two people who I count as my good friends, people who check on me and encourage me, are working different schedules and locations now. We don’t see as much of each other as we used to and ever since my sister, her husband, and her kids moved away to Texas, I haven’t seen much of the family I have left here either, but I want to. My mom has been down over her health, my niece is growing up, and my little sister is a hair’s breath from adulthood, and I want to be there for all of them. I just need some community, people to take care of and people to take care of me too.

Loving the continued exposure of men who thought they were too big to be brought down as sexual harassers, pedophiles, rapists, enablers, and trash human beings. Sometimes it hurts. I had come to really enjoy Kevin Spacey as an actor, but I celebrate the cancellation of House of Cards, no matter how much it sucks, because he hurt a child and he deserves, at the very least, to lose this and go away for awhile because of it. I hope victims and survivors continue to feel empowered and encouraged to tell their stories. I’m here for it because, sadly, #MeToo.

Hating the stress of the holidays already. The older I get, the more I see the way capitalism and consumerism have corrupted the season. I want Thanksgiving to really be about giving thanks for what and who we have in our lives not competing for the best and biggest spreads. I want Christmas to really be about giving not competing for the best gift given and begging for better gifts in return. I want the new year to be about new beginnings, not big parties and best dressed. I just want to focus on loving the people I love and enjoying some much needed time with them.

Hoping to spend a significant amount of the upcoming holiday time off to focus on self-care too. I’ve been anxious, and depressed, lost, and a little down on myself lately and I have realized I’ve been waiting, hoping, expecting that someone else would fix me but people aren’t medicine. I am responsible for me and I know I’m not doing okay so it’s my job to do something about it. Excercise, eating right, getting enough rest, and getting help, these are the gifts I hope I can give myself this holiday season.

All in all, October was a fun month. We were able to see It, check out a haunted house, get Friday the 13th tattoos, and meet up with friends for dinners and parties. I feel like the most was made of the last warm days of the year and I can head into winter with no regrets.

But, what about you? How did October treat you? How did you treat yourself? What did you think of Stranger Things? Are you ready for the holidays, or are you already stressed out and plan to be until January?

Let me know in the comments!

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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 cup of coffee.

The inspiration for this posts come from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

Featured photo is by Kyaw Tun and available freely on Unsplash

September 2017 // Fall Brings Its Own Kind of Warmth

The last of summer has faded, the leaves are changing, and I feel myself changing too. I’m curling up inside myself, making a place to keep warm and safe before winter moves in. It’s a sad time for me. Summer has always been my favorite season and this time of year is the farthest I will be from that freedom again, but I am trying to change my perspective. I’m learning that fall has its own kind of warmth, one I can find inside myself.

September always feels like the longest month of the year, and this one was no exception. I had a ton of birthdays to mark, my girlfriend, her father, her sister, two of my sisters, one of my brothers, and a cousin. I didn’t celebrate with them as much as I’d wanted to because things are still pretty crazy at work but as the month worn on though things began to calm down. I’m allowing myself to believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel. October might be a return to some normalcy, and I am so ready for it.

But first, here is what I am currently:

Writing…something? I have had an idea, it’s still small, but it’s important and full of potential, I think. See, I’ve been having a hard time dealing with my death anxiety, and everyone is telling me to get help but I already researched ways to cope, and I have plenty of people will listen when I need to talk. The reality is, this will probably always be a part of me, and the best I can do is learn to soothe and redirect myself when I need to, but there may be something else I can do. Maybe turning it into something creative and giving it a purpose can help too. I’m writing things down, but I have no idea what they will be exactly. It’s exciting!

Planning My next big writing goal, another fellowship, this time it’s with Buzzfeed! The BuzzFeed Emerging Writers Fellowship includes four months of financial support and mentorship focusing on personal essays and cultural reporting and criticism from Buzzfeed!. It’s a dream come true. Applications are due by December 4th, and while that might seem like plenty of time, there’s a lot that is required, and I figure I better get started before my brain has time to get overwhelmed or decide it’s a waste of a time for a talentless hack such as myself.

Making a very long list of blog post ideas. This blog hasn’t been focused in a very long time, and I want to get control of it and make it into what I always wanted it to be. A place for self-care, mindfulness, philosophy, science, art, society, and culture. Whew! I’ve got my topics figured out, at least 15 in all, and I’m writing 3 posts for each slowly but surely to get me started. You won’t see them for awhile, maybe not even until the new year, but they are coming.

Anticipating Halloween! It’s time to get spooky dear readers, and I am ready! This month we are seeing a ballet performance of Dracula, a play about Jack the Ripper starring a friend of ours, and heading to a haunted house with friends. I’m hoping to hit up Fright Nights at Elitch Gardens, a movie party at the Alamo Drafthouse, and a party if I can convince some friends of friends to open their home. Mostly though I will be watching every horror movie, I can find streaming on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and HBO!

Reading Phi: A Voyage from the Brain to the Soul by Giulio Tononi. I’ve read it before but it’s such a beautiful book, bok in its writing and in the presentation, I had to pick it up again. I finished Mrs. Dalloway, finally, and breezed through Memoirs of a Geisha and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest as well this month. I’ve started setting a goal of 40 pages a day, and reading during my lunch and between my afternoon routes instead of napping. It has really helped, and there’s hope yet that I might accomplish my reading goal for the year if I keep it up.

Watching The Duece on HBO, Starring big names like James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal The Duece is a semi-fictional account of the rise of the porn industry during the 70s in New York. The show is only a few episodes in, but I can tell you its pretty damn good so far. I’ve also been watching American Horror Story: Cult and the new season of Transparent but neither has sucked me in like The Duece.

Feeling A bit introverted lately. Maybe it’s just the changing of the seasons, or my focus on this new project and my lofty writing goal, or maybe it’s my anxiety, I’m not sure, but something is putting up a wall between me and everyone around me. I’ve turned into  Very Serious Woman with no time for jokes. Having any kind of conversation feels pointless, and I can’t imagine there is anything anyone might say that would make me feel better. Of course, I know that isn’t true, and I’m trying to make time every day to socialize in some way. It’s good for people to be with people, even when we least want to be.

Needing more hours in the day, please? I know that isn’t possible, so I’m willing to settle for more days doing more of what I want and less of what the world needs. This damn capitalist culture is taking all of my free time and paying me back very little of what these precious hours of my life are worth.

Loving fall cocktails! My girlfriend has been making Hot Buttered Rum before bedtime, and I’ll be picking up some Fireball Whiskey to make Angry Balls too. I’m even thinking about trying these Caramel Apple Mimosas. They look delicious!

Hating Um, Trump? Again? More? I mean a week doesn’t go by where he doesn’t say something insulting or inflammatory and nothing his administration has done makes me feel like this country is great and has only confirmed that we never really were in the first place. The American Dream made that man. He’s everything this country pushes people to be and that ought to be a warning and reason enough to reevaluate everything we think is good and right in the world. The people of Puerto Rico are in my thoughts, and I am proud of every player taking a knee.

Hoping October takes it easy on my loved ones and me. After Halloween, the pressure of the holidays follows. The pressure to be the most giving, the most grateful, the happiest, and most tolerant of your family’s crap because they are family. It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time, but it’s the most stressful! October will be the last chance I’ll have to enjoy being a little selfish. I hope the month’s demands won’t be too harsh.

All in all, September was alright. I was busy and anxious for most of it, but I’m proud to have made it through still focused and motivated. I’m proud that I never once let the demands put on me by work and family pull me down into depression and I never gave up on my personal goals. I simply did my work quickly and utilized every minute I had left over to further my goals. At least, I did on most days. There were certainly a few evenings I came home to grouchy and full of pity for myself to do anything. As always though, progress, not perfection is the goal. I am definitely progressed!

So, how about you? How did September treat you? What did you accomplish? What did you learn? Do you have any fun Halloween plans or costume ideas?

Let me know in the comments (:

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Thank you 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 cup of coffee.

The inspiration for this posts come from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

Featured image by Owen CL on Unsplash

August 2017 // I Did the Thing!

Wow, the end of August really snuck up on me! I went the half the day writing the date on forms and staring at it on my calendar before I realized what it meant, tomorrow is September, and then it took the other half to reflect on everything that happened.

This month was a buzzing busy one. The kids have all gone back to school with means I have gone back to working a regular schedule and this school year has been off to the rockiest start I’ve seen in my 11 years here. With the employee shortage, we are all having to chip in and work a little more. My girlfriend is working very long hours, so I’ve been picking up some slack at home all the while plugging away at a big scary goal I had at for myself too. I sent in an application for the Bitch Media Fellowship for Writers under the topic of sexual politics.

I’ve never done anything like this before which means I had no experience working cover letters, crafting a CV, or putting together writing samples, but I did it. I agonized over it. I fought my fear of it. I thought of my future self and how I hoped she would be proud rather than disappointed. I did the thing, guys. I did the big scary thing, and now I’m ready for September to begin.

But before it does, here is what I am currently:

Writing: Nothing. Well, not nothing. I’m posting here and working on a few little things, but after having worked so hard on that application, I’m kind of burned out. I’m going to take a little break from the pressure and deadlines. I’m just reading and brainstorming. I say nothing, and I say I’m taking a break but to be honest with you I’ve already been making interesting little notes I might make into something one day.

Planning a long weekend away! So, work got in the way, and our big trip west won’t be happening after all. Bummer. But since my girlfriend’s birthday is on Sunday, and since this weekend marks the 40th anniversary of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and since Birth.Movies.Death is teaming up with SyFy and showing the movie in Wyoming at the base of Devil’s Tower we ARE DRIVING NORTH FOR THE WEEKEND! I’m so excited. Oh, and I guess I better start planning for the 100 other birthdays of close friends and family falling in this month too.

Making a new art journal. I think I’ve said this before, and I didn’t really do it, but I finally have just the right piece of cardboard for the cover and plenty of scrap paper to make a nice thick book out of it. I want so badly to get back into drawing but trying to do it in the same art journal I failed to keep up with is just a reminder of my failure. I can’t draw when I feel like a failure, so there needs to be a clean slate. Art will be the thing I do that is entirely for me. Writing used to be that thing, but now I write for you all too, and while I love sharing my passion with you, I’m just one of those people who needs something that is just for me too.

Anticipating the end of September! I hate to see the season go but Halloween is my favorite holiday, and as far as I’m concerned it begins on October 1st. I’m ready for candy corn and all the horror movies I can watch. The good ones and the cheesy ones too, I love them all. Plus I’m so ready for the next season of Stranger Things. I have a feeling September is going to dragggggggggg.

Reading Mrs. Dalloway, still, because I caved and reinstalled Candy Crush on my phone. I’m so addicted to the game that even talking about it now makes me want to close my laptop and get a hit of that sweet, sweet color matching action. I need to delete it, and I will, I promise, just one…more…level. It’s not just the game though, the book’s stream of conscious style was hard to get the hang of, but I am making progress. I believe I’ll get through it before the weekend is over. Next up I’ll be reading either Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare or Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden.

Watching Last Chance High on Viceland. Many of the years 11 years I’ve worked in this school district were spent with children who have emotional and behavioral disorders. These kids are defiant, violent, and angry but they are also so caring, and smart, and afraid. There is a serious lack of public understanding of how these disorders develop and how to treat them. People believe these kids need to be ashamed, bullied, and beat into better behavior but it is precisely this treatment that leads to this behavior. Last Chance High chronicles the harsh world these kinds of kids live in and teaches us that love, affection, protection, and understanding is how you help them heal.

Feeling a little alone. I’m surrounded by people who are too busy living their own lives to pay attention to me, but I’m doing my best not to be too whiny about it. I’m taking some time to learn how to be alone with myself without anxiety and existential dread creeping in. I’m learning to be self-motivated and disciplined and to soothe myself and take care of me without help. I’ve never been on my own, and even now I’m not truly alone, only bored and having a small internal tantrum over not having attention paid to me the moment I want it.

Needing the world to get back on some kind of even keel again. Everything feels so upside down and up in the air. I’m afraid of the future, for our country and for my own small family and circle of friends. The big political and economic landscape have had real world effects. My job can’t find or keep enough qualified employees, my friends can’t afford the skyrocketing rent prices in this city, and I’m afraid to lose my rights, my healthcare, and my sanity. I’m worried about war and natural disasters victims who will lose their homes. I’m afraid there is nothing I can do, and I’m afraid there is so much I can do, and I’m only too weak or lazy to do it.

Loving that last season of Game of Thrones! Best season yet despite being so short. Every episode was action packed and full of surprises and bombshells of information. I sat on the edge of my seat for seven whole weeks. I have no idea how I’m going to wait out the next year or two until the eighth season premieres, and I have no idea how I will live without the show in my life after that final season ends.

Hating that I’ve had to stop being so open to people emotionally. I used to pride myself on being so willing to hear the pains and complaints of others. I k ow how much we all just want to be heard and I know not every is so lucky to have someone in their lives to listen, but lately, there has been so much negativity and lying around me that I’ve had to take a step back. With my own support system working at a lower capacity than usual I just don’t have the emotional strength right now to deal with toxic attitudes. I hate it, but it’s necessary for now.

Hoping I get picked for this fellowship, and I’m also hoping I don’t. I want it because I really think with some mentorship and a little direction I could turn out to be at the very least a damn decent writer. I want this because it will give me a purpose and a place for my writing to call home. I want this because I want to feel proud and I want people to feel proud of me too. But as much as I want it I still have this sinking feeling that I’m not good enough and that I have made myself a liar by trying to convince the nice people at Bitch Media that I am. I’m afraid to waste their time, to find out I’m incompetent, and to let everyone down. Mostly I’m just hoping I can put it out of my mind and keep myself from going crazy until November 15th when the 2018 fellows are announced.

Mostly I’m just hoping I can put it out of my mind and keep myself from going crazy until November 15th when the 2018 fellows are announced.

All in all, this month was a really hard one, but I’m so proud of myself, and my girlfriend, and of us for making it through it all together.This month was about growth and maturity and about loving each other enough to put our own feelings and sometimes needs aside to be supportive of one another. She supported me and took time out of her day to proofread and give me her opinion. I did my best to take some worries off her mind, and we both let go of our frustration to make the most of what time we had.

I hope things improve next month, but I know that if it doesn’t, we can handle it. We can take on whatever the world throws at us, separately and together. We’re growing up finally, and it feels good.

So, how about you? How did August treat you? Are you ready for fall? Do you have any last-minute summer plans to squeeze in? What did you think of Game of Thrones season 7?

Let me know in the comments (:

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Thank you 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 cup of coffee.

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

Featured image by Dixit Motiwala on Unsplash

 

Currently // July 2017: Freedom is Bad for Writing

The passing of June was a time of conflicting feelings for me, but the passing of July is just down right depressing. The heat of summer may continue, but my freedom will end almost immediately. Working for a school district means August is a chaotic time. No matter how many school years we begin and end, they never seem to get easier. Every year is different, and each comes with new challenges and new anxieties.

Then again, I’m kind of looking forward to returning my old structured schedule. One thing I learned this summer is that I am not very good at managing my time and working when no one is making me do it. I spent plenty of time napping and feeling guilty about napping. With the return of the children, there will be the return of reasons to wake up early and days that come with writing time already built in. The loss of all this free time might be the best thing to happen to my writing in months.

But before I get back to it, here is what I am currently:

Writing more blog posts, and essays, and poems, as usual, but this time, purely for me and purely for fun. I dropped off the face of the internet for much of July because I lost my passion for writing. I lost my passion for writing because I was trying too hard to be someone else. I want to be successful, and so I watch what other successful people do and try to emulate it, but that isn’t fun, or interesting, and it doesn’t lead to fulfillment, joy, or pride in my work. So, I’m going to stop listening to all the things people say I should do and just do what feels good for a while. Blogging feels good and so does writing about whatever pops into my head and sometimes writing about nonsense.

Planning my first real vacation. I can’t give away too many details yet but it looks like very soon my girlfriend, and I might be heading west and away from all our stress. We’re taking a break from worrying about the future for a while. I can’t wait. Actually, I am planning a lot of things. I’m hoping to start actually planning our wedding too. We’ve been engaged forever now, and we’re coming up on a year out from our “we’re getting married no matter what” date so we need to get our shit together asap.

Making a lot of Old Fashioned whiskey cocktails lately.  I had one a while back at one of our new favorite restaurants and thought I’d give it a try on my own. I have special ice cube molds and a couple of thick bottom glasses leftover from our old set. I’ve been having fun adjusting the recipe to taste and I contrary to the website I got the recipe from I do enjoy adding a slice of orange and a maraschino cherry, but I do skip the club soda. That is too far from the classic for me.

Anticipating a quiet month. July was stressful. There were a lot of birthdays and events to attend along with all the work obligations. We also spent a lot of time making improvements to the house, and despite how exhausted we are somehow it feels like we barely accomplished anything. Next month there are only two birthdays in the family, and our calendars have been wiped clean to focus on work for a while. As the school year starts, every day will get easier and easier, and hopefully, by the time we get to September, everything will be running smoothly.

Reading Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, still. I don’t know what it is, but I am having a tough time getting into this book. All of humanity pretty much agrees it’s a classic and I’m still hovering around the first third of the book trying to figure out the flow so I can make sense of where I am and where Woolf is trying to take me. I’m not giving up though, I’m just trying a new strategy. I’m going to read two books at once. I’ve decided to revisit Phi: A Voyage from the Brain to the Soul by Giulio Tononi. I attempted to read it years ago and never did maybe switching between two books I’m struggling with and giving myself a break from each every chapter will get me to the end of both.

Watching Game of Thrones yo! We’re three episodes in, and I’ve already grieved the loss of another favorite character and worried about the possible loss of another. Every episode leaves me shocked and wishing the week would fly by a little faster so I could find out what happens next. Besides GoT, I’m watching two other HBO originals, Insecure and Room 104, and rewatching the old L Word series since I hear a sequel is in the works.

Feeling lost, and a little sad. Being alive is hard and knowing that one day I won’t be is even harder than that. My anxiety has been at an all time high, and my self-esteem seems to be getting lower every day. Then again, I feel so much gratitude too. At least I get to be alive at all, even if my little life is nothing but a blink of an eye and even if I don’t get to be someone who will be remembered outside of my own family. I got to be here, and I have to stop worrying about the end and get on with enjoying the time I have.

Needing a little more independence. I had hoped by now I would have made more progress, any progress toward overcoming my driving phobia, but I haven’t. Not being able to drive has had a profoundly negative effect on my self-esteem and not being able to go places and do the things I want to do has contributed to my feelings of isolation and depression. So, I guess what I really need is more courage so that one day I might be able to get the independence I crave so much.

Loving the latest season of The Heart podcast, No, in which “Kaitlin explores her sexual boundaries from youth to adulthood.” The episodes explore sexual coercion and can be super triggering if you aren’t in the right head space but if you can I encourage you to listen. One thing I love about The Heart is that when they explore these painful issues they tackle them from all sides, and this season it was interesting to hear from men who admit pressuring women into sex and coming to term within themselves about why they did it and how wrong it was.

Hating the entire sprawling Trump and Co. circle of family, friends, and ass-kissers. Politically this year has been the longest and most exhausting of my life. I miss the Obamas so bad it fucking hurts. I miss feeling like America stood for something more than just money and greed and self-centeredness. I want to return to a time when there was at least the illusion even if there was little more of us being leaders in the world fighting for what was right, defending the oppressed, and working to bring nations together rather than tear the world apart. Is it 2020 yet?

Hoping that now that the Republicans have finally tried and failed and tried and fail and tried and failed to kill the Affordable Care Act they can finally get down to the business of real health care reform. I am one of those people with a pesky pre-existing condition and who is finally receiving the care I need because of “Obamacare” and as grateful as I am Even I can see that the system is far from perfect. Let’s finally start helping people!

All in all, this month was…not the best, but it wasn’t all bad. I may not have made a lot of writing progress but I did learn some valuable lessons and I did make progress in other parts of my life. I had some fun and through all of the stress my girlfriend and I have been able to find ways to lean on one another, be there for one another, and continue to grow together.

I know things can only get better from here.

So, how about you? Was July a good or bad month for you? What goals did you accomplish? In what ways were you disappointed? What are you reading, watching, or looking forward to in August? Let me know in the comments (:

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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 cup of coffee.

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

Featured image by Stanley Dai on Unsplash