Currently // April 2018: I Loved All of It

This April was just amazing. Actually, April is always amazing. It’s my birthday month, and I make sure to pamper myself through it every year. My friends and family make sure I feel loved too with gifts, dinners, nights out drinking and dancing, brunches, and plenty of happy birthday wishes. I love all of it. I love everyone wanting to make me happy.

I’m not ashamed of loving my birthday so much, or of loving people loving me on my birthday, it’s an entirely human thing to do, and it does wonders for my mental health and my self-esteem. The only drawback to having an entire birthday month is that it’s terrible for your productivity. I feel behind on everything I hoped to accomplish this month, my A to Z posts, journaling, art, zine work, and other writing projects all moved to the back burner. It was so worth it though.

But now it’s over. I am no longer the center of my little local universe. It’s back to reality, back to work, and back to being my thoughtful, sensitive, and giving self. I’m happy to do it, but first, here is what I am currently:

Writing my Blogging A to Z Challenge posts, still, even though I am hopelessly behind and nowhere close to finishing anytime soon. So strap in, follow or unfollow as your gut tells you because this is going to be the theme for a while, and for a long time after too. I learned a lot this month about what I like to write and how I like to write it. While working on this project I wondered, what if I blogged this way every month? What if every month I wrote 10 or 20 or however many posts under a certain theme until I felt I had said what I needed to say? What if I took my time and just shared the way I am thinking or learning about a certain subject? The wheels in my head are turning, slowly, but surely, some big changes are coming.

Making room for boxes. I’m thinking about something I read from Austin Kleon some months ago, about beginning every project with a box. I went back last week to find the post and found that he got the idea from The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp, an American dancer, and choreographer. The idea is to create a physical space for your idea or project to exist in, something you can hold and feel connected to. SOmething to remind you what your work is. It also a place to throw together all your inspiration, notes, hopes, and visions for the future. It’s a place to mix and match concepts, to brainstorm, make a mess of your project! I think that is just what I need.

Planning for the summer. Working for a school district doesn’t mean I’m off for the summer, it just means my schedule gets really weird. After working a split shift and doing the same things every day for 20 months, working straight through and having every day be a little different can really sap my focus. School ends in just a few short weeks, and I’m hoping with a little foresight I can keep the momentum I gained in April going through May and beyond.

Anticipating a little quiet before the storm. The end of the year means the end of all that testing and training I’ve been doing lately, but it also means the beginning of a new round of testing and training. There is a short breather in between, but if you blink, you might miss it, so I’m trying hard to keep my eyes open and take advantage of every free minute I have.

Reading¬†The Odyssey, still, and Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morals, still, and honestly I don’t want to talk about how much I am failing to make any progress so instead I’ll say I am currently reading this gorgeous set of Shakespeare plays I got for my birthday. It was probably my favorite gift of all, and I love that the person I love the most in the whole world gave them to me.

Watching Westworld¬†on HBO, though I’ll definitely need to read a few explainers because this season is confusing the crap out of me. I’m also watching¬†The Handmaid’s Tale¬†on Hulu, which is much more intense this season, and, as this article brought to my attention, still fails to address the ways racism and sexism would intersect in a world like Gilead. I saw A Quiet Place and loved every stressful second of it, and I saw my first Hayao Miyazaki film, Spirited Away, which was back in movie theaters for a few days. It was certainly beautiful and really want to watch all of his other films now.

Feeling not so good if I’m honest. Ulcerative colitis is kicking my ass right now. I’m in a lot of pain and spending too much of my time either in bed or in the bathroom, sorry not sorry if that’s too much information, but that’s my life. I’ve jumped through a lot of hoops these past few weeks talking with my doctor, trying to get on a new medication, trying to get financial assistance, and trying to get medical leave at work. It’s been stressful, and stress is only triggering my immune system further and making me sicker. Thankfully it’s all done, and I can rest, for now.

Fearing this new medication, I’ll be starting. Of course, I have been reading too many horror stories and looking too closely at the list of side effects. All the worst case scenarios are in my head, and I have no idea what I will do if any of those nightmares come true. I’m even more afraid of the medication not working, I have no idea what the next step is if it doesn’t.

Reflecting on this episode of The Ezra Klein Show, “Is modern society making us depressed?“, in which Klein interviews Johann Hari, author of Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression ‚Äď and the Unexpected Solutions. Of course the discussion on and questioning of the way humans have structured their societies and how that structure might be adversely affecting us is interesting, but even more interesting is the discussion of solutions, or lack of solutions. Maybe we are depressed, dissatisfied, and disconnected is because we have evolved to perpetually feel that way? Maybe the search for a psychological cure is futile?

Needing a more interesting way to show off my work. What I mean is, I am very jealous of artists who can post a sketch or a piece in progress and have it wow people, whereas if a writer shares the first stages of a piece in progress they are just sharing bad writing, you know what I mean? I’ve been thinking about incorporating photography or collage¬†art with work of 100 words or less for Instagram or maybe converting short posts into Twitter threads but I’m not very good at any of that stuff, and I don’t have time! Gah!

Learning hand-lettering! My sister and her family got me the Hand-Lettering for Everyone¬†creative workbook, and with the hand-lettering how-to book my fiance already has, I hope put what I learn to good use in my art journal and those Instagram posts I mentioned. It’ll be a while though, I realized that I acually¬† have horrible handwriting and that while I can read cursive writing, I have just about forgotten how to write it myself.

Loving the way Michelle Wolf killed it at the White House Correspondents dinner this past weekend! That woman showed up and said everything everyone else in that room needed to hear. She was brave, clever, and funny. She was real, and she was right! So many people who should be standing by her and learning from her example have turned on her. People who won’t stand up to Trump and his administration for the lies and insults they sling are denouncing Wolf for the hard truths they were forced to swallow. I hope she stands her ground against the backlash. She has nothing to apologize for, she did what she was hired to do!

Hating the lack of support I am seeing from family and friends for Bill Cosby’s accusers. Justice was served this week, and all I can see is either people still believing the monster is innocent or people believing he shouldn’t have been punished because other men haven’t been punished. The Black community has a weird blind spot for sexual assault and abuse victims. Black men often put their preservation in the face of a corrupt justice system over the victimization of women. As a WOC with my own #MeToo history, it hurts. It hurts to see the success of a Black man come before the pain he has caused so many women. It hurts to see his power upheld when that very power gave him access to this women and license in the eyes of so many to use them this way. It fucking hurts.

Hoping to find more community, more people like me here on the interwebs. Of course, I need to be more available, more open, and more engaging myself, so I suppose I’m hoping to find the courage to do so. People have always been my motivating source, and I think lately I’ve forgotten that. Look for me in the comments of more blogs and sharing on social media more. Forgive me if I am awkward at first, I’ve never been very smooth, or cool. I’ve never been the one people thought was the funniest or the most clever. I just think a lot and sometimes that interests people. It’s what interests me about other people, so maybe it will interest you too.

So yeah, all in all, April was, well, amazing!, but there has been some foreshadowing of stressful times to come, and I’ll admit I’m a little anxious about it. I’m trying to keep in mind the time of year and what part of the cycle I am in and work accordingly. April is about renewal, and May is all about growth. Sometimes growth hurts, but I’ll be stronger for it in the end.

But how about you? Have any new projects you’re working on? Seen see any good movies lately, read any good books? Got any thoughts on Michelle Wolf or Bill Cosby? Be careful in the comments, okay?

***

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 these posts comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

Photo by Meri√ß DańülńĪ on Unsplash

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Currently // March 2018: There’s an Energy All Around

Spring is here! Spring is here! March has come and gone, and spring is finally, finally, finally here. Of course, that doesn’t mean a whole lot here in Colorado. Our Spring feels more like Summer some days, and winter in others. It has snowed nearly every day for the past week and melted away every day too. Still, something in the air is different. The energy is back. The squirrels and geese are out, the trees are budding, and we’ve had thunder again, even during the snow storms.

I find easier to practice gratitude and mindfulness this time of year. This time of year makes me want to be present and to hold onto every day before it slips away. I always end up wishing winter away, and wishing summer would stay. I always end up losing half my year this way, but I hold on to more than most I think. I won’t beat myself up for it, not now anyway. For now, I am here, I am alive, and there is energy all around. I can’t wait to see what April will bring.

But first, here is what I am currently:

Writing¬†blog posts and more blog posts, still. Tomorrow is the first day of the Blogging A to Z Challenge, and I am trying very hard to get a head start but, as usual, life is getting in the way. I have A thru C just about finished, and I have my titles and quotes all organized and ready for the rest. I just need to add my words. Exploring my theme has been exciting, and eye-opening too. I’m afraid it will come off too depressing, and I’m also afraid it won’t come off depressing enough. What I mean is I’m trying not to be too optimistic or pessimistic, I’m just trying to be real.

Making¬†a mess. I’ve been gathering random supplies and scraps for more bookbinding projects and collages, but I haven’t actually made anything in weeks. My “creativity room” is overrun with wasted creativity and the room feels toxic. I can’t go in there. That pile is nothing but a reminder of my failure, and I can’t even begin to think of where to begin to use it or to clean it up. I think I need to purge. Less has always been more and creating with constraints has always sparked my creativity more than endless options or freedom ever has. A good Spring cleaning may just be exactly what I need.

Planning¬†the wedding still, but there have been some setbacks. There have been some tears shed and so hard decisions made, and now the date has been pushed out to summer 2019. There is just too much the house needs and too much that my family needs for me to feel comfortable dropping large sums on venue deposits, catering, and decorations, but it’s important to us to have our big day so, the big day has to wait.

Anticipating my birthday! I believe that birthdays are a big deal and everyone should celebrate theirs, no matter how old you are, or how bad your year has been. A birthday is a celebration of your existence. You are alive! I am alive, and April is my month to celebrate and share that with everyone who means something to me. This year is a special one. This year my birthday falls on a Friday the 13th. and that means a new tattoo!

Reading¬†The Odyssey by Homer, slowly but surely. I took a little break a few weeks ago to read Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer. It was really, really good, and I hope to write a post about it very soon because I am absolutely obsessed. I had the best time with this book because I didn’t read it alone. My friend happened to become just as obsessed as me, and it made all the difference.

Watching¬†Ray Donovan on Showtime. I’m bingeing all 5 seasons right, and it has been nothing but a distraction and a detriment to my progress on writing. I’m watching an episode right now and taking far too long to finish this post. I don’t possess the self-control to slow down or limit the number of episodes or hours I spend on the show. No, the best thing for me to do is to get through them as quickly as I can so I can get my life back.

I am also looking forward to the return of two of my favorite shows in April,¬†Westworld on HBO, and Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu.

Reflecting¬†on what it means to be a writer, and what it means to want to write a book. I read a quote recently from F. Scott Fitzgerald: ‚ÄúYou don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say,‚ÄĚ and I started thinking that maybe I haven’t quite gotten at what it is I have to say. I’m rethinking my plans, and reflecting on my lack of action and why. I’m reflecting on the purpose of this blog, and my journal, and where and how I collect ideas and inspiration.

Learning that I am capable of overcoming my fears. I’ve been trying to be more confident and to be¬†useful, but my anxiety and my fear have been like a barrier I could never get over, until I had to. My girlfriend went out-of-town earlier this month and, admittedly, I fell apart, but I did everything I needed to do, on my own. I drove. The one thing I have been so afraid to do, to drive, I did it. To and from work, to and from the grocery store, to and from my mother’s house, I did it. I did it, and I’m going to keep on doing it. I’m not cured, but I’m close. I am so close!

Feeling a little scared. Since I have been driving and since we have been working on a budget and bringing our debt under control, things feel¬†possible again. Projects around the house, trips, big wedding plans, job changes, and more. I have choices and with choices comes responsibility. I have to take action and accept the consequences if I don’t. SOme choices are ones I never thought I’d have and I find myself wholly unprepared for them. I’m excited, but I’m terrified too.

Fearing the results of some test my doctor ordered this week. I’m worried they will find that something is wrong, and I am even more worried that they won’t find anything at all. Something is wrong but what if they can’t figure it out? Or worse still, what if it’s all in my head?

Needing to be left alone sometimes. I am so grateful that so many people like me and want to spend so much time with me, but I am finding that people I love, and who know I need to write, force me to choose too often. I’ve had a few run-ins with close co-workers lately who know I spend my lunch hour with my headphones in and my laptop open to various drafts and projects, but they talk to me and monopolize my time. They call me grouchy and make me feel guilty for working on something for me, and it’s starting to get to me. I need people to understand more and support my needs and my boundaries.

Loving¬†my snakes. Yes, I have two pet snakes, Delilah the grouchy Ball Python, and Ava the quickly growing Brazilian Rainbow Boa. They had been a bit neglected over the winter, but I’ve noticed they are becoming more active and aware as the weather warms up too. They will be getting a new shipment of frozen rats for this month, and their enclosures are going to get upgraded before the end of the year. I’m excited for them and looking forward to making them more comfortable and reestablishing trust with them.

My baby girl is growing up! ūüė≠ #ava

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Hating how little¬†physical energy I have had lately. I never feel like I’ve slept enough and all I want to do is move from the bed to the couch and back to the bed. Some days showering feels like too much and some days I resent having to go to work, eat, clean, or interact with the world at all. I have a good hour or two a day where I feel somewhat normal, and I try to devote it to reading and writing, and to my girlfriend and dog who love me far more than I deserve, but other than that, I’m so tired.

Hoping¬†that a little exercise, sunshine, and encouragement is all I need. I’m hoping it’s just depression. I don’t mean “just” as in “not a big deal”. I mean “just” as in “this is a problem I have been dealing with my whole life and possess some grasp on what to do to make it better.‚ÄĚ I’ve accepted that depression will always be a part of my life, but I’m beginning to consider medication and therapy improve my quality of life. It’s hard to be like this, and it’s getting to me that I’ve gone as far as I can on my own. I’m strong, I know that, but I want to be strong enough to get help too.

All in all, March was a good month. This year has been good! Not always easy, not always happy, but good. I’m growing, and I am happy to find that age has no effect on that. Next month I’ll be 33, and I see no end to all I can learn and change about myself if I want to. March taught me that. March taught me I can do things I didn’t think I could.

But how about you? How did March treat you? Is it feeling like Spring where you are? What are you looking forward to in April? What are you afraid of? Are you participating in the Blogging A to Z Challenge too? If so let me know in the comments!

***

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 these posts comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

Featured photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Currently // February 2018: I’m Waking up with the World

February, the month devoted to Black History, and to lovers of romance, passes¬†by far too quickly. I wish this one had been a leap year. I wish I could have had one more day to complete one more thing and end the month on a¬†more satisfying note. Instead, I’m scrambling and disappointed. That isn’t entirely true. February was good to me, I don’t think I was good in return though.

I procrastinated and lost sight of what I set out to do. I spent far less of my time writing, reading, and creating then I meant to but so many of the last 28 days were filled with love, and beauty, and discovery, I can’t say it was all bad. I just had to make hard choices about my time, that’s all, and if it had been at another time of year, I might have chosen differently. I’m hoping that March will afford me more options and more time for me.

I leave the month inspired and proud of what I was able to do. I’m determined to make slow but steady progress and my biggest goal to remake this space into a place where I explore more ideas, work out what I think and how I think. I look forward to writing again.

But first, here is what I am currently:

Writing¬†blog posts and more blog posts. A writer I admire very much,¬†Austin Kleon, has been keeping up a daily blogging habit and recently shared a post he wrote some time ago about how and why he blogs the way that he does. It changed the way I thought about what I was doing, or, more accurately, not doing, here. I read too much bad advice¬†and compared myself too harshly to others. I couldn’t write anymore. But I feel like I’m at least pointed in the right direction now and all I have to do is take a tiny step forward. Before the end of March I will begin again, and this time I will be writing here every single day.

Making notebooks!¬†Last month, I mentioned that I was working on finding a new journal¬†for myself. Well, I finally finished it, and while it is undoubtedly flawed and no part of the project went as smoothly as I hoped it would, I love it! I learned so much while making it, both about bookbinding and about myself. I learned that bookmaking is like meditation and that making things with my hands is the best way to relax in the evening. I’m slowly filling it up (another daily habit I had to begin again too), and I can’t wait to make another, even better one next!

I’ve also made a scrap paper sketchbook‚ÄĒpics soon!‚ÄĒand I’m putting together a pocket notebook too. I’m actively looking for new bookbinding projects to begin and new ways to fill the books I’ve already made.

Planning¬†my wedding, and it isn’t nearly as much fun as everyone acts like it should be. I honestly believe it’s because we’re still in search of a venue. We found one we love, but it’s pricey. As excited as I am to marry the girl of my dreams, finally, and as much as we both want to give the other a day every bride dreams of, it’s hard to justify spending thousands of dollars‚ÄĒyears of savings‚ÄĒon just a few hours of celebration.

Anticipating more sunlight! Finally, Spring is close enough to begin feeling excited about. I’m looking forward to a typical Colorado spring with increasingly unstable but steadily warming temperatures and the days continuing to grow longer and longer. I’m looking forward to the smell of honeysuckle, fresh cut grass, and rain! Oh, I have missed rain so much! Soon, very soon.

Reading The Oresteia, still. The book is really, really interesting but it isn’t an easy read for me. First of all, it’s a play, and the structure makes it hard for me to visualize the action. Second of all, its old. This particular translation from Greek to English seems to prioritize a natural way of speaking, but I still struggle with the metaphors and the grandiosity.

I also discovered the poetry of Nayyirah Waheed this month. I downloaded both her books, salt., and¬†nejma,¬†and I’m working my way through them quickly. Reading her poetry feels like radical self-care.

Watching¬†Here and Now on HBO. On the surface, it’s just another show about another dysfunctional family, but underneath there is an exploration of race relations, aging, and some weird supernatural psychological creepiness too. I highly recommend it along with Altered Carbon on Netflix, a sci-fi murder mystery set in the future where human consciousness can be stored, uploaded, and downloaded into a new body, even after death.

I can’t move into March without mentioning Black Panther. I don’t have the words yet to describe how a film like that made me feel. I nearly cried, same as when I attended the all-femme showing of Wonder Woman when it came out. That what representation long denied and finally, finally realized, feels like.

Reflecting¬†on one year since my ulcerative¬†colitis diagnosis and everything I have learned about my body, changed in my life, and failed to do for my well being since then. I don’t know if it’s age‚ÄĒmy 30s feels¬†almost like a second puberty where my body is changing in depressing and disturbing ways I don’t understand‚ÄĒor if it’s my¬†diagnosis, but I don’t feel as energetic or as beautiful as I did before the beginning of last year. I am pledging now to find a way to move more and to learn to love my body through its changes. I’m convinced self-love¬†is necessary to aging gracefully.

Learning¬†how to filter other people’s thoughts through my own mind‚ÄĒmore inspiration from Austin Kleon. I read a lot. I listen to a lot of podcasts. I watch all kinds of interesting shows and movies. Sometimes, I even listen to good music, or just learn a fun new fact.

All of it makes me think and feel new deeply, and I want very much to share the way I think and feel with all of you, but I have a hard time giving myself permission share it. It feels like stealing, or like copying. Someone already wrote about it, so there isn’t any reason to say it again, right?. But there is something to say about how something¬†changed me. There is something to be said about where it led me and where I hope to lead you by sharing it.

Feeling¬†ready to wake from my hibernation. My bones and joints long to move and hold weight again. My muscles are sore and longing for space to stretch. I’m hungry and curious and searching for adventure and connection again. I want to feel the sun on my skin, and I want to see the moon again. I’m waking up with the world,¬†again.

Fearing¬†what I will do with myself when my girlfriend goes out of town for work in a few weeks. We’ve lived together for over 13 years,¬† and I can probably count all the nights we’ve spent apart using only my fingers. I don’t sleep well, eat well, or feel well at all without her and she’ll be gone for six whole days. Worse, ill be driving myself to and from work, and to my mothers once a day to care for her cats since she’s leaving town too! I’ll be working all on my own to overcome this driving anxiety. I’m scared, but I’m also kind of excited. I’m hoping having no choice but to drive on my own for six days will force the progress I’ve been struggling to make.

Needing more human interaction in my life. I’ve been busy. I’ve been sick. I’ve been feeling down, and disappointed, anxious, and, at times, lonely. My friends and family are all hibernating too, or they’re working, or they are sick, or they are just too tired, and it is just too cold outside and anyway they’re broke and so am I, so we haven’t seen each other since Christmas or longer. I want to reach out but it’s hard, and I’m mad at them for not reaching out, but it has to be just as hard for them too I guess. I’m afraid I’m growing away from people. I need the courage to build all my bridges again.

Loving¬†the WeCroak app. It may sound strange but installing an app that reminds me five times a day that I am going to die and offers a quote, a bit of wisdom, on the inevitable end to reflect upon, has done more for my well being than any mindfulness or productivity app I have ever tried. When you remember you are going to die, scrolling Twitter and Facebook no longer feel like a good use of your time, and you choose something more fulfilling to do. It’s even helped with my death anxiety by offering comfort through validation of my fear. The trick is to fight the urge to swipe away the notification and to really take in what the quotes are trying to teach you. Best $0.99 I have ever spent!

Hating¬†the way I can see so clearly the divide between black and white, men, and women, old and young, rich and poor, the people with power and the people they exploit, but I can’t do anything to fix it. I feel helpless, useless, and worse, part of the problem myself. I’m angry and tired of being so forgiving of the people who deny more and people like me the dignity of a life where I can feel free and fulfilled. I’m angry, and sometimes I want to take a page from my oppressor’s book. I want desperate measures and the shady tactics. I don’t want to be patient. I don’t’ want to be kind. I want all the bad things to STOP! I want to stop being afraid and start feeling safe, and whole, and important.

Hoping¬†the energy I am seeing behind gun control in this country won’t fizzle out. I’m tired of the world moving on so easily after all this tragedy. When children are killing children, the world should stop and reflect. The world should change. Everything should feel different when the halls of our schools run with blood and ring with gunshots. I believe in the Second Amendment, but we’ve gone too far! We’ve placed the rights of weapons dealers over the lives of children! I’m angry, and I’m heartbroken, but I believe in these kids, and I’m hopeful for the future.

All in all, February was a good month, it just wasn’t the month I thought it would be. I had hoped for more from myself by now. I’m trying so hard to focus on all the progress I have made, even if it isn’t the progress I had planned to make. Things are moving forward. The world is changing, and I am changing with it. I’m back in a space that belongs to me. I’m making things with my hands. I’m back on the path to learning about myself, with you.

But how about you? How did February treat you? How much have you learned and grown? What has made you feel disappointed or afraid? Did you see Black Panther? Absolutely amazing film, right? Did you spend Valentine’s Day with a special someone? Let me know in the comments.

***

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 these posts comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

Featured photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

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.

***

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

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‚ÄĒbig and small, personal and more worldly too‚ÄĒfor 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‚ÄĒ‚ÄúAgamemnon,‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúThe Libation Bearers‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúThe Eumenides‚ÄĚ‚ÄĒthat 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.

***

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‚ÄĒyou guessed it‚ÄĒwriting! 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!

***

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: ‚ÄúAutumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.‚ÄĚ 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!

***

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