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!

***

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

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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!

***

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 (:

***

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 (:

***

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

Currently // June 2017: The End of a Disappointing First Half

The passing of June is a time of conflicting feelings for me. I am happy it is still summer, the weather is still warm, and I still have a feeling of freedom and possibility, but at the same time, I feel disappointed. I never accomplish as mush as I want to in the first half of the year, and I am sad because from here on the days will be getting shorter and the weather will soon begin to get colder.

But I am also excited. All the mistakes I have made so far can be left in the first half of 2017. I can look back and learn from my mistakes and let July be a new beginning, a last chance sprint to the finish line and all of my goals. I’m excited to feel excited again.

But before I start again, here is what I am currently:

Writing something for my Bitch Media’s Writing Fellowship application, and I am extremely nervous about it. I’ve been a reader of Bitch Media’s online publication for the past year or so and the idea of becoming a part of something so big, and wonderful, and feminist is both exciting and terrifying.

Planning on making some big changes to my schedule and the way I work both at my day job and on my personal projects and goals. There have been major changes made at my day job, and I no longer feel that it fits with the life I am trying to have. There is a chance I may be looking for different work, or I  may stay and try to work around the changes. I do know for sure that this next year will be focused on finding a way to turn writing into income.

Making very little progress on my personal projects, surprise! Not really. I have no idea what I am doing or what I want to be doing. I wrote about it already so I won’t say much more. I’ll just say that I am learning and I really want to do better and do more. I’m trying not to doubt my talent and passion or let myself believe there is anything I can’t do if I would only focus and work al little harder every day.

Anticipating my first Coursera course. Someone in the Femsplain Slack group posted a link and asked for some buddies to take a free course in International Women’s Health and Human Rights by Stanford University. I’ve never done anything like this, and I know I don’t really have the time, but I do miss learning about new things in a structured way, so I thought, why not try? It’s free, and it’s a topic I’m passionate about so I’m jumping in.

Reading Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, I haven’t gotten very far yet so I don’t have much of an opinion except to say that the way it’s written is interesting but a bit hard to follow. I’m sticking with it though. The last book I read by her, Orlando: A Biography, was the same way but so worth the effort. I finished The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Stories of Your Life and Others, a collection of short stories by Ted Chiang. Gatsby was boring but very well written. Stories of Your Life was like nothing else I have ever read. The plot of every story was so original and well thought out that I wanted to quit trying to be a writer because I was so certain I could never live up to that standard.

Watching nothing. I finished House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, American Gods, and the Leftovers on HBO. Right now I just watch Vice News Monday through Thursday and Vice the documentary series on Fridays. In film, I enjoyed Wonder WomanIt Comes at Night, and Okja, a beautiful and heartbreaking Netflix original that you must watch. Some new shows will be starting up soon. I’m looking forward to Game of Thrones season 7 and Insecure season 2 in July.

Feeling so damn scared. Did I mention that I am applying for the Bitch Media’s Writing Fellowship? Oh, I did? Well, what I didn’t mention is that they only pick FOUR PEOPLE. I think I read somewhere that last year they received 5,000 applications. They picked four people out of 5,000 from all over the world who probably write much better than I do. Part of me doesn’t even want to try because I am sure I won’t be chosen. Part of me is hopeful though and dares to dream I might win.

Needing my mind to start working a little more creatively. I’m running into a lack of idea lately or a lack of ideas that I think are good. I want to move away from purely person essays to the informative, the persuasive, and work on telling stories other than my own. There are so many topics out there my mind cannot choose. I have to narrow my focus and work on branding and purpose. I need to learn to be more creative with fewer choices and tools at my disposal.

Loving the @AloeBud Twitter account, a community garden and self-care bot that asks followers to tweet “resources” like water (💧), sun (☀️), tending (👒), and encouragement (💚) to help the plants grow. In return, you get self-care prompts and questions to help you take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Aloe is brought to you by the same wonderful people who created Femsplain, the first publication to pay me for my words, so you know it’s amazing and pure.

Hating that I wasted so much of this month. It’s summer time, and since I work for a school district I have been allowed to come in late and go home much earlier than I normally would throughout the school year and instead of sitting down to write, I was lazy. I slept, I played games on my phone, I slept some more, I watched TV, I messed around on Facebook and Twitter, and I slept. I wasted a great opportunity, and I’m angry with myself for it, especially because I am trying to do some very big and scary things right now.

Hoping that I do much better in July. My schedule is still going to be open for at least another month which means I get another chance to make some real progress on my goals. I can’t keep focusing on what I haven’t done and how much I don’t know how to do yet. I can’t keep letting myself stay frozen in indecision and inactivity because I am afraid to take the wrong step. I am good enough to begin, and I am smart enough to find the way.

All in all, this month was a good month. The weather was warm. I got a much-needed visit from my sister and her kids who I have missed more than I knew. My siblings and I got matching tattoos that turned out better than we could have hoped. I got plenty of rest. I got to see some fantastic movies. I celebrated Pride month with my lovely girlfriend and a few good friends. I did a lot! Looking back now I see there is more to be happy about than there is to be disappointed in. I couldn’t have asked for much better to mark the end of the year’s first half.

So, how about you? Was June good or bad to you? What are you looking forward to in July? Are you excited for the new season of Game of Thrones? Do you think I have a chance at this writing fellowship? 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 via Pexels

May 2017 // The Most Wonderful Time of the Year is Here

Summer doesn’t officially start for another few weeks here in the northern hemisphere, but in my heart and mind, it’s already here. This is my favorite time of year but to be honest, I’m not sure why. The heat is intense, the bugs are everywhere, and the threat of severe weather is worrisome but something about the season makes me feel alive and happy again. I love the rain that rolls in the evenings and the warm nights I spend on bar patios with friends. Summer is when new connections are forged, and beautiful memories are made. I’m so ready to see what June has in store for me.

But before I do, here is what I am currently:

Writing some essays, or, I am learning how to write essays anyway. I’ve decided, I think, that becoming an essayist is the dream. I’m hoping to learn by example. I’m consuming popular longform non-fiction pieces from my favorite publications, reading print magazines, and this month I’ll be diving into some work from one of the greats, James Baldwin. So, the writing around here is going to get a bit more serious, and some of the fun and personal type stuff, book reviews, poetry, etc., will probably be moving to Tumblr.

Planning the design of the first issue of Zen and Pi the zine. I now I have been talking about this forever, but this time I mean it. I wanted to complete one project this summer, and this is it. By the middle of August, I need to have something ready for print at the very least. I’ll have more info next month.

Making some big home improvements! I haven’t written much about my house, but that’s because I hate it. We bought it years ago, during the recession, when we didn’t know what we were doing. We got a good deal, but it needs a lot of work. Unfortunately, we’ve learned that home ownership isn’t exactly for us and we’ve barely made any progress fixing this place up but if I ever want to be happy here, or sell this place and find a home I love, I have to start. First up is a new swamp cooler, then paint, then flooring maybe?

Anticipating Game of Thrones season 7! Okay, so GoT doesn’t actually premiere until July 16th, but it’s all I can think about, as far as media and pop culture go. Outside of that, I’m looking forward to Denver’s Pridefest the weekend of the 17th. I wish the parade wasn’t scheduled for the same day as Father’s Day though. Every year I feel like I have to choose or try to squeeze in both.

Reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, one of the many used books I’ve picked up over the past few weekends. I finally finished The Mind’s I: Fantasies And Reflections On Self & Soul by Daniel C. Dennett and Douglas R. Hofstadter. This is my second attempt. It was still hard to get through, but this time I really tried, and it was so worth it. I’ll still need a third read through though.

Watching Sense8 and House of Cards on Netflix. Sense8 is visually amazing, the acting is on point, and sci-fi enough to get you out of your head and away from all the crap going on in the news. House of Cards is the opposite. It’s this world, only worse, which, I’ve learned, can be therapeutic in its own way. Plus, Claire Underwood is the smartest, sexiest, most badass female character I love to hate at the moment *heart eyes emoji*.

Feeling better! Last month my doctor expressed some doubt that the medication we started with would keep my ulcerative colitis symptoms under control. I won’t know for sure until I’m off of the steroid I’m on for short-term relief, but so far, through tapering off, I’m still doing okay. I think this is a good sign. If I feel good through the end of June, I may be able to stay on these meds rather than moving into harsher options. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Needing a little reassurance from the universe that all this good in my life isn’t a sign that terrible things are on the horizon. I don’t know how to feel gratitude and practice mindfulness with all this anxiety. I don’t deserve so much in life, I’m worried there will be hell to pay eventually.

Loving the fact that my local Alamo Drafthouse is hosting a WOMEN ONLY screening of the new Wonder Woman film and gives no fucks about the backlash from weak egoed men. I’m also living the fact that they offered free tickets to the new creepy movie. It Comes at Night for rewards members. Seriously, if there’s an Alamo Drafthouse in your city, there’s no reason for you to go to any other theater. If there isn’t, bug them until there is.

Hating that I’m losing my route next year. It’s a lot to get into, a lot of politics and specifics I’m not even sure I’m allowed to get into but basically, the school district I work for is experiencing an employee shortage, and things have to change to maximize the people we have. So my easy-peasy route with the perfect hours and the awesome kid is going away, and I have to make some tough choices next year. Also, I still hate Donald Trump and every single Republican asshat pushing cruel and destructive healthcare and environmental policies. I cannot wait for midterm elections!

Hoping the summer passes slowly, but I know it won’t. The winter months drag on for eternity, and the summer is never long enough to recover from the cold and drab and depressing. Maybe I’ll learn how to slow down time?

All in all, this month was good, but I may have been too busy looking ahead to really appreciate it. I have to try harder to appreciate where I am. Where I am going will come soon enough, and when it does, I want to know I enjoyed every step of the way there.

So, how about you? Was May good or bad to you? What are you looking forward to in June? Are you as in love with Claire Underwood as I am? Let me know in the comments (:

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Check out my weekly-ish newsletter for interesting reads + some of my own 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 via Unsplash