If We Were Having Coffee // Winter is Here

Hello, dear readers and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up. The weather is gorgeous today. Yesterday was all gloom and rain but the sun is back today, and I have all the blinds open to let it in. But I’m still feeling a bit tense and tired. I was up too late last night, and I have too much to do today, but I’m happy to stop for a moment and talk to you about how my week has gone and hear a bit about what you’ve been up to.

“Coffee is a language in itself.”

— Jackie Chan

If we were having coffee, I would wish you a very happy Game of Thrones day! Winter is finally here, and I am so ready! Me and most of my friends, the cool ones anyway, haven’t been able to talk about anything else. We have been counting down, talking up our favorite characters, and sharing rumors we’ve read online. Nothing else really matters today.

If you don’t watch you might feel like my excitement is a little over the top. To you, I say, why the hell aren’t you watching this show? I don’t watch a whole lot of TV, most of the day it’s just CBS News and most evenings its Vice News. I don’t say because I think TV is bad or because I think I’m better in some way for not watching it, it’s just not a lot of shows or movies are more exciting to me than writing. So if I like a show enough to stop writing, then it’s a damn good show, and if it’s a damn good show, it’s worth getting this excited over.

I treat these things like holidays or big sports events. I’ll be heading to the store soon for the drink, snack, and dinner ingredients we need for tonight. On the menu, tonight is a bacon wrapped figs stuffed with goat cheese appetizer, a shrimp and sausage boil/bake for dinner, and a blueberry-lavender chia pudding with a simple bourbon old fashioned for dessert.

If you want to join me in all the hype and excitement, I’ll be on twitter shouting and fangirling and following along with everyone else.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that this week I started a Coursera course on Women’s Rights and Human Rights and even though I barely have the time for it, and I’m already falling behind and stressed about having to type up a few paragraphs on the final reading of the week BY TONIGHT, I am loving it!

I love learning and studying in a structured setting and from experts and professors but there aren’t many chances for it when you aren’t going to college. This has been my first experience with anything like being a student and having homework in many, many years but it has been so inspiring and surprisingly fun that I’m already looking forward to taking another course and maybe really going to school one day.

I think it helps too that the subject matter I chose is one I am already interested in. I call myself a feminist and I feel strongly about women’s rights but I am lacking a lot of knowledge and context for the state of women’s rights-or lack thereof-on a global and historical scale. I want to learn more about the reasons why women are treated the way they are and why it’s been so hard to make progress toward a more equal society, worldwide.

Check it out if you want to join, I think you can begin whenever you want but I’d like to have a buddy or two learning along with me right now too.

 

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that it wasn’t a good writing week, but it wasn’t a bad one either. Work was work and took up more of my time than I wanted it to but I did make progress toward less napping and more writing in my free time. I did manage one post here and I did get my “weekly” newsletter out for the first time in months, but I still didn’t do as well as I hoped.

I am happy to say that I sent my first pitch for an article this week, a piece for Wear Your Voice. I don’t think it was what they were looking for since I haven’t heard back yet but I’m proud of myself for having the courage to try. Now that I’ve sent one and presumably been rejected, I’m ready to jump in and send another.

Oh, by the way, I’m looking for a few guest posting opportunities too, I think. I want to try writing more than just personal essays. I want to get out of just talking about myself for a while. So, if you have a blog that posts a lot of feminist, civil rights, or pop culture type stuff and you are looking for contributors, please let me know in the comments and I’ll se if I can come up with something.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I didn’t get out a whole lot this week. My girlfriend has been working a lot and by the time that she gets home it’s either too late or she’s too mentally and physically exhausted to go. I’m not upset over it, only worried about her. She’s been so stressed and it’s hard not being able to help or take on some of the load myself. I’ve been keeping up with the house the best I can, and I want to start cooking more and finding ways to make our time at home special too.

Last night we did get out for some drinks and bowling for an old friends 30th birthday. It was nice to reconnect and find that none of us are sad about turning thirty. We all agree that everything feels better now. We’re a little less confused and unsure about the world and ourselves, and we are fucking up way less than we used to. It’s been liberating!

We want to try to see each other more. We’re hoping 30 has been good to some other friends we’ve grown away from and we can reach out and reconnect. We are hoping the anger has had time to cool and there is a chance to repair the damage that was done within our group now that we’re all a little more mature and secure in ourselves.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that unfortunately, I have to go. The chia seed pudding needs time to chill before tonight, and there is still laundry that I have to do before leaving for errands and grocery shopping. I hope you all had a wonderful week and that your weekend was as relaxing as you needed it to be before the work week begins again. If you are watching Game of Thrones tonight like me, let me know in the comments and if you aren’t you better have a damn good reason why.

Until next time.

***

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.

Written for the weekly Weekend Coffee Share link up hosted, once again by Part-Time Monster

Featured image via Unsplash

The Week’s End // A Roundup of Inspiring Reads

Hello and happy weekend friends! How are you? What are you up to? Anything fun planned? If not, or if you happen to have some down time and are looking for some interesting and inspiring reads to check out I’ve got you covered. Here are my favorites from across the web:

“Wall Fire” in Oroville, California // Atlantic Photos of the Week

12 truths

Have a mental crisis plan in place

Brown girls tell their own stories.

Brown girls retell stories.

A matter of mattering

…or we can punch cops.

Repeat, repeat, repeat

The future of football is…something.

Egg cups are a thing

Winter is here!

Watch Okja. Listen to SZA. Read Stories of Your Life. Follow @Aloebud.

Return to the Upside Down

Have you read, watched, or written an interesting or inspiring thing this week? Has something on the internet made you feel strongly, think deeply, or see the world in a new light? If so, drop a link in the comments, we’d love to check it out!

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This list was originally sent out along with today’s newsletter, In My Skin, and Yours, along with some existential musings of my own. Check it out and subscribe, or help support what I do by sharing a cup of coffee.

Featured image via Unsplash

Go and Heal Someone Else

“As soon as healing takes place, go out and heal somebody else.”

— Maya Angelou

Humans have a hard time accepting that other people might have an easier way in life than they did, even if the easier way in life is all they ever wished for when they were struggling. What I mean is, if we see some going through what we have but we see them being given the support, patience, and understanding we weren’t, we get angry, and we cry over what we didn’t have and what no one else should have either.

We’re just bitter. We feel we have been wronged and since those wrongs can’t be helped or undone the least we can have is that everybody is wronged in the same ways we were. It feels like some kind of justice or validation of what we went through if at least it is universal and enduring. There is relief in seeing others fight and struggle the same as you. I suppose it makes us feel superior for having survived while others fall behind. It gives us a little bit of power and control over the world and other people we’ve never had.

But it’s wrong, and we know it’s wrong.

What are we all fighting for if it isn’t so other people don’t have to go through what we did?

This week, listen to the ways you talk about what other people should have, what they deserve, and why you think they aren’t as strong or as smart as you if they had it a little easier. Listen to the ways you talk about change and what benefit you think there comes with keeping things the same?

I’ve heard people say we shouldn’t be fighting bullying in school, we shouldn’t have kids wear seat belts, we shouldn’t have therapy, we shouldn’t have later start times for schools, or awards for kids who do their best, why?

The only answer I get is because they didn’t have that when they were young, and they turned out fine so no one should. I always ask if they think they might have turned out better, happier, or more successful if they’d had more support, understanding, and a better sense that they were good enough, smart enough, and strong enough already to do anything they wanted in life. They always answer yes, and they have no answer for why they wouldn’t want that for everyone, even if they didn’t have it themselves.

For the most part, I’m aware of when thoughts like that creep into my head, but I still struggle with believing other people should be able to do everything I can with the same limited resources and assistance I had. I forget that I don’t have a corner on suffering and that I don’t get to decide what other people need or what they can handle. I can be just as hard on other people about their lack of progress as I am on myself for mine. I can forget to have a little understanding, patience, or empathy.

What healing I have done has taken a lot of work. Work that would have been so much easier if I’d had more support and understanding. I want to help others in all the ways I needed help when I was struggling rather than talking trash or thinking trash thoughts about how weak they are or about how much I did with so much less. I want to heal people, not hurt people. I want to teach what I have learned and make the world better for the next person who feels alone and lost. This week, try to do the same.

Of course it isn’t your job to heal anyone, just as it’s no else’s job to heal you either, but we are social creatures, and so much of our lives are wrapped up in other people’s lives, in society, and culture, and community, we all benefit when we build each other up and do our best to meet one another’s needs.

You can’t fix it all, I’m only asking you to do one thing you wish someone would have done for you when you were hurting. Try checking in on people, especially people you haven’t spoken to in a while, or people you think are strong and don’t need it. Try really meaning it when you ask how someone is doing. Encourage others to open up to you. Try opening up to other people and letting them know they are important to you and that they make you feel better. Try actively listening and not just waiting your turn to talk about yourself. Offer advice if it’s asked for. Offer a hug if they want it. Offer some words of validation always.

Heal yourself first. Get what you need, do what you need to, first, always first, but after you have made some progress and stored up some strength yourself, go out and help the rest of the world heal.

***

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.

Featured image via Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // I’m Always Playing Catch-Up

Hello, dear readers! I’m so happy you’ve stopped by for a bit of caffeine and conversation today. I’m got up early, and I was feeling better, more motivated and hopeful, than I have all week, but I’ve since grown sluggish and apathetic. To be honest with you I’m no fan of Sundays. The mornings are sweet but as the day drags on I grow disappointed and depressed and not even coffee can help now. The work week is approaching fast with its early mornings and expectations.

But here is a bit of light underneath the dread. There is the knowledge that a fresh start has come. I’ll hold tight to that feeling today, and add a bit of cocoa and chili powder to my coffee. That should turn the world around, yeah?

“Coffee tastes better with a side of conversation regarding how the world might end”

— @cybersygh

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I continued to make progress this week. I did better than this time last month but not better than the week before. The problem wasn’t from lack of trying, but a lack of knowing how to finish things.

I started a few blog posts, and a newsletter too, but the words got away from me, I couldn’t make my intentions clear and, so, I couldn’t bring anything back around to conclusions. But even that problem is only another symptom. The real disease is not knowing how to manage important vs. urgent tasks.

Lately, I feel like I’m always playing catch up. I’m never looking far enough ahead. I’m not making plans or working toward long-term goals, especially with this blog. I’m writing posts early in the morning that must go up that day rather than having them done and scheduled well in advance like a real blogger. Not that I’m trying to be a real blogger, but I am trying to be a real writer—not that there is a difference—and being a real writer means learning how to plan and manage my time.

I also have to learn to stop and move on to something else when I get stuck. My current strategy is to stop doing anything at all and hope better ideas or a fiery passion will light under my ass and put me back to work. That never happens though because I end up spiraling into a pit of anxiety and disappointment. The longer I spiral, the harder it becomes to get back to doing something, anything again.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is the first step is always admitting you have a problem and I am now well aware that I have many. I’m working on them, I swear.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this week wasn’t especially exciting. I’ve been going into work a bit early and heading home for the day at lunch time. Every day I plan to write until evening but nearly every time the couch calls to me. I turn on the fans, turn the tv volume down, and the dog and I sleep soundly through the afternoon heat.

It’s been nice to relax like this every day, and I’m aware I am lucky to be able to. I don’t want to complain too much except to say that while having time to nap every day is nice, having time to work toward your personal goals is even better. I cringe with embarrassment knowing how much a better person than me would be able to accomplish with over a month of free afternoons.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that in addition to that embarrassment I have a healthy helping of guilt thrown on top. Evey day my girlfriend comes home with me for lunch, and every day she heads back to work while I nap. She doesn’t seem too resentful of me though. She assures me that if the roles were reversed would sleep the day away too without a shred of guilt. I think she was trying to help, but I only felt more guilty. These past few weeks her job has been even more stressful than usual, and relief is at least a month or two away.

I’ve been worried about her, and I wanted to do something for her, get her out of our work home routine and do something fun. So, Friday night we dressed up and went back to a hidden seafood place we discovered earlier this year. We enjoyed a few drink, a few oysters, and a few hours of real interaction sans phones and social media.

Our usual date night routine is to head to the movies, but I forgot how much fun it can be to just enjoy a good meal and some in-depth conversation and catching up with another person. I’m hoping to have more of that in the coming weeks as I try to introduce a bit of balance into my girlfriend’s life.

 

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it was getting late and there is laundry to wash and fold and words that must be written elsewhere. Thanks again for dropping by. I hope your week was a productive one and that your weekend was relaxing enough to allow you to reset.

***

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.

Written for the weekly Weekend Coffee Share link up hosted, once again by Part-Time Monster

Featured image via Unsplash

Marguerite Duras on Writing Through Solitude

Writing, like any other art or discipline, takes daily practice and dedication to learning about the craft from those who have come before you. In learning, I like to teach, so each week I will take a piece of advice from the greats—both living and dead, famous and not—apply their lessons to my own work and share my thoughts and progress with you.

This week’s inspiration comes from the French writer and film director Marguerite Duras.

“Finding yourself in a hole, at the bottom of a hole, in almost total solitude, and discovering that only writing can save you.”

— Marguerite Duras, Writing

Solitude is where I first found my love of writing nearly 20 years ago.

I was a teenager, and like most, I felt misunderstood and completely alone. My home life had always been harsh and chaotic. The adults in my life were not equipped to help me make sense of all the ways I was changing or of who I was becoming. My parents had been only teenagers with no proper adult role models or direction themselves when I came into this world. My sibling couldn’t help, they are all younger than me and I never had many friends either since we moved around so much.

I had no way of knowing if anything I thought or felt was normal and no knowledge of how to navigate from child to adult without making mistakes that would follow me for the rest of my life. I had no way of channeling my emotions and energy. I was alone.

But there was light at the end of the tunnel. Eventually, I would find a kind of companionship and a place to express myself and work through my thoughts and feelings, a place of validation, a place I could trust. I found a journal.

I remember that first one. I was around 16 or 17 years old, and I am almost positive I bought it at Barnes and Nobel, my favorite hang out when I didn’t feel like traveling all the way downtown to be at the library. It was double-sided, one had an illustration of the sun on it, and the other had the moon. I filled it quickly, sitting down to write multiple times a day about everything from my frustrations at my first jobs, my first crushes and questions over my sexuality, and soon after, my first real love.

As I got older, and sometimes happier, I began to ask bigger question of myself and of no one at all. I wanted to know why were people the way they were and why the went on living the way they did even when they wanted so much more. I wanted to know why people hurt each other so much and spent so much time doing nothing and pretending it all was of the utmost importance. I explored my thoughts and observations on religion and relationships, my fears, and my hopes, and dared to confess my sins and proudly state who I was. It was where I made no apologies and was never asked to.

My journal was my first real friend, and I loved and felt loved back by it as if it were a person. Those notebooks brought me out of many holes and back into the light. Those notebooks showed me the power and connection that comes from writing even if you are only writing for you, especially when you are writing just for you.

 

I still write in a journal every day, when I remember, but like any relationship that lasts there are times when I take it for granted. I forget how much just writing about my day and my feelings for me has helped. I get depressed and discouraged and forget about the one thing that has helped get me through those bouts every time. I have to try harder to keep the relationship going. I have to make a conscious effort to work at it every day.

There are many benefits to journaling, healing is only one. Austin Kleon recently wrote about a journal being a place to say things you shouldn’t say out loud, and he’s previously written about a journal being a good place to have bad ideas. I also use my journal to write my intentions for the day, a place to write encouraging notes to myself, and to keep track of good things that happen in my life to keep me from focusing too much on the bad.

In fact, I carry more than one notebook with me at all times. I carry one I use as a planner and a place to jot random thoughts, to do lists, or keep track of people, places, and things I’d like to investigate further. I have another to take more organized notes on books I read, documentaries find, and even educational YouTube videos I watch.

I use pen and paper to brainstorm, to connect ideas, and to work through emotions. There is no app or piece of technology that can give you that feeling of turning the inner workings of your mind and heart into something physical and tangible. There is no person and no social media platform that will be so open to you and so forgiving of your needs and confessions. Journaling is not something only for the angsty teen, it is for anyone in need of a place to unload their stress and all of the information we are bombarded with every day. It’s a place to make sense of yourself and this world.

So, when you find yourself stuck or feeling alone remember that a sturdy notebook and a good pen will get out of any hole if you trust it enough to lead the way and that writing can save you from much more than solitude too if you trust yourself enough to find the way.

***

820800Duras was born Marguerite Donnadieu on April 4, 1914, at Gia-Dinh, near Saigon, French Indochina (now Vietnam), after her parents responded to a campaign by the French government encouraging people to work in the colony.

Marguerite’s father fell ill soon after their arrival and returned to France, where he died. After his death, her mother, a teacher, remained in Indochina with her three children. The family lived in relative poverty after a bad investment in an isolated property and area of farmland in Cambodia. The difficult life that the family experienced during this period was highly influential on Marguerite’s later work.

At 17, Marguerite went to France, her parents’ native country, where she began studying for a degree in mathematics. This she soon abandoned to concentrate on political sciences, and then law. After completing her studies, she became an active member of the PCF (the French Communist Party).

In 1943 she changed her surname to “Duras” for Duras, the name of a village in the Lot-et-Garonne département, where her father’s house was located.

She is the author of a great many novels, plays, films, interviews and short narratives, including her best-selling, apparently autobiographical work L’Amant, translated into English as The Lover, which describes her youthful affair with a Chinese man.This text won the Goncourt prize in 1984. The story of her adolescence also appears in three other forms: The Sea Wall, Eden Cinema, and The North China Lover. A film version of The Lover, produced by Claude Berri, was released to great success in 1992.

Other major works include Moderato Cantabile, also made into a film of the same name, Le Ravissement de Lol V. Stein, and her film India Song. She was also the screenwriter of the 1959 French film Hiroshima mon amour, which was directed by Alain Resnais.

Duras’s early novels were fairly conventional in form (their ‘romanticism’ was criticized by fellow writer Raymond Queneau); however, with Moderato Cantabile she became more experimental, paring down her texts to give ever-increasing importance to what was not said. She was associated with the Nouveau Roman French literary movement, although did not definitively belong to any group. Her films are also experimental in form, most eschewing synch sound, using voice over to allude to, rather than tell, a story over images whose relation to what is said may be more-or-less tangential.

In 1939 she married the writer Robert Antelme. During World War II, from 1942 to 1944, Duras worked for the Vichy government in an office that allocated paper quotas to publishers (in the process operating a de facto book censorship system), but she was also a member of the French Resistance as a part of a small group that also included François Mitterrand, who later became President of France and remained a life-long friend of Duras.

During the war, Antelme was deported to Buchenwald in 1944 for his involvement in the Resistance, and barely survived the experience (weighing on his release, according to Duras, just 38 kg). She nursed him back to health, but they divorced once he recovered his health.

Marguerite’s adult life was somewhat difficult, despite her success as a writer, and she was known for her periods of alcoholism. She died in Paris, aged 82 from throat cancer and is interred in the Cimetière du Montparnasse.

Her tomb is marked simply ‘MD’.

duras_hole-sq

***

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.

Biographical information via Goodreads and Wikipedia

Featured image via Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // Hello July, I Have Goals

Hello, dear readers and happy Sunday to you all. Thank you for stopping by for a bit of coffee and catching up on this weird weather, hot and gloomy afternoon. Warm coffee sounds awful right now, so of course, it will be cold brew instead. I need the higher caffeine content anyway. As usual I had plans of cleaning the entire house and writing the tons of blog posts and essays plus reading and drawing and being generally awesome all over the internet, but instead, I’m fighting the urge to lay on the couch, watch Netflix, and drift in and out of naps until dinner time.

“A little coffee. A little sunlight. Your troubles will get smaller.”

— Richard Webber, Grey’s Anatomy

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that this past week was much more productive than the week before, and the week before that, but no nearly as productive as I had hoped it would be. I’m not all that disappointed though, I’m never as productive as I want to be. I don’t think anyone does as much as they would like to do, ever. We’d all be dead from exhaustion if we were. Laziness does have its evolutionary benefits I suppose.

I ended up having to do more work at my actual work which left me a lot less time for writing than I had hoped. I wrote about letting go of what I haven’t accomplished and start working from where I am. I took some inspiration from Kahlil Gibran and contemplated confronted the recent silence in my soul. And I shared everything I am currently doing and think as the month of June and the first half of the year, came to an end.

I did better than I have all month, but I didn’t get as far as I’d hoped on my, not so secret side project and I didn’t get my latest newsletter out despite having written at least half of it. It is a top priority for the coming week.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that one thing I am proud of is my first attempts at catching up on comments around here. I have been harboring so much guilt for being such a bad blogger. I’ve said it before but for the new followers, I’m already a little awkward socially, but I’m especially so online. I’m probably the only person in the world who thinks it easier to interact with other in real life than on the internet. BUT I’m working on it.

I don’t want to go one feeling like this, and I don’t want any of you to think I don’t appreciate each and every one of you. I don’t want you to think even for a second that every comment left here doesn;t mean the world to me.

All of you have been so supportive and kind, and I probably would have given up long ago if it weren’t for your encouragement. The least I can do is get over myself and say something! Even if it’s just a simple thank you.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’m a little bummed the first half of the year flew by so quickly. I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to (story of my life), but I’m hopeful for the second half.

I don’t like to look too far ahead, that’s been part of my problem lately, but I’m taking a moment to think about what 2018 is going to mean. I want next year to be the year I do all the things I’ve wanted to but have been horrible at planning in advance for.

This year I missed the Write On challenge, I failed the A to Z challenge, and I didn’t create any artwork. I figure if I spend a little time every week starting now I can get these project set up and hit the ground running in 2018. A little time every week doesn’t sound like too much at all…I think.

I’m also working on setting up small monthly goals. You may be surprised to learn that I am not very good at all at setting up goals, not the kind that are detailed, clear, or have deadlines. I’ve seen other bloggers sharing their “small goals” every month, and I thought I’d give it a try:

  1. Finish a writing sample for the Bitch Media Fellowship for Writers
  2. Complete 5 pieces for the first issue of Zen and Pi the zine
  3. Gather tutorials and supplies for beginning a lino printing project
  4. Start cleaning out the basement for bulk trash pick up

***

 

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the highlight of my week was date night with my girlfriend. As usual, we went to the movies, a very late night showing of The Beguiled. The film is about an all girls school in the south during the civil war. The girls—and the teachers too—seem to have been a bit sheltered when a wounded Union soldier shows up, and they all go crazy from the testosterone and manliness trust into their presence. It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t bad either. I’d advise waiting until it’s on Amazon or Netflix to check it out.

The reason this was the highlight of my week was that it was the first time in a long time that we’ve had an entire theater to ourselves. We spread out across a few seats, ordered french fries and a couple of old fashions, and giggled and talked through the whole thing. We were the last ones to leave the theater and in fact, couldn’t find one staff member as we made our way out to the parking lot at one in the morning. It was great!

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that as much as I enjoyed this chance to talk exclusively about myself I had better get up and get going. The dishes are waiting to be washed, and there are loads of laundry that need washing and folding. I’m hoping there may still be a nap I can take too if I time everything right.

Thank you for stopping by. I hope your week was more productive than mine and your weekend was as relaxing as you needed it to be. And to my fellow Americans, please stay safe this week as we celebrate being the land of the free and, at least in our own minds, being the best at everything ever.

Until next time…

 

***

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.

Written for the weekly Weekend Coffee Share link up hosted by Nerd in the Brain

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

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