August 2017 // Small Goals

I’ve wanted to start setting small goals for myself every month, but every time I try the list gets to be too long, and since I don’t know how to prioritize or decide what can be put off until the following month I get overwhelmed and do nothing at all. But doing nothing doesn’t seem to be getting me very far, so I’ve decided to try doing something instead.

So here are my small goals for the month of August 2017:

1. Schedule my driving classes. This one is the scariest. I have a phobia of driving and I’ve been trying for years to work through it. My goal was to have my license by the end of the summer but I was scared and avoided it. Now I feel like crap and I can’t go on like this anymore. A year ago I signed up for three adult one on one driving classes a year ago and I’m hoping my contract hasn’t expired, and I can still use my reaming two and get some professional help. I know I can do this, I just have to be brave!

2. Read two books. I had a goal of reading 30 books by the end of the year and I have fallen embarrassingly behind. I’m having a hard time stepping away from screens and focusing on books. I think I am officially addicted to my phone. I will have to do another purge of apps and games and make this my phone’s lock screen wallpaper again.

3. Choose a few essay collection to read nest for research. One day, sooner rather than later maybe, I’d like to write my own collection of essays. I’d like to write a lot of things, but essays have always held a special place in my heart, and all of the greats tend to compile a few into a book or two at some point. It probably isn’t smart to do it the other way around, the collection of essays before the success and fame, but this idea is something I have never been able to get out of my head. That and the great sci-fi dystopian series with a biracial genderqueer lesbian hero who saves the day and gets the girl of her dreams I know I have in me too.

Walk in the mornings, hike on the weekends. I need to start being more active, and the easiest way to start is to just get up and get out in my neighborhood every morning. I’ve already begun walking for at least 15 minutes to half an hour with my dog in the mornings, but I’d like to get a little further into nature and explore some hiking trails on the weekends before the weather starts to cool down.

Buy new furniture for the bedroom and move the old furniture out. After 15 years of sleeping on the same lumpy old mattress, my girlfriend and I finally stopped procrastinating and got a new bed and a new set of night stands. We’d like to do a proper purge of the crap that was kept in the drawers and under the bed. Then get new dressers and properly purge all our old clothes too. Then all that crap has to be moved to the garage and organized for pick-up/disposal in some other month.

Cook one meal a during the week and one big breakfast on the weekends. My girlfriend is the cook in the house. She enjoys it, and she’s good at it, but as her job duties and responsibilities intensify at work it’s up to me to stop being so spoiled and start doing more to ease her mind and show her som appreciation. That means cooking at least one meal a week and frozen pizzas and delivery do not count. In addition I’d like to introduce some variety to our morning meals and have something other than smoothies or yogurt. MAybe we’ll start our own Symmetry Breakfast, yeah?

Start planning our big vacation, or decide to we are too busy right now and postpone it until October. We need to get away, like, desperately. This summer has been so hard on us, and it’s a miracle we aren’t at each other’s throats. Somehow we have managed to stay close and to support and lean on one another through it. We still have some big changes coming but we won’t be able to meet them without this, unless we have to, in which case we’ll toughen up and survive the way we always have.

Design save the dates, maybe? We have been engaged forever, but we are chronic procrastinators, and no matter how disappointed I am every year that we don’t get our shit together and get married, we have yet to take any steps beyond browsing venues and adding to out Pinterest wedding board. This month we will be one year out from our “we’re getting married no matter what” date and I’d like to make some effort to have a wedding we will love.

The list is probably longer than it should be, and I had to fight myself to get it even this short. There is so much I want to accomplish and I want to accomplish it all right now, but I know myself too and the more I put here the harder it will be for me to even begin. Small steps, small chunks, and plenty of time to fail in is what I need.

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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 Nicole at Writes Like a Girl. Check out her goals and join the linky with your own.

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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

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

April 2017 // My Birthday Month is Over

May snuck up on me guys! I wasn’t ready to start looking back or looking forward, I was too busy just enjoying the right now. April was good! It was my birthday month if you remember me mentioning it in my last “Currently” post and I celebrated it the whole just as I hoped to. I hate to leave this time behind, but it’s time to take the focus from selfish wants to bigger things. It’s time to see what May has in store.

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

Writing to-do list after to-do list after to-do list. I’m trying to stay on task now and come up with a real plan for starting and completing real projects where I make real tangible things to make some real tangible money. I love blogging, but I want to do so much more. I say that every month I know, but I realized that I have to work on building the right habits. I have to learn how to plan and how to work through my fear and doubts.

Planning a summer project. In just a few weeks my schedule is going to change a bit, and for the easier, I hope, and I’d love to use that time to start a small practice project. I failed miserably at the A to Z Blogging Challenge, but instead of letting it go or giving up, I think I’d like to make a zine out of the thing. I Think it will be a good stepping stone to bigger things next year.

Making a real effort to produce less trash. I’ve started to face the ways that I am personally responsible for the current state of the planet. I use too much energy. I waste too much water. I produce too much waste. I want to do better. I’m starting by replacing a lot of the disposable items I buy with zero waste alternatives.

Anticipating the contagious feeling of freedom that comes from working with children about to go on summer vacation. When you are an adult who works in the public education system, you can’t help but catch a little of the enthusiasm and happiness that the children exude around you. I have to work through the summer, but still, it feels like I am looking forward to days spent outdoors, in parks and next to pools too.

Reading a huge book, intimidating in both size and subject matter. The Mind’s I, edited by Douglas R. Hofstadter and Daniel C. Dennett, is a collection of writings from some pretty big names on how we develop a sense of personhood and the difference between self and soul. It’s very interesting, but it’s not easy. I also read Orlando by Virginia Woolf this month, a surprising and beautiful story about a man who becomes a woman and lives for over 400 years.

Watching The Handmaid’s Tale and American Gods two shows I was super excited for last month and two shows I highly recommend you check out. I highly recommend the books too! This month I am looking to House of Cards which looks even scary than the Trump Presidency and a welcome escape.

Feeling tired, so, so, tired, and a little down. I think a lot of it is because of the steroid I’m on to suppress my immune system. It’s working, I feel better, but the side effects are rough. My moods, my appetite, my energy levels, they are all over the place but I’m tapering off of them, and I’m hoping for the last time for a long while. It all depends on whether or not my other medication works. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Needing a new place to write for. Femsplain, the first online publication to accept my work, and pay me, is closing its doors. They have a new project, Aloe, of which I am also a contributor, but Femsplain was my first home, and I am sad to see it go. I’m trying to see the silver lining. This might be the kick in the ass I need to move on to bigger and better things.

Loving the return of thunderstorms. This year has seen some pretty extreme weather already this year, but here in Colorado, we are in a slow build. My favorite time of the year is coming, the time when they afternoon storms roll in like clockwork. The best ones though come in the middle of the night. I wake to rain pounding the windows and thunder rolling overhead. I snuggle in next to my girlfriend and concentrate on the storm. I feel safe, and loved, and warm, and alive all at once.

Hating that it’s only been just over 100 days since this new administration took over. One hundred awful, scary days, and so much more to go. I’m grateful that so far most of what him and the Republicans have tried to do has failed, but every morning, when I wake up and turn on the news, there is an immediate sense of anxiety. Every morning I wait to hear in what ways that man has embarrassed or endangered us all.

Hoping all the momentum I see building on the left keeps growing and carries us right into the midterm elections next year. There is a movement, people are coming together all over the country, nearly every weekend, to protest, speak up, and resist in all the ways they can. I’m excited!

So, all in all, this month was the best so far this year. It was a time for me to be selfish and take in a little extra attention from loved ones. It was a time of healing and of getting used to my new normal with this illness. I’m looking forward to May and to continuing to grow surrounded by the love and support I know I am lucky to have. I’m looking forward to bigger things and a better, more focused, more motivated me.

So, how about you? Was April good or bad to you? What are you looking forward to in April? Are you going to buy me a birthday gift? 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 comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

Featured image via Unsplash

Currently // March 2017 or I’m Done with Waiting and Watching

March, that month of waiting between the harshness of winter and the hope of Spring, is finally over. I have no feeling one way or the other about March for me it’s simply a place of waiting and watching, and I’m happy to get on with doing.

April brings warmer weather and birthday celebrations around here. It’s a time of reflection for me but also of joy and pride. I have always been happy to be an April baby. April has always felt like the real beginning of the year. It’s when we all begin emerging into the world anew.

And here is what I am currently:

Writing about all the sad things happening all over the world for the A to Z challenge. I know this year’s theme is a bit of a sad one, but I hope it won’t discourage you from reading. I felt it necessary to deliberately look at what I try so hard to ignore. I felt it important to spread the word and help wake people up. I hope you’ll stop by throughout the month and check out what I have to share.

Planning a summer project. If you’ve been a reader for a while, you have probably heard me mention projects here and there that never seem to come to much. It’s okay, I’m awful at following through, I know. This summer I want to work on that. I’ve been thinking a lot about the difference between a to-do list and a plan. A plan is a road map. A plan isn’t just for the day, it’s for the week, the month, the year. I’m going to start practicing by coming up with a project, something with a deadline of the end of summer and finally learn how to follow through.

Making a new art journal from this tutorial! I made one before, but I didn’t follow through with it (are you sensing a pattern?) and now when I look at it all I see is the Art Journal of Failure, and I can’t start again. So, I’m starting a new one, and this one will be the Art Journal of Finishing the Things I Set Out to Do!

Anticipating a whole month of birthday activities! That’s right, around here people get a birthday month. It might sound excessive but I have a big family and lots of friends, and it takes a few dinners and nights out to make the rounds. And anyway, the day you entered the world should be the most important day of the year and celebrated by doing whatever you want for as long as you need. I need a whole month. There’s no guarantee I’ll get another, you know?

Reading Orlando by Virginia Woolf. Not exactly what I expected but I’m glad for that because what I found is infinitely more wonderful! I finished another reading of George Orwell’s 1984 which was colored very much by The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, which I read previous to that.

Watching Samurai Jack‘s beautiful and brilliant return! I mentioned being excited about the return of one of my childhood favorite last month, but after watching it I am grateful to the creator, Genndy Tartakovsky, and Cartoon Network for giving the Jack, and the little girl in me the closure both deserve.

Feeling a little down, to be honest. My body is hanging in there, not 100% better but no anywhere near as bad as I was at the beginning of February. I’m still waiting for my medication to either start working or for confirmation from my doctor that it isn’t and we have to try something else. This whole thing has been pretty depressing. *sigh*

Needing a little direction. I’m doing things. I’m submitting some work. I’m reading, and I am definitely hungry and wanting for some small sliver of writing recognition, but I have o idea how to get there. How do you go from a blogging hobby to being a freelance writer making money and getting published by the big names? I know I’m still kind of a crap writer, but I need direction on that front too! Gah!

Loving my girlfriend. I know that is so cliché, but she really has been amazing these past few months. Sometimes I am so damn happy to be with her I feel guilty about it! Like, why me? What have I ever done to deserve such support and love? I don’t feel too guilty, though. We have worked so hard and been through so much to get here. I just everyone could have it too, that’s all.

Hating Donald-motherfucking-Trump. I am trying not to have to write his name in this space every month, but goddamn he is really taking over the hate chamber in my heart. The only thing keeping me going is that fact that a lot of the bad things he’s tried to do has failed but right now he’s working on trashing the environment and Obama’s legacy, and I can’t help but be filled with rage whenever I see his stupid face on TV. GAH!

Hoping that this medication I’m on starts working soon. I’ve been doing one of the few things my doctor told me not to do, reading a whole lot of ulcerative colitis horror stories online and worrying about having to take harsher medication or multiple types of harsh medication at once. I’m so afraid it will be years before I feel normal again, or never! But, like she said before I left her office, we are not at those stages yet. We are here trying this and hoping.

All in all, this month was a good, especially compared to the first two months of the year. My body is getting better, my mood is improving, slowly but surely, and I am looking forward to the future. The road is still rocky, and I am still having some bad days, but I feel safe and comfortable and able to do whatever I have to do to keep improving. Like I said, I am pretty lucky.

So, how about you? Was March good or bad to you? What are you looking forward to in April? Are you going to buy me a birthday gift? Let me know in the comments :)

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If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter for interesting reads + my own existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering, or buy me a cup of coffee perhaps?

The inspiration for this post comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

Featured image via Unsplash

More Women of Color for 2017

“Two friends and I set up a rule — no more white women for 2017. We are not accepting friend requests online or in real life. We don’t have the energy required to vet people and then wait for the other shoe to drop.”

— Graeme Seabrook

Earlier this year, at work, I overheard a coworker, a white woman, complaining about her family’s struggle to pay for her eldest child’s college education. They had applied for many scholarships, but either hadn’t received enough or any at all. This woman, in her frustration, and with no shame at all, told a room full of people, “If my child’s last name had been Gonzalez, things would be easier.”

Sigh.

This woman didn’t understand that when it comes to private scholarships, white kids tend to get them more, and public ones, like the Pell Grant, are need-based, and minorities tend to be poorer. So, it has nothing at all to do with race and more to do with income. The fact is, this woman makes too much money, and her kid didn’t meet merit-based requirements, that is why she didn’t qualify. None of this is the fault of anyone named Gonzalez.

Now, I already didn’t like this particular woman, but what killed me was all the other white women around her nodding along. Women I’ve known for years who swear they are not racist, who swear that they don’t see color, who swear that times have changed and we all need to come together in love and cooperation. White women nodding along to a racist statement like that are in fact racist themselves or cowardly. Neither type of woman is one I want, need, or have time for in my life anymore.

This isn’t an isolated incident either. Things like this happen around me all the time, and no amount of running to HR or speaking up stops it. They never stop thinking people of color are lazy, or getting something they aren’t. They never stop assuming darker skin means you don’t belong here, or that you are guilty, or stupid. They never stop blaming everyone else when a little of the suffering and hardship of the world touches their lives lightly and for the briefest moment. I am tired.

There have been so many white women I counted as friends, women I thought of as open-minded, tolerant, understanding, and compassionate. I never knew they were racist until it was too late. That is, not until after I’ve become emotionally invested in the relationship I had—and subsequently lost—when they expressed their true feelings. I don’t mean to say this is everyone’s experience, or even that it is typical, only that it is mine and many others and that it is hard.

My anger has been bubbling, I will admit it. It was on a slow burn before but this last election cycle has left me angry, bitter, and even more than that, exhausted. And now, between the hate I hear on the news, the voting demographic breakdown, and the kind of crap I hear and see from white people on a daily basis, I can’t take much more. I just can’t.

This is anger, not hatred. I do not hate white people, I do not blame all white people, but I am exhausted by white people, even the allies, at times.

It’s been bubbling for a while, and I am trying to find a way to care for myself without saying or doing things I will regret later. I am weighing what is best for me against what people will think of me, and I realized the latter shouldn’t matter. I am the one who has to live with me, and I am the one who has to carry the pain of my past and the anxiety of my future in this country, alone. I have to do what feels right, for me.

Last week I read a story on Medium by Graeme Seabrook about her own anger and exhaustion and her need to do what was best for her regardless of the feelings of white women in her life. She, like me, isn’t full of hate, she just hurt and tired. She said something in that story that has stuck with me, she said her and her friends have a rule: “No more white women for 2017”. I read the story, and I couldn’t get those words out of my head.

Those words frightened me. This is not how we are supposed to react. This is not how we are supposed to think or feel. This is not the “right thing.” We are supposed to be bigger and better than that, right? But the more I mulled it over, the more I understood it. It wasn’t about hate, it wasn’t about exclusion or racism, it was about prioritizing. It was about the kinds of people, connections, and even media that we seek out and demand. It was about who we let take up space in our lives and minds. It’s about diversifying your life for a while.

I have many white friends I adore. Friendships I would never give up because they add value to my life. Hell, I am half white myself. I was raised by a white woman. I am engaged to another half white woman who was raised by a white mother too. I couldn’t exclude or hate whiteness without hating myself, my loved ones, and where I come from too. It’s possible but it’s not me. Instead, what I aim to do, is to stop making whiteness and white voices the default, the norm, the prized, and the protected, in my life.

In 2017, I am not entertaining white questions, concerns, or criticisms especially on the subjects of race, gender, sexuality, politics, or religion. I am not letting them think it’s okay to be ignorant anymore and I am not letting them force me to educate them in exchange for their compassion. I am not letting them slid by doing the bare minimum or nothing at all. I am not accepting ignorance, fragility, or innocence as excuses. I am not accepting apologies so easily anymore.

This year I’m looking for new friends and new connections with women of color, from all cultures. I want to read more from women of color. I want to donate money to and buy more from women of color. I want opinions, advice, and stories from women of color. I want to follow, reblog, retweet, and reply to more women of color. I want to be among more people who look the way I do, feel the way I do, live the way I do, and suffer the way I do too. I want to help people who need me.

I think all of us should seek these voices, regardless of our own race, gender, or sexual orientation. Let’s make women of color a priority in our lives and see what we learn about ourselves and the world.

But even as I write this, even as I feel so sure this is what is right for me, I feel that familiar guilt. I am making assumptions. I am not giving the benefit of the doubt. I am dividing people. I am accusing people of feeling things they don’t. I am judging books by their covers. Except, I don’t think all white women are racist, but I know some of them are and I just don’t have the energy to wait around to find out who is who.

I know it may sound harsh, and I may be hurting some feelings, but I’m only working out what I need. I want to try something new. I want to change the way I see and experience the world and the people around me. I want to find safer spaces, different spaces, and hear new points of view. I want to know what the world might be like if whiteness didn’t command so much of my time and attention.

So, sometimes when someone is hurt, vulnerable, and maybe even a little afraid, or at the very least just tired and in need of a little space, we should give it to them, even if it hurts us to do it. I’m, not cutting anyone out, I’m just cutting different people in. I’m not trying to hurt anyone or hate anyone, I’m just trying something different, for me!

And I am not apologizing for it.

I do not have the time or energy to accept you now and wait for you to hurt me. I have chosen to put myself and my emotional safety first. I have chosen to center women of color in my life in every way.

I do this BECAUSE I have been judged by the color of my skin every day. Suffering does not automatically make me a bigger person. It just hurts.

— Graeme Seabrook

P.S. I am sure many of you will have thoughts on this post, and I do welcome them, but please remember this is a place for me to express my feelings. I am under no obligation to reply to hatred or harshness. I reserve the right to delete and block, and you have the right to create your own internet spaces to write how you feel too. Thank you for reading.

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Featured image via The Root

Currently // February 2017 or Spring Will be Here Soon, Right?

Wow, February has come and gone already, and for a short month, I sure managed to pack a ton of emotion into it. The beginning was hard, the middle was sweet, and the end has been full of joy and hope. February was one of those months that changes you a little bit. It didn’t go by quiet or calm, and it won’t ever be forgotten. Before it’s all over, I wanted to take a moment to share with you how I’m feeling, all the changes I have made, and everything I am looking forward to in the coming month.

Here is what I am currently:

Writing something for Femplain‘s newest project, Aloe, “a self-care focused community.” I got the news just this past weekend that my application to be a contributing blogger was accepted and I am so excited for this opportunity. I hope to contribute monthly if they like what I have to say, and I hope you will check them out and support what this amazing community is doing.

Planning more blog posts and more big projects. April will bring the A to Z blogging challenge and, if I can get my life together in time, Write_on, a letter writing challenge, so I’ll be in planning mode for a long while yet. If you are participating in A to Z, or if you’d like to get a letter from me (no promises!) drop a note after the post and let me know so we can link up.

Making time to start doing the things I love again. Spring is coming, soon, I think, I hope. It’s been so long since the world didn’t feel dead….and I want to make sure I have a calendar full of events to attend. I’m going out movies again. I have all the museum free days down. I have the roller derby bouts saved. I am even keeping on top of upcoming protest marches, art events, and ballet and theater performances. I want to make the most of my time before winter comes around again.

Anticipating everything! I feel really anxious to move forward, learn new things, and try something different in the coming months. I’m not entirely sure what those things will be or what they mean, and what I do know I am keeping close. Just know I am out here, trying to create value and connections and I am very excited about it.

Reading Plato’s Republic, still, ugh. I am finally over the halfway mark, but it has been a real struggle. Luckily I had the bright idea to buy myself a little incentive to finish. When I am done, and only when I am done, I get to read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood in preparation for the premiere of the TV adaptation on Hulu in April. I also bought Orlando by Virginia Woolf, referred to as ‘the longest and most charming love-letter in literature’ and written from one woman to another.

Watching Big Little Lies on HBO and the entire collection of Samurai Jack episodes on Hulu in anticipation of the show’s return on March 11th after something like a 13-year hiatus! Bonus: Check out the Big Little Lies soundtrack. There are some real gems in there :)

Feeling so, so good! I am feeling better, good things are happening, and we are on the downhill side of winter. There is still so much bad going on in the world, but I feel energized by the way I see people coming together. I see so much more compassion and awareness all around me every day. I have a feeling that we will come out of these bad times better than ever.

Needing a vacation! We are experiencing a bit of an employee shortage at my day job site, so management has decided to crack down on time off requests. I was hoping this year I would be able to treat myself to a few extra three and four-day weekends here and there, but instead, I am working more than most. Luckily Spring break is just over three weeks away, and they can’t take that from me!

Loving my newest productivity app download called Fabulous. I’ve been using it for a few weeks now, and I really feel like it’s helped me find a set of habits and a routine that helps me get shit done. I don’t think it’ll work for everyone, but it is well made, gorgeous, and worth a look if you are looking for reminders, inspiration, and timers all in one place.

Hating Donald Trump, still, every day. Actually, that isn’t fair. I also hate Kellyann Conway, Tomi Lahren, Betsy DeVos, Paul Ryan, Jeff Sessions, and Rex Tillerson too. I hate people who are “taking back” an America that never belonged to them. I hate their lies. I hate them for holding us back. I hate them for the harm they cause. I make no apologies for my feelings.

Hoping for a big win for transgender rights next month in the Supreme Court. The LGBTQ community is already so vulnerable, but transgender youth are the least protected among us. We should all be fighting to make them feel comfortable and valid and helping them get through what is an already tough time in life. We should not be telling them to use bathrooms they aren’t comfortable with or safe in and we should not be isolating them in bathrooms that set them apart as “other.” The left needs this win. Compassion needs this win. Our children need this win.

All in all, this month was a good one, in the end. I learned so much about myself and found a new perspective and a new motivation. I am looking forward to March. I’m looking forward to working harder and seeing bigger and bigger results. I am grateful too for every opportunity and privilege, and I hope to start paying my dues and making this world a little bit better.

How was your February? What did you do, learn, love, and hate? What are you looking forward to? Drop a note below

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The inspiration for this post comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

Featured image via Unsplash