September 2017 // Fall Brings Its Own Kind of Warmth

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

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

But first, here is what I am currently:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let me know in the comments (:

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Thank you for reading! If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter for inspiring reads + existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering. Or help support what I do by sharing a cup of coffee.

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

Featured image by Owen CL on Unsplash

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Hello September // I’m Looking for a New Project

I know I’m a few days late on greeting the new month but with Labor Day weekend falling first thing along with my girlfriends birthday and many more coming in rapid fire after, September tends to be a time of chronic tardiness for me. I’ve only just now found time enough to think about the rest of the month laid before me and figure out my goals, but first I suppose I should look back at the last month’s and take stock of how I fared.

I fared pretty badly. I pretty much let my August Small Goals go. In my defense, I’ve been focused on making sure my work life and home life weren’t falling apart, and making sure not to let the stress get to me or my relationship. I’ve been anxious and exhausted, and I didn’t notice how time was slipping away. Next thing I knew it was too late.

Here were the goals I had set up:

Schedule my driving classes. I called but only to find out my contract year had expired and I would need to pay an additional fee to renew it. It wasn’t just that though, it was my fear. My phobia is like a 40-foot wall inside myself that I have to climb every time I get behind the wheel. I’ll take any excuse not to do it. No more.

Read two books. I read half a book, which is better than no books at all. I may not have met my goal, but I do have a plan to meet it in this month

Walk in the mornings, hike on the weekends. I did walk in the mornings, but since my joint pain has gotten worse, it takes me a lot longer for me to limber up in the mornings than it used to. Work schedules conflicted with weekend hikes, so those didn’t happen either.

Cook one meal a during the week and one big breakfast on the weekends. I did it! Most weeks. I’m not a great cook, but I managed to make roasted sausage with mushrooms, squash, and polenta, and some maple bacon cornbread muffins. Other than that it was just frozen pizzas and smoothies, that sort of thing.

Start planning our big vacation. This one didn’t happen. With the driver shortage at work, there was no way we were going to be able to take any time off. SO instead I planned the weekend trip we just took north to catch the 40th anniversary of Close Encounters of the Third Kind below Devils Tower in Wyoming.

Design save the dates, maybe? One day we are going to start planning this wedding. That day has not come yet though.

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Even though I didn’t do so well on my small goals, I did get a very big goal completed, so I’m not too bummed about it. And anyway this was only my first time trying. I’m hopeful for my September’ goals since I have a better handle on managing my time and I know where I went wrong. This month I want to do better.

So here are my small goals for September:

Find a new writing project. This month’s big goal was to submit the very best application I could for the 2018 Bitch Media Fellowship for Writers. This was the first time I had applied for anything writing related, so I had to write a cover letter, a CV, and gather writing samples with no idea what I was doing or how I was going to stand out. It was stressful, but I’m actually very proud of myself for doing the research and the work every day and completing the task on time, but the deadline left a void in my life. I’m unsure what to do now but I know I want a new project. I want to feel that pride again.

Make a new art journal. I talked about this a few days in my Currently post. I made an art journal by hand many, many months ago and after only completing 2 or 3 pages I gave up on it and ever since I’ve been carting the dead thing with me wherever I went lying to myself saying I would start again. The truth is this sketchbook reeks of my failure, so I need a clean slate. I have a new lovely piece of cardboard and many pages of newspaper, magazine, and scraps to bind, and this time I won’t be posting pictures on Instagram or Tumblr just yet. This one will be just for me.

Create my own creative community. I was talking with a friend a few weeks ago about the importance of creative community and how we struggle with the lack of one. He likes to draw, paint, and make small things from wood and metal. We have another friend who writes music, another who plays guitar and wants to start a band, and another who is an actor, writing and performing in small plays. My girlfriend enjoys photography, and I have family members who are crafty and want to start their own projects too. I have creative people around me, but we are scattered, hold up in our separate space trying to do it all on our own. I want to find a way to bring us together.

Take my two driving classes. Seriously, I need to do this now. I need to stop being afraid and get my license and find some sense of freedom and independence.

Make a doctor and a dentist appointment. After my ulcerative colitis diagnosis back in February, I worked closely with my doctor to get me well and back to working comfortably as quickly as we could. I’ve been doing everything she asked, and I’ve improved, but I haven’t gotten back to where I need to be. She told me we may have to try new medications and to check in and let her know how I am. I never did. I’m scared, but I have no idea why. Same goes for the dentist. I know I need work, but I can’t seem to get over myself enough to pick up the phone and make an appointment.

Read two books. I have to finish Mrs. Dalloway right away, I’ve spent way too much time on it. I think afterward I’ll read Memoirs of a Geisha, and finish up Phi too. I found a 30-minute space in between two of my routes at work. If I commit to making that my reading time, and taking time on the weekends too, I should be able to read at least two of these easily. To be honest, what I really need to do is delete all the games on my phone. I wasted many reading hours moving colored candies around my screen for no reason at all. This is actually the real goal. Reading will be the reward.

Get back to sending my newsletter again. I lost a few subscriber last month, and it really hurt my feelings, and I couldn’t get past it. I couldn’t think of anything to write, and I was sure it was stupid anyway. I’m still not convinced that isn’t true but it’s still something I do enjoy, and it’s something I want to get better at. I can only get better with practice and with some helpful critique from readers. Maybe you could subscribe and help me out with that?

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Once again, the list is longer than it should be. I always bite off more than I can chew. Oh well, I’ll try to keep in mind that it’s okay if I don’t get to everything and work hard not to feel overwhelmed or discouraged if I fall behind. I have a whole month to get it done, and all it takes is doing a little at a time every day.

What about you? Do you have any small goals of your own you hope to accomplish this month? If so drop them in the comments. I’d love to wihs you luck and maybe we can all keep each other focused and hold one another accountable, yeah?

 

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Thank you for reading! If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter for inspiring reads + existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering. Or help support what I do by sharing a cup of coffee.

The inspiration for these posts come from Nicole at Writes Like a Girl. Check out her goals and join the linky with your own.

Featured image by freddie marriage on Unsplash

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:

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!

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.

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.

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 some 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.

Featured image by Sarah Dorweiler 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

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