Seven September Shifts

  1. Read with a pencil. Circle words and passages you like, and, please, feel free to argue with the authors and articulate your own thoughts in the margins.
  2. Build strength of character. Be honest, always, and stick to your principles no matter who is in the room.
  3. Get up and move every hour, get out and walk once a day, and get away from the city once a week.
  4. Allow the good days to be good days and you will find that the bad days grow fewer and farther between.
  5. Delete what distracts you and write the thing—the blog post, the essay, the poem, the outline—anything, just write.
  6. Stick to a bedtime and a routine. Turn off screens, write in your journal, and read. Take off the day so you can rest.
  7. Stop reacting before you think. Ask yourself, what you are arguing for? Not everything you are asked to sacrifice is an injustice.

***

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

Post inspired by Nicholas Bate

 

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Currently // August 2018: Letting Myself Feel Better

And just that quickly, the summer (unofficially) comes to an end. The kids are back at school. The pools are closing and Halloween decorations are already up in stores. Can you believe it?

Of course, the heat will linger and it will be a while longer before we put away our shorts and swimsuits to make room for hoodies and pants but the signs are already there. The cooler nights, and here and there a tree whose leaves have become tipped with golds and reds. Autumn is on the way.

The summer is slowly fading and with it, a little part of my happiness is going too. I’ve never made it a secret how much I hate winter and autumn is nothing but a depressing descent into that cold barren void…but, not yet! For now, there is still some warmth, some green, some life in this world and in me yet.

Here is what I am currently:

Writing a thing? I mean, I’m writing something but I have no idea what it is or what it will turn out to be. I had planned on outlining a memoir for NaNoWriMo but since starting Nietzsche’s polemic On the Genealogy of Morals I’ve wondered if the genre and form might work for me too? So, I’m starting there. I’m starting with essays but I’m not limiting myself by labeling it one thing or planning on it being another. I’m just going to write this thing and see what it becomes.

Making a pledge to start filling pages in my art journal! I made the thing I don’t know how long ago—months maybe?—but I just haven’t been able to bring myself to soil the beautiful pages with my shitty scribbles. What a waste of hard work and creative space though, right? So, in September I am making a promise not to make any more excuses. I’m going to ruin the hell out of that journal no matter what.

Planning a new editorial calendar system. I’ve been slacking here for a long time now. I know it and you know it. I won’t get into the “I’m sorry’s” or the excuses, you’ve heard them already. I’ll just say that I’m going to try harder because I want to, not because I feel like I have to. Feeling obligated only makes it harder. This place is for me first, and I have missed it because it’s the first place, and often the only place where I feel like I am who I have been trying to be. So, I’m going finish these half drafts and then start fresh with a new schedule and focus.

Anticipating doing more of what I’ve been doing, working. I enjoyed the freedom of July, but I may have had too much of it. It’s amazing how motivating a big or restriction and responsibility can be. Its only been three weeks, but it’s been great for my focus and I’m very much looking forward to more early mornings, cups of coffee, stressful days and easy days too. I’m looking forward to Monday through Friday, regular paychecks, and stressing about real things again. I’m looking forward to nothing changing at all, at least for one more month.

Reading The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and On the Genealogy of Morals by Friedrich Nietzsche, still. It’s not that I’m struggling, it’s just that I’ve gotten so far off track from my reading goals that I kinda gave up for a while. Now I’m trying again and this time instead of focusing on how many books I want to read for the whole year I’ve decided to just focus on reading for at least 30 minutes a day, every day. I can read as slowly as I want. I take as many notes as I want. I can go back and reread chapters. I can spend as much time as I want in the introductions, the preface, and the prologue. I can enjoy the book my way as long as I do it for 30 minutes a day.

Watching Insecure and Random Acts of Flyness on HBO. I just finished up Sharp Objects too and it was by far the most riveting show I’ve watched in a long time. I’m also watching Castle Rock, the new horror series from Stephen King on Hulu and binging old episode of ER and Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown on Netflix, and Avatar: The Last Airbender on Nickelodeon every Saturday morning.

As for the big screen, Blackkklansman was really good. The whole theater was in tears by the end and I’m still reflecting on the nuanced message I believe Spike Lee was trying to express. I finally got around to seeing Avengers: Infinity War and I’m glad I waited because after that shocking end now I cannot wait for the next one!

Feeling better! I mean, I’m still tired all the time and my joints hurt. I’m moody and I’ve been getting these awful headaches. The medicine may or may not be working and I’m anxiously awaiting results on a slew of lab tests, but I do feel better and I’m doing my best to let myself feel better when I feel better without worrying when about how I will feel tomorrow, next week, six months or five years from now.

Fearing my future self. I’m afraid she will just be me, no different at all. Not better, not stronger, smarter, or kinder. I’m afraid of not changing, of not being able to change. I’m afraid that for as long as I live I’ll never get it quite right, never heal these wounds or grow thicker skin. I’m afraid that I will always be this sensitive and needing thing, trembling, mouth open and wailing.

Reflecting on the concepts I linger with and the ways they fade in and out of my life. I started following the poet Topaz Winters on Instagram and one of the first posts was a list she’d made of “concepts of she’d been lingering with lately“. Other poets quickly picked up the idea and made lists of their own and I was deeply inspired. I’ve made a few lists of my own so far, but I’m too shy to share. I’d like make these lists a regular exercise in examining what ideas, emotions, tastes, smells, actions, dreams, objects, people, and words are lingering in my mind. I want to watch the way these concepts change, fade, return, combine, and figure out what they might mean, or what I might make out of them.

Needing for one of these big life goals I’ve been striving for since forever to finally move from the “In Progress” column to the “Achieved” column. It feels like everything in my life, all my goals and every milestone I’ve tried to meet, has been all process and no matter how hard I try I never seem to get reach the end, the result, the completion on “the thing”. I know the journey is supposed to be just as fulfilling as the destination and all, but I feel myself burning out. I need a good stopping point. I need a sense of accomplishment! But, maybe that’s just life. Maybe it’s me and my very human inability to never be satisfied. More likely, I’m not planning enough or following through. Or maybe I just need new life goals?

Learning how to manage my time better! These past few weeks I’ve worked out a compromise between the work I have to do and the work I want to do so that neither is taking up all of my energy and neither is subject to something so unpredictable and out of control as emotion or impulse. Of course, I know this system I’ve put together won’t work forever. My workload will change, my work location will change, the weather will change, my health, my mood, my goals will change and the way I do things will have to change too. So, what I’m really learning is how to balance.

Loving that this August marked the 16th year since my fiance and I officially became a couple. It’s strange to have spent so much of my life with someone else. It’s strange to have spent so much of my life loving, supporting, encouraging, depending on and sometimes fighting with another person all while slowly but surely building a life and making a home. It’s strange to be both a whole being and half of one too. I’m loving it, all the good and all the bad. I’m loving every moment of it.

Hating the return of negativity to my life. Working for the school district, and working through the summer means I got two blissful months of peace While most of the staff was off. Now that everyone is back and properly stressed out moral has taken a nose dive right off of a cliff. I’m doing my best to avoid the gossip and the negativity, but some days I’m dragged down into the thick of it with everyone else and it takes everything in me to claw my way back out.

Hoping my family can get back to feeling like a family again. We’ve been going through some hard times lately, nothing too bad, and nothing I don’t think we could get past, but my family has a talent for taking a small slight and turning it into a grave injustice. We have a talent for hurting one another, for holding a grudge, and for being too proud and too cowardly to simply say we’re sorry. We’ve grown up, and grown closer, we forget there is still so much growing left to do.

So, yeah, all in all, August was a good month. I worked a lot, but it felt good, and I managed to get back to doing the things I love in a way that makes me feel good about who I am and where I am headed. I’m doing good and that all that matters.

But what about you? Are you tired of the heat yet? Does seeing the leaves change and feeling that chill n the air just fill you with gloom? See any good movies, binge-watching any good shows? I’m always looking for recommendations.

Let me know in the comments!

“We are now in August.
The first day of fall is September 22.
You can hear it in the distance.”

Michael Wade

***

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

The inspiration for these posts comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

Photo by Agung Pratamah on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // People Exhaust Me

Hello dear readers! Happy Sunday, welcome, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up. I apologize for the lateness of today’s post, and for the absence of last week’s.

My sister and her kids were in town and I didn’t want to do anything but spend time with them. And then, when it came for them to leave, I was too sad to write. I didn’t know how to get back into it and I didn’t know what to say when I tried. Slowly but surely I’m returning to the version of myself I am without them here and finding the will to write again, starting today.

So, pull up a chair and fill up a cup, we have a fresh batch of blond roast cold brew, or, as I recently saw it referred to, “anxiety gasoline“. Let’s talk about last week!

“I never laugh until I’ve had my coffee.”

— Clark Gable

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that the world has been overwhelming lately. I have been cowering inside my little bubble more and more and this week managed to reach levels of introversion that I have never experienced before.

Around midweek the old “nausea and the urge to run away just before I turned into my workplace parking lot” feeling returned and by Friday, I was struggling to leave the car and walk in. I remember at one point turning to my girlfriend, sighing, and saying to her, “People exhaust me, even the people I like, they just wear me out” before shutting the car door and walking in.

My headphones have been a life saver, allowing me to pop in and out of the world as I want to or am able. The pets have helped too.

The cat comes and goes from around me as she wants, and the dog is available to bring me out of myself, making me feel loved and appreciated in a way that humans can’t. Of course, my main source of support is my fiance, but this time of year is her most stressful and she needs more from me than she can give back, and that’s okay. My problems aren’t always the most pressing and I, like almost everyone, need to be reminded every once in a while to pull my head out of my own ass, put my own sufferings aside, and be a source of support and empathy rather than continually seeking it.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that not all is so bleak as it sounds. Work has been a bit tense sure, but my team and I are killing it! We’ve tackled every task thrown our way with no complaints or drama between us. See, my main job is riding on school buses with special needs kids, keeping the kids happy and safe, but that is only part of what I do. The other part is teaching new employees how to do it too and keeping our existing staff trained and knowledgeable.

This time of year is very busy for us too. We want to make sure everyone has the knowledge they need to start the school year on the right foot and we have new people starting too. We also have to get ready for our own routes and get used to coming in early and going home much later again. Still, my team and I, we’re doing our best to be our best and we can only get it done by showing up, with positivity and determination. I’m grateful for at least that.

Even if I can’t always love what I do, I can show up and find, even on the worst days, an encouraging environment and the motivation to do my job well.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that, as far as writing goes, things went as they usually do. I wrote plenty and posted almost nothing, and as usual, I hope things go a little bit better in the coming week.

I want to get back to posting my “journal” posts and finish up a couple of found poems I started the week before last. The trick will be finding the energy to work in the evening. I will be too busy during my usual “writing hours”, 9:30 to 11:00 AM or so. I don’t expect to produce very much but anything at all would be better than none and that is all I am asking of myself before Friday.

I didn’t get my newsletter out as I had hoped to but I’m hoping it will be ready next weekend. I may send it earlier if it’s done. I think opening up the schedule and allowing for dispatches whenever I can get them out might help me send them more often.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that despite all the stress and depression around me, I actually had a really good weekend. Friday night we went out to find a place where we might get a few good oysters and a nice bottle of wine. We found the place and proceeded to shack off the stress of the week and enjoy the first date night we’ve had in weeks. Afterward, we walked over to Whole Foods for a few sweetie treats and then back home to pick a romantic movie to fall asleep to.

Yesterday we checked out the Museum of Contemporary Art during their “$0.01 admission fee for local residence” event. Walking around art galleries has always been one of those activities that I want to do, but feel like I don’t know how to do right. What I mean is, I like looking at art, but I’m not very good at analyzing art. I’m better at finding the beauty, less at meaning, but for one cent! I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

I’d never been to the MCA. I’ve been to the Denver Art Museum plenty of times, but this was something very different and I quite enjoyed it. Plus I learned about new programs and found out about the “Octopus Initiative“, a chance for Denverites to borrow artwork the way you might borrow a book from the library. I signed up immediately and can’t wait to find out if I’ve been picked to take home a piece, to hang and enjoy for a while, before replacing it with another.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I spent a lot of my time bingeing the newest season of Orange is the New Black on Netflix. It was…okay. I like that the show brings to light much of the injustice found in the American judicial and prison system, but it’s hard to immerse yourself in that feeling and awareness when you have Piper, the shows main character, walking around being idiotic and completely ridiculous with little or no consequence.

I’m still watching Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown too, but I’m not rushing it. I like watching one or three episodes and then letting them sit with me for up to a week before diving in for a few more.

I also watched the first episode of the new HBO show, Random Acts of Flyness. I don’t know how to describe to you what this show is about. HBO has said it’s a “fluid, stream-of-consciousness response to the contemporary American mediascape.” It’s surreal, dark, and overwhelming which makes it hard to decide at first whether you like it or not, but eventually, you get it. Think of it as a kaleidoscope of black experience but from the inside looking out rather than the outside in. It’s a must watch for sure!

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that it’s getting on toward dinner time, which means it’s time for me to panic over everything I haven’t accomplished yet. It’s time to rush around to get the laundry done, the dishwasher loaded, and emotionally prepare for the coming work week which is somehow already impossibly packed with assignments to complete.

I hope you had a good week. I hope you were productive. I hope you found a way to stay cool and to take care of yourself. I hope you were able to relax this weekend and that your coming week will be better than the last in whatever way you need it to be.

Until next time.

***

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

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli

Photo by Alex Loup on Unsplash

Currently // July 2018: Good Food and Laughter to Last

June was a lazy month, laid-back and languid, allowing me time to soak up the first half of the summer at my leisure, but July was very different. July was in a hurry and gave way much faster. More than once I woke up feeling like days had passed while I slept and worried over how the numbers on the calendar had advanced so far without my notice. I simply couldn’t keep up and about halfway through, I gave up trying.

And, now July is over and August is on the way. I’m not really going into the new month with clear goals or any big projects. I plan to just keep doing what I have been doing for these past few weeks, quite work, away from the internet and prying eyes. I want to focus on what is boring about writing, the hard part, the part that is the actual writing. I’m learning to be okay with staying off social media and to love the process. I’m finding my imagination and I’m eager to spend more time with my own thoughts.

But first, here is what I am currently:

Writing blog posts mostly. I’d like to get back to posting regularly again. I’ll be returning to my old work schedule next week and that means I’ll be able to return to my old writing schedule too. I’ve never been able to write well or consistently outside of the structure of my day job and I’m really starting to doubt I ever will. Maybe I’ll be one of those writer’s that is always something else too. Maybe I’m okay with that. I’m also working on bringing back my newsletter, which was on a weird unintentional hiatus while I figured out what the hell I was doing with it.

Making more found poetry for Instagram. I’m not making them for any reason other than it feels good to find new ways of looking at and using words. The restriction on what words I can use and in what ways I might use them makes me feel, paradoxically, more creative.

Planning my wedding. For my new followers, this year will mark 16 years that my girlfriend and I have been together, but we’ve yet to tie the knot. In our defense, for many of those years, it was illegal for us to marry. Since then the problem has been the confusing gap between the wedding society tells us we ought to have, and the wedding that is right for us. We want to focus more on good food, fun, and natural surroundings but there are so many expectations and outside influences putting on the pressure. It makes it hard to decide what we want.

Anticipating the beginning of the school year. Turns out I was able to get the same schedule and kids I had last year and I can’t wait to see the look their faces when they see me. My job can be frustrating, and the kids can, at times, be tiring but there are days that remind me why I love it here, why I have stayed so long, and why despite the promise of more money and fewer hours spent away from home, I will stay. What I do is important and fulfilling, if I allow it to be.

Reading The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorn, still. To be honest I didn’t read much at all during last month. If I wasn’t sleeping I was writing, or watching movies, or visiting with family, or sleeping some more. I took a break from my life, from the pressure of self-improvement and wisdom and learning and found family and sunshine and laughter instead. I don’t regret a thing, but I know it’s time to pick up the task again. So, I’ll finish The Scarlett Letter, and move on to The Iliad, and Emily Dickinson, and Hunger by Roxanne Gay too before September.

Watching Anthony Bourdain’s Part Unknown on Netflix. I’m not sure how long it will be there but I am hoping to watch all eight seasons before they take it off. I have seen some of the early seasons but grew lazy about keeping up with the show some years ago. After the news of Bourdain’s passing last month, I knew I had to finish it. The show was always about more than just good food. Like language, and sex, and politics, the way we eat says a lot about who we are as a species and Bourdain knew how to say that, without saying it. He knew that sometimes the best way to tell a story is to get out-of-the-way and let people tell their own story. He let people deliver their culture, unfiltered, an adulterated, and raw right to the viewer.

As for movies, Sorry to Bother You was amazing, if you haven’t heard already. It’s vibrant, funny, unpredictable, thought-provoking, and…You know what, just go see it already, no excuses! I also recommend Good Time, a heart-wrenching, high-paced crime film with some resemblance to the novel Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.

Feeling tired. I can’t seem to go a whole day anymore without a nap or three or four cups of coffee. I feel zombified. I’m out of it, dragging my feet and devouring anything that promises to put some pep in my step, but nothing works. I see other people living easily on 6 hours of sleep, no caffeine, and no time for naps and they seem to be functioning fine. Why do I need so much rest? I know why but it still doesn’t make sense. Chronic illness is the culprit. I guess I just keep thinking it will get better, or that I will find some way to get used to being so tired. I keep thinking I’ll find a way to work and live despite it.

Fearing failure in the eyes of the ones whose opinions I cherish the most. Life is chugging along just as it should so my anxieties are turned inward and hyper-focused on my everyday limitations and weaknesses. My self-esteem has been unusually low. Most days I can fight it. Most days I can find a way to forgive and to love myself but lately, it’s been hard. Lately, I am always the problem. I am the burden. I am the only one who can’t. I am stupid. I am weak. I am angry with myself for not being as smart, as strong, or as put together as those around me and for the life of me I cannot figure out how I will ever get better, be better.

Reflecting on death, or, more specifically reflecting on the lack of reflection on death by everyone else and my own obsession with the inevitable end of life. Recently my mother’s father passed away—No need for condolences. He never considered me his grandchild and the feeling was mutual.—and I found it interesting to get to know the man after he was gone. In addition, I’ve been working on dealing with my death anxiety and found help in surprising places. I’ve learned that sometimes when we are afraid, instead of being told to be brave or to stop thinking about it, we only need to be told that we aren’t alone and that our fear is entirely warranted.

Needing a side hustle! Sure, hobbies are all fun and games, but they don’t offer much of a sense of accomplishment. Big dreams are great but they are so far away. I’m not just looking for a little extra cash here. I need to be validated. I need to brag a little, to be proud and I want others to be proud of me too. I’ll admit, I want to be admired, talked about, looked up to. I want a little power and fame, but just a little. The problem is, I’m not good at anything and I don’t have any good ideas. I don’t know how to code an app and I’m far too boring to be an influencer. I’m bad at art and worse at poetry. I just want to have something that is my own.

Learning how to use my voice. I’m learning to speak up and ask for what I need. I’m learning to express my emotions, to say no, to say yes!, and to say nothing at all if I don’t want to too. I’ve never been very good at saying things. Nothing ever comes out sounding the way I thought it in my head. I’m naturally soft-spoken, easily shaken and quick to shut up at the slightest difficulty in getting my point across. I’m afraid to be accused of meaning something I don’t. I’m afraid of never being understood. There are just too many variables at play! Volume, tone, pace, cadence, inflection, all of these change the way a statement is understood and I’ve never quite understood how to use them, and it shows, but I’m learning.

Loving that my sister and her kids got to be here for a whole week this month. I love that we got to do so much and that there was enough good food and laughter to last us another year until we can all be together again. I love that despite not being the most affectionate family, we know we are loved and that we are wanted. I love having a place. I love that all of us no matter our personality differences, our past traumas, the decisions we’ve made, or the different directions we’ve taken in life, we can come together, fight, and forgive, again and again with love. It’s a beautiful thing to be so known and still forgiven continually for your shortcomings and outbursts. I love how human I get to be when they are around.

Hating the state of the United States. I’m honestly disgusted and disappointed in the entire country as a whole right now, all of it. Every day I turn on the news and nothing I hear or see gives me any hope whatsoever. My heart can’t handle the constant shock. It can’t handle the widespread suffering and fear. I hate all this hating and I’ve all but given up on us all. Most of all, I’m simply sick and tired of being disgusted and disappointed with myself for not knowing what to do about any of it. I’m a part of the problem the same as anyone and I hate, hate, hate it.

Hoping that the recent string of videos exposing white people who call the cops on POC for minor infractions and irritations will change the way we think about our neighborhoods and public spaces. The videos highlight rampant and ingrained racism they’ve also brought to light how much ownership we believe we have over spaces that should belong to everyone, collectively. When you feel like your neighborhood belongs to you personally, you think you can make the rules about who is allowed to be there and what they are allowed to do in that space. But if the neighborhood belongs to us then we make the rules. Our public spaces are no longer public and we have lost something by taking such personal ownership of them. Let’s rethink that one.

All in all, July was a good month. It wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped, and it went by much faster than I’d have liked, but it was good. I feel like I am going into the next month feeling secure in this political climate, this economy, that is rare.

I’m grateful not to be surrounded by chaos and stress. I’m grateful I don’t have to worry about my job, my bills, or my next meal. I figure that makes me among the richest and happiest in the world. My life isn’t perfect and I have some things to work on for sure, but I’ll take it. I’ll run with it.

But, what about you? How did July treat you? Are you tired of the heat? Is your state on fire too? Did you take any time for you? What movies did you see? How has the government let you down?

Let me know in the comments!

“We are now in August.
The first day of fall is September 22.
You can hear it in the distance.”

Michael Wade

***

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

The inspiration for these posts comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

Photo by luke flynt on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // I Used to Love Summer

Hello dear readers! Happy Sunday, welcome, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up. I’m moving slow today but I’m trying, my mood isn’t great though. I woke up later than I meant to and there are more things to do than there are hours to do them in.

I attempted to make breakfast but the eggs were too runny and the bacon too burnt. I fried some tortillas but they came out too hard and the avocados had gone bad. Nothing is going right but then again, I haven’t had near my usual amount of caffeine, so there is still hope.

So pull up a chair and fill up a cup. We’ve got new screens on the windows and a fresh batch of cold brew to combat the oncoming heat. Let’s talk about last week.

tumblr_osll1uv37e1tcqhjho1_1280
Albany Ledger, Missouri, September 9, 1898

 

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell that this past week wasn’t a very good one. I struggled to get to up and get to work every single day and didn’t once make it in on time. I wasn’t able to get up for my morning jog at all and writing was slow. I was easily distracted and exhausted.

Nearly every day as soon as I came home I fell asleep without intending to. I would feel an intense need to just sit down or rest for a moment and next thing I knew I’d be waking up anywhere from half an hour to two hours later. A lot of time was lost to fatigue and heat exhaustion.

And the heat! Oh my god, I used to love summer but this one has been absolutely suffocating. I miss the days where, sure, you had to suffer through a couple of hours in the afternoon but then you could head downtown, or to a friends backyard, and enjoy a good meal and a beer or two. Now the 90+ degree temperatures are holding well past 8 and 9:00 at night. There has been quite a few nights that I have gone to bed at almost 11:00 and it is still uncomfortably hot out.

It’s too hot to do anything and that is the only thing that set summer above winter. The amusement parks, the festivals, the events and gatherings, the warm nights out with friends and strangers alike just enjoying our state, our shared interests, and shaking off the stress of the day, that is what I loved about this season. Now we’re miserable outside as well as inside.

I’m ready for fall, and I have never in my life said that before. I’m afraid for the real heat that will come in August and I’m terrified of future summers. Our little swamp cooler used to be enough to get is through the worst of it but well be saving up to get central air—which is much worse for the environment—just so that I can live and sleep comfortably.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have been a huge ball of anxiety lately. I mentioned last week that it’s time for our annual bidding for routes and hours at work.

For my new readers I work on a school bus, not as a driver, but as an assistant who rides along with the kids, primarily the Special Needs kids, to make sure they have a safe and happy ride. Where I work we bid our routes based on seniority and the drivers bid the routes first. There is one particular driver I prefer to work with so I stress doubly every summer over whether or not she will get the route we want first, and then whether or not I will get the route the following week when I bid.

Last week I was able to relax a little after my driver was awarded the route we wanted. Now I only have to stress for five more days until I find out if I got the same this Friday. I’m not supposed to let myself worry too much about anything but this time of year makes it really hard to stay calm.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I made a few mistakes at work and I feel super embarrassed and down about it. Friday, during the driver’s bid, I was tasked with setting up training and testing times for individual driver’s who needed it. From the start, I misunderstood which drivers I was supposed to focus on and I missed some who needed to be scheduled. Then I scheduled them all a week earlier than I was supposed to, messing up not just my coworkers coming work week, but my own in which I planned not to work very much at all.

I’m sure it will all be okay, but I’m not used to making mistakes at work. I pride myself on being perfect and enjoy the respect and freedom I’m afforded because I make such an effort. My boss has already told me it’s okay, but I can’t shake the feeling of failure and disappointment.

This coming week will be a busy one, at first, but I’m actually looking forward to it. I haven’t been busy all summer and I’ve missed the structure of a proper work day.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that there is more to my life than work. This week my little sister and her kids will be here in Denver for seven days. I can’t even begin to express how excited I am to see them and how sad I already am that they will have to leave again at all.

I’m not sure we have any real plans while they’re here but we are hoping the siblings—my two sisters, y brother, and me—can find tattoo shop to accommodate all four of us getting some ink on the same day. The tattoos are, I hope, turning into an annual tradition. Last year was our first with matching sibling tattoos. This year we are all getting something different though.

I’m hoping to get my knees done. I’m looking to get a butterfly, specifically the Colorado hairstreak butterfly, on one knee, and on the other, a moth, the achemon sphinx moth actually. I’d like both done in that traditional, old school tattoo style. It’s a unique tribute to my home state, with the hairstreak being our official state insect and the achemon found throughout the region.

I excited, but a little scared too. The knee area can be sensitive and tattoos in general hurt anyway. Wish me luck!

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my stomach has started to growl reminding me that the afternoon is here and it’s time, not just for lunch, but to complete a few chores and get ready to run some errands and visit with family.

I hope you had a good week and that you’ve had a relaxing weekend. If it wasn’t I hope the next will be better. Try to stay cool and make sure to make time for the things you enjoy, the things you want to accomplish, and the things that make life worth living.

Until next time.

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It's easy to look at other bodies and imagine ourselves in them, living their lives, thinking their thoughts, being happy, healthy, and loved exactly the way that they are, but to look at our own and know that we are capable of the same within our own skin? Impossible, almost laughable! .
Others are deserving because of who they inherently are, and we are not because of who we inherently are, or so we tell ourselves. It may feel like your body was never meant for anything more than suffering, but the truth is, every body is built for both the good and the bad of life. Those other bodies, they have their own pain, same as you, and you are just as capable of your own happiness too. .
You can heal.

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

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli

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If We Were Having Coffee // Summer is Slipping Through My Fingers

Hello dear readers! Happy Sunday, welcome, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up. Today is a good day for it too. We’re finally getting a break in the godforsaken heat. The high is forecasted to stay below 80ºF, and there’s been a consistent cool breeze since the early morning hours. Oh, and there are clouds, real rain clouds threatening the first real precipitation we’ve had in so many days I’ve lost count. I’m actually excited!

So, fill up your cup. We’ll open the blinds and let some sun in. This place has been shut up in a futile effort to keep cool and we—me, my dog, the cat, even the houseplants—are all desperate for it. There, that’s better. Now, let’s talk about last week!

“Coffee is far more than a beverage. It is an invitation to life, disguised as a cup of warm liquid. It’s a trumpet wake-up call or a gentle rousing hand on your shoulder. Coffee is an experience, an offer, a rite of passage, a good excuse to get together.”

— Nicole Johnson

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that July is passing by much too quickly for me. June seemed to drag on forever, but July? I keep thinking we’re still in the first week or so and find myself shocked everything I check the date. How is it already the 15th? How has so much summer slipped through my fingers?

Tomorrow the routes and hours we will all bid for at work will be posted. This means we are very close to the new school year beginning and summer, with its quiet and relaxed schedule is coming to an end. It’s good and bad.

I enjoy waking up and knowing I don’t have to go to work if I don’t want to, but having to go to work is a great motivator. I write better when I have to work. I take better care of myself, and I get out into the world, into the fresh air and among other people when I have to work. During the school year, I get to meet and interact daily with children which comes with stimulating challenges, laughter, and regular inspiration. When I have to work my mind and body are put to use. I live my life, and my life feeds my writing.

But before I go back to work, there is the bidding. We bid based on seniority, and while I’m pretty high up there, I’m not at the top. That means there is a chance I might not get the hours I want, the schools I want, or the driver I want. I’ve been lucky every year, for the most part, up until now, but that luck might run out any year now. So I’m a ball of anxiety and will be until my employee group bids on the 27th.

I’m working on not being a ball of anxiety though. Worrying about the future will only rob me of what little summer I have left. A lot of it will be out of my control, and there really is nothing I can do now to help that future, so, why fret? Going forward I’ll need to be mindful of my anxiety and redirect those thoughts and that energy when I notice them intruding.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this weekend has been a pretty relaxing one. I made a point not to plan anything since I’ll have family in town and birthdays to celebrate in the coming weeks.

We spent Friday night running errands and checking out an open house up the street. The house was recently put on the market for what I felt was a shocking amount of money considering the neighborhood. A lot more than our house would go for anyway, so we thought, let’s go over there and see what a house worth that much looks like.

We learned it certainly looks way better than our house does, but it’s not unattainable. We’ve redoubled our commitment to improving our home, and now we have a few strategic ideas on how to do so.

Saturday was spent trying to write and binge-watching Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown on Netflix, a show I dearly loved but grew lazy about keeping up with when it was on. After the news of Bourdain’s passing, I couldn’t watch it again, not right away. It felt too strange, but yesterday I felt like it was time to reacquaint myself with Bourdain’s unique talent for sharing cultures not by filtering it through himself first but by simply providing the platform and the structure for the people living it to tell you their stories directly.

The weather was unbearably hot well into the late afternoon, and all I could manage to accomplish after lunch was a cold shower and a long nap before heading out for dinner and a movie.

We saw Sorry to Bother You, a new surreal sci-fi comedy by Boots Riley exploring the pitfalls of living in a capitalistic society. The movie is wild from beginning to end, and without giving anything away I will tell you that the first half is exactly what you expect it to be after seeing the trailer, but the second half takes a sharp, more outrageous and somehow, more serious, turn. It’s not a perfect film, but it’s good enough and different enough to make it worth everyone’s time.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that while I still have yet to post much of anything new here, it’s wasn’t the worst writing week I’ve had all summer. Progress was made. I finally have a solid grasp on Microsoft’s OneNote app, the new home for my notes, thought fragments, and drafts of blog posts, newsletters, poems, and pitches and hopefully where I can begin some bigger projects too.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about NaNoWriMo, the insane marathon writing event happening every November, and considering giving it another go this year. The memoir genre has been calling me, softly, shaky and unsure, from far away, but if I listen closely I can just make out my story being told. I wonder, would anyone care? Would anyone be helped, be interested, be entertained if I dared share it?

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this coming week’s goals are the same as the last, to simply write. I want to try to finish two posts for the blog and post more journal posts. I have tried every day, but I never finish them. They either seem too short to too mundane, not enough of what I am trying to live is coming through. Just my flaws and my monotony. Too much of what is happening to me and not enough of what I am thinking. It’ll take practice I suppose.

I took time this week to clean up the “creativity room” and now that I have enough clear space to work and write in. I’ve set a goal of one hour a day in there, more on Saturdays, no excuses.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the rain has started to fall and my eyelids and limbs are growing heavy. I’m going to use what energy I have left to start the laundry, and then I think it’s time for a nap. I don’t want to waste the rare weekend opportunity, you know?

I hope last week was good to you. I hope you made progress in your pursuit of perfection, and I hope you weren’t too hard on yourself when you didn’t quite achieve it. No one else did either.

Until next time.

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"Cognitive biases can be organized into four categories: biases that arise from too much information, not enough meaning, the need to act quickly, and the limits of memory." — https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases . "Every cognitive bias is there for a reason — primarily to save our brains time or energy. If you look at them by the problem they’re trying to solve, it becomes a lot easier to understand why they exist, how they’re useful, and the trade-offs (and resulting mental errors) that they introduce.” — https://betterhumans.coach.me/cognitive-bias-cheat-sheet-55a472476b18 . “It's not at all hard to understand a person; it's only hard to listen without bias.” — Criss Jami, Killosophy . #blackoutpoetry #bias #thinking #quote #human #newspaperpoem #foundpoetry #humancondition #cognitivebias #makeblackoutpoetry #change #writerscommunity #writersofig #humanity

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

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli

 

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Currently // June 2018: I Already Have Everything I Need

June did not, by any means, fly by. It began so differently from how it ended and so much happened, so much changed in between, not just for me but for us all, that I feel as if I’ve lived through two of them.

At first, I felt exhausted by it all. A lot of what happened and changed was for the worse, but, on the other hand, it lasted, and who hasn’t wished for more hours in a day, a little more time, a chance to slow things down? Who hasn’t longed for the feeling of permanence summer used to bring to our childhoods? I know I had no more hours than any other human on this planet, but what a gift it was to feel like I had!

Sadly, I made very poor use of all that time. The disappointment I feel in myself for wasting so much freedom is made heavier, sharper, by the realization that I’ve now only just one month left to make something of the season.

I have a month and a little more left to take some big leap and put myself out there and prove that I am not just me, but a being of potential on my way to achieving that success that will retrospectively prove that all this uncertainty, confusion, floundering, and yes, even the incessant procrastinating was all part of a necessary process on my path to greatness.

One month left to stop making excuses and start working toward the future.

But first, here is what I am currently:

Writing pitches and pieces for paying publications. Blogging is great, but the satisfaction waxes and wanes, and working on a side project is nerve-wracking and too easy to abandon in the dark when I’m feeling down. I need a little pressure, a little bit of accountability. I need clear expectations, deadlines, and topics. I need a clear way of doing things and a clear line between success and failure. I’m hoping to delve into the world of current events commentary or pop culture criticism, connecting larger issues down to the personal and day-to-day from my unique perspective. I’m also looking into writing memoir pieces and poetry for a couple of literary magazines it’d be a dream to see my name printed in.

Making some cut and paste goodness with all the random magazines I’ve started getting in the mail recently. It’s been fun but not terribly productive. I’m not sure what I am doing, and a lot of it hasn’t gone into the art journal I made or online the way I had intended. Like everything I do, it doesn’t feel finished, or good enough yet to share. That’s why, my biggest goal for July is to let myself fail, spectacularly and as often as possible so I might finally purge myself of all my half-assed and half complete drafts, pieces, and projects.

Planning some small blog changes. I’m still working on building that ever elusive daily writing/blogging habit and after the failure of the A to Z Challenge posts (a challenge I still intend to finish by the way!) I’m looking for a new strategy. I don’t think fast enough to write anything long-winded or in-depth every day. Unfortunately, the only way I know how to write is long-winded and in-depth, so I need to write about something else entirely.

I’m planning on sharing some short daily personal updates here every day. I was inspired by a few bloggers I’ve come to admire who use their blogs as a place to store inspiration and connect their passion with their day-to-day lives. The problem is wanted to separate these personal updates from the longer, in-depth posts here but WordPress.com lacks the kind of functionality I am looking for to keep things organized and looking just the way I want them too. There may be a need for a theme change and some cosmetic upgrades soon.

Anticipating my family being back together again! Well, most of it anyway. My sister, her husband, and their kids moved to Texas some time ago, and I have missed them terribly ever since. All my other siblings—on my mother’s side—live here in Colorado and with every new milestone or major event in our lives, her presence is sorely missed. Her children were the first grandkids, and she was my first sibling, one of the few in this world who know me best. It hurts to have her so far away but this July, for one precious week, she’ll be here!

Reading The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorn. I started it weeks ago but have only in just the past couple of days decided I actually like reading it. There is an essay at the beginning, not related much to the story that made the book absolute torture until I realized I could simply skip it altogether. Now I’m breezing through the book and loving the simplicity of the writing and the plot. In July I’m thinking of tackling The Iliad by Homer, The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, and Hunger by Roxanne Gay.

Watching Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which continues to be the most disturbing and infuriating show I’ve ever seen both because of its subject matter, and often what it chooses not to address. The latest season of Westworld just wrapped up on HBO. I highly recommend it despite the super confusing timelines in the show. At the very least it’s visually amazing.

I’m happy to announce that I finished binge-watching every episode of The Office and have been able to reclaim a significant number of hours each day. For some reason, I have not been able to bring myself to finish the Sense 8 finale on Netflix even though I waited so long for it. I guess it’s just too hard for me to let go. I’ll just watch the new season of Glow instead.

I finally got around to watching Lady Bird. I thought it was good I don’t get the amount of hype and acclaim it received. By far my favorite thing this month was the newest horror jam to come out of A24 studios, Hereditary. It was so scary I wanted to leave the theater, but it was good for a lot of other reasons too, and you really should see it.

Feeling not as great as I was this time last month, but I’m trying my best to be hopeful rather than worrisome. After my first infusion of the new medication to get my ulcerative colitis under control I felt amazing, but now I believe it was mostly the steroids I was taking. I was instructed to go back to a higher dose of the steroids and have my next infusion a week early. That was this past week. Now I’m tapering off of the steroid again and hoping that in the next week or two nothing goes wrong. I feel…okay. Just okay. I want better though.

Fearing for the future of us all. The retirement of Justice Kennedy and the Supreme Court vacancy is a devastating blow. The realities of immigration policy are coming to light, and it’s heartbreaking. The recent setbacks to gay rights and women’s reproductive rights and the very real rise of the religious right are coming at a terrifying speed. I’m scared, but I’m also very angry. I’m angry that hard-won gains are so easily lost. Most of all, I’m angry at those who can’t see that the world could be so much different from what it is now. I’m angry at those saying “that’s just the way it is” or ” they’re going to do what they want anyway.” I’m angry with those who choose not to know to make it easier not to care. I’m afraid they will never change.

Reflecting on the passing of my mother’s father and how his presence affected the trajectory of my entire life. He wasn’t a nice man. He hurt those he loved deeply. He never—out of ignorance and deep hatred of people of color—treated my sibling or myself as good family, and we—in our need to protect ourselves from the lesson of such rejection, never regarded him the same. But after he passed, we had to go through the items in his home and what I found was a man who, underneath that hate and ignorance, I was very much like. It turns out that where we come from can be just as surprising as where we end up. I come from him, and what is left of him and his legacy rests in me. Neither of us saw that coming.

Needing very little. I read an article recently about the fact that people’s idea of the perfect life isn’t actually all that perfect, and I wondered, if I didn’t have the life I had, would I wish I did? I think so. I think I might have all I need right here right now and if anything ever feels amiss, it’s because I haven’t done the work required the have it. Anything I don’t have I haven’t earned. I’m in need of a change in perspective from one of envy to one of gratitude, from one of wishing, longing, and resentment, to one of focus, motivation, and potential. I have what I need, now it’s time to get what I want.

Learning a few home improvement basics. We’ve owned our home for close to 10 years, and in that time we have done very little to improve the place. There is so much that needs to be done we never knew where to begin. We’ve been overwhelmed, and it’s caused us to ignore problems that have only gotten worse. So, we are learning to start small. We fixed a light switch issue in the upstairs bathroom, and then we replaced a very old and very stuck tub faucet cartridge too. Today we are working on replacing an old kitchen light fixture, and every weekend going forward we will pick either two small projects, or make progress on one big project until this place, the whole place, is functional and livable. Until I don’t feel ashamed to have company over again.

Loving my new early morning jog routine. I’m on a mission to start treating my body better, and part of that means getting up and really moving for at least 30 minutes a day. I’ve always enjoyed running but my “crunchy” kneecaps, as my doctor once described them, kept me from such a high impact activity. But treating the ulcerative colitis has resulted in some relief in joint pain, and my body and I have compromised on a two-mile jog/walk every morning, plus 100 squares on the good days. I’m loving being active again, something I never thought I would. I love feeling stronger and the feeling of accomplishment as I’m able to do more and more every week.

Hating the rise in incidents of white people calling the police on black people for minor infractions and annoyances. I do understand that rules are in place for a reason but calling the police for actions that may be in violation of rules but is causing no immediate harm is dehumanizing and risky. The culture police officers think and operate in is a violent one. Their presence exacerbates rather than soothes. Tension rise and people can be hurt, or even die, over minor infractions. I hate that we are so disconnected from each other that working out our problems one on one, with words, no longer feels like an option. I hate that we don’t feel a part of our own neighborhoods, a place where people can compromise and live, and let live too! I. hate that we are so entitled and self-centered that we expect our will to be imposed on others, by force if necessary.

Hoping for a little hope. A sign that everything, the big scary things happening all around me and the little scary things happening every day in my little life. Some days I’m filled with hope. On those days I know everything is going to be okay. Good is going to triumph over evil, and I am going to be happy, surrounded by love and fulfilled. Other days, I’m not so sure. Other days I can’t find hope. I can’t see that any progress has been made and the prospect of progress in the future feels impossible. Fighting is futile. The opposition is too organized, too cruel, and the universe is too silent, too neutral. The truth is there is no guarantee that good will win over evil, and there is no guarantee that anything in my life will turn out the way I dream it will. How does a person hold on in a world like that?

So yeah, all in all, June was a beautiful month, if not terrifying and discouraging. What I mean to say is, the world is ending all around me, but the sun is shining, and the flowers are in full bloom. The big things haven’t taken the little things yet, and I suppose that is a good thing for now. I’m going to go on enjoying my summer and making it last as long as I can, but I’m going to work harder and fight harder too.

But enough about me, how about you? How did June treat you? Are you feeling discouraged or disappointed? Have you done all you’d hoped to by now? How do you plan to work and fight and hold on to hope through the rest of 2018?

Let me know in the comments!

“I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June.”

— L. M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island

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

The inspiration for these posts comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

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