If We Were Having Coffee // It’s Gonna be Smooth Sailing into 2018

Thank you for stopping by for a bit of coffee and catching up. We’ll have to be quick though, I have a full day of Christmas shopping planned and it’s probably best to start early, before the crowds and before I realize how much I really don’t want to do this. I’m hoping a cup or two of strong brew will wake me up, and I’m hoping a lovely conversation with you will get me in the mood to go out into the world today.

“‘Delectable,’ Ulysses said. ‘Of all the drinks that I have drank on all the planets I have visited, the coffee is the best.’”

― Clifford D. Simak, Way Station

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’m finding it harder and harder, the further we get into the winter weather and the holiday season, to keep up with writing. I’m working more and worrying more. It’s cold outside. It’s dark when I leave home and dark when I return, and I never seem to sleep well. Winter has never been conducive to my creativity, but this year I’m aware and determined not to let a little thing like seasonal depression get me down and keep me from doing what I love. So, I’m trying to do things a bit differently.

Last week work was beyond hectic, and I had little time for this blog, but I wasn’t idle. I finally have an editorial calendar set up—I’ve already been adding to it regularly, though I still have to work on sticking to it—and I have really, actually, seriously this time started working on my “death anxiety” project.

I spent my lunch hour at work at least three days this week brainstorming essay topics, art, titles, and structure. I won’t pretend any of my ideas were actually good but I my gut tells me this is a numbers game. The more bad ideas you get out there, the higher your chances of finding a good one, right? So I’m churning them out as fast as I can. I have a whole notebook dedicated to failures and bad ideas, and at this rate, I may need another very soon. It’s been great fun, and I feel like I’m getting closer to doing the kind of writing I always wanted to do.

Through all of that brainstorming and I learned a few things about the way my mind works. I learned that the best time for me to focus on one project and get tangible work done is in the middle of the morning, between 8:00 and 10:00. I learned the best time for me to let my mind wander, and to connect fragments and inspiration in ways that aren’t obvious at first is in the middle of the afternoon, between 1:00 and 4:00. I’m hoping knowing this about myself will make my work more efficient and lead to better ideas faster.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that in an effort not to get sucked into negativity and false perspectives I’m practicing gratitude with greater intensity than ever. I’m taking time to acknowledge that even on my worst days, during my greatest frustrations and inconveniences, I have every reason to be happy and all the opportunity I need to change whatever I don’t like about my life.

Being alive is scary, embarrassing, annoying, confusing, and painful, but it’s also a goddamn miracle and good things happen just as often as the bad. Here are some that happened to me:

  1. I had a delightful conversation with my sister and her kids this week. I’ve been a bad sister and aunt, and I haven’t called in far too long, but only because I missed them so much and had no idea what to say. I will do better from now on.
  2. I got a ton of overtime at work, and even though I didn’t really want it, I’m still grateful for it. I got to take care of things for my coworkers who are going through some tough times, and my paycheck won’t be so bad after winter break.
  3. A wonderful friend of mine loaned me his copy of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick and bought me the definitive director’s cut version of Blade Runner as an early Christmas gift.
  4. Another wonderful friend who I haven’t seen in far too long invited me out for dinner ad drink for her belated birthday celebration. It felt good to be there to celebrate her, to catch, and let her know how important she is to me.
  5. I’ve started cooking more and more, and I am actually starting to enjoy it. Last week I made Creamy Vegetable and Tortellini Soup with Pesto and Oven Baked Lemon Pepper Wings. Both of which my girlfriend—the best cook I know and the only one I am ever trying to impress— loved!
  6. We made big party plans for New Year’s Eve with some other wonderful friends entirely, and then those plans got canceled, and then they were back on again! And I might wear something I would never ever usually wear, and I might look amazing in it.
  7. Black Mirror finally revealed it’s release date for season 4! December 29th people! A perfect end to a very disorienting and anxiety-inducing year.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am looking forward to the coming week which I am almost positive will be a lot less stressful than this past one was. My workload ought to be much lighter, and warm weather is returning. I have a new book to read, a bunch of new posts to write, and a ton of podcasts to catch up on. I can’t wait to get started.

Actually, the entire rest of 2017 should be easy peasy and thank God for that because I  cannot wait for this politically infuriating and disorienting year to wrap the hell up. Not that I expect 2018 to be any better, in fact, I foresee things getting a lot worse as one side begins to tire and the other simply waits us out. They are going to start winning, and no matter how we scream and fight, they will go on doing just as they please.

But a New Year is always encouraging and the way time has been flying since summer I know it’ll be over before I know it. I’ve only got to get through this week and the next of Christmas prep and small tasks at work, then Christmas day, and it’ll be smooth sailing into 2018.

I feel good about that. Or, I feel just as good as I do bad about that. This year has been hard and as happy as I am to see it end, the forward march of time is always a little sad. Every day on this Earth is one day closer to your inevitable end. I’m learning to cope with that too.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that our coffee date had gone on much longer than I planned and as much as I’m enjoying it, I really must get going. The mall is filling up by the minute I’m sure, and the more people there are, the more anxious I’ll be. The more anxious I am, the less effective and efficient I am, and if it all goes too far, I’ll be in tears. God, I hate Christmas shopping.

I hope you had a good and productive week, if you didn’t I hope you have no regrets. I hope you’ll drop a note in the comments and let me know what you’ve been up to. I do love hearing from you.

Until next time.

P.S. Excuse the time discrepancy between the time of day I described and the time of day you may have read this. I wrote it early in the morning shortly after waking, but I failed to hit publish before I left, and so, didn’t post it until late in the evening.

***

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

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

Featured photo by Mikesh Kaos on Unsplash

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If We Were Having Coffee // It Was Fun, but It Was the Worst

Hello and happy Sunday dear readers! Thank you for stopping by for a bit of coffee and catching up. I’ve got the blinds open wide letting in all this gorgeous sunshine. I have classical music playing through the speakers. I feel good today, in body and mind, better than I have in weeks and I just know a bit of caffeine and conversation will only cheer me more. So pull up a chair, and get yourself a cuppa. It’s been quite a week for me, as I’m sure it has been for you too, and I’m excited to tell you all about it.

“Coffee is like another portal to elsewhere, sip once and I’m already dressed in code blue, twice and I’m  moving towards reckless endangerment and thrice, well watch out because I’m about to reach the term catastrophe.”

When 2 cups of coffee means business, D C de Oliveira

***

The holiday break got off to a bit of a sad start when my girlfriend’s mother was admitted to the hospital after a blood clot was found in her lung. She is doing fine and already back home, and we are definitely feeling very grateful especially after the blood clot was almost not found at all! Apparently, her primary care doctor failed to order the test that would have detected the clot nearly a week earlier! Thankfully she got herself back there after her cough got worse and they found the problem and began treatment right away.

Unfortunately, that meant she had to spend Thanksgiving in the hospital. We stopped by to chat and bring her a cup of good coffee. We talked with her about what comes next and how she may have to work harder to care for herself going forward than she had been up until now. She wasn’t too keen on the idea, but we will be as encouraging as we need to be to keep her going. She’s lucky, and she’s very strong too, to have gotten through this. I’m just not sure she knows it yet.

 

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that our Thanksgiving evening was spent at my mother’s house along with my step-father, my youngest sister, my brother and his family, and a couple of friends he invited along.

The food was delicious, and I actually contributed this year! I made this beautiful Bacon Brie Cresent Wreath, and my girlfriend baked a lovely Cranberry Upside-Down Cake. My mom and sister put together a great selection of sides—mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce—and my step-father made both turkey and ham.

It was a chaotic night, but that’s perfectly normal in my family, especially when so much wine is flowing. My sister and I spent much of the night hiding in my mother’s office, which she hated, but we needed to get away from all the arguing, and noise, and awkward conversations. My family has never been able to get along for the length of a whole holiday. My girlfriend told my mother that it had been fun, but it has also been the worst Thanksgiving yet. We all agreed she was right.

After all the men left us, girls settled in with our deserts to watch girly movies until the food made us tired and we had to leave before we all fell asleep.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that Black Friday shopping was a no go. We spent the morning with my girlfriend’s mother and prepared for another Thanksgiving dinner with some close friends and coworkers of ours. A “Friendsgiving.”

The night started off nicely but quickly deteriorated after I made us all lemon drop cocktails for dessert and another friend began pouring vodka shots at the same time. We all acted like complete fools, and I woke up the next morning trying to piece the event of the night into proper order and to work through my overwhelming embarrassment. My only consolation is that my behavior was not the most mortifying of the night.

Still, I had to make a sad round of apologies and explanations the next day. I am thankful I have understanding friends and loved ones who assure me I was not as offensive nor as cringe-worthy as I recall now.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the plan for Saturday was to finally get some much need relaxation in. I wanted to do absolutely nothing, and not just because I was nursing that nasty hangover, but because the week had been so stressful and I knew that the end was nowhere in sight. I wanted a mental self-care day to focus on ourselves and each other before the Christmas rush was to begin.

But the universe had other plans and an old friend who was back in town called to tell us that through a grievous oversight on her part we had not received our intended invitation to her baby shower. We had just hours to get up, get ready, get a gift, and get there. We made it, early in fact, and with beautiful pink narwhal and culturally diverse mermaid themed gifts and we had a great time despite my bitter feelings over the invitation.

Afterwards, my girlfriend, my cousin, and I went out to for some good food and deep conversation about the trauma inflicted upon us by our parents and the benefits of counseling, validation, and self-awareness. As we get further and further along in life, we realize that healing ourselves, teaching our elders, and creating a world that is conducive to healing for the next generation is the good we want to do while we are here.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that today is my day to just what I want, and there will be no compromise on it. I’m screening my calls and refusing to involve myself in anything that isn’t an emergency. I am writing, and cleaning, and catching up on all the news, YouTube videos, and podcasts I haven’t had time for, oh, weeks now!I’m hoping this coming week will be an easy one. I have a break between classes of new hires in need of training at work, and I aim to take full advantage of all that free time.

I am a believer in making time to do extensive planning before making any big New Years Resolutions, and I also believe it’s best to start them now so you can start the year off proud and eager to keep the streak going.

I’m working on an actual editorial calendar for this blog going, for at least two months into 2018, and write a proper plan for publishing a collection of essays and writing I want to share with all of you this time next year. I also want to spend some serious reading time in now that I have gotten the hang of Good Omens, and my journal has been feeling sorely neglected.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that even though I have so much more to tell you, I had better get going. The kitchen hasn’t been cleaned in days, and the laundry piles are much bigger than usual. I can’t waste any time if I am going to get this house in shape and still do all the nothing I want too.

I hope you had a fantastic holiday. I hope you had much to be grateful for and I hope your celebration of it all was lovely and delicious too. Remember to take care of yourself and don’t let the pressure of holiday meals, gifts, and decoration distract you from what the season is all about.

Until next time.

***

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

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

Featured photo by Izzy Rivi on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // More About Us and Less About Me

Hello dear readers and thank you for stopping for a bit of conversation and caffeine. I know it’s late, but I had a bit of a crazy night last night. I figured out how easy it is to make lemon drop cocktails and my girlfriend and I overdid it on the sugary sour drinks. I’ve only just recovered enough to tolerate the brightness of my laptop screen. But, it’s okay, and a cup of strong espresso and a chance to catch up with you sounds like the perfect after dinner treat.

“Drink some coffee and pretend you know what you’re doing.”

Unknown

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this past week was another busy one, but for a while, things are going to calm down a bit around here. I think my girlfriend has found a little peace too. She’s been able to cut out of work earlier and earlier and the 15 hour days are more like 12 hour days and our weekends are back to being all about us instead of half about work.

I’m not sure how long the break will last. Part of me feels more anxious than I did before knowing that the stress will return eventually. No matter how often we go through this cycle, I have a hard time adjusting every time. I hate having to share her with her work. I think I wouldn’t mind it so much if I at least knew she was happy and doing what she loves but having to be away from her and seeing her so stressed out and upset all the time hurts my heart.

I suppose I shouldn’t worry about that so much right now. I should just make the most of this time before I’m back spending so much time by myself again.

***

If we were having coffee, I would wish you a very merry First Day of Halloween! As much as I hate to see the summer go, at least it ends with a whole month of horror movies, haunted houses, pumpkin carving, and candy corn. All of my favorite things!

This week we’re seeing a ballet performance of Dracula and maybe a play starring a friend of mine as Jack the Ripper on Friday the 13th. I’m really hoping to go to a movie party at the Alamo, and maybe a costume party if a couple of our friends are willing to open their home. If nothing else I’m going to watch all my favorite scary flicks like The Shining, Carrie, The ConjuringNightmare on Elm Street, and The Fly, and I’ll be eagerly awaiting the new season of Stager Things too. I haven’t settled on a costume yet, it depends on what kind of parties I end up at, but I’m thinking about going back to classics like zombies, mummies, and skeletons.

I haven’t settled on a costume yet, it depends on what kind of parties I end up at, but I’m thinking about going back to classics like zombies, mummies, and skeletons. But even if I end up sitting at home with my girlfriend, gorging myself on candy corn and pumpkin seeds and sipping fall cocktails while freaking ourselves out over ghosts stories and slasher movies, I’ll be happy.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I continue to be embarrassed by our tone-deaf, selfish, and insensitive President. I am so angry I don’t even know where to begin. All I can say is that my thoughts are with the people of Puerto Rico, our forgotten fellow Americans and that I am in full support of Colin Kaepernick and every player who joins him in bringing attention to police brutality and killing.

I’ve unfriended a few people over the last week over Kaepernick and the NFL. I don’t even watch football, but I do care about this issue, and I won’t have people in my life who refuse to listen and refuse to understand. This year was about saving my energy and focusing on brown, queer, and fem voices and issues. Anyone who isn’t on board or willing to support that can get far away from me.

***

If we were having coffee, I would give you a heads up that there may be some changes coming to the blog. Nothing big. Just more and better content. I’m working on becoming more focused and covering more big questions and problems we are all going through. More about us and less about me is what I am trying to say. More about self-care, creativity, society, education, relationships, science, sex, pop-culture, and mental health. More life lessons. More culture. More society. More about human life. That’s what this blog was always supposed to be.

I’ll still be writing about me, but a lot of that will be vented out on Twitter and Tumblr. I’m working on some other big projects too. Something all about my death anxiety, maybe a chapbook, but it will be slow going. I want to take my time with it.

In the meantime, while I’m working on all that great content, and preparing to face my mortality in a very public way, things may get quieter around here. I won’t shut down completely. I still need this little space while I figure out what the hell I’m doing, but don’t be put off by a week or more of silence. I promise you I’ll come back, and I will keep getting better and better too. Just be patient with me, please? My goal will always be to talk about those parts of ourselves we have forgotten and to find a way to bring comfort and calm to all our emptiness and suffering.

***

If we were having coffee, I would say thanks again for chatting with me, and for reading my little writings over these past few years. Thanks for being an ear to vent to and a shoulder to cry on. It’s nice to know people still come around, and care about what I have to say, even when I have no idea what I’m saying myself. I know many of you have left comments and I have been horrible about getting back to you. I’m sorry. I write all these things and post them for the world to read, and still, I’m so shy. I feel so unworthy of an audience that I don’t ever know what to say except thank you, thank you, thank you. I worry that gets old though. I worry it isn’t enough. So, I say nothing at all. I’m going to change that.

***

If we were having coffee, I would say it is getting late, and I have kept you long enough. The work week begins again tomorrow, and we both need our sleep, me especially. My headache hasn’t gone away completely, and my body is sore and stiff. I think there is just enough time to take a hot shower and swallow some Tylenol.

I hope you had a good week, and that our weekend was relaxing. I hope you are taking care of yourself out there. Drink more water, get more rest, and be patient with yourself. We’re all just doing our best, and that is always good enough.

Until next time.

***

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.

Photo by Edan Cohen on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // Stress, Depression, Fear, and Anxiety, Oh My!

Hello, dear readers! I’m so happy you’ve stopped by for a bit of coffee and catching up, it’s been too long since we last caught up and I’ve missed it more than you know.

This past week and the one before were so much busier than I anticipated and I just could find the time to get out of my head and onto the page or screen. But this morning I woke up and told myself that no matter what, no matter how hard or how late I had to work at it, I was going to write something and I wanted to start by catching up with you.

“Where coffee is served there is grace and splendor and friendship and happiness.”

— Sheik Ansari Djezeri Hanball Abd-al-Kadir

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my anxiety has been at an all time high this month.

It all started with my girlfriend. I’ve been so worried about her. She’s been working such long hours that I have to call her in the evenings and tell her to come home, and I made her agree not to work two weekends in a row either.  She’s under a lot of pressure, and she’s dealing with a new boss, an employee shortage, and tense meetings and phones call one after another. On top of all that there were two weeks of interviews and anticipation over a promotion, she was hoping for. Then came the disappointment when she heard she didn’t get it.

My heart is breaking for her, and I’m doing everything I can to pick up the slack at home, cleaning and cooking, the pets and keeping track of event and plans but it isn’t enough. I want to do more, I want to take over her job, or yell at her bosses, or find a way to get rich quick and take her away from all that crap. But I can’t. So, instead I sit at home, alone, and brood and worry and spiral out of control.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I had quite a work week too. I’ve busier all summer than I anticipated and with the shortage of drivers, I’ve been doing my best to help management out with smaller tasks. I had lots of testing and training to do as well as get my own route figured out.

I may not have had much time for myself during the day, but I’m trying to keep in mind that I’m actually pretty lucky compared to some of my other coworkers. I got the route I wanted with decent schools, decent hours, and the driver I wanted to work with. I have little to stress about, I still have the respect of all my coworkers, and no one is watching me or riding me about anything.

It’s nice, and I’m grateful, but there is also guilt at watching so many of my coworker’s struggle and a feeling of being completely useless.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I’ve made very little progress on overcoming my driving phobia and that is getting to me too. My girlfriend is working too much to work with me. I haven’t given up at all. I’m just thinking of it as a temporary setback, a postponement, that’s all. But I can’t help thinking being so down on myself about it. I feel like a failure. I feel stupid and cowardly. I feel like I am not a real adult or a whole person and I get depressed. Add the anxiety and a sprinkle of loneliness, and you can see why I just couldn’t write anything.

Plus, my death anxiety is getting so much worse. Last week I woke up in the middle of the night in a panic because I couldn’t get the thought out of my head that one day I was going to die and never get to see anyone I love again. I was afraid for my girlfriend and grieving for all the things I would never get to do. I was picturing my funeral and all my family and friends crying over me, and I was hurt knowing that everyone would go on living without me. Ever since then I can’t stop worrying if this is the die I will day and wondering about how it will happen.

I’m considering finally seeking help with this. I can’t go one trying to deal with it all on my own, and I can’t keep burdening my girlfriend. There is simply no comfort she can offer to calm me. I know there is no point in worrying about it and I know there is nothing I can do but live the best life I can, but I still can’t stop agonizing over it.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I haven’t even begun to process what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend. In case you haven’t been online or turned on the TV since Friday, a bunch of white supremacists descended on the city to protest the decision to remove the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee Saturday morning. In response, a large crowd of counter protesters showed up to challenge them.

From what I understand small street fights broke out, again and again, tear gas was used, rocks and bottles were thrown, and people were beaten with clubs until authorities declared an unlawful assembly and finally attempted to disperse both crowds. Sometime after that, the violence came to ahead when a man drove a vehicle into the counter protesters, killing one and injuring close to 20 others.

It’s so heart breaking that there is still so much hate in the world and frustrated by those who continue to believe racism is no longer a problem in this country. I’m furious that a life was lost while trying to speak up for what is right. That is as far as I have gotten emotionally.

If we were having coffee, I wouldn’t even touch on Trump, North Korea, or the terror of nuclear war hanging over all of us.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that all this stress and depression, fear and anxiety has actually brought my girlfriend and me closer together. In the past we would have been at each other throats, blaming one another for all the problems and questioning our connection but this time we’ve clung to one another.

Every night when my girlfriend comes home, no matter how late, we cook together while we vent and unload the day. Each of us listens and offers support and advice in turn, and afterward, we sit close on the couch to watch TV, share funny videos, and just feel warm and loved.

This week we’ll be celebrating 15 years together. We’ve almost been together longer than we were not together. We wanted to do something big for such milestone, but with work, we haven’t been able to plan. Instead, we’ll go to our favorite restaurant, and instead of gifts, I’ve asked that we make a real effort to start planning our wedding coming up in one year, no matter what!

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’m hoping that a return to a regular schedule and having a little less on my plate will mean that in this coming week there will be more writing, here and elsewhere.

I have a couple of blog post ideas and drafts that need outlining and editing, and I’m thinking about putting something together for Minimal Hero since it’s revamped and under new management. AND I still have to get a couple of writing samples together for the Bitch Media Fellowship for Writers. Time is running out, and I will never forgive myself if I don’t try.

I’m also going to get back to journaling. I’m hoping it will help me get things out and get my mind of off all the things I can’t control. Writing has gotten me through so much hardship in my life, and I have no doubt it can help me deal with all the bad stuff swirling around in my head too.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that as much as I have missed you and want to go one chatting all evening, I have to get going. There is so much to do around the house and so much to get ready for tomorrow, and I want to get it all done before tonight’s episode of Game of Thrones. Thank you so much for stopping by and for taking the time to listen, it means a lot.

I hope you’ve had a good week, and I hope your weekend was relaxing. I hope you were able to make time to take care of yourself, do the things you enjoy, and be with people you love. I hope this coming week will be better than the last and if it isn’t, I hope you that the energy and the strength to get through it.

Until next time…

***

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

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

Featured image via reeqhair