Currently // October 2018: A Whole Month of Halloween

And just like that, October is over, but at least it goes out with a bang! At least we get to end by dressing up, gorging on all our favorite candies, and indulging in the sick pleasure of scary movies and ghost stories. If you were lucky, like me, you got to spend the whole month celebrating Halloween. I went to a haunted house, Beetlejuice movie party, and a costume party. I watch some of my favorite scary movies and binge-watched some new creepy shows too. October is by far the flashiest and the most fun of all the months if you make the most of it. I really hope you did.

Productivity-wise, my priorities shifted this month. I had to spend more time on my day job than on my hobbies and passions but somehow I’m not feeling disappointed in the fact. I may not have been productive on the writing front, but a lot of the time I was physically at work, I was mentally brainstorming new possibilities and I am excited to make November the start of big changes.

But first, here is what I am currently:

Writing blog posts, believe it or not. I really wish you guys could see my drafts folder, ugh! It’s full of thought fragments and half-finished pieces. I don’t know what’s wrong with me or why I can’t seem to finish anything I start. I haven’t lost my enthusiasm, I’ve just lost focus. Or, maybe, I’m in search of a focus I never had? This blog, I think, has become too personal and the things I have been posting are no longer what I wish I was posting. I have a solution in mind but it’s not easy to execute. I’m separating myself from my message and writing for one or the other in turn, not both in the same at once.

Making ugly analog collages that I’m too insecure to share. I promise they aren’t all that interesting but I hope with practice they will become good enough to show off. In the meantime, I’m making a new pocket notebook to carry around and staring at my art journal wishing I could think of some art to make in it.

Planning for the new year. I know, I know, it’s entirely too early to even mention the new year. We’ve barely gotten through Halloween, but every year, with all the hustle and bustle, the cooking and shopping, the stress and depression, the end of the year kind of sneaks up on us. I don’t want to be caught so unaware this time. I want to have solid celebratory plans, an editorial calendar that carries me through to Spring, and a plan that sets me up for New Year’s resolution success!

Anticipating upcoming election results across the country! Of course, I am hoping to see the Dems get back some control of either the Senate or the House—preferably both— but I’m also anxiously awaiting the results of some very interesting ballot issues here at home. One, in particular, is Proposition 112, a statewide citizen-initiative to push all new oil and gas development (not on federal land) at least 2,500 feet back from occupied and vulnerable areas. Big Oil is pouring money into attack ads but I have faith in my fellow Coloradans.

Reading The Iliad, still, but making a lot of progress. More importantly, I’m thoroughly enjoying it. I’m still reading On the Genealogy of Morals by Friedrich Nietzsche too. I was enjoying it, but then I wasn’t. I’m getting back to liking it again slowly now that the end is near. I would have finished both of these by now but I haven’t been spending as much time reading as I know I should. The problem is my phone. So, I’m working on a set of new habits to keep me from picking the damn thing up and to make it easier for me to put it back down when I do.

Watching The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix. I actually finished it already. It was so good I binge watched all 10 episodes in one night—from 5 PM to 3 AM the next day. I don’t recommend you do that, but I do think you should definitely check out the show. It’s creepy, of course, but there is also plenty of real-life family drama too. I’m also watching The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, also on Netflix, and it’s definitely a lot creepier than I thought it would be. Both are 100% worth your time!

Feeling a little withdrawn, but not necessarily down. I’m consumed with finding a path for my writing and that’s made me a bit closed off and distant. It’s gotta be this new space I’m slowly carving out. I had been feeling stuck in a rut for a long while now. I’ve been feeling incapable, ordinary, and unimaginative. I’d even been considering giving up since it seemed clear I had no talent, but this new idea is freeing. I feel full of possibility and this place feels like a place of purpose again.

Fearing that I’m not taking care of my day-to-day responsibilities as well as I should. My anxiety is bad and while my health has been much better, fatigue is still kicking my ass and causing forgetfulness at times. Just getting up, working, getting down and few words, and cleaning up around the house is all I can seem to do with my days. Anything more wipes me out. I’m afraid to be a burden to my fiance. I’m afraid to be resented one day.

Reflecting on how I’ve gotten too comfortable with my life. I grew up in a household where nothing ever felt secure or certain and as an adult, I’ve—without realizing it or wanting to admit it—built a life where there is as much security, certainty, and predictability as possible. I’ve worked the same job, with the same scheduled, lived in the same house, and done the same things day after day. I’m starting to see just how small of a box I’ve put myself in and wondering if my comfort zone no longer serves its purpose.

Needing more time. I know we all could use a few more hours a day, and I know that no matter how much anyone ever wished, the length of days will never change. I need to reclaim, redistribute, and repurpose the time I have. I mentioned the issue with my phone. I’ve deleted the Facebook app and all games, I’ve started plugging it in across the room and limiting notifications, but my phone isn’t the only problem. My couch is a big one too. After work and all weekend long I lounge around watching shows and movies, or simply sleeping. All that time, lost, sometimes wasted, but no more.

Learning not a lot right now I’m ashamed to say. I’ve not kept up with math lessons on Khan Academy or my Spanish or German lessons on Duolingo. I would like to pick them back up and add this writing course from the renowned Roxane Gay on Skillshare. If I can get back the focus I had just a year ago and start gaining some momentum, some recognition, and a few paid opportunities I’d love to try one of these writing classes from Catapult as well. A good challenge can be a great motivator and I could really use some day-to-day motivation right now.

Loving my amazing friends, who always let me know that it’s okay to be me and that there is plenty of patience and forgiveness for the days when I am not my best self. When I am grouchy, awkward, irritating, angry, or forgetful. People need that. People need to know that their mistakes don’t mean the end of relationships and friendships. You need to know you are loved and liked even when you say the wrong thing, let someone down, or just need time to learn to do better. I’m happy I have that.

Hating the ugliness coming out of the White House right now. The twisting of facts, the outright lies, the dog whistles and the obvious attempts to rile up some of the most dangerous groups in this country. I hate that I feel so unsafe and that I worry so much about not just my rights and safety, but the rights and safety of others too. I hate that I feel so small and powerless. I hate the damage being done to us and how low the price of our collective souls has sunk.

Hoping that liberal voters come through this year and get out there and vote. It doesn’t take much time and your vote could mean a better, safer life for a lot of people if we can bring this administration under control. The recent attacks on the LGBTQ community and immigrants should motivate us all, not to mention the attempted assassinations of high-level Democrats and supporters the Pittsburg Synagogue shooting. I’m hoping for a blue wave and a great sigh of relief come next Tuesday.

So, yeah, all in all, October was great fun, and I am sad to see it go. The winter holidays sound nice in theory but it can be the most stressful time of the year. So, today, for just one more day, I’m going to be a little weird and wild. I’m going to eat all the candy I want, dress up a little, and take time to scare myself some.

Tomorrow the holiday music begins.

But what about you? How did you celebrate the month of Halloween? What is your favorite horror film? (I’m always looking for recommendations.) Have you voted already? Or at least plan to vote on Tuesday? Are you dragging a friend or three down to the polls with you?

Let me know in the comments!

“We were letting go of October, relinquishing color,
readying ourselves for streets lacquered with ice,
the town closed like a walnut, locked inside the cold.”

— Mark Perlberg, The Impossible Toystore

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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.

Photo by Altınay Dinç on Unsplash

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Currently // October 2017: Autumn is a Second Spring

It’s feeling like fall for sure now, both outside, with the clouds and the cold winds, and inside, with my craving for big blankets, hot tea, soups, and cuddling. My temperament has come to match the typical Colorado Autumn, one day sunny and 70 degrees, the next freezing and flurries flying. I’m all over the place, up and down and unhappy about it.

I’m still trying to be grateful and see the good in the season too, but every cold day makes it harder to be happy and hopeful. I found a quote attributed to my favorite Absurdist, Albert Camus, that goes: “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” I’m sure he didn’t mean anything so cheery as this cherry picked quote would have you believe but I do like it and choose to pull a hopeful meaning from it.

Not that the fall is like spring, with everything coming to life and being born anew, but that everything is going through its necessary change. Growth isn’t always beautiful and changing fucking hurts sometimes, but it’s necessary and good. Winter is coming and with it a time for focusing on myself for change.

But first, here is what I am currently:

Writing at a real desk again! I took advantage of a few days off over fall break to clean out and rearranged our “creativity room” and make a new writing corner for myself, and just in time too! It’s too late to get my shit together for NaNoWriMo, but I might be able to pull something out of my ass for ZineWriMo! (A quick thank you Sea Green Zines for letting me know such an event and group existed.) Which fits right in with my project goals. I don’t expect to have a finished product by the end of the month, as last minute and disorganized as I am, but I hope to get a good start have something to show come December 1st.

Making real life things and not just internet things. Lately, I have been feeling pretty lost. The internet is a big place, and it’s full of thinkers and writers far smarter, funnier, and more well connected than I can even dream to be, so I need to stop dreaming, and just be. I’m scaling back my social media use and refocusing on making, sharing, and building community. I plan to keep my eyes on my own corner of the internet for a while.

Anticipating the crushing disappointment that will come with my not so shocking rejection from the Bitch Media Fellowship for Writers 2018 program. I worked hard to get an application in by the end of August, and I am so proud of myself for trying, but I am under no delusions about the competition. There are too many writers with more to say and the talent to say it better, writers more deserving than me, and that’s okay. To even be rejected by Bitch Media will be an honor.

Reading Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare, whew! I’m not very good with plays, it’s hard for me to follow a story that is made entirely of dialogue, but The further I get the more I get the hang of the story, and the more I enjoy it. I was lucky to have found a Barnes & Noble edition (I picked it up at a thrift store) with plenty of notes and explanation throughout on the language and history of the play and England as it was in Shakespeare’s time for context. This is my first reading of Shakespeare, and I’m happy to find he’s actually pretty funny, and there is plenty of wordplay and a good dose of sexual innuendo to keep me interested too. Next up I’ll be back with Virginia Woolf reading A Room of One’s Own.

Watching Stranger Things 2! I actually finished it last night, so I’ll probably start the analysis show, Beyond Stranger Things, to keep me going for a little while longer. There isn’t much else that has my attention. The Duece is over. I’m not as enthusiastic about Mindhunter as I thought I’d be. Transparent is getting too weird for me. I’ve been rewatching all seven seasons of True Blood, but I’m almost done with those too. Thank God Shameless starts up next week!

Feeling a bit down on my body right now. I’ve been gaining weight steadily since at least the beginning of this year but the problem isn’t the weight, it’s my clothes. Nothing fits me anymore, and I can’t really afford a whole new wardrobe, and I can’t keep trying to work and live in clothes that are so tight they hurt so I have to find a way to get back down to my skinnier self. There is a gym around the corner from me that I’d like to join, but I don’t trust myself to actually do it, so I’m going to start by working out at home, by the end of November I want to have a plan and a routine down pat!

Needing more time to spend with family and friends. The two people who I count as my good friends, people who check on me and encourage me, are working different schedules and locations now. We don’t see as much of each other as we used to and ever since my sister, her husband, and her kids moved away to Texas, I haven’t seen much of the family I have left here either, but I want to. My mom has been down over her health, my niece is growing up, and my little sister is a hair’s breath from adulthood, and I want to be there for all of them. I just need some community, people to take care of and people to take care of me too.

Loving the continued exposure of men who thought they were too big to be brought down as sexual harassers, pedophiles, rapists, enablers, and trash human beings. Sometimes it hurts. I had come to really enjoy Kevin Spacey as an actor, but I celebrate the cancellation of House of Cards, no matter how much it sucks, because he hurt a child and he deserves, at the very least, to lose this and go away for awhile because of it. I hope victims and survivors continue to feel empowered and encouraged to tell their stories. I’m here for it because, sadly, #MeToo.

Hating the stress of the holidays already. The older I get, the more I see the way capitalism and consumerism have corrupted the season. I want Thanksgiving to really be about giving thanks for what and who we have in our lives not competing for the best and biggest spreads. I want Christmas to really be about giving not competing for the best gift given and begging for better gifts in return. I want the new year to be about new beginnings, not big parties and best dressed. I just want to focus on loving the people I love and enjoying some much needed time with them.

Hoping to spend a significant amount of the upcoming holiday time off to focus on self-care too. I’ve been anxious, and depressed, lost, and a little down on myself lately and I have realized I’ve been waiting, hoping, expecting that someone else would fix me but people aren’t medicine. I am responsible for me and I know I’m not doing okay so it’s my job to do something about it. Excercise, eating right, getting enough rest, and getting help, these are the gifts I hope I can give myself this holiday season.

All in all, October was a fun month. We were able to see It, check out a haunted house, get Friday the 13th tattoos, and meet up with friends for dinners and parties. I feel like the most was made of the last warm days of the year and I can head into winter with no regrets.

But, what about you? How did October treat you? How did you treat yourself? What did you think of Stranger Things? Are you ready for the holidays, or are you already stressed out and plan to be until January?

Let me know in the comments!

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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 cup of coffee.

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

Featured photo is by Kyaw Tun and available freely on Unsplash