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. [link]

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.

Photo by luke flynt on Unsplash

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Currently // May 2018: Lost and Found

May is a month for anxious anticipation, a time of preparation for the season to come. It exists in a space to warm to be called true spring, but too unpredictable to be summer, yet.

Throughout the month we packed up our winter wear, broke out the shorts, and got out to work in the yard. We watched pools be cleaned and waited for the parks to open. We cleaned up our grills and stocked up on meat and beer. And then, all of a sudden, it was here. School is out. The pools are open. Grills are being fired up nightly, and we’re all looking forward to the freedom of the next few months. It’s finally summertime!

Personally, this May has been hard on me. Last month, I was getting sicker, but things were still good, and I felt happy. I was celebrating my birthday, seeing friends and family, and enjoying being the very center of my known universe. By the start of May, my health took a sharp dive downward, and I fell into bouts of moodiness and depression waiting to find answers. I felt lost.

In this last week though, I’ve seen a shift. I started a new medication, and almost immediately, I felt like myself again. I’m watching myself improve with cautious optimism, but deep down I am daring to dream that I’ll get to enjoy this summer without pain, fear, or shame.

But first, here is what I am currently:

Writing my remaining Blogging A to Z Challenge posts, still. I’m hoping you’ll cut me a little slack here, I’ve been having a hard time. I’m taking some time to myself this week to catch up or at least get back into a daily writing habit, even if I don’t always post here. IT’s going well, but I’ll be honest, this series of posts weighs heavy on me. I’m beginning to overthink it and starting to get bored. I think I’ll start changing things up a little bit. I miss doing my book reviews and my Monday motivational things. I’m also very ready to begin a new series, something about love, or poetry, or maybe a series of dialogues?

Making some very bad cut out poetry. I love blackout poetry but I recently found the work of Kelsey Landsgaard on Instagram, and I immediately wanted to make my own sad girl cut and paste poems too. It’s easier and certainly more satisfying, but I still suck so I haven’t shared much yet. Just because you can paste a few found lines together doesn’t make you a poet. You have to find the right lines that say the right thing in a new way. Landsgaard is very good at what she does, and I need a lot of practice.

Planning a vacation or two in the next few to six months. We want to camp for a few nights before school starts again, then we’ll spend a long weekend around Labor Day somewhere where I can smell the sea and fill up on crab and oysters cheap. Before Halloween, I want to head to the West Coast and see my nephews-in-law that are growing up there. I want to start seeing the world while I still can, and this year we’re getting our traveling feet wet.

Anticipating my summer work schedule and the next school year’s bid. The end of this one hit me a little hard. My route was easy. I got to know some wonderful kids, and I had a driver I really got along with. I’m hoping to do the same next year, but there are people higher than me in seniority looking for the same. In the meantime, I am lucky to have a summer schedule that is as flexible as a job can get. I can come and go as I please with no attendance policy to adhere to as long as the work gets done. It might sound great but it also means I have to be self-motivated and self-starting and I’ve never been very good at that

Reading The Odyssey, still. It’s a pain, but I have passed the halfway point by promising myself I only have to read two chapters a day. The limit helps me stay focused on what is happening in the story without getting too bored or discouraged by all the repetition and description. I think next month I will tackle The Iliad. It sounds like a more exciting read than this.

I also read The Girl with all the Gifts by M.R. Carey, (A heartbreaking, thought-provoking, and eerie read well worth your time!, proper review coming soon!), and I started The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorn yesterday. I plan to finish it, The Odyssey, and at least one Shakespeare play, probably Romeo and Juliet, by the end of the June.

Watching Westworld on HBO, but it’s confusing the crap out of me, it’s still the coolest thing on TV right now though. I finished season 2 of Atlanta on FX, and no words I could cobble together here could adequately convey how unique and groundbreaking this show is. I’ve also been keeping up with Vox’s new Netflix show, Explained, and binge-watching old episodes of The Office with my girlfriend. As for movies, I saw A Quiet Place, which was amazing, and watched an HBO original called The Tale, an unflinching look at the reality of coming to terms with childhood sexual abuse. A must watch.

Feeling a little lost, but that isn’t anything new. I’ve suddenly got so much time and energy on my hands, and I’m not sure how to spend it. I do things that feel like they mean something but at the end of the day my hands are empty, and I have nothing useful to show for the privilege. I feel guilty wasting what I have this way, but I’m not sure how to do better. How do you mix time, plus energy, and all that you have in you, and form it into something beautiful and comprehensible to the world? The artists and writers I follow make it seem so easy, and the secrets they share don’t seem to be the real secret at all. Or maybe I’m just being a coward and doing everything but what I need to be doing because doing everything else feels a lot easier and a lot less humiliating than creating.

Fearing, for the first time, what the future will bring for someone else entirely. My fiance is in a strange position with a big opportunity that she may not be ready for, and that she may not even want. I’m doing my best to hear out her fears and her own wants, but I’m wary of offering advice or steering her in one direction or another. It’s her life after all. The choice isn’t easy to make though, and it’s causing her a lot of stress. On the one hand, this opportunity may not come around again, but on the other, if she decides to move forward and finds she isn’t happy she won’t be allowed to move back again. I just hope the choice is made soon and whatever she decides she can live with.

Reflecting on the loss of The Daily Post as a source of inspiration and motivation for what I have always tried to do here. It was because of The Daily Post, and their Blogging University courses that I first began to experiment and work out what kind of blogger I am. It was where many of you first found me after my post Growing Up and Kissing Girls, a response to a Blogging University assignment on vignettes, was featured on the old Freshly Pressed. It was shocking to hear they were shutting down but it was quite the wake-up call too. I have fallen far from those first days of blogging, and things have not turned out the way I first imagined them, and I realize that I want to get back a little of what I got out of The Daily Post, permission to get personal. To be more than just a creator of content, but to be a human being. I’m grateful for the lesson, and the reminder, and hope that future bloggers will find something, somewhere, a little like what The Daily Post was for me.

Needing a clearer head and a clearer path. I need to know what I want, and I need the courage and the focus to just do it without worry. I need passion. I need a project to sweat about, worry over, to obsess over in the most unhealthy way. I need something to do that doesn’t necessarily make me happy, but satisfies some very specific, and possibly quite dark, need in me, and then I need it to be made into a tangible, relatable, and marketable product. Is that too much to ask?

Learning how to be active again. I’ve actually started running! I used to tell people I hated running, that I hated any kind of exercise, but that isn’t true. I just never know how to start or what I should do, and it’s hard to keep the habit up if it isn’t your thing. Now that I am feeling better I want to start doing better by my body, and that means waking up an hour early every morning to get out and sweat it out around the neighborhood. Next month I might break out one of the Pennyboards that fell into my possession and start learning how to skateboard too.

Loving waking up to warmth, birds chirping, and the scent of cut grass and flowers wafting through my open windows every morning. I love knowing there will be long hours of sunshine and warmth well into the night. That heat can be exhausting during the day though, but most afternoons, and more and more regularly as the summer wears on, we’ll get severe thunderstorm like clockwork. They can be scary, but a little exciting too. A drama to live through every afternoon.

Hating the revelations over what ICE has been doing down at the US-Mexico border. I’ve been hearing about children being separated from their parents, and being forced to appear in court alone even as young as 3 and 4! The US has a long and ugly history of threatening the families of brown people as a tool to subdue them, and this country should be very sensitive to that histroy. We have to think long and hard about what kind of people we are and start sooner rather than generations from now, out of shame, to rectify this evil.

Hoping that what happened in Ireland is a sign and a motivation for nations and their people around the world to consider access to abortion not just good health care policy, but a fundamental right of women everywhere. Here in the US, the laws surrounding abortion access have quietly become stricter and stricter, and many states have made it so difficult to keep clinics open that they have effectively banned abortion within their borders. I hope to see a reversal on the trend soon. Restricting access to abortions doesn’t prevent abortions, it only prevents safe abortions. These laws kill women. We need to write fair abortion access rules into our federal law and get rid of this cruel “gag rule” that keeps women from making safe choices about their bodies abroad.

So yeah, all in all, May was a crazy emotional rollercoaster. I can’t believe the change I’ve gone through in just these 31 days. I really felt like a shell of myself, and now I’m feeling better than ever. Spring is all about rebirth, and this is the closest I’ve ever felt to that for sure. I won’t say it happened for a reason, but it was meaningful to me.

But enough about me, how about you? How did May treat you? How the weather where you are and have you made any traveling plans for the summer? Do you think this country is losing its place as the moral authority of the world? Did we ever deserve such a title anyway? 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 virtual cup of coffee.

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

Photo by Cédric Dhaenens on Unsplash

Currently // April 2018: I Loved All of It

This April was just amazing. Actually, April is always amazing. It’s my birthday month, and I make sure to pamper myself through it every year. My friends and family make sure I feel loved too with gifts, dinners, nights out drinking and dancing, brunches, and plenty of happy birthday wishes. I love all of it. I love everyone wanting to make me happy.

I’m not ashamed of loving my birthday so much, or of loving people loving me on my birthday, it’s an entirely human thing to do, and it does wonders for my mental health and my self-esteem. The only drawback to having an entire birthday month is that it’s terrible for your productivity. I feel behind on everything I hoped to accomplish this month, my A to Z posts, journaling, art, zine work, and other writing projects all moved to the back burner. It was so worth it though.

But now it’s over. I am no longer the center of my little local universe. It’s back to reality, back to work, and back to being my thoughtful, sensitive, and giving self. I’m happy to do it, but first, here is what I am currently:

Writing my Blogging A to Z Challenge posts, still, even though I am hopelessly behind and nowhere close to finishing anytime soon. So strap in, follow or unfollow as your gut tells you because this is going to be the theme for a while, and for a long time after too. I learned a lot this month about what I like to write and how I like to write it. While working on this project I wondered, what if I blogged this way every month? What if every month I wrote 10 or 20 or however many posts under a certain theme until I felt I had said what I needed to say? What if I took my time and just shared the way I am thinking or learning about a certain subject? The wheels in my head are turning, slowly, but surely, some big changes are coming.

Making room for boxes. I’m thinking about something I read from Austin Kleon some months ago, about beginning every project with a box. I went back last week to find the post and found that he got the idea from The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp, an American dancer, and choreographer. The idea is to create a physical space for your idea or project to exist in, something you can hold and feel connected to. SOmething to remind you what your work is. It also a place to throw together all your inspiration, notes, hopes, and visions for the future. It’s a place to mix and match concepts, to brainstorm, make a mess of your project! I think that is just what I need.

Planning for the summer. Working for a school district doesn’t mean I’m off for the summer, it just means my schedule gets really weird. After working a split shift and doing the same things every day for 20 months, working straight through and having every day be a little different can really sap my focus. School ends in just a few short weeks, and I’m hoping with a little foresight I can keep the momentum I gained in April going through May and beyond.

Anticipating a little quiet before the storm. The end of the year means the end of all that testing and training I’ve been doing lately, but it also means the beginning of a new round of testing and training. There is a short breather in between, but if you blink, you might miss it, so I’m trying hard to keep my eyes open and take advantage of every free minute I have.

Reading The Odyssey, still, and Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morals, still, and honestly I don’t want to talk about how much I am failing to make any progress so instead I’ll say I am currently reading this gorgeous set of Shakespeare plays I got for my birthday. It was probably my favorite gift of all, and I love that the person I love the most in the whole world gave them to me.

Watching Westworld on HBO, though I’ll definitely need to read a few explainers because this season is confusing the crap out of me. I’m also watching The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu, which is much more intense this season, and, as this article brought to my attention, still fails to address the ways racism and sexism would intersect in a world like Gilead. I saw A Quiet Place and loved every stressful second of it, and I saw my first Hayao Miyazaki film, Spirited Away, which was back in movie theaters for a few days. It was certainly beautiful and really want to watch all of his other films now.

Feeling not so good if I’m honest. Ulcerative colitis is kicking my ass right now. I’m in a lot of pain and spending too much of my time either in bed or in the bathroom, sorry not sorry if that’s too much information, but that’s my life. I’ve jumped through a lot of hoops these past few weeks talking with my doctor, trying to get on a new medication, trying to get financial assistance, and trying to get medical leave at work. It’s been stressful, and stress is only triggering my immune system further and making me sicker. Thankfully it’s all done, and I can rest, for now.

Fearing this new medication, I’ll be starting. Of course, I have been reading too many horror stories and looking too closely at the list of side effects. All the worst case scenarios are in my head, and I have no idea what I will do if any of those nightmares come true. I’m even more afraid of the medication not working, I have no idea what the next step is if it doesn’t.

Reflecting on this episode of The Ezra Klein Show, “Is modern society making us depressed?“, in which Klein interviews Johann Hari, author of Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions. Of course the discussion on and questioning of the way humans have structured their societies and how that structure might be adversely affecting us is interesting, but even more interesting is the discussion of solutions, or lack of solutions. Maybe we are depressed, dissatisfied, and disconnected is because we have evolved to perpetually feel that way? Maybe the search for a psychological cure is futile?

Needing a more interesting way to show off my work. What I mean is, I am very jealous of artists who can post a sketch or a piece in progress and have it wow people, whereas if a writer shares the first stages of a piece in progress they are just sharing bad writing, you know what I mean? I’ve been thinking about incorporating photography or collage art with work of 100 words or less for Instagram or maybe converting short posts into Twitter threads but I’m not very good at any of that stuff, and I don’t have time! Gah!

Learning hand-lettering! My sister and her family got me the Hand-Lettering for Everyone creative workbook, and with the hand-lettering how-to book my fiance already has, I hope put what I learn to good use in my art journal and those Instagram posts I mentioned. It’ll be a while though, I realized that I acually  have horrible handwriting and that while I can read cursive writing, I have just about forgotten how to write it myself.

Loving the way Michelle Wolf killed it at the White House Correspondents dinner this past weekend! That woman showed up and said everything everyone else in that room needed to hear. She was brave, clever, and funny. She was real, and she was right! So many people who should be standing by her and learning from her example have turned on her. People who won’t stand up to Trump and his administration for the lies and insults they sling are denouncing Wolf for the hard truths they were forced to swallow. I hope she stands her ground against the backlash. She has nothing to apologize for, she did what she was hired to do!

Hating the lack of support I am seeing from family and friends for Bill Cosby’s accusers. Justice was served this week, and all I can see is either people still believing the monster is innocent or people believing he shouldn’t have been punished because other men haven’t been punished. The Black community has a weird blind spot for sexual assault and abuse victims. Black men often put their preservation in the face of a corrupt justice system over the victimization of women. As a WOC with my own #MeToo history, it hurts. It hurts to see the success of a Black man come before the pain he has caused so many women. It hurts to see his power upheld when that very power gave him access to this women and license in the eyes of so many to use them this way. It fucking hurts.

Hoping to find more community, more people like me here on the interwebs. Of course, I need to be more available, more open, and more engaging myself, so I suppose I’m hoping to find the courage to do so. People have always been my motivating source, and I think lately I’ve forgotten that. Look for me in the comments of more blogs and sharing on social media more. Forgive me if I am awkward at first, I’ve never been very smooth, or cool. I’ve never been the one people thought was the funniest or the most clever. I just think a lot and sometimes that interests people. It’s what interests me about other people, so maybe it will interest you too.

So yeah, all in all, April was, well, amazing!, but there has been some foreshadowing of stressful times to come, and I’ll admit I’m a little anxious about it. I’m trying to keep in mind the time of year and what part of the cycle I am in and work accordingly. April is about renewal, and May is all about growth. Sometimes growth hurts, but I’ll be stronger for it in the end.

But how about you? Have any new projects you’re working on? Seen see any good movies lately, read any good books? Got any thoughts on Michelle Wolf or Bill Cosby? Be careful in the comments, okay?

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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 these posts comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

Photo by Meriç Dağlı on Unsplash

Currently // March 2018: There’s an Energy All Around

Spring is here! Spring is here! March has come and gone, and spring is finally, finally, finally here. Of course, that doesn’t mean a whole lot here in Colorado. Our Spring feels more like Summer some days, and winter in others. It has snowed nearly every day for the past week and melted away every day too. Still, something in the air is different. The energy is back. The squirrels and geese are out, the trees are budding, and we’ve had thunder again, even during the snow storms.

I find easier to practice gratitude and mindfulness this time of year. This time of year makes me want to be present and to hold onto every day before it slips away. I always end up wishing winter away, and wishing summer would stay. I always end up losing half my year this way, but I hold on to more than most I think. I won’t beat myself up for it, not now anyway. For now, I am here, I am alive, and there is energy all around. I can’t wait to see what April will bring.

But first, here is what I am currently:

Writing blog posts and more blog posts, still. Tomorrow is the first day of the Blogging A to Z Challenge, and I am trying very hard to get a head start but, as usual, life is getting in the way. I have A thru C just about finished, and I have my titles and quotes all organized and ready for the rest. I just need to add my words. Exploring my theme has been exciting, and eye-opening too. I’m afraid it will come off too depressing, and I’m also afraid it won’t come off depressing enough. What I mean is I’m trying not to be too optimistic or pessimistic, I’m just trying to be real.

Making a mess. I’ve been gathering random supplies and scraps for more bookbinding projects and collages, but I haven’t actually made anything in weeks. My “creativity room” is overrun with wasted creativity and the room feels toxic. I can’t go in there. That pile is nothing but a reminder of my failure, and I can’t even begin to think of where to begin to use it or to clean it up. I think I need to purge. Less has always been more and creating with constraints has always sparked my creativity more than endless options or freedom ever has. A good Spring cleaning may just be exactly what I need.

Planning the wedding still, but there have been some setbacks. There have been some tears shed and so hard decisions made, and now the date has been pushed out to summer 2019. There is just too much the house needs and too much that my family needs for me to feel comfortable dropping large sums on venue deposits, catering, and decorations, but it’s important to us to have our big day so, the big day has to wait.

Anticipating my birthday! I believe that birthdays are a big deal and everyone should celebrate theirs, no matter how old you are, or how bad your year has been. A birthday is a celebration of your existence. You are alive! I am alive, and April is my month to celebrate and share that with everyone who means something to me. This year is a special one. This year my birthday falls on a Friday the 13th. and that means a new tattoo!

Reading The Odyssey by Homer, slowly but surely. I took a little break a few weeks ago to read Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer. It was really, really good, and I hope to write a post about it very soon because I am absolutely obsessed. I had the best time with this book because I didn’t read it alone. My friend happened to become just as obsessed as me, and it made all the difference.

Watching Ray Donovan on Showtime. I’m bingeing all 5 seasons right, and it has been nothing but a distraction and a detriment to my progress on writing. I’m watching an episode right now and taking far too long to finish this post. I don’t possess the self-control to slow down or limit the number of episodes or hours I spend on the show. No, the best thing for me to do is to get through them as quickly as I can so I can get my life back.

I am also looking forward to the return of two of my favorite shows in April, Westworld on HBO, and Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu.

Reflecting on what it means to be a writer, and what it means to want to write a book. I read a quote recently from F. Scott Fitzgerald: “You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say,” and I started thinking that maybe I haven’t quite gotten at what it is I have to say. I’m rethinking my plans, and reflecting on my lack of action and why. I’m reflecting on the purpose of this blog, and my journal, and where and how I collect ideas and inspiration.

Learning that I am capable of overcoming my fears. I’ve been trying to be more confident and to be useful, but my anxiety and my fear have been like a barrier I could never get over, until I had to. My girlfriend went out-of-town earlier this month and, admittedly, I fell apart, but I did everything I needed to do, on my own. I drove. The one thing I have been so afraid to do, to drive, I did it. To and from work, to and from the grocery store, to and from my mother’s house, I did it. I did it, and I’m going to keep on doing it. I’m not cured, but I’m close. I am so close!

Feeling a little scared. Since I have been driving and since we have been working on a budget and bringing our debt under control, things feel possible again. Projects around the house, trips, big wedding plans, job changes, and more. I have choices and with choices comes responsibility. I have to take action and accept the consequences if I don’t. SOme choices are ones I never thought I’d have and I find myself wholly unprepared for them. I’m excited, but I’m terrified too.

Fearing the results of some test my doctor ordered this week. I’m worried they will find that something is wrong, and I am even more worried that they won’t find anything at all. Something is wrong but what if they can’t figure it out? Or worse still, what if it’s all in my head?

Needing to be left alone sometimes. I am so grateful that so many people like me and want to spend so much time with me, but I am finding that people I love, and who know I need to write, force me to choose too often. I’ve had a few run-ins with close co-workers lately who know I spend my lunch hour with my headphones in and my laptop open to various drafts and projects, but they talk to me and monopolize my time. They call me grouchy and make me feel guilty for working on something for me, and it’s starting to get to me. I need people to understand more and support my needs and my boundaries.

Loving my snakes. Yes, I have two pet snakes, Delilah the grouchy Ball Python, and Ava the quickly growing Brazilian Rainbow Boa. They had been a bit neglected over the winter, but I’ve noticed they are becoming more active and aware as the weather warms up too. They will be getting a new shipment of frozen rats for this month, and their enclosures are going to get upgraded before the end of the year. I’m excited for them and looking forward to making them more comfortable and reestablishing trust with them.

My baby girl is growing up! 😭 #ava

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Hating how little physical energy I have had lately. I never feel like I’ve slept enough and all I want to do is move from the bed to the couch and back to the bed. Some days showering feels like too much and some days I resent having to go to work, eat, clean, or interact with the world at all. I have a good hour or two a day where I feel somewhat normal, and I try to devote it to reading and writing, and to my girlfriend and dog who love me far more than I deserve, but other than that, I’m so tired.

Hoping that a little exercise, sunshine, and encouragement is all I need. I’m hoping it’s just depression. I don’t mean “just” as in “not a big deal”. I mean “just” as in “this is a problem I have been dealing with my whole life and possess some grasp on what to do to make it better.” I’ve accepted that depression will always be a part of my life, but I’m beginning to consider medication and therapy improve my quality of life. It’s hard to be like this, and it’s getting to me that I’ve gone as far as I can on my own. I’m strong, I know that, but I want to be strong enough to get help too.

All in all, March was a good month. This year has been good! Not always easy, not always happy, but good. I’m growing, and I am happy to find that age has no effect on that. Next month I’ll be 33, and I see no end to all I can learn and change about myself if I want to. March taught me that. March taught me I can do things I didn’t think I could.

But how about you? How did March treat you? Is it feeling like Spring where you are? What are you looking forward to in April? What are you afraid of? Are you participating in the Blogging A to Z Challenge too? If so 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 these posts comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

Featured photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Currently // February 2018: I’m Waking up with the World

February, the month devoted to Black History, and to lovers of romance, passes by far too quickly. I wish this one had been a leap year. I wish I could have had one more day to complete one more thing and end the month on a more satisfying note. Instead, I’m scrambling and disappointed. That isn’t entirely true. February was good to me, I don’t think I was good in return though.

I procrastinated and lost sight of what I set out to do. I spent far less of my time writing, reading, and creating then I meant to but so many of the last 28 days were filled with love, and beauty, and discovery, I can’t say it was all bad. I just had to make hard choices about my time, that’s all, and if it had been at another time of year, I might have chosen differently. I’m hoping that March will afford me more options and more time for me.

I leave the month inspired and proud of what I was able to do. I’m determined to make slow but steady progress and my biggest goal to remake this space into a place where I explore more ideas, work out what I think and how I think. I look forward to writing again.

But first, here is what I am currently:

Writing blog posts and more blog posts. A writer I admire very much, Austin Kleon, has been keeping up a daily blogging habit and recently shared a post he wrote some time ago about how and why he blogs the way that he does. It changed the way I thought about what I was doing, or, more accurately, not doing, here. I read too much bad advice and compared myself too harshly to others. I couldn’t write anymore. But I feel like I’m at least pointed in the right direction now and all I have to do is take a tiny step forward. Before the end of March I will begin again, and this time I will be writing here every single day.

Making notebooks! Last month, I mentioned that I was working on finding a new journal for myself. Well, I finally finished it, and while it is undoubtedly flawed and no part of the project went as smoothly as I hoped it would, I love it! I learned so much while making it, both about bookbinding and about myself. I learned that bookmaking is like meditation and that making things with my hands is the best way to relax in the evening. I’m slowly filling it up (another daily habit I had to begin again too), and I can’t wait to make another, even better one next!

I’ve also made a scrap paper sketchbook—pics soon!—and I’m putting together a pocket notebook too. I’m actively looking for new bookbinding projects to begin and new ways to fill the books I’ve already made.

Planning my wedding, and it isn’t nearly as much fun as everyone acts like it should be. I honestly believe it’s because we’re still in search of a venue. We found one we love, but it’s pricey. As excited as I am to marry the girl of my dreams, finally, and as much as we both want to give the other a day every bride dreams of, it’s hard to justify spending thousands of dollars—years of savings—on just a few hours of celebration.

Anticipating more sunlight! Finally, Spring is close enough to begin feeling excited about. I’m looking forward to a typical Colorado spring with increasingly unstable but steadily warming temperatures and the days continuing to grow longer and longer. I’m looking forward to the smell of honeysuckle, fresh cut grass, and rain! Oh, I have missed rain so much! Soon, very soon.

Reading The Oresteia, still. The book is really, really interesting but it isn’t an easy read for me. First of all, it’s a play, and the structure makes it hard for me to visualize the action. Second of all, its old. This particular translation from Greek to English seems to prioritize a natural way of speaking, but I still struggle with the metaphors and the grandiosity.

I also discovered the poetry of Nayyirah Waheed this month. I downloaded both her books, salt., and nejma, and I’m working my way through them quickly. Reading her poetry feels like radical self-care.

Watching Here and Now on HBO. On the surface, it’s just another show about another dysfunctional family, but underneath there is an exploration of race relations, aging, and some weird supernatural psychological creepiness too. I highly recommend it along with Altered Carbon on Netflix, a sci-fi murder mystery set in the future where human consciousness can be stored, uploaded, and downloaded into a new body, even after death.

I can’t move into March without mentioning Black Panther. I don’t have the words yet to describe how a film like that made me feel. I nearly cried, same as when I attended the all-femme showing of Wonder Woman when it came out. That what representation long denied and finally, finally realized, feels like.

Reflecting on one year since my ulcerative colitis diagnosis and everything I have learned about my body, changed in my life, and failed to do for my well being since then. I don’t know if it’s age—my 30s feels almost like a second puberty where my body is changing in depressing and disturbing ways I don’t understand—or if it’s my diagnosis, but I don’t feel as energetic or as beautiful as I did before the beginning of last year. I am pledging now to find a way to move more and to learn to love my body through its changes. I’m convinced self-love is necessary to aging gracefully.

Learning how to filter other people’s thoughts through my own mind—more inspiration from Austin Kleon. I read a lot. I listen to a lot of podcasts. I watch all kinds of interesting shows and movies. Sometimes, I even listen to good music, or just learn a fun new fact.

All of it makes me think and feel new deeply, and I want very much to share the way I think and feel with all of you, but I have a hard time giving myself permission share it. It feels like stealing, or like copying. Someone already wrote about it, so there isn’t any reason to say it again, right?. But there is something to say about how something changed me. There is something to be said about where it led me and where I hope to lead you by sharing it.

Feeling ready to wake from my hibernation. My bones and joints long to move and hold weight again. My muscles are sore and longing for space to stretch. I’m hungry and curious and searching for adventure and connection again. I want to feel the sun on my skin, and I want to see the moon again. I’m waking up with the world, again.

Fearing what I will do with myself when my girlfriend goes out of town for work in a few weeks. We’ve lived together for over 13 years,  and I can probably count all the nights we’ve spent apart using only my fingers. I don’t sleep well, eat well, or feel well at all without her and she’ll be gone for six whole days. Worse, ill be driving myself to and from work, and to my mothers once a day to care for her cats since she’s leaving town too! I’ll be working all on my own to overcome this driving anxiety. I’m scared, but I’m also kind of excited. I’m hoping having no choice but to drive on my own for six days will force the progress I’ve been struggling to make.

Needing more human interaction in my life. I’ve been busy. I’ve been sick. I’ve been feeling down, and disappointed, anxious, and, at times, lonely. My friends and family are all hibernating too, or they’re working, or they are sick, or they are just too tired, and it is just too cold outside and anyway they’re broke and so am I, so we haven’t seen each other since Christmas or longer. I want to reach out but it’s hard, and I’m mad at them for not reaching out, but it has to be just as hard for them too I guess. I’m afraid I’m growing away from people. I need the courage to build all my bridges again.

Loving the WeCroak app. It may sound strange but installing an app that reminds me five times a day that I am going to die and offers a quote, a bit of wisdom, on the inevitable end to reflect upon, has done more for my well being than any mindfulness or productivity app I have ever tried. When you remember you are going to die, scrolling Twitter and Facebook no longer feel like a good use of your time, and you choose something more fulfilling to do. It’s even helped with my death anxiety by offering comfort through validation of my fear. The trick is to fight the urge to swipe away the notification and to really take in what the quotes are trying to teach you. Best $0.99 I have ever spent!

Hating the way I can see so clearly the divide between black and white, men, and women, old and young, rich and poor, the people with power and the people they exploit, but I can’t do anything to fix it. I feel helpless, useless, and worse, part of the problem myself. I’m angry and tired of being so forgiving of the people who deny more and people like me the dignity of a life where I can feel free and fulfilled. I’m angry, and sometimes I want to take a page from my oppressor’s book. I want desperate measures and the shady tactics. I don’t want to be patient. I don’t’ want to be kind. I want all the bad things to STOP! I want to stop being afraid and start feeling safe, and whole, and important.

Hoping the energy I am seeing behind gun control in this country won’t fizzle out. I’m tired of the world moving on so easily after all this tragedy. When children are killing children, the world should stop and reflect. The world should change. Everything should feel different when the halls of our schools run with blood and ring with gunshots. I believe in the Second Amendment, but we’ve gone too far! We’ve placed the rights of weapons dealers over the lives of children! I’m angry, and I’m heartbroken, but I believe in these kids, and I’m hopeful for the future.

All in all, February was a good month, it just wasn’t the month I thought it would be. I had hoped for more from myself by now. I’m trying so hard to focus on all the progress I have made, even if it isn’t the progress I had planned to make. Things are moving forward. The world is changing, and I am changing with it. I’m back in a space that belongs to me. I’m making things with my hands. I’m back on the path to learning about myself, with you.

But how about you? How did February treat you? How much have you learned and grown? What has made you feel disappointed or afraid? Did you see Black Panther? Absolutely amazing film, right? Did you spend Valentine’s Day with a special someone? 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 these posts comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

Featured photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Currently // January 2018: I’m Glad Its Over, but I Wish It Wasn’t

Oh my gosh it’s a whole new month, and I am late posting my “Currently” list! One day January was dragging, and I had plenty of time, then POOF! the next day it was gone. I had so much planned, so much I had hoped to have done by now, and of course, OF COURSE, life has thrown curve ball after curve ball, and nothing at all has turned out the way that I wanted it to. Turns out there was a whole lot of day job work waiting for me right around the corner from the holidays. Work that left nearly no time at all for writing, or reading, or art.

I’ve seen posts on Twitter from people proclaiming that their “2018 will start on February 1st, January is a free trial month. I think I will head into February with the same mentality. January was a trial month. A month for easing into the year. A month to get my feet wet in and to get all that “other work” and procrastination out of the way and now I can spend the next 11 months of 2018 doing great things!

But first, here is what I am currently:

Writing all the things, when I can that is, but none of it has been worth sharing. I have a couple dozen ideas for blog posts, newsletter topics, Twitter threads, essays, poems, zines, and book chapters all scribbled out on post its and pieces of scrap paper but nothing coherent, nothing fully realized, nothing tangible. I’m getting there but so so slowly. I’m working on being okay with that.

Making a new journal/diary, and a new art journal. I used this tutorial for the journal, but mine is going to be all black on the outside, of course, and hot pink on the inside. The pages are all printed, each with a different pattern: some ruled, some with dots, other with hexagons, and triangles, and more. The art journal is a combination of this tutorial and this tutorial. The pages are all different sizes, thickness, colors, and textures, and I am full of ideas and very excited to finish it, and very afraid to finish it too. I’m taking them both very slowly, trying not to let my fear get the best of me. Trying not to freeze up and let myself down.

Planning our wedding, for real this time! We’ve pushed our date back for the last time and have just under nine months to make this thing happen. We’ve set up a Trello board, we’ve designed our save the dates, and we’ve gathered venue options to start visiting. Were entirely overwhelmed but we’re taking it one step at a time and trying to remember that 10 months is more than enough time if you make sure to do a little something every single day.

Anticipating Valentine’s Day with my wonderful wife to be. We’re going to brunch at a jazz place we found by accident last summer and seeing a ballet performance of Romeo and Juliet. Of course, it won’t compare to the 1996 film starting DiCaprio as Romeo and Harold Perrineau as Mercutio. Maybe we’ll watch that too, afterward.

Reading The Oresteia by Aeschylus, still. I need to need to need to finish it soon before I fall too far behind my 30 book reading goal for the year. I think id better go book shopping soon. It helps to have a good book waiting for you after you finish a difficult book. It keeps you motivated.

Watching The Chi on Showtime, a show about the day-to-day violence and grief people of Chicago’s face, and Hate Thy Neighbor on Viceland, in which comedian Jamali Maddix travels around the world meeting alt-right, racist, and homophobic groups. I finished Scandal, and I’m catching up on Grey’s Anatomy but I have long since forgotten why I like either one.

Learning Spanish still, but not much else at the moment. I had hoped to sign the International Women’s Health and Human Rights Course but with work, and the wedding, and winter getting to me, it wasn’t a good time. I attempted to complete the course late last summer, but I was applying for the Bitch Media fellowship then and couldn’t keep up. I’ll try again for the February 24 enrollment date. In the meantime, I will be catching up on the Crash Course Sociology playlist.

Feeling exhausted! I don’t know what it is, but I am having a harder and harder time getting out of bed in the mornings. I feel sleep deprived and zombified. I’m drinking more and more coffee all the time which I suspect is only exacerbating the problem. I blame winter.

Needing more time. January has dragged on longer than any month should, and still it doesn’t feel like enough. I’m ready for it to end, but I wish it wouldn’t. I need more time. More time to sleep. More time to do the things I want to do. More time to check a few more items off the to-do list, to make a dream or two come true, to rectify a regret. I need more time to take care of myself. I need more time with the people I care about who seem to be just as busy, exhausted, and depressed as me. I’d like more time to let myself care and more time to connect. Most of all, I’d like more time to do nothing at all.

Loving love! Normally for me, February is all about Black History Month, and I’m still mindful of that, but this being the year I am getting married, all I can think about is love. I’ve been with my girlfriend for over 15 years, and I have learned so much about connection, caring, and compassion. I’ve learned how to equally be an individual, and be a part of a couple too. I’ve learned how to grow with someone. I’ve learned how to love in healthy ways, and I’ve learned how to articulate the way I need to be loved too. I’ve learned and continue to learn every day what words like marriage, relationship, compromise, and “happily ever after,” really means. I love that real life, hard, messy, angry, frustrating, deep, quiet, and calm kind of love.

Hating this new trend in America where we base a person’s worthiness, “American-ness”, is based solely on how much they can contribute to the economy. How much product can you generate? How much supply will you be able to demand? If you can’t work, invest, or buy you aren’t welcome. I thought a person’s life was priceless? I thought life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness were non-negotiable? It is our responsibility! It is our problem. IF not us, who? Aren’t we trying to do better? Do better!

Hoping that the focus on queer, non-binary, and all femme identifying people and the harassment, violence, and suffering we all face on a day-to-day basis continues. It’s about fucking time we address rape culture and the lengths our institutions will go to turn a blind eye. It’s about time we come together, support one another, and demand, DEMAND, acknowledgment, validation, and justice. I’m strengthened by the bravery I seen. I’m encouraged by the response. I’m hopeful that fewer women will carry such burdens and such pain with them in the future.

All in all, January was, honestly, a pretty hard month, but not in every area of my life. Some very good things were started this month too. I’m doing my best to remember that and move on with determination and focus. February will be short, and Spring is just around the corner and with it warmer weather, my birthday, and Spring Break! I just have to get there. I just have to remember that I’m happy. I’m in love. I have to remember to be grateful.

But how about you? How did you spend the first month of 2018? How are those resolutions holding up? What are you looking forward to in February? I hope all is well, and I hope you can find a way to care for yourself, take care of your to-do list, and take care of the people you love in the coming month.

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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 Nathan Wolfe on Unsplash

Currently // November 2017: Preparing for New Beginnings

It’s been a strange month. The weather feels much warmer than it should be, which you would think I’d be excited about considering how depressing I find fall to be, but it’s hard to enjoy when the days are so short. It’s cold and dark when I leave the house, and it’s cold and dark by the time I get home again and there’s never enough free time in between to get any sun on my skin. Still, I’m feeling much better than I usually am this time of year.

I’ve never made it a secret that I’m no fan of either Thanksgiving or Christmas. I grew up in the kind of chaotic home where tempers flash easily under the emotional and financial burden of the holidays. There is just way too much generational trauma floating around.

But I’m an adult now, and every year I resolve not to let that stress get to me or my relationship. Some years I win, some years I turn into my parents. This year I am winning. I’m practicing healthy communication and making time for self-care. I’m having fun spending time with my family and friends and looking forward to celebrating the New Year spectacularly and to taking on 2018.

But first, here is what I am currently:

Writing the things I always meant to write and no longer writing what I hope will lead to money or notice. For a while, I fancied a future as a freelance writer. I thought I might make my money by adding my voice to the current discourse forgetting that my wits run at a pace too slow for the news cycle or the speed of the internet. I’m built for pen and paper and months, maybe years spent on a single project. That is the kind of writer I have always wanted to be and from now on the choices I make will reflect that

Making room in my home for a new, more creative me. I’m finally following the advice of Austin Kleon and separating my digital spaces from my analog spaces. I now have two desks in my “creativity room” (three if you count my girlfriend’s watercolor desk) one with my laptop, phone, and speaker, and another with newspaper clippings, markers, bits of cardboard, and colorful paper. I want to make something next year, and I need a space in my home devoted to it so I can start devoting space in my mind to it. Now I just have to get my ass planted there. That’s always the hardest part.

Anticipating Christmas break! I might not care much for the holidays but working for a school district means I get two whole weeks off. Not off completely, I do go in and work on a few projects, some paperwork, and do a bit of cleaning up but having a couple of weeks away from the kids helps reset the mind and keep me from burning out and snapping. I will work fewer hours though and devote more free time to—you guessed it—writing! Oh! And I’m looking forward season 4 of Black Mirror, which Netflix has refused to share the release date for but I bet it’ll be very soon!

Reading Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. It’s interesting and easy to read, but I’m struggling with it. Here’s a fun fact about me, I don’t do comedy. I like to laugh and every so often, I am crack a good joke myself, but I have to laugh alone. I hate feeling pressured to be amused by something. Good Omens is trying to make me laugh and that makes me not want to read it at all. BUT I found a way through it. I joined a weekly reading challenge in the Buffer Slack Community where we agree to read a certain number of minutes a day or week. It helps knowing I only have to suffer through 15 minutes at a time.

Watching Godless on Netflix. Actually, I already finished it, and Alias Grace too. Both were really good! I already had a feeling Alias Grace would be good because it was another Margaret Atwood story, but Godless really surprised me. I’m not a big fan of Westerns normally but the characters, mostly bad ass women, felt real here. No one was all good or bad, and no one was safe. I highly recommend it!

Feeling up and down, but still as hopeful and curious as ever too. I’m beginning to suspect there may be a pattern to this emotional roller coaster ride I’ve been on lately and I suspect that ride may have a lot to do with my hormones. I’m turning 33 next year and some days it feels like I’m a second puberty. My body is changing in ways I understand even less than when I was 14. I hope next year I can get some answers to why I have so much anxiety and such low self-esteem and sadness when I have every reason to feel just the opposite.

Needing a win! It’s been a while since I won a contest or had something I wrote accepted somewhere. Granted I haven’t been trying all that hard, but a few rejections have made getting back up a little too hard to do at the moment. I want to write new. Some piece of poetry, or a personal essay, or a piece of flash fiction that someone would love to publish. I need to feel like I’m making progress….

Loving that it has been two whole years since the last time I considered myself to be a smoker. I put down my last pack of Marlboro Menthol the day before Thanksgiving, 2015, and while I may have had a drag here and there, maybe half a cigarette once or teice, since, I’m still so proud of myself. I love my clear lungs, my improving health, and my sense of taste and smell. I love knowing I’ll never have to stand outside in the cold killing myself slowly because of addiction. I love being free, feeling strong, and knowing that one less thing in this world has control over me. It’s not easy and even as I write this, prou, I still miss it, but I love living too much to go back.

Hating white male privilege. I’m sorry I know that may set some of you off or turn some of you away but I’m tired. I’m tired of lawmakers. I’m tired of sexual harassers. I’m tired of the trolls. I’m tired of the excuses, the denying, and the arguing. I’m tired of explaining. I’m tired of not saying anything. I’m tired of the ignorance and the insensitivity and the refusal to just listen. I’m tired and I’m already renewing my call for More Women of Color in my life and in my social media feeds, in the shows I watch, in the podcasts I listen to, and the voices I amplify for 2018. I urge you to do the same.

Hoping that I can spend this last month of the year surrounded by love and light and all the people who bring joy to my life. I need that more than ever I think. This year has been a hard one, both physically and emotionally. I hope I can let go of all that disappointment and start again. I hope we all can. It will be hard but I hope we can all help each other to get there. 2018 has to be a new beginning for us all.

All in all, November was a good month. I made some big decisions and I made time for myself and my loved ones, but it isn’t over yet. I still have so much to time and love to give before the year is out. I just hope there will be enough month to give it all in.

But, what about you? How did November treat you? Did you spend Thanksgiving with family or friends? Did you cook or clean? Have you started your Christmas shopping? How stressed are you right now?

Let me know in the comments!

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

Featured photo was taken by photo by Noah Silliman on Unsplash