September 2017 // Fall Brings Its Own Kind of Warmth

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

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

But first, here is what I am currently:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let me know in the comments (:

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

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

Featured image by Owen CL on Unsplash

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

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

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

Here were the goals I had set up:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So here are my small goals for September:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Featured image by freddie marriage on Unsplash

August 2017 // I Did the Thing!

Wow, the end of August really snuck up on me! I went the half the day writing the date on forms and staring at it on my calendar before I realized what it meant, tomorrow is September, and then it took the other half to reflect on everything that happened.

This month was a buzzing busy one. The kids have all gone back to school with means I have gone back to working a regular schedule and this school year has been off to the rockiest start I’ve seen in my 11 years here. With the employee shortage, we are all having to chip in and work a little more. My girlfriend is working very long hours, so I’ve been picking up some slack at home all the while plugging away at a big scary goal I had at for myself too. I sent in an application for the Bitch Media Fellowship for Writers under the topic of sexual politics.

I’ve never done anything like this before which means I had no experience working cover letters, crafting a CV, or putting together writing samples, but I did it. I agonized over it. I fought my fear of it. I thought of my future self and how I hoped she would be proud rather than disappointed. I did the thing, guys. I did the big scary thing, and now I’m ready for September to begin.

But before it does, here is what I am currently:

Writing: Nothing. Well, not nothing. I’m posting here and working on a few little things, but after having worked so hard on that application, I’m kind of burned out. I’m going to take a little break from the pressure and deadlines. I’m just reading and brainstorming. I say nothing, and I say I’m taking a break but to be honest with you I’ve already been making interesting little notes I might make into something one day.

Planning a long weekend away! So, work got in the way, and our big trip west won’t be happening after all. Bummer. But since my girlfriend’s birthday is on Sunday, and since this weekend marks the 40th anniversary of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and since Birth.Movies.Death is teaming up with SyFy and showing the movie in Wyoming at the base of Devil’s Tower we ARE DRIVING NORTH FOR THE WEEKEND! I’m so excited. Oh, and I guess I better start planning for the 100 other birthdays of close friends and family falling in this month too.

Making a new art journal. I think I’ve said this before, and I didn’t really do it, but I finally have just the right piece of cardboard for the cover and plenty of scrap paper to make a nice thick book out of it. I want so badly to get back into drawing but trying to do it in the same art journal I failed to keep up with is just a reminder of my failure. I can’t draw when I feel like a failure, so there needs to be a clean slate. Art will be the thing I do that is entirely for me. Writing used to be that thing, but now I write for you all too, and while I love sharing my passion with you, I’m just one of those people who needs something that is just for me too.

Anticipating the end of September! I hate to see the season go but Halloween is my favorite holiday, and as far as I’m concerned it begins on October 1st. I’m ready for candy corn and all the horror movies I can watch. The good ones and the cheesy ones too, I love them all. Plus I’m so ready for the next season of Stranger Things. I have a feeling September is going to dragggggggggg.

Reading Mrs. Dalloway, still, because I caved and reinstalled Candy Crush on my phone. I’m so addicted to the game that even talking about it now makes me want to close my laptop and get a hit of that sweet, sweet color matching action. I need to delete it, and I will, I promise, just one…more…level. It’s not just the game though, the book’s stream of conscious style was hard to get the hang of, but I am making progress. I believe I’ll get through it before the weekend is over. Next up I’ll be reading either Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare or Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden.

Watching Last Chance High on Viceland. Many of the years 11 years I’ve worked in this school district were spent with children who have emotional and behavioral disorders. These kids are defiant, violent, and angry but they are also so caring, and smart, and afraid. There is a serious lack of public understanding of how these disorders develop and how to treat them. People believe these kids need to be ashamed, bullied, and beat into better behavior but it is precisely this treatment that leads to this behavior. Last Chance High chronicles the harsh world these kinds of kids live in and teaches us that love, affection, protection, and understanding is how you help them heal.

Feeling a little alone. I’m surrounded by people who are too busy living their own lives to pay attention to me, but I’m doing my best not to be too whiny about it. I’m taking some time to learn how to be alone with myself without anxiety and existential dread creeping in. I’m learning to be self-motivated and disciplined and to soothe myself and take care of me without help. I’ve never been on my own, and even now I’m not truly alone, only bored and having a small internal tantrum over not having attention paid to me the moment I want it.

Needing the world to get back on some kind of even keel again. Everything feels so upside down and up in the air. I’m afraid of the future, for our country and for my own small family and circle of friends. The big political and economic landscape have had real world effects. My job can’t find or keep enough qualified employees, my friends can’t afford the skyrocketing rent prices in this city, and I’m afraid to lose my rights, my healthcare, and my sanity. I’m worried about war and natural disasters victims who will lose their homes. I’m afraid there is nothing I can do, and I’m afraid there is so much I can do, and I’m only too weak or lazy to do it.

Loving that last season of Game of Thrones! Best season yet despite being so short. Every episode was action packed and full of surprises and bombshells of information. I sat on the edge of my seat for seven whole weeks. I have no idea how I’m going to wait out the next year or two until the eighth season premieres, and I have no idea how I will live without the show in my life after that final season ends.

Hating that I’ve had to stop being so open to people emotionally. I used to pride myself on being so willing to hear the pains and complaints of others. I k ow how much we all just want to be heard and I know not every is so lucky to have someone in their lives to listen, but lately, there has been so much negativity and lying around me that I’ve had to take a step back. With my own support system working at a lower capacity than usual I just don’t have the emotional strength right now to deal with toxic attitudes. I hate it, but it’s necessary for now.

Hoping I get picked for this fellowship, and I’m also hoping I don’t. I want it because I really think with some mentorship and a little direction I could turn out to be at the very least a damn decent writer. I want this because it will give me a purpose and a place for my writing to call home. I want this because I want to feel proud and I want people to feel proud of me too. But as much as I want it I still have this sinking feeling that I’m not good enough and that I have made myself a liar by trying to convince the nice people at Bitch Media that I am. I’m afraid to waste their time, to find out I’m incompetent, and to let everyone down. Mostly I’m just hoping I can put it out of my mind and keep myself from going crazy until November 15th when the 2018 fellows are announced.

Mostly I’m just hoping I can put it out of my mind and keep myself from going crazy until November 15th when the 2018 fellows are announced.

All in all, this month was a really hard one, but I’m so proud of myself, and my girlfriend, and of us for making it through it all together.This month was about growth and maturity and about loving each other enough to put our own feelings and sometimes needs aside to be supportive of one another. She supported me and took time out of her day to proofread and give me her opinion. I did my best to take some worries off her mind, and we both let go of our frustration to make the most of what time we had.

I hope things improve next month, but I know that if it doesn’t, we can handle it. We can take on whatever the world throws at us, separately and together. We’re growing up finally, and it feels good.

So, how about you? How did August treat you? Are you ready for fall? Do you have any last-minute summer plans to squeeze in? What did you think of Game of Thrones season 7?

Let me know in the comments (:

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

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

Featured image by Dixit Motiwala on Unsplash

 

August 2017 // Small Goals

I’ve wanted to start setting small goals for myself every month, but every time I try the list gets to be too long, and since I don’t know how to prioritize or decide what can be put off until the following month I get overwhelmed and do nothing at all. But doing nothing doesn’t seem to be getting me very far, so I’ve decided to try doing something instead.

So here are my small goals for the month of August 2017:

Schedule my driving classes. This one is the scariest. I have a phobia of driving and I’ve been trying for years to work through it. My goal was to have my license by the end of the summer but I was scared and avoided it. Now I feel like crap and I can’t go on like this anymore. A year ago I signed up for three adult one-on-one driving classes a year ago and I’m hoping my contract hasn’t expired, and I can still use my reaming two and get some professional help. I know I can do this, I just have to be brave!

Read two books. I had a goal of reading 30 books by the end of the year and I have fallen embarrassingly behind. I’m having a hard time stepping away from screens and focusing on books. I think I am officially addicted to my phone. I will have to do another purge of apps and games and make this my phone’s lock screen wallpaper again.

Walk in the mornings, hike on the weekends. I need to start being more active, and the easiest way to start is to just get up and get out in my neighborhood every morning. I’ve already begun walking for at least 15 minutes to half an hour with my dog in the mornings, but I’d like to get a little further into nature and explore some hiking trails on the weekends before the weather starts to cool down.

Cook one meal a during the week and one big breakfast on the weekends. My girlfriend is the cook in the house. She enjoys it, and she’s good at it, but as her job duties and responsibilities intensify at work it’s up to me to stop being so spoiled and start doing more to ease her mind and show her some appreciation. That means cooking at least one meal a week and frozen pizzas and delivery do not count. In addition, I’d like to introduce some variety to our morning meals and have something other than smoothies or yogurt. MAybe we’ll start our own Symmetry Breakfast, yeah?

Start planning our big vacation, or decide to we are too busy right now and postpone it until October. We need to get away, like, desperately. This summer has been so hard on us, and it’s a miracle we aren’t at each other’s throats. Somehow we have managed to stay close and to support and lean on one another through it. We still have some big changes coming but we won’t be able to meet them without this, unless we have to, in which case we’ll toughen up and survive the way we always have.

Design save the dates, maybe? We have been engaged forever, but we are chronic procrastinators, and no matter how disappointed I am every year that we don’t get our shit together and get married, we have yet to take any steps beyond browsing venues and adding to out Pinterest wedding board. This month we will be one year out from our “we’re getting married no matter what” date and I’d like to make some effort to have a wedding we will love.

The list is probably longer than it should be, and I had to fight myself to get it even this short. There is so much I want to accomplish and I want to accomplish it all right now, but I know myself too and the more I put here the harder it will be for me to even begin. Small steps, small chunks, and plenty of time to fail in is what I need.

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

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

Featured image by Sarah Dorweiler on Unsplash

Currently // June 2017: The End of a Disappointing First Half

The passing of June is a time of conflicting feelings for me. I am happy it is still summer, the weather is still warm, and I still have a feeling of freedom and possibility, but at the same time, I feel disappointed. I never accomplish as mush as I want to in the first half of the year, and I am sad because from here on the days will be getting shorter and the weather will soon begin to get colder.

But I am also excited. All the mistakes I have made so far can be left in the first half of 2017. I can look back and learn from my mistakes and let July be a new beginning, a last chance sprint to the finish line and all of my goals. I’m excited to feel excited again.

But before I start again, here is what I am currently:

Writing something for my Bitch Media’s Writing Fellowship application, and I am extremely nervous about it. I’ve been a reader of Bitch Media’s online publication for the past year or so and the idea of becoming a part of something so big, and wonderful, and feminist is both exciting and terrifying.

Planning on making some big changes to my schedule and the way I work both at my day job and on my personal projects and goals. There have been major changes made at my day job, and I no longer feel that it fits with the life I am trying to have. There is a chance I may be looking for different work, or I  may stay and try to work around the changes. I do know for sure that this next year will be focused on finding a way to turn writing into income.

Making very little progress on my personal projects, surprise! Not really. I have no idea what I am doing or what I want to be doing. I wrote about it already so I won’t say much more. I’ll just say that I am learning and I really want to do better and do more. I’m trying not to doubt my talent and passion or let myself believe there is anything I can’t do if I would only focus and work al little harder every day.

Anticipating my first Coursera course. Someone in the Femsplain Slack group posted a link and asked for some buddies to take a free course in International Women’s Health and Human Rights by Stanford University. I’ve never done anything like this, and I know I don’t really have the time, but I do miss learning about new things in a structured way, so I thought, why not try? It’s free, and it’s a topic I’m passionate about so I’m jumping in.

Reading Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, I haven’t gotten very far yet so I don’t have much of an opinion except to say that the way it’s written is interesting but a bit hard to follow. I’m sticking with it though. The last book I read by her, Orlando: A Biography, was the same way but so worth the effort. I finished The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Stories of Your Life and Others, a collection of short stories by Ted Chiang. Gatsby was boring but very well written. Stories of Your Life was like nothing else I have ever read. The plot of every story was so original and well thought out that I wanted to quit trying to be a writer because I was so certain I could never live up to that standard.

Watching nothing. I finished House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, American Gods, and the Leftovers on HBO. Right now I just watch Vice News Monday through Thursday and Vice the documentary series on Fridays. In film, I enjoyed Wonder WomanIt Comes at Night, and Okja, a beautiful and heartbreaking Netflix original that you must watch. Some new shows will be starting up soon. I’m looking forward to Game of Thrones season 7 and Insecure season 2 in July.

Feeling so damn scared. Did I mention that I am applying for the Bitch Media’s Writing Fellowship? Oh, I did? Well, what I didn’t mention is that they only pick FOUR PEOPLE. I think I read somewhere that last year they received 5,000 applications. They picked four people out of 5,000 from all over the world who probably write much better than I do. Part of me doesn’t even want to try because I am sure I won’t be chosen. Part of me is hopeful though and dares to dream I might win.

Needing my mind to start working a little more creatively. I’m running into a lack of idea lately or a lack of ideas that I think are good. I want to move away from purely person essays to the informative, the persuasive, and work on telling stories other than my own. There are so many topics out there my mind cannot choose. I have to narrow my focus and work on branding and purpose. I need to learn to be more creative with fewer choices and tools at my disposal.

Loving the @AloeBud Twitter account, a community garden and self-care bot that asks followers to tweet “resources” like water (💧), sun (☀️), tending (👒), and encouragement (💚) to help the plants grow. In return, you get self-care prompts and questions to help you take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Aloe is brought to you by the same wonderful people who created Femsplain, the first publication to pay me for my words, so you know it’s amazing and pure.

Hating that I wasted so much of this month. It’s summer time, and since I work for a school district I have been allowed to come in late and go home much earlier than I normally would throughout the school year and instead of sitting down to write, I was lazy. I slept, I played games on my phone, I slept some more, I watched TV, I messed around on Facebook and Twitter, and I slept. I wasted a great opportunity, and I’m angry with myself for it, especially because I am trying to do some very big and scary things right now.

Hoping that I do much better in July. My schedule is still going to be open for at least another month which means I get another chance to make some real progress on my goals. I can’t keep focusing on what I haven’t done and how much I don’t know how to do yet. I can’t keep letting myself stay frozen in indecision and inactivity because I am afraid to take the wrong step. I am good enough to begin, and I am smart enough to find the way.

All in all, this month was a good month. The weather was warm. I got a much-needed visit from my sister and her kids who I have missed more than I knew. My siblings and I got matching tattoos that turned out better than we could have hoped. I got plenty of rest. I got to see some fantastic movies. I celebrated Pride month with my lovely girlfriend and a few good friends. I did a lot! Looking back now I see there is more to be happy about than there is to be disappointed in. I couldn’t have asked for much better to mark the end of the year’s first half.

So, how about you? Was June good or bad to you? What are you looking forward to in July? Are you excited for the new season of Game of Thrones? Do you think I have a chance at this writing fellowship? Let me know in the comments (:

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

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Currently // March 2017 or I’m Done with Waiting and Watching

March, that month of waiting between the harshness of winter and the hope of Spring, is finally over. I have no feeling one way or the other about March for me it’s simply a place of waiting and watching, and I’m happy to get on with doing.

April brings warmer weather and birthday celebrations around here. It’s a time of reflection for me but also of joy and pride. I have always been happy to be an April baby. April has always felt like the real beginning of the year. It’s when we all begin emerging into the world anew.

And here is what I am currently:

Writing about all the sad things happening all over the world for the A to Z challenge. I know this year’s theme is a bit of a sad one, but I hope it won’t discourage you from reading. I felt it necessary to deliberately look at what I try so hard to ignore. I felt it important to spread the word and help wake people up. I hope you’ll stop by throughout the month and check out what I have to share.

Planning a summer project. If you’ve been a reader for a while, you have probably heard me mention projects here and there that never seem to come to much. It’s okay, I’m awful at following through, I know. This summer I want to work on that. I’ve been thinking a lot about the difference between a to-do list and a plan. A plan is a road map. A plan isn’t just for the day, it’s for the week, the month, the year. I’m going to start practicing by coming up with a project, something with a deadline of the end of summer and finally learn how to follow through.

Making a new art journal from this tutorial! I made one before, but I didn’t follow through with it (are you sensing a pattern?) and now when I look at it all I see is the Art Journal of Failure, and I can’t start again. So, I’m starting a new one, and this one will be the Art Journal of Finishing the Things I Set Out to Do!

Anticipating a whole month of birthday activities! That’s right, around here people get a birthday month. It might sound excessive but I have a big family and lots of friends, and it takes a few dinners and nights out to make the rounds. And anyway, the day you entered the world should be the most important day of the year and celebrated by doing whatever you want for as long as you need. I need a whole month. There’s no guarantee I’ll get another, you know?

Reading Orlando by Virginia Woolf. Not exactly what I expected but I’m glad for that because what I found is infinitely more wonderful! I finished another reading of George Orwell’s 1984 which was colored very much by The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, which I read previous to that.

Watching Samurai Jack‘s beautiful and brilliant return! I mentioned being excited about the return of one of my childhood favorite last month, but after watching it I am grateful to the creator, Genndy Tartakovsky, and Cartoon Network for giving the Jack, and the little girl in me the closure both deserve.

Feeling a little down, to be honest. My body is hanging in there, not 100% better but no anywhere near as bad as I was at the beginning of February. I’m still waiting for my medication to either start working or for confirmation from my doctor that it isn’t and we have to try something else. This whole thing has been pretty depressing. *sigh*

Needing a little direction. I’m doing things. I’m submitting some work. I’m reading, and I am definitely hungry and wanting for some small sliver of writing recognition, but I have o idea how to get there. How do you go from a blogging hobby to being a freelance writer making money and getting published by the big names? I know I’m still kind of a crap writer, but I need direction on that front too! Gah!

Loving my girlfriend. I know that is so cliché, but she really has been amazing these past few months. Sometimes I am so damn happy to be with her I feel guilty about it! Like, why me? What have I ever done to deserve such support and love? I don’t feel too guilty, though. We have worked so hard and been through so much to get here. I just everyone could have it too, that’s all.

Hating Donald-motherfucking-Trump. I am trying not to have to write his name in this space every month, but goddamn he is really taking over the hate chamber in my heart. The only thing keeping me going is that fact that a lot of the bad things he’s tried to do has failed but right now he’s working on trashing the environment and Obama’s legacy, and I can’t help but be filled with rage whenever I see his stupid face on TV. GAH!

Hoping that this medication I’m on starts working soon. I’ve been doing one of the few things my doctor told me not to do, reading a whole lot of ulcerative colitis horror stories online and worrying about having to take harsher medication or multiple types of harsh medication at once. I’m so afraid it will be years before I feel normal again, or never! But, like she said before I left her office, we are not at those stages yet. We are here trying this and hoping.

All in all, this month was a good, especially compared to the first two months of the year. My body is getting better, my mood is improving, slowly but surely, and I am looking forward to the future. The road is still rocky, and I am still having some bad days, but I feel safe and comfortable and able to do whatever I have to do to keep improving. Like I said, I am pretty lucky.

So, how about you? Was March good or bad to you? What are you looking forward to in April? Are you going to buy me a birthday gift? Let me know in the comments :)

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If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter for interesting reads + my own existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering, or buy me a cup of coffee perhaps?

The inspiration for this post comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

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Currently // February 2017 or Spring Will be Here Soon, Right?

Wow, February has come and gone already, and for a short month, I sure managed to pack a ton of emotion into it. The beginning was hard, the middle was sweet, and the end has been full of joy and hope. February was one of those months that changes you a little bit. It didn’t go by quiet or calm, and it won’t ever be forgotten. Before it’s all over, I wanted to take a moment to share with you how I’m feeling, all the changes I have made, and everything I am looking forward to in the coming month.

Here is what I am currently:

Writing something for Femplain‘s newest project, Aloe, “a self-care focused community.” I got the news just this past weekend that my application to be a contributing blogger was accepted and I am so excited for this opportunity. I hope to contribute monthly if they like what I have to say, and I hope you will check them out and support what this amazing community is doing.

Planning more blog posts and more big projects. April will bring the A to Z blogging challenge and, if I can get my life together in time, Write_on, a letter writing challenge, so I’ll be in planning mode for a long while yet. If you are participating in A to Z, or if you’d like to get a letter from me (no promises!) drop a note after the post and let me know so we can link up.

Making time to start doing the things I love again. Spring is coming, soon, I think, I hope. It’s been so long since the world didn’t feel dead….and I want to make sure I have a calendar full of events to attend. I’m going out movies again. I have all the museum free days down. I have the roller derby bouts saved. I am even keeping on top of upcoming protest marches, art events, and ballet and theater performances. I want to make the most of my time before winter comes around again.

Anticipating everything! I feel really anxious to move forward, learn new things, and try something different in the coming months. I’m not entirely sure what those things will be or what they mean, and what I do know I am keeping close. Just know I am out here, trying to create value and connections and I am very excited about it.

Reading Plato’s Republic, still, ugh. I am finally over the halfway mark, but it has been a real struggle. Luckily I had the bright idea to buy myself a little incentive to finish. When I am done, and only when I am done, I get to read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood in preparation for the premiere of the TV adaptation on Hulu in April. I also bought Orlando by Virginia Woolf, referred to as ‘the longest and most charming love-letter in literature’ and written from one woman to another.

Watching Big Little Lies on HBO and the entire collection of Samurai Jack episodes on Hulu in anticipation of the show’s return on March 11th after something like a 13-year hiatus! Bonus: Check out the Big Little Lies soundtrack. There are some real gems in there :)

Feeling so, so good! I am feeling better, good things are happening, and we are on the downhill side of winter. There is still so much bad going on in the world, but I feel energized by the way I see people coming together. I see so much more compassion and awareness all around me every day. I have a feeling that we will come out of these bad times better than ever.

Needing a vacation! We are experiencing a bit of an employee shortage at my day job site, so management has decided to crack down on time off requests. I was hoping this year I would be able to treat myself to a few extra three and four-day weekends here and there, but instead, I am working more than most. Luckily Spring break is just over three weeks away, and they can’t take that from me!

Loving my newest productivity app download called Fabulous. I’ve been using it for a few weeks now, and I really feel like it’s helped me find a set of habits and a routine that helps me get shit done. I don’t think it’ll work for everyone, but it is well made, gorgeous, and worth a look if you are looking for reminders, inspiration, and timers all in one place.

Hating Donald Trump, still, every day. Actually, that isn’t fair. I also hate Kellyann Conway, Tomi Lahren, Betsy DeVos, Paul Ryan, Jeff Sessions, and Rex Tillerson too. I hate people who are “taking back” an America that never belonged to them. I hate their lies. I hate them for holding us back. I hate them for the harm they cause. I make no apologies for my feelings.

Hoping for a big win for transgender rights next month in the Supreme Court. The LGBTQ community is already so vulnerable, but transgender youth are the least protected among us. We should all be fighting to make them feel comfortable and valid and helping them get through what is an already tough time in life. We should not be telling them to use bathrooms they aren’t comfortable with or safe in and we should not be isolating them in bathrooms that set them apart as “other.” The left needs this win. Compassion needs this win. Our children need this win.

All in all, this month was a good one, in the end. I learned so much about myself and found a new perspective and a new motivation. I am looking forward to March. I’m looking forward to working harder and seeing bigger and bigger results. I am grateful too for every opportunity and privilege, and I hope to start paying my dues and making this world a little bit better.

How was your February? What did you do, learn, love, and hate? What are you looking forward to? Drop a note below

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The inspiration for this post comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

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