218//365 — The Last Day of My Summer

It’s the last day of my “summer”. Tomorrow I go in for my mandatory six hours of training for the year—referred to as our “in-service” day—where we are reminded of all the rules and management attempts to make us care more about what they want than what we want. It’s a chance for us to ease back into the workplace.

After tomorrow, everyone will come back and begin practicing their routes for the new school year. Over the next week, we’ll call the parents of our students, confirm pick up times, and birthdays, known allergies, and best disciplinary strategies. The 6th graders and the 9th graders will have orientations and new drivers and assistants will work through their fears.

It’s strange to live this yearly routine into adulthood, but I can’t imagine life any other way now. I get to have a second season of beginnings, a new start, a new year, the same as we get in January, and next year I’ll get another season of freedom too.

I’m already looking forward to it.

***

I’m trying something new here. In addition to my regular posts, I’m adding these short, daily-ish journal entries inspired by Thord D. Hedengren.

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.

Thank you for reading, and please, let me know what you think!

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

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

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

But first, here is what I am currently:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let me know in the comments!

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

Michael Wade

***

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

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

Photo by luke flynt on Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

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

But first, here is what I am currently:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let me know in the comments!

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

— L. M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island

***

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

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

May 2017 // The Most Wonderful Time of the Year is Here

Summer doesn’t officially start for another few weeks here in the northern hemisphere, but in my heart and mind, it’s already here. This is my favorite time of year but to be honest, I’m not sure why. The heat is intense, the bugs are everywhere, and the threat of severe weather is worrisome but something about the season makes me feel alive and happy again. I love the rain that rolls in the evenings and the warm nights I spend on bar patios with friends. Summer is when new connections are forged, and beautiful memories are made. I’m so ready to see what June has in store for me.

But before I do, here is what I am currently:

Writing some essays, or, I am learning how to write essays anyway. I’ve decided, I think, that becoming an essayist is the dream. I’m hoping to learn by example. I’m consuming popular longform non-fiction pieces from my favorite publications, reading print magazines, and this month I’ll be diving into some work from one of the greats, James Baldwin. So, the writing around here is going to get a bit more serious, and some of the fun and personal type stuff, book reviews, poetry, etc., will probably be moving to Tumblr.

Planning the design of the first issue of Zen and Pi the zine. I now I have been talking about this forever, but this time I mean it. I wanted to complete one project this summer, and this is it. By the middle of August, I need to have something ready for print at the very least. I’ll have more info next month.

Making some big home improvements! I haven’t written much about my house, but that’s because I hate it. We bought it years ago, during the recession, when we didn’t know what we were doing. We got a good deal, but it needs a lot of work. Unfortunately, we’ve learned that home ownership isn’t exactly for us and we’ve barely made any progress fixing this place up but if I ever want to be happy here, or sell this place and find a home I love, I have to start. First up is a new swamp cooler, then paint, then flooring maybe?

Anticipating Game of Thrones season 7! Okay, so GoT doesn’t actually premiere until July 16th, but it’s all I can think about, as far as media and pop culture go. Outside of that, I’m looking forward to Denver’s Pridefest the weekend of the 17th. I wish the parade wasn’t scheduled for the same day as Father’s Day though. Every year I feel like I have to choose or try to squeeze in both.

Reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, one of the many used books I’ve picked up over the past few weekends. I finally finished The Mind’s I: Fantasies And Reflections On Self & Soul by Daniel C. Dennett and Douglas R. Hofstadter. This is my second attempt. It was still hard to get through, but this time I really tried, and it was so worth it. I’ll still need a third read through though.

Watching Sense8 and House of Cards on Netflix. Sense8 is visually amazing, the acting is on point, and sci-fi enough to get you out of your head and away from all the crap going on in the news. House of Cards is the opposite. It’s this world, only worse, which, I’ve learned, can be therapeutic in its own way. Plus, Claire Underwood is the smartest, sexiest, most badass female character I love to hate at the moment *heart eyes emoji*.

Feeling better! Last month my doctor expressed some doubt that the medication we started with would keep my ulcerative colitis symptoms under control. I won’t know for sure until I’m off of the steroid I’m on for short-term relief, but so far, through tapering off, I’m still doing okay. I think this is a good sign. If I feel good through the end of June, I may be able to stay on these meds rather than moving into harsher options. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Needing a little reassurance from the universe that all this good in my life isn’t a sign that terrible things are on the horizon. I don’t know how to feel gratitude and practice mindfulness with all this anxiety. I don’t deserve so much in life, I’m worried there will be hell to pay eventually.

Loving the fact that my local Alamo Drafthouse is hosting a WOMEN ONLY screening of the new Wonder Woman film and gives no fucks about the backlash from weak egoed men. I’m also living the fact that they offered free tickets to the new creepy movie. It Comes at Night for rewards members. Seriously, if there’s an Alamo Drafthouse in your city, there’s no reason for you to go to any other theater. If there isn’t, bug them until there is.

Hating that I’m losing my route next year. It’s a lot to get into, a lot of politics and specifics I’m not even sure I’m allowed to get into but basically, the school district I work for is experiencing an employee shortage, and things have to change to maximize the people we have. So my easy-peasy route with the perfect hours and the awesome kid is going away, and I have to make some tough choices next year. Also, I still hate Donald Trump and every single Republican asshat pushing cruel and destructive healthcare and environmental policies. I cannot wait for midterm elections!

Hoping the summer passes slowly, but I know it won’t. The winter months drag on for eternity, and the summer is never long enough to recover from the cold and drab and depressing. Maybe I’ll learn how to slow down time?

All in all, this month was good, but I may have been too busy looking ahead to really appreciate it. I have to try harder to appreciate where I am. Where I am going will come soon enough, and when it does, I want to know I enjoyed every step of the way there.

So, how about you? Was May good or bad to you? What are you looking forward to in June? Are you as in love with Claire Underwood as I am? Let me know in the comments (:

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Check out my weekly-ish newsletter for interesting reads + some of my own 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 via Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // Summer is Here!

Hello dear reader, and thank you for stopping by for a big of strong coffee and some good conversation. If you don’t mind I’ve been in the mood for iced coffee lately and I’ve got some already brewed in the fridge. For a special treat, I have a bit of coconut milk, the super sweet, delicious stuff from the can, not the carton kind. The weather is warming up and I have a feeling cold coffee and coconut milk will hit the spot.

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If we were having coffee I would tell you that the school year has finally ended which means my kids are off and my route is done. This year was a hard one. This year I had a middle school route, almost all boys, and almost all having emotional and behavioral disorders, and they all hated each other. It is very hard to maintain order in a small moving vehicle under those conditions.

Despite the difficulties I really did like these kids. I always like those kinds of kids. I was one of them once and I think I understand them and can help them better than most. As I get older though I am losing my ability to see the world from their perspective. The world is a very different place than when I was in middle school.

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If we were having coffee I would tell you that summertime means not having to go into work so early and not having to work on a bus at all. Since I am not only a bus assistant but a trainer as well I am going to spend the summer cleaning and cataloging all of our Special Needs equipment, making spreadsheets, stocking buses with supplies, and providing training for other employees. Summertime means I’m doing whatever I can to work indoors, in the air conditioning.

I’ll also be taking a bit of time off here and there. Summertime means I can make my own schedule and me and my Ole Lady are well overdue for a vacation or two. Right now we are planning a trip up to the Hot Springs. We went a few summers ago we’ve been missing those big pools of hot mineral water ever since. I can’t wait!

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If we were having coffee I would tell you that I saw X-Men: Apocalypse last night and I loved it! I read some of the comics as a kid and I watched the cartoons but I never became a huge fan. (I did have a huge nerd crush on both Gambit and Jean Grey, though.) These movies have turned me into a real fan though and I find myself going back and trying to learn more about the characters.

I won’t give too much away but some of the events have me wondering about whether or not there will be another X-Men film and if it will feature Jean Grey and the “Phoenix Saga” type plot?

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If we were having coffee I would tell you that I have been considering starting up a newsletter as a companion to this blog for a long time and today I decided to start working toward that. I signed up on Tinyletter (I want to keep this super simple for now) and began playing around with the design. It’ll be while before I start sending them out but you can sign up now if you’re interested.

Right now I’d like to combine my Saturday round-ups and something like these coffee shares into a simple weekly letter people can read right in their inbox. Of course, I’ll eventually be featuring my zines and chapbooks too, whenever I get around to putting them together.

I also have a little bit of good news but I can’t tell you what it is yet. I know, I shouldn’t have brought it up then but this good news was very encouraging and because of it I am rethinking the direction of my writing. I am actively searching now for places to submit work and a more and more of my writing time will be geared toward that, the newsletter, and my own zine.

I promise I’ll tell you the news next week but it is only a tiny bit of news so don’t get too excited or anything.

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If we were having coffee I would tell you that my coffee is drunk and that means it is time for me to go. I’ve enjoyed chatting with you very much but I have a lot more cleaning to do and a visit with my family in a little while.

If you have a moment I’d love if you dropped a note in the comments and let me know what you’ve been up to. If you wrote a coffee chat post of your own you can leave the link and I’ll give it a read.

Good luck in the week ahead :)

Look at this adorable dork 🐶

A post shared by Lisa Blair (@zenandpi) on

Featured image via Unsplash

Feet and Paws and a Good Patch of Grass

My puppy, Lola, loves to go outside. So even though I am tired, even though it’s hot out, and even though I am busy, I have to take her. If I don’t she will become an absolute terror in the house. She’ll find things to get into and she will run circles through the kitchen and jump all over the furniture. Taking her outside is better for everyone.

Despite that I am never really “in the mood” to take her outside. Like I said, I’m tired, it’s hot, and I have other things to do, but as soon as we get out there I can’t help but be cheered by her obvious happiness at being outdoors. Her tail is wagging, she’s panting and tugging at the leash. She wants to feel some grass under her paws!

Outside everything smells so good and the ground is littered with a million edible things. There are rabbits, and birds, and other dogs to run after and if she’s good I will let her run off leash in the tennis court or the grassy area behind it.

We go to the grassy area a lot.

Lola’s favorite thing in the whole world is the feel of grass.

When her paws hit grass she changes, she becomes confident and free. She becomes half-wild too. She tries to run and jump while still on leash and it can be hard to calm her down enough to unclip the leash. Once free she runs through the grass, she eats the grass, she digs it up, she rubs her face and, eventually, her whole body in it. It’s annoying sometimes but it’s also pretty cute.

I try to get her out in the grass at least once a day. I know she needs it and because she loves me so damn much and tries to be a good dog I figure it’s the least I can do. She deserves it.

One thing I have learned since having Lola is how to appreciate a good patch of grass. Her excitement gets me excited and next thing I know I’m running through the grass right along with her. She runs circles and figure eight’s around me while I try my best to catch her. I’ll throw a ball or a stick and the game turns into one of “keep away”.

Eventually she gets tired, especially if I mess up and forget to bring water (whoopsie). She’ll stop quickly and lay down, panting hard and looking like the happiest dog in the world. I always lay next to her, which is a pretty big deal because I am afraid of bugs. Then she rolls over for belly rubs. Once she’s rested enough we begin the running game again. We do this a few times before I start to get afraid she will get too comfortable off leash and run away.

One the walk back home and she is happy and content. and much more well behaved. I look at her and wish I could be so happy in life.

You see, dogs teach us to be happy with what we have, wherever we are. For them, gratitude is an instinct. I wish I could be content with nothing more then a patch of grass. I wish I was happy to run in circles and dig holes. I wish I didn’t need anything else. Then again maybe I don’t need more than that. Maybe I am the one complicating things. Maybe all we need to feel true happiness is nothing more than a cool patch of grass to run in.

Then again my dog eats her own puke, what does she know?

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In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Beneath Your Feet”