If We Were Having Coffee // Meeting the Man I Wish I’d Known

Hello dear readers! Happy Sunday, welcome, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.

I apologize for the later than usual meeting. I was out celebrating Father’s day with my girlfriend’s family. Initially, the plan was to do a bit of fishing and have a few beers by the water, but the weather has taken a turn toward cooler temperatures and rain moved in. So, we decided to have the beers and do a bit of gaming at the Dave and Buster’s arcade instead. It’s a strange place for her father to have chosen for his celebratory meal. I suspect my girlfriend’s teenaged brother might have had something to do with it.

My own father is busy working, so we’re going to meet up later in the week at our favorite Mongolian grill downtown.

Wait, before I get too far into my update, pull up a chair, let me brew us a warm cup of coffee to go with the pouring rain. There, now let’s talk about last week!

“All I do is drink coffee and say bad words.”

— twinkleofafadingstar

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that something big and sad happened to me, to my family, this weekend and I don’t really know how to begin to explain it.

My mother’s father passed away.

Late Friday night, after I’d gone out for dinner and a movie with my girlfriend, my mother called to say she’d heard from the nursing home her father was at that his health had declined sharply in the last 24 hours. He’d refused his breakfast, his lunch, his medication, water, and his dinner, and then he felt tired, and then he stopped responding to the caregivers.

My mom wanted to go see him. She wanted to convince him to let the nurses give him morphine, to calm him and help him breathe better, but she didn’t want to go alone. She was afraid of the condition she would find him in. So, we all went. It was late and when we arrived father was still asleep. She tried to wake him, letting him know she was there, rubbing his chest and speaking to him, telling him that his children loved him, but he wouldn’t wake up.

We left with the intention that my mother would check on him the following day, but within minutes of us getting home, my mom called to let me know the nursing home had just phoned to tell her he had passed away.

My mother was in shock, but we all agreed that it was a good thing that we’d gone to see him. I believe one of the greatest kindnesses we can offer in life is to comfort another when they die. I’m happy that in his final moments on this earth he was able to hear the voice of his daughter telling him she was there and that he was loved.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have mixed emotions about his passing. It’s sad obviously but this man was my grandfather by blood only and in no other sense would I call him that. He has never shown me any affection or let me know that he considered me to be his granddaughter in any sense of the word at all. I barely knew the man and what little I did know wasn’t good.

I know he was often abusive and held deeply racist convictions. He disowned my mother when she became pregnant with me because my father is a black man. I wasn’t welcome in his home and was never acknowledged by him or my mothers extended family until a few years ago when he reached out of what I assume was a sense of guilt after his wife passed. No apologies or explanations were ever offered. My mother never fully forgave him but gave into a sense of obligation the older and more dependant on other others he became. He was her only father after all.

In the last few weeks, his health declined to a point where he could not return to the home he’d lived in for 50+ years and plans were made to sell the place and his belongings to pay for what we all thought would be long-term care.

I spent a day helping my mother go through his home and found he was actually quite intelligent, accomplished, and talented man.

I found rolls of blueprints from his architectural work around the city and oil paintings he’d done in his spare time. I found wooden boxed filled with medals he’d received in the military, including a purple heart! I found cabinets full of files, notes, and correspondences he’d gathered and organized while attempting to document a complete history of our family. I found books on gardening, architecture, and military strategy. I found boxes of photos he’d taken of his own children, stored and cared for with love.

I found a man who I, if he had been able to see me as part of his family, I might have looked up to, might have loved, and who might have helped cultivate interests, passions, and talents in me that I now know we both shared.

Since then I’ve been obsessing over how much was lost because of all the hate in him. We might have been close. He might have liked me, been proud of me, been fulfilled by my existence knowing a bit of him had been passed on. Instead, there are so many unresolved hurts and unanswered questions and a hole in all our lives where he should have been.

I’ve asked to look over his files and notes, the work on our family history and I may get some of his blueprints. I grabbed a few books and even some paints and canvases from the house too. I’m not sure why I need these things of his now. Maybe I hope to finally get to know a version of this man who could have been a real grandfather to me.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I wanted to talk about something else now.

I would tell you that here in Colorado this weekend marks our annual two-day Pridefest celebration. Usually, I try to go downtown on the Sunday of Pride weekend to watch the parade but trying to that and still celebrate and Father’s Day just stresses us out and leaves us feeling guilty. Guilty for cutting into dad’s day and guilty for not being as out and proud and supportive of our community as we should.

This year we did things a little differently, We gathered a couple of friends and went downtown to celebrate our gay selves a day early and even though I missed the parade this year I’m glad we were able to spend all the time we needed to with other gay, lesbian, trans, queer, and non-binaries like ourselves.

It’s important to recognize the history and acknowledge the work left to do in our great revolution of love. So many have been lost along the way. So many have been hurt and abandoned along the way. So many feel so alone, still. Pride means more than just dressing up and hooking up. It’s a time to regain our strength and our redouble our efforts. It’s a time to remember why we are here and why it matters. No one should ever be so afraid or so ashamed of who they are as many of us have been forced to feel.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that healthwise I’m doing okay, but my energy is sorely limited anymore. Frustratingly limited! I’m still jogging two miles every morning—now at the high school track up the street—and doing 100 squats before work but that leaves very little left for anything else, especially for writing.

Not that I haven’t been writing at all, just that I haven’t got the energy finishing, editing, or working up the courage to publish anything. I’m hoping to change that this week.

When I’m not running, working, writing, or napping, I’ve been reading again. I finally finished the book that has plagued me and made me a failure and quitter time and time again, The Odyssey by Homer. I read the whole thing, and to be honest with you, I’m not convinced it was worth the effort. I’ll be sharing all my thoughts on the epic tale with you very soon.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have talked way too much. I can tell the light outside is fading fast, and the clock is counting down to my bedtime. The house is still a mess, but it’s far too late to do anything about it now. All I can do now is emotionally prepare myself for the work week ahead and try to get enough sleep.

I hope you had a productive week. I hope that you were able to celebrate the day with your father and if you are one yourself, I wish you a very Happy Father’s Day, and I hope you know how much you mean to the lives of those you helped bring into this world and raise.

Until next time.

***

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.

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

Featured image via domestikate

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If We Were Having Coffee // A Perfect Day Come True

Hello dear readers! Happy Sunday, welcome, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of coffee and conversation.

So far it’s been an easy Sunday, but not a lazy one. I’ve been up, running, doing squats, and throwing the old medicine ball around. The laundry is started, and the dishwasher is running so I’m heading into the lunch hour feeling pretty proud of myself. My reward is a big cup of cold brew and a little chat with you before I’m off to run some errands.

So, pull up a chair, fill up a mug. I’ve got some new records to play and so much to share. Let’s talk about last week.

“Her coffee is becoming like her heart. She used to have her coffee with a lot of milk and sugar but now it’s pure black and bitter.”

— pluvilis

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have not been feeling the best since our last coffee date. I had my second infusion of the new medication this past week, and by Thursday I started to see my old symptoms returning. My doctor and I are hoping it’s because I’ve been weaning off of the steroids rather than the new medication not working. She’s instructed me to go back to a higher dose, which is the exact thing I didn’t want to do, but it’s better than returning to fatigue and frequent trips to the bathroom, so I’m willing.

Emotionally I am a big ball of anxiety and fear. Ulcerative colitis seems to have taken over my life. Nearly every moment anymore is spent wither dealing with symptoms, worrying about symptoms returning. I know I’m not supposed to be thinking too far into the future but part of me is sure that this journey will end with surgery and I can’t stop thinking about that. Part of me wishes we could skip all the trial and error and just get rid of my colon altogether. Part of me knows that is stupid because this course of action, this medication, or this stress reduction technique might actually work, and I need to give it a chance.

*sigh*

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my return to work after a long week away the week before was actually not as bad as I thought it would be.

There was work to catch up on, of course, but working for a school district during the summer is easy-peasy. If I’m honest, most days my job doesn’t even feel like work. It feels like going to hang out with friends. The hard part is finding work to do. And when I remember how lucky I am to have it so easy—I get to have friends for coworkers, and time to write, and bosses who let us go home early or take long lunches—when I remember to practice gratitude, I actually like my job.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this weekend was amazing!

Friday night I went out for what us and a few of our couple friends—who are also co-workers—have started calling “Margarita Friday.” Once or twice a month we—two straight couples, one gay couple, and us, the lesbians—pick a New Mexican restaurant for dinner, order up a few margaritas and talk about our relationships and work. We always have a great time, and it’s nice to hear that what you and your spouse go through is normal, no matter whether your genders.

Saturday I woke up early to attend a gender reveal party for my brother and his fiance’s second child. It was a little stressful getting the party going as my family runs late to everything and is never fully prepared, but we had a great time together, we always do.

After lunch, and much drama and speculation, it was revealed via a piñata filled with almond joys and crunch bars that the little bump is a baby boy who will be named August. I’m so happy and cannot wait to meet little August in October. I will admit though, just between you and me, I was secretly hoping for another niece. Maybe the next one will be.

After the gender reveal party, we rushed off to the movies to see the newest horror, Hereditary. If you are a fan of the genre, I cannot recommend this film enough. It definitely pushes the boundaries of what is considered horror and adds something new and different to the “psychological thriller” subtype. Plus, it’s just scary as hell! I’ve never wanted to stop a movie because it was scaring me too much but there was definitely a point during this film that I felt an urge to leave the theater and get away from all that tension. That’s how good it is!

Then, we took a spontaneous trip to the mall where I picked up a couple of new records, the soundtrack to the film Moonlight and SZA’s latest album, Control, plus some new shorts and a Starbucks treat. We left just in time to catch a gorgeous sunset and on the way home—with the wind blowing through my hair and my fingers intertwined with those of my wife-to-be—I felt happy and very much alive.

It was the best day I’ve had in a while, maybe ever. I kept thinking, the next time someone asks me what my “perfect day” would look like, I’ll have an answer to pull from memory.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the sun seems to have moved on to the westerly windows. It’s getting late in the afternoon, which means it’s almost evening, which means it’s almost bedtime, and that means it’s nearly Monday already!

I have so much left to do, and I’ve suddenly realized I have very little weekend left to do it in. I’d suppose I’d better be off.

I hope you had a productive week. I hope that you found time to do something just for you and that you can start the coming work week in a place of peace and focus.

Until next time.

***

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

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

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // A Quick Catch Up

Hello dear readers! Happy Sunday, welcome, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and conversation. I’ve been up for a while now, taking advantage of the cooler temperatures to get my morning walk in before rushing through a bit of cleaning and a bit of writing. I have just enough time now to sit down and quickly catch up before I’m off to help my mom. So pull up a chair, excuse the mess, fill up a cup, and let’s talk about last week.

“She sips her coffee, sets it down, stretches her arms. This is one of the most singular experiences, waking on what feels like a good day, preparing to work but not yet actually embarked. At this moment there are infinite possibilities, whole hours ahead.She sips her coffee, sets it down, stretches her arms. This is one of the most singular experiences, waking on what feels like a good day, preparing to work but not yet actually embarked. At this moment there are infinite possibilities, whole hours ahead.”

— Michael Cunningham, The Hours 

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I took off of work all of last week and of course I have very little to show for all that free time. I did try to write, and I did try to read, I just didn’t do as much of either as I’d hoped. I did a whole lot of everything else I could think of though. My house has never been cleaner.

In my defense, it’s hard to concentrate with this oppressive summer heat hanging around. We still haven’t replaced our evaporative cooler, and that means I have only a few hours every morning before my brain and body begin to shut down and seek less intensive activities. The need for ice cream, for a bit of social media, and, eventually, a nap become overpowering and next thing I know I’m on the couch and out for the count.

And now it’s over, and I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to go back to work. I mean, I know I’ll get up and get ready and go to that place, but I doubt I will have any good feelings about being there. I’m returning to a completely different schedule and two new team members. I expect it will all take some getting used to and to be honest I already feel like I want to be somewhere, anywhere else besides there. I don’t hate it there, but all this freedom is hard to let go of, you know?

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that one thing I did do, one thing I am proud of and hope to continue, is getting up early every morning, even on the weekends, and jogging 2 miles. I know that it doesn’t sound like a lot, but for someone who hates getting up early and who hasn’t been able to even walk around the block regularly due to joint pain and fatigue, it’s quite an accomplishment.

I continue to be amazed by how well I am doing since my infusion less than two weeks ago. The new medication is working like a miracle.

My next one is this coming Tuesday, and I’m a little anxious even though I pretty much know what to expect now. Last time my girlfriend stayed with me the whole time, but this time I will be on my own since her workload is so heavy right now. It’s a strange place to be, and a strange thing to have to do, and it’s comforting when someone you know comes along to watch out for you and keep your spirits up.

Then again, it might be a good thing for me to go it alone. It might turn out to be a good time to get a little more reading in and finally finish this godforsaken book!

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that we spent this weekend getting back into our wedding planning groove. We went back to a venue we toured and fell in love with and brought my mother-in-law-to-be along to offer opinions and advice. Unfortunately, we walked away just as unsure as we’d come. The venue is gorgeous, a historical mansion right in the middle of the city, but it may be too much venue for us. It’s a statement, and I’m not sure it’s saying what we want to say.

We made an appointment to tour another venue the week after this, a facility owned by the state. This place is a little simpler, a little more like us, but it’ll require more work on our end to make it wedding-ready. We also decided that all the “preferred caterers” were a bit fancy for us. Other people might want to eat steak for their wedding dinner, but I want something fun. I found a cute pizza truck with some interesting offerings worthy of a wedding.

Next, we’re going working on finalizing our guest list. We’re torn between throwing a huge event, or keep it personal, intimate, and, honestly, a lot cheaper. We can have 25 people, just our closest family members? We could have 40-50 and include friends who might as well be family? Or we could invite 80-90 people we’d just feel bad for not inviting. It’s hard to decide when so many people have feelings about it.

Sometimes I wonder if can’t we could just bring each other, hike up a mountain to meet an officiant, and do it alone?

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my goals for the coming week are to finish reading The Odyssey, make a post one or two pieces of cut and paste collage work on Instagram, write two blog posts, and keep on running every day. I will try not to do anything too strenuous or stressful. I’m still healing and working on getting back to being the old me. The point is to work on focus and discipline and be more aware of when I get distracted or discouraged.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that this week there isn’t much to say and much more I have to do than usual, so I have to cut out chat a bit short. I hope that you had a productive week and that the weekend was relaxing enough to make you feel blissfully far away from anything that felt like work or worry.

Until next time.

***

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

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

Photo by Ryan Riggins 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!

***

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

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

Photo by Cédric Dhaenens on Unsplash

Currently // April 2018: I Loved All of It

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

Photo by Meriç Dağlı on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // My New Favorite Room

Hello dear readers. Welcome, happy Sunday, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of coffee and catching up. My eyes are open early on this sunny spring morning, but I can’t seem to get the rest of my body moving. I’m stuck in that place between getting up and getting shit done, and pulling the covers back up and going back to sleep. Hopefully, some good coffee and conversation will get me tip me toward motivation.

And yet, like myself, those future corpses who were drinking their coffee in silence appeared ashamed to be so alive.”

― Simone de Beauvoir, The Mandarins

***

If we were having coffee, I would suggest we move to my new favorite room, the one we’ve always called the “creativity room” but up until now has been sorely underutilized.

The creativity room where we go to make things, and where I am supposed to go to write, but it was also a room to store our crap, more of a dumping ground with no storage and no order. For years I’ve wanted to start making it into a proper place to work in, but when your whole house is falling apart, a creativity room doesn’t feel like a reasonable allocation of resources. But it’s my birthday month, and I wanted to do something nice for myself, and for my fiance, who needs her own space to create beautiful watercolor works in.

So, this weekend we got a couple of IKEA coupons and loaded up the car with all the parts we needed to build a proper workstation for each of us. We wanted the option to be able to interact with one another, to have plants nearby and to share supplies easily. We wanted a room that we can relax in a room that feels like a place to make things, to use your mind and your hands, not a place to tune out and turn off. There is a lot more work to do in here, but I think we put together a beautiful and functional first step to that dream.

For now this new space means I finally have room to make some art! To start out I’m going to keep it simple, some magazine cut-outs and some simple writing and typography in my art journal. It also means I have space to organize all the little daily notes that I take that separately seem to mean nothing but together I’m hoping will turn out to be a book or two one day.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that my birthday month is slowly winding down and looking back on all I have been given and gotten to do I have to say this years celebration were some of the best. I truly felt important, seen, and loved, and that is why I believe birthdays are so important. All year we give and give and give and all the while inside we are lonely thinking no one cares about us. Your birthday is a chance for your loved ones to show you that you matter. Make sure they take the job seriously.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that my health has been on a slow downward spiral lately. I’m sure I mentioned it last week but I have been switched to new medication, new medication that my insurance did not cover. My birthday was nearly ruined by the news, but my doctor and the fantastic nurses working in her office helped me through a few hoops, and I was accepted into an assistance program to help with the costs. The only bad news, I have to wait over a month to start it.

So in the meantime, I’m doing my best to hold on, be strong, and to take care of myself until then. I’ve been so tired. Not tired, run down. I long for energy. I sleep, I eat, I drink copious amounts of coffee, and I still feel so drained.

My fiance is doing her best too, to hold on, to be strong, and to take care of me too. She’s been wonderful, but it hasn’t been easy for her either. I belong to an Ulcerative Colitis support group on Facebook, a few of them actually, and every week there are at least one or two people whose significant others leave them over this condition. I don’t for a second think mine will, but it puts into perspective the ways a chronic illness can come between two people. We’re working on finding the balance between acknowledging what is going on and living our lives regardless.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I am nine letters behind in the Blogging A to Z Challenge, but I want to assure you I have not given up, I’m only working at my own pace. Feeling so run down like this makes it hard to write rather than nap or veg out on the couch when I get any free time. It sucks because I’m actually really enjoying my theme and getting a chance to really explore the human condition in an organized and methodical way.

Not only that but I’m really getting into a groove with writing. I’m figuring out what works for me. How to research, find quotes and facts, how to brainstorm and the organize my thoughts and, the hardest part by far, how to sit my ass in a chair and just write for 30 minutes to an hour.

I also feel like this project can be turned into something later. I have other ideas, some creative writing could be incorporated, or maybe a little art and illustration, why not? I’d love to get these posts edited extensively, condensed, colored, and converted to a chapbook or something, maybe?

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that as much as I am enjoying our chat, I have to get up and really get on with the day. I’m off to visit my mother for a belated birthday celebration for both of us. I hope you all had a great week and I hope your weekend was as relaxing, or fun, or productive as you needed it to be and I hope the coming week will be less stressful than the last.

Until next time.

***

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

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

Photo by Ryan Riggins on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // An Emotional Birthday Weekend Rollercoaster

Hello dear readers. Welcome, happy Sunday, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up. It’s going to be a quick conversation this week, today is that special day of the year I get to spend at the kitchen table, squinting at my computer screen, surrounded by a collection of documents from various financial institutions, trying to tell the IRS what they already know.

At least the sun is shining today, and the temperatures are warming up again. This weekend gusts of frigid winter air blew through the city and sapped all the energy from our bones. It was a harsh reminder that it isn’t quite summertime yet and to make any outdoor plans right now is risky. Luckily much of my birthday celebrations were all inside activities.

“Sometimes it is the smallest thing that saves us: the weather growing cold, a child’s smile, and a cup of excellent coffee.”

― Jonathan Carroll

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my birthday was a good one this year. This year, my birthday fell on a Friday the 13th. I’m not superstition, but it’s fun to have the day that you celebrate your birth and another year of life occasionally fall on a day culturally considered unlucky.

I usually celebrate the day as a sort of mini Halloween. I wear creepy t-shirts, I might watch a scary movie, and sometimes I get tattoos from shops doing Friday the 13th specials. This year I got a gorgeous, and quite painful, “bad luck” tattoo on the back of my neck.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the rest of my birthday was spent with just my girlfriend. We had pizza before the tattoo shop then we found a new Italian place to check out for dinner after. I had lamb ribs with fig glaze, rabbit gnocchi, and a pastry dessert that I can’t remember the name of that was to die for! My fiance had the cornish game hen stuffed with pheasant sausage and tiramisu for dessert. It was all delicious, and it was fun to try some new foods on my special day, but I don’t think I’ll be eating rabbit or pheasant again anytime soon.

Yesterday was a close friend of mine’s birthday, so we had another birthday dinner, this time at a sushi restaurant, then drinking, dancing, and a drag show after.

It was all a ton of fun, and I was glad to see my friends and celebrate with them, but I realized that for me, turning 33 was a very serious, quiet, and personal affair. I’m not sad about it, and I certainly believe it is a milestone worth celebrating, but celebrating with a more intimate company was definitely a good choice.

Another thing I love about birthdays is hearing from all the people who think I matter too. From my father’s text at four in the morning to my grandmother’s late-night call to sing happy birthday before I was off to bed I felt like for just one day I was more alive, more real, because so many people were thinking of me.

I still have to see my mom—who also celebrated a birthday this month—and my siblings, and my dad. I’ll have another dinner with my cousins soon and another later in the month with a few other friends who, like me, prefer a quieter night out. I celebrate the whole month long, and I recommend everyone do the same. We all deserve it.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the gifts were pretty awesome too. A coworker brought her 7-year-old daughter in to give me a gift bag full of six avocados. I got myself the tattoo (you should always buy yourself something too). My mom gave me money to buy more books. My girlfriend got me a few AdamJK things, a book of Familiar Quotations by John Bartlett, and 17 volumes from The University Society Book Lovers Edition 1901 Shakespeare Collection she found at a thrift store.

Many are full of handwritten notes and pieces of other works either glued or stapled in. Used books are ever just about the book. They are also about every person who has owned them before you.

Apparently, there are more gifts to come tomorrow, something bigger I hear, but I honestly already feel so content and happy with what I’ve received I can’t imagine what else I could want.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that there was in the middle of all this celebration and special attention some bad news came. All the tests the doctors ordered a few weeks ago have come back and while I’m not doing poorly—as in, not anemic, no new health issues—the inflammation is back, and my medication is definitely not working.

I’ve been slowly declining for a few weeks now, and I’ll keep getting sicker and sicker if I am not switched to new medication but of course, because I live in America, standing between me and the next stage in my care are big dollar signs. I have the choice of two different meds, one I’ll have to pay for up front, or one to be billed later, neither of which can I really afford.

I’m applying for financial assistance from the drug companies, but the application process is complicated. It’s going to take some time. Meanwhile, I’m worried about how much work I’ll have to miss, and if three or four or five years from now after I’ve paid 10s of thousands of dollars the medication will stop working, and in the end, my colon will end up being removed anyway.

I’m only 33 years old! I shouldn’t be dealing with these kinds of problems yet!

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you the taxes are all done, and that means I have to move on to other projects. I’m at least four letters behind in the Blogging A to Z Challenge, and I still have to get ready or the work week. Thank you for sitting through this stressful time with me, it helps to have friendly vibes and an ear to bend to ease the anxiety.

I hope you had a pleasant weekend. I hope your taxes are done, and Spring has been more like summer than winter where you are. I hope your coming week will be productive, and if it isn’t, I hope you know it’s okay to take a break and that you can begin again anytime you choose.

Until next time.

***

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

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

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash