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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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

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

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

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

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

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

But first, here is what I am currently:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My baby girl is growing up! 😭 #ava

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

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

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

But how about you? How did March treat you? Is it feeling like Spring where you are? What are you looking forward to in April? What are you afraid of? Are you participating in the Blogging A to Z Challenge too? If so let me know in the comments!

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

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

Featured photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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

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

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

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

But first, here is what I am currently:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But how about you? How did February treat you? How much have you learned and grown? What has made you feel disappointed or afraid? Did you see Black Panther? Absolutely amazing film, right? Did you spend Valentine’s Day with a special someone? Let me know in the comments.

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

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

Featured photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

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

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

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

But first, here is what I am currently:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

Featured photo is by Nathan Wolfe on Unsplash

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 (:

***

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 // My Littlest Sister and Me

Hello, dear readers! Thank you for stopping by for a bit of coffee and catching up. I’m in a slow mood today. I have been all week, to be honest. I’m using today to get back on track, but I’m having a hell of a time finding motivation. I feel scattered and lazy, apathetic and kind of down.

There is little voice somewhere below all of that squeaking out “Come on Lisa, come on! Get up, get going! Get writing and learning and doing while you have the time!” but my body won’t listen. I’ve opened the blinds to let the sun in, and I am praying the coffee and conversation helps.

“I love coffee. I sometimes get excited at night thinking of the coffee I’ll get to drink in the morning. Coffee is reason to wake up. There are other reasons, of course. But coffee is the incentive, at the very least.”

— Annie Clark

 

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have missed you all and I am very sorry that I missed our chat last week. I missed you all, but I had big plans with my mother. Also, I am terrible at writing anything in advance.

My girlfriend and I planned a brunch for both our mothers at one of our favorite places, her father, brother, and my littlest sister came along too. The food was delicious, I had monkey bread french toast. There were drinks and gifts and laughs. Afterward, we walked over to a cute little ice cream place, I had goat cheese and black pepper, and then we did a little shopping nearby. Of course, no amount of food or gifts can pay a mother back, but I hope our’s at least had a good time.

I hope all my readers who are mothers did too. I hope your kids did their best, and that you had at least a little time to be the center of attention, to be catered to, and to be appreciated. I hope you know you deserve it all and so much more. I hope my mother knows it too.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the highlight of my week was my littlest sister’s high school awards ceremony. My mother, my brother and his little family, and my girlfriend and I all showed up for her, and I am so glad we did. Whenever my family gets together, we act like damn fools. We talk too loud, laugh too loud, we eat too much, we’re entirely inappropriate, and we make everyone around us a little uncomfortable, but we don’t care. We have a good time wherever we go, and while my sister may have been a little embarrassed, she laughed right along with us too, and she knows her family supports her.

For her part, my little sister did us proud. She walked away with a couple of plaques and the biggest award of the night, STUDENT OF THE YEAR! My sister has gone from nearly all F’s, hating school and refusing to go to all A’s and B’s and STUDENT OF THE YEAR y’all. I am so damn proud of her.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am so proud of my sister I decided to treat her to a lunch and a bit of shopping yesterday. She’s been wanting to try sushi, so I took her to a place on the other side of town. I’m not sure raw fish is her thing, but we made sure to stop by a couple of make-up stores and did some thrift shopping for clothing bargains.

Sadly, my sister didn’t find much, but I sure did! I picked up six new books from Goodwill and ARC thrift stores and four new shirts from a new place I found called Uptown Cheapskate. This store is my new favorite place, and I already have plans to return for all my summer fashion needs.

All in all, the day was just about perfect. My little sister and I were born 15 years apart, but we get along so well, which makes me feel good. Maybe I’m not getting so old and boring after all. If you can make a 16-year-old laugh, then you are still young, exciting, and relevant at heart. At least that’s how I feel whenever my little sister laughs at my jokes.

***

 

If we were having coffee, I would refrain from boring you with details of the rest of my week. Te weather was crap, and I was in a foul mood. I will tell you that because of that, it was an exceptionally bad writing week.

I submitted a piece for Femsplain’s last ever prompt. I am afraid it won’t be chosen though. I’ve had since the beginning of May to write it, but instead of taking advantage of that I procrastinated all month and lost track of time. Next thing I knew it was this week and I had only days left to turn my notes into something coherent and interesting. I’m afraid my foul mood prevented me from writing well, and I am sure my crappy piece will be rejected. Femsplain has meant a lot to me, as an online publication and a community and I wish I had tried harder to make this last submission something really worth reading.

Other than that there hasn’t been much. A blog post on doing something even when you can only do a little, a post on believing you have a right to be here, and a newsletter on becoming our mothers, for better and for worse.

I’m hoping this coming week will be better.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the motivation and enthusiasm I was able to pull together has run out, and so has my coffee. Whatever energy is left I have to use for laundry, dishes, and getting ready for tomorrow. Oh, wait! I just remembered I don’t have to work tomorrow! This week is already looking up.

Thank you for stopping by to chat with me. I hope you had a wonderful week and that your weekend was a relaxing one. I hope in the coming week you will take more steps forward than you take backward.

Until next time…

***

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

Written for the weekly Weekend Coffee Share link up hosted by Nerd in the Brain

Featured image via Unsplash

 

 

If We Were Having Coffee // A Follow-up and a Bit of Bad News

Hello, dear readers! Thank you for stopping by for a lot of coffee and a little catching up. I’ve already had a few cups, and that is about all I can handle, so I’ll be having some refreshing iced peppermint tea. You are welcome to either, or something else entirely.

“The first step on my journey of personal growth is getting a cup of coffee.”

— Death Wish Coffee

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you the weather around here has been a bit crazy. We’ve been swinging wildly between cold and heat, snow, and rain, and the sun. That means that lately, my moods and energy levels are all over the place too.

But I am happy that thunderstorms are returning to Colorado. I love how they seem to roll in at the same time every afternoon to give us a break from the intense heat. The clouds cue us all to relax and settle in for the evening and the sounds of rain and thunder lull you to the best sleep you will have all year.

I’m not looking forward to the heat I know is only weeks away. Our old swamp cooler is out of commission, and we haven’t really come up with a plan for getting a new one. It’s hard when both parties in a relationship are chronic procrastinators.

***

If we were having coffee, I suppose I would tell you the bad news. I had another doctor’s appointment this week, a follow-up to the last follow-up that was all bad news too. For those who don’t know, earlier this year I got really sick, and after a round of tests, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. I was put on a steroid to stop my symptoms quickly but the steroid is awful for me so I can’t take it forever. So, I was put on another medication that takes some weeks to work but can be taken long-term.

So, when I went to check in with the doc, she tells me that she doesn’t think this other long-term medication is going to work at all—she never did!—but we have to let it fail before we can move on to something else. So, I am coming off of the steroid—which is awful because of withdrawal—and we are going to just wait and see if I get super sick again. If I get sick, we move on to some harsher and scarier medications. If the pills I’m on now do work my doctor said I should “thank God and choke down those pills every day.”

Even though I’m freaking out I’m glad I have a doctor that is thinking about the next steps before I start feeling shitty again and have to make decisions about what to try next.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it wasn’t a good writing week, not really. I didn’t post here as much as I wanted to here. On Monday I wrote about not being okay and posted my end of the month check in for April, that was it. I had hoped for a review of Orlando by Virginia Woolf and another poem on Thursday, but I felt really run down. I did work on my zine project, and a submission for Femsplain’s last prompt, and I got a newsletter out, so all wasn’t lost.

I did spend a lot of time reading. I’m just passed the halfway point in The Mind’s I which feels like quite an accomplishment considering its intimidating size and subject matter. This is the second time I have attempted to read this book, and I’m already further than the first time. I may need a third to fully understand it all though.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this weekend was a good one. Friday night I asked my girlfriend out for a date night. We had dinner at Noodles and Company and then walked over to our favorite theater for a few drinks and a late showing of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which we both slept through because we are getting old.

Saturday we took our very nervous dog out for a car ride and a trip to Petco, and she did so well guys! I am so proud of her. She was still very nervous, but she followed her commands and even let us try a new harness on her in the store without freaking out. We are working on socializing her and letting her know that we will keep her safe so she can relax but it is going to be a long process.

Then we went thrift store shopping where I picked up a couple of books, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey and Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. My girlfriend found a Polaroid camera on for just $3. Urban Outfitters sells the same one for $160! We got a few other knickknacks for the house and came home to pizza and hard cider and settled in to watch the new season of Sense8 on Netflix.

***I

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that as much as I am enjoying our visit, I have to cut it short here. There is so much to be done around the house and in preparation for tomorrow, just thinking about it is making me anxious! I better start now before it’s too late and I’m overwhelmed and upset and incapable of anything.

I hope you had a productive week and a relaxing weekend too, and I hope you’ll stop by the comments below and say hi. Let me know what you’ve been up to. I do love hearing from you all.

Until next time :)

***

Check out my weekly-ish newsletter for interesting reads + some of my own existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering, or share a cup of coffee perhaps?

Written for the weekly Weekend Coffee Share link up hosted by Nerd in the Brain

Featured image via Clear Polka Dots