155 // A Dent in the Mess

I was back at work today, bright eyed and bushy tailed. I got in earlier than I have since school ended and I hope the trend continues. I want to start acting more like me even if I’m not exactly feeling like me. I want to start getting things done in all areas of my life again.

Tonight I cooked dinner, the first time in a month or more, I think. I made salmon sliders and hated it but my wife to be was impressed so somewhere I’m happy I suppose.

I’ve decided to go ahead with the “Essay a Week” challenge, starting the first week of July, I hope. I spent the evening getting a head start by cleaning up my old ideas, and prompts lists in Simplenote. I barely made a dent in the mess but what I did get through was inspiring. I love dusting off my old notes, expanding them, tearing them apart, tearing them up.

The hard part will be separating the pieces for the challenge and other fun things I want to posts and write. The even harder part will be not falling behind so I can write all those other fun things instead.


These entries are inspired by TDH.se

154 // A New Project?

I stayed home again from work. I was hoping to intercept our engagement rings as they arrived from the postal service but I found out too late that they had been delayed and would not come today after all. Now I have to try to leave early tomorrow (or whatever new date and time the package tracking app demands I be available) to sign for it.

I spent the day doing what I always do when I get some free time; I cleaned the house. I should have been writing, but I didn’t know what to write so I finished up a few drafts here, backdated them, and pledged not to fall behind again.

I did come across a new 52-week writing challenge idea. Inspired by Andrea Askowitz, I’m thinking about writing an essay a week, every week, for the next year.

I think it would be good practice not just for writing but for focus and idea generation. I’ve always written best and most consistently when I have a direction and a deadline and this might just be what I need to start posting real content here and to start submitting pieces to other blogs and publications too. Plus, I think it would just be fun.

So, 50+ essays in the next year, whew! Should I do it?


These entries are inspired by TDH.se

Shifts // June 2019

1. Write about what you love as much as what you hate. Write about the good things you have as much as your pain. Your perspective is the way you habitually see the world. It is adjustable with practice and perseverance. Practice gratitude more often because balance is how you get closer to the reality of things. It helps to take stock of what is good and to remember that things are never as bad as they seem right now.

2. Start cooking at home again. It isn’t easy, I know. Working long hours and fighting back the exhaustion and the disappointment of another bad day make it hard to even want to cook. It’s easier to “pick up something”. It’s easier to snack or rely on foods from the freezer to the microwave, but it’s awful for you both physically and emotionally. Instead, change the way you think about cooking. Make it your “me time” or your “us time”. Open a bottle of wine, play some music, talk to one another and then share your delicious and good for you creation with each other.

3. Leave your shelter more often. Anxiety and chronic fatigue make it hard but getting out into the world really is the best thing for you. Stop wallowing. No more weekends spent entirely indoors. Get out of bed, fix yourself up, and go meet the sun. Go where the people are, where nature is. Find places where you can be a part of the world and where your problems look a lot smaller from.

4. It’s okay not to know. There is always something that everyone of us does not know and so much of that unknown is found not in lofty and elite places but all around us in the everyday and ordinary. Not knowing is not just human, normal, and understandable, it is also admirable. Not knowing is part of the work, the journey and the joy. Share what you don’t know as much as what you do. It’s infinitely more relatable.

5. Return to your bliss station. You cannot create from the couch, while you watch this movie, or this show, or even the news. Stop lying to yourself. You do not even enjoy trying to write or read or learn that way and you always regret the decision. You know where you would work best, away from the what distracts you, what exhausts you, what stunts your creativity and ability to think. Go there, work there, make it a place where happiness, inspiration, and your spark can be found time and time again.

6. What you want is not always the path to what you need. Humans notoriously want what is bad for them and we justify it by calling it what we need. We start from the wrong end trying to get the wrong things but when we take the time to dig beneath those excuses, those rationalizations, and those lies we find the core of need. Start there instead and work your way back out to a better, healthier, more efficient and effective solution.  

7. Learn to love all the seasons. Try to love all the ways they change you and make you feel too. Spring isn’t the only season of growth and summer isn’t the only season in which we can find joy. There are versions of you and ways of living that can only be accessed in the winter in fall and the days and seasons we’ve yet to name that exist in a space between. Give all these seasons attention and cultivate a habit of studying all the ways you exist in them.


Post inspired by Nicholas Bate

Photo by Lenart Lipovšek on Unsplash

153 // The Older I Get

Tonight we had dinner with my dad. I love seeing him, but it’s hard seeing him too. There are things bubbling below the surface: pain, misunderstanding, trauma, abandonment, and all sorts of questions too complicated to ask and answers too deep to dig from the past. At the same time though, there is so much love, and pride, and a connection that runs DNA deep.

It’s strange how all the same pain and confusion can exist between mothers and daughters too and yet with time the relationship develops quite differently and both end up nearly opposite from where they began. I was always a daddy’s girl but the older I get the closer I grow to my mom and the further away from my father I feel.

I don’t think it’s anyone’s fault. I think it’s simply about gender and experience. I think it’s part of the process of growing from your parent’s child to their friend.  I know my mother and she knows me now in a way I can never know or be known by my father. I feel a comradeship with her connected to the pain of being a woman that I know now my father will never understand.

In my father is my past and in my mother, my future.


These entries are inspired by TDH.se

152 // Feel Guilty Days

Do nothing days are great when they are planned but when they aren’t they are more like feel guilty days. I’ve been having a lot of those lately.

I’m avoiding the to-do list and conveniently forgetting again and again what needs to get done. This is what I do when I am overwhelmed. I get tired. I shut down. I feel the need to rest when the reality is I desperately need the opposite. I need to get up and do something! But knowing doesn’t make it easier. Knowing only makes it more shameful.

By now the day is gone already so there is nothing to be done but to take care of myself. The rain is falling, and it’s lovely. The thunder is clapping, and it’s thrilling. I’ll lean into that and try again tomorrow.


These entries are inspired by TDH.se

Currently // May 2019: An Absolutely Miserable Month

“May: the lilacs are in bloom. Forget yourself.” 

Marty Rubin

This May didn’t feel at all like May should. I usually look forward to the month since it’s the time of year when the weather gets consistently warm and the summer unofficially begins. May is supposed to be the end of the cold, of struggling, of coping, of having to be so resilient but this May was no such thing. This May turned out to be a nothing but a tease and a trick. It turned out to nothing but more drab and dreary winter.

This May we saw more cloudy, rainy, and cold days than any May I remember before. We even saw a record-breaking snowstorm! And that dreary, depressing, disappointment got right into my soul and I saw more unproductive days in a row than I normally do and anticipated I would. I didn’t meet any of the reading, writing, or learning goals I set for myself and my selfesteem subsequently took a hit. May, all in all, was a most miserable month for me.

And now June has come and with it the fast approaching middle of the year. When it’s over, I’ll have just six months left on the downhill side, the side of a slow decline into winter. I have from now though the arrival of autumn to find something to sustain me through the dreary darkness until spring will arrive again. I’m determined to make the most of it and do whatever I can to make up for May.

I want to hike, to explore, to breathe the smells of spring and summer, to look upon the leaves and flowers, to listen to the birds and to take as much sunshine and joy into me as I can. I want to spend as much time in pools, parks, and bar patios with friends as I can. I want to find happiness and enthusiasm again.

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

Writing blog posts or trying to, still. The problem now is a creeping inferiority complex. Who am I to think my words would add anything at all to the public discourse? Who am I to think I not only know anything at all but that I could help anyone when I so struggle so much myself? I am no one, but I love writing and I have to be true to that passion. I’ve been writing for myself lately, just notes and small bits, and fitting together to form short coherent pieces I’ll begin to share once a week at least this month.

Making centerpieces, signs, playlists, and big wedding decisions. We are down to just over a month and a half to the big day and things are moving fast now. It’s time to make our vision a reality or as sometimes is the case, for reality to finally make a compromising version of our dream. What I mean to say is, wedding planning is fun until you have to start paying for things and sticking to a budget but it’s better if you make things and stretch your dollar further.

Planning what married life might be like, or trying to. We’ve already been together for nearly 17 years now. Our house is already a home and in our hearts, we’ve been a family for a very long time, but we still wonder what if anything will change for us once we sign that license and change our names. We wonder if there is some higher or hidden aspect to living life together that we haven’t yet seen. We worry about what new challenges we will face or what changes each of us might yet go through. I’m trying to imagine the worst and to plan for it but we’ve already weathered so many storms it hard to picture what ellse is on the way. I’m sure we’ve survived the worst but also terrified worse is on the way.

Reading James Baldwin’s Notes of a Native Son. I’m not sure if I could this as “reading” since it was my first audiobook, but Goodreads does and I suppose that is good enough for me. I’ve always struggled with audiobooks (and ebooks too) but I think the fact that this was a collection of essays made it much easier to follow than a book of fiction. It was like listening to a podcast. I still plan to buy a physical copy in the future, one in which I can underline my favorite passages and argue in the margins but all in all it was a good experience. I’m also reading Notes from Underground, The Double and Other Stories by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, still, but I am making progress, slow excursiating progress.

Watching Chernobyl on HBO, a heart-wrenching and fascinating dramatization of the 1986 nuclear disaster. I finished Game of Thrones and am so disappointed by ending I refuse to even discuss it. I finished season 2 of the BBC’s spy thriller Killing Eve and loved it. I also liked Hulu’s adaptation of Joseph Heller’s dark comedy Catch-22 though I admit it is lacking when compared to the novel. I’m planning to start the Netflix mini-series inspired by the central park jogger case, When They See Us, tonight and I’m looking forward to the return of Hulu’s Handmaid’s Tale, Netflix’s Black Mirror, and HBO’s Big Little Lies in the coming weeks too.

Learning nothing. I have fallen behind in my learning goals. I’ll have to reset my deadline for International Women’s Health and Human Rights and find the time to begin again with Modern and Contemporary Poetry. The problem is one essay, just one simple essay that I am too afraid to write and submit and get a bad review on. For now I think I will move on and take another course rather than continue to stall and fall further behind. My goal was to finish at least 7 massive open online courses by the end of 2019 and I don’t want to lose my momentum or enthusiasm over a course I am not paying for and can begin anew whenever I feel ready.

Feeling overwhelmed, worried, down. I’m not sure what is going on or why I feel like this, or how to stop feeling like this. I know it’s understandable with the wedding, and work, and having a chronic illness but part of me believes I should be able to cope better than this. It should be so hard to keep up, to keep moving, or to keep making progress. It shouldn’t be so hard to do the things I love, the things I’m excited about and the things I know will help me feel better. So why am I struggling so much?

Anticipating a lot more stress. This summer I’ll be working a lot fewer hours than I’m used to which means less money coming in during a time when I need it the most. I’m worried by the time school starts again we’ll be in the hole and regretting not just the money spent on the wedding but the money I wasn’t able to make because I couldn’t work as much and because I’m spending time doing so many other things that don’t make money at all. There are also our property taxes that will force our mortgage payment up, and income tax benefits we weren’t able to get this year, and what we may owe next year. It’s been a long time since we’ve worried about money but I fear that old stress is waiting for us just up ahead.

Reflecting on how it feels not just to be getting older myself but to watch my entire community of family and friends, and the celebrities and public figures I have grown up with grow old with me too. My youngest sister graduated from high school this month and now none of us are children anymore. We are adults with stories to tell a new generation of sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, who are living in what feels to me like a whole new world, connected to mine yes, but different too in ways I’m not always sure I understand. I’ve up until now focused on the way that time passing has affected me but I’m beginning to notice that time passes everywhere all around me too. The city is changing, technology, entertainment, and culture are changing too. Everything is always changing. It’s exciting, sad, and scary all at once.

Fearing the future of abortion rights, gay rights, and the rights of immigrants and people of color in this country. Everything we feared would come to pass has slowly been becoming a terrible reality but the only thing worse than fearing what you can imagine is knowing the is worse that you cannot. So much that I thought would never happen and more I couldn’t even imagine has too and I grow increasing fearful of what I cannot fathom. I’ve had to turn off the news more and more and distance myself from what I feel I cannot control. I feel guilty to have the privilege of ignorance when I choose it and I know that in order to go on living with myself I will have be stronger, do more, and give more.

Hating that no matter how things change they never change fast enough. I hate that sometimes it feels frustratingly like nothing has changed at all. The days pass, we make progress; we move forward, experience, choose, and change, but it all just keeps coming back around again and again. THe same struggles, the same mistakes, the same lack of courage and imagination. Human beings, as a whole, I believe, are stunted and stuck. We won’t be forever, I think, I hope, but I know in my lifetime we’re going to go on fucking it all up. We’re going to go on fucking up the planet, killing each other, oppressing each other, and wasting the lives, talent, and potential of every one of our lives. I hate it. I really fucking hate it.

Loving everything about life right now. I love my fiance, my home, my family, my friends, my job, my city, and increasingly my country and myself. Nothing is perfect, and a lot is messed up, and painful, and bad, but it’s life and I do, despite it all, love life. I love living and I enjoy helping others love life too. I love laughter, discovery, connection, progress (however slow), and the experience of every single day even the bad ones, even the cold, dreary, depressing ones. I love my messy contradictions and my never ending struggle to find meaning and fulfillment. I love that nothing makes sense and I love that nothing much really matters. Being alive, being a person is hard, and I love it all, every minute and moment.

Needing to stay focused. I think I need a little less time online and a little more time with the good old, tried-and-true analog ways of doing things. I need less distraction. I need a schedule, a timer, and a to-do list. I need to make time, to sit my ass in the chair, and to create rather than curate. I need to get away from the T.V. and sometimes I need to get away from people too. I’m distracted constantly. I’m always doing anything but what I should be, what I deep down want to be.

Hoping that can find, and keep, my sense of enthusiasm and excitement again. It’s summer now, finally, my favorite season of the year and I do not want to miss it because I was too stressed, too tired, too overwhelmed and afraid to make the most of it. I’m hoping I can find the energy to give myself some tough love and a swift kick in the ass as needed to get up, get moving, and get out of the house for more than just work. I know that no matter how hard it is I’ll feel better for it and I just need to keep telling myself that.


So, yeah, all in all, May was actually not as bad as I’m making it out to be. There were good days. There were warm days. There were good writing days and good reading days. There was good news and progress was made. It’s just hard to look past the failures and the stroms to see it all but that’s why I write these, to get a better view of the past, of where I am, and where I hope to go.

But what about you? How has the unofficial start of the summer found you? What progress have you made? What obstacles have you come up against? Are you looking forward to the middle of the year or dreading it? What kind of year is 2019 turning out to be?

Let me know in the comments.

“And then, one fairy night, May became June.”

The Beautiful and Damned, F. Scott Fitzgerald


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

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

151 // I Wanted Time

The weeks keep getting away from me. It’s only just hit me that come tomorrow we will be in a whole new month! May was kind of awful but I’m not excited to have it over with so soon. I wanted time to make it better but I’m forced to leave it as it lays.

I am ready for the weekend though. We’ve got no plans yet which sounds wrong. I just know I should be doing more and by Monday I know I’ll wish I had.

But for now, the weather is gorgeous and I’m off from work early. It’s a good Friday.


These entries are inspired by TDH.se

150 // You are Aging

My work in the house and yard yesterday has worn me out into today, and for the rest of the week, I fear. It’s depressing to no longer be able to recover with a simple good night’s sleep anymore. It’s depressing to realize that while you are not old yet, you are aging. It’s kind of scary too.

I’m thinking again about those health and fitness goals I set and never started and about how warm it’s getting outside and how I could start walking again and maybe I could get back to a point where I wasn’t so easily exhausted.

Is this age, chronic illness and fatigue, or is it just me being lazy and out of shape? Is any of this reversible or is it all downhill no matter what I do?


These entries are inspired by TDH.se

149 // Making Myself Useful

My anxiety is bad today.

I woke up a full hour earlier than my alarm and laid there staring at the walls in the dark and worrying about the wedding. We realized yesterday that, depending on when the reception venue owner will allow us to set up we may have to push our ceremony back 1 hour.

We realized this after the invitations went out with the times already set in stone and after we’ve given a timeline to the planner, the caterer, and now the photographer. I’ve reached out to the planner who will reach out to the venue owner but until I know for sure I cannot get it out of my head, or my body.

I’m tense and nauseous as I always am when I overreact. I’m worrying about adjacent things that I also have no control over including the weather and whether it will rain, or, somehow, worse, it will be miserably hot.

Luckily work is easy. In fact, I went home even earlier than what would be considered early and spent the rest of the day deep cleaning the house for my fiance who is stuck at work under very stressful conditions. This is also what I do when my anxiety is bad and my mind gets stuck. I make myself useful.

If I can’t ease my anxiety, it helps to ease someone else’s.


P.S. She says she loves the clean house, and it made all the difference for me, and her too, I hope.

 

These entries are inspired by TDH.se

148 // Coffee and Ibuprofen

After an awful night’s sleep, I, understandably, woke up feeling awful.

My back hurt, my head hurt, and though I probably could have gotten up and slammed coffee and ibuprofen until I felt well enough to go into work I just wasn’t in the mood to rush my body into it. So, I didn’t. I text the interested parties, rolled over, and went back to sleep.

After my morning nap, I slammed coffee and ibuprofen and tried to write. Of course, I ended up tackling piles of mail and laundry instead, oh well.

Tomorrow I’ll have to return to work, for real this time, but for now, I’m pretending that they always meant my weekend to be four days long. No guilt, no stress, nothing but guilt and relaxation.


P.S. We received some very good news today! Our engagement rings made it all the way back to Australia safe and sound for resizing and are already on their way back to us. I can’t wait to wear mine again!

These entries are inspired by TDH.se