122 // It Feels Like Friday

The sun came out today, finally. My mood is better but I still feel like being alone. I think I’ll need more time, and more warmth and fresh air, before I’m more like myself again.

Tomorrow many of our schools are out and that means many of my coworkers will be staying home. It’ll be quiet and since I’m already so close to overtime I shouldn’t have to do anything extra at all. Tomorrow is planned for me.

With so many people getting a 3-day weekend it feels like Friday around here. It feels happier, more hopeful, friendly. People are optimistic, more willing to to share and to say a kind word. We’re prone to laughter and excited to see one another again come Monday.

These entries are inspired by Thord D. Hedengren

121 // Fewer Regrets

Today went by way too fast. I feel I hardly had time to do today’s work and then to catch up on yesterday’s work before it was time to start on tomorrow’s work!

There wasn’t time for me to write or to read or to make progress on my courses. I cannot wait until after tomorrow when things will die down again…maybe. Now that I think about it, I think next week is supposed to be just as busy.

I’m doing better at night though. My new rule is I can watch one show, maybe two, but never three. I have to check my to-do list, write at least a journal post, work on my courses if there is time, and read for 30 minutes before bed. Making time in the evening to make up for time lost in the day is a relief. It means I go to bed with fewer regrets and a little less to worry about.

These entries are inspired by Thord D. Hedengren

120 // Today’s Mistakes

I’m loving my new workspace more and more every day. I have more choice about who I interact with and how my time is used or wasted. I can do my work in quiet and when I want to socialize, I can walk back over to my old area and do my old thing. So far though, I haven’t felt the need.

My new work building is filled with too many snacks. I’ve made myself sick with rice crispy treats, donuts, and a full ream of Ritz crackers because I lack any kind of willpower. Now just thinking about food is making my gut wrench. I’ll try my best to keep down a bowl of coconut noodle soup and then I’ll put myself to bed before my body has a chance to (violently) reject today’s mistakes.

These entries are inspired by Thord D. Hedengren

Currently // April 2019: Showing Myself Some Appreciation

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.” 

― T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land

April is my favorite month despite its unpredictable weather and its many obligations. In fact, it’s my favorite month because of its unpredictability and its obligations. There may still be blizzards and dreary days but April brings sunshine, warmth, and the first thunderstorms of the year too and the obligations are all self-imposed. April is my birthday month and I insist on making the most of it, even if I’m the one who has to make all the plans.

This year I spent my big day at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science perusing the new Leonardo da Vinci exhibit with my fiance and that night we steamed crab legs and grilled artichokes for dinner. Other memorable moments included a night out eating Hawaiian barbeque and book shopping with my youngest sister and an Easter/birthday brunch with my mom, my sister, my brother and his family. I had a wonderful dinner with my dad and his wife too and there is still a big bash planned with friends in the coming weeks.

April is more than just a birthday month to me though. It is also a month of hope. It is the true month of love, of fresh starts, of new beginnings, for me anyway, usually, and at first, this month was all of that, but things changed very quickly. Mid-month I lost my motivation and fell back into old ways. I fell back into a kind of winter where gray skies loomed and the cold froze my bones where I lay.

Perhaps that is the nature of the season, though, particularly in this part of the world, where spring isn’t all sunshine and gentle rain showers. Here, spring is just a time when winter and summer agree to alternate days. Here, in April, there were days I could love, days I could come alive and begin, and days when I was lulled back into hibernation.

And now May has come, the month when the year has become what it is going to be and there is nothing left to do but wait for its end. There are more surprises to come, sure, but the time for radical change has ended. In May we begin to grow from where we have fallen.

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

Writing notes. I’m so focused on simply learning right now that there hasn’t been time to gather my thoughts into something organized, coherent, and wholly my own, yet. I have drafts of essays, posts, and larger poems too but I work on them in starts and stops in piecemeal and without clear direction. I feel I can’t move forward without knowing more so I’m pursuing facts, perspectives, noting the ways they resonate, connect, and inspire me and make that the basis of my new work. I’m still keeping a journal, though even that needs to be done better. 

Making up for lost time. This month’s productivity was marred by more than a week of depression-like symptoms. I was fatigued, irritable, and unmotivated. I stopped enjoying the things I normally love to do and my sense of self-worth plummeted. As a result, nearly nothing was accomplished. I’m trying not to feel too down about it or be too hard on myself and instead focus on what I can do now to make it up and make it right.

Planning my wedding and not much else. There isn’t room for anything else! With the big day less than three months away we are really panicking now. We’re terrified and excited. We’re worried that nothing will be done in time and that the result won’t be what we hoped. The goals for this month are to complete rentals, attire, and plan for our out-of-town guests. We met with a planner too with the hopes that she can take some of the weight off of our minds and point us in the right direction when we get lost.

Anticipating summer vacation. We have less than a month until school is out and even though I still have to work and I still have to plan a wedding to plan the work will get easier and the wedding will get closer and closer to done. Plus, since the kids will be off I’ll get to spend my days doing new and different kinds of work and staving off boredom and burnout. I’ll get to meet the kids again come August with renewed enthusiasm and energy. 

Reading Notes from Underground, The Double and Other Stories by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. This book has been a real pain to get through and has set me back pretty far from where I hoped to be in my 2019 reading goal by now. It isn’t that I don’t like the book. It’s just not a fun read. It’s tiresome and monotonous. There aren’t any stunning setting descriptions or compelling bits of dialog, but there are some important ideas I want to understand. So I’m not giving up and hopefully by this time next month I’ll have finished and moved well on.

Watching a lot of shows, unfortunately. April was a month of big T.V. premieres which means too much time spent on the couch watching: Season 2 of The OA on Netflix, a science fiction/supernatural story about a blind girl who returns to her hometown years after being kidnapped with her sight restored to embark on a strange mission with 5 new friends, Killing Eve, a British drama about a budding obsession between an MI5 agent and the psychotic assassin she’s tasked with bringing to justice, oh, and Game of Thrones on HBO, of course, a sprawling fantasy about the fictional world of Westeros and the fight to sit on the iron throne and rule the seven kingdoms, and Veep, also on HBO, a comedy that follows Vice President Selina Meyer and her incompetent staff as they campaign and scheme to win the Presidency.

Learning about Modern and Contemporary Poetry and International Women’s Health and Human Rights a harder course with actual assignments that I am already falling behind on. I only have one short essay to write on which of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are most impacted by the education of young girls. It’s not hard really but I am over thinking it and avoiding it because I’m afraid to fail. It’s as simple and as hard as that.

Feeling anxious, all the time but I’m not sure there is anything I can do about it. Perhaps there is nothing I want to about it. I’m breathing. I’m sleeping. I’m taking care of myself. I’m using lists to keep track of what I need to do and reminding myself that the worst case scenario is never that bad. I’m asking for help when I need it and letting people know how I am. I’m doing my best but no matter what I do I can’t change who I am and who I am is just an anxious person. I’m someone who freaks out, who worries. I’m someone who only knows how to live this way and I’m not sure I’d like a version of me that wasn’t like this.

Reflecting on my 2019 failures thus far of which there have been plenty. I haven’t started exercising. I haven’t written anything of interest. I haven’t made any progress on my book project. I haven’t started a daily drawing habit. I haven’t done over half of the things I set out to do and I’d like to work out why. I’d like to figure out if I’m setting myself up for failure by trying to do too much or if there is some fundamental problem with my day-to-day routine that I am not seeing. I have a feeling it is a bit of both but rather than guessing I would really like to document and then examine every hour, every minute, of how I am spending my life.

Fearing what my life will be like after the wedding. Married life will be a breeze I am sure considering that we’ve already been together almost 17 years and living together for over 15 of those. No, what I am afraid of is simply what comes next. What will we do with our days if we aren’t stressing anymore over this event? We’ve been engaged for so long I’m afraid of the boredom, the contentment, the void that will come after. I’m afraid both of what big life changes we’ll turn our attention to next, and of having no big life changes to make. I’m sure though that there is plenty we could come up with: career changes, college, a new house, kids?

Hating work. I don’t mean that I hate my job. As far as jobs go mine is a good one, not to stressful, not too physically demanding, and highly rewarding compared to others. I like my job but having to have any job at all is kind of a drag, you know? I don’t mind work when I am in the mood for work but work doesn’t work that way. Work wants you there every day on their terms. I wish I had more flexibility. I wish I had more say. I wish I had more days for me, you know? And when I look around at my coworkers, and think about all the people in the world who are probably working worse job and longer hours with more pressure and discomfort I feel enraged by the hours of life we all have to give away before we can afford a basic level of happiness, comfort, and dignity.

Loving myself. I’ll always be a little depressed, a little anxious, and I’ll always have a hard time with myself, but this life, this body, this history, this future, this potential, and yes, even all this pain is all I have. I have to love it. I have to be grateful for it, and I truly, truly am. This April marked 34 years around the sun and like every April I’ve spent on this Earth I celebrated that victory with my whole heart. I let myself be joyous and I let myself be loved. I demanded it! I deserved it. Life is hard and I earn every year I get and I show myself some appreciation for all that effort.

Needing my friends. The over 30 life means having finally established real and deep friendships with people who are open, generous, and kind but who have busy schedules, family obligations, and workplace burn out and fatigue, the same as you. They have lives to live, things to do, and sleep to catch up on and it never fails that once they are able to make the time you are in the midst of your own obligations, errands, events, and crises and when you are ready, they are back in the shit again. Around and around you go and no matter how much you try or how much you all miss one another there never seems to be more than one or two open evenings to get together a year.

Hoping that I can just keep on going. I read Austin Kleon’s newest book Keep Going and like all self-help and advice type books; it told me what I already knew and gave me permission to do what I already longed to and now I hope I can just do it every single day. I’m hoping that doing the work daily—even when I’m aren’t sure what the work is or what I’m working toward—will lead me to the place I need to be. I get bogged down worrying about marketing, monetization, followers, and content and I can’t ever move forward because deep down I know that is not what I care about. I hope I can follow my passion first, day in and day out, and all the rest will come after when I’m ready.

So, yeah, all in all, April was a wonderful month, I knew it would be because it always is. No matter what goes wrong April reminds be to be grateful I’m alive. I’m honestly sad to move on to May, a month, like March, that falls in-between. A month of boredom and anxiety as I move on from celebrating the self and wait for the summer months when I truly come alive.

But what about you? How did April treat you? Are the cherry blossoms and the tulips blooming where you are? What are you looking forward to in May? What are you looking forward to after? How are you coping with the passing of time and the middle of the year approaching so quickly?

Let me know in the comments.

“April is over, April is over. There are all kinds of love in the world, but never the same love twice.” 

F. Scott Fitzgerald

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

Photo by Irina Iriser on Unsplash

119 // Monday Gloom Again

The weather patterns are repeating favoring us with gorgeous weekends and exacting the price in gloomy Monday mornings. This is the second gray Monday in a row but I’m determined to be more productive than I was the last.

I spent most of the day finishing up post drafts here and printing a fresh new editorial calendar to fill out for Zen and Pi. I did a few work things, sent a few faxes, and filed a few packets, and at least one wedding thing was accomplished.

It was a good reading day. I finally made it past page 100 of Notes from Underground, The Double and Other Stories by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. And it was a good learning day too, though I’m already behind in International Women’s Health and Human Rights. I got around to outlining a short essay assignment and plan to finish writing the piece tomorrow morning, maybe, hopefully.

Not bad for gray clouds and gloom I think.

These entries are inspired by Thord D. Hedengren

118 // Pop Culture Mourning

I join others across social media platforms in mourning our pop culture losses between Avengers: Endgame and The Battle of Winterfell on Game of Thrones this weekend.

It’s amazing how we come to be so attached to these fictional characters. They can come to be our best friends, our younger siblings, we can even come to love them as we love ourselves. We wish we could know them, be them, help and comfort them. Even the ones we hate can command our respect and even their loses leave voids.

What’s stranger is that these stories will go on and that we will still watch, riveted and thrilled, filled with some small guilt we have no name for.

These entries are inspired by Thord D. Hedengren

If We Were Having Coffee // I Wasn’t Myself at All

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

We’re meeting a little late today because I had an early morning coffee meeting with a potential wedding planner and afterward we made the rounds to all the thrift stores near us in search of wedding decor items and ideas. It was a good trip out. We found some neat things to use in our centerpieces and the weather was absolutely gorgeous. I’m glad we were able to soak it up before a cold front settles in tomorrow.

I’m home now and ready for another cup of cold brew and another conversation! So, please, pull up and chair and fill up a cup. Let’s talk about last week.

“If it wasn’t for the coffee, I’d have no identifiable personality whatsoever.”

— David Letterman

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the highlight of my week was definitely seeing Avengers: Endgame Friday night. Actually, Friday as a whole was a good day all in all. Work was low-key, but I was much more productive than the four days before combined.

A couple of months ago I moved into a new office area but since I’m not great with change, I’ve still been hanging around my old workspace but on Friday I decided to give the new space a real chance and pledged to spend all my working hours there. It turns out the new space, though far away from my favorite coworkers, is much brighter, more comfortable, and much, much quieter. I’m looking forward to doing more work there and maybe using the space for writing and reading on my breaks too.

After work, we went directly to my fiance’s little brother’s ROTC award ceremony. It’s always interesting to see how disciplined these kids are and to hear how hard they’ve worked over the year. No matter what your feelings about the military or their role in our schools it’s hard not to admire them. I’m proud to say that my future little brother-in-law earned a leadership award from the Order of the Purple Heart!

After the award ceremony, we went out for a date night dinner at our favorite little sushi place, drank too much sake, and walked across the parking lot to sit for three hours through the what might be the best Marvel movie ever released. Avengers: Endgame is so worth the time and money to go see. It was exciting, heartbreaking, and offered just enough closure that we can all walk away feeling ready for whatever the studio is planning next.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the rest of the week wasn’t very good. Nothing bad happened but I was feeling rather down and irritable. I felt exhausted and no matter how much I slept or how much coffee I drank I couldn’t seem to crawl out of the fatigue. I didn’t want to do anything or talk to anyone. I just wasn’t myself at all.

So, it was a bad writing week, a bad reading week, and a bad learning week. I’ve fallen behind in just about every goal I set for the month and I have no idea how I’m going to pep-talk myself into catching up.

Unfortunately, next week will be a busy one and unless I take real steps back toward discipline and focus, I will only fall farther behind. I may have to deactivate Facebook for a while and schedule my Twitter time to keep me out of the time-sucking social media holes that feel so good whenever I feel this down. I’m going to spend this evening working out some concrete goals and daily to-dos to make procrastination harder.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the rest of the weekend was much better than the week before. Saturday we did the first part of all the weekend wedding shopping we’d planned. We were all over town and it was a little disappointing to find so many stores out of or missing the things we’d envisioned. Buying online means more selection but I prefer shopping in stores so I can see what I am getting.

I was able to finally settle on a suit, though I will have to get it tailored so that I don’t look like a child in it. It’s so hard being a woman who presents just masculine of center. There aren’t enough gender-neutral wedding suits for queers like me in the world.

It’d be easier if I was taller, or less feminine shaped, but the reality of my body doesn’t match the vision of who I am inside so shopping can be a frustrating and depressing endeavor. Luckily I have the very best girlfriend in the world and through her support and positivity, we found something I could live with.

We were supposed to go out Saturday night for a belated birthday celebration but part of being over thirty in this culture and economy means having close friends whose schedules are always clear when yours is full and full when yours is empty. We’ve been trying to get together for months now and every time I think we’re all going to be able to make it something comes up. We’re planning to try again two weekends from now.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the savory smells from the kitchen are telling me dinner is on the way and the long shadows from the west windows are warning me that it’s time to go. I have to get another load of laundry in and get ready for the Battle of Winterfell on Game of Thrones.

I hope that you had a good week. I hope you were productive but I also hope you rested too. I hope the weather is warm wherever you are and that you were able to get out and soak up the sun. I hope you did a thing or two just for you and that you know that you are worth more than what you offer others.

Until next time. 

Little Things // Sunni Colón

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

Photo by Fernando Hernandez on Unsplash

117 // The Outside World

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come more and more to enjoy being cooped up home. I like the quiet. I like the routine. I like being in a space that I control, that belongs to me, that is safe but some days—when I am forced to leave the house—I am reminded that being outside and among people can feel really good too.

A simple shopping trip, a drive downtown, even a walk around the block can be full of little happiness and surprises. The sun certainly feels good and even other people on some level provide a kind of comfort. I’m reminded of what society and community feel like. I’m reminded that I am part of something and the world, my world, goes on beyond me and my driveway.

The season is changed. Winter has become spring and though it doesn’t always feel like it, it’s time for me to change too. It’s time to move from isolation and introspection to exploration and extroversion.

These entries are inspired by Thord D. Hedengren

116 // No Matter How Bad They Start

I woke up just as fatigued, anxious, and irritable as I have all week but it’s nearly afternoon now and things have since improved. Since then, the sun has come up, the air has warmed, there’s been reason to smile and time has passed getting me closer to the weekend, a dinner date, and Avengers: Endgame.

It’s Friday and no matter how bad they start, they almost always end up being good days.

These entries are inspired by Thord D. Hedengren

115 // By Tomorrow

The headache is back, and the bad mood. In my body’s defense, I have not done a good job of caring for it. I slept better last night but still not well. I’ve been eating junk and not drinking enough water. I’ve been relying on coffee and ibuprofen again, two things I’m supposed to be limiting.

The day was bad enough, but the evening only got worse. We ran late. I was in pain. Things went wrong and nothing felt right. Bad mood chafed against bad mood until a small argument broke out. It’s bedtime now and things are better but hurt feelings still linger and I imagine we’ll both fall asleep with regrets tonight. By tomorrow we’ll know love again. We always do.

These entries are inspired by Thord D. Hedengren