I’ve realized since I started writing these journal posts every night that I have a lot of bad days. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m just a negative person and I’m always focusing on the bad, or if it’s some kind of high-functioning depression maybe? Maybe I’m just so tired, or too sensitive, or maybe I’m in some kind of rut.
Maybe it isn’t a me thing per se but a human thing. Maybe the bad, the sad, the hurtful and the frustrating just have an easier time sticking with people through the end of the day.
Today was another bad day. It was a long, frustrating, and exhausting day. I felt lonely, and irritable, and angry. It was the weather, and the delayed school schedule, and the stupid rules at work. It was nobody I wanted to talk to having time for me and all the people I didn’t want to talk to wasting my time. It was the fatigue, and the joint pain, the cold and the snow. It was the traffic, and the news, and my own stupid mistakes.
But it couldn’t have been all bad. I don’t want to be anyway. I have to get back to seeing the good even on the worst days. I have to get out of this doom and gloom mood!
It was a weird weather day here in Denver, Colorado. We woke to frigid temperatures and a second day in a row of thick fog. The wind picked up just as the morning rush hour began and the freezing fog quickly frosted every tree branch and grass blade. Luckily, the roads stayed dry, but only just until lunchtime when the full brunt of the snowstorm hit us.
I spent most of my day indoors trying to stay warm. I was still upset about yesterday’s trauma when I woke up and by the time I got to work I was in tears.
I think needed a good cry in order to move on. I’m a sensitive person and the only way I can get through anything is to allow my emotions to flow freely and at full force for a time. After the tears stopped I felt better, and even more so later in the day when I heard the city may take tangible steps to prevent this horrible accident from ever repeating.
In the afternoon the snow picked up and murmurs of a possible snow day rippled through my workplace. I don’t think we’ll get one but I’m so thrilled by the idea that I can’t give up hope. An unscheduled day off, one with no expectations, a day unplugged and off the calendar feels like a true blessing.
This morning I witnessed the aftermath of a rather horrific car accident. A child pedestrian was struck by a car while crossing near a busy intersection just moments before we arrived. The scene was pretty upsetting to see.
At first, I didn’t even know what I was seeing. I saw cars stopped and a street light down. I thought I was looking at a terrible but typical car accident. Then I noticed there were a lot of people walking around. Then I saw six or seven people crouched near the sidewalk. Then I saw the small bundle of scrawny limbs awkwardly piled in the gutter. I noticed the backpack and the flower shirt. I noticed a child who wasn’t moving. I wanted to help her. I was getting up to help her…and then the fire truck was there, and we were moving, and it was over.
I returned to work. I did my job. I moved on with my day. I was shaken, but I thought I was fine. I tried to put away the memory of that girl scrunched up in the gutter, but as time passed, I became more and more disturbed by what I had seen. It’s still with me even now, as if I am still caught in that split second between realizing what I was seeing, and deciding what to do.
First responders arrived before I had to make a choice, but I wonder what might have happened if we had arrived just a minute or two sooner. If I had seen the child hit and what I would have found when I ran from my bus with my limited training in first aid and CPR.
I wonder if she is okay? I wonder, are her parents by her side right now? I wonder how her life will be shaped by this moment and how long the memory of her will affect me.
It was a strangely productive day today. I woke up feeling much better than I had when I went to bed and that gave me some hope for the day, but then I was asked to do real work, and that bit of awfulness threatened to ruin my good mood and sap my energy.
Then I remembered, I’m tackling the dreadful with enthusiasm now. A little of spirit got the job done in record time and I was able to move on to the things I wanted to do.
I made it through a few more of Dickinson’s poems. I blasted through some Spanish on Duolingo, and nearly finished week one of Social Norms, Social Change I. Not a ton of writing got done, not in any structured way anyway, but some ideas were sparked and preliminary notes were taken.
I’m hoping tomorrow will be even better, I still made mistakes after all, but for now, I’m simply basking in the afterglow of a good day.
Ending the night in pain. The joint that connects my middle finger to my palm has swollen and the joints in my feet are protesting against my weight.
I’ve taken ibuprofen even though I know I’m not supposed to because it’s the only thing that helps. I’ve got two heating pads going and I’ve put myself to bed early hoping to wake up in a better state.
I’m doing my best to stay strong because know I’m only going to get worse while I wait for financial assistance from the new drug company. I’ve got my fingers crossed for that phone call sometime this week.
Damn, it’s depressing to grow old while you’re still so young.
Today was one of those good and bad days. Not in between, but both at the same time. The day appeared to be all bad, or at least very bad from my cozy place in the corner of my couch, but after a good meal and a chance to rest quietly, I can see there was actually a whole lot more good than bad.
The good news is we may have made some very significant progress in wedding planning but rather than being relieved I just feel newly overwhelmed, anxious, and afraid. With every step we take a cascade of decisions must be made after. Everything I do means I must do other more difficult and expensive things next. There is so much that can go wrong and have a talent for finding the most devastating ways of screwing things up.
My littlest sister—younger by 15 years!—had to give me a pep-talk and her enthusiasm, faith, and humor have energized and emboldened me.
So yes, looking back, it was a good day, but afterward, hoping to keep the good time going, we decided to go clothes shopping and that was a bad idea. Long story short, my self-esteem didn’t survive, hence the need for the cozy corner on the couch, the quiet rest, and an early bedtime.
This year’s resolutions are on a staggard schedule. This month I’m beginning my resolution to start taking some Open Online Courses.
My goal is simply to go on learning all my life, always in new ways and ways under new topics. I’m not looking for certificates, or to advance my career, right now. I want to use more of my brain and to broaden my horizons. I want to learn how to think better and about more than just my work and my writing. I want to learn how to learn, that is all.
And who knows, maybe it will lead to something bigger down the road. Maybe I will finally make up my mind and gather up the courage to enroll in a degree program and embark on a whole new journey in life.
It was one of those days that contains a little of everything in your life. It was the kind of day that before you had actually lived it you never would have described as perfect, or good, or remarkable in any way. If it weren’t for this post forcing me to stop and think about it, I may have forgotten the day entirely by tomorrow.
But thinking about it now, there was good that felt really good and the kind of bad you feel proud to fight through and overcome. It was quite the battle, the struggle, and the victory. There was love, there was a little bit of tragedy, and there is even a happy ending too.
Today, it turns out, was actually kind of epic and beautiful. Maybe every day is?
The beginning of anything is always the longest part and 2019 is no exception. January has taken so long to conclude that the end managed to sneak up and surprise me. I almost forgot about February. I had begun to believe this month might never end and that my time would never run out.
I was lulled into laziness, I admit. Only half of my resolutions survived, though I expected as much and resolved in advance to renew them every month as needed. January ends with plenty of failures but none of the usual disappointment.
I’m choosing, on this last day of the first month of the year, to spend my energy contemplating the next. I’m looking for a new strategy, a new way forward. I’m talking myself up and back from the ledge. Do not give up, the future is still bright and full of possibility. There is so much left to do and plenty of time (though less than you might think) to do it in. There is still plenty of time left to change.
So, I’m moving forward and leaving January, and all it’s half starts and stresses, behind. February, a month of love, of self-love and self-starts, is finally here.
But first, here is what I am…
Writing much more but also less. I’m definitely writing more per day but my writing feels less substantial. I’m ok with this, for now. and hoping that quantity will lead to quality this second go around. I’m happy so far with my accidental commitment to posting daily. I never meant to start but once I did I couldn’t bring myself to break the chain. I’m going to keep it up, but I may tweak the format. I started this vlog with the intention of logging and storing my thoughts in the hopes that later I can pull a project or two out of the archives, so it makes sense to start using it as a sort of “topic journal” with revolving categories I post under in addition to the ordinary life updates.
As for Zen and Pi, it’s coming back I promise. I have so many ideas for it but lack the talent, knowledge, or courage to begin. Please don’t give up on me. It will happen, as soon as I can make it happen.
Making a new journal! Last year I completed a couple of small bookbinding projects one of which was a black Moleskine-style notebook with bright fuschia paper with alternating lined, plain, dot, grid, triangle, and hexagon ruling. Well, that journal is finally just about filled up and I’m ready to take what I learned from the last project and make a brand new one. I’m still planning and gathering supplies, so I’ve purchased a proper Moleskine to use until the new and improved DIY one is finished.
Planning the wedding, still. Progress has been made but we’re are in a serious time crunch now. I’m still excited for the big day, but it’s taking so long to plan that the magic has somewhat worn off. After the price tag shock, the hard choices about your guest list, and all the compromises you make on your vision for the day you begin to feel rather disillusioned. Soon, very soon, you are more stressed than excited and nothing you do feels like it’s for you anymore. I know I’ll feel differently when the big day comes, but right now I’m looking forward to it less and less.
Anticipating a very busy, and very exciting February. I can’t tell you all of the details yet but looking at my February calendar I get the feeling I’ll start climbing out of this winter depression I’ve been in since the New Year’s in no time. I’m going to get out with friends. I’m going to see the ballet. I’m going to take a trip. I’m going to enjoy some good food, and celebrate love, love, love!
Reading a lot! I finished six books in January, a new record for me. I’m currently on The Collected Poems of Emily Dickenson. I started a few days ago and I can already tell this one is going to take me a good long while. Her poems are short but I cannot read through them quickly. No, I’ve already been obsessively researching each and every poem and writing lengthy notes in the margins. So far, I’ve gotten through 12 poems out of…146. Which is why I am also reading Candide by the philosopher Voltaire. I needed a quick book to get through to keep my reading goals to track.
WatchingTrue Detective on HBO which has returned to the formula of their first season success, and Shameless on Showtime which is spiraling out of control as usual. I’m also watching a lot of mindless TV while I wait for the Spring premiers. I’m watching shows I’m barely even entertained by just to have something on. I watch them because I’m bored but I’m planning on watching a lot less for a while. All that boredom should be put to good use, don’t you think?
Feeling stressed and depressed, my usual state. It’s strange the way that happiness and hope can coexist quite comfortably alongside anxiety, frustration, and grief. I’m happy, but I’m sad a lot of the time too. I’m beyond tired and longing for something. A change I guess, but one I get to make on my terms. I want to finally start living a life that looks little more like the dreams in my head. I want to have some control and I want to be excited again.
Fearing our great collective uncertain future. More and more I have had to turn off and tune out the news, Every time things seem like they couldn’t get worse they do and these very big bad things begin to affect the very small and personal. The government shutdown, the shootings, climate change, Brexit, Venezuela, and the unofficial start to the 2020 Presidential election have me on edge and feeling angry, defenseless, and hopeless. I’m afraid that we are really seeing the beginning of the end of an era for America.
Reflecting on my resolutions, the ways I have failed and the ways I’d like to try again. There have been a few successes. I didn’t have one sip of alcohol all month and I cut my sugar intake drastically. I posted here every single night. I read 6 books toward my 30 book goal for the year. I did a lot but I didn’t start working out. I failed to write anything outside of this blog. I didn’t start any free courses, and I didn’t start drawing in my art journal. I’m not disappointed though. I know I have a lot of things I want to do and only so many hours in a day. But I do want to do more and that takes looking at what is working, what isn’t working, and finding creative ways to change.
Needing courage, always courage. The courage to look foolish. The courage to learn. The courage to fail and the courage to stand up to myself most of all. I’m distracted and tired, but I’m also lying to myself. I know deep down it’s all just a coping mechanism to avoid the things I am afraid of. I need the courage to tell myself to focus, to write, even when there is nothing to say. The words will come if I am strong and brave, I have to believe that.
Learning Spanish, still, and getting better and better all the time. I cannot sing the praises of the Duolingo app loud or long enough. I’ve been using it for a couple of years now and while I don’t expect to become fluent from a free phone app, I have noticed that I am grasping the basics well and retaining and recalling more and more words. I’m hoping to attempt a short book in Spanish by the end of the year.
Hating the taboo of hate. I’ve been thinking a lot about people’s reaction to my hatred of things, ideas, values, certain norms and structures of society, events, and people. I’m told that hatred is too strong of an emotion. The word shocks and disgusts. Hatred, it seems, is no longer an acceptable feeling and has become a forbidden word. People tell me that they “do not hate anyone or anything”. They tell me I should not, could not, hate anyone or anything either. I may dislike. I may disapprove. I may not understand, but I may not, apparently, hate. I’m not here to encourage hate. I only know that I feel it, naturally, and I am not about to dismiss or deny it on the word of others.
Loving a whole lot of little things. When a lot of very big things—both worldly and personally—start going wrong we can become overwhelmed. We can become blinded by our stress, and anxiety, and grief and we can forget that there is happiness and good all around us too. But if you take a moment and do the math you may find that all those very little good things equal or outweigh all that very big bad.
For example, I love the way my friends ask me every day how I am. I love that I get to work with kids who always make me smile even when I don’t want to. I love the blonde vanilla latte at Starbucks, books that make me cry, perfectly ripe pears, and eating at least one vegetarian meal every week. I love how happy my dog is to see me when I get home and the way my cat meows and taps me politely to ask for pets. I love phone calls from my mom, my little sister asking me for advice, and the way my brother’s baby looks just like him. I love cooking dinner with my girlfriend at the end of the day, and how after all this time we still stay up too late because there is so much we want to say. I love how lucky I am, how rich I have become in all the ways a person can love. I love my life. I love how suddenly the big bad things don’t seem so big or bad.
Hoping that we, as a country, as the United States of America, can continue to weather this President and his ignorant and divisive rhetoric. I hope that everyone out there is coping well and that we can all just hang on a little longer. We’ve passed the halfway point and we’ve elected enough Democrats that there is some small check on his power. Not as much as I’d like, but we’re in a better place than we were a year ago and in two years I hope we’ll be in a better place, a place built on truth and compassion.
So, yeah, all in all, this January was a good beginning. I don’t want to think of the month as an isolated time frame that has begun and ended but rather a part of something much larger and in that light, I can let it go with satisfaction. I can move past all the “what if’s” to “what now”?
But what about you? How are your resolutions holding up? How is your city —and your mental state—faring through the cold? Where will you go from here while there is still so much time left to change?
Let me know in the comments.
“January. It was all things. And it was one thing, like a solid door. Its cold sealed the city in a gray capsule. January was moments, and January was a year. January rained the moments down, and froze them in her memory: […] Every human action seemed to yield a magic. January was a two-faced month, jangling like jester’s bells, crackling like snow crust, pure as any beginning, grim as an old man, mysteriously familiar yet unknown, like a word one can almost but not quite define.”
I can’t believe we’re not even halfway through the week yet, and this godforsaken month seems determined not to end. Why don’t the weeks of April through October ever feel this long? I suppose times slows to a crawl when you’re miserable.
I spent most of the day dealing with medical professionals, staff, and drug companies. There was good news, or, rather, there was information which did help put my mind at ease. But, moving forward with new treatment means a battery of new tests and appointments and it also means more anxiety. I’m trying my best here but it’s hard.
So, tonight I came home, claimed a corner of the couch as my own, wrapped myself in my comfiest blanket, and let my girlfriend know that is where she could find me for the rest of the night. Tomorrow I’ll be strong again, but tonight I’m a mess, and that’s okay.