Currently // November 2019: A Month of Waiting for What Comes Next

“The world is tired, the year is old,
The faded leaves are glad to die…” 

Sara Teasdale, “November”

Time flows strangely in November. The month passes slowly and then all at once it is here and gone and over. It is a month of waiting for what comes next. The time is spent in a joyous and terrible state of anticipation and anxiety waiting for the holiday rush and stress to begin. At the end we are in worked up into such a frenzy we can barely think. We gorge ourselves, indulge ourselves, we’re drunk and merry and tired, and still waiting, still waiting, on what more December will bring.

And while we were warm and waiting, merry and full inside, the beauty of autumn passed and the dreary and drab look of cold and death settled over the world. November is when winter really begins to dominate, to show it’s strength, to lash out in a strange insecurity. Soon it will settle, when it no longer fears the return of summer’s warmth nor the hope of spring’s return. Soon we will all settle into a duality of happiness and hopelessness.

I am doing my best this year not to let that cold hopelessness seep into my bones. I’m brining the memory of summer with me and letting it warm me whenever I begin to feel low. November need not be all waiting. This year I wrote, and I read, I got out into the world more than most Novembers. I found much to be grateful for and let my accomplishments outshine my failures. I learned not to let the snow or the freezing temperatures keep me down. I found beauty in the season and I hope to find beauty in the next too.

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

Writing every single day. This month I read Ray Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing and I was reminded what it felt like to both take my writing seriously and to have fun with it. I was reminded of when I used to wake up in the middle of the night to jot down ideas and how excited I was to share them no matter how ugly or jarring my words were. I miss simply enjoying the work. I miss considering it work! So, going forward I am refocused. I am not thinking of what a writer should be, or even of the writer I want to be. I am simply being the writer I am right now. I’m writing what is in my head and heart now, what excites me now, what feels good to finally say, right now.

Making cut up and blackout poems and collages, still. I had stopped last month thinking that these little pieces I created were rather pointless and dumb but my wife has convinced me otherwise recently so I am back at it. This month I cleaned up my side of the “creativity room” separated my space into a writing space on one side and an art space on the other. Going forward it’ll be easier for me to slip into “art mode” and to share more of my work in the coming year as it improves.

Planning for the new year. The last month of the year begins tomorrow and I think the best use of the days leading up to 2020 are to spend them figuring out my goals, priorities, expectations, and obstacles. I want to have clear ideas for projects and at least a basic idea of the steps to take, how to spend my time, and what to do when I fall behind. I want to take my failures and their lessons with me next year but not as baggage. I want to see my weakness clearly and plan how I might overcome my most disappointing and persistent shortcoming going forward.

Reading The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Moral Letters to Lucilius: Volume 1 by Seneca. I’m almost done with both actually and in addition to finishing Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky, The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, and, as I already mentioned, Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury, plus the two more for December: Ethics by Baruch Spinoza and The Plague by Albert Camus, should put me just 10 books behind my 2019 goal. That’s a lot but I’m choosing to focus on the good. I have read more books every year than the last and 2019 is my best year yet. I know I can hit my goals in 2020.

Watching The Crown on Netflix, Shameless on Showtime, Watchmen on HBO, and re-watching all the Star Wars films on Disney+ in preparation for seeing Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker next month. Beyond that, and the news playing in the background most of the time, I’m trying to limit my time in front ot the television. I lose far too much time and sleep to the comfort of the couch and mindlessly binging episode after episode of shows that aren’t all that entertaining or exciting when I really think about it.

Learning about Modern & Contemporary American Poetry and International Women’s Health and Human Rights, still. To be honest, I made not a bit of progress throughout all of November. I’ve not had the time or the energy to finish any courses this month and I’m not sure I’ll be able to pick them up again until after the new year. I enjoy learning in such a structured way and I miss the feeling of accomplishment I got week after week but finding time for writing is my top priority now and that is hard enough without adding expection and excuses to procrastinate.

Anticipating a very busy December! This month we have “Friendsgiving”, a production of Shakespear’s Twelfth Night, a new Star Wars film, Christmas shopping, Christmas Day, a possible trip, and New Year Eve celebrations with friends. It’s a lot but I’m looking forward to it all. I had purposely left November’s calendar blank thinking I would relish the down time before the holiday season. In reality, I felt quite the opposite. I felt restless, bored, cooped up, and lonely. I hate venturing out into the world when the weather turns frigid but I am learning that that isn’t very good for my mental health. I’m trying, instead, to keep busy, to get outside, to see people, and enjoy the winter rather than feeling trapped by it.

Reflecting on all that I am thankful for and how I can better show gratitude. November is the month of giving thanks and no matter my feelings surrounding the origin story of Thanksgiving, I do think a holiday meant simply for being with the people you love and expressing gratitude before the end of the year is essential. I’ve made vast improvement over the years in my ability to take stock of all the good in my life not just once a year but nearly daily. Where I need to do the work now is in learning to express that gratitude to the people I love, an act that for some reason surfaces deep feelings of embarrassment and inadequacy. I’m exploring and working to overcome the reasons why I feel that way when all I want to say is, “thank you”.

Feeling tired. My health has not been good lately. Since the start of autumn I have had an upper respiratory infection, an ear infection, a bout with a stomach virus, and now the worst of my ulcerative colitis symptoms have returned. I’m stressed, disappointed, worried, and, above all, exhausted. I had hoped to end the year with a reduction in both the number of medications I was taking and the dosage of the ones I was to stay on but now I may be back at square one, taking steroids and looking to start yet another medication. I am getting ahead of myself though. My latest round of lab results are not back and the doctor has not decided the next course of action but even the waiting wears me out.

Fearing a possible upcoming promotion at work. I’m excited to take on a new role and to have more time to do the things I feel passionate about there, but I am afraid of not getting it and worse I’m afraid of not getting it due to my own lack of preparation. I’m afraid of failing, so I am avoiding working on my resume, gathering letters of recommendation, or practicing my interview answers, and that, in turn, is making me even more afraid to fail, which is only making me more avoidant. I know how to stop the cycle, but the fear of responsibility and of the unknown is overwhelming. I need help.

Hating holiday expectations. I’ve never been big on Thanksgiving or Christmas. I enjoy the food, and the time with friends and family, but the cloud of consumerism and the expectations we place on each other and ourselves to show our love through things disgusts me. I am disgusted with who I become this time of year. I’m disgusted by all the wanting and the disappointment I feel from not receiving what I desire. I am disgusted by the anger I feel when I have to force myself not to buy things for myself and I disgusted by my envy of what others and buy and have. The season brings out just as much bad in us as it does good.

Loving coffee! A cup of coffee is such and ordinary and everyday thing but I’m practicing not just finding joy in the ordinary but in injecting passion into the ordinary. I figure the best place to start is the most consistent part of my day, my cup of coffee. During the summer months I cannot bring myself to drink hot coffee and instead brew endless pitchers of strong cold brew to get me through the heat of the day but now that winter has come I have been able to make coffee with varying degrees of strength and taste through the Moka pot and my French press. I miss my espresso machine and doubt I will get to replace it this year but I’m considering buying an ibrik soon to practice making Turkish coffee.

Needing more time for me, always, always, always more time for me. The time exists but I feel guilty for claiming it. When I spend my hours on myself all I can see are hours I am taking from others. I am not contributing. I am not giving. I am being selfish, not selfless. I am being introverted, not extroverted. I am not being productive. I am wasting my time. So, I guess what I need isn’t the time but the strength, and the perspective, and the support needed to take time for myself and the things that are important or fulfilling to me no matter how little they contribute to or produce for anyone else.

Hoping that somewhere between here and 2020 something good happens for me, for the people I love, for every human all over the world. God knows we all need it. THis past year has been a hard one for everyone. Humans, humanity, we all need a win, a boost to our self-esteem and our desperate need to believe in the good of the universe and the good in each other. We need something to go well, to go right, to go the way we hoped. We need a little peace, love and understanding. We need the kind of holiday spirit we talk about but rarely see anymore. I hope we all can find it if even just a little bit. I know it would make all the difference.


So, yeah, all in all, November was a good month. I enjoyed my holiday, and all the time I took to rest and to wait, and though we saw a couple of significant snow storms for the most part even the weather cooperated. I’m looking forward to December and to the end of another year. I’m grateful I get to have it and all the good and bad it will bring too.

But what about you? Did you have a good Thanksgiving? Did you find much to be thankful for? Have you fallen very deeply into seasonal depression yet? Are you ready for a new year? How will you spend the last of this one?

Let me know in the comments.

“There is October in every November and there is November in every December! All seasons melted in each other’s life!”

— Mehmet Murat ildan


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

Photo by Cole Keister on Unsplash

Currently // October 2019: The Springtime of Death

“Although I was born in April, I’m quite certain I was not fully awake until October~” 

Peggy Toney Horton, Stop the World and Get Off

I have, and always have had, a love/hate relationship with the month of October. It’s a time of morbid beauty and dark reflections, a time of warm colors, cozy sweaters, vivid flavors, and stunning natural beauty. It’s a time to slow down, to be grateful, and to be kind. It is a time of change, when the world begins to turn cold, barren, and dark. October, the prime of autumn, truly is the “springtime of death“.

This particular October went by way too fast. Halloween is my favorite holiday but I barely got to enjoy it at all. Most years I make it a month long affair but this October I got one good party in and that was all. No haunted houses, no spooky movie parties, no new tattoos! I didn’t even get around to watching The Shining, my favorite Halloween season film. No, I spent the month feeling tired and down. I was working too much and so were my friends. This year’s festivities were a bust, but that’s okay. I plan on having many more, anyway.

And now it is time for November, a time when true winter begins to move and and the holiday season officially begins. I’ll be honest, this is not my favorite time of year. I’m no can of turkey, holiday music, shopping for gifts, or snow, but I don’t want to spend the next few months grouchy and grumblings. I want to focus on what I do like. I like family gatherings, Christmas trees, and gift receiving at least. I suppose I can start there and learn to get into the holiday spirit!

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

Writing blog posts for National Blog Posting Month, or, more accurately NaNo Poblano, a very unofficial version of the same thing. I started 2019 with the hope that by this time in the year I would be putting the final touches on a NaNoWriMo outline but sadly, or perhaps fortunately, I’ve learned that I’m simply not ready to write that book. Basically, I still have a lot to learn. I’m beginning to see sense the depth of what I do not know, and it is vast. So, in the meantime, I’m doing NaBloPoMo instead. I’m keeping up my daily writing habit but working towards writing things of more substance too.

Making cut out and cut up poems and collages, still. I didn’t get to sit quietly in the creativity room making things out of other people’s words and images. I’m working on doing it more often though because it really does help. It helps to unplug and to remember that you can still make things without a screen. It helps to calm my anxieties and to help me forget my disappointment too. I guess collage would be my true hobby then which actually makes me feel better about considering writing as my work. Writing feels good, but it doesn’t feel like that.

Planning for the holidays. I’ve already said I’m no fan of this time of year but I’ve still got to get through it, same as every year, but this time I’d like to do my best to be proactive and get the worst parts out of the way as soon as possible. This year I would really like to get my shopping done early and to plan all the goodies I’d like to cook and bake for everyone before it’s too late. I want to get the Christmas tree up right away, and to schedule time to spend with my friends now before time gets away.

Reading Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky, still, but I am so close to being done. If I could stick to my scheduled reading times every day, or even most days, it wouldn’t have taken to long. In my defense though the book is incredibly long and quite technical. It’s not an easy read, and it’s harder to sustain excitement for this kind of reading than it is for fiction. I’m hoping by the first week of November I’ll be on to something new and by this time next month I’ll have a few new books to tell you about.

Watching a lot of T.V. I shouldn’t be watching. What I mean is, a lot more hours in October were lost on the living room couch than I feel good about. I watched The Watchmen on HBO, a new superhero drama that picks up 34 after the comic book and the movie of the same name. I’ve finished Mindhunter on Netflix, the crime series chronicling the formation of the FBI’s behavioral crime unit. I also finished Peacher on AMC, another comicbook based series about a bad-ass preacher Jesse Custer, his girlfriend Tulip O’Hare, and his vampire side-kick, Cassidy as they search for God.

Learning about Modern & Contemporary American Poetry and International Women’s Health and Human Rights, still, but I hope by this time next month to be finished with at least one of them. I’ve been slacking big time in this department too but I’ve also made a lot of progress. I’m just struggling to stay focused, motivated, and interested. I’m ready to move on but, obviously, the only way to move on is to get through it. I think that’s the lesson I want to take into November most of all.

Feeling down. Seasonal depression is a real pain in the ass, you know? It’s only going to get worse with the time change coming this weekend. I’ve already been experiencing lethargy, sleep problems, lower than usual self esteem, and extreme irritability. I know from experience that hopelessness will set in next and the winter gloom will feel like all that has been and all that will be. I’ll fight it, I always do, and friends and family, laughter, good food, and writing will get me through, but the person I am now won’t be back until spring.

Anticipating some fun events I have planned. I have tickets to a performance of Twelfth Night and for the new (and last) Star Wars film in the Skywalker series, but both aren’t until December. I have nothing planned for November but I think I should try to come up with something besides Thanksgiving, something I want to do, something big! It helps to get out even when the clouds are hanging around and the air is bitter cold. Having something to look forward to reminds you time is moving, you are moving, and things will change for the better, eventually.

Reflecting on how I came to be the person I am today. It’s suddenly occurred to me recently that I was once a small child, and I did things that all small children do, but for some reason I cannot reconcile that version of myself with who I am today except through very, very small increments and incidents, many of which I do not even remember. Sometimes I’m able to reflect beyond my little life and see concretely how who my parents were (how they were shaped) and their parents before them and on into the past and out into society has shaped me too. I am the product of a long line of events, experiences, and ideas so vast it feels like a kind of infinity.

Fearing the end of the year. On the one hand, I’m eager to say goodbye to 2019. I’m ready to start over, but on the other hand, I know that I had plenty of time to be a new me all this year and I didn’t. I’m afraid to end the year because I know I’ll be ending it with a lot of regret and I predict that I will begin the new one with my same old flaws and weaknesses. I’m afraid to end and begin every year just as I am right now, only older, more afraid, and rapidly running out of time.

Hating the way people perceive me sometimes. I’ve noticed that at work, whenever I try to express my needs or boundaries, or give someone constructive criticism people react as if I am admonishing them harshly even if I speak in calm tones and take on a healthy dose of reassurance at the end. There are other people around me and almost all in positions higher than mine who are much more severe in their reprimands and direction but somehow I’m the one who earned the reputation of being a “hard-ass” and that reputation is beginning to precede me too. I hate it because I suspect it is tied to my gender.

Loving my job. Don’t get me wrong, it has definitely been a stressful month there. I’m taking on a lot more responsibility now than I ever have in the past but I’m not the only one. Everyone is taking on more because there have been less of us around to carry the load but it’s easier to lift more when everyone is lifting together. I’m doing my part to make it better and that feels good. People are noticing my work and that feels good too. I’m excited to move forward and for the possibility of moving up too. I’m grateful for every opportunity and for every understanding and allowance too.

Needing talent. I have a desire but not much talent and without the aha! moments and the great ideas flowing desire turns quickly into disappointment. I love writing but I wasn’t born a writer. I’ve just want to become one someday and that has meant condemning myself to grueling work and psychological pain. I have doubts. I have regrets. I have failures and false starts. I wish I was someone with an unstoppable drive, a genius for whom the craft comes easily, someone who simply knows what to do and how to do it well. I just need a little of that or some small certainty that I will find it one day.

Hoping for an easy holiday season. This year has been one of the most stressful in recent memory and I don’t mean that in an entirely bad way, but I am beginning to feel burned out and longing very much for a bit of peace. The holiday season is, of course, not that time, but I hope this one will be easier than the rest. I hope there will be no family fighting, resentments, or misunderstandings. I hope gift shopping will be easy and I hope in the end I’ll feel like I did enough.


So, yeah, all in all, October was an okay month, not bad, but not as good as I’d hoped either. I’m disappointed I couldn’t make more of it but little all things, writing down helps to let it go. I can move into November with a clearer head and a few lessons learned.

But what about you? Did you enjoy the spooky season? How did you celebrate? Are you growing increasingly depressed as winter draws nearer too? How are you planning to spend the winter holidays this year?

Let me know in the comments.

“Golden October declined into sombre November…”

— T.S. Eliot


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

Photo by Kerstin Wrba on Unsplash

Currently // September 2019: All the Summer We Could Have

“We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer’s wreckage. We will welcome summer’s ghost.” 

Henry Rollins

This September contained all the summer I was able to have this year. After the wedding—after all the wedding planning—we needed to rest, and it took just about all of August to recoup. That meant a month without expectations, without deciding, without so many people to see, to please, to make a part of us. We took time to retreat back into our bubble to begin working out what being married meant for us. We haven’t figured it out by far but we are at least able to peek out from the honeymoon haze and start getting back to a routine we haven’t known for over a year.

As the month began we quickly got down to the business of having some summer fun. We explored the city, saw our friends, enjoyed the warmth, the sun, and nature. We went out for dinners and drinks. We went hiking. We spent days downtown and went to backyard parties. We got out and got away, a little.We still had work and September has never been a month we could keep just for us. In total, there are about seven birthdays in our calendar, including my wife’s. That means there were gifts to find, special days to plan, and time and money to give. September always feels like many months in one and this one felt especially overfull of both hardship and joy.

But now it is time for October. Summer is gone and this time I was mature enough to know that neither stubbornness nor denial would keep the leaves from changing or chill air from blowing in. This time I said my goodbyes and this time I’m (in a way) looking forward to what autumn will bring and be. This time (I think) I am mature enough to change with the season.

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

Writing little bits and things here and there but never enough to post or share or pitch anywhere. Lately, I’ve just been going with the flow placing no expectations or constraints on myself but in October I would like to try—gently but firmly—to get under some sort of editorial schedule. I’m ready to get moving in any direction at all as long as it’s away from where I’m wallowing at. To jumpstart my journey, I have started posting more than just my writing here. I’ve moved from having a blog to providing a feed of art, quotes, questions, journal entries, updates, and (once I get my ass in gear) essays and poetry too. It feels good to have a place to collect and share not just my words but what inspires and moves me too.

Making cut out and cut up poems and collages. They’re dumb, but I like them and making them centers me. I suppose I just like making things out of other people’s work and words. I haven’t made any recently because I haven’t had much “analog space” in the Creativity Room since it became a storage space for wedding things but I’m slowly cleaning it up and turning in to an almost purely analog and art space. Having a phone and a laptop makes the whole rest of the house, and the world, a digital space, I want this one space to be for the real world, for concrete things, for tools, for play, for discovery. This room and the work I do there, for now at least, must be done with my hands. It’s something I need.

Planning for fall, and after, for winter too. I’m trying to prepare emotionally for the cold, the gloom, the boredom, and the hopelessness. I’ve never done well through the colder months but these past years I have been trying to make some use of theses later seasons rather than letting myself wallow in despair. I want to come to a place where I can at least be content and preferably productive through them. Perhaps these seasons can be a time of real writing to me. A good time to create the conditions of an “at home writing retreat”. No internet, no distractions, nowhere to go, just a germ of an idea to explore and time to do it in.

Reading Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky and Moral Letters to Lucilius: Volume 1 by Seneca. Behave will take a while, it’s nearly 800 pages long and I’m less than halfway through. Moral Letters could be finished quickly but I’m reading it on my phone and I have never been good at comprehending from a screen. I did finish The Book of Tea by Kakuzō Okakura which I highly recommend. I hope to have moved on to two new books by this time next month.

Watching Succession, a drama following the dysfunctional Roy family as they scheme and fight to take control of the family empire, and The Deuce, which chronicles the rise of the porn industry in New York, on HBO every Sunday. I finished Robin Thede’s Black Lady Sketch Show, a comedy show starring all my favorite ladies (also on HBO), and The Mind, Explained on Netflix which turned out to be a wonderful companion to Robert M. Sapolsky’s book Behave. Grey’s Anatomy is back for one last season and I’m far too emotionally invested not to watch. In between, I’ve been catching up on AMC’s Preacher in which the hardcore criminal turned preacher Jesse Custer gains super mind control powers and sets out with his badass girlfriend Tulip and their vampire side-kick Cassidy in the search for God.

Learning about Modern & Contemporary American Poetry and International Women’s Health and Human Rights, still. I’m making it through “ModPo” easily and I’ll continue to plug away a little every day until I finish but Women’s Health and Human Rights will take a little more focus and willpower. I have to actually work and write to finish this one and after 3 or 4 tries now I have not been able to get past week 2. But I have still been watching the videos and doing the reading. This time around I have just one job, complete the assignments, one per week, for the next 10 weeks. That is it.

Feeling hopeful, more hopeful than I usually do this time of year. I’m hopeful that all the despair and tension I normally feel is not my fault, nor inevitable, nor unchangeable. I’m embarking on a new health regimen this month, one that couples medication and self-care into a multi-pronged approach to physical and mental health. With my doctor’s blessing I’ve been able to come off of one of my medications entirely and the other’s dose is being lowered by half and as my medications come down, I’m instructed to eat more fresh foods, exercising more, meditate, get a little sun every day, and take calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, peppermint oil, and zinc supplements. I’m still working on incorporating all of this into a new lifestyle but I’m already feeling so much more normal than I have in years.

Anticipating my favorite holiday, Halloween! I’m not a fan of the cooler weather to come but I do love the spookiness of the season. I love horror movies, haunted houses, costumes, and Halloween parties. I love this “springtime of death” I guess. I love celebrating what disturbs and terrifies us both individually and collectively. Fear is a major part of what it means to be a human and I love that we have made a holiday out of it. I don’t have my costume picked out just yet but I do have my party plans made. I’ll spend the month watching my favorite horror movies and I’m going to share some of my favorite spooky art here too. I may take a break from my current reads and pick up Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or anything by Stephen King. I wonder if there is horror poetry out there somewhere?

Reflecting on how we each become who we are. I’ve been reading and watching a lot about the brain, about emotion and behavior, and surprisingly, about childhood development and I’ve been expanding my understanding of how each of us comes to be an individual, a personality, a person with wants, needs, likes, dislikes, dreams, history, opinions, and so much more. I’m interested in knowing everything I can about why we come to do the things we do and how we can do differently if we want to. I’m coming to understand that it’s so much more than the genes you are born with or whether your mom hugged you enough. It’s the food you eat, the adversity your mother experienced in her childhood, what country you were born in, your gender, birth order, economic status and every other part of human existence you can imagine going back to the dawn of our species. It’s fascinating and, somehow, comforting.

Fearing where this country is headed politically. The House is moving against the President and exploring the possibility of impeachment. On principle, I wholly agree but I worry that many on the left are not operating from principle but from a very human feeling of competition, revenge, and vindictiveness to match the displays of competition, revenge, and vindictiveness from the other side. I’m afraid of the next election cycle too. I’m afraid of the deepening divide. I’m afraid of losing, and of winning, but I’m also excited. I am very human too you know. The drama of it all, for some, is all politics is, for all of us it matters somewhat, and this is terrifying.

Hating living with a chronic illness. I am feeling well and hopeful, for now, but that is the problem, for now. I know that I will never not have this illness and I know that no matter how well my treatment is working today in a year, hell, even tomorrow, it could fail and I could end up as bad or worse off than I was at diagnosis. My doctor warns me that worrying about tomorrow or a year from now will do nothing but stress me out and encourage the outcome I am trying to avoid, but it’s hard not to hold the possibility in your mind all the time. When I’m not worrying about it I’m just angry about it. I’m angry my life has had to change and I’m angry that there is no cure. I’m angry about all the pills I have to take, the doctor’s appointments I have to make, and the blood tests. It makes you hate your own body sometimes.

Loving married life, still. I love the little things like changing her status to “wife” on my emergency contact card at work and the big all-encompassing feelings of “oneness” and safety too. I love being a wife. I love the responsibility of it. I love being part of something bigger than just me. I love compromise and communication and getting to know each other anew every day. I love making and maintaining a home. I love being a family. Of course, all of this was true before the wedding but having it be so explicit and legal means it’s more concrete, more real. We are part of the norm and expectation and the community of other married couples and though it isn’t all easy or rainbows and sunshine, I love it.

Needing life to get a little easier for a change. I’ve never asked for much from life and I know I have gotten more than most, more than I probably deserve too, but it’s still hard. Maybe what I need isn’t so much for my life to get easier, but for the lives of those around me to get a little easier. Half my worry at least, and most days so much more, is for the problems of others. Much of my self-loathing and suffering comes from how little I feel I can do to ease the suffering of others. I feel useless. I feel inadequate. I feel powerless and small. I feel their pain and mine too and I desperately need it to get a little easier.

Hoping that this fall, and afterward this winter, will be a typical Colorado fall and winter. Climate change is happening now and here in Colorado September is one month where it can really be felt. I read a statistic the other day that of the 30 calendar days in the month, 15 of them have record highs that have been set since 2010. We saw the first 100-degree day in September even and one of the hottest Septembers in recorded history this year. I know it will only get worse and I suspect that this fall and coming winter will be anything but average too but I hope, I hope, I hope we will, for better or worse, return to what is familiar.


So, yeah, all in all, September was a damn good month. My wife and I had so much fun and got to spend so much time together. Summer stuck around, and we were allowed to ease into fall. At the same time, September was a pretty hard month too. We experienced some of the worst stress we have in a very long time. We had to make tough choices, and the worst isn’t over yet. Still, I feel happy and proud. I never gave up. I found joy where I could and I took care of myself. I did all I could do.

But what about you? Did September bring blessings or heartache? Does it feel like fall where you are? What are you going to be for Halloween? Are you for or against impeachment, and why? Has the existential dread of climate change got you down?

Let me know in the comments.

“I can love October in September. September doesn’t care.”

— Dean Koontz, The Darkest Evening of the Year


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

Photo by zhao chen on Unsplash

Currently // July 2019: Embarking on a Life

“My life, I realize suddenly, is July. Childhood is June, and old age is August, but here it is, July, and my life, this year, is July inside of July.” 

Rick Bass

July wore me out. It chewed me up, used me up, and spit me out disoriented and weak. It took all I had and left nothing of myself to give to me. July tested, exhausted, and stressed me beyond recognition. July was a hard month, but after all of that stress, this July gave me the most beautiful day of my life. This July and every July from now on will be a special month in my heart and memory. This July, after 17 years together, my girlfriend and I finally became wife and wife.

Planning our dream wedding meant that nearly every other aspect of my life had to be put on hold. I had barely enough time to eat, sleep, and shower regularly let alone read or write. I stopped seeing my friends and family. I stopped being able to think about anything but decor, attire, vows, cake, catering, and seating charts. I stopped doing all the things I loved in order to have one perfect day and while I know it was unhealthy but I am so glad I did it. It really was a perfect day.

But now it’s over, and so is July, and now it’s time to return to real life. I’m slowly picking up the neglected pieces of my life and getting back to some old self-care habits. July was supposed to be my fresh start, but it looks like August is when I will begin again. I’ve decided that after the summer I am taking time for me to get back to writing, reading, and learning.

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

Writing essays, really this time. I may have to wait a week or two before the first one is up, but I am determined to work on them every single day, even if I can’t post them weekly as I had planned I just have to work on them for a certain amount of time every day. If I just do that, I’ll be happy. I have a direction. I have a list of topics and a schedule. I’m so excited to get started and I to see where this “essay a week” journey takes me. I’m excited to explore the genre, to improve my skills, and to finally start sharing what I feel and love with all of you.

Making writing friends online and in real life. At first, writing may appear to be a solitary activity but the truth is that support, encouragement, and social stimulation are critical to growth and mastery of the craft. I believe that this (and a lack of will power and ample energy) is what I am missing most in my journey to authorship. I’ve noticed that my focus, enthusiasm, and confidence in writing has waxed and waned with my writerly or creative connections. I feel most stimulated after I have talked with other artists and writers and I am reconnected with my own purpose and passion. I’ve recently connected with a coworker who also enjoys writing essays and poetry, and I’ve joined a lot of Facebook groups for queer/women writers like myself in the hopes that I can get more done by relying on a community to encourage me, guide me, and hold me accountable.

Planning big renovations and projects around the house. For over a year now the place has been falling apart around us and for over a year we have been saying “after the wedding”, “after the wedding”. Now that we’ve finally come to “after the wedding” it’s time to fix up this old dump. The basement, the kitchen, and both bathrooms need to be completely ripped out and redone. The garage door, the front and back yard, the siding, and the roof have all gone into disrepair. We’re looking at loans and a whole lot of work but we are ready to take on a new challenge and begin to build our dream home.

Reading Notes from Underground, The Double and Other Stories by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, still. I have now fallen 7 books behind schedule in my reading challenge and am profoundly disappointed in myself, but even though I don’t expect to catch up (unless I get this Little Black Classics Box Set soon!) I am not giving up. August is when I will begin again and I will pick my nightly reading habit back up as soon as I pick up my nightly habit of going to bed on time again. I may move on from Dostoyevsky as him and I aren’t seeing eye to eye yet and I do have books I’m much more excited to start with them I am to finish with him. Particularly It by Stephen King and The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller.

Watching too many things, sigh. I finished the second season of Big Little Lies, a star-studded dark drama on HBO, and the 3rd season of the nostalgic sci-fi horror series Stranger Things on Netflix. I’m still watching the deeply disturbing teen drama Euphoria on HBO and I’ve just discovered Years and Years, an anxiety-inducing dystopian drama joint produced by HBO and the BBC. I’m trying hard not to binge the last season of the prison drama Orange Is the New Black but so far it’s been so much better than the last and I expect to be done with it in days. My greatest obsession though has been the FX channel drama Pose about the underground Black and Latino LGBTQ ball culture in New York City during the 1980s.

Learning how to learn again. I could go on blaming the wedding and planning for every goal I’ve stopped pursuing in the last month but the truth is procrastination and fear have been my largest adversaries. I have been my greatest enemy. Rather than getting to down on myself or giving up, I’m deciding again and always to simply try again. I think the fact that I want to learn and that I am pursuing learning actively in life is something to be proud of and taking a break, or falling behind is better than never beginning at all. So, in August, I’m simply picking up where I left off with Modern & Contemporary American Poetry and International Women’s Health and Human Rights.

Feeling stressed and depressed. Even though the wedding is over and there is no more planning to be done or decisions to make the worry we’ve carried over the last year has been slow to fade. To make matters worse, we have other bog changes on the horizon too. After over 13 years of working together at the same location, my wife is moving on to another school district much further away. It isn’t the biggest deal in the world, but it is a change and change, no matter how small or good, has never been something I cope with very well. Besides my anxiety, I will simply miss seeing her throughout the day and getting to ride into work and back home together. I’ll miss hearing about her from other coworkers and getting to witness firsthand how amazing she is at her job.

Anticipating some time to enjoy the last of summer for a while. I spent so much time planning the wedding and worrying that I haven’t gotten a chance to enjoy myself at all this summer. I haven’t gone swimming, hiking, or camping once! I doubt I’ll get to do anything much before the school year starts and I’m back to my usual work schedule but I hope to get at least a few good trails in before the temperature begins to drop. I’m looking forward to some warm days downtown and night’s spent on bar patios with good friends. I’m looking forward to the sun, green trees and flowers, and freedom for at least a month more.

Reflecting on my relationship. My wife and I might have only just gotten married, but we have been together for quite a long time already. In August we will be celebrating our 17th year together and embarking on a life where we have been together for more years than we weren’t. I will have spent most of my life with the same person and I’ve been wondering about what it means to two people to grow as close as we have. Where do I end and we begin? Are all parts of me known to her, and her to me? Who would I be without her? How much of me is me and how much has simply molded to her? Does it matter?

Fearing driving, though less and less all the time. Since my wife and I are splitting up professionally we won’t be riding in together anymore which means I can’t rely on her anymore when I’m struggling with my driving anxiety. I’m afraid but this is honestly probably the best thing for me. I shouldn’t rely on her so much and I should be stronger, but I know I won’t be until I have to be. That is how anxiety, fears, and phobias work. It takes more than hard will. It takes having no other choice. It takes your life coming to a standstill, or the threat of life falling apart. It takes living with your fear becoming worse than the fear itself. I have to work and I cannot let my wife down. Not working and disappointing her by not working are worse prospects than my any outcomes my fear of driving has put into my head and so it’s time to face it. 

Hating the current Democratic party presidential candidate pool. I don’t mean that I hate the candidates themselves. I have quite a few favorites, candidates whose viewpoints and priorities align well with my own, but the field is far too crowded and the interparty attacks are starting to ramp up and, in my opinion, damage our mission and chances. We’re beginning to pull each other down. We’re beginning to sound like Republicans. More than that, I want the field to thin out to give each qualified and truly potential candidate space and time to reach the American people. The problems we are addressing and the solutions being proposed are complex and I hate that the details never reach the American people. 

Loving the current Democratic party presidential candidate pool. I know what I just said and I stand by it but I can’t help being a little proud of my party for dreaming big. The field might be crowded but only because so many people want to do the work to make this country a better place for people to live. It feels good to see people debate how to help the vulnerable, the downtrodden, the underprivileged, the forgotten, and those this country has exploited. It feels good to hear so many people give voice to the pain that so many of us experience every day. I feel very fortunate to be alive when I am to witness such political courage and love. 

Needing help. I’ve been working on recognizing my patterns and I have seen the good and a lot of the bad I do naturally and the ways I react both positively and negatively to the world around me. I can see where I am failing myself, but I recognize patterns is only the first step to correction and the next stepu201—building new habits, getting rid of what hurts, what distracts, and what holds you back, and find what works, what you need, and what you love—takes more than what we are made of alone, especially in a world where we have so much freedom, choice, information, and entertainment at our fingertips. I’m working on solutions to procrastination and building good habits. I need strategies, apps, and hard truths. I need more than what I can give myself.

Hoping that the coming school year runs more smoothly than the last despite all indications it will actually run worse. I hope we get these open positions filled, and that moral goes up and stress levels come down so that we can get back to focusing on what really matters, the kids! I may complain about my job a lot but it’s only ever the other adults who frustrate me. The kids give me purpose and joy and they all deserve the best version of ourselves we can be. I’ll be the first to admit that I have not always given my best. I’ll be the first to admit that the grownup world sometimes sees into the world I try to make for my students and I struggle to give them back what they give me. I want to do better this year, and I hope that the people who are supposed to help me give my best to the kids get back to giving their best to me.


So, yeah, all in all, July was an absolutely beautiful month! I don’t care how hard it was, how stressful it was, or how much I had to sacrifice. It was all worth it to stand up in front of my closest loved ones, say my vows, and then celebrate my love. I realized one of my greatest dreams this July. I will never forget it and it will be a long time before I achieve or experience anything that will top it.

But what about you? How is the summer treating you so far? Have you taken any trips, gotten any camping, hiking, or road trips in? Have you made or realized any grand plans of your own? Have you found yourself distracted and doubting? How have you managed to pick up the pieces and move forward?

Let me know in the comments.

“[JULY IS OVER AND THERE’S VERY LITTLE TRACE]”

— Frank O’Hara


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

Photo by Kassidy Sherburne on Unsplash

Currently // June 2019: Emotion, Past, and Pain

“And what is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days.” 

James Russell Lowell

Whereas the month of May flew by before I knew it, the month of June seemed to last and last. Perhaps it was because I held so tightly to it. Perhaps it was because there was more than usual to celebrate and more than usual to worry over.

With June’s end, we come into the prime of the year when nature’s time of renewal and growth complete and the year, and who we are in it, emerges alive and fully formed. Now, we have crested, peaked, arrived, and from here, though it won’t feel like it at first, we are on the downhill side. From now through the start of winter the days will begin to grow shorter again. From here the end of the year begins to grow near.

June is the month of LGBTQ Pride, and Father’s Day, and Juneteenth, all days full of emotion, and past, and pain for me. June is when summer officially starts and though most years we feel it long before the solstice this year spring claimed her time and we had many more days of rain and cool breezes than usual.

This June held a lot of new experiences for me. At work I got to teach a class I’d never taught before and I was invited to take classes to learn new things and relearn the old. I finalized the last big wedding things I needed to and felt the weight of all those who came before me, who fought for this privilege and dignity and never got to see it. This particular June will be the last full month in which I live unmarried and under my maiden name. July has come and with it the second half of 2019 and the rest of my life.

Working for a school district means that the end of June is much like the end of December. It is another kind of end to another kind of year. Beginning tomorrow we start to prepare for new routes, and new kids, or old kids who have grown into a new grade. It’s the time of the year when we reflect on the past one and make changes and promises to be more patient, more compassionate, more attentive and aware. We take stock of what didn’t work for us and we choose new hours, new schools, new locations.

The end of June is a good time to reflect, accept, and assess the failures of the year so far. It’s also a good time to redouble efforts where success has been found and progress has been made. For me, that is in daily writing. I have been good here, for the most part, I think, and I plan to concentrate all my energy into this place and the craft of writing the way that comes naturally to me. I have a plan and I am determined to focus not just my time but everything I do in all areas of my life toward writing, for me!

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

Writing an essay a week! I was inspired by writers Vanessa Mártir and Rosa Lyster I am embarking on a new writing challenge. My goal, for now, is to post an essay every single week from the first of July through the end of the year. I’m not committing to an essay a week for a year because I want to give myself an end I can see and give myself a place to quit should I find that I do not love the form as much as I’d imagined.  I will be honest now and say that while I have known for some time now that I wanted to do this challenge I in no way prepared for it ahead of time beyond looking for tips. I suppose it was fear that made me reluctant to begin, but now that July is just a day away, rather than giving up before the start, I am committed to starting where I am with what I have. 

Making honeymoon plans. I had promised myself I would wait until after the wedding to think about where we might go since we’ve decided not to go until the fall and frankly we don’t need any additional stress or decisions to make, but I can’t help it. I haven’t been on a proper long vacation in, well, ever, actually, and I am so ready to fly of some place far away and new with my very-soon-to-be wife. I want a so see the ocean, or maybe a volcano! I want to try new foods and hear people speak another language. I am ready to see for a moment how other people live and how the world looks from another perspective. I’m ready for an experience outside of myself!

Planning the wedding, still, but this will be the last month I will have to. The big day is very close now and though we’ve gotten almost all of the big things done, there are still about a million tiny details to work out too. I want to take a moment, before the calendar changes over to a new month to say that I am so proud of my fiance and I. We have worked so hard and gotten over so many fears and uncertainties in order to make this happen and I know I would never ever want to plan a wedding with anyone else. I’m convinced that the hardest part of a marriage is being almost married and I think we both will pull through it beautifully.

Reading Notes from Underground, The Double and Other Stories by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, still. I have fallen 4 books behind schedule in my reading challenge according to Goodreads but I haven’t given up and it is still very possible for me to catch up and even exceed my goals. The problem is that this book is not an easy read and having had very little time to give I just can get through it as fast as I have others. But! I have started reading before bed again and in July I will get back to carrying a book with me wherever I go. I’m also utilizing audiobooks but my comprehension is far below the written and I don’t feel as though I can engage with a book the same way.

Watching a lot more TV than I should be. Many of my favorite shows returned this June, and I found few new ones too including: Hulu’s Handmaid’s Tale, the dystopian drama based on Margaret Atwood’s famous novel, Pose, an FX channel drama about the 1980s Black and Latino gay ballroom culture scene in New York City, Black Mirror, the Netflix sci-fi anthology series, Euphoria, a disturbing HBO drama following a group of teen coping with issues of drugs, sex, and violence, Big Little Lies another HBO series, this one a dark comedy following a group of well off mothers whose lives are not as perfect as they appear, and When They See Us, a Netflix miniseries from Ava DuVernay based on the wrongful convictions of the “Central Park Five”. 

Learning nothing much at the moment. I’ve had to take a break from my MOOCs though I still do read a poem or watch a discussion on Modern & Contemporary American Poetry when I can. After the wedding, I’ll reset my deadlines for International Women’s Health and Human Rights and finally mark the course as completed and move on. These two courses have not been easy the former simply being quite long and dense and the other requiring proper written course work that terrifies me. Still, I miss having the time and look forward to diving back in come August.

Feeling stressed, anxious, and worried nearly all the time. It isn’t just the wedding planning, or even the big day itself either. Work has been chaotic and this month I had to work closely with others, which I’m not always good at. I had to teach a class in a whole new way than I am used to. I had to attend a large work conference I’ve never been to before, and for much of that time I was without a boss, or manager, or leader to help answer questions or give direction. In addition, my fiance is dealing with her own work stress and I fear it’s beginning to affect her health but I can’t do much to help except be there for her and it hurts. 

Anticipating the day after my wedding. Of course, I’m looking forward to the big day too, to seeing all my loved ones come together to share and celebrate our love, but if I am honest, I am much more excited for my first day as someone’s wife. It’s been so long—nearly 17 years!—that I have been and had “just a girlfriend”, but now I get to be something new and more. I know not much will change after the vows and it “I do’s” but something will, something I never thought I could be or have will finally be real. That is what I want more than anything at all and it’s so close now it’s all I can think about.

Reflecting on what it means to be a wife or a partner. I’ve been thinking a lot about what the difference between what we say love is, what it should look and feel like, and what it really is. I’ve been thinking that there are many kinds of love that we either don’t know the names of or whose names I never learned. I am thinking about this quote on passion and what it’s true nature is and wondering if there is a similar explanation for the way love feels in real life. I’m thinking about how to express the discordance between what we say love should be and what it is without sounding as if one must settle for less than the fantasy. I want to explore how a love that sometimes hurts, that disappoints, that is inconsistent, confusing, and difficult is love that is real and more rewarding than any fairytale.

Fearing rain! Right now this is the one thing that could derail and dismantle all the hard work we have put into our perfect wedding day. Our ceremony site is outdoors and there it no shelter or structure to shield us from the elements and it being summer in Colorado the weather is unpredictable and severe storms can move in quickly releasing flooding rains and large hail with little notice. We’ve agreed that if it is only going to rain a little, we will tough it out, but if the weather hints at turning terrible, we will have to scramble to move our ceremony indoors and give up on the dream, the money, and the time spent securing such beautiful gardens. I really, really, really hope it doesn’t rain!

Hating the camps and the conditions at the border. I hate ICE and border patrol. I hate that people must risk their lives crossing far from ports of entry out of fear. I hate that so many never make it. I hate the threats to round them up and to build a wall to keep them out. I hate the idea that the question of anyone’s citizenship status should be added to the census. I hate the calls for Mexico to hold those seeking asylum. I hate the lies, the generalizations, and the demonization I hear spewing from the president’s mouth. I hate how much we hate! I cannot understand it and I hate how powerless I feel to fix it. I hate all of it, but I hurt too and still, I know my hurt is nothing compared to those brave enough to seek a better life.

Loving every single Democratic candidate running for the Presidential nomination, each in their own way. Yes, I disagree with many, and yes I agree there are far too many running at all, but to see them all on stage this month during the first debate arguing not about who will help corporations, big pharma, or the oil and gas giants turn a profit, but how and who can give the everyday average American stay well, find meaningful work, and some shred of peace and dignity in the face of overwhelming capitalism. It was beautiful. I have my favorites, sure, but as a whole, I’m proud of the Democrats for recognizing, finally, who they represent. 

Needing some time with nature again! The weather wasn’t very summer like during the month of June and with work and wedding planning getting in the way even on days that were I wasn’t able to find time to travel outside of the city and into nature and I am beginning to feel the disconnect. I need to be reminded that there is a world not just outside of me but outside of humanity. We forget there are other ways to be on this planet and that we share this place with creatures who look, behave, and live very different from the way people do. It’s good for each of us to be reminded regularly that the human world is not the only one and that just outside of the city, and the politics, and the social expectations, there is a beautiful work functioning quite well with none of that.

Hoping that the summer will hang on a long while longer. I miss the way summers used to go on forever when I was a kid, and now that I’m an adult they seem to fly by. It helps that I work for a school district. I get easier days and the excitement of the kids rubs off on us adults and we get to keep a small sense of what they have, but by the start of July the schedule grows too regular again and the days speed up. I’ve been so busy I haven’t really gotten to enjoy my summer yet. I’m hoping that between mid-July and mid-August I can find a way to fit two months of fun into one and take hold of every minute of summer I have left. I’m hoping to have gotten at least enough to last me through a long winter that suddenly feels closer than it appears on the calendar.


So, yeah, all in all, June was a wonderful month. The weather was a bit dreary at first, but summer found its way to us, eventually. I may have been stressed, and I may have had no time at all for the things I enjoy or hoped to accomplish, but that’s okay. I got to do work that felt good and I got to work alongside the woman I love the most to plan a beautiful wedding. I can’t wait to write next months currently and tell you about all the ways my life has (or hasn’t) changed. 

But what about you? What fun things have you done this summer so far? What fun things do you still hope to do? What goals have you accomplished? Have you found time to get out and connect with nature? Are you heartbroken by the President’s actions to date and how are you coping with the crowded field on the left? 

Let me know in the comments.

“At midnight, in the month of June, I stand beneath the mystic moon.”

Edgar Allan Poe, The Sleeper


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

Photo by Yannis Papanastasopoulos on Unsplash

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

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

Currently // March 2019: Seeds of Possibility

“March is the Month of Expectation.
The things we do not know—
The Persons of prognostication
Are coming now—
We try to show becoming firmness— 
But pompous Joy
Betrays us, as his first Betrothal
Betrays a Boy.” 

― Emily Dickinson, March is the Month of Expectation

March has never been a month that carried much weight or meaning for me. There are no birthdays in March. There are no major holidays, or none that I am interested in anyway. The only thing that marks the month for me, is the long-awaited start of spring and the beginning of the part of the year when I feel the happiest and the most free.

This particular March was much more stressful than most but somehow turned better than most too. My fiance and I accomplished a lot together and I made a lot of progress on my own though not exactly in the ways I’d hoped. It wasn’t a good writing month, but it was a good learning month and a good planning month. I gained confidence in March and began to practice the art of discipline. March was a start, I hope.

And now it’s time for April, my favorite month of the year. My birthday month and the time when winter’s grip loses its hold, and the air grows friendlier and love buds in our heart as the leaves do on the trees. April is when I was born and constitutes a kind of second New Year for me. It’s when I begin the trip around the sun again and deep and fervent thanks for whatever may come.

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

Writing little blog things. I’m still finding my feet here and still trying to figure out how to revive Zen and Pi, but I’m not giving up. I’m still sharing my daily journals, though I have to stop letting the digital replace the physical, and working on drafts book reviews and personal essays. By summer, I’ll be publishing proper long-form blog posts. I’m exploring submitting to other publications again too and making writing my second job rather than something I do when I feel like it. I’m scheduling time rather than waiting for time and working at the hard parts rather than doing what comes easily.

Making an effort. There are things in my life I have taken for granted and gotten lazy about. My relationships, my goals, my home, my work, and even my health have all been slowly falling into a state of disrepair on account of simple carelessness and fatigue. I’ve let things go and left things half finished telling myself I would come back and when I didn’t I fooled myself by saying there was plenty of time. But when you leave things they do not wait for you to return, they simply fall apart while you are away. Though we may grow weary, there are just some things in life that require a constant effort. Like a heartbeat, if you stop, they die.

Planning a possible NaNoWriMo project! My last NaNoWriMo attempt failed miserably, and I haven’t had the courage to try again since but this year I’m rethinking not only the genre, topic, and feeling of my project but also intended audience and means of publication. Suddenly more possibilities mean more possible and I want to give myself the best chance by starting now. I want to throw my future self the life jacket she is going to need to stay afloat. I’m taking notes, collecting and cataloging ideas, and keeping an outline in mind.

Anticipating another awesome birthday month! Most people I know hate their birthdays. They dread them, minimize them, and treat them like any other day, and for the life of me, I cannot understand it! My birthday is the most important day of the year to me because if I had not been born none of the other things in my life would matter. I wouldn’t be here to love, to learn, to hate, to grow, to experience any of it. So I celebrate not just my birth but every year I have been gifted on this planet because there have been so many times I could have left it. This year I’m planning a big dinner with at least 12 friends in addition to the family dinners and a planned “perfect day” with my wife to be.

Reading Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge and The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson, still. I expect to finish Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race within days, but Emily Dickinson may take the rest of the year or more since I’d like to analyze and understand every poem. I’ve just finished One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez and have to say it was possibly the most beautiful book I have ever read. I had a hard time with it at first but once I chose to trust that Márquez was leading me the right way and that he would reveal the answers to my questions at the right time I had a much easier go. Next on my list is Notes From the Underground and Other Stories by Fyodor Dostoevsky and We the Animals by Justin Torres.

Watching American Gods on Starz and Barry on HBO in preparation for the new season premiere this weekend. I’m also watching The Magicians, my new guilty pleasure and Grey’s Anatomy my old guilty pleasure I cannot wait to be rid of. Honestly, though for the last few months, I haven’t been in the mood for TV but I know that will very soon change. Many of my favorite shows are returning this month including Game of Thrones, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Killing Eve, and The Chi. My weekends will once again be spent on the couch.

Learning a lot! I got to attend a conference for work and while I can’t say I learned a ton but I really was inspired and walked away with a lot to think about. I’ve also been making up for lost time starting my New Year’s Resolution to take some Massive Online Open Courses. My goal is to complete 7 for the year and I already have 2 done! Granted, they were short and sweet ones, but I’m already enrolled in 2 longer ones and I’ll start a 3rd next month. To keep track, and to encourage others on their own journey of independent learning I made a new MOOC list page to track all the courses I’m taking and the ones I’ve completed.

Feeling very tired. March might not have been important, but it sure was busy! We had my brother’s wedding; we made progress in planning our own wedding, and we spent a lot of sleepless nights stressing about both. Some of my family came to visit and my fiance was out of town for nearly a week visiting her’s. I already mentioned the conference plus we had spring break though we both worked through it. The city shut down for 2 days because of a blizzard and my fiance had 2 photography jobs to work and edit for. March was packed and I am in desperate need of rest though my expectations for relief in April are depressingly low.

Reflecting on this episode of The Partially Examined Life on Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. I had heard the name Hannah Arendt before but I never knew how influential a philosopher and thinker she was. I’m intrigued by her argument not that evil is common in the world, but that each of us is capable of doing great evil for no other reason but that we are stupid, strongly inclined to follow along, and far too eager to please. It’s far easier to fall into committing or enabling cruelties to occur than we are willing to accept and this is why we will go on committing and enabling them. She believes only through acknowledging this weakness can we prevent future mass atrocities from happening.

Fearing the next election cycle. I know it’s a bit early to be anxious but looking at the scandals rocking the current administration, the unwavering support of the far-right, the ever-widening field on the left, and the rise of hate and violence all over the world, things are starting to just feel bad. I don’t predict the world will end, but I do predict a lot more turmoil and a lot more lives lost. The scary part is when you look at who is being affected and whose lives are being lost you can recognize your own face in their place. I’m afraid, not just of what will happen to me but how my character may be tested too. I’m afraid for my loved ones, and for a future time when we will all be judged by subsequent generations. 

Hating the American healthcare system. If you’ve been following along, you know that I have struggled through the month of March to change from one medication to another to treat my ulcerative colitis. Because the medication is so expensive I have to apply for financial aid through drug companies, each with a different set of requirements and each with a different procedure for reimbursement. This time I had the added stress of my insurance provider putting a hold on my request so they could decide if they wanted to pay for it and all the while I’m slowly slipping into a flare. I’m happy it’s over, and I know it could have been worse, but I still hated it. It was still frustrating, stressful, and scary. The American healthcare system leaves you feeling powerless, confused, and afraid.

Loving my fiance. I love her every day of every month but this past month we’ve really had to come together as a team, support each other, push each other, and comfort each other through a lot. I don’t talk about everything here, some stories aren’t mine to tell, but I can tell you that I know I am one of the lucky ones. No matter what life throws at us, no matter how uncertain the world gets, no matter how much we fight amongst ourselves, we know there is somewhere where we are always safe. That love and safety has been crucial to my healing and enriched my life beyond words. 

Needing nothing but to believe in myself. The more I look at my life the more I see I’ve come quite accidentally to live nearly the life I want and need to live. I am lucky not just to have love, and work, and passion, but to have such small and quiet aspirations that can easily be pursued even if they cannot so be easily achieved. I just need to know I can do it. I need to quiet the doubts, silence the self-hate speech, and stop trying to divine what other people think of me. I have everything I need to be who it is I am trying to be, including the strength. I only need to believe it.

Hoping that more and more of our schools become places that are welcoming, supportive, and safe for our children. This month I was fortunate enough to attend a presentation on the benefits of moving toward a reflective and restorative based disciplinary system in our schools. Our current disciplinary system doesn’t teach kids to be disciplined adults, it teaches them to be compliant and complicit adults. I want to see more social-emotional training that teaches kids how to process emotions, build relationships, and connect with their communities. I’d love to see more schools, smaller, poorer schools servicing the most vulnerable youth being given the political and financial support they need to teach children not just how to pass tests, but how to live in this world, together.


So, yeah, all in all, March was a month of many things. It was busier than the two that came before and I have a feeling that while it doesn’t feel like it meant much now, come the end of the year I will look back and see that seeds of possibility were planted here.

But what about you? How did March treat you? Did winter hold tight til the last? What good did you do? What trials did you meet? Are you excited for April?

Let me know in the comments.


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

Photo by Damiano Baschiera on Unsplash

Currently // February 2019: Failures Will Have to Be Accepted

“Why, what’s the matter,
That you have such a February face,
So full of frost, of storm and cloudiness?” 

― William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

New Year’s day might fall on January 1st, but February is when the year really begins. It’s when the shock of the calendar change wears off and the work can begin. It’s when the year begins to become itself, what it will be and not what we had hoped or wished it would be instead.

January was squandered while we recovered from the holidays but come February 1st, we all got a second chance to begin. All you needed was the courage and resolve to do so. But if you didn’t, those resolutions may feel long gone and failure may have firmly set in now that March has come. Some of those failures will have to be accepted. The time for do-overs has passed, but there is time yet to change, to adjust, to begin anew now, if you want.

For me, there have certainly been failures already. There is a lot I haven’t started yet and plenty I suppose I’ll never start now. At the same time, a few small steps were made and I’m exceedingly proud of what I’ve done and still resolve to do this year.

In fact, through March my plan is to keep on doing what I’ve been doing, only now I need to work on doing it a little more, and a little better, and with a little more courage.

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

Writing my journal entries, every day, but not much more if I’m honest. February was a bad writing month but not from lack of want. I just had too much else to do. Those daily journal entries may not be much, and they may not even be very good, but I am proud of myself for writing them. They’re better than nothing at all and they’re already beginning to add up. I am working on a real piece for Zen and Pi that I’m pretty excited about and I’m thinking again of writing a book.

Making the most of my time. I’m working on mastering the art of “deep work” but scheduling more than a couple of hours of creative focus at a time while working a split shift at my day job has been difficult. I’ve had to examine closely the ways I use social media and my phone in general and accept hard truths about the kind of work I want to be doing vs. the kind of “work” I have actually been doing. I’ve removed time-sucking apps from my home screen and replaced them with apps that rouse my brain cells, feed my curiosity, and inspire me to write more. I’ve started using timers and I’m learning to take my ambitions seriously. I’m making progress.

Planning a wedding! I’ve been planning my wedding for quite a long time now but this month I finally took the first concrete steps toward having a wedding. We have a ceremony site, a venue for our reception, and we settled on invitations and colors. We’re terrified and regretting the decision not to elope but we’re doing it and it’s going to be wonderful, and even if it isn’t wonderful, we’ll still be happy because we’ll be married which is all we really want, anyway.

Anticipating Springtime! It’s in February that I first start to feel the first hints of the change to come though I can’t tell from where the feeling comes. Nothing looks any different. The weather is still as cold and dreary as it was last month, but I no longer feel as though the frozen abyss will go on forever. I feel a slow vibration building beneath the leftover layers of snow and ice. I know soon something beautiful will grow there and I’m eager to meet it.

Reading One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson. February was not as good of a reading month as January was and I think it’s because I read so much in January that I have slacked off. I think I burned myself out. Not only that, but those last few books were pretty easy and these two are really challenging me. I’m slowly finding my groove with Garcia, but Dickinson is testing me every step of the way.

Watching the third season of True Detective on HBO, the last season of Shameless on Showtime, oh, and The Umbrella Academy on Netflix, all three of which I highly recommend but besides that, I’m trying not to watch much else. TV has been taking up a lot of my evenings and I always feel guilty for wasting so much time. I’ll always watch my favorite shows, and even binge-watch the ones that interest me the most, but I won’t put on just anything to pass the time. All time is valuable and must be filled or used intentionally.

Feeling left behind. For the past few years many of my closest and most inspiring coworkers, people I consider friends, who motivated and encouraged me and who I tried my best to motivate and encourage too, have all been finding bigger and better opportunities while I have continued to go on doing what I have always done. I do like my job, and I am good at it too, but I long to find some big new opportunity too. I long to follow a dream and to be able to say to the world that I made it.

Fearing a lot less than I have in the past. I wouldn’t say I’m more confident but I’m certainly less concerned. I’m developing a “so what?” attitude. So what if it’s ugly? So what if I’m unworthy? So what if I fail, look stupid, or even get a little hurt? So what? I’ll move on and at least I’ll know. And, to be honest, at this point whatever it is I’m afraid will happen is no worse than to go on living life as someone who never even tried.

Reflecting on this Ezra Klein podcast in which he interviews Kate Manne, professor of philosophy at Cornell University, author of Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny, and my new favorite person. Manne argues that we should define misogyny, not as something men feel, but something that women experience. This simple statement, this simple change in perspective is exactly what we need to take the fight against not just misogyny but racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and all other forms of discrimination and oppression. It’s the mind shift that people who participate in those systems need to take in order to move from a place of defensiveness into a place where they can acknowledge, accept, and change their behaviors without the people who experience discrimination and oppression having to expend any more emotional labor than they already have.

Needing more writerly friends. I’m shy by nature and paradoxically more so online. There are tons of writers and creatives I follow across quite a few social media accounts but I have no idea how to approach any of them. I don’t know how to start a conversation or how to add to one already happening. I’m star struck by them all and I don’t feel like I deserve the attention of the ones who bother to follow me back. I long for people in my life who are on the same journey as me and understand the difficulty and the importance of what I dream of one day doing.

Learning all about social norms and social change on Coursera. The course is offered by the University of Pennsylvania & UNICEF so, besides learning about expectations, sanctions, and choice, I’m also learning more about real-world practices, attitudes, and motives behind child marriage, female genital mutilation, and open defecation. I’m looking at my culture differently and adjusting my perspective not so much on some of these deplorable practices of other cultures but on the people who practice them. Human society is exceedingly complex, and harder to change than we imagine. I’m looking forward to beginning Social Norms, Social Change II next week and learning even more!

Hating the common workplace practice of putting more work on people who have shown excellence and enthusiasm simply because they can handle it, especially in workplaces where that added excellence and workload don’t translate into additional pay or benefits. In my experience, these uneven expectations often hurt women more than men, the latter often assuming that what is hard for them to do isn’t as hard for others. If you ever hear yourself saying someone else should do something rather than you because they “know more about it” or because they are “better at it” please stop for a moment and consider whether what you are doing is fair or right. Take a moment to consider that it is you who should do better, try harder, and live up to the expectation you have of this other person instead.

Loving love. Most people I know either hate Valentine’s day or they think it’s stupid. Many of my friends are single or they’re long-term couples who forego celebrating the season of love because they believe it’s a shallow expression of emotion and it conveys a superficial understand and what it means to spend your life with another person. But I—a hopeless and eternal romantic— cannot resist. Of course, romantic love between two (or more) people should be acknowledged, celebrated, and strengthened every day but I still love having one day a year to celebrate love not just with my partner alone but with couples all over the world, together.

Hoping for an opportunity to present itself soon. I need a break, a sign, a chance to take a leap. I need a little validation, something to show off, something to be proud of. I know opportunities like that don’t just drop into a person’s lap and I know if I want to go somewhere it’s me that has to do the moving, but still, wouldn’t it be grand to be one of the lucky ones? I’ll do the work, but I’ll go on hoping for a miracle too.


So, yeah, all in all, February was a good month. I got to go on a trip. I got to celebrate love with my love and a few friends who are in love too. I didn’t do as much as I’d hoped but I did a lot more than nothing. I’m proud, or at least I’m content, and I’m ready to move on, to leave February behind, and to greet March with enthusiasm and pride.

But what about you? How did February treat you? Did you celebrate love with a special someone? Are you as tired of winter as me?

Let me know in the comments.


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

Photo by Michael Hacker on Unsplash

Currently // January 2019: There’s Still Plenty of Time to Change

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.

Watching True 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.”

— Patricia Highsmith, The Price of Salt

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

Photo by Elizabeth French on Unsplash