Currently // July 2020: At My Best and at My Worst

“Things are prettier in June, but they’re clearer in July.” 

― Sophie Flack, Bunheads 

After months and months of spring and early summer that seemed to drag on and on with catastrophe after catastrophe, after we floundered and continue to flounder leaderless and lost, July gives way to August and yet further uncertainty and strife.

Still, we are finding our footing slowly and despite what you see on the news and what you hear from the politicians, if you look up and look around people everywhere are coming together, supporting each other, growing and pushing forward with strength and compassion.

The consciousness of the country is rising, and though they fret and fight, those who would have our country return, or perhaps never leave, the hazy dream of individuality and universality, law and order, and hard truths left unsaid, undesirables lost to the dark and to silence, those people will be, are being, left behind in favor of a world more inclusive, for connected, more giving and forgiving than we’ve ever dreamed.

At least this is my hope because to be an American right now and watch the failure, the cruelty, the death all around you and closing in is to feel hopeless and utterly ashamed. I’m fortunate to live in a state where even though cases are rising we are not seeing numbers as high as others and the people have elected a Governor who, though not perfect, is trustworthy and has his heart in the right place.

Protests are still happening regularly, but I worry that attention to racial injustice is waning as justice takes its time and the cause is trivialized. I worry I haven’t done enough for my part to keep the country’s focus.

The end of July marks the end of summer’s spirit, and the issue on everyone’s mind now is the reopening of schools. There seem to be no definitive answers about the safety of students, teachers, or staff, only a rising insistence that schools reopen no matter the cost or concern. Working for a school district has made an already stressful time all the more terrifying. None of us know what will happen and though we all want to return I have not spoken to one fellow employee who is in any way anxious to return to work right now.

As for me, I’m trying not to dwell on what I cannot control. I returned to work months ago, but only in office and without students to transport. Looking toward the start of school in just a few short weeks, I’m taking stock of my own options, my own boundaries, the compromises and the precautions I’m willing to take and deciding what is right for me. I have my health and the health of my loved ones to consider. I have to stand up for what I believe is right, to keep us all home and safe so that more of us can live.

To distract from it all, I’m focusing more and more on my mental and physical health. I’m making time for more of what I love through schedules, lists, priorities, focus, and self-care. I’m meditating, eating better, taking my medication, and resting often and without guilt. The paradox of July has been that I feel both at my best and at my worst.

With August’s arrival, I plan nothing more than incremental and infinitesimal change. I’m doing the right things now and if I find myself doing these same things 30 days from today, I will count that a monument’s success. The goals going forward are to fight, to breathe, to rest, to work, to learn each a little bit every day…

but before I do, here’s what I am currently:

Writing essays. They’ve been slow to write and even slower to post, but every day I find some new idea or take time to flesh out some part of a new piece. The hurdle has been consistency and persistence. It’s easy to begin, but the challenge of finishing is hell to overcome. I’m working on my self-confidence, getting comfortable with vulnerability, and chasing that elusive state of high challenge and high capability known as “flow“.

Making collages, blackout poetry, and cut out poems again. Last month I bought a desk wide self-healing cutting mat and now creating new work is as easy as folding my laptop away and pulling out my X-Acto blades, markers, and magazines, putting on one of my favorite podcasts and zoning out for a while.

Planning every hour of every day. Throughout the day and at the very least each evening I spend time updating my calendar, to-do list, and digital logbook in preparation for the next day. It’s been helpful to clear my mind of so much clutter and to always know what the next steps should be.

Reading less than I should be and falling farther and farther behind my goals. These past few weeks I’ve found my way back and finished a couple more from my Penguin Little Black Classics Set. I’ve purchased a couple of new one to add to my TBR pile to keep me motivated too. There is still a lot of year left to make up for time lost.

Watching I Know This Much is True, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, and Perry Mason all on HBO. I’ve been into dark dramas lately. They are comforting for the mind the way weighted blankets are for the body. I’m missing movies though, and movie theaters particularly, and hearing that so many studios have pushed back their premiers breaks my heart.

Learning about The Science of Well-Being on Coursera. After so many months of putting my learning journey on the back burner, I’m finally finding the time by asking just 5 hours a week from my schedule to log-in, watch videos, read, and reflect. It sounds like a lot, but waking up earlier on the weekends has given me more than enough time to make it happen. I’m still on Duolingo too if anyone wants to be friends.

Anticipating the end of summer. This is typically my favorite season of the year. Summer is when I feel the most free, the most myself, but between Covid-19 shutting the whole world down and my own health holding me back, this summer has been nothing but disappointment and loniliness. Sometimes “not the same” is worse than “not at all”. I’m ready to move on and try again in 2021.

Reflecting what exactly it feels like to be alive right now. As hard as it is to navigate these trying times, to be frustrated, to be afraid, to grieve, this is the life I am given and though much has been lost all need not be lost. I can still let myself feel. There are times now when feeling is all I can do. I won’t give that up too. Even when it’s hard. Even when it hurts.

Fearing what the end of the season will bring. I’m afraid of returning to work more fully. I’m afraid of being around more coworkers, more kids, more chances to contract the virus. I’m afraid I’m not doing enough to protect myself, my loved ones, my coworkers, or my community. I’m scared of the worst I see predicted by news outlets and over social media. I’m scared of the combination cold, flu, and Covid season to come.

Hating anti-maskers. It’s hard not to see people like that as the enemy. It’s hard not to wish the worst on them for their ignorance and disregard for life, but I’m trying to remember that they are human like me and prone to fault and failure. As a species, we will never be perfect. We must cope with the contrarians, drag the ones we can, kicking and screaming, and make right the mistakes of others the best we can.

Loving Colorado’s monsoon season. The heat of the summer might set me free, but it is the monsoon season that gives me life. Each afternoon as the summer starts to wind down we see afternoon thunderstorms roll from the mountains, through the cities and off toward the planes. They pick of strength as they swirl and gather most times unleashing their fury over the eastern half of the stats but some night the city feels the wrath in the form of rain, hail, flooding, bright lightning, and deep rolling thunder. Nothing is more soothing.

Needing some good news. I’ll take it personally, professionally, or politically, I’m not picky. I’m desperate. The good has been so hard to find. Everywhere I look there is nothing but bad, and pain, and anxiety, and anger, and death. All our usual means of escape are cut off and our usual means of connection along with them. I need something good to balance all the bad. I need something good to balance myself and make it through.

Hoping one foot in front of the other can go on being enough for now. I hope this not just for me, or just for you, but for us all together. Life may never return to what it was and we are going to be limping along, broken, lonely, angry, uncertain, terrified, and the weight of failure and loss trying to find a new way.

The only thing to keep on dragging one foot in front of the other. The only thing we can do is not give up. I hope we won’t stagnate. I hope we won’t lose hope. I hope, in the end, we won’t give up on one another. I hope we learn the value of community. I hope we learn to love more and to let love, and care, and community guide us forward into this great unknown we face, together.


So, yeah, all in all, July was…not the worst month of 2020. The bar is low, sure, but everything felt a little lighter. The world took a moment to breathe in and come August we will breathe out and begin. There is still work to do, life to live, a year to get though, and just now I can begin to sense, a new year beginning to form on it’s end that we’ll have to ready ourselves to begin starting now.

But what about you? Were there any celebrations? Any trip? Any bit of good news or chance for joy? Are you still wearing your mask? Are you still doing your part to keep the people you love and people you will never meet safe? Have you registered to vote?

Let me know in the comments.


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

Photo by Daniel Páscoa on Unsplash

Currently // June 2020: Dire Predictions and Unpleasant Truths

“Words of Emancipation didn’t arrive until the middle of June so they called it Juneteenth. So that was it, the night of Juneteenth celebration, his mind went on. The celebration of a gaudy illusion.” 

― Ralph EllisonJuneteenth

After the past three months of uncertainty, change, and fear I had hoped to settle into a new normalcy this June. Covid-19 cases seemed on the decline. I had returned to work. The precautions and the masks were quickly becoming habits. I was starting to feel safe and secure again. I was daring to feel proud that the world had grown more connected and empowered as we came together to face the pandemic and keep one another safe. Sadly, that new normal, that sense of safety, and that faith in humanity were short lived.

Covid-19 cases are back on the rise again and every day I see videos of people protesting stay at home mandates and refusing to wear masks that keep us all safe. I dealt with my own incident of indignation as a fellow employee in a CPR class I was teaching spit near me in retaliation for being asked to comply with precautions in response to the pandemic.

And as if the pandemic weren’t enough, police officers all over the country continued to brutalize protesters and murder POC in what could have been routine stops if any of them were trained in deescalation and possessed an ounce of self-awareness. They’ve learned nothing—listened to nothing!

The President continues to exacerbate every level of our problems and offers no reason for hope or words of wisdom to sooth or inspire the country he ought to be leading through these crises. The country grows further divided as the Left moves further left and the Right embraces and openly enforces old world systems of classism, racism, and sexism to hold on to power.

Instead of stability June brought only more uncertainty and anger, but none of it has been in vain. Change is happening all over the country and inside each of us and so much of that change is for the better and, slowly, slowly, I’m learning to not only accept, but to embrace and demand that change in others and in myself. This year has been a wild, frightful and wonderful ride and we are only halfway through it!

Working for a school district means July is another kind of New Year for me. This second beginning brings dire predictions and unpleasant truths, sure, but I’m committed to moving forward by focusing on one day at a time, one thing I can control at a time, one emotion at a time. I have a plan, a project, and so much to learn and say before another six months roll by. I’m excited to begin again…

but before I do, here’s what I am currently:

Writing one essay a week. With the second half of the year comes the perfect time to start a new project. This project has been a long-time dream of mine and it seems life, and work, and illness, self-doubt, and laziness keep on getting in the way, but I’m determined to start. My first piece goes up this Thursday and, unless extraordinary circumstances prohibit, every Thursday thereafter.

Making new collage pieces and poems, or at least I hope to. I have a new clean setup in my “creativity room” with a new full length self healing cutting mat and plenty of material to work with. It’s been months since I last held an X-Acto knife and lost myself in the precise cutting of words and images and remix them into something all my own.

Planning for more coronavirus surges and shut downs. The numbers are already up in many states and though Colorado is holding steady, but I have a feeling the mistakes of the Federal Government and surrounding states can’t be kept beyond the boarders. A springtime quarantine was bad enough. It’ll take emotional preparation and work to ready for one in the winter.

Reading Penguin Little Black Classics. There are 80 books in the set and each one is less than 60 pages long. There’s quite an assortment to the collection including short stories, poetry collections, essays, and excerpts. Some are fantastic, some are boring, but each is a new perspective, a piece of history, and satisfying to finish either way. In addition, I was able to find a few free books on police violence and racial inequality from Verso Books.

Watching the entire Avatar: The Last Airbender series on Netflix, followed by Legend of Korra on CBS All Access. I hate to add a new subscription service, but I could not move on without watching both. Luckily CBS comes with the new Twilight Zone series and with Jordan Peele narrating plus just the right amount of nostalgic elements, make the series is well worth the price.

Learning Spanish on Duolingo, but not much more. Going back to work meant a lot had to be put on the back burner and free courses had to be put off. I’m looking for new ways to return to the pleasure of self-education. I’ve started scheduling TV-free nights throughout the week. Some of that time is for writing, but some is for taking a few courses. I’m looking forward to finishing The Science of Well-Being and starting Race and Cultural Diversity in American Life and History.

Anticipating some time in the mountains away from the city, from the news, from social media, and as far from the pandemic as I can manage. My wife and I are celebrating our first wedding anniversary in a luxury tent enjoying gourmet farm to table meals and complimentary wine tasting. I’m looking forward to new hiking trails and breathtaking views.

Reflecting on all the things I never learned. I’m a queer woman of color, but I’m also light-skinned and I’ve had the privilege of an accepting family, workplace, and community. I was raised by a white woman and though she did her best to talk about race with us, I still inherited her innate privilege of ignorance. I’m learning how much I never learned because of what she could never really know.

Fearing the near future, still. Each month brings its own fresh horror, but each is proving worse than the last and we are but halfway through the year. I worry what I will be typing here in 30 day’s time, in 60 days? I’m terrified of the next 90 days.I’m afraid of more and more death. I’m afraid of getting sick. I’m afraid of four more years like the last.

Hating the at times muted, at times contradictory, and always damaging response from the current White House administration to every crisis this country has faced since 2016. Whenever the president speaks he only divides us further and pushes us closer to violence and self-destruction. I’ve never been the most patriotic citizen, but seeing my country in such a shameful state saddens me.

Loving the hard truth telling I see happening in the feeds of every social media platform I visit. I love the way communities have come together to speak up, protect each other, educate each other, and show love. I love the hope I feel despite all the suffering. I love the fearlessness in the demands for justice. I love the ambition and imagination I see in the calls for change.

Needing some energy! Having a chronic illness means my body is always either actively destroying itself or trying to heal itself. It means every day half or more of my energy stores are reallocated, leaving little left for loved ones and personal pursuits. I’m tired of being tired and I’m furious at the unfairness of it all. I’m low from being a burden and ashamed at how one-sided my relationships inevitably become. Just a little more energy would go such a long way…

Hoping that the side of the righteous, the compassionate, the oppressed, and the deserving gain real ground against racism, individualism, capitalism, and hatred in all its forms in the coming months. All around me I see opportunities to for real change and long overdue righting. It’s time we stop thinking in such small ways and moving so incrementally. It’s time lives are made better. It’s time lives were saved.

The world is always going to go on changing, it’s up to each of us to do our part to guide that change toward dignity and justice. I hope I see so much more change in my lifetime. Now is the time!


So, yeah, all in all, June was an enlightening month. I faced some ugly truths about the world, about people, and about myself. I saw the worst in us and I saw the best, the brightest, and the most beautiful too. I’m afraid of what July might bring, but I’m so very excited too. I’m ready to endure anything if it means changing the world toward a happier, more hopeful, and connect place.

But what about you? Have you found a sense of normalcy? Are you heading back out to work and open restaurants? Are you at least wearing a mask? Have you joined any protests, signed petitions, or contacted your state and local governments lately?

Let me know in the comments.


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

Photo by Joe Yates on Unsplash

Currently // May 2020: Getting Used To Life Again

“I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day
When it’s cold outside I’ve got the month of May

— The Tempations, My Girl

This May, much like the April and March before it, was both too short and too long, far too empty and far, far too full. There has been good news in the fight against coronavirus and the world has begun to reopen and life to return to some version of normalcy we can recognize but there is still so much uncertainty and fear. There is still the lingering chance that the numbers of infections and deaths will begin to rise again and we will have to shut ourselves off and away from one another once again.

As the good news of few new cases and deaths were just brightening our spirits, the world found other ways to to fall apart. Protests over not opening fast enough gave us all pause. Displays and deaths due to racism peppered social media streams. Cities all over the country marched peacefully for change during the day, and by night they burned with rage.

The world is a scary place right now and the more they try to push us out the more we want to stay in and the more they push us to the breaking point the closer we all get to boiling over. I’m not sure now how any of this will end and there is a large part of me that predicts it won’t anytime soon, if ever. The coronavirus isn’t going anywhere and racism is so deeply imbedded in our culture I can hardly imagine what life in this country would look like without it.

As for me, I like many others have learned that sometimes the best we can do is allow those who can fight to fight and those who can’t to do their duty and stay out of the way. I spent much of the month waiting. The shifting return to work schedule made it hard to plan projects and after two months of isolation and anxiety I was too emotionally exhausted to write. All I could do, all I felt I should do, was rest.

And now I have gone back into the world and the days and weeks have picked up a rhythm I can follow. I work four hours a day, Monday through Friday. I come home and eat lunch with my wife, clean, and sometimes cook. I watch my shows. I write. I sleep. I try to get used to life again.

As I move into June, I’d like to hold on to a little of that time I spent in quarantine and take what I learned about myself and about what I can still do and take more of an active role in the life that I am building. I want to have more time for myself and not what happens to be left over after work. I want to have more time because I gave less of it over to work. This has been the biggest lesson from all of this the value of my time and what I can do, and what I don’t have to do with it. From now on so much more is going to be up to me.

But before I learn to take back and protect my time, here is what I am currently:

Writing an essay a week. I know I’ve been talking about this project for a long, long while now, but I finally feel ready to commit. I’m actually not ready at all and this is probably the worst time to start any project but one thing I’ve learned these past few years is there is never going to be a right time especially with anxiety and procrastination so readily available to get in the way.

Making better choices. Being cooped up in the house day in and day out made it hard to practice good self-care habits but now that I am returning to some form of a schedule I am finding it easier, and more important than ever, to be mindful of the choices I am making. Now I’m picking healthier food alternatives. I’m going to bed on time. I’m exercising every day. I’m reminding myself that a habit is more than a task you don’t have to think about, it’s one you don’t want to think about. So, stop thinking and just do.

Planning my days and weeks. I’ve been keeping a text-based to-do list and logbook in google docs for a couple of months now but I’ve only just recently gotten to a point where I am updating and reviewing it on a daily basis consistently. I’ve added comments to each date where I track things like weight, meals, steps, mood, and what I’m listening to, learning, and reading. I track the weather, the moon cycle, and the day of the year too.

Reading Femme Fatale by Guy de Maupassant and There Is No Outside: Covid-19 Dispatches, a collection of essays published by n+1 magazine. I’ve been slow to make progress toward my yearly reading goal and am sitting 2 books behind as of this writing, but I’m hoping to get ahead again in June with more time scheduled for writing and an easier way of carrying them with me.

Watching Mrs. America on Hulu, a miniseries following of the struggle to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in the 70’s, Homecoming on Amazon, a psychological thriller series, and Insecure on HBO, a comedy-drama series written by Issa Rae. I’m currently binge-watching Showtime’s Homeland, a spy thriller I love to hate and Avatar: The Last Airbender on Netflix, arguably the best animated series ever written.

Learning nothing. I was taking The Science of Well-Being from Yale University, but I’ve been too busy, too tired, and too full of excuses to finish it. I made it through all the videos of Memoir and Personal Essay: Managing Your Relationship with the Reader by Wesleyan University, but I have yet to finish the writing assignments. Some of these will be the first posted in my essay a week project. As I scale back on TV and social media time I hope to get back to these courses and more.

Anticipating the summer. The season, despite the oppressive heat and violent storms, is my favorite of the year by far. I’m disappointed that this year there will be so little of it to enjoy. Then again, even a low-key and abbreviated summer is better than no summer at all. The world is opening back up more and more and though I’m not quite ready to do all the things available, I’m ready to try to do some things, slowly and safely.

Reflecting on what the quarantine has taught me. The pandemic was and continues to be a devastating tragedy, but that doesn’t mean nothing good came of it. We learned that if we are bold, cooperative, and committed anything and everything can change. I’ve learned what is important to me and how I had been denying myself peace and personal fulfillment in the name of productivity that turned out not to worth very much to me after all. There is a lot I learned about myself these past few months and a lot I’d like to hold on to even as we return to normalcy we can recognize.

Fearing what the near future holds. The world feels like it’s in free fall and no one anywhere can provide answers or even a plan for how we will make it through these next few months with our health and humanity intact. With the possibility of Covid cases surging, economic devastation and sweeping budget short falls, partisan politcs and protests and riots erupting all of the country it’s hard to see a way through it all, to feel safe or secure, and to know how to help or at least how not to hurt. We’re all afraid and we are all in this together, no matter what side you are on. We’ll have to find a way to the other side together too.

Hating the police. I saw a post on Twitter lamenting the lumping in of all cops under the same categorization and pleaded with other to understand not all cops were brutish, power hungry, or cruel. Someone replied with something like “you’re right, not all cops are bad, some are just complacent.” The indifferent are now as culpable as the cruel and the blood shows equally on both hands. There is so much grief and anger that it can no longer be controlled or constructively targeted.

Loving the support I see from the media, politicians, and even some police officers for the BlackLivesMatter protesters. Now feels like the right time to make a change in the world. We’ve got as close to a blank slate to rewrite our laws and reaffirm our commitment to true justice and equality. We have already remade the world in profound ways let’s be bold and imaginative. Lets spread love and support even as we spread anger and grief and see what beautiful and righteous connections and changes we can make.

Needing everybody to use their critical thinking skills when reading the news these days. Cultivate a habit of reading more deeply, looking for context clues, and asking yourself, “what is missing”?. Who’s story is being told and who’s isn’t? What is deliberately big emphasized and deemphasized? What is the history.of this issue? What change needs to be made? Who is asking for a change, and who is answering or denying that call? Read past the headline. Read more than one story, one platform, one side before you form and opinion and choose a side.

Hoping something big happens soon in the name of good and justice. We’ve had so much bad, and difficult, and painful. We’ve had so much that turned us indifferent, angry, hateful, or sad. It’s long passed time for a little love and happiness. I know it’s unlikely. Perhaps that isn’t how love works. Perhaps it’s in all the little acts that don’t make the news and words that don’t trigger opinion pieces. The good is out there. Talk about it more. Share it more. Spread it more. We need it more than ever.


So, yeah, all in all, May was a chance to reflect and to return. These last few months have been so empty and so lonely and finally we can return not just to each other but to nature too and in that return we can reflect on what we learned while the world paused and, more than anything, May gave us the chance to choose. As June approaches we can choose what our new normal will be and what we will value when we finally rebuild.

But what about you? Have you stepped out of quarantine and back into the world. We’re you ever able to step out at all? How much summer have you been able to enjoy? Have you protested in your city? Have you stayed safe and sane? Has your humanity survived this time for fear and divisiveness?

Let me know in the comments.


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

Photo by Mickey Dziwulski on Unsplash

Currently // April 2020: There Is No Normal

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 of the year. It’s the month I was born in and the month the earth and nature warm and begin to come alive again. April is a month of resurrection, of renewal, of hope. April is the light at the end of the long tunnel that is winter, but this April was none of that. Yes, the sun warmed, and the leaves began to sprout, but our hearts stayed locking inside as if winter had never ended.

The novel coronavirus pandemic continued to worsen across the globe and much of the world sheltered in place somewhere in the spectrum between voluntary and strict lockdown orders. Schools all over the world have shuttered for the year and many are making drastic changes already to their calendars and curriculums for the 20-21 year. We’re all looking at a changed world but nothing is certain and nothing will be set in stone for a very long time to come.

This April then was one inverted from what it ought to have been then. Instead of hope, we felt fear. Instead of emerging into a bright, lively, and connected world, we slipped further into isolation, depression, and anxiety. Instead of coming to life, we set our sights on mere survival and asked the very bare minimum from one another just to stay sane and safe. This April has truly and literally been the cruelest month.

But not all is lost to despair and to find spring again you only have to look out your window, go for a walk, unplug, or call a friend. Through the worst crises in recent history, we have come together. You may not see it but you can certainly feel it all around you in the cooperation of those who stay home and in the courage it takes for our most essential workers not too. In the end, the human race is a force if not of good or pure determination and we can do so much more than we imagine. April has been proof of that, at least.

As for me, it’s has been hard, but it has been far from catastrophic. I am still practicing strict social distancing and doing my best to keep from wallowing too much in misery or falling too far into self-pity. I’m balancing the pressure to be productive with permission to idle. I’m working to be mindful, to find joy, to be grateful, and to banish guilt. These are absurd times we are living in and there is no right or normal way to feel, react, or be. Gentleness, patience, and persistence is all we need.

April has at the very least given me time to think and prioritize. I think I have taken myself much too seriously in the past and this has been a grave hindrance to my progress. Perfection has been the enemy of any good I hoped to do. Knowing I am not perfect has kept me from trying but what I need to know was that being good at something has nothing at all to do with enjoying something and joy is what I intend to pursue through my writing going forward. I’m reviving an old goal of writing one essay and week and working out a way to reach it through small, enjoyable, fulfilling actions every day.

But before I start, here is what I am currently:

Writing essays and poems. Not one every day, but working on one every day. There is a difference, and the latter is a much better fit to the kind of writer I think I am. I like to dive a little deeper, express more emotion, and find hidden connections, and I’d like to do that a lot more but the pressure to be a blogger who posts daily is high and rather than fail I’ve often opted not to even try. In April I tried a little harder to do things my way. I did write a few pieces in a day, but there were a lot of pieces that I am still working through, and that’s okay. The goal is to finish the drafts by working on them every day, and that’s all I’m asking of myself.

Making an effort every day. I know it sounds like I’m doing a lot or that I have such big goals and aspirations but every day is a struggle and at the end every day feels like a fresh failure. When I was a kid my mom, when lecturing me about my grades would tell me that if a failure had been my best, then she wouldn’t be mad, and then she would look me in my eye and ask me if I did my best and so many times I said no and knew my failure had been on me. I’m asking myself that question now and I’m seeing too many of those same old answers. An effort, that’s all I’m asking anymore.

Planning everything. These past few months I’ve started a new to-do list and logbook system based on a system by Jeff Huang using Google’s docs, calendar, tasks, and keep products. Events and to-do items start out in the calendar. I add them as they come up or pop into my head. Recurring tasks like daily Spanish lessons and reading goals are added to the tasks list. Notes and ideas are added to the keep app all day long. Then, every night, at least, I open the to-do list document and write a few lines about what I did or felt that day. Afterward, I review the calendar, tasks list, and notes in the sidebar and type out all the things I want to do the next day in the document. It has been very helpful, and I have done more this past month than I have in the past year perhaps, but it still needs tweaking.

Reading Borne by Jeff VanderMeer. April was not a great reading month. At the end of March and through the first few weeks of this month I was making a lot of progress but trying to write more ate up time and feeling down when I couldn’t ate up even more. I watched way too much TV, slept in more than I’d like, and simply gave up trying. But that’s only half the excuse. Borne is also boring me a little. It’s interesting but a little too sci-fi to allow me to suspend as much belief and required and I end up putting it back down after only a few pages. I’m not a reader who can bring myself to quit though, so I have to push harder in May. No more excuses.

Watching Mrs. America. The show, starring Cate Blanchett as Phyllis Schlafly and Phyllis Schlafly as Gloria Steinem, follows the women’s rights movement of the early 70s and the struggle to pass and ratify the Equal Rights Amendment against a growing conservative women’s opposition. I’m also all caught up with Star Wars: The Clone Wars. I’m still as confused and thrilled with Westworld as ever. I’m losing interest in Killing Eve fast. Insecure is still making me laugh, and old episodes of Six Feet Under are keeping me entertained in between.

Learning about The Science of Well-Being and tips on writing Memoir and Personal Essay. The Science of Well-Being is interesting, but I felt I wasn’t getting the most out of it without access to a printer for the handout and “rewirements”. Luckily we were able to borrow my wife’s desk printer from her workplace and the hurdle was quickly cleared. I would have made more progress through Memoir and Personal Essay, but I got stuck on the first assignment trying to work out an idea that perfectly fit the prompt. From now on, I’ll focus on doing my best writing and take the prompts and strong suggestions only.

Anticipating returning to work. Everything is going to be different from the role I play to the way I work. The promotion I was offered in March has only just been finalized this past week but it means when I do go back to work I will be doing a bit of a different job and under very different social norms. Already there is talk about wearing mask and gloves all day and working one on one during our training classes rather than in groups of 3 or 4. My work is going to become a lot more tedious and a lot more emotionally draining and will take a lot of strength and enthusiasm from me. I’m looking forward to new challenges.

Reflecting on what I am learning about myself during this time. Looking back over the past six weeks or so I can see how much I have done to take care of myself and work out my own needs and goals and there is so much I’d like to go on doing and being once this is over. I’ve already mentioned the writing, but there’s more to it than that. It’s the focus and the direction. It’s the passion and the emotion I am trying to harness. I’m learning that I have to dig deeper and the roadblocks are showing me something too. I need more life. I need to do more, live more, talk more, learn more. So much has changed already and so much more is going to change too and for the first time, instead of being afraid I’m excited.

Fearing that these economically motivated calls and initiatives to reopen the country will win out over the value of human life and undo all the hard work we’ve done and sacrifices we’ve made to flatten the curve and save lives. I’m afraid capitalism will win and no changes at all will be made to protect worker’s rights, well-being, or safety. I’m afraid of the widespread homelessness and hunger I feel approaching on the horizon if those with the means and the power don’t muster the courage or the imagination and compassion to adjust their priorities and reshape the world while we have the chance. I’m afraid voters will forget all too quickly or misplace their blame and anger and allow the status quo to continue unabated.

Hating how quickly major brands and corporations were able to create advertising campaigns to pull at the heartstrings and capitalize on the pandemic. From car manufactures and dealers to home colon cancer testing kits, every commercial I see now tries too hard to pry their way into our pockets by forcing a narrative of understanding, compassion, and connection. I’d care and identify with a company much more if I saw a commercial that simply said what they are doing to help save lives, not how they’ve made it easier for them to continue to take my money.

Loving my friends and family more than ever. I miss them all so much, though I haven’t been the best at showing it. It’s always been hard for me to reach out to the people I care about and it’s always been hard, I believe, for them to reach out to me, but it’s never frustrated me or hurt me as much as it does now. For a while I was wallowing in a lot of self-pity over it but this week I’ve started to shift my perspective from a self centered and victim centered on to one of gratitude. I am hurt because I love and am loved in return. I feel lonely because before this pandemic I was so rich in warmth and community. It’s up to me to maintain that community, so re-establish community and lessen my feelings of isolation.

Needing nothing at all. I’m one of the lucky ones and to ask for anything more right now when so many are losing everything feels wrong. I am content as I am, which what I have. I ask nothing from others or the universe and only from myself. I need more from me, for me, and perhaps for others too. I certainly haven’t given enough in any sense of the word. Perhaps what I need then is to donate, to offer my time and money, to find a way to help that is more than just getting out of the way. I need to know, when this is all over, that I did something.

Hoping that life doesn’t just go back to normal after all of this. If we simply carry on like nothing happened, then this will have all been a terrible and tragic waste. We are so much better than we give ourselves credit for and we can be so much better than we imagine. We’ve seen that, haven’t we? We’ve proven it, surely, so let’s do better and be better. I hope that people all over the world who have lost jobs, healthcare, and stability remember what was needed when it comes time to vote and I hope that those who profited from the pandemic or who would like to profit when it ends, remember that our memory is long and clear. We won’t stand for the way it “used to be”. Either you are for the people or you will find the people are no longer for you.


So, yeah, all in all, April, though isolating and often terrifying, was full of some very big wins. My wife and I, our loved ones and friends, and even our pets are all safe and healthy, working or at least being paid, and the future is still bright and life is still worth living. I have learned something, written some things, rested, and reflected. That’s more than I have been able to ask of any month in years. I know it could all end in the blink of an eye and I am watchful for that other shoe to drop.

But what about you? Are you and your loved ones staying home? Staying safe? Staying sane? Are you working in person? At home? At all? Do you think we are ready to restart the world? How do you think the world should change now that we have had a glimpse of how vulnerable we all really are?

Let me know in the comments.


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

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Currently // March 2020: Everything Has Changed

“March is the Month of Expectation.
The things we do not know—”

— Emily Dickinson, March is the Month of Expectation

March, typically, is one of the most boring months of the year. If it weren’t for the start of Spring and for the designation as Women’s History Month, March would be wholly unremarkable. But this March has been something else entirely. This March has been one of the hardest and, frankly, terrifying months I have ever lived through.

When the month began, life was essentially normal. I was working and worrying about an upcoming interview for a new position at work. I was anxiously counting down the days until Spring break. I was so looking forward to a trip down to Texas for a conference. Life was good, and everything was looking up for me. Then the news reports, the ones that had been increasing for weeks and the ones I had dismissed as media hype, were growing increasingly concerning.

There was a new virus spreading quickly, and every day the numbers of the infected grew higher, and grew closer. Suddenly I was hearing words like incubation period, quarantine, and pandemic. Suddenly there was hand sanitizer everywhere. Suddenly we were being told to stay home if we were sick. Suddenly there were lists of vulnerable populations on the news and a list of vulnerable workers at my job. As the first couple of weeks of the month wore on, rumors began flying everywhere. Rumors about how bad things would get and the severe measures that may have to be taken. Then, suddenly, everything changed.

As I write this, my wife and I have been off of work and hold up at home practicing social distancing for nearly three weeks now. Almost every business in the state has closed their doors, and the Governor has issued a “stay-at-home” order. Last I heard from the school district I will return to work on April 20th, but I am hearing rumors again. Rumors about how much longer this will go on and how much worse it will get.

As for me, I’m getting through it the best that I can. I’m one of the lucky ones. I not only have the opportunity to stay home to protect myself and others, but I’m being paid to do so. I’m only being asked to endure isolation and boredom. I’m choosing to make the most of this time partly because I feel guilty for resting so much while the world burns around me, but also because I need to keep my mind occupied.

Going forward, I have no big aspirations. April will be a month of simply coping and doing what small things I can do to keep myself from falling victim to loneliness or depression. I’d like to read a few books, write a few posts and essay, and perhaps create a few collages and poems. I’d like to take better care of my physical and emotional health and complete a few projects around the house. I’d like to spend time with my wife and give my pets and plants the attention they deserve. I want all the things I always wish I could be doing when I had to work instead, but before I do, here is what I am currently:

Writing a couple of real blog posts. I’ve been using Google docs not only to track my daily to-do items and store my daily logbook lately, but to work on my drafts and essays too. I’ve been able to free write, take notes, add comments, and perform searches for quotes and facts right from within the documents. It helps to avoid distraction (when coupled with the use of a timer) and in this time of social isolation I feel like I finally have the time and a system in place to get my ideas organized and perhaps get some real writing out there instead of just talking about it.

Making lists. I’ve written a little about it already and plan to write a lot more about it soon, but I’ve been working on a new to-do list and logbook system I shamelessly stole from Jeff Huang. I’m incorporating suggestions from Cal Newport on adding time blocking and action plans and recently discovered a whole blog dedicated to Plain Text systems. I’m using Google docs to facilitate accessibility across devices and working on a system to incorporate calendars and links to other documents to track an editorial calendar and easily write and publish new blog posts.

Planning for a lengthy stay indoors. To be honest, nothing can be planned for at the moment. We don’t know when we will be able to go back to work, see our loved ones, travel or attend events. Everything I had been planning for or looking forward to had been postponed indefinitely, and all I can allow myself to plan for now is a day or two in advance. The silver lining is that for the time being I can live in the present and focus fully on spending the time I have today the best I can. One day at a time is the only way any of us can hope to digest the future that awaits us.

Reading It by Stephen King, still. I’ve been chipping away at this tome for months now and though progress has been slow, it has been made. I expect that by this time next month I’ll have finished this and two or three more. I hope to close the two book gap between where I am and where I should be by now if I want to beat my 2020 reading challenge. Going forward, I’m going to make an effort to read more digital books. I have an old iPad I’m repurposing as a dedicated e-reader. I have plenty of gift cards for Amazon, Google, and Barnes & Noble that I can use for this experiment and plenty of time on my hands to work on my comprehension and focus when reading from and screen.

Watching the news. I’m trying not to watch it all the time but, like most of you I’m sure, I’ve had to check in regularly not just with national news, which I did all the time even before all of this, but with world and local news too. It’s helped to be informed, but I’ve had to be mindful of where I get my news and how often I check it to avoid panic and speculation. I watch for an hour or so in the morning while I make my coffee and eat, and when I’m done, I turn it off and don’t allow myself to look again until after dinner.

Learning about International Women’s Health and Human Rights on Coursera. I’ve been trying for over a year to complete this course, but I have always failed to make the time or to do the work consistently. Now that I am off of work I have whole days to devote to studying and writing and, hopefully, finally marking this course complete. I’m ready to move on from this (and from my Modern & Contemporary American Poetry course too) and it has been this desire to move on that has kept me from finishing, but the only way out is through and there is no better time than now, when I have all the time I could ever want. 

Anticipating my birthday, I suppose. Normally, I spend the whole month of April celebrating my birthday. I tour all my favorite museums. I eat out at my favorite restaurants. I always do something extra special with my wife and I plan multiple events with family and friends, but this year I’ll have to spend it quietly indoors and away from everyone I know. I’m a bit bummed about it but I know I can still make it special if I try. I still have my wife here with me and we can cook my favorite foods and I hear she’s already ordered gifts for me. I can still call my family and friends and perhaps we can plan a hiking trip if the parks are still open.

Reflecting on all the ways life has changed and how easily it has changed, how easily it could have always changed before all of this if we’d all been better, stronger, more kind, more imaginative. We’re seeing now what was always possible and when this is over we are going to have to answer for why we lied to each other and ourselves for so long. We’ll have to face that universal healthcare, housing assistance, and paid sick leave at the very least we’re always possible, affordable, and in all our best interest. We’ll have to face that some things will have to stay changed for the better.

Fearing this virus making its way into my circle of loved ones or into my home. I’m afraid for my parents, who were forced to work far further into this pandemic than I was comfortable with. I’m worried for my wife, who’s asthma has grown more severe over these last few years. I’m worried for my siblings living in other states that aren’t yet taking the measures my state has. I’m worried for myself being on medications that leave me somewhat immunosuppressed and needing to make regular trips into the clinic for care. Every step out of the house is a risk, and so much is out of my control.

Hating the impact this virus has had on my own life and these past weeks. I know it’s a bit selfish, but I’m giving myself permission to be angry over missing so much I had been looking forward too. There was a St. Patrick’s day dinner and a movie date I had planned with my wife that was cancelled. I was planning a big trip to Texas for work that was cancelled. I just got a promotion the day before the district closed and I haven’t been able to have my title or my pay scale changed. I had a class scheduled to become a Crisis Prevention and Intervention instructor that has been postponed indefinitely. Spring has come, and I haven’t been able to fully enjoy one day of it. I’ve lost time, I can never get back, and it’s okay to be angry about it.

Loving how we’ve all come together to beat this thing. I love seeing that so many of us are doing our part by staying home, by sharing supplies, by volunteering, but donating money or supporting local business by ordering delivery. I love that we have chosen to keep each other safe rather than to indulging in petty wants. Even if I am disappointed in the fact that it took this pandemic for life to change, I love that we were able to change for the better so quickly and easily. I’m proud of us all, and my faith in humanity has been restored.

Needing to see some sign of hope. I need to see that what we are doing is helping and that lives will be saved but all I see is more death and more to fear and everyday I grow more depressed and hopeless. I desperately need my spirits lifted and I know I’m not alone. Everyone is feeling this same anxiety and dread and a little good news in these terrifying and uncertain times could go a long way, but everywhere I look there’s nothing but bad. I know the media is keeping us informed and I know they tend toward what keeps us engaged and nothing does that more than what incites panic but please, please, please, show us something good too.

Hoping we can all keep this up. I know the longer it goes on, the antsier we all get, the more we begin to relax the rules and lose our sense of urgency. We start venturing out. We start letting the kids play together in the park. We start visiting the friends and family we’ve been missing so much. We start to believe that things aren’t as bad as the media would have you believe and that the recommendations to stay home have been overblown. I hope we can, for once, keep foremost in our mind what must be done and that we can, for once, find the collective courage and discipline to do it.


So, yeah, all in all, March was an absolutely horrifying month, but there has been some small good in it. I am happy and healthy and so are the people I love. I got the promotion I’ve been working so hard for and one day, when all of this is over, I can do all of those things that I missed out on. I’ve learned to be present and we’ve all learned that we’re all connected and we cannot get through this without the help and cooperation of us all. March has been, at the very least, eye opening.

But what about you? How have you navigated these changes, this fear and uncertainty? How have you been impacted by this virus? Have you stayed well? Have you stayed at home? Do you have enough toilet paper?

Let me know in the comments.


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

Photo by Elijah O’Donnell on Unsplash

Currently // December 2019: Warmth for the Body and the Soul

“It is December, and nobody asked if I was ready.” 

Sarah Kay

December for many is dull, dreary, and depressing. For others, it is the exact opposite, a time of brightness, warmth, happy memories and memory making. For me December typically falls into the former description. I’ve never liked the bitter temperatures or the snow storms of Colorado winters though I have lived here most of my life but this year I tried to find the good, or at least the usefulness of the season.

I still have not learned to love the weather but I see the value in all the rest. The brightness, the warmth, happy memories and memory making, they are tools to get us through the dull and dreary and depressing. We turn to family, food, giving and gifts. We turn on bright lights and turn out for parties, for feasts, for shopping, and for what little activity the winter has to offer. We seek warmth where we can and when it can’t be found for the body; we manufacture it for the soul.

And now winter is in full swing and the holidays are nearly over. Though the calendar confirms there is a long way to go still, our patience with the cold and clouds is already running thin and the more the month wanes the more we begin to question whether we will make it through these next months of sacrifice and suffering now that the lights, the feasts, and the giving and getting is done.

But the new month and the new year are not here yet. We have one more day to celebrate, to share, to reflect, to carry with us into the cold of January. December is a month of letting go and of hoping. We hope to become someone new, someone better, someone we always knew we truly were. I admit I’m not ready for such a chance this time around. A new decade of myself is too grand a thing to imagine so I’m resolving not to put my future self into a box or to dictate to her who I, in my ignorance, think she ought to be.

So for now, for today, I’m simply coming to terms with an end I thought would linger for a while but ended up passing by the same as the whole of the year that came before, far too fast. I did enjoy the end despite the stresses of the holidays and the resurfacing of old health issues and one thing I’ve learned is that our problems are reminders of our blessings and the problems I do have are better than the problems I could have. I’ve learned to find happiness under every obligation, frustration, and pain through gratitude, giving, and self-care.

And somewhere deep down, I think I’m looking forward to the new month, the start of a new year, and a brand new decade with enthusiasm and optimism. I have so little to regret and so much to look forward to, to experience, and to accomplish, but before I do, here is what I am currently…

Writing whatever pops into my head whenever I can. The content is not as important as the act right now. The point is to just write, write, write. I’m writing daily blog posts, personal essays, and flirting with prose poetry. I’m writing in pocket notebooks, in handmade journals, and the margins of books. I finishing neglected drafts, creating lists, and using any means and inspiration available. I’m writing as consistently as I can and my hope is that eventually I will begin to recognize a pattern, a purpose, and a message. I’m hoping, through hours and hours of all kinds of practice, it will get easier to WORK RELAX DON’T THINK as Ray Bradbury advises.

Making Cut out and blackout poems, still. I haven’t had the time or the courage for proper collage work but working with words has always been easier for me than working with images. It’s nice to take a creative break from pulling words out of my own head and to use the words of others for a while. It’s a small way to get my mind out of any ruts it might have dug and to think freely for a bit. I’ve found a lively collage community on Instagram too and that only makes me want to make and experiment more. I only wish I could find the same kind of community for my writing too.

Planning nothing at all. This isn’t 100% true. I’m planning each day, one by one, and that is all. Planning for anything longer term than that hasn’t really gotten me anywhere these past few years. Plans never work out and always go awry. I go awry. So, for 2020 I’m changing the way I spend my life by planning how I spend my days. I’m looking at life hour by hour and already I have found so much time that was slipping away unnoticed and unused. Of course, not every free hour can be given over to writing, nor should it be. There are hours for my loved ones, hours to read, hours to study, hours to eat, to walk, to rest, hours for art, for cleaning, for date nights, for shopping, and even hours for mindless TV too, but it’s all scheduled. Each thing must have its beginning and end.

Dreaming about a comic book again. A long time ago when I was a different, younger, more creatively ambitious version of myself I dreamed of creating an epic dystopian graphic novel but there is a steep learning curve to pen and ink and I was not dedicated or driven enough to put in the work. These past few months I’ve felt characters stirring inside of me and some are even beginning to gather into visible entities. I fear soon they may develop personalities and, worse still, desires! Maybe 2020 will be the year I begin to play with real art and storytelling?

Reading Ethics by Benedict de Spinoza. The book is short, I can tell already it will be slow going. It wasn’t a very good reading month. I only managed to finish one: The Plague by Albert Camus, a simple story of very big ideas about a town suddenly ravaged and isolated by a deadly plague. It was not a good reading month for me. I had hoped to end the year only 10 books behind schedule but it looks like I will miss even that goal by 2 books. That’s ok, I did better than the year before and I know that in 2020 I will do even better still. I am considering creating a list of books to read in advance but so often I find books at thrift stores or on impulse that it makes it hard to commit to any particular book, author, or genre.

Watching all things star wars. This month my wife and I re-watched every single star wars film in preparation for The Rise of Skywalker. (I love that she is so willing to indulge in my little obsessions with me.) The films are terrible but somehow I love them for their fault as much as despite them. I enjoyed The Rise of Skywalker though I do have some issues with the way the story was told and the big surprises revealed. I finished The Mandalorian on Disney+ and it was a breath of fresh air from the films. On Saturday mornings I’m re-watching the animated series Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels in preparation for the rumored returns and premiers of many more Star Wars shows and films to come.

Learning math again on Khan Academy, again, and Spanish on Duolingo, still, but not much more, for now. I haven’t used Khan Academy in a while. I realized quickly that though math isn’t harder for me to learn than any average person, math after a certain point is hard no matter who you are or what your aptitude. I would like to get back into it though and finish learning what I never got a chance to in school. Spanish is also getting harder and I am resolving now not to keep on doing the easy lessons but to move on to new words and harder grammar. My work on Coursera has been on hold mid-august when my work schedule grew more rigorous but things are beginning to settle down now. With this new year comes a new beginning and I have a plan to start again and all of my study and deep learning time will be strictly scheduled. No excuses.

Anticipating some big changes, opportunities, and projects in 2020. At my day job there is a quickly approaching opportunity for advancement and with it comes more freedom, more chances to learn and to grow, and a lot more responsibility too. I may be taking new classes and I am being sent on my first out-of-state conference trip. I have some big ideas about how to change the way we do things and the way we teach people too. At home my wife and I will tackle some big house projects, we’ll attend some big events, and we’re planning some big out-of-state trips for ourselves too. I’m terrified of all of it but I’m learning to be open to these changes, to be flexible, and to even be excited.

Reflecting on the past year. 2019 really was a good one. I got married. I got to travel. I got to spend time with my friends and I got to try some new ways of doing things at work. I feel different, but in a good way. It’s important that I take a moment to take stock of all the ways I have changed and how I hope to go on changing going forward. Right now I feel stronger, more secure in who I am. I feel more content with my life and more willing to try new things. I feel safer, smarter, and I have begun to realize my own power. Going forward I’d like to become even more fearless and bold. I’d like to learn how to be bored, to be silly, and to be a better role model. I want to become more me in all the ways that are possible.

Feeling not so good, to be honest. Around last Thanksgiving time my ulcerative colitis symptoms returned suddenly and severely after two years of blissful remission. Since then I’ve been put back on old medications and a high dose of steroids and I am still struggling to recapture remission. I’m improving and I have an amazing doctor but this disease can be debilitating, isolating, embarrassing. I have anxiety about leaving my home and I grow increasingly depressed by what I cannot do and by the burden I place on others. I’m frustrated by my body and angry that chance has chosen me to live with such a condition, and I have nowhere to direct any of it. I’m learning to cope with it but every day brings new challenges. Keeping my goals in focus helps. Resting when I need to helps. Helping others through online support groups helps. Knowing that eventually this will pass too, helps.

Fearing failure. I have so much to look forward to and so much more I want to do but I am afraid that none of it will come to fruition and, worse still, that it will be due to my own failure of talent or failure to try. I fear ending next year the same and this one and the year before this, exactly in the same position as I ended it, no healthier, no more fulfilled, no closer to my dreams. I fear that I will always be all talk, no action, no progress, nothing at all to show for all these hours spend working and writing. I fear staying ignorant, staying small, staying put. I fear that my fear of success and change is greater than my fear of failure. I fear that failure is who I am.

Hating the necessary social culling that comes with age. This year I lost friends I never thought I would, some by my choice, and some by theirs. It hurts and the urge to dig at the wound, to try to repair the relationship by blurring my boundaries and making concessions, and to know why, why, why is strong and painful but I know that such prodding will offer me no answers, no happiness, and none of what used to be. People come and go and that is okay. People will not always like me and that is okay. I will not always like others or my like may at anytime turn to dislike, and that is okay too. What isn’t okay anymore is the indifference, the unreciprocated efforts, and the hurt and I simply don’t have time anymore for what isn’t working. Though it’s painful to let go, it is unbearable to hold on.

Loving myself. Even though I am not my best self at the moment, I have to say that I am so proud of all I have experienced, accomplished, and fought through this year and every year. My sprit is strong. I am a good person. I don’t give up and I don’t give in. I do what is right. I help people. I have a big heart and a passionate curiosity. I still have a lot to improve but everyone does, the point is that I like me. I enjoy time with myself. I feel safe with myself. I no longer fear the strange thoughts and inner workings of my mind. This year I have made long strides in learning to self soothe, to advocate for myself, and to fight for my time, inner peace, and needs. I have learned not just to love myself, but how to show it too.

Needing to learn the art of leisure. I have plenty of time to myself throughout the day but I spend most of it doing the most mindless things just to fulfil a sense of purpose and worth. When I should be doing nothing I think about how much money I’m not making or how little I am contributing. When I do nothing I feel like I am nothing. I don’t think I even know how to do the things I love without feeling guilt and I certainly have no idea how to do nothing at all. I’m not sure doing nothing is even possible, for anyone, anymore! I’d love to try though and to be honest I think it’s something we all need not just as individuals but as a society. We have to find a way to value simply existing.

Hoping for another good year filled with love, friendship, health, warmth, and vibrant life. I’m hoping for everything and most of all for more hope. I’m already beginning this new year with more hope than I’ve ever beginning any other and It’s not just because this past year was so good but because I feel so much more ready for all the things life has to offer. I feel capable and deserving and that opened me up to the possibility of finding joy in the act of hoping alone. I feel protected from disappointment and from despair should my hopes come to nothing because I know I can simply hope for new things and feel hope’s joy whenever I choose.


So, yeah, all in all, December was not really a good month in itself but became one through the act of reflecting on a year that contained so much good. I suppose that is what Decembers really are. They are all the 12 months you lived before rolled into one by memory, good food, gift giving, and being with those who loved us through those months too. Perhaps Decembers are growing on me?

But what about you? How did you spend your holidays? Did you receive the gifts you wanted? Has looking back on the year given you a sense of accomplishment, happiness, or hope? Or have you avoided looking back out of regret or sorrow? What do you want for you in 2020?

Let me know in the comments.

“How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”

— Dr. Seuss


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

Photo by Luke Hodde on Unsplash

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