163 // There Has to be More

I’m fortunate enough to work for a district that is big, dense, and well financed. I’m fortunate enough to work in a place that is at the forefront of compliance, knowledge, and implementation of laws and best practice recommendation too, but because we are often the first or the best, there is little room for me to go out and learn from others. Of course, some would say that I should be the one teaching then, but I already do that every day. What I want is a chance to learn. I need is to be challenged.

Today I took a class I hoped to take something, anything new out of and instead I was presented with the same slides and materials I had been studying and teaching for years. I’m glad that others in the class were able to learn something new but I’m exceedingly disappointed that I wasn’t.

Tomorrow I’m taking another class and hoping for another chance at a challenge, but if I once again walk away with what I arrived with I will certainly devote much more of my time elsewhere to find the pieces we are missing and taking the teaching upon myself. There has to be more to know than this.

Advertisements

Shifts // June 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Post inspired by Nicholas Bate

Photo by Lenart Lipovšek on Unsplash

Currently // May 2019: An Absolutely Miserable Month

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

Marty Rubin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Let me know in the comments.

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

The Beautiful and Damned, F. Scott Fitzgerald


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

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Shifts for May 2019

1. Appreciate the work your heart does for you. It isn’t broken, or weak, or a burden. It has loved you from the start and it works just as it should, every day. It loves because love is what you need and sometimes the hurt just means it’s doing its best. Don’t smother it, harden it, or wish it away. Give it space to do its job and take care of it in return.

2. Get some distance from yourself. It’s important not to make yourself the center of the universe, for good or bad. You are not the most anything or the worst anything either. Your perspective, feelings, and priorities are not the only ones and they are not the sole right ones. Nothing revolves or relies solely on you either, and this is a good thing.

3. Take notice of who you become when you are around other people, certain people, and no people at all. At first, you may feel ashamed watching yourself act in such degrading and humiliating ways as you imitate and perform to please but do not be overcome. Learn from that weaker version of yourself and build a stronger sense of self and character.

4. Having mixed feelings about the people you love is okay. From parents to friends to role models everyone we love makes mistakes, lets us down, and sometimes they even hurt us, a lot. The internet would have you believe boundaries are simple and that only the people who meet our expectations and needs perfectly should be allowed in our lives, but life and love are messy and there is never one simple way to react or proceed. We can feel many often opposing emotions at once and people who make mistakes can still make us happy.

5. Make promises to yourself and commit to not breaking them. When we put the needs of others (and our need to please) before our personal passions, goals, and needs we are the ones who suffer. The commitments you have to yourself and your one and only future are important, the most important and must be treated as sacred. A promise will keep your priorities in focus and the covenant will keep you accountable.

6. Stop apologizing so much. Stop explaining yourself all the time. Stop giving away your self-worth to everyone you meet for every trivial transgression. Your boundaries are valid. Your mistakes are human and normal. You don’t owe anyone everything all the time. Learn to discern when you are truly in the wrong and when your explanation and excuses are unwanted and unwarranted.

7. Remember to “thank those who make your day easier”. Too often we view others such as service industry workers, our coworkers, and even our friends, family, and spouses as people who “owe us” their time, attention, care, and assistance. As a result, when they cannot, or will not, deliver we lash out. Remember that no one owes you anything, and the people who give you their time, attention, care, and assistance deserve a sincere display of your gratitude and patience at the very least.


Post inspired by Nicholas Bate

Photo by Anton Darius on Unsplash

Currently // April 2019: Showing Myself Some Appreciation

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

― T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Let me know in the comments.

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

F. Scott Fitzgerald


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

Photo by Irina Iriser on Unsplash

Shifts for April

1. Focus on the reality of the process and not the end result in your dreams. Too often we circumvent discomfort, doubt, and fear by playing perfect scenarios over and over in our minds. We enjoy a sense of accomplishment without having to do the dirty work. Dream, and then put the dream away leaving nothing but space for the real work.

2. It is true that you should not waste time reading books you don’t like, but before you give up, you should consider first whether what you are reading is simply challenging. Reading, like anything, shouldn’t just be about what is easy. Sometimes what you don’t like is that it’s hard and sometimes you will find that greater joy can be found by sticking with what challenges you rather than giving up because it’s “not for you”.

3. Begin before you are ready. The truth is the first attempt will be bad, no matter whether you start now or a year from now. No matter how much you plan or research. No matter how you rework or rewrite. No matter what classes you take or how many “how-to” articles you read. The first attempt will suck because no one is ready the first time. Better to fail now than later.

4. Don’t be afraid to write about it more than once. Write about the same thing every single day if you want. Study it from all angles. Practice it until it’s right. Put it in a new order, a new light, a new place, context, and time. Write it for me, for her, for you, for people living a long way ahead, and write it again for people long gone. Write it as a poem, an essay, a letter, a story. Write is as a truth, then write it as a lie. Write it to death.

5. Don’t give a second of your time to feeling guilty for giving up what other people want for you. Your aspirations may only be comprehendible to you but that doesn’t mean they aren’t valid, worthy, or possible. People can be pushy in their bid to control the direction of your life but don’t feel bad for giving up the opportunities and advice they offer if they do not lead to the life you want for you.

6. Know when to rest. It’s good to have so much expectation of yourself and to work so hard building so many good and admirable habits, but not everything can be done every day and it better to fall a little behind and rest, that to fall far behind when you finally collapse.

7. Move your body. Sweat. Get up from your desk and exhaust yourself. Cultivating the mind and living in virtual and abstract spaces is not the only way to improve the self. There is much to be learned in nature too and the mind appreciates physical exertion as much the body. Balance the mental and the physical, both are part of you and both need the other.


Post inspired by Nicholas Bate

Photo by Kat Stokes on Unsplash

Currently // March 2019: Seeds of Possibility

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

― Emily Dickinson, March is the Month of Expectation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Let me know in the comments.


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

Photo by Damiano Baschiera on Unsplash

078 // Doing Something New

I’m doing something new at work for a few days. I’m helping in our recruiting department by calling prospective employees and encouraging them to finish their application process and to schedule them for interviews if they have.

I was dreading it before I came in. My stomach was in knots and more than once I thought about calling in sick for the whole week just to avoid it, but I knew I needed to be brave and to do my best or I’d never forgive myself. So, I went in and did just that, and you know what? I fucking rocked it!

My boss was probably hyping me up a more than I deserved so I wouldn’t quit but I really felt like I took to it, and more than that, I kind of liked it. It was interesting, and I really felt like I was doing something to help our district more directly.

I’m going back tomorrow for more. I’m still nervous, but a little less so, but I’m trying not to think about that now. For now, I’m just proud.


These entries are inspired by Thord D. Hedengren

077 // Yesterday’s Redo

I woke up later than I wanted to but I woke up feeling a lot better than yesterday so I’m not complaining. My body definitely needed the extra hours of rest.

Once I got up and got a couple cups of coffee in me I hit the ground running and didn’t stop. I did everything I set out to do and more. I made phone calls and sent emails I’ve been dreading for months. I cleaned the house and blasted through the laundry, and I even did a few meal prep type things. I did some wedding planning research and we even came up with a few new cost-effective and cute ideas.

Now I’m wishing I had taken the whole week off so I could do this much every day. And now I’m dreading work tomorrow because I’ll be out of my comfort zone and doing work that I have no desire to do and because I’ll be losing today’s momentum and tomorrow’s time I could devote to personal projects and goals instead.

So, I’m keeping tomorrow’s expectations low. I’ll do what I can and that will be enough. I don’t need to add disappointment to an unavoidable bad temper.


These entries are inspired by Thord D. Hedengren

Seven Shifts for March

1. It’s all about discipline, for everyone. Sure you have had your setbacks, you have your shortcomings and your challenges, but when you assume that everything is easier for everyone else across the board you commit a cruelty against yourself. You can do things, you just have to make the necessary modifications and persist through pain and disappointment until the new habit is established.

2. Do better for you. Do better not because you want to be liked, not because the people you love deserve better, but because you deserve better. Love yourself better. Spend more time with yourself. Do the things you love more. Encourage yourself. Go the extra mile and show yourself a grand gesture. Get help, get well, imagine new possibilities and chase impossible dreams, for you.

3. Take what is sucking you in and delete it. If it’s wasting your time, if it’s keeping you from doing the important work, if you regret it at the end of the day, get rid of it! Life is too short for you to waste your time racking up advertising dollars for websites and apps you aren’t getting anything substantial from. Delete it and replace it with something that makes you feel good.

4. Carbs are not the enemy and healthy eating is not so simple. What works in the short-term is not always good or sustainable for the long-term and diets are never one size fits all. Start simply with more fresh ingredients, more fruits, and vegetables. Move more and dedicate real-time to pushing your body and getting your heart rate up. It’s that easy and that hard.

5. If you can’t say something nice, at least don’t say something mean. Your honest take isn’t always what people want and not every criticism of you, your work, and your likes need to be defended against. Save your breath and move on.

6. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but the fact is you may be a racist, or a misogynist, or a homophobe, or a transphobe, or a xenophobe, and more and worse and in any combination thereof. It’s nothing to get offended over. You weren’t born this way and you aren’t even necessarily a bad person because of it. You’re just part of an oppressive system that groomed you to think the way you do. It’s nothing to get defensive about. It’s common, normal, and perfectly changeable.

7. Doing better starts with allowing yourself to feel, acknowledge, and accept that you are utterly incompetent. You lack the knowledge and the skill to do something, many things in fact, and that is okay because, from incompetence, there is nowhere to go but up. From ineptitude comes capability and the unskilled have all the chance to become experts, but first, you have to know what you don’t know and begin from there.


Post inspired by Nicholas Bate

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash