Currently // March 2019: Seeds of Possibility

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

― Emily Dickinson, March is the Month of Expectation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Let me know in the comments.


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

Photo by Damiano Baschiera on Unsplash

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

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

― William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Let me know in the comments.


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

Photo by Michael Hacker on Unsplash