“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