“And what is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days.”
― James Russell Lowell
Whereas the month of May flew by before I knew it, the month of June seemed to last and last. Perhaps it was because I held so tightly to it. Perhaps it was because there was more than usual to celebrate and more than usual to worry over.
With June’s end, we come into the prime of the year when nature’s time of renewal and growth complete and the year, and who we are in it, emerges alive and fully formed. Now, we have crested, peaked, arrived, and from here, though it won’t feel like it at first, we are on the downhill side. From now through the start of winter the days will begin to grow shorter again. From here the end of the year begins to grow near.
June is the month of LGBTQ Pride, and Father’s Day, and Juneteenth, all days full of emotion, and past, and pain for me. June is when summer officially starts and though most years we feel it long before the solstice this year spring claimed her time and we had many more days of rain and cool breezes than usual.
This June held a lot of new experiences for me. At work I got to teach a class I’d never taught before and I was invited to take classes to learn new things and relearn the old. I finalized the last big wedding things I needed to and felt the weight of all those who came before me, who fought for this privilege and dignity and never got to see it. This particular June will be the last full month in which I live unmarried and under my maiden name. July has come and with it the second half of 2019 and the rest of my life.
Working for a school district means that the end of June is much like the end of December. It is another kind of end to another kind of year. Beginning tomorrow we start to prepare for new routes, and new kids, or old kids who have grown into a new grade. It’s the time of the year when we reflect on the past one and make changes and promises to be more patient, more compassionate, more attentive and aware. We take stock of what didn’t work for us and we choose new hours, new schools, new locations.
The end of June is a good time to reflect, accept, and assess the failures of the year so far. It’s also a good time to redouble efforts where success has been found and progress has been made. For me, that is in daily writing. I have been good here, for the most part, I think, and I plan to concentrate all my energy into this place and the craft of writing the way that comes naturally to me. I have a plan and I am determined to focus not just my time but everything I do in all areas of my life toward writing, for me!
But before I do, here is what I am currently…
Writing an essay a week! I was inspired by writers Vanessa Mártir and Rosa Lyster I am embarking on a new writing challenge. My goal, for now, is to post an essay every single week from the first of July through the end of the year. I’m not committing to an essay a week for a year because I want to give myself an end I can see and give myself a place to quit should I find that I do not love the form as much as I’d imagined. I will be honest now and say that while I have known for some time now that I wanted to do this challenge I in no way prepared for it ahead of time beyond looking for tips. I suppose it was fear that made me reluctant to begin, but now that July is just a day away, rather than giving up before the start, I am committed to starting where I am with what I have.
Making honeymoon plans. I had promised myself I would wait until after the wedding to think about where we might go since we’ve decided not to go until the fall and frankly we don’t need any additional stress or decisions to make, but I can’t help it. I haven’t been on a proper long vacation in, well, ever, actually, and I am so ready to fly of some place far away and new with my very-soon-to-be wife. I want a so see the ocean, or maybe a volcano! I want to try new foods and hear people speak another language. I am ready to see for a moment how other people live and how the world looks from another perspective. I’m ready for an experience outside of myself!
Planning the wedding, still, but this will be the last month I will have to. The big day is very close now and though we’ve gotten almost all of the big things done, there are still about a million tiny details to work out too. I want to take a moment, before the calendar changes over to a new month to say that I am so proud of my fiance and I. We have worked so hard and gotten over so many fears and uncertainties in order to make this happen and I know I would never ever want to plan a wedding with anyone else. I’m convinced that the hardest part of a marriage is being almost married and I think we both will pull through it beautifully.
Reading Notes from Underground, The Double and Other Stories by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, still. I have fallen 4 books behind schedule in my reading challenge according to Goodreads but I haven’t given up and it is still very possible for me to catch up and even exceed my goals. The problem is that this book is not an easy read and having had very little time to give I just can get through it as fast as I have others. But! I have started reading before bed again and in July I will get back to carrying a book with me wherever I go. I’m also utilizing audiobooks but my comprehension is far below the written and I don’t feel as though I can engage with a book the same way.
Watching a lot more TV than I should be. Many of my favorite shows returned this June, and I found few new ones too including: Hulu’s Handmaid’s Tale, the dystopian drama based on Margaret Atwood’s famous novel, Pose, an FX channel drama about the 1980s Black and Latino gay ballroom culture scene in New York City, Black Mirror, the Netflix sci-fi anthology series, Euphoria, a disturbing HBO drama following a group of teen coping with issues of drugs, sex, and violence, Big Little Lies another HBO series, this one a dark comedy following a group of well off mothers whose lives are not as perfect as they appear, and When They See Us, a Netflix miniseries from Ava DuVernay based on the wrongful convictions of the “Central Park Five”.
Learning nothing much at the moment. I’ve had to take a break from my MOOCs though I still do read a poem or watch a discussion on Modern & Contemporary American Poetry when I can. After the wedding, I’ll reset my deadlines for International Women’s Health and Human Rights and finally mark the course as completed and move on. These two courses have not been easy the former simply being quite long and dense and the other requiring proper written course work that terrifies me. Still, I miss having the time and look forward to diving back in come August.
Feeling stressed, anxious, and worried nearly all the time. It isn’t just the wedding planning, or even the big day itself either. Work has been chaotic and this month I had to work closely with others, which I’m not always good at. I had to teach a class in a whole new way than I am used to. I had to attend a large work conference I’ve never been to before, and for much of that time I was without a boss, or manager, or leader to help answer questions or give direction. In addition, my fiance is dealing with her own work stress and I fear it’s beginning to affect her health but I can’t do much to help except be there for her and it hurts.
Anticipating the day after my wedding. Of course, I’m looking forward to the big day too, to seeing all my loved ones come together to share and celebrate our love, but if I am honest, I am much more excited for my first day as someone’s wife. It’s been so long—nearly 17 years!—that I have been and had “just a girlfriend”, but now I get to be something new and more. I know not much will change after the vows and it “I do’s” but something will, something I never thought I could be or have will finally be real. That is what I want more than anything at all and it’s so close now it’s all I can think about.
Reflecting on what it means to be a wife or a partner. I’ve been thinking a lot about what the difference between what we say love is, what it should look and feel like, and what it really is. I’ve been thinking that there are many kinds of love that we either don’t know the names of or whose names I never learned. I am thinking about this quote on passion and what it’s true nature is and wondering if there is a similar explanation for the way love feels in real life. I’m thinking about how to express the discordance between what we say love should be and what it is without sounding as if one must settle for less than the fantasy. I want to explore how a love that sometimes hurts, that disappoints, that is inconsistent, confusing, and difficult is love that is real and more rewarding than any fairytale.
Fearing rain! Right now this is the one thing that could derail and dismantle all the hard work we have put into our perfect wedding day. Our ceremony site is outdoors and there it no shelter or structure to shield us from the elements and it being summer in Colorado the weather is unpredictable and severe storms can move in quickly releasing flooding rains and large hail with little notice. We’ve agreed that if it is only going to rain a little, we will tough it out, but if the weather hints at turning terrible, we will have to scramble to move our ceremony indoors and give up on the dream, the money, and the time spent securing such beautiful gardens. I really, really, really hope it doesn’t rain!
Hating the camps and the conditions at the border. I hate ICE and border patrol. I hate that people must risk their lives crossing far from ports of entry out of fear. I hate that so many never make it. I hate the threats to round them up and to build a wall to keep them out. I hate the idea that the question of anyone’s citizenship status should be added to the census. I hate the calls for Mexico to hold those seeking asylum. I hate the lies, the generalizations, and the demonization I hear spewing from the president’s mouth. I hate how much we hate! I cannot understand it and I hate how powerless I feel to fix it. I hate all of it, but I hurt too and still, I know my hurt is nothing compared to those brave enough to seek a better life.
Loving every single Democratic candidate running for the Presidential nomination, each in their own way. Yes, I disagree with many, and yes I agree there are far too many running at all, but to see them all on stage this month during the first debate arguing not about who will help corporations, big pharma, or the oil and gas giants turn a profit, but how and who can give the everyday average American stay well, find meaningful work, and some shred of peace and dignity in the face of overwhelming capitalism. It was beautiful. I have my favorites, sure, but as a whole, I’m proud of the Democrats for recognizing, finally, who they represent.
Needing some time with nature again! The weather wasn’t very summer like during the month of June and with work and wedding planning getting in the way even on days that were I wasn’t able to find time to travel outside of the city and into nature and I am beginning to feel the disconnect. I need to be reminded that there is a world not just outside of me but outside of humanity. We forget there are other ways to be on this planet and that we share this place with creatures who look, behave, and live very different from the way people do. It’s good for each of us to be reminded regularly that the human world is not the only one and that just outside of the city, and the politics, and the social expectations, there is a beautiful work functioning quite well with none of that.
Hoping that the summer will hang on a long while longer. I miss the way summers used to go on forever when I was a kid, and now that I’m an adult they seem to fly by. It helps that I work for a school district. I get easier days and the excitement of the kids rubs off on us adults and we get to keep a small sense of what they have, but by the start of July the schedule grows too regular again and the days speed up. I’ve been so busy I haven’t really gotten to enjoy my summer yet. I’m hoping that between mid-July and mid-August I can find a way to fit two months of fun into one and take hold of every minute of summer I have left. I’m hoping to have gotten at least enough to last me through a long winter that suddenly feels closer than it appears on the calendar.
So, yeah, all in all, June was a wonderful month. The weather was a bit dreary at first, but summer found its way to us, eventually. I may have been stressed, and I may have had no time at all for the things I enjoy or hoped to accomplish, but that’s okay. I got to do work that felt good and I got to work alongside the woman I love the most to plan a beautiful wedding. I can’t wait to write next months currently and tell you about all the ways my life has (or hasn’t) changed.
But what about you? What fun things have you done this summer so far? What fun things do you still hope to do? What goals have you accomplished? Have you found time to get out and connect with nature? Are you heartbroken by the President’s actions to date and how are you coping with the crowded field on the left?
Let me know in the comments.
“At midnight, in the month of June, I stand beneath the mystic moon.”
― Edgar Allan Poe, The Sleeper
The inspiration for these posts comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love
Photo by Yannis Papanastasopoulos on Unsplash