Currently // September 2019: All the Summer We Could Have

“We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer’s wreckage. We will welcome summer’s ghost.” 

Henry Rollins

This September contained all the summer I was able to have this year. After the wedding—after all the wedding planning—we needed to rest, and it took just about all of August to recoup. That meant a month without expectations, without deciding, without so many people to see, to please, to make a part of us. We took time to retreat back into our bubble to begin working out what being married meant for us. We haven’t figured it out by far but we are at least able to peek out from the honeymoon haze and start getting back to a routine we haven’t known for over a year.

As the month began we quickly got down to the business of having some summer fun. We explored the city, saw our friends, enjoyed the warmth, the sun, and nature. We went out for dinners and drinks. We went hiking. We spent days downtown and went to backyard parties. We got out and got away, a little.We still had work and September has never been a month we could keep just for us. In total, there are about seven birthdays in our calendar, including my wife’s. That means there were gifts to find, special days to plan, and time and money to give. September always feels like many months in one and this one felt especially overfull of both hardship and joy.

But now it is time for October. Summer is gone and this time I was mature enough to know that neither stubbornness nor denial would keep the leaves from changing or chill air from blowing in. This time I said my goodbyes and this time I’m (in a way) looking forward to what autumn will bring and be. This time (I think) I am mature enough to change with the season.

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

Writing little bits and things here and there but never enough to post or share or pitch anywhere. Lately, I’ve just been going with the flow placing no expectations or constraints on myself but in October I would like to try—gently but firmly—to get under some sort of editorial schedule. I’m ready to get moving in any direction at all as long as it’s away from where I’m wallowing at. To jumpstart my journey, I have started posting more than just my writing here. I’ve moved from having a blog to providing a feed of art, quotes, questions, journal entries, updates, and (once I get my ass in gear) essays and poetry too. It feels good to have a place to collect and share not just my words but what inspires and moves me too.

Making cut out and cut up poems and collages. They’re dumb, but I like them and making them centers me. I suppose I just like making things out of other people’s work and words. I haven’t made any recently because I haven’t had much “analog space” in the Creativity Room since it became a storage space for wedding things but I’m slowly cleaning it up and turning in to an almost purely analog and art space. Having a phone and a laptop makes the whole rest of the house, and the world, a digital space, I want this one space to be for the real world, for concrete things, for tools, for play, for discovery. This room and the work I do there, for now at least, must be done with my hands. It’s something I need.

Planning for fall, and after, for winter too. I’m trying to prepare emotionally for the cold, the gloom, the boredom, and the hopelessness. I’ve never done well through the colder months but these past years I have been trying to make some use of theses later seasons rather than letting myself wallow in despair. I want to come to a place where I can at least be content and preferably productive through them. Perhaps these seasons can be a time of real writing to me. A good time to create the conditions of an “at home writing retreat”. No internet, no distractions, nowhere to go, just a germ of an idea to explore and time to do it in.

Reading Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky and Moral Letters to Lucilius: Volume 1 by Seneca. Behave will take a while, it’s nearly 800 pages long and I’m less than halfway through. Moral Letters could be finished quickly but I’m reading it on my phone and I have never been good at comprehending from a screen. I did finish The Book of Tea by Kakuzō Okakura which I highly recommend. I hope to have moved on to two new books by this time next month.

Watching Succession, a drama following the dysfunctional Roy family as they scheme and fight to take control of the family empire, and The Deuce, which chronicles the rise of the porn industry in New York, on HBO every Sunday. I finished Robin Thede’s Black Lady Sketch Show, a comedy show starring all my favorite ladies (also on HBO), and The Mind, Explained on Netflix which turned out to be a wonderful companion to Robert M. Sapolsky’s book Behave. Grey’s Anatomy is back for one last season and I’m far too emotionally invested not to watch. In between, I’ve been catching up on AMC’s Preacher in which the hardcore criminal turned preacher Jesse Custer gains super mind control powers and sets out with his badass girlfriend Tulip and their vampire side-kick Cassidy in the search for God.

Learning about Modern & Contemporary American Poetry and International Women’s Health and Human Rights, still. I’m making it through “ModPo” easily and I’ll continue to plug away a little every day until I finish but Women’s Health and Human Rights will take a little more focus and willpower. I have to actually work and write to finish this one and after 3 or 4 tries now I have not been able to get past week 2. But I have still been watching the videos and doing the reading. This time around I have just one job, complete the assignments, one per week, for the next 10 weeks. That is it.

Feeling hopeful, more hopeful than I usually do this time of year. I’m hopeful that all the despair and tension I normally feel is not my fault, nor inevitable, nor unchangeable. I’m embarking on a new health regimen this month, one that couples medication and self-care into a multi-pronged approach to physical and mental health. With my doctor’s blessing I’ve been able to come off of one of my medications entirely and the other’s dose is being lowered by half and as my medications come down, I’m instructed to eat more fresh foods, exercising more, meditate, get a little sun every day, and take calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, peppermint oil, and zinc supplements. I’m still working on incorporating all of this into a new lifestyle but I’m already feeling so much more normal than I have in years.

Anticipating my favorite holiday, Halloween! I’m not a fan of the cooler weather to come but I do love the spookiness of the season. I love horror movies, haunted houses, costumes, and Halloween parties. I love this “springtime of death” I guess. I love celebrating what disturbs and terrifies us both individually and collectively. Fear is a major part of what it means to be a human and I love that we have made a holiday out of it. I don’t have my costume picked out just yet but I do have my party plans made. I’ll spend the month watching my favorite horror movies and I’m going to share some of my favorite spooky art here too. I may take a break from my current reads and pick up Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or anything by Stephen King. I wonder if there is horror poetry out there somewhere?

Reflecting on how we each become who we are. I’ve been reading and watching a lot about the brain, about emotion and behavior, and surprisingly, about childhood development and I’ve been expanding my understanding of how each of us comes to be an individual, a personality, a person with wants, needs, likes, dislikes, dreams, history, opinions, and so much more. I’m interested in knowing everything I can about why we come to do the things we do and how we can do differently if we want to. I’m coming to understand that it’s so much more than the genes you are born with or whether your mom hugged you enough. It’s the food you eat, the adversity your mother experienced in her childhood, what country you were born in, your gender, birth order, economic status and every other part of human existence you can imagine going back to the dawn of our species. It’s fascinating and, somehow, comforting.

Fearing where this country is headed politically. The House is moving against the President and exploring the possibility of impeachment. On principle, I wholly agree but I worry that many on the left are not operating from principle but from a very human feeling of competition, revenge, and vindictiveness to match the displays of competition, revenge, and vindictiveness from the other side. I’m afraid of the next election cycle too. I’m afraid of the deepening divide. I’m afraid of losing, and of winning, but I’m also excited. I am very human too you know. The drama of it all, for some, is all politics is, for all of us it matters somewhat, and this is terrifying.

Hating living with a chronic illness. I am feeling well and hopeful, for now, but that is the problem, for now. I know that I will never not have this illness and I know that no matter how well my treatment is working today in a year, hell, even tomorrow, it could fail and I could end up as bad or worse off than I was at diagnosis. My doctor warns me that worrying about tomorrow or a year from now will do nothing but stress me out and encourage the outcome I am trying to avoid, but it’s hard not to hold the possibility in your mind all the time. When I’m not worrying about it I’m just angry about it. I’m angry my life has had to change and I’m angry that there is no cure. I’m angry about all the pills I have to take, the doctor’s appointments I have to make, and the blood tests. It makes you hate your own body sometimes.

Loving married life, still. I love the little things like changing her status to “wife” on my emergency contact card at work and the big all-encompassing feelings of “oneness” and safety too. I love being a wife. I love the responsibility of it. I love being part of something bigger than just me. I love compromise and communication and getting to know each other anew every day. I love making and maintaining a home. I love being a family. Of course, all of this was true before the wedding but having it be so explicit and legal means it’s more concrete, more real. We are part of the norm and expectation and the community of other married couples and though it isn’t all easy or rainbows and sunshine, I love it.

Needing life to get a little easier for a change. I’ve never asked for much from life and I know I have gotten more than most, more than I probably deserve too, but it’s still hard. Maybe what I need isn’t so much for my life to get easier, but for the lives of those around me to get a little easier. Half my worry at least, and most days so much more, is for the problems of others. Much of my self-loathing and suffering comes from how little I feel I can do to ease the suffering of others. I feel useless. I feel inadequate. I feel powerless and small. I feel their pain and mine too and I desperately need it to get a little easier.

Hoping that this fall, and afterward this winter, will be a typical Colorado fall and winter. Climate change is happening now and here in Colorado September is one month where it can really be felt. I read a statistic the other day that of the 30 calendar days in the month, 15 of them have record highs that have been set since 2010. We saw the first 100-degree day in September even and one of the hottest Septembers in recorded history this year. I know it will only get worse and I suspect that this fall and coming winter will be anything but average too but I hope, I hope, I hope we will, for better or worse, return to what is familiar.

So, yeah, all in all, September was a damn good month. My wife and I had so much fun and got to spend so much time together. Summer stuck around, and we were allowed to ease into fall. At the same time, September was a pretty hard month too. We experienced some of the worst stress we have in a very long time. We had to make tough choices, and the worst isn’t over yet. Still, I feel happy and proud. I never gave up. I found joy where I could and I took care of myself. I did all I could do.

But what about you? Did September bring blessings or heartache? Does it feel like fall where you are? What are you going to be for Halloween? Are you for or against impeachment, and why? Has the existential dread of climate change got you down?

Let me know in the comments.

“I can love October in September. September doesn’t care.”

— Dean Koontz, The Darkest Evening of the Year

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

Photo by zhao chen on Unsplash


I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be anywhere but in bed right now.

It’s the last day of September and though the sun is shining and the weather is still very warm, I’m feeling pretty gloomy. I think knowing a change is coming—clouds and cooler temperatures and a whole new month tomorrow—is bringing out the pensive introvert in me. Conversations are tiring and connecting is pointless. I’d rather work alone than in groups right now.

At least the work day is easy. I have some energy, and I’m getting lots of small things done in place of the big things that got cancelled. It’s a blessing to have a job that is as undemanding as mine. There are chaotic days too, but they are fewer and further between than the calm ones.

Goals // Week 40

Read 100 pages of Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky. I had been shooting for 200 a week but with my busy work schedule and the courses I’m taking I have to manage my expectations. 100 pages a week is less than 15 pages a day, totally doable!

Work on that little writing idea sitting in my drafts folder. It’s small enough that I can probably finish it in my spare time but big enough that I will feel accomplished and encouraged by it. It’s a good first step toward…taking another step. Just what I need.

Clean off my desk and create a reading space in the “creativity room”. I’ve had trouble starting on my art projects because the space I have for making things doesn’t feel conducive to making things. It’s cluttered, disorganized, and cramped. I have to get it straightened up if I want to stop avoiding it in favor of the livingroom. The reading space is just a bonus.

Regardless of comfort spend 20 minutes in there every night, and an hour in the early mornings on both Saturday and Sunday. The goal is to keep the expectations low, to just use what I have, to have fun, and keep all screens well out of reach.

Finish week seven of Modern & Contemporary American Poetry and week two and three of International Women’s Health and Human Rights. I’m already halfway through week seven of ModPo and all the readings and videos are done through week 4 for IWHHR. I just have to respond to the damn thought questions.

Jog for 20 minutes every other afternoon and in between do a simple 20 minute bodyweight workout. The mornings have gotten too cold and getting out of bed is harder than it was just a month ago. Physical activity will have to take place in the afternoons after work and before dinner. Keep hitting your step goals

Get out of the house this weekend. Lately I’ve been coming home Friday night, jumping into pajamas, and not going outside again until I’m on my way back to work Monday morning. It sounds nice but this can’t be good for my mental health.

This week I will continue to be mindful of the ways I spend my time, and, more importantly, the way I use my phone. I will not feel guilty about saying no. I won’t feel bad about making time for me, for doing the things I enjoy, or for enjoying things that other people don’t. I’m the one who has to face my failures at the end of the week.

P.S. For a look at how I fared last week check out my updated post for Week 39.

Photo by Matt Duncan on Unsplash

It’s getting on toward the late afternoon now and the chilly wind through the neighbors’ trees is casting moving, almost glittering, shadows throughout the whole house. It looks almost as if we are underwater. It’s calming. Suddenly I remember I am happy. I remember that I have a wonderfully peaceful little life and that I’m thoroughly in love with every part of it.

Today was an “in between” kind of day. Not lazy, but not particularly eventful either. I spent much of the day doing blog things and cooking all of our breakfasts for the week. I did a little cleaning but not as much as I should have. The same goes for writing.

I’m dreading work tomorrow, of course. The weekend wasn’t nearly long enough or maybe it was but I wasted it. September ends tomorrow too and I’m both sad and excited to see it go. I’m not a big fan of fall and I loath winter so the further we get into the year now the more miserable I will become.

Still, Halloween is my favorite month of the year.

Too many margaritas last night means today was a lazy day. I got up at a decent hour and tried my best to fend off the headache and the fatigue I drank water, ate breakfast, took my meds and supplements, and even tried tea, but I never could get out of the funk, so I went back to bed so I could try again.

I woke up sometime later feeling much better but half the day had passed and there was no chance to do anything big. So, I finished … and caught up on missing posts here. I cleaned up the kitchen and made my wife some delicious vegetarian tacos too. We watched the Savage X Fenty lingerie show and the now we’re going to binge-watch more Preacher until we both start nodding off.

Life is good.

The light work schedule continues through today. I’m trying to take it easy. I didn’t sleep as well last night as I did the night before. This morning I rode on a route with an older woman and lamented my lack of a regular good night’s sleep. She asked me how old I was and told me it was normal for me. Apparently, according to this lady, women just don’t sleep well after they turn 30. Reason #103,657, if it’s true, that I wish I had been born a man.

I have some more supplements being delivered today. I’m already taking iron, calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, and I’ll be adding zinc and peppermint oil to the mix. I’ll keep taking the melatonin too but not for more than a few days at a time. I’m going to start walking during my lunch and I’m already watching my caffeine intake. I don’t know what more to do for myself beyond prescriptions.

I’ve been feeling so blah but tonight is turning out to be just what I needed. My wife brought home chicken tacos from our favorite place and made the most delicious margaritas. We have sopapillas for later and episode of Preacher on Hulu for the rest of the night. I had hoped we would go out with friends but I think this is what we needed even more.

I slept better than I have all week last night and though I’m still sluggish and ill-tempered it’s better and that’s something. I avoided watching TV and checking my phone and instead focused on cleaning up, reading, and getting ready for the next day. I took all my meds and supplements and added a 5mg melatonin pill to the mix when I went to be. The routine worked, but it wasn’t much fun.

I thought work was going to be hard but the woman I was supposed to train didn’t show and suddenly I had a few free hours I have no idea what to do with. I want to read and to work on my courses but I’m feeling too discouraged to try. This book is so thick I feel I will never finish it and for the courses, the readings and videos just never seem to end. I’m doing things but progress never just seems to be made.

It might help if I marked where I start and where I stop every day. That way I could see that I really was moving forward and that the end is getting closer.

I’m ready to check the boxes and move on to something new.

A new employee came up to me after her lunch just to chat. She’s a retired nurse from Venezuela and though she understands English just fine, she struggles to speak it.

She asked me how I was and told me how hard it had been to for her being new on the job. She mentioned how people had struggled to understand her and I didn’t mention the comments I’d overheard behind her back about it. I told her that I’ve never had trouble understanding broken English or accents, a gift that has helped me not just to understand those for whom English is a second language but also in working with the children I do who often have severe speech impairments.

I told her I understood her just fine, and I think that meant a lot to her. She started to cry and told me how hard life has been for her ever since she came to this country because she could not overcome her accent. She told me that while it hurt no one could understand her; it was the ways that people let her know that they could not understand her that hurt the most.

What struck me too, even more than her plight, was that despite the treatment she’d received and her pain she loves this country deeply. She lectured me through tears about how lucky I was to live where there was such freedom and privilege and told me sternly never to take it for granted because these freedoms and privileges are never safe and secure. She told me nowhere is safe and secure. She told me never to never ever allow my country to be taken, sold, or given away but instead to always fight.

I don’t know that I agreed with her perspective completely—America may be great but it is far from perfect—but I certainly respected what she said and she has made me think about what my love for this country looks and feels like. I think my love for America is an unselfish, unpossessive, open-minded, and, obviously, a progressive kind of love.

I think America is so great I don’t mind sharing her with the world.

The morning was tough but less tough than it was originally supposed to be, so I’m happy. I got the work done quickly and found some time for a bit of reading and my little courses. My mood and self-esteem have improved though not by much. It helps that I can actually feel time moving along today. Yesterday I was at a standstill.

I’m convinced perspective is my problem right now. I don’t mean to say that all these bad feelings are just in my head, though, of course, they are. What I mean is, it’s real, but it’s fixable. I just need to do the hard things and tough out these difficult times. I have to remember to be proud of myself for the little efforts.

The afternoon was a different story. It was so frustrating I nearly cried but I came home to a loving wife, and pizza, and a nice hard cider all ready to go. The way a day ends can make all the difference.

My energy levels are severely low and it’s hard to think about anything but a nap. I’m avoiding work, just doing a few small inconsequential tasks to keep my coworkers from bothering me and opting instead to spend most of my day exploring the new web version of the Slowly app.. This isn’t productive, I know, but at least it feels nice. I’m trying hard to stay positive and I’m doing my best not to be too hard on myself. This helps right now. I know it’ll get easier tomorrow and through the rest of the week.

Today is just Monday.

On top of the fatigue the bad news keeps piling on and by the end of work I was feeling exhausted and emotionless. Everyone I love is going through such tough times and there is little I can offer them. It hurts to see them hurt. It hurts doubly to be able to do nothing but watch. I feel guilty for my privilege and angry that nothing I have can be given to help another. I’ve accumulated so much worthlessness.