It's Been A While
and
Hello to 2020

Sunday, December 29, 2019

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I only posted once in 2019. I'm not surprised.

A lot of really good things happened. A lot of good life changes. But for me, change always comes with a long adjustment period, and usually a lot of depression. But I think I am reaching the tail end of that, and it feels amazing. Winter has helped, as it is the time I thrive the most.

I feel like I want to share a lot of the things that happened in 2019, and share lots of photos, but I don't know when I'll get to that, and really, my Instagram serves as a good summary for that. So check it out!

The main point of this post is a starting point. It's (almost) a new year, I'm in a new place, in a new mindset. And I think it's time to bring back goals. In 2019 I struggled a lot because of the changes, and in some ways I lost a bit of self, so it's time to get all that back this new year, and make some improvements and changes. In addition, I have three words for the year, so I'll get into those, too!


------ Goals for 2020 ------

1. Go on 25 hikes
It's one of my favourite things to do and I barely did any of it this year. And I'm basically sick of not getting out in nature!

2. Never miss an Impact Day
I love doing this with Keep Nature Wild, and when they brought the program back, I was so excited. I did one Impact Day, and then I forgot about it. Partially because we use Slack for communication and I had a lot of issues with it functioning, and partially because life and me struggling. So, I don't want to miss these anymore, and it should be easy if I am completing the above goal anyways!

3. Less of my day job
I don't want to list the company here, but I've been with them too long, management is horrible to say the least, and it's causing too much stress in my everyday life at this point. So I need the income...but I need to take it down a bit. So the plan is to go off having a set schedule, and only sign up for hours when they're available and I want to work. More freedom, and more accessibility to breaks from them when I can't take anymore.

4. More Punkpost
I'm a handwriting artist for Punkpost, and I also help with customer service emails and handle some corporate accounts, and I love it. It's not quite enough hours to allow me to quit my day job, but it's close, and if I had more time for more work there, I could work less at my day job and maintain my income.

5. Weekly running goals
I don't really aspire to run marathons or anything, but I love getting out and moving, and getting some exercise. I also have a husky that needs regular exercise, so it's even more important we get out. I don't know where I will start my goals, but I think they will differ weekly according to my workload, the weather, how I'm feeling, and probably what I did the week before! I may also sign up for a 10K just as some motivation!

6. Strict budget
I started a budget in November, and It was so helpful! I knew I needed one, just didn't put the time into it (which was dumb...so dumb). It was a little rough to start, trying to figure it out and get it all organised, but now I want to set some clear financial goals and limits and stick to them throughout this year!

7. Pay monthly on student loans
I don't currently have payments, so I just want to start budgeting something for it every month. Seriously, if I can only do $5 that month, so be it. They will be receiving $5.

8. House goals
We have repairs, organizational things, cosmetic things, every kind of thing we need to do with this house. I want to start setting some goals for it, prioritising things, and coming up with an action plan for certain things so we can stay organized and on track, and get things done to make this place work better for us.

9. Schedule
I basically have no schedule right now. So I need to change that in basically every way.

10. Stick to the bullet journal
This is my first year doing a bullet journal. I had a Passion Planner for a few years, and I loved it, but when life changed, it just didn't fit anymore, and I haven't found a planner that fits in. So I'm going to try the bullet journal, which will also give me a chance to make some personal art! I have some ideas, and I think this year there will be a lot of copying other things I find, but I'll figure out what works as I go!

11. Focus on my health
Basically, I haven't taken care of myself in a year. I haven't eaten well, I don't drink enough water, I'm not exercising, I'm not getting out enough, I'm not caring for my face or hair right, I'm not taking care of my mental health. So changes on all fronts there.

12. Blog
I really miss writing here, even though it's all just random stuff. So I want to try to do it more, and maybe it'll build into something less random! I have some hopes, but we'll just see how they turn out.



------ Words for 2020 ------

I decided to use a word generator. The button was weird. I thought it wasn't working and I tapped it three times. On the third time, I guess all three taps registered. Two words flashed quickly, and then I had just on word on the page. Strangely, they all fit things I were feeling and was thinking about it. So I have three words.

SEE
I feel I have not been observant enough. I had a hard time this year, and I think I did a lot of things that if I had thought about a little more, I would have seen more of how they could affect those close to me: my husband and daughter. So I need to be looking and seeing how things will affect everything around me, and how I can adjust for a better outcome.

SMILE
I haven't done a lot of this throughout 2019. As soon as spring hit, I went downhill hard. I usually struggle with depression in spring and summer, so it's kind of no surprise, but it seemed rougher than it has been at times, and I think it was mostly due to the changes that occurred near the end of winter. It's strange, so many times I want to smile, but it's almost like my face literally won't. Like, why do I insist on not smiling? It's so weird, and I don't like it, so I'm trying to smile more, when I feel like it, because I actually like smiling.

RISK
I won't write much about this one, partially because I don't have any sort of plan, but this relates to my photography, and how I feel like I don't take enough risks. So...it felt like something was telling me to ignore everything people have told me or advised when they started out, and do it my own way.



It feels like a lot, but honestly, at the same time, it feels like a lot of things that will fall into place once I get going. And I'm truly hoping that will be the case!

What do you think? Any advice or input on any of these things? Would you like to see updates here on the blog?

I would also love to hear what your plans for 2020 are!

The Unbraiding

Monday, April 22, 2019

Hello 2019!

This year has brought so much, and I want to dig into it eventually, but for now, I felt like sharing something I wrote back in September. This, coupled with my post from December 31st, actually provide a great segue into this year and all that has been going on.

----

Life feels really strange at the moment.

I would venture to say life might feel more strange when you're bipolar and sometimes you just really don't know what's going on with your own brain.

I feel like I have been changing for a long time. And when I think about changes, I think about, "Well, a year ago things really started changing. But really, I can see the start of that was about two years before that. But before that..." And it just keeps going.

It has taken me thirty years to learn that I am ever changing. I have no clue whether or not this is normal, but this is my normal.

I posted a quote on Instagram recently from one of my favorite artists, Matt Nathanson, that said, "I think the hardest work we do is unbraiding ourselves from habits that don't work for us anymore and clearing space in our lives to just enjoy the moments we're in." It's been probably three weeks since I read that, but it just keeps ringing in my mind, because that's how life has felt for the past four years or so, and then even more accelerated in the last year and some change. There have been a lot of hardships during those time frames, and I'm honestly not sure if it helped or hurt at the time.

I've spent so much time since last May being hurt, accepting truths I fought off for so long and denied, and being thrown into a realisation that changed everything. At the same time, adjusting to a new life, a completely different setting, and attempting to manage a disease without proper setup. I sometimes feel I sat too long in a state of pain, but all things considered, I think a year and four months isn't so bad.

I was feeling another shift right at the time I read the above quote, and things started changing, and I don't generally know what all is changing immediately, just that something is. And then I was watching Wish I Was Here (which is an incredible movie that you should watch unless you're the least bit easily offended [because you will definitely be offended]). I won't give anything away, but Aidan Bloom and his two kids have just arrived at Joshua Tree, and it's sunset, and he tells them this is where he had an epiphany when he was younger. And he said, "Sometimes in life you can get kind of stuck, and you feel like you should have changed chapters by now, but you can't." I was drawing cards, and I immediately stopped and rewound. Listened. Rewound. Paused. Thought. And I had my own epiphany. I was stuck. I should have changed chapters by now. Why couldn't I?

I was living in a state of blame. I was blaming everyone, I was blaming myself. I felt sorry for myself. I felt shame. I felt anger. And I realised I was letting myself be a victim. To my more distant past, and also to the more recent situation. I was a different person, but still a victim to everything I endured and was told. I was out of that bad situation, but I was still a victim to it. And that's not me. And once I realised this, it all changed.

And then I was reading an Instagram post by @aquariusnation and this part hit me, "...there are opportunities for you to show yourself as the higher example of your wounds--and even to feel yourself noticing that maybe you aren't so wounded by what wounded you anymore. Maybe you are ready to step out of that story and embody one more honoring of your heart."

Maybe it sounds silly, but that's all so scary. I've been here for so long it seems. If you know me, you know I hate change, like truly hate it. It takes so long for me to readjust. I have to get used to an idea, talk to myself about it, think about it this way and that, and then I settle in. And when that gets changed...I can spiral. I flip flop, I negotiate, I negotiate with myself, I obsess. But this, despite the kind of fear of the change, felt amazing. Like the last pieces of a brick wall in my heart were finally dismantled by the raging waterfall. It felt joyous. I feel lighter.

And all at the same time, I have been working on all these little things. Asking myself a lot of "why's."More readily recognising the things that don't work for me anymore that used to keep me sane. Recognising that things I was once a bit afraid of, I'm really not anymore. This is the unbraiding. This is the return to myself.

2019
Deep in Thought and My Current State

Monday, December 31, 2018

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I have felt more like writing lately. I think I say that often. It feels there are words drowning and crying to get free. And it seems they are always spilling out into actual words in my thoughts at times I cannot put them down to paper. And sometimes that feels right--just putting words to what my heart feels, so I can feel them better, but it's often so sad, because I want them in ink. Or at least black and white on a screen.

But as much as I have felt like writing, I was withdrawn, and maybe that's why I feel the words coming closer to the surface. Usually when I pull back, I keep urging myself to reach out more, I force myself to open Instagram, I try to talk to people more. This time, I just let it be. I forced nothing. If it felt forced, I didn't do it. And it felt right. So maybe I've been making a mistake all along, in trying not to let myself sit in solitude for a while.

I feel out of place. In a limbo, of sorts. I feel messy. I feel my failures in everything. I'm stuck, you see. I'm stuck, and I know there is change ahead, but I'm so stuck, and I do not believe it is possible to move in the meantime, to become unstuck. This is just where I am. And sometimes, I truly believe, that is just the nature of things. It is hard, though, so hard, to feel as though you have to act like you feel something. Or to feel as though you have to suppress something that is so important. How can I say I like who I am, I feel so me, be joyful of who I am, yet also feel as though I have no right to be me, no right to love, no right to joy. As though my only option is to feel shame. And do you know what shame feels like? It eats you alive.

I have found that goals no longer serve me, and I know that is not a popular thought. I am no longer a goal-oriented person, and I question whether I ever was. I remember frequently feeling stressed by having goals, but then I also realise my life situations have not always been accommodating, so it feels like I have always struggled through goals. That continues today, and thus I gave up on them. Maybe I will try again in the future, when I find myself in different situations, with different circumstances, but for now, no goals.

For 2018, I didn't make a list of goals, and I was going to choose a word, but instead I chose to focus on healing and becoming okay. I guess that is a goal, of sorts, and I am pleased with my progress on that. I don't think everything can be healed in a year, that takes time, but I am okay with where I am on that, and I know I made it far, and I have set the foundation for continuing there. As far as being okay, I will never be completely okay all of the time. Partially, that's human, everyone faces tough struggles, and everyone will fall apart at some point. But I accept I may fall apart more, or need more when things are rough. It's kind of the nature of anxiety + bipolar disorder + depression. Or maybe it's the nature of me. Either way, that is my reality.

This coming year, I thought I wouldn't do anything. No goals, no word, no focus. But then I realised that in itself is a focus, can be put in a word--be.

There is a lot of change ahead. I realise my life has been full of a lot of change, or maybe it's been a lot of change concentrated in a small time frame. I frequently feel frustration at this, like this is why I feel so all over the place, and crazy, but in the end, I think it's been good for me. I think I have grown more, faster, and have come to realisations earlier, and I think it is because of the changes, because of the experiences. And when I let myself feel what I need to feel, and I am honest with myself, and I stop forcing anything at all, and I listen to my body, and I listen to my soul, I find the greatest peace and contentment. So through the upcoming change, and adjustments, I just want to be.

Currently | 2

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

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making | ornaments I didn't finish last year, a few cards, and a scarf.
planning | Day hiking trips now that the weather doesn't threaten to kill me!
reading | Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - I'm almost done!
watching | Rectify...such an amazing show. I may even end up rewatching it. 
quote that is really speaking to me | It's long--see here. I want to write about this, but not yet.
working on | My art. Yeah, I just draw greeting cards, but I am pushing myself to learn new things.

And just a little bit here...

I never finished National Suicide Prevention Week... I did it on Instagram. Maybe I will go back and add links to the posts I did here for the Instagram ones.

I haven't shared a lot on here as much as I did this time last year. I've wanted to. It's simply work and life and lack of time, and I can't say that will change for a while. But here is a quick currently post, a beautiful photo, and me saying I have so much to share, but it's mostly limited to Instagram right now. I do have a lot planned, a lot I want to do, but I don't have the time to do it properly, so I'd rather post it "late." So maybe one day I'll do it all, I truly want to, but now is not the time. 

It Was You
National Suicide Prevention Week

Thursday, September 13, 2018

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It was you

The first time I believed tomorrow needed me

That I deserved a tomorrow. 

You had no idea

You didn't know I cried myself to sleep every night

You didn't know how badly I wanted to die. How I wished for it. Dwelt on it

You helped me believe I had worth, a purpose, that life was richer with me in it

And while my struggles didn't end there, your words stuck with me all these fifteen years, telling me I was a beautiful gift and tomorrow needed me.

"...but people more than anything else..."
National Suicide Prevention Week

Monday, September 10, 2018

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“You’ll need coffee shops and sunsets and road trips. Airplanes and passports and new songs and old songs, but people more than anything else. You will need other people and you will need to be that other person to someone else, a living breathing screaming invitation to believe better things.”
(Jamie Tworkowski)

So often I was told not to need other people. But at every step of the way, it has been people that kept me okay. That helped me in dark times. That got things going in my mind that would lead to discovering parts of myself I didn't know about, which would lead to further growth.

It's been people.

And I keep forgetting it's okay to depend on people. It's okay to need people.