reflections, week 49

it’s my first day back at school (since my stomach flu from hell!) and it was a back-to-back class-and-meeting kind of day, and I’m about to go get my blood drawn for some tests, so please excuse the all-over-the-place situation happening with today’s updates…

write something every day (except Shabbat). this is really tragic to consider after an absolute failure at NaNoWriMo, but the truth is that I’ve been too depressed to even work on my dissertation even though I need to get that first chapter to my chair ASAP. I’m hoping that December will be better in several areas, but I also don’t know just how much I’m going to accomplish in one month. I know I’ve written more this year than literally any year up to date, and that I’ve built better writing habits and come up with new and exciting ideas… but it’s so hard to have another year be close to ending and still be the aspiring writer with not a damn thing finished.

be better about money. we recently made the decision to cancel our April cruise, at least for now—it’s not financially feasible right now because of the strike and other expenses, but we might just book ourselves a cabin at the last minute to run off and still have a spring break trip. in the meantime, I will be grateful for the deposit’s return, as it will mean that I can catch up on some more payments and maybe even purchase some holiday gifts! but, really, the focus for me right now is on making sure I’m up-to-date on everything before the end of the year so I can enter 2020 on sure footing and be truly prepared to finish paying off a couple of things and get truly ready for student loan repayment time as I finish my PhD.

self-validate more. this was surprisingly hard over the past week. part of it has been that I’ve been in such a depressive haze, for sure; part of it was that getting as sick as I did and when I did not only ruined Thanksgiving break for me and my friends but also really got in the way of me completing the first chapter of my dissertation. a lot of the feelings of uselessness and hopelessness resurfaced and, since it’s been a good while, I think it took me longer to notice/counteract than it would have taken me at a different point in my life.

until next time… only three updates to go for this year on these resolutions!

reflections, week 48

hello from my classroom, where I am sitting during my lunch period and which is barely emptier now than it was my last class (where three students showed up). can you say “day before fall break”? anyway, as soon as I’m home from work I’ve gotta pack for my girls’ trip to Madison (also known as the finish-your-dissertation-proposal-draft trip), so here’s some updates for y’all…

write something every day (except Shabbat). this has continued to be a struggle, to the point that I think I’m going to have to roll this over because I haven’t really created this habit yet… and I know that the only way to improve my writing and complete any of my writing projects will be to, you know, write consistently.

be better about money. I’m still in the same boat as last week, except that I’m finally in the black, baruch HaShem. next week I’ll be getting my first full paycheck in over a month, whereupon I will make as many payments as possible to get caught up before the end of the year. what isn’t yet clear, however, is whether we’ll be able to pay off the cruise by the deadline and therefore attend as we’d planned… we made those plans before there was a strike in sight and now we’ve got some tough decisions to make…

self-validate more. I feel confident that I don’t need to roll this over (because, yes, I’m already thinking about new resolutions), and that’s a really exciting feeling. that said, I’ve realized that I’m struggling with some negative feelings about some other folk and finding ways to blame myself for issues in our relationships, so I think I’m going to be looking for a new therapist next year so I can work on processing these difficulties without making them my fault… the negative self-speak hasn’t resurfaced but I know that blaming myself for everything isn’t healthy, pretty words or not.

so that’s where we’re at right now! have a nice holiday, if you will be celebrating, and make sure you shoot down colonizer bullshit and support indigenous people and businesses whenever you can! until next time!

reflections, week 47

two days late and seeeeeveral dollars short, as it turns out, but here’s an update for y’all!

write something every day (except Shabbat). this has been an absolute disaster. I think having that project soured for me really put a damper on these efforts, especially because I felt like there wasn’t someone I could share my excitement for the project with since my usual sounding board had been judgmental about it. that said, though, I think dissertation panic played a big part in this and my brain might’ve just been looking for reasons not to engage.

be better about money. this has been really both easy and difficult because there’s been no money to spend so I’m not spending but also that means that, for the first time in over a year, I’m behind on stuff. it’s been tough because I took a huge hit to my credit last year when I closed almost every single credit line I had and dedicated myself to undoing the damage I’d done by overspending during hypomanic episodes… and now that my credit is finally back up, I’m worried it’s going to drop again and all this effort will have been for naught. on a bright side, the agreement was accepted and I don’t have to worry about going without pay again until, oh, the whole summer.

self-validate more. I’m still amazed at how this, my “long-shot goal,” is the one with which I’ve been the most successful! it’s been hard to continue it after my therapist’s retirement because I have yet to find a new therapist, but I really have managed to have patience with myself. the only kind of self-negativity I’ve found myself falling into has been related to my weight, and I think that says a lot more about the fatphobia I experience constantly than it does about me. but I’ve stayed true to my course and tried to make sure I’m using “fat” as a neutral adjective, which has helped!

until next time, which will hopefully come before the end of the year! ♥

reflections, week 45

hi, y’all…. it’s been a while, huh? I somehow didn’t really write at all last month (probably since I was working on my dissertation pre-proposal and getting ready to finalize my committee aaaaaand then we went on strike), but now I’m trying to get caught up and writing on a new project because OF COURSE.

write something every day (except Shabbat). I’ve done decently on this for the week, since I’m trying to get this new project off the ground; as mentioned, I took last month off but I also don’t feel terrible about that! the hope is that I’ll be able to keep this pace going throughout the month for both my NaNo project and my dissertation… yikes.

be better about money. hilaaaarious to think about this after a strike! I’ve been very blessed that some friends and family have been able to send me some money to help get some bills paid this month. the hope is that things will get better once we get back to earning money next month… especially because we have to pay off that cruise, lol.

self-validate more. this has been difficult lately, between the money stress after the strike and my fear that I wasn’t going able to get myself together to write my dissertation pre-proposal after taking over a month off from academic work to recharge my batteries. but I managed to pull through, so I feel like this will be more sustainable throughout the rest of the year because the wild times are over. (she says, jinxing herself.)

until next time, which will hopefully be soon!

#BlogElul 17-29: Awaken, Ask, Speak, Fill, Love, End, Begin, Hope, Change, Create, Bless, Give, Return

(for the Jewish month of Elul, which happens to coincide pretty perfectly with the month of September this year, I’m going to try to blog once a day about one of the themes for the month to prepare for the upcoming Yamim Nora’im or High Holy Days. I will most likely blog in the evenings, so it will technically already be the next day in the Hebrew calendar, but I’m really going to try to keep up with this! you can pop on over to originator Rabbi Phyllis Sommer’s blog for more details about this project.)

it’s been a hot minute—these after-work/weekend training meetings are really exciting and useful but they’re also exhausting because they mean I’m working almost 13-hour days—but I want to make sure that I share my thoughts for the second half or so of this month.

awaken. today was the first day students and I really started digging deep into what identity means and how it is constructed—with the hope that it has awakened their curiosity about it since we will be spending the rest of the quarter talking about culture and identity. as we spoke about our first media piece on this topic, I could just about see the wheels turning for some students. it made me realize that to be awake is not just to be conscious and moving through the world—it is to be present in the moments we are living and truly experiencing the world with the wonder it deserves.

ask. ah, to ask. ask and ye shall receive, they say, and yet it is so difficult to ask for help, to request the accommodations we might need, to inquire about different paths we could take even when we’re all headed in the same direction. today, as we discussed the creation narratives from Genesis in class, I found myself asking questions that I knew might be a little above them—and then working with them to co-generate answers—and I realized that, sometimes, the point is not so much the answer to the question as it is being able to know what to ask.

speak. now this is a word that I use often at work because we have speaking and listening competencies that students must meet—but that is not the first thing that came to mind. instead, I immediately thought of Laurie Halse Anderson’s incredible and life-changing book of the same name. it was the first book I ever taught to a class—I did it during student teaching—and I’d first read it in college. it gave me the words to talk about my own experience with assault when I was around Melinda’s age, and it helped me to think about healing in a way that allowed for hope. in a lot of ways, seeing as I was deeply suicidal the following semester and the book was how I began talking about my assault in therapy, I truly think speak saved my life—and empowered me to help others find their voices.

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#BlogElul 16: Pray

(for the Jewish month of Elul, which happens to coincide pretty perfectly with the month of September this year, I’m going to try to blog once a day about one of the themes for the month to prepare for the upcoming Yamim Nora’im or High Holy Days. I will most likely blog in the evenings, so it will technically already be the next day in the Hebrew calendar, but I’m really going to try to keep up with this! you can pop on over to originator Rabbi Phyllis Sommer’s blog for more details about this project.)

growing up in a very Protestant household, I was often told about the power of prayer and the importance of doing it in order to maintain a relationship with God—as a matter of fact, my grandmother still “talks to God” every morning and every evening, and she is always asking for prayer requests! but when I started going to Catholic school, I was warned against the crutch of using rote prayers—”a Lord’s Prayer or two is good to get in the rhythm, but the true power of prayer is in letting yourself speak freely”—which seems to me a holdover from the Protestant schism.

and then I became Jewish, and my relationship with prayer had to change.

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#BlogElul 15: Plan

(for the Jewish month of Elul, which happens to coincide pretty perfectly with the month of September this year, I’m going to try to blog once a day about one of the themes for the month to prepare for the upcoming Yamim Nora’im or High Holy Days. I will most likely blog in the evenings, so it will technically already be the next day in the Hebrew calendar, but I’m really going to try to keep up with this! you can pop on over to originator Rabbi Phyllis Sommer’s blog for more details about this project.)

funny that I’m writing about planning on the day after I was supposed to… which is a reflection of my poor planning—I knew I was going to be super overbooked this weekend, but I chose to sleep in yesterday and not work on this post when I first got home. instead, I spent my evening planning for this school week—making the slideshows for the whole week, double-checking that I’d printed enough copies of everything I needed, going over my notes re: who would do what in class so I can manage the other adults in the space effectively.

the thing about this whole thing—where my poor planning regarding my personal life is partially due to my excellent planning regarding my professional life—is that it illustrates a problematic trend that I’m trying to work on. for most of my life, I (and my life) have fallen by the wayside because I have prioritized work and school. and, sure, I am finishing my doctorate, baruch HaShem, and I’ve grown a lot professionally—but I keep thinking about all the things in my personal life that I have not done. I think of all the time that I’ve spent dreaming about going places and doing things rather than planning so that I can go places and do things.

so, for this season, my focus is going to be on planning for balance. making sure that Shabbat isn’t the only day of the week where I pay attention to myself and my needs. making sure that I’m getting enough sleep and taking my vitamins. making sure I’m dedicating time to my dissertation, not just things for work. making sure that I am finding quality time to spend with my husband and my friends—time that isn’t accidental or a bonus of me doing something else. I’m going to plan so that I can really feel that I am living each day—not just going through it.