…well, it’s been a hot minute, huh?
there’s so, so much to talk about that I don’t really know where to begin—but I figured it might be safest to start here, in a familiar format, just trying to do some updates. that should work, right?
buckle in—this will be long and you might get a bit of whiplash.
let’s give it a go.
create a writing routine. man, has this been a wild ride—and by that I mean that my feelings about this have been a wild ride, while my actual writing has been at a standstill. even the bujo fell by the wayside in June after really valiant efforts to keep it going through what felt like literal hell this year! I mean, I literally wrote once in the entire month of May and twice in June. I’ve done a fair amount of writing in the past two days, though, and I’m working on creating a workflow for the summer since I’ll be juggling several projects and setting my own schedule since I won’t be working summer camp or summer school (more on this below). I finalized the revisions on the first chapter of my dissertation and made a fair bit of progress on the second, and I joined a co-writing group so I can hopefully make some more progress on it this summer. I have yet to determine whether I’m also going to try and work on DoA again this month… we’ll see. I might just give it another go in November. I’m also maybe dipping my toes into some more fun writing pursuits to relieve some pressure and try to find some joy in it again. ♥
be responsible with money. this has been pretty solid so far except for one glaring situation—neither summer camp nor summer school are happening for me this year, which means that I’m not bringing in any of my usual income this summer. since we went on strike last October, I also had to fly home for my dad’s funeral and drop several grand on divorce proceedings, so my savings are absolutely not where I would want them to be—so I’ve taken on several freelance projects and extra tutoring assignments to supplement those. I still expect that the summer will be lean and I’m a little nervous, but it is what it is and I know that I am extremely blessed to be where I am in the first place, which is why I’ve also made sure to donate whenever I could. (and, well. there have been some “treat yourself and your closest friends” moments, most of which have included BTS merch. y’all know me—I don’t know how to half-ass anything, I can only whole-ass… so now that I have committed to this fandom, I have done it with my whole-ass heart and I am so glad I have because they have been my #1 source of serotonin in the darkest days.)
okay so far? let’s dig into where things really start to go off the rails.
(recurring cw for the THIRD goal: mentions/discussions of mental health [specifically anxiety, bipolar II, ADHD], psychotropic medications, weight loss. in this particular installment, I also discuss my history with disordered eating and explore some body dysmorphia and internalized fatphobia. if any of these could be remotely upsetting, please take care of yourself and skip that whole section! to make it easier to know what’s where, I’ve tagged mental and physical health in bold italics.)
make better health choices. okay, so I have genuinely been working on this and making some better choices—but things have not quite gone in my favor. as I mentioned in my last update over two months ago, I’d visited some specialists and started some new medications… unfortunately, though, the medication had some wild side effects on my physical health. long story short, my migraine preventative changed my gut flora and I ended up struggling to keep any food down for the greater part of three weeks… and then we adjusted my dosage, which led to another gut rehab (pun very much intended) and another few weeks of being sick. by the time the dust settled, just a couple of weeks ago, I had lost 40 pounds in 3 months and my relationship with food had changed irrevocably. because the migraine preventative also has psychotropic uses off-label, I ended up in a conference call with my psychiatrist, rheumatologist, primary care doctor, and neurologist to discuss next steps—and referrals for further testing and some visits with some other specialists.
of course, all of that, along with the whole pandemic-and-revolution content, has done quite a number on my mental health. having struggled with disordered eating before, I’ve really been having issues trying to fight against the food aversions that I started developing when everything was making me sick. furthermore, since I’ve just been home and just wearing leggings and hoodies, I don’t think I’d really noticed how much my body had changed for a while—but I recently took a picture of myself to show my sisters how long my hair has gotten and I went to look at a picture from February (my last haircut) to compare and the difference was startling. once I saw it, I could not unsee it—the way I take up space differently; the way my nose looks bigger because my face is narrower; the way the neckline in all of my shirts/dresses won’t stay in place so they end up riding up to my neck; the way my face looks a little like it’s been distorted in a funhouse mirror… me, but not quite me, but still me.
(mental health, cont’d.) if I were dealing with 1-2 of those changes at a time, the way I would be if I’d lost the weight gradually, I think I’d be fine—but this year has been such an emotional rollercoaster and all of this is happening at once so I’m really struggling. there’s also that screwed up part of me that wants to celebrate because I’m skinnier and that’s something I had always wanted—but I also know that I wanted to make good choices this year, that I didn’t want to focus on my weight, that I was finally in a place where I wasn’t worrying about being smaller, and that this absolutely was not something was healthy and it absolutely did not feel good. I totally do not want to be congratulated, I don’t want to be told I look good, I don’t want to be asked what I did—I want people to ask if I’m okay so I can admit that I’m not really, that I’m getting there, that I wasn’t for a long time. I was wildly anxious for a while there, then had a hell of a depressive episode, but I think I’ve leveled out a bit and I now have to work on trying to stay steady throughout the summer when I’m not consumed by work (which is historically difficult for me). this is definitely going to be a thing for me to keep an eye on.
unplug from social media on Shabbat. it’s so nice to have something to report success on, haha. to be fair, most of the success for this is due to the fact that I have an app that keeps me off social media on Shabbat—but I also could override that, and I’ve chosen not to! I’ve also been good about not working on Shabbat and communicating to people that Shabbat is for me and that is a day where I need space… and I’m willing to communicate with people and plan video chats and whatnot, but it has to be on my terms. there are definitely some Shabbatot where I just want to stay in bed all day and read things on AO3 or embroider and just… dissociate. I think I’m going to extend this a bit in the coming months, though—I’m going to start taking Fridays off this summer and maybe trying to bake some challah or do something else to really usher in Shabbat in a more intentional way.
start a nighttime routine to wind down (at 10PM). this was truly was a pipe dream, y’all. these days, if I’m asleep by 3AM, I am grateful for that gift—and I am often waking up before my alarm goes off, after only 4-5 hours of sleep. I think part of this has been the aforementioned anxiety, but I also think that the lack of consistent routines has been making me feel unmoored. I’m hoping that working on (re)establishing some routines for myself over the next few days will help with this, and that I can reassess as necessary to get myself in a better place. I also know that we’re all in a constant state of trauma right now, though, so I also need to be patient with myself and understand that it’s okay to relapse—progress isn’t linear and what matters is that I really am trying to keep moving forward and work on growing into the best version of myself.
that’s all we can really do, isn’t it? ♥
if you made it through all this, thanks so much for reading. until next time!