reflections, week 37

taking a break from blogging about feelings to check in on how things are going with my goals for the year…

write something every day (except Shabbat). since I’m doing this blogging project for the month, I’ve actually been doing pretty well on this! I haven’t touched any other projects this month, but I think that’s just as well—I’m taking time off grad school also so I can jump right back into dissertation prep in October, so it’s nice to have some time to clear my head and focus more on my spiritual side during this month (especially with all the hustle and bustle of a new school year). I’m also actually bullet journaling with some sort of regularity and doing okay with my habits now that I’m back to tracking, so overall it just seems like I’ve got my act together a bit more this month. 🙂

be better about money. the first CPS paycheck is so close that I feel like I can breathe again and that’s really exciting! I also got some money from friends whose cruise deposit I put down and my grandma sent me a little something, so I’m actually in a good place right now! provided I get my student loan dollars this week also, I should be able to pay myself back so I can knock out all my payments for the month and put a chunk towards our cruise—and still get back some rainy day savings so I can try to work only one job this fall in order to knock out the dissertation behemoth.

self-validate more. I’ve been trying to eliminate ableist words like moron and idiot from my vocabulary lately—but I find that I’m struggling to not use them to describe myself. it seems so easy to fall into the self-deprecating humor whenever I’m embarrassed; it’s so much more comfortable to say you’re right, I’m such an idiot and brush off the correction in a way that prevents me from being vulnerable and/or emotionally engaging with the cognitive dissonance. since I have improved so much in being kind to myself about mistakes in private, I’m now trying to be better about it in public and take responsibility without trashing myself (and thus inviting the trashing from other people also).

until next time, y’all!


#BlogElul 1: Decide

(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 interesting that the first thing I have to write about is deciding because it is… not my forte, to say the least. I’m not sure if it’s because I have anxiety about change or because I just find decision-making very emotionally exhausted, so I often struggle to even decide what to eat or wear to work. there is also the fact that, even when I have made a decision, I often struggle to follow-through and complete whatever task I have set ahead for myself. so whether it is a lack of decision or a forgotten decision, this is definitely not a verb that I am very comfortable with.

perhaps that is why this is the word I have to start with as I prepare for the new year—or perhaps it is because deciding is such a big part of my Jewish journey.

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reflections, week 35

hello from teacher institute week! I’m struggling to stay focused during this meeting, so I’m going to lean into my ADHD need to do multiple things to maintain sustained attention and drop y’all a quick update.

write something every day (except Shabbat). I am actually probably taking a break from writing, including academic writing, until mid- to late-September so I can focus on starting the school year off strong with kids and also give myself a bit of a brain break since, at this point, I have been going year-round with grad school for three straight years (and I embarked on this degree less than a year after finishing two years of nonstop grad school for my previous degree). I will try to get back into bullet journaling full-time for September and I might do some sketching/outlining for my dissertation and my novel project for NaNoWriMo, so there may or may not be updates here—but I’m going to be gentle with myself and take some time.

be better about money. I’m trying to tighten the purse strings to make it work for the next couple of weeks, but that looming strike is really increasing my stress levels and I’m honestly not sure how successful I’m going to be with this. I also had to drop more dollars at the vet this week for different antibiotics for Kiwi—who is too clever to be tricked with tablets in food/treats and refuses to unhinge her jaw for me to pill her directly—so there’s just a lot going on dollar-wise right now.

self-validate more. this was tough this week with the return to work—there is some tension happening within my department at work, which made me hella uncomfortable and, at times, insecure… and then I had to present on something that felt outside of my realm of expertise because it was developed this summer and I had to present it to the toughest group in the building, so I wasn’t the world’s most confident person. however, I wore my fave shirt from my summer job, did a brightening sheet mask last night, did my hair this morning, and I wore my lipstick armor (rockin’ my beloved Fenty Beauty’s Stunna Lip Paint in Uncensored to much acclaim today)—so I got through it and I feel like it’s strengthened me to keep working with these folx this year.

thanks for sticking with me through this wild summer! until next time ♥

reflections, week 34

hello from the mad rush of packing up camp! I’m taking my lunch break on this, the penultimate day of camp, to have a quick check-in:

write something every day (except Shabbat). I wrote more this past week than I did most of the rest of the month, which is awesome… but I’m still neglecting my bullet journal and a huge amount of what I wrote was academic, so I’m just hoping that next month will be better!

be better about money. that shopping spree from a few weeks ago, along with vet costs from yesterday (Kiwikitty has an upper respiratory infection so she’s a sad and sneezy baby right now), have really depleted the rest of my summer savings so we’re officially in “spend what you’re earning” mode. I’m stressed out about the looming strike for sure, but at least all my August payments were done and I’ll be good for rent… we’ll see how September goes!

self-validate more. I didn’t use the best language to deal with myself when I realized that I was going to be in a financial pinch despite how much I’d try to avoid it, but that’s really been the one time where I really slipped back into old habits… I just have to make sure it doesn’t become a recurring issue!

until next time, where I will trade the hustle and bustle from camp for the meetings and madness of the new school year!

reflections, week 33

here’s a quick check-in in the middle of camp winding down… pardon the short-and-sweet (and highly uncharacteristic) updates!

write something every day (except Shabbat). I’m honestly not gonna really do this for this week/the next because I’ve got to finish my comprehensive exam paper and then it’s the end of camp and the start of CPS… but I’m going to try to at least keep up with the bullet journal over these weeks and use the weekends to do some writing. we’ll see!

be better about money. as expected, last week’s spending spree’s caught up with me and I need to tighten the reins for the next few weeks so I can get back on track. on a bright side, camp going on for an extra week means I’ll (hopefully) make enough money to be okay until the CPS paychecks start coming in. fingers crossed!

self-validate more. I had to do a fair bit of this yesterday in the midst of freaking out about the comprehensive exam, so I’m glad to report that I am still succeeding in this under difficult times. honestly so, so surprised that the thing I thought would be hardest has been the thing I’ve most successfully and consistently done.

untiil next time, where I will hopefully be a little less (hypo)manic!

reflections, week 32

hi y’all! forgive the all-over-the-place nature of this post, as we’re having a hella ADHD kinda day today.

write something every day (except Shabbat). this has been tough, but I’ve been a little better this past week and I have managed to be productive while still taking time for myself. right now, I’m trying to outline some stuff for projects I’ve been working on to figure out what I should focus on next—I’ve tried to stick to one project at a time but I think that, with the dissertation coming up, I’m going to have to get more comfortable with multitasking. I did also spend some time preparing my bullet journal and thinking through some upcoming blog posts, so I think I’m in a better spot for the next two months. we’ll see how this goes!

be better about money. the other shoe has dropped with this a bit, finally—I ended up going HAM on a Sephora order this past weekend and I rounded out my Sims 4 collection, doing more personal spending in a weekend than I had for most of the summer. but I’m still in a decent place for bills this month and into the next, so I don’t feel too terrible about it… just have to make sure it doesn’t become a habit! I also know I’m getting more and more nervous about not having a contract for the fall yet, and J and I are considering synagogue membership, so the summer’s leaner budget might extend further into the school year than we thought… we’ll see how it goes! but we’re making payments on our cruise and having that vacation to look forward to is pulling us through some tense times!

self-validate more. who would’ve thought that this, the thing I was most scared by, would end up being a strength this year? I definitely did not think so! but I think I’ve finally reached a point in my life where I feel confident in my work and in what I bring to the table—and I’m much more willing to shoot my shot. whether I make said shots(s), however, is still to be seen…

lunch break’s over so back to work it is—until next time!

reflections, week 31

yet another hiatus, although this one a bit shorter! honestly most of the reason for the delay is that I was trying to focus my (very) limited word output into my Camp NaNoWriMo project but, now that it’s August, it’s time to return to other ventures.

write something every day (except Shabbat). this was really rough throughout all of last month, which is extra tragic because what I did write was for my genre-bending book project that I am really excited about. but between the twelve-hour workdays and the end of my doctoral coursework, there just wasn’t a ton of time to really dedicate to writing—to the point that I also completely ignored my bullet journal this month. I’m going to try and hop back on that particular horse for August and, even though I hope to work on it between now and then, I am also trying to prepare myself to have a stronger framework for November’s NaNoWriMo attempt so I can really finish this project. fingers crossed!

be better about money. this has been super steady even though I’ve definitely treated myself a little bit more lately (getting UberEats at work on long days… and resubscribing to World of Warcraft)—I think that the sustained effort of this year put me in a good place for the summer, and the overtime I’ve been getting at my summer job sure isn’t hurting! however, we (the Chicago Teachers Union) have yet to sign a new contract with Chicago Public Schools, so I am more than a little nervous that the “lean season” of the summer might, uh, extend into September. really, really praying that we reach an agreement soon so I don’t have to worry about another strike! (the memories from 2012 are bad enough!)

self-validate more. this week I shared some of my grandma’s wisdom with coworkers—her famous phrase “don’t let anyone steal your peace/joy” in particular—and I found that I have honestly really been living that this year! not only have I been letting go of other people’s opinions and not trying to please other people over taking care of myself and my own needs! (she was very excited to hear that also.) something that has been a happy side-effect to this is that I have been more comfortable asserting myself in situations so, when uncomfortable or when I’m just not going to do something? I’m just saying it directly! it’s basically a miracle!

okay, lunch break ending, so I’ve gotta get back to work—until next time!