Oops, I did it again. Nothing fun and sexy like the song, no – I overbooked myself and felt exhausted for a week, as I am apparently wont to do at the beginning of the quarter. What is it about ease that is so difficult for me? Is it that I think of myself as being either good or bad at everything, including finding ease and contentment and peace? Why do I say yes to so many things? Am I ambitious, or do I just think I need to do Useful Things for Other People to achieve some sense of worth? Would I be less neurotic if I weren’t so self-aware of my neuroses? (I think, in another life, I could have been a tortured and vaguely wealthy white man, and that positioning enables me to fill absolute gallons of novels with endless questions like this.) So, yeah, April started off like that, and I want to say it ended a little better. I got better throughout the month at saying no to things to take care of myself, and I’m trying to keep that up.
1. aging is a gift, woman pleads with self in mirror
March is my birthday month, and as someone who cares a lot about beginnings/endings/arbitrary markers of time that humans make up, I’m always in my feelings this month. This year, I don’t think I can say I’m in my early 20’s anymore. That’s a bit of a jarring and uncomfortable thought to have – the early 20’s are the most romanticized, hopeful, lively time period, at least in most media I’ve consumed up to this point, and I feel as though I spent my younger years thinking that these years would be some magical halcyon days. There’s some stuff to unpack here about me living in my head and daydreams instead of in the moment, as well as some stuff about having a shitload of unprocessed trauma and baggage that I thought would perhaps go poof once I hit my hot as hell 20’s. (Still waiting on the hot as hell glow up.) But I think I’m starting to genuinely believe that aging is a good damn thing that I’m lucky to experience. So many people pass before their time, and hasn’t this year made that even more apparent? I don’t want to sit around being ungrateful for the days I have, scared about the years others lose. I heard this quote from David Bowie recently that goes like, “Aging is an extraordinary process whereby you become the person you always should have been.” It’s been percolating in my head for a few weeks now, and I really like that thought. With each year, we grow more into ourselves, more comfortable with who we are, and we were always meant to feel this way. And looking back at where I was, who I was, a year ago, I can definitely say I’m glad I’m me-today and not me-a-year-ago, or two-years-ago, or three. I’m fairly certain I’ll feel the same way a year from now, so why not just trust that process and enjoy the ride? I’m trying to seek out ease a little more, and not make things harder for myself than they have to be – so this is my birthday month and I’m older and that’s where I’m starting.
February, my lord. The shortest month got me. What do I even have to say? It’s already the second week of March, and February was a blur. I think I felt extra scattered during this month, but I also think that’s maybe just ‘normal’ right now. My daily life is fairly routine at this point in the global pandemic – I work and go to school from home, I take a walk outside, I go to get groceries, I hang out at home with the same couple people I’ve had for company for a year now – so I think I feel as if I should be optimizing for productivity, given that I have a regular routine and am lucky to have that? And that’s why I think I feel more scattered, when maybe it’s just normal to feel scattered. My therapist and I talked about this recently, when I told her I was surprised I was so irritated at something that wasn’t a big deal. She said that right now we’re all operating at a higher constant level of stress and anxiety – if the baseline is 8, it’s easier for smaller things to bump us up to a 10. I think that’s a good way of thinking about it. I’ve been at an 8 for so long, and it’s exhausting. I’m trying to be gentle with myself when I have a weekend where I’m not productive at all, and not immediately equate “not getting things done” to “worthless lump of coal”.
It’s the last month of the year, thank god. 2020 has felt very slow and very fast all at once, but as the saying goes – the only way out is through. So I’m glad we’re at least through. In December I zoomed through the last bit of fall quarter (ha ha ha pun unintended but much appreciated) and stumbled into winter break. This month has felt like this year in a microcosm for me. A lot of work to try and distract from absolute tragedy and chaos, a lot of breakdowns, a lot of being grateful that I’m somehow still kicking, a lot of mess and trying to find pockets of OK-ness and laughter within. I had some wins this month – I did yoga for 17 out of 31 days this month, which is the most regular I’ve been in a bit. I started reading a book for fun over winter break, and that’s a nice thing to do. I decided I want to move out on my own sooner rather than later, and it feels good seeing a light at the end of the tunnel that isn’t an incoming train.
I don’t even know what to say in these anymore; time is really difficult when working from home and isolating. I think I’m in a shrinking group of people still doing the stay-at-home, shelter-in-place thing, so I feel a bit like a wet blanket but also liiiike yeah no do I really value in-person restaurant hang outs more than people’s lives and health? I dunno. I don’t think so. Some things which happened this month to mark the passage of time did happen though! I gave myself bangs at 1AM, and, you know, they’re alright. It was a Difficult Adjustment and I thought of many different drastic hair decisions to make (bleaching, dying, undercut, side shave, buzzed completely) and in the end went with the smallest impulse decision lol. It’s fine! I think I look cute! I also moved out of my LA apartment permanently, which is a Thing I feel oddly about. The end of ~a chapter of my life~, I guess, and now I definitely live with my parents again. Which is fine! I insist! I may cry more but this is a difficult season arc that I’ll survive! Otherwise, you know, summer classes are chugging along, California had (is still having) the shittiest heatwave and wildfire time, and I’m doing the best I can with the shit I have.
July brought me out of LA and back to northern California, so here I am again and it’s looking like I’ll be here for a while. The days are still blurring together. I’ve been trying to take things day by day in terms of taking care of myself and taking care of the things I want to do, and it’s going – OK? I think? The bad things are still there but there’s also lots of good things, so I think it averages out to OK. The summer classes I’m taking have just started, and I hope to god those provide some positive structure to my days and cool things to think about instead of sending me to an early grave because of this terrifyingly fast 6-week schedule.
It’s been a hot minute, Internet void, and I’m back to blabber on a bit about the toxic hellhole cesspit we call the year 2020. April was the first whole month I spent inside at home with my parents, my brother, and my boyfriend. At the end of the month my laptop charger frayed beyond the point of any artful smushing to get it at just the right angle to charge, and that’s a good metaphor for the month. Family issues were, as always, not fun! May brought midterms, more of those fun family issues, and a headfirst tumble into bad depression and anxiety land. I moved back to my apartment in LA near the end of May, and then June was finals week and another fun household conflict, roommate edition this time, and I’m preparing to move back in with my parents again. The days have kind of blurred together and it feels so bizarre that we are halfway through the year. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing that I can’t seem to remember the passage of time (makes this mess pass a bit faster?) or not (feels like I’m trapped in an endless series of reboots of the same jumble of shit?) but it’s happening either way.
Anyone reading this right now probably knows that everything is shit, but it still bears mentioning. So uh, we’re obviously in the midst of a global pandemic right now. That means I’m back home with my family in northern California instead of in my LA college apartment, and it feels bonkers to think about what I started this month doing and feeling versus how I’m ending. At the beginning of March I went to my friend’s theatre show, a dinner with twelve strangers (a cool UCLA alumni event where I had tortellini the size of my fist it was great), voted in our state’s primary election, finished my tours training, ate Korean BBQ and spent legitimately the next 3 days feeling full, watched a lot of New Girl, and planned my spring break. Soon after those first, like, ten days of the month, it became clear that life was not going to proceed as previously planned. I did all my finals online. I cancelled my spring break travel. UCLA announced the whole of spring quarter would be online, so I came home for break and now I’m home for an indefinite amount of time, planning to work from home and wondering what the hell’s gonna happen to my apartment. At some point in all this, I turned 23. (It was on the day we got the email that spring quarter would be all online.)
It’s funny, because I was walking around campus sometime in late February, listening to some music that may or may not play in the indie movie daydreams I have, and I thought to myself “man, I’m really gonna miss this place one day”. And that day is upon us! Who knows when I’ll be back at UCLA, you know? My days were already numbered, and now those numbers have dwindled even more. This time has been clarifying for me, in the way that tragedy always is. I know I — and my family, friends, state, country, planet — am not even in the worst of it yet. But already I’m thinking about how I want to live after this is over. I want to dye my hair blue, because life is too short to worry about how weird it’ll be and it’ll be fun and I’ll either look cool and love it or not look so cool and it’ll be over soon enough. I want to donate more money to causes I care about, because I can probably spare the price of a dinner and what’s the point of being an American immigrant with a better livelihood than your grandparents if you can’t help others get there too. I want to canvass for policies that need voices, any voices, maybe mine, just to have one more. I want to give more hugs.
So, um, yeah. That’s where I’m at as March is ending. I’m 3 for 3 on saying “this month was awful, I hope it gets better!” but this time, for the world’s sake as well as my own, I really fucking hope things take an upturn from here.
1 – the good times were good, the bad was real bad
Ah February. You half listened to what I wanted from you, and gave me some good times, but also some p bad ones! I’m ending February and beginning March much like I ended January and began February, meaning that there has been a string of Real Bad Days that I’m eager to leave behind. I did some nice things in February, to be sure – had good times with friends, went on a lil trip to Big Bear, did some good hard work in therapy, got an A+ on the midterm for this class that everyone said was terrifying. But I also was stressed out and tired bc of health and home things, and of bad things to happen, they were pretty bad things to deal with. We’re not even getting to the public bad news of February, lol. Anyway, March is my birthday month, I’m really hoping it’s a better time. Fingers crossed!