I wish I could understand. I am a perpetually positive person. I wind up looking on the bright side of everything, and I wouldn’t want to change my attitude for the world. This outlook is a good fit for me and I am a good fit for it. But even so, I wish I could understand the sadness and emptiness that comes with depression.

Because when someone I know confesses to me their own emptiness I never know what to say or where to even begin. I just sit there and wind up saying the only thing I can think of over and over. I’m sorry. I’m sorry you are having to go through this. I’m sorry that I can’t do anything. I’m just so sorry.

My own cock-eyed optimism pushes away any depression I may have. My faith laughs in the face of doubting Thomas questions. I’ve broken bones and friendships and habits and promises, but I never seem to break myself.

Perhaps admitting this is folly. Hoping for understanding and empathy could wind me in a predicament from which I can draw empathy for the rest of my life. But I don’t think the world works like that. The world just works. And it continues on regardless.

I’m sorry Mr. Williams. I’m sorry that this was the way you went. I’m sorry that I have no other words to offer. I’m so sorry.

Call someone: 1-800-273-TALK
Chat online: www.imalive.com

Talk to someone. I may not have the words, but talking helps. Tell someone you trust. Talk to a professional. Ask a friend to come with if it helps. Don’t give in. You can pull through. I believe in you.

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Bittersweet Memories

I’m terrible at taking pictures when I’m with people. This weekend I went driving with a friend, no pictures. My parents were visiting for the weekend and I have no proof that they were here. I talked with my sister on the phone and got ready for dinner and discussed the merits of air conditioning in Southern California. We went to eat at a restaurant and I didn’t even take a picture of the dessert. I’m a terrible instagramer. Breakfast, church, and a softball game and the only pictures I posed for live in other people’s phones.

The world of technology and social media demands photographic evidence. Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest (which I’m not even on), and Facebook all want me to upload pictures of my day, my night, my weekend for my friends to see and provide commentary on.

Honestly, I just forget.

I leave my phone at home or forget that my DSLR is in my bag. My battery dies. I’m just plain bad at taking pictures.

And I don’t care.

Instead of pictures I have memories. This weekend I combed through a box of things to see what I wanted and what to send back to San Francisco with my mom. I remember reading the New York Times while my dad made his way through the Wall Street Journal. I remember a delicious dinner and a beautiful breakfast. Introducing my parents to the world that I live in now and some of the people in it.

It’s so strange to me to be emotional about seeing them. They live a short 6 hours away. I spent 2 and a half years going back and forth to Chicago and almost never feeling homesick. I guess now it’s real. I live here now. My job is here, my church is here, my everything is here. And I wont be going back.

Talk about bittersweet.

Consumer/Creator

Lately I’ve been struggling to find a balance as both a consumer and a creator. This is a balance that I’ve been struggling with a lot, especially in recent years, but seems especially stark of a contrast since I’ve recently committed to making more.

I watch tons of TV, subscribe to nearly 100 YouTube channels, and go to the occasional movie; read novels, non-fiction, and comics; take part in events like VidCon and Comic Con, but don’t feel like I’m making nearly enough. I’ve been told at panels and events that creators need to be consumers too. If I’m going to make something I need to know what’s out there. While that’s true, I think for me I need to start focusing on the opposite.

Instead of watching, I need to write, shoot, and edit video to put up on YouTube. I need to be writing scripts that are never going to see the light of day in the hopes that one day I’ll come up with something I’m proud enough to share. I need to practice and do, not just in response to all the things I consume, but from my own thoughts and ideas outside of the mainstays of culture.

In a lot of ways I have no idea how to do this. I’ve spent so long trying to determine what I think of the world around me that to shift into my own thought process is an astounding transition. But absolutely necessary. I’m starting to journal more. I’m starting to write here. I’m starting with my YouTube channel. I’m not disillusioned to think this will be easy, but starting is half the battle.

So We Begin Again

As I’m beginning to come back to this space I look at the most recent posts and am stunned by how much my life has changed in the past few months. So before I start posting regularly again, I thought it would be good to do a bit of an update on where I’m at right now.

APRIL:
I found a job in the middle of April, leading to me not having the time to devote to blogging. I convinced some friends to go rock climbing with me on Saturdays, and spent some time adjusting to working full time. My job is far enough away that it required me to get a car, s

MAY:
In May I took a weekend off to go to Chicago and officially collect a diploma. It was nice to graduate, see old friends, and say goodbye to a city that had given me so many opportunities. Back in LA I had a small party to celebrate and spent lots of time with friends.

JUNE:
Last month was filled with spending time with friends, seeing movies (The Fault in Our Stars), and continuing to get used to being a real adult. I’m still not sure about all this, but I suspect that no one is. I went on church retreat mid-month that got me excited about the future — whatever that may be — and left me with only two days to get ready for VidCon. VidCon was a fantastic experience that gave me a lot to think about.

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I could (and probably will) write a whole post about VidCon, but for now all I’ll say is that I’ve decided to spend some time developing my own online space as a result of it. Going forward I want to focus here as well as over on YouTube at my channel. If you’re interested go ahead and check it out.

Ch-Ch-Changes

I’ve been struggling to blog lately. There are many reasons for this, the main one being that I finally got a job. I’m a receptionist at a small production/distribution company and I’m excited about it and what it could become. I’m glad to be employed, but I know that a job taking up my time isn’t the reason I’ve been quiet around here lately. Even before I got the “You’re hired” phone call I had been having troubles putting my thoughts into posts.

It’s frustrating to me that I can’t seem to express myself in the same way that I used to. For the past month or so I’ve written multiple blog posts that have never seen the light of day. I kept trying to be timely and failing. I wrote posts about the How I Met Your Mother finale, the Divergent movie, and Captain America: The Winter Solider. I have so many thoughts on these things, but I can’t seem to articulate them well enough to feel confident in hitting publish.

I want to talk at length about how much I adore Shailene Woodley’s hippie-ness. I want to have deep discussions about the Marvel cinematic universe. What the last few films will mean for the next ones. How they are tying the movies into Agent’s of SHIELD. How SHIELD is finally starting to pull on my heartstrings. But I can’t seem to come up with the words.

Even beyond media I never got around to writing up a post about my writing goals for this quarter. I’m sure if/how they change in balance with working full time, but I can’t even seem to outline it for myself. Using my phone alarms to be on time, a new planner, how I’m dealing with buying a car; all things I’ve written on our thought about writing on, but haven’t gotten out the way I want to.

My frustrations are because I know that I’m not where I want to be. I know I could be doing better. But I’ve lost track of how to do it. So I want to say that I’m not putting any pressure on myself to write, but I’m starting to see that route is going to get me NOWHERE, so it’s time to rethink.

It’s time to plan and organize and figure out what’s reasonable within my new schedule and current commitments. I don’t know the answer yet, but this post it a declaration that I’m going to try. I love my job, but I know that I want to do more with myself than just get by, it’s not going to be easy, but I know I’ll be better for it.

Lent This Year

When I first started thinking of lent* a few weeks ago I thought of what would be most productive for me to give up. I jokingly thought to myself that it would be best if I were able to give up procrastination. Because I don’t eat a lot of meat to begin with and my “TV habit” is under control. I use social media for job hunting and human connections, but procrastination? That’s everywhere.

But since it’s everywhere it’s nearly impossible to regulate. I can’t just give up one website or one application and call it a day, because as soon as I stop using that, I’ll find another to replace it with. But the more I thought about it, the more I couldn’t get the idea out of my head. In giving up procrastination I am giving up a lot of little things that I hope will bring consciousness of where I’m at and where I’m headed.

Lenten Rules:

  • Awake at or before 9am.
  • Quiet time for an hour each day.
  • Yoga at 8:45 every weekday (baring other morning commitments)
  • Blocked sites: Buzzfeed, Upworthy, Thought Catalog, Huffington Post
  • No reading fanfiction

Note that I am not blocking myself from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or Tumblr. These sites in and of themselves are not the problem. The problem (for me) are the links that my friends share on these sites. The list posts that lead to quizzes and start with one thing, but spiral into me looking up from the computer and asking when it got dark and how it’s already tomorrow.

Of course, this isn’t a catch all. I’m sure to find other things to procrastinate with, but I’m hoping that this base will make me more aware of falling into a hole of procrastination and more able to pull myself out of it. I’m sure that as the season goes on, I will find other things to add to the not allowed list. But I think this will be my most successful lent-en fast yet.

Even with less than a week with these rules I’ve noticed an effect. How much time a day do I spend doing exactly what I want all the time? At the moment, pretty much all of it. And a lot of that time is spent online derping around with no purpose whatsoever. It’s not what I want in the long term, but it’s what I think I need in the moment.

Spending time outside of these things has forced me to consider what I’m working on. I’ve realized this weekend that I have a lot of work to do if I want to meet the goals I set out to accomplish for the quarter and it seems to be a bit of a kick in the butt to get going. Lent is a time for thinking about the bigger picture, and seeing what comes from a more purposeful walk with God and a more considered life.

*A thorough explanation of Lent

This Will Be: March 2014

I’m testing out a new way of setting monthly goals. This may change as I go forward with the year, but I realized that just like I have split my yearly goals into categories, it would probably be helpful to split my monthly goals into categories as well. Not only will this give my some consistency, it will also give these posts a bit more of a formula to follow.

My categories are career and finance, education, relationships, and health.

Career and Finance

Obviously, since March is the end of the first quarter of the year, I am trying to complete the first quarter goals for Planning Freedom, one of which is finding a job. I had hoped to have more of a lead by now, but this month I am going to be applying to a few temporary things along with continuing to network and look for a permanent position.

Meanwhile, I received tax forms in the mail last month and have been avoiding doing anything with them. I’d like to file for both federal and state tax returns this month so that I don’t have to panic in April.

Education

My reading goal this year is 50 books and so far I’ve only finished three. Womp womp. To make up some time I’d like to finish five books this month. I have four (maybe more?) in the works already, so this shouldn’t be too hard. Honestly, I think the hardest part is making sure to record the books I’ve read when I’ve finished them. I could’ve sworn I’ve read more than three book already this month.

This doesn’t quite fit under education, but I’m not sure that education is actually quite the word I’m looking for with this category. Another Planning Freedom goal is to re-organize my blog. This larger goal will almost certainly extend into the second quarter, but this month I’m going to be working on a mission statement for the blog and a photo shoot for a new header and profile picture.

Relationships

Not so much a goal as just an exciting thing that’s happening this month, but my old roommates are coming to visit me this month. I’ve seen them a few times since leaving Chicago, but it will be good to reconnect.

Health

Probably the simplest goal, but also the least often done, I’d like to go to two yoga classes this month. That’s not even a class a week. I think I can manage this.

Other

A few little things that I’m not sure how to categorize. My scooter’s license plate expires this month, so I need to figure out how to renew that, and the sooner the better.

And a rollover from last month that I didn’t get to. I want to clean my apartments windows from the outside. I live on the first floor so this is possible, I just didn’t get to it last month because when I finally scheduled a day to do it, there was a monster rainstorm.

 

This Has Been: February 2014

I keep trying to write about February because it’s already March. In my head I’ve already moved on to Oscars and Lent and Fandom March Madness, but this post demands to be written because I finally have an editorial calendar, and this is the next to go live. So I’m writing it.

February is the shortest month, and appropriately it seems to have gone by really quickly. The best overview of the month can likely be found on my Instagram account. I really enjoyed playing around on Instagram last month. Execpt for that moment when some jerk spoiled the Olympic Men’s Snowboarding Half-Pipe for me in the comments section, but that was a one time deal. Instagram and I are good now. Sidenote: I watched a lot of Olympics.

Beyond that I also managed to get a decent amount of “stuff” done. I worked on some behind the scenes things for the blog, which I’m pretty excited about. I feel like I’m in a good place for all three of my first quarter goals; even if one won’t quite end up the way I had imagined. (Read more in my halfway there post!)

Late this month I spent a little less than a week with my mom visiting my grandma in Florida. I can’t seem to articulate my feelings on the trip very well, but I think it falls into the ‘win’ category. When I returned to the west cost I finally got around to catching up on Downton Abbey and Sherlock.

As a whole, February was good to me despite probably spending too much time locked in my own apartment. On the bright side, I did spend some time making my apartment as functional as possible.

I am constantly reminding myself that I’m in a good place for where I am in life right now and it’s true. I’m in a good place. Could it be better? Of course it could. But couldn’t everyone’s life be better than it is right at this moment? Of course it could. So que sera sera.

Honesty, Honesty, Honesty

Lately I’ve been trying to be really, truly honest with myself. With where I’m at right now and what I really want to be doing with my time since I have so much of it. I get frustrated when I spend days on end procrastinating moving forward in my career. I justify it by saying that I don’t have a job. I don’t have a schedule. I’ve only just graduated.

While all these things are true, making excuses won’t magically get me what I want. I need to be accountable. I need to lean in to this community I’ve been a part of and trust in their support. And I’m trying. I’m hoping and praying that my time isn’t wasted.

Don’t get me wrong, I know all the reassuring phrases. Yes, it’s only for a little while. I know, something will come. I know that I need to “Not be so hard on myself” (I don’t think I’m actually being hard on myself). Don’t get discouraged, keep my chin up. All those things.

But to be honest – and as I believe we’ve established, that is the goal – these platitudes only serve to make me more frustrated. While I’m more or less happy with where I’m at, these cliches make me think I shouldn’t be allowed that calm. Instead of saying “You’ll be okay,” they seem to ask me instead, “Why aren’t you freaking out more?”

In an effort to be more honest, I’m going to stop people from saying these things. “How’s it going?” It’s going fine, I’m vaguely looking for work and spending time on other life skills in the mean time. Like investing in myself and figuring out how I work best. “How was my week?” It was slow. Gloriously, relaxingly slow. And I am completely okay with that.

One Little Word: Planning FREEdom

This year I am taking my one word theme for the year “Free” and crafting it into four different focuses throughout the year. I find that a month is never enough to go into as much depth as I wanted to; with this system I can spend a more extended period of time on a few things over a season.

For the first quarter my focus is “Planning Freedom”, so for the first three months of this year I am working on setting myself up for 2014 and beyond. As it’s currently halfway through the first quarter of the year, this is the midpoint for the three main goals I made in conjunction with Planning Freedom.

Find a Job

The first and biggest goal is to find a job. While I have been working on this, I don’t feel that I have any solid leads yet. Every time I get one, it goes cold as soon as I follow up. On the bright side, I a friend of mine told me this month that the average amount of time someone looks for a job is 3-6 months, in which case I am still on track. And goodness, I hope I am not still looking for a job in six months!

Blog Redesign

The next big goal is to work on revamping the blog, which I’m excited about. I met with a friend of mine who is a graphic designer last week, and she will be helping me with branding. I am so glad to get started on this since I’ve spent so long hoping that it would just happen by magic. I know that’s not how life works, but I kept hoping.

Create Good Habits

The third and last goal is to cultivate good habits, which sounds vauge and strange, but mostly means that I want to create a really solid routine that I can fall back on when I don’t have a specific plan. This is probably the one that I have made the most progress on, though I would hardly say I’m done. Routines are things that are set and then tweaked and changed to be what is needed. While I have a general schedule for my day, I am changing it every week.

Unfortunately this task will probably never be “done”, but the goal is the get to a point where I am a fully functioning human as opposed to a Netflix watching machine and that is most certainly within reach.

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Overall I think that I’m pretty much on track with where I want to be to achive all these before the end of March (the end of the first quarter), which is fantastic. I am already thinking about and planning for my goals April to July, which is a great feeling. Actively looking ahead is always better than reacting to whatever comes next.

What are you working on through this season?