Post-surgery, Pre-semester: Personal Update

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Image: Photo of a flowering tree on a university campus taken by the author, April 2017

My last personal update covered a lot of ground, so you’d be forgiven for not remembering everything or skipping it altogether. Since that post, there hasn’t been a lot going on, but enough to bring y’all up to speed a bit.

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Aside

Ch-ch-ch-changes

I really would like to get into a more permanent rhythm, and posting reviews every week just ends up getting out of hand, especially once I start classes back in the fall. (Just a few weeks to go now; yikes!!)

In that spirit, Tuesday Reviews Day will be every other week, while I try that on for size and see how it works. There won’t be a review post tomorrow, but I already have one scheduled for next Tuesday, and I think y’all are going to love it.

Also next Tuesday is my first-ever surgery; it’s minor and none of the doctors seem worried, but I’m a professional worrywart and I am doing my thing! So if you can spare a few kind thoughts or prayers or whatever you’re into, please send some my way next Tuesday; I could really use ’em! Love y’all.

New year, new plans

For the last couple of years, I’ve made some resolutions that have been a little outside the box, I suppose you could say. For 2014, I resolved to become the person I used to be. Yes, to some that sounds a bit odd, I’m sure, but somehow after college I started morphing into this quiet hermit of a person who wasn’t intrusive, wasn’t offensive, wasn’t obnoxious. Wasn’t anything, really.

But, you say, isn’t it good not to be offensive?

Of course! I don’t mean storming around shouting swear words in church or racial slurs in crowds or anything like that. I mean, I started going out of my way never to hurt anyone’s feelings in the slightest, even when that meant withholding necessary truths or even allowing myself to be hurt. I wanted to be the person I used to be, because I used to be someone who was outgoing, confident, funny, adventurous… but I suddenly realized I’d become the opposite of all those things. I don’t know when it started or why, but I knew I hated it and wanted to change.

So in 2014 I decided to start identifying places in my life where I’d allowed myself to become a doormat again, and either change my own behavior or start cutting out the people who abused my silence.

I got a tattoo.

In 2015, I made a more concrete resolution: Stop giving other people so much control of my thoughts and actions.

It’s good, to an extent, to care about what others think of you. Really, isn’t that what stops us from doing a lot of things we really want to do but shouldn’t? Like finishing that box of donuts by yourself or texting your ex or fill-in-the-blank. It helps us keep the reputation we want. I don’t want people to think I’m a cruel and heartless person, but I also don’t want them to think I’m easily manipulated, waiting to be used for their purposes.

I forced myself to sit down and think about the areas of my life where other people’s opinions didn’t and shouldn’t matter:

  • My appearance
  • My career goals
  • My educational goals
  • My writing
  • Our family planning decisions

It’s stupid, I know, but I was letting worry over what people thought of me and my choices dictate almost everything I did. I didn’t get another tattoo in 2015 (I wanted to) but we did buy a new house and a new car and make plans for me to go back to school, plans I’ll be acting on very soon.

I got two new piercings. (Just my ears, piercings are the worst)

I dyed my hair every color I could think of, sometimes changing it multiple times a month. It’s now a point of conversation when I see someone at work that I’ve not run into in a few weeks.

So for 2016, I’m continuing in the same theme. This year, I’m going to stop coddling everyone around me at my own expense. I’m not going to cause needless drama or seek out confrontation, but I’ve spent the last several years bowing my head and biting my tongue and hiding my tears when what I really should have done was say what needed to be said, no matter how difficult or uncomfortable. The truth really does hurt, even when you choose not to expose it. I could go in depth about what brought me to this decision, but it was a hard one to make, so I’ve spent enough time already trying to parse it.

Women's Do No Harm Shirt

My mantra for 2016. Buy the shirt here.

I feel I’m making the right choice. It’s time to stop putting myself last just so everyone else feels safe and happy no matter what. It’s time to stop excusing every offense with phrases like “that’s just the way s/he is” and “it’s okay, I don’t mind” or “things will be different next time.” But what’s right isn’t always easy, so I know this year’s resolution may be more difficult than last year’s. But I think there are better and brighter things ahead, and I’m excited to see them arrive.

‘Tis the Season…

…to be sick, apparently. I even had a book review post outlined and ready to post, but the plague descended on our house like an unwanted fruitcake (that’s probably redundant), and I’ve only just started feeling back to 100% in the last few days.

I’ll do my best to get back on schedule. At least I’ve got that review lined up! Right now I’m reading Chasing Shadows by Swati Avasthi. So far it’s an excellent read, but it’s also really emotionally heavy, especially on the heels of the last book I read, which was a light and airy teen romance. Not my usual style, I know, but I’m really glad I read it. That’s the book featured in my upcoming review, which will hopefully go live tonight, so you’ll hear more about it later.

In the meantime, we have managed to decorate the house for Christmas. Despite feeling like a pile of garbage, I was still able to get the tree up.

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This year, some friends gave us some great decorations, including an artificial tree. I put that one upstairs since I have room for two trees now (you have no idea how happy this makes me; I’m a huge nerd for Christmas).

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And we actually got to decorate the porch! Ugh, this is the best Christmas ever, already. I love Christmas. Yes, I know I still have pumpkins out. But they’re so cute! Maybe I’ll put little bows on them. And no, I don’t leave my poinsettia outside. It was only there for the picture.

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At any rate, regular content should resume soon, now that I don’t feel the heavy cloud of death and head colds hovering over me.