Personal Update: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

So the radio silence since August 29 was not planned, but a lot has happened!

I’ve completed my Fall semester at last. If you haven’t read back, I took Literary Theory and African-American Literature. Both of my professors were great, and I’m glad I enrolled in those courses. I’ve gotten grades back, and I got another 4.0 this term!!!! I’m so stoked. I really was aiming to get a 4.0 for the whole program, but my complete inability to read my Film professor really boned me on that goal. Oh well. Next semester begins on January 18, when I’ll be taking American Literature in Perspective and Theories of Teaching Writing. I’m not as excited about that semester as I was about this one, but I’ve had one of the professors before and got on really well with him, so that’s a plus. And I’ve already had a breakthrough in my plans for my thesis, so I’m really excited about that. (I’m also pretty thrilled about the month-long break from classes; let’s be honest.)

In other very happy news, my husband and I found out that I’m finally pregnant!! We’re expecting our first child in July of 2018, which is actually really great timing. I’ll be out of class for summer and have about a month before Fall 2018 classes begin, which will (hopefully) be my final term. I’ll be down to one course and my thesis, provided I can take both of those simultaneously (I’m not sure yet about my uni’s restrictions on that).

I also started seeing a new therapist, who has recommended me to remain cautiously optimistic about school post-baby. I’m worried it’ll be too much, but she agrees with my husband that it may actually be easier to finish on schedule, while the baby is small and mostly stationary, ha. We have a huge amount of family locally, and they’re over the moon, so thankfully we’re in a really good place with regards to childcare. I’m not going to become a mommy blogger or devote my IG account to the little bun, though; I know too well the distinct pain of infertility, and while I will certainly be posting about our addition and possibly sharing photos, I’m committing myself to not overdoing it because I remember how hard that was. I remember having to unfollow/hide people on Insta or Facebook, not because I wasn’t happy for them, but because I couldn’t stomach the depression, the jealousy, and the anger. Why her? Why not me? And I’m not going to do that to others who feel that pain and suffer alone. On that note, if you want to speak with me privately about this issue, feel free to comment and we can exchange info.

Moving along … I have not been doing much reading on my break. The holidays are always pretty hectic for me and mine, and this year is the first year that my husband and I will be hosting his family’s Christmas dinner. I’m excited about it, but it means we’re doing a lot of cleaning and recipe trial runs and getting packages wrapped earlier than usual which … still isn’t all that early, to be honest. I did start reading The Clockwork Dynasty thanks to some excellent reviews, and I’m already in love with it. Reviews posts might start back up again, but with all the changes in store for 2018, I’m not sure yet what the regularity will be. Just bear with me, please! I’d love for you all to stick around through the new year and navigate new frontiers with me.

What have you all been up to? Read any good books lately? Drop ’em in the comments!

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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.