Crack Open a Corona: Dealing with Pandemic Stress

Everyone knows about it, without it needing to be said. On the street, in lines at stores, and essentially everywhere in the world, people keep their distance, trying not to make a big deal of the underlying feeling everyone seems to share: fear. Needless to say, we are in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. Whether you’re one who believes in the severity of the disease, someone who believes it’s all a hoax for government control, or whatever else you might believe, there appears to be a universal concern for the state of our country, and even world. Fear of death. Fear of economic devastation. Fear of government control.

Personally, I am not a fan of living in fear. Despite a history of anxiety, I find myself rather unfazed by all the chaos in the world. I’m sticking to myself, trying to be productive, and somewhat succeeding; I’m writing this, aren’t I? It’s not that I don’t believe there will be harsh, life-altering consequences from this pandemic and the way the U.S. Government is handling it, I just don’t find it in my best interest to worry about things I can’t control. Somehow, over the years, I’ve taken control of my emotions for the most part. Nowadays, I very rarely throw myself into an emotional tailspin that ends in a deep depressive state. Surely medication helps with this fact, but a lot of it is my own mindset and how I’ve cultivated my thinking to be a little bit more positive.

In times like these, positivity is more important than ever. For a lot of people, a quick and effective source of positivity is consuming media. Whether it be a favorite TV show, a great album, or watching a YouTuber they enjoy, everyone has their choice of escapism, and I wholeheartedly stand by that. I personally consume a lot of YouTube, because, well, it’s free. That being said, I think that throwing yourself solely into distractive media is not a catch-all for handling coronavirus anxiety and stress. So, I’m going to share some of my own techniques for managing anxiety and cultivating positivity in these trying times.

Awareness

The single most key factor in maintaining my sanity has been awareness of my needs and unhealthy habits. By making sure I don’t bury anything, and keeping my reality on the surface, I concentrate my effort into good things while trying my best not to fall back into bad habits. This isn’t to say you won’t make mistakes, let yourself fall back into a negative mindset or into bad habits (overeating, oversleeping, not exercising, to share some of my own), but awareness is the first step to actually getting out of them in the first place. Then getting out of them again. And again.

Another thing to be aware of is your own resilience. Just like you’re damn capable of warding away or fighting off COVID-19, you’re damn capable of re-writing the rhetoric in your own head. Do you feel like you’ve failed? You haven’t. It’s important that you be aware of that.

Also be aware of how things WILL make you feel, not just how they make you feel in the moment. For me, I need to constantly remind myself of the inevitable nausea, constipation, heartburn, and acid reflux that will result when I decide it’s a good idea to binge eat for hours on end. While it may be cathartic in the moment, it’s going to catch up with me later. It’s important to be aware of that.

Creativity

I know better than anyone how difficult it can be to be creative. Despite being a “writer,” I very rarely actually get any work done on my projects. In times like these, it’s important to make time for yourself to be creative, or make small goals you believe you can meet. Maybe it’s doodling. Maybe it’s writing. For me, lately, it has been journalling. I’ve been bullet journalling lately, and it has been both a creative outlet for me and a helpful organizational tool.

If you don’t generally engage in any “creative” pursuits, use this time to focus on a hobby or interest that you don’t often make enough time for. It’s good to feel like you’ve done something good for yourself, especially when it feels like there’s very little good around.

Organization

I’m not a naturally organized person. I need to expend a lot of energy to get organized, and once I get there, I’m not amazing at keeping things that way. A lot of people, it seems, have decided to quarantine themselves (if they aren’t being forced to), and when you’re in your house for extended periods of time, this is even more important. A clean environment helps keep your mind clean. This is pretty basic, yet extremely difficult to maintain. I encourage anyone who is struggling to keep their thoughts straight to set aside time to make progress on cleaning or organizing. Not only that, but it’s a productive use of time spent indoors.

Also, if you’re a student like me, you may be worrying about managing online classes once they start up. I personally set up a bullet journal spread which I’m going to use to keep track of my classes, with a dedicated daily period where I will try and force myself to do work, as if I’m going to an actual class. I dedicated one weekday to each class, and once I get more information from my professors, I’m going to fill in each day with what I’ll try to get done. It was a cathartic exercise to create it, and it will hopefully be a productive one to use it.

quarantine

Self-Care

This one, really, is simple. Act like you’re leaving the house. Try to shower. Put on clothes. Brush your hair. Even put on makeup, if you want to. It’s a good idea to continue as if you were living your life normally. Of course, you can also treat yourself to a relaxing bath or face mask if those are things you partake in and happen to have available to you.

It’s also a good idea to stay out of your bed as much as possible. For me, at least, it’s a good way to keep myself from fall into lazy habits like sleeping, binging, or just, well, being unproductive.

Anyway, that’s really what I’ve been doing to try and stay sane. Remember, none of us are alone in this. Now is a more important time than ever to come together (from a distance) and support each other. It’s also important to help yourself, though. Don’t let this virus tear you down. In the end, the world will keep turning. Stay strong. Keep on. Sit back, and crack open a Corona. Sip it, inhale, exhale, and try to relax.

Reconciling Joy & Productivity

I sleep in late, another day
Oh what a wonder
Oh what a waste
It’s a Monday, it’s so mundane
What exciting things
Will happen today?

Avant Gardener – Courtney Barnett

Lately, I’ve been trying to work on my ever-looming novel concept. The seed for this concept was germinated in my head when I was probably 12 or 13, and having undergone severe change over the years, I’m finally in a place where I feel like I have a story. For a long time, it was more of a collection of characters, with deeply developed personalities and lives, but very little in the way of an actual plot. I’ve finally found that elusive plot, and slowly but surely, I am trying to plod along.

Writing, however, does not come as easily for me as it does for others. My roommate, Nico, is a very prolific writer. He produces hundreds to thousands of words per day, extremely consistently, and I often envy the way he manages it. How does he simply sit down and make the words happen? How does he do it without needing to nitpick every detail of his environment, mood, and physical state first? The answer is actually quite simple; we are extremely different people. These differences have caused problems over the years, but in the end, it’s why we are so close. We’re bonded like puzzle pieces– our different edges just fit together perfectly.

My current puzzle, however, is productivity. Sometimes I think Nico views productivity above everything, and that works for him, or at least seems to. He writes, people like what he writes, and it makes him happy to do it. Writing makes me happy too, so why is it that I struggle so often to sit down and do it? Before deciding to write this entry, I lay in bed for over an hour, wondering if I should grab my laptop and write, or just keep watching The Right Opinion. Somehow, despite the fact that I deeply enjoy both activities, the latter seems significantly less… productive. Why is that?

Obviously, “productivity” has to do with the end “product” of both activities. When I write, I (eventually) end up with a story, or a poem, or hey, a blog post! I put the effort in, and I always get what I put into it, out of it. When I just sit around watch YouTube, there’s nothing tangible to show for it. Sure, I enjoyed myself, but where’s the payoff? It’s in my head. I relaxed. I was happy for an hour. It’s a distinct, obvious difference between passive and active joy. To write, I need to put my brain into it, put my heart into it. That can be exhausting, and I’m already exhausted most of the time. However, getting over that hurdle ends up being the most exciting thing of all. Sitting and watching YouTube simply can’t compare. So why do I do so much more of that than writing?

It’s Newton’s law, frankly. An object at rest will stay at rest until acted upon by a force, and unfortunately, I’m the only force that can truly act upon me. In the end, I still think that “productivity” doesn’t need to be the end goal of every activity, but it’s important to make sure I get some productive stuff in there. Otherwise, I think I’ll go insane. I enjoy being lazy, sitting around, napping, and I like watching the content that people out there create. I also enjoy writing… but it’s just a lot harder to get started doing that. Somewhere along the line, I hope to find a happy medium between passivity and activity, but until I do… well, I guess it’ll be a coin flip. Que será será. Whatever will be, will be.

Reflection on a Rainy Afternoon

In the first few months of 2019, had intended to post a nice “Year in Review,” chronicling how I spent 2018 and what it brought to me. For whatever reason, that review never came. Perhaps I was just too busy, or melancholy, treading the brambly path in the woods known as fading romance. Maybe I was trapped in my thoughts, too lost in them to rekindle the love that was in front of me. I started 2019 happy, only to quickly fall off the high beam, into depression.

In January and February, the end of winter proved as dark and dismal as it tends to be. Nonetheless, I started to find happiness come April. A new love came and went, as it so often does, and the drizzly, head-spinning spring came to an end as though it had just started. Then, came the sun.

This summer was one unlike any other. I sang, I danced. I made friends and lost some. I sobbed in despair and shed tears of joy, growing and changing along the way. People in my life went through things that are impossible to describe. Everyone burst, like flowers in bloom, into new versions of themselves… bigger versions. Better or worse versions? Only time will tell. But many have changed this year, including myself, and I believe it could be for the better.

I’ve spent the second half of 2019 single, and it has been nice to have some time and freedom to live as I please. Unfortunately, as the sky became darker again, my demeanor did too. Things started to seem worthless again. Futile. I was beginning to feel listless, lethargic, and unsure of my life path. Chronic pain had me in its grip, and it felt useless to try and escape.

One December day, I was starting to feel lower than I knew how to handle, so I left my house on impulse and went to the gym. The adrenaline shocked my system and got me out of my head for a little. Then, I kept going– every other day when I could manage. I started to feel genuinely better. The holidays came and went, I saw family, some near and some far. Overall, I’ve had holidays better and holidays worse. Then, came the new year, and I celebrated with friends the beginning of 2020 and my 22nd birthday.

Contrary to what many are saying about their year, I think 2019 was the best year I’ve had in a while. I managed my anxiety better, faced my depression and kept climbing my way out. I spent more time happy, rather than sad, than I have since early middle school. Sure, there were some rough points, but I refuse to let those define what was an overall amazing year full of growth and adventure. Now, I face the new horizons with a sense of strength and resilience, like I am better equipped than ever to face anything life throws at me.

Overall, the world seems to be struggling. Many are divided by their views, their actions, or their ideas about where the future will, or should, take us. I find this overarching outlook to be stressful, somewhat futile, and downright depressing. Do I care about what happens to the world? Of course. I do not, however, feel the need to contribute to the mass hysteria that has overtaken most everyone I know. The moment is now, and the future is inevitable. For me, in 2020 I will see my own future clearly, as it seems as though the world’s future is blurry and difficult to discern. No rose-colored glasses for me this year, but I won’t need them.

I’m better at sniffing out the roses now.

Summer’s End

As August comes to an end and the darker days and colder nights of autumn set in over New England, I find myself falling into a familiar sense of contentedness. I consider myself blessed to live in a place with four beautiful seasons, but the fall has always been my favorite. I’m not sure whether it’s the windy mornings, chilly nights, or the feel of warm apple cider on a cold day, but I always find myself at peace during this time of year. The year is finally winding towards its end, and I can comfortably reflect on the summer I’ve had.

I have always loved the start of a new school year. Even when I was struggling with academics and motivation to succeed, nothing got me more excited to go back to school than the feeling of getting new binders, folders, notebooks, pens… Nowadays, I genuinely just can’t wait to go back to school. I love my major (Natural Resources) and cannot wait to start classes this fall. I’m taking Plant Science, Forestry, and Environmental Chemistry. All three are lab classes… this should be fun. Typical school stress aside, I think I will have another successful year. Also, my dear friend Bri and I are co-presidents of the school’s Green Society. There’s a lot in store for me, including the long-awaited introduction to the composting system we petitioned the cafeteria for last semester. It’s cool to feel like, even on the smallest little levels, I’m making a positive change in the world.

The future, though always foreboding, is not actually what this post is about. It’s about the past few months of my life, how I’ve spent them, and how it’s made me feel. I feel that I’ve been on track to something decent despite all the horror in the world, and this summer in particular was a memorable one for me. The summer of 2019… my twenty-second orbit on this Earth… the first summer spent being old enough to drink.

My summer started off with a bang, and the end of a short, fatally passionate relationship with a very wonderful human being. Mere days after this abrupt, awkward breakup, some family issues came up that occupied a fair amount of my time and emotional energy. Both of these factors aside, I managed to have a wonderful early June visit with my mom and her husband in Florida, for their birthdays. My stepsisters were both there, and it was so amazing to see them after so long! Upon getting back, I went to a Red Sox game, which always makes me happy––we won, which makes me even happier.

Soon after, I was officially diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a connective tissue disorder that affects 1 in 10,000 people. It contributes to my chronic pain, joint hyper-mobility, and bruise-prone skin, as well as a variety of other factors that affect my physical and mental health. To hear the words out of the mouth of a medical professional was… bittersweet. On one hand, it feels like somewhat of a condemnation– this is your life now, there’s no cure––it can only be managed. On the other, it feels amazing to know where my pain and struggles come from, and it has helped me to learn what’s good and bad for my body. It’s important to know your limits; I’m learning mine.

I went to a few concerts over the summer: Gaelic Storm with my roommates and their parents, and MisterWives with my friend Taylor. Both concerts were amazing, and not just because I could drink hahaha! If you like Irish music, Gaelic Storm is for you. If you like upbeat revolution-driven pop-punk, try MisterWives. If neither, well, that’s fine too!

On July 7th my cousin Tony married his college sweetheart Angela after many years, and they had a beautiful Hawaiian themed weekend wedding down in Connecticut with all our family. As they live on Hawaii, it’s not very often that we get to see them. It was a wonderful weekend and I was happy to be able to enjoy it with family. As my uncle, Teddy Larkin, said in his song “If The Walls Could Talk:”

We’re a comfortable, dysfunctional family
The only one I know
Something special, but nothing fancy
And I’m just your average Joe.

It was around this time that I started going to a divey little bar, usually for karaoke. I still go, and I’ve met a bunch of really cool people while hanging out there. It’s a dive, but its got character, and I love being able to sing my heart out and nothing makes me happier than being out and about with people. Well, maybe not nothing. But it’s up there, as long as I get to go home and sleep in my own bed when it all comes down to it. I’ve balanced my summer well, I think, between socializing and resting. Like I mentioned before, I know my limits.

At the end of July, my “family” (whom I live with, not my blood relatives) and I went on a vacation to Montreal and Quebec City. Oh, it was so amazing… I’ve always loved Quebec. I’d move to Montreal in a heartbeat. It was hot and muggy, but we saw the sights and had an amazing time. We visited the botanical gardens, watched fireworks, drank nice brews, ate nice chews, and I thoroughly enjoyed the nightlife. I miss it, but I know I’ll be back again someday.

Now, as summer winds down, I feel as though I’m satisfied with how it went for the first time in almost a decade. I met tons of nice people, reconnected with old friends, and made a plethora of amazing memories. My mental health is in a better place than its ever been, and I see it getting better. Overall, I’d chalk this one up as a win. Onwards, to the future, and upwards.

Hills and Valleys

It’s been thirty years since there had been any sign of life in Resonant Echo Valley. Out of a smoky, hidden grove, a young woman emerges with things to say. Here and now, she pens them down:

For years, I’ve been dabbling in the world of online blogging. From my first blog, a now defunct lilyk.net, to my current one, there has been a sequence of about seven. Frankly, a lot of my own online eras have blurred together in my memories. Every so often, younger me would start a blog and swear to write every day, every week. Inevitably, a slightly older younger me would grow bored of regularly blogging, give up, and shut the blog down. This cycle continued until January of 2018, when I founded Resonant Echo.

The biggest difference between Resonant Echo and its forefathers is the lack of a promise or goal. Never have I tried, or even stated that I would try, to update regularly and with any amount of topic consistency. If you’re reading this, it means that six months after my last post, I actually wrote another one! Wow! I’m proud of me. Needless to say, I’ve never been good at keeping to a schedule.

(I came back here of my own volition, so one would assume I came here for a reason. I’m not sure yet of my reasoning, although there always is one.)

Not much “eventful” has occurred in the last six months of my life. I’ve been singing karaoke and hanging out with friends. I am single and terrified to mingle. I saw MisterWives in concert, and I reunited with some long lost friends. A lack of “event” however does not mean nothing has happened. I think a lot has happened, both for better and for worse.

I am, again, at a stagnant phase of my life. The school year starts up again in September, and I’m hoping once it does, I can get out of my thoughts a little. Things are not bad, but they aren’t good either. They just are, and in the end, I’m okay with that. Lately I’ve been learning to take and process things as they come. It’s a sort of meditative practice involving a strong desire to change and… a lot of patience. Patience is something I inherently lack, but it has been an important skill to cultivate in my day-to-day life. Every day it gets a modicum easier to let the little things roll off my shoulder. That, like this blog post, is a win for Team Avery. A small win, but a win nonetheless.

The future of the world looks admittedly dim, but that does not mean my light has to fade with it. One spark can start the world, so I refuse to let mine die out. Even when things are hard, I am here on this planet and I may as well make the most out of it. So that’s what I’ve been doing. Living in the moment. Taking things day by day.

The moral of the story is that I wrote this today. It’s a simple, concise fact that none can dispute, and in doing so, I proved my younger self wrong. If you give up on blogging for months, it doesn’t mean you’re a failure. Pick up where you left off. Let your ideas take flight again. Be patient. Don’t worry.

It’ll all be just fine.

Writing for No One to Read

I am a writer. I write because I like to write. I don’t like writing what I don’t want to write. I don’t write for money; I can’t write for money. I don’t always write, but when I do write, I write what I want to write. Not what people want me to write. That’s alright… right?

At least I write.

To a lot of people, the idea of writing for no audience is ludicrous. What other reason is there to pen words onto paper, if not for someone to read them? Well, I don’t know, honestly. All that I know is that I like to write, and I write sometimes. Not often, these days. Not a lot. I certainly don’t write on this blog very often, but you must merely take my word for it: I do write. A good portion of the things I produce remain unseen by any eyes other than my own––at most a few friends. I don’t want people to see, and I don’t need people to see. It seems strange, but I don’t write for them– just for me.

There is something intrinsically personal in everything one writes. It doesn’t matter how similar or different my life is to the characters or worlds I’m creating. There’s always just that lingering essence of me in it, the nuance with which only I create. If I’m being honest, I’m not comfortable with people getting a glimpse into my mind’s eye. Maybe not everyone sees it that way, but some people pick up on minute details– the little things. Someone out there would see every hint of me in that piece I created, and I’m afraid of that. Everyone has insecurities, complexities, and secrets. I need these qualities for my writing. Without them, I hardly know where to begin. With them, I simply write for no one.

Often I wish I could produce a work of fiction, or even non-fiction, that didn’t ooze with my deepest philosophies and heart-decay. I have tried and failed. The mundane doesn’t spark my intrigue. Detaching myself from characters is easy enough, but detaching myself from the tone and emotion of my prose is impossible. To write something less personal would bore me, and if I don’t care who reads it anyway, why write it at all? So I write from my core. My dark side. My inner self. There’s good and bad in there, I suppose. Isn’t there a little of everything in all of us?

If you’re reading this, congratulations on being the lucky minority! You, my friend, are one of the few people looking into a rare spyglass– peering in on my life.

To be an Autumn Leaf

I’ve been writing poetry as long as I can remember.

“To be an autumn leaf…” 2011 (Age 13)

Sprinkling through the sky, dancing through the air
Moist, light and destined to be far away from here
They touch down only for a moment,
Swept up by the chilled autumn gales

Twisting, swirling through the city,
Looking for a new home,
They leave behind all they ever knew
and take freedom, rather than life

“Seasonal Effect” 2017 (Age 19)

Never have I felt a fall so fulfilling.
The faint, flippant fluttering
of the falling leaves.

Framed by a frock, I flourish
His feel’s so fantastical,
I’m fated to fawn.

“October Sky” 2018 (Age 20)

October nights when the wind gods roam,
and warm smoke meets my throat in a haze.
I exhale to the breeze and watch,
bracing,
as my cloud disappears in the cool air.

Lonely evenings turned mornings;
burning leaves, breathing peace.
I hear the trees speak their stories to me,
rustling,
as the treetops waltz slowly with the sky.

Ever since I was young, I have been fascinated with the whims of nature. Particularly, I always feel alive on the cool, windy days of a comfortable mid-October. Before the frost, as New England makes its way towards its dark, dreary season, I find a strange sense of peace. There has always been a mysticism around the wind blowing through the trees. Maybe the breeze is telling me something. Perhaps the trees are speaking to us in a language we just don’t understand.

Or, it could just be the wind.

A sensitive soul, raised by two academics, it doesn’t surprise me that I’ve taken to poetry. Over the years, I’ve written a fair amount of short, concise, free-verse poems, and I’d like to think they’ve improved since I was a preteen. Writing, in all its forms, has been something that’s stayed consistently with me as I’ve grown and evolved– and my, have I evolved. The phases of my life have seemed to flicker past me, inconstant as the moon, but noncyclical. My writing has stayed. It grounds me in this world, while allowing me to dream and fly away. Tethered securely to reality, I may float to universes unknown.

Many of my poems, I share under a pseudonym, with people who don’t know who I am. This anonymity provides a modicum of privacy, whilst still putting my words out into the world. What good are they, residing only with me? I’d rather share them with strangers or friends, even if sometimes they might be too personal to share as myself.

Those of you who read this blog know by now: I’m goddamn depressed. Medications on, medications off, I’m still depressed, stressed, but still blessed. There’s a lot in my life that I’m grateful for. Moments. People. My poems reflect that too.

“Vagabond” 2017 (Age 19)

Dance with the stars, lost soul
And in their lights, seek a path to clarity.
Hum quiet melodies with the winds
this melancholy holiday,
and melt your troubles away into a chocolate sea.

Numb your mind,
Free your soul with reckless abandon
You are a speck among millions as insignificant as thee
Shine brighter, explode
like a spark to your rainbow eternity

My heart and soul speak through all my writings, but in poetry, I feel they’ve found a language they truly love. Dreams, rhyme schemes, or lack thereof; punctuation,

line breaks.

I find them all delicate pieces of a carefully constructed puzzle. A poem. A part of me. I don’t expect the world to understand my poems any more than I expect a Mexican child to know fluent French. The world, nonetheless, accepts them. Their beauty persists so long as I nurture it. So long as I let myself shine, even when the world seems dark.

“Daybreak” 2018 (Age 20)

The morning sun rises over wind-rustled trees
Sweet sounds of nature flow on the breeze

Lonely, sad mornings;
a memory today

Forever the sun keeps his watch over me
Eternal, the moon shines her light
In the wake of a dark, dreary evening
At daybreak, I know I’m alright

A Message to No One

I wake up every morning with the same sense of stagnant disappointment.

Today, it is a cool, September morning, with wind sweeping through the branches of the trees and cars passing by on the busy street by which my childhood home resides. I have always loved the fall, the cooling weather, the promise of exciting things like apple picking, falling leaves, Halloween. Last autumn, I was struggling a lot with my work life and my depression, but I travelled. I had a Halloween to remember. A boyfriend whose hand I could hold. Friends I adored. Small joys, but they were joys nonetheless.

This morning, as my world shifts from a groggy humid summer to a crisp, chilly fall, I find it harder and harder to get a grasp on joys like those. It’s not that good things don’t happen in my life, but that the feeling of happiness is fainter, harder to wrap my fingers around. Things matter less to me than they used to. I have always felt shifts in energy, or mood, during the change in seasons. The feelings are as real as the change in temperature. Over the course of my young life, I have come to realize something in regards to fall:

Fall is the loneliest season.

Perhaps it’s just me, but I don’t think I’m alone. The fading summer heat and impending winter cold are our true downfall, in the end. That burning desire to have someone I love to hold close during those cold winter nights, it sears a hole in my heart that is sometimes hard to fill. “The one you love” after all, can’t be just anyone. It has to be “the one.” And I’m not sure that person exists.

They call it cuffing season for a reason, I suppose.

So much has changed over the last year of my life. Looking back to last fall, I was struggling to find happiness then too, and I found some over the winter, but it fell through my hands again. I’ve philosophized far too much to believe in any kind of objective “meaning” to life, but to live so haplessly is difficult. I yearn for a reason to keep going, one worth fighting for. One I care about. I’m in school, but for what? What do I ever expect to do with my life?

I wish I knew. I wish I knew anything about who I’m shaping up to be. I fill empty, sad, moments with fleeting, sometimes fun things, but half the time it never really helps, and when I lie in bed to go to sleep, I question everything again. The things that used to make me happy just… don’t, anymore. I have a desire to do something new and exciting with my life, but I can’t imagine what sort of thing that could be. What kind of thing wouldn’t start to bore me within mere months, if not weeks.

Fall is my favorite time of year, so I have some vague faith that I will find a way to fill this season with activities and moments that make me happy, whatever that means. I’m starting on yet another medication to try and regulate my depression/anxiety. It’s hard to imagine a future that doesn’t repeat the same old unsatisfying, existentially meaningless day-to-day, but I can dream. I can believe. Or well, I can try to.

When I was little, fall was always a season of new school years, new beginnings. My tiny self, all dressed up for my first day of school wishing desperately for each year to end up better than the last, even when they never did. I try to maintain that same wide-eyed optimism today, but it’s hard as I get older and start to see the same mediocre autumns playing over and over in my life. I’m not old by any means, but I feel ancient. My bones hurt, my muscles hurt, my joints hurt. My thoughts are dark and dismal. My overall health is the picture next to “unwell” in the dictionary. I’m not sick, no. I’m certainly not dying. But I’m unwell, and I feel like I’ve been unwell for so damn long.

Going forward, I need to try to figure out how to start feeling joy again. Meds may help. Good company often does. My journey this fall semester will be one I remember, for better or for worse, and I desperately hope that by the time 2019 and my 21st birthday roll around, I’ll be a little bit better off. Maybe happier. Maybe more sure of myself.

Maybe not, but only time will tell.

Guess Who’s Back?

Back again.

For those select few of you who read this blog frequently enough to notice I haven’t been posting, you’re in luck. Here I am, in the flesh, or, in the plasma. I can’t guarantee that this return will spark an increase in consistent posting, but the fact that I even came back here is a shining testament to just how much I’ve grown over the years.

A moment of silence for my previous attempts at blogging. May they rest in bytes.

Anyway, there’s a modicum of possibility that at least one of you is wondering why exactly I dropped off the face of the internet. Those particularly observant would also notice that I’ve stopped posting on Facebook. The short version of that is Facebook sucks, social media is toxic, and I’m too tired to deal with the bullshit that being active on it entails. I have started posting on Instagram again, mainly because I’ve taken a few pictures lately that have rekindled my love for photography. Queue the slideshow:

Pictured above is my platonic life partner and fellow conspirator, Nico. I never realized what a solid aesthetic model he would make until now.

Yes, I quit Facebook. No, I don’t miss it, and absolutely no, I won’t go back any time soon. It’s nothing against anyone in particular… more everyone in particular. To be frank and honest, as I always aim to be, I have been struggling on a deep level lately. Things have been rough, but I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching. Try not to take my radio silence as a reason to worry, but more a reason to relax. I am in a bad place, but for me it takes a lot of solitude and introspection to get out of it.

I start school in early July, doing a STEM program at a local community college. It will be a challenge, but I think the distraction will be good for me. The summer solstice has passed and it’s officially time for some fond summer memories. I have already made many, and I intend on making many more. Like aforementioned, I will be busy, so I have no guarantee that this signifies that I’ll be posting again in the near future, but it was good to get some content out there. The urge to blog was there– that means it will come back eventually.

Until next time, whenever that may be, I bid you all adieu.

Mid-Quarterly Report – by Holly, Minister of Aesthetics and Pulchritude

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Greetings, peasants.

My name is Lady Hollyclaw III, but to the layman, Holly shall do. Today, I have stationed myself on your living room couch again. Yes, I know you were sitting there. No, I do not intend on moving. If you attempt with your brutish human strength to move me, I will glare at you profusely until you realize the gravity of the crime you have committed– however, for security’s sake, I will accept my new position in your arms or on your lap. I can watch you better from there.

 

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I am alert at all times, even if my eyes appear closed. Sleep is a fallacy. Trust me, I am a philosofur.

Excuse me?! Purring? You dare accuse me of such… such pathetic behavior in such situations? Au contraire, mon amie. The vibrations you are sensing are no more than a warning to predators around you that I am en garde, ready to pounce if threatened. I know there are plenty about. I… may not have ever seen one, but I know there are plenty about.

Now please shut up, human. Pet me as I relay this important information. For aesthetics of course. I derive no pleasure from such a thing– remember, I’m sounding a warning.

As the head of this household and minister of all that matters, it is my sworn duty to report periodically on the state of affairs, fiscal or otherwise. There have been some changes that come to my attention. First of all, I approve of the new layout of the living room furniture. It gives me and my somewhat mentally lacking sister ample places to sit and stare at you and your human companions. Do we desire food? Are we messing with you? Are our reasons to deep for you to comprehend? Possibly. It is my job to ensure you never know; the mystique keeps you on your toes.

I have noticed that the door to the porch has been often left open lately. I find this to be a security breach… but I lack hands. (Mockery on that subject has not, is not, and will not ever be tolerated.) I enjoy the breeze now that the weather is nice, and staring out the screen door to what lies beyond. I do not much like when you remove me from the homestead, but I admit, this door is intriguing.

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Photographic evidence of an incident in which a white-coated woman captured and attacked me– for which I will eventually sue.

My sister is somewhat useless in regards to important matters, but she is dearer to me than any other cat I know. Well… I do not know any other cats, but I digress. We were both taken to this intimidating place called a “veterinarian” recently. I am healthy of course, but she had been acting rather ill. Now, thank the gods, she is doing far better.

I thank you kindly for all your help in assisting her to convalesce. Again, I lack hands. I am indebted to you– er, I redact that. I owe you nothing. My handlessness is debilitating.

Why else do you think I hired you? After all, you are typing this all out for me.

I have heard murmurs that you have changed our dry food again. While this is fine, it may impact our finances. I understand that my sister is ill, but we must consider the detrimenta– wait, you say it’s not expensive..? Ah, well… Wait… You say it’s not for her? For who then, is this “Indoor Weight & Hairball Care” food, for?

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I am not fat… I simply… overflow.

Oh, you went there…

Listen, I understand you are… concerned with my… breadth. However, I assure you, you need not be. Every one of my 14 1/2 pounds is pure feline muscle, strength I have built through hours of rigorous guarding. Without it, I would not be fit to serve as your protector.

Now, before I conclude this report, I feel the need to remark upon a few final things. One: I suppose I do care for you. Sometimes, when I curl up in your lap, or in your arms as you sleep, I realize that you are the most important thing I have ever had. This is why I have devoted my life to you, as you have devoted so much of your time and energy to me and my sister. I appreciate it all. Thank you.

But I never said any of that.

Two: you often lift me, cradle me like a baby, and reiterate how cute I am. Please stop. It’s patronizing. But I do understand– I am irresistibly soft. My mother was a Russian Blue, you know. I take pride in my heritage.

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What are you looking at?

Third and finally… thank you for cleaning my shit box.

Again… no hands.

Sincerely,

Lady Hollyclaw III of Berry Farms
Minister of Aesthetics and Pulchritude