Last Post of 2015! A Few More Favorites

This time of year is the perfect excuse to make favorites lists, isn’t it?  I can’t help it – it’s in the Blogger’s Code, Article 12.31, Year-End List Regulations.

My Favorite Songs in 2015

I have a playlist in iTunes where I toss new music or whatever songs I feel like listening to, especially while working at a coffee shop with my earbuds in.  Over time I take out what I’m tired of and add whatever’s new.  Some songs, however, stay in for long periods of time.  Here are the songs that have stayed in the Right Now Playlist the longest in 2015.

(Said songs aren’t all from 2015.  They run the gamut from brand new to old and dusty. They’re also not in any particular order except “this should go here.”)

  1. Alessia Cara – Here
  2. Zella Day – Hypnotic
  3. Rudimental ft. Ed Sheeran – Lay it All on Me
  4. Shawn Mendes – Stitches
  5. Amy Stroup – It Must’ve Been Love
  6. Lorde – Tennis Court
  7. Emily Hearn – Volcano
  8. The Strange Familiar – Painkiller
  9. Elle King – Ex’s and Oh’s
  10. Lena Fayre – This World
  11. Blake Perlman – Chameleon
  12. Rachel Platten – Fight Song
  13. The Chainsmokers – Roses
  14. Taylor Swift – Style
  15. Lea Michele – Cue the Rain
  16. Ed Sheeran – Make it Rain

Favorite Books Read in 2015

I read a lot this year – way more than I have in recent years.  I even read some fiction, which, if you’ve been around a while you know I don’t normally do.  I’m not going to go into detail on these – just assume that whatever it’s about, I thought it was awesome.  I’m planning to do a reading challenge this coming year that looks like a lot of fun.  I’m serious enough about it that I made a page in my planner for it.  *laugh* We shall see.

(In no particular order)

On the Threshold: Home, Heartwood, and Holiness by Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Ravensbruck: Life and Death in Hitler’s Concentration Camp for Women by Sarah Helm**
Just My Type: A Book About Fonts by Simon Garfield
Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living by Jes Baker
Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me: A Graphic Memoir by Ellen Forney
Girl at the End of the World: My Escape from Fundamentalism in Search of Faith with a Future by Elizabeth Esther
Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin…Every Inch of It by Brittany Gibbons
Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor
Living the Farm Sanctuary Life: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Mindfully, Living Longer, and Feeling Better Every Day by Gene Baur

Favorite TV Shows in 2015

You might be surprised at what’s on this list as well as what’s not on it.  Amazing how just in a few years almost my entire favorites list has turned over.

1.  Arrow
2.  The Flash
3.  iZombie
4.  Elementary
5.  Grimm
6.  Hannibal
7.  SyFy’s Face Off
8.  Marvel’s Agent Carter

(I’m planning to start Jessica Jones as soon as I catch up on the four or five shows I’m way behind on – honestly, I only got two eps in on The Vampire Diaries before I wanted to gouge my eyes out, but I’m planning to watch the rest before the season starts up again. I can’t give up on it yet. I just can’t.)

And with that, my dear readers, I leave you until 2016 – in fact there will be a Planner Friday post tomorrow, but I probably won’t keep up posting four times a week after that.  I do however have a lot of thoughts in my brain-go-round, and quite a few things to talk about, which of course makes me think of this, the best way to end anything:

** – Obviously a book about the Holocaust doesn’t really qualify as a “favorite,” but it was definitely one of the best books I read this year.

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Not As I Do

red ball on branch2In preparation both for 2016 and my Magic Words Monthly e-course, I’ve been trying to figure out my Word of the Year for this coming run ‘round the sun.

Usually in December I love doing end-of-year questions, lists, and challenges – I signed up for the latest 30 Days of Lists, started doing Reverb, and all the usual stuff I have fun with before New Year’s. I might not have a great year but looking back on it helps me remember the good stuff as well as what I can take with me from the bad stuff.

This year I’m having a hell of a time doing any of that. I got maybe three lists in when they started making me angry – I couldn’t come up with items for any of the lists. What did I learn this year? What resolutions did I keep? What new things did I try?

Fuck a bunch of that.

I was staring at a list trying to come up with more than two things for it when I realized the problem: this year sucked.

I don’t mean it was tragic, or dramatic, or anything so obvious (well it was, on a global scale, but I’m talking personally). It just sucked. It was hard and painful and somehow incredibly boring and I was dick-in-the-dirt depressed for 90% of it. I didn’t follow through on any of my goals – aside from finishing SHADOWSTORM, which I do anticipate doing by the 31st (first writing, anyway, not the finished book, but that was the idea, so go me), nada. It felt like nothing worked no matter what I tried, and I took zero steps forward, ten steps back.

I don’t even remember what my Word of the Year was for 2015. I’d have to go back through my blog and look.*

It was at the point where even trying to “look for the positive” or make a freaking gratitude list just made me more depressed, because I knew I was just making shit up. I find the cult of gratitude/positivity annoying anyway (I know it works for some people, but a lot of people with mental or invisible illness find it victim-blaming – just another version of “snap out of it!” when it’s just not that simple for a lot of people.), so finally, I gave up.

2015 is pretty much a lost year. I can’t pretend it didn’t happen, but I’m going to do what Disney did with the Star Wars Expanded Universe and make an executive decision as the author: 2015 is officially not part of my canon.

In fact it’s the most frustrating, badly-written AU ever.

I think my Word for 2016 is going to have to be something gentle – I feel beaten down by 2015, and aiming for something too challenging is not going to work. Kindness, perhaps, toward myself, or possibly Naps.

Every year I start out with all these grand intentions, and they tend to go flat the same way everyone’s New Year’s Resolutions do. You know how it goes. Long about February that treadmill’s got socks hanging from it, there’s kale rotting in the back of the fridge (kale can suck it anyway), and that yoga mat…where is it, again?

You know what they say. You gotta walk before you can run, crawl before you can walk, and get out of the fetal position in the closet with your teddy bear and a bottle of vodka before you can walk.

I think the mistake that I make is that I imagine myself as having way more energy than I have. I keep thinking, hey, I don’t have that much going on during the day, surely that’s time to keep an immaculate house, exercise an hour a day, meditate, cook all my meals, and find a job. I’ve got as many hours in a day as Beyonce, right?

Sure. But what I don’t have are cooks, personal trainers, assistants, publicists, maid service, or drivers.

I’m mentally ill, and not terribly stable just now. I’m working on that, medication-wise, but as I’ve said before, the point of meds isn’t to make your illness go away – they can’t do that. They make it so you can get up, put pants on, and help yourself. Some days I can do that, some days not.

Closeup of message stones on white background.

The point of this is, I can’t treat myself like I’m an average person with an average amount of energy in an average body with average social skills. There are a lot of things I’m awesome at, but being a functional adult is not one of them. And every year that I try to pretend, come January, that I’m starting at the same baseline as everyone else, I fail.

What’s funny is I’ve never been that person. I’ve been depressed since at least my teens if not since childhood. I’ve never been “normal” and I don’t especially want to be. Honestly I don’t think I had much of a chance. Yet I keep trying to make myself that way by setting goals that are either way too lofty or just way too intense for where I’m at.

You know what that is? It’s punishment. I’m punishing myself for being screwed up by screwing up then calling myself a screwup. Yet for some weird reason being mean to myself hasn’t made me better. It’s almost as if shame isn’t a healthy motivator. Hmm.

It doesn’t matter what road we’re on or if we’re running or crawling; we have to meet ourselves where we are.

So, I’m off to find a Word for 2016 – and this time I’m going to try to work with myself, not against.

* – devotion

 

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Word of the Year, 2015, v2.0

I was all set: the blog post was written, I’d done the lettering in my journal. All I had to do was make a nice graphic for the post. Even that was almost finished.

I sat there staring at it for a minute. I had chosen a Hindi Word: arjava, meaning “integrity.” Between the dishonesty that flows so easily off my Scorpio tongue and my inability to commit to anything meaningful (whether veganism or a blog series) I needed desperately to explore and nurture my integrity. Living in a constant state of cognitive dissonance is incredibly stressful, as is feeling like a fraud – most creative people have Impostor Syndrome to one degree or another, but this was my entire life, not just my art. Integrity! And lo, there’s a fancy Indian word for it! Perfect!

Except for one small problem: that was absolutely not my Word. I hadn’t felt terribly enthusiastic about it, but I thought, it’s February! The year is 1/12 over already – enough dicking around! Pick a word, you can always change it later, it’s not like there’s Word Police out there watching to put you in Word Jail.

Okay, I thought. Let’s start where we are, and hit thesaurus.com to see if it’s just the word “integrity” that’s the problem or the whole concept. From there, I came to “commitment,” and that sounded better, but not quite there. I ran through synonyms – even two words that technically mean the same thing can have different connotations and associations. Variously, I got,

Commitment: engagement, duty, pledge, guarantee, vow, obligation, allegiance, dedication, consecration, devotion…

*record scratch*

My brain immediately queued up memories of my self-wedding, and how utterly I’ve screwed the pooch in keeping those vows.

Also, I lost my wedding ring.

AGAIN.

As I type this I still haven’t found it. There’s a good chance I’m going to have to replace another ring representing my commitment to myself.  In script and novel writing that would be considered an “anvil” – a Big Important Message that clobbers the characters over the head in an obvious, often over-the-top way.  God is usually pretty softspoken, but does occasionally delight in a nice anvil.

After that my brain said, “Hey, remember how you wrote that whole book centered around the idea of devotional rituals and stuff? That used to be really important to you. What are you devoted to now?”

*blink*

*blank stare*

Well, shit.

Nothing, really. If you were to look at what I actually do from day to day, where my time goes, it would be hard to tell I’m even a writer. You wouldn’t see spirituality except for my altar and the number of books I have on the subject. You might get vegetarian, but you wouldn’t get anything about veganism, animal rights, eco-consciousness, any of that – you wouldn’t get positive body image, that’s for damn sure, or self-care.

I am only these things in my head, it seems. And considering in my head I could also be Queen Victoria and shoot freeze rays from my nipples, that doesn’t mean very much. If your beliefs water down into ideas, but never make it past your mind, they’re nothing but ideas. There has to be action to back them up.

Dictionary.com yields this:

Untitled

Whether to a deity or a cause, devotion is not passive. It demands engagement. It demands that you walk your talk – otherwise it’s just a fantasy you’ve built for yourself to feel better about acting against your values.

I’m sure this all sounds self-castigating, but it really isn’t. These thoughts have been working their way through my mind for months now, and looking for a Word for 2015 has helped shape them into something I can work with instead of a scattered bunch of “dammit, why can’t I…?” thoughts.

Thus, I give you my 2015 Word of the Year:

devotion2015

 

I’ll have more on what exactly I’m going to do with this word soon.

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