southern living

• 316 • one month in •

 

• B e a c h T h e r a p y •

• B e a c h T h e r a p y •

• 2018 is roaring along far too quickly for my liking. We’re already at the end of January and barreling down the calendar toward Spring. I’m already learning a lot and have already gotten walloped a couple of times, if I’m honest. After a couple of weeks with the new Flu from hell, I finally started to get back to normal only to have the one-two-punch of a depressive swing and my spine’s osteo-arthritis flaring up to take me out the game for the last week of the month. However, I’m determined not to let the knocks totally knock me out.

• And so, here I am, reaffirming my confidence in the year ahead and reflecting on the hopeful list I made at the end of last year. On said list, my first goal for the year was to focus myself with my writing ventures. I’m speaking more with fellow-writer friends about my ongoing project, and I’ve finally decided which novel I’m going to work on. My 2017 summer project, working title The Beach Bar, was a mash up of stories from my and Kat’s first year here in the South. It involves hole-in-the-wall bars, new friends, a lot of mid-life crisis reflection, and of course some hilarious dating hijinks. It’s taking a lot more work to stay focused on one project than I thought it would. I’ve never truly buckled down like this, but I’m liking my progress and still enjoying the story I’m trying to tell, so I think those are positive signs for the year (rather, 11 months) ahead.

• I’m still making progress on two more of my goals, too: saving money and it’s sister-goal, to quit/cut-back smoking. I haven’t gotten to a quit “date” yet, but I’m okay with that. My current daily consumption is down to half what it was in December, and I’m encouraged by that! I still think I can do this, if not right now, when it’s right.

• And what have I learned this month?

• Firstly, I love lipstick. I have been someone who bothers with any make-up, at all. I don’t really know what I look like with make-up on, let alone a full face. But I wanted to learn – I want to know the work of it, the art of it, even if I’m not doing myself up every day or becoming a Youtube vlogger any time soon. But yes, I love lipstick. I wear it like armor, especially on days I’m not feeling my best. It’s quickly become a tool in my arsenal against mental illness, stress, and exhaustion.

• Secondly, my friends are far and wide – I’ve lived many different lives and taken from those lives some incredible relationships. But every time I’ve moved on, I’ve lost some, as well. I’ve always felt maybe I shouldn’t bother reaching out, after 6 weeks, months, years… And yet, I’ve become better already in 2018 at not letting that worry stop me from doing it anyway. So what if they’re wondering what the hell I’m doing saying hi on facebook? So what if they think I’m weird to text to just say “omg saw this thing that made me think of you and me that one time at that place…” because I want people to know I still care. I don’t care anymore if it’s been a decade and they think I’m weird for it, I don’t care how others are judging my feelings. They’re my feelings, and there’s nothing to judge, dammit.

• you do realize I wasn't trying to win you over. I was telling you to fuck off •

• you do realize I wasn’t trying to win you over. I was telling you to fuck off •

• Lastly, in reverse – I will not spare your feelings, anymore. I have spent many years of my life caring more about fragile boys than myself. I have stressed myself out and spooled myself up too many times to count. I won’t do it anymore. And I’m not even talking about dating – I’m not dating, haven’t been for months, by choice. I’m talking about those guys who decide they are going to be a part of your life – really, whether you want that or not. Oh, we met at a bar among friends? We had a nice chat? We shared a round of drinks? Great. That does not give you license to send flowers to my place of business. When I vaguely try to rebuff your offer to buy me lunch, that means I don’t want you to buy me lunch. If I suddenly throw my arms around my good guy-friend and turn all my attention to him, that means I am trying to tell you that I am off limits (and thank you to my close friends who are in on this and allow me to drag you into my fear and anxiety via panicked texts asking you to please rescue me). I have tried every trick in the book – including just saying “no, thank you,” just saying “no” and being downright rude and threatening physical violence. Nothing has ever worked. So, I’m done. I’m done stressing myself out, I’m done feeling anxiety, I’m done feeling “bad” for this behavior. My behavior is simply a direct reaction to yours, so guys? Keep it coming, keep being willfully ignorant and totally blind, because I just don’t care anymore. Tina: 01. 2018: 00.

• How is your 2018 going so far? Are you making choices that you’re excited about or at least ones that you’re proud of? I’m probably still watching too much Food Network and reality tv, but I’ve been reaching out to friends and making good connections, so I think I’m doing alright, even with the depression and the health issues and the stress of every day living. For real, that’s all I can really ask for from this year so far.

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