Month In Review: July 2018

This month, my therapist said very blankly, “You’re depressed.” He’s right. I’m still depressed. I’m having a bit of an identity crisis as well. This review is a little late into August, but that’s okay. I’ll have a recap of August soon too. Let’s get into what I remember about July.

A celebration: I’m still here and am definitely climbing out of my rock bottom. Slowly, very slowly, reaching up to the fresh air again.

A change: Preparing for moving again. Preparing for my family moving out of province. My mental health changing because of the stress and changes.

A conflict: I’m still struggling with the right dosage for my medication. I’m also trying to balance my health management with my creative projects, which has been hard to maintain.

A relief: I’ve found a medication dosage and frequency that works for my health, along with some short term therapy.

A regret: Lack of commitment to all my projects.

A random memory: I don’t have one. This is the part that upsets me the most. I don’t… really remember anything.

August means back to work, back to school, and back out in the world again. I’m trying to keep up.

Month In Review: June 2018

My motivation for June wasn’t the best. It felt like I lost a few weeks to my mental health. In my review for May, I mentioned some goals I had for June—and I didn’t achieve any of them. So here’s a bit on what I did instead. (Spoiler: not a lot.)

A celebration: I applied for a college certificate program. I start in September! It’s an 8-month art and design course.

A change: More renovation work at the house means lots of changes to my surroundings. The upcoming school program is also a change I need to prepare for.

A conflict: I’m still struggling with the right dosage for my medication. I’m also trying to balance my health management with my creative projects, which has been hard to maintain.

A relief: The time I’ve spent at the gym has helped with my health (mental and physical health).

A regret: My creative projects—art, writing, the blog—have not gotten the attention I wish I could have given them.

A random memory: There’s a young bunny that likes our yard and I see it outside at 8am and 8pm every time I’m looking out the window those times. It makes me happy and reminds me of my pet bunny. I’m glad the wildlife likes the property.

I have only a few goals for July: my book, my art, and my health. I’ll try and keep the blog updated! But it won’t be as active as my Patreon, where I’ll be posting more about my writing and drawings. Also: back into therapy!

Life After University

In June 2017, I officially graduated from the University of Windsor and received my Bachelor of Arts! The degree is still sitting in the envelope, unframed, and resting under my bed because I have yet to go and get it framed. Just before I got my degree, I left Windsor (in May 2017) and moved back in with my dad. Life after university has been new and different.

But it’s been one hell of a year. Let’s review.

In the summer of 2017, I ended a longterm relationship. I also started medication after self-assessing that I have bipolar—which I do! The fall of 2017 saw me take driving lessons as well as attend a mindfulness-based cognitive behavioural therapy program. Winter was rough. But then, in February of 2018, I got my G2 licence, which meant I could drive without a co-driver. Freedom!

This has been the first full year—12 months—that I haven’t been invested on school. Summer break, a few months, didn’t count. I always looked ahead to the next semester. I don’t just mean university, either. Since I started attending educational institutions, I haven’t been out of them for more than three months. Until now.

Life after university: what’s next?

First and foremost, I’ll continue offering editing and design services. I love working with writers so much that I can’t see myself quitting the freelancer gig for a while. But I still don’t know what I’m doing with my life.

I thought I would figure out a path for myself in university. I thought that, if I took lots of different classes in what interested me, I’d find something that would connect. My degree had a lot of variety in it. Since I studied Spanish language, linguistics and second language learning, English literature, and creative writing, there were many careers I could go into. But none of them seemed to pull me in.

All through university, I kept telling myself and my friends, “I should have gone to art school.” So I’ve applied to an 8-month art program at a college. I hope I get in, but that means even more life changes. Moving again, not having a house to fall back on since my dad is moving too, and embarking on a separate industry.

Who would have thought that life after university meant considering more post-secondary school? School that wasn’t a graduate degree. I want to go to college! It’s what I should have done from the start! I kind of regret my bachelor’s degree, but I know it was still very valuable. Both the experiences and the credential are beneficial to me. But it isn’t what I thought I would do after high school.

It’s weird to not be in school, considering I’ve grown up in school all through my developmental years. Isn’t that ridiculous to think about? From around the age of 4 until 18, and further, I’ve been structured into a school system of some form. I’m scared as hell. It’s common for people my age to not know what their purpose is. It’s also common to take a while to figure out my “place” in life. I’m worried I’ll never figure it out, and that I’ll always be looking for the next thing. So I don’t know what’s next, aside from the possibility—and desire—to return to school once more.

My Spectrum Identity Struggles

This post is going to get very personal and very much about me, so if you don’t connect with it, that’s okay. Welcome to a diary-esque post!

I am on two spectrums: romantic attraction and gender identity.

In the last year, I’ve discovered that I fall in the aromantic spectrum. I am gray-romantic and in the aromantic spectrum (aro-spec) because my romantic feelings are on par with platonic feelings. There is no such thing as “just friends” when it comes to how I feel about my friends or the non-family people who I love. I love them the same way that I’ve loved people I’ve dated. I wrote a blog post exploring my experience with this: Questioning Part 2.

My identity as gender non-conforming means exactly that: I don’t conform to a gender. I’m not non-binary, I’m not cisgender, and I’m not genderfluid or genderqueer. My gender fluctuates, but not fluidly–it’s really all over the place. I’ll feel like I’m a binary gender as either a boy or a girl, or I’m agender, or I’m bigender as both a boy and girl in varying degrees of boyishness and girlishness. (The fact that I ascribe to a binary means I don’t feel comfortable being called non-binary.) I’m transgender by virtue of the fact that I don’t agree with the gender I was assigned at birth all the time.

So those are brief summaries of my experience on the spectrums of gender and romanticism.

But being in the spectrum, where there is loads of variation, is a bit of a strain on me. I don’t “fit” anywhere nicely. I don’t feel fluid. Fluids can fit into bounds of some kind. Water fills cups, etc.

Spectrum is a little harder. I feel like a rainbow–the whole rainbow, not just a few colours, and not just the ones that are visible to human eye. A rainbow can’t fit into a cup, y’know?

One issue I have being gray-romantic/aro-spec is people mistake it for asexuality very often. And one thing with gender non-conformity is that people will label it as non-binary. People misunderstand and lump together a lot of identities because they “seem similar enough” (see also: bi and pan). And that’s one of my biggest problems of being on a spectrum: it’s devalued compared to “picking a side” but it’s not as wiggly and “free” as being fluid.

I like being able to say “It depends,” because I have the freedom to choose from all the different options that make me comfortable. It’s not the same as being unsure or saying “I don’t know”–I do know, but, as I said, it depends.

It’s hard to find a community, too. That’s the biggest problem I’m having. I’m sometimes agender, or bigender, or boy, or girl; I’m transgender, but not transitioning; my romantic feelings are present, so I’m not aromantic, but they aren’t the same as romantic people.

I want to be a cookie in a cookie cut plate of cookies, y’know? I want to be with other aro cookies and bigender cookies, but we’re not from the same batch of cookie dough. I’m a tasty snack on my own, but one cookie isn’t always enough and it’s lonely to be a unique cookie.

2nd Quarter Goals for 2018

I love working on goals by quarter. I already do month-by-month goals, but having ones that I can work on over a longer span of time is great for me. I still have flexibility, since the goals could be accomplished in 3 weeks, but also have more time to invest on my goals.

Over the next 13 weeks, I have a number of goals that I want to work on and achieve by the summer!

Writing Goals
  • Edit The Pilgrimage
  • Query The Pilgrimage
  • Submit to a literary magazine each month
Creative Goals
Personal Goals
  • Read 1 book every week
  • Do #CorylMornings as often as possible
  • Blog twice a week
  • Launch another super secret project
Freelance Goals

I’m keeping my month-by-month goals private and in my bullet journal for the time being, especially because my goals can fluctuate over time.

Two of my projects are secret ones, but they will be revealed over the next few weeks and months! I want to do a lot of creating as we go into spring and summer. Art, design, and writing are my top priorities.

Month In Review: March 2018

Another month, another month in review. March felt like it crawled by. Sticky. Something long and arduous about it. Maybe it was the weather, constantly shifting from below freezing to warm breezes? It’s almost surreal that now it’s April.

A celebration: Spring is around the corner! Soon, I’ll have sweater weather, sunshine, flowers, and the joy of not having allergies!

A change: My younger brother finally brought home two cats named Pepper and Orangie.

A conflict: I’ve been applying for jobs, with no success.

A relief: I no longer have to pay for prescription medication (if the medication is covered by the new drug plan).

A regret: Once again, my novel’s edits went to the backburner. I’ve completed 5 chapters, so that’s something, but I wanted to have the novel done before March even started.

A random memory: I went to the grocery store one night to buy milk and bananas. I paid in exact change and didn’t use a bag, so I left the store carrying a bag of milk (#Canada) and holding a bunch of bananas. I felt powerful.

I don’t have any major plans for April aside from finishing my novel, preparing to launch (but not yet launching) a big creative thing (!!!), and getting back into exercising regularly. All I can say is I’m happy that spring is coming around. This winter felt very long and unpredictable.

9 Months On Medication

It’s been a while since I checked in regarding my treatment for my mental health! The last post was in September after my dose increased.

It’s been 9 months now. Time for an update.

This last week, I requested a different formulation of the medication. Instead of the slow release, I wanted the instant release. Because the medication also works as a sedative, I take it before bed and it helps me sleep, among other things. I wanted to get a more “set” bedtime, since I can go between 2 and 4 hours after taking my medication before I pass out.

I’ve also gotten back on birth control. After a few months on the higher dose, my periods got very, very heavy and uncomfortable. My PMS also worsened. I have a blood test on April 3 to see how my levels are. There may be a chance I’m anemic or close to it, so my doctor and I are going to check that just in case I need to start taking supplements.

I’ll also be following up with counselling, since I haven’t started that and I’ve been on the waitlist for 8 months.

The antipsychotics are great. I really do like them. They don’t make my life perfect, and my moods aren’t always balanced at a nice in-between. But I feel more able to work through my highs and lows in a much more accessible and healthy way now.

The downside, and part of why I wanted to switch from slow release to instant release? My eating habits have been affected. I have EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified) and after taking my medication each day, I found myself getting into a “munchie” state of mind—one very similar to when I indulge in some marijuana or liquor, neither of which I use regularly. (This weekend, I’m actually 3 months’ sober from alcohol and 17 months’ sober from marijuana!)

On account of the binge eating, and the holiday bulge because of Christmas and New Year’s, I’ve gained some weight. I’m trying not to let it get me down. I know bodies fluctuate and I know that my healthier lifestyle choices will make an impact on my body. I didn’t exercise much through the winter—my bedroom wasn’t set up to let me comfortably do home workouts, and I like to jog outside, but the weather was always too cold or icy for me to safely go running.

Now that spring is around the corner and the snow is melting, and now that I’ve finally, after almost a year, set up my bedroom to let me do all my different activities, I’ll be exercising more regularly. And hopefully the instant release medication will help me get better control and awareness on my eating during the day, as opposed to mindless and drowsy bingeing at night.

The last 9 months haven’t been the greatest in terms of life events or reaching my goals, but the medication has helped a lot.

Month In Review: November 2017

November is come and gone. I’ve still felt withdrawn, but less introspective than I did at the start of the month.

A celebration: I released my poetry collection! You can find it on Amazon, but here’s a page with all the links where you can buy it in Kindle and paperback formats!

A change: The sun is setting before 5PM and I’m so annoyed.

A conflict: The weather has been so up and down lately! I haven’t been comfortable running when I want to because of how cold it’s gotten.

A relief: I purchased winter running gear (long-sleeve sport tech shirt and a windbreaker) that have been phenomenal at keeping me dry and warm.

A regret: No blogging this month. Barely any editing, too.

A random memory: I shared something in therapy and was awestruck by how everyone validated my feelings about what I shared. It was nice.

I’m struggling to manage all the projects I want to do, but the website is something I’m aiming to revamp soon, including the blog. I’ll probably start the new year with a different theme and blogging routine. Same goes for my editing services. I’m revamping what I offer once 2018 comes around. I plan not to blog through December, but I’ll be sure to finish the year off with both month and year in review posts.

Month In Review: September 2017

September is gone and it doesn’t really feel like autumn yet because of the outrageous heat wave we experienced in Southern Ontario. Climate change is awful, everyone. I will not survive this kind of heat on a daily basis in the future, ugh.

Anyway! I didn’t really get up to much in September. It feels like I kind of drifted through the weeks.

A celebration: I signed up for both driver’s ed and a mindfulness CBT program! Driver’s ed has gone well (2 more classes) and the MCBT program starts in the middle of October and goes to the end of the year.

A change: My medication was increased, thankfully.

A conflict: I struggled with time management and am still feeling awful about it.

A relief: I did more exercise this month!

A regret: I didn’t achieve any of the writing goals I set for myself.

A random memory: I saw my eye doctor for a check-up, since I needed a new prescription, and forgot he was verrry attractive. My eyes are also in great shape, and I get new lenses and frames on October 3. But anyway, my ophthamologist is a real looker.

October is my favourite month, even if it also has the anniversary of my rabbit’s death. I’m feeling a little optimistic about this month. I have a new planner, I have a lot of goals, and my medication is doing wonderfully at keeping me motivated and focused. (Now, at least; it’s been a week and a half on the increased dosage and I’m just now getting into the flow of things.)

My birthday is on Friday the 6th, by the way. 😉

Announcement: Self-Publishing My Poetry

I’m proud to announce I’m self-publishing a poetry collection this November!

COMPASSES AND OTHER ORNAMENTS OF DIRECTION is a 4-part journey that starts in the bliss of toxic love and finishes with lost and forward-thinking freedom after an abusive relationship.

This is a collection of poems I’ve been working on since 2013, when I first started trying to break free from an abusive online relationship. The majority of the poems were completed years ago, but only now have I processed them and the events they percolated from. I added more poems recently, bringing the collection to 4 parts instead of 3.

I’ve also started to realise how fucked up the origin of all these words and pains really is. I’m only now telling it with an appropriate amount of clarity, rather than disillusionment.

When I was a teenager, first new to the Internet and chat rooms and messaging programs, I met lots of people. People who were nice, people who weren’t. People who were catfishes and people who were random weirdos like me just chatting to others for the fun of it. And when I say “teenager”, I mean I was a 13-year-old who was relatively unsupervised and interacted with some creepy men.

I tend to romanticise the man and the relationship I had with him. I want so badly right now to speak well of him—a sentiment echoed in the poem “reincarnate” in the 4th part of the collection—but I know I shouldn’t. There are equal parts shame and protection when I think about him. I’m ashamed, in my 20s, to have been involved with a man in his 20s when I was 13 to 18.

I don’t talk to him now. I haven’t met him in person, I haven’t spoken to him in years, and I have no intention of reconnecting with him or revealing his full name. We weren’t exactly “involved” or dating, but I spent every waking moment talking to him or wanting to talk to him.

This is a hard story to tell when it’s one framed by shame and hurt, instead of the superiority or nonchalance with which I used to tell it. I hate being wrong. And I hate feeling like I’ve done something wrong. I was a child and he was an adult. No matter what anyone says, I’m not at fault.

And I guess this poetry collection is me trying to express the blame and pain I’ve held onto all these years, all the time I was brainwashed into dependency, all the parts of myself I molded to fit his desires.

So please buy the poetry collection. It releases on November 18 exclusively on Amazon in paperback and Kindle forms.

November 18 is significant to him. Maybe if I reclaim it some way, mark it as the day I slung my poems into the world, I’ll associate that day less with him and more with myself.

I’ll be posting small excerpts on my Twitter and my Instagram leading up to the release, as well as the preorder link when I get it! Follow to keep in touch. Cover reveal will be coming soon, too!