Quick Blog Update!

This is a quick update to say I’m reducing my posts from three times a week to only twice a week. Here is the new change.

  • Monday: Bullet journal posts, on the regular.
  • Any other day of the week: Personal topics, writing-related posts, and any other surprises I come up with or that strike me.

I’m focusing more on my work starting this month, and by “work” I mean creating art, writing stories and poetry, and editing fellow writers’ work. (If you’re interested in hiring me, I’m available to take on more clients for the start of June!)

I may only test this out for the month. At the start of May, I decided to be more spontaneous in my hobbies, and up the seriousness of the artistic crafts I’ve been wanting to focus on for so long. I’m hoping to update more often with my writing and artistic projects, rather than providing more posts.

Besides, I’m screaming on Twitter often enough that we don’t really need to read me three times per week here.

You’ll get another post on Monday, so thanks for being patient with me.

Thanks for understanding!

BuJo Comparison: April 2016 and April 2017

April 2016 was the second full month of using my bullet journal. It’s hard to believe I’ve only been doing this BuJo thing for a year, but my differences in spreads definitely show how I’ve improved, to put it simply.

The beginning of 2016 was a time of rocky change for me. I needed to prioritise the smallest tasks for my self-care and well-being. Hence, my spreads for my bullet journal reflected that, and I used a ton of daily layouts. I’ll be honest, I hate the majority of my March – August 2016 bullet journal. The notebook was lined while I gravitating toward dot grids layouts, and they’re all messy.

April 2016

A notebook open to a page with a daily to-do list and a list of tasks and deadlines.

An open notebook with a food list on the left page and two daily to-do lists on the right page.

  • Working in a lined notebook from Staples.
  • Using only one side of the pages because the ghosting of the ink from the previous side was too intense to write over top.
  • Less decoration.
  • Initial discovery of lettering techniques and washi tape.
  • Prioritising small tasks, reminders, schoolwork, and self-care.
April 2017

An open notebook that has "Focus on your gains, not your losses" on the left page, and a month plan on the right page with a calendar and list of to-do items.

  • Working in a dot grid notebook from Productive Luddite.
  • Using both sides of the pages however I like, because ink ghosting is barely present!
  • More decoration.
  • Comfortably using lettering techniques and washi tape.
  • Prioritising goals and projects.

A lot has changed, but that’s also because my April 2017 spread is very different to my previous spreads. You can look through my bullet journal category or my Instagram to find more of my commonly used spreads, and even those are different. The structure and dot grid are the biggest changes I can see.

But we can all notice that my BuJo started out really rough and messy. It’s gotten rough and messy again. My February and March layouts were incredibly beautiful (I think) and structured. I guess this is what people call balance?

Since I only have the monthly look for April, I have a smaller notepad I’ve been using this past week for my self-care items. It really, really helps me to unwind. Every time I need a bullet journal break, I go to this “daily scoop” notepad that I made. Would anyone be interested in my posting that? It’s a Word doc and can print 2 of the undated sheets on an 8.5 x 11 inch page, and I absolutely love it.

Questioning

Two tree trunks with spray-painted question marks and a text overlay reading Questioning

Lately, I’ve been in that hellish stage of questioning.

Again.

I was here at age 13 and here I am again, and it sucks.

I’m still not comfortable enough to do a broad “coming out” or “here’s what I’ve been questioning” post, but I’m putting this up for a very specific reason.

I’ve written about the fluidity of identity, in a way, when I discussed fluidity in sexuality. I intend to write a follow-up post to that one where I discuss gender identity. But I’ve always been a firm believer of supporting changes in the way people label themselves. There are some parts of your identity that can’t change, like your skin colour and ethnic heritage. There are others, however, that can only change or come about when you find out they exist, like gender, sexuality, romantic attraction, and religious beliefs—and you’re allowed to change your mind based on how much you learn about them.

So I’m posting this to say that I’m wondering if I need to change my mind, too. I’m unsure of the labels I once used. I’m unsure of the identity I once claimed. I’m being intentionally vague here, because I’m not entirely comfortable (let alone certain) of all of this and what labels are accurate. It doesn’t matter which ones I’m specifically questioning. What matters is that I’m back in this space and filled with uncertainty. Part of me is scared—as is normal when something changes—and that part right now is big.

When you question your identity, it often has a domino effect: it can change your relationships, your expression, and your interactions with society. You may have thought you were cisgender, but then you start to question that… and your life changes. There can be small changes or big changes, but it’s not going to be the same after you realise whether or not you are what you thought you were.

Thoughts On Change

I personally don’t understand people who lament about change. The ones who get personally offended when a new house is built in the neighbourhood. Or a road is expanded. Or farmland is sold and upscale condos replace it.

I drafted this post while I walked in the trails winding through the village where I grew up. They had changed since the last time I walked them. Trees fell. Leaves covered once-loved paths. Water washed away chunks of cliffsides. Another rock in the rapids. I wasn’t entirely comfortable with the changes, since erosion had affected the trails and I needed to find different routes, or the trail had gotten incredibly steep. But I wasn’t sad or hurt or upset. Two hundred years ago, before any of my ancestors left Scotland and Japan, these trails and this river housed water mills.

This is nature. It moves.

I know some people have difficulty adapting to change. They get anxious, or nervous, or angry, or confused. They have their reasons, and I’m not going to delve into why some people find change and changing things to be difficult. There are always a wide variety of why people can’t handle change. I have never been one of those people.

Sometimes I think back on how my surroundings used to be, compared to how they have changed. But the world does not need to line up with a single snapshot from my memory. Who even knows if that memory is accurate and truthful to what the past was? What if I’ve changed my memory based on how my life has changed since then? There’s no way to know, so there’s no reason for me to complain.

I think a large part of my understanding and acceptance of change comes from my childhood. Nothing was ever secure. The predictable aspects of life came from the disjoint and the sudden change. I could rely on change. I could rely on something abrupt. I could anchor myself and pretend that hectic chaos was normal.

Of course, that isn’t very healthy. Needing chaos to function? Only feeling security when something is up in the air? I’ve deviated from those childhood lessons. I plan things and prefer when things are either set in stone or set in motion. (Eyy, there’s a set of antonyms for you.) I don’t like when I can’t predict something, but it doesn’t matter what I like or dislike. Uncertainty or surety exist whether I want them to or not in a situation.

Even when there is a new rock in the water’s course, it flows around it. When a cloud is battered by wind, it doesn’t stand firm in the atmosphere: it shapes itself to the current. A flower wilts. A fruit ripens. A construction crew and a housing company sign a contract to turn the forest behind my childhood home into a set of unneeded suburbs. My grandparents put the childhood home on the market. I move from this village to Windsor to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. I contemplate—seriously consider, really—moving out of the province. My hair grows because I decide to change.

I think change and control go hand-in-hand. Maybe there is a conflict between them for people that makes them dislike one or the other. Even controlling something in order to get change, like controlling a diet or exercise regime to change your body. That’s an opposition between change and control. Using one to get the other. Changing something to gain control. Controlling something to incite change. If something is out of your control, then why the fuck are you getting offended? Or upset? Or disappointed? You can’t control everything, just like you can’t change everything. Maybe expectations and desires come into play too.