Winter TBR

I haven’t read much as I would have liked over the last few years, so I am making it a point to read more in the new year. To kick off my goal of 20 books in 2020, I am reading three titles — all very different from one another — that have been on the tbr list for a few months now. You know what they say — books are a gal’s best friend.

This can’t really count as a “tbr” because I have already started reading it. But, I’m less than 100 pages in. I read Zadie Smith’s NW in college for a religion class, but I wanted more. So, I decided I would end the year with Swing Time. Smith is a smart storyteller, and I am excited to see where this story takes me.

In the midst of a slump, I watched the entirety of The Crown with my family. In watching the series, I found myself wanting to learn more about the history of the monarchy — mainly, why it was established and the crown’s original role — and the lives of the royal family. I found myself feeling very sympathetic towards Queen Elizabeth II … I could not imagine having to always be perfect, proper and impartial. I am very excited to get to this one next!

I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews for Trick Mirror. I believe the inability to see oneself clearly is a struggle we all face in this generation, and I am curious to see how Jia Tolentino will deal with this in her essays. I love nonfiction, and I am expecting this read to hit the nail on the head and hit me perfectly in the heart.

A Difficult Season

Thoughts from Brew Urban Cafe– Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Drink: Honey Cappuccino — the espresso was strong, but not bitter, and the barista on bar had mastered the art of micro foam. I’d give this drink a 5/5.

As the Earth changes slightly with each new season, we change, too, as we experience new seasons within our lives. Whether the season we experience is one of joy, hardship, sickness, etc. we learn more about who we are — our strengths and weaknesses — and who we want to be.

I’ve been in a very difficult season of my life for the past 20 months. My life has been running counter to every expectation I had ever had, and I’ve been having to re-learn everything I thought I knew about life. As I graduated college — though I didn’t have a job lined up — everything looked clear. Everything since has been hazy.

I have spun every piece of writing on the subject, and every conversation, into something positive, simply because I felt too guilty to admit to anyone that I was feeling absolutely miserable. How could I be upset if my parents were allowing me to live in their home until I found stable work? How could I be sad with a boyfriend? How could I be upset if I was one of the “lucky ones” who had found a job in my field?

As my boyfriend and I sat together at Brew Urban Cafe, my doubts and pain began to crystallize. As I mulled over these questions in my head, I began to see things clearly. For the first time in almost two years, I was allowing myself to feel what I needed to feel, and I decided to fully embrace that, for reasons beyond my control, I am simply in a difficult season in my life. One day, this season will end and I will transition into something more joyful, but for now, it is difficult, and I am allowed to accept that.

It is so easy to make our lives look pretty to the world. I take pictures of the beautiful magazine covers I am charged with selecting each month, yet I dread stepping foot into my office. I take pictures of the coffee I enjoy on the weekends, yet I scold myself after, mad that I am spending money that might very soon run out. Yes, I have a career in that I have to look nice, sit in an office and spend hours in meetings and interviews, yet I do not make enough money, or have enough stability, to live on my own. I am posting great pictures online to hide the fact that my life does not match the picture I had in my head for this particular season.

My boyfriend and I have talked extensively this past month about my mental health and the hurdles over which I have to jump because of my anxiety. We’ve had many conversations where I had to explain that, though I do love him, and though he has been a blessing to my life, he alone cannot make me happy. We’ve slowly come to realize that we can be in a loving relationship, and be fully in love with our partner, while also being generally sad. And so, as we sat together and talked about our careers and the paths onto which we both wanted to embark in the coming year, I realized that I am still allowed to see moments of love, joy and peace, while also in a difficult season. I looked at him and felt all the love in the world, and I slowly realized that my love for him, and my unhappiness with the general place I am in, are not mutually exclusive. Life is complicated, and we can feel multiple things all at once.

Of course, I don’t know when this season will end. However, I am slowly beginning to realize that by accepting my pain, my anger and my anxiety, I begin to inch closer toward resolve. I cannot make any clear changes if I don’t first understand what it is that needs changing.

And so, as I do my best to transition out of this season and into the next, I am making a promise to be more open with myself, with my partner, my friends and my family. I am okay admitting that I am not where I want to be. Everything comes for a reason and for a season, and though this season has not been my favorite, better things will come with time.