I feel so guilty. I’ve taken an accidental break from writing, and I hate it. Sure, I’ve still had new posts come out every week, but that’s due to a full reserve from the last time I was at peak creativity. When I have so many blog posts in my reserve, it makes me feel secure in the fact that I don’t have to write…but also sad because I technically don’t have to write. Writing is therapeutic for me. Sitting down to write is an important part of my week, and when that part is missing, I don’t truly feel like myself. I feel guilty for the fact that I’ve let myself down by not forcing myself to write.
This week, just to get my words onto paper, I started writing out how it felt to not write for several months and how overly-stressed I’ve been recently. Spoiler alert: the post was a BUMMER. While I love sharing my feelings on this blog and am sure that I will post that article when it is pertinent again (as I know it will be at some point), it just seemed wrong to post it the day before Thanksgiving. It seemed backwards to complain on a holiday centered around gratitude. So I decided to do an “Attitude of Gratitude” post instead. I have plenty to be grateful for this year alone, and now seems like a great time to share it. Obviously some things that I am grateful for are successes of mine, so #sorrynotsorry for the shameless plugs.
So here is a list of things (both big and small) that I have to be grateful for this year. I considered saying something cheesy about how I am grateful for the holiday season giving me topics to write about, especially when I can’t come up with any on my own, but let’s skip over that brie…
The podcast that I do with my ex started up this month, and it’s a realization of a project that we’ve had in our minds for some time now. Josh and I have been besties since we broke off the romantic part of our relationship a couple of years ago, and with our penchant for digital creativity and thinking that we’re funny, we started conceptualizing our podcast at the beginning of the year. It was tabled for a while since we had literally no idea how to do a podcast. Then I learned that a family friend was starting a podcast network, and our podcast was suddenly in reach. Jess Branas, founder of the Be the Voice Podcast Network and pillar of the local LGBTQIA+ community, was looking for podcasts to feature on her network, and she was happy to have us come aboard. Luckily, I have Jess to host us on her network and Josh to record and edit literally everything, so all I have to do is show up and be funny. I could not be more grateful for this opportunity to express and share myself through this new medium as well as the opportunity to be lazy and have all the hard stuff done for me. If you have any interest in hearing me and my ex bicker about random stuff, you can find Overrated/Underrated anywhere you listen to podcasts!
My Name in BoJack Horseman
Okay, so this one is a silly one, but still something I found to be very exciting. If you haven’t watched BoJack Horseman, it’s an animated show primarily about the effects of depression and emotional/mental abuse. It tackles these deeper themes with clever humor and a lot of *ahem* adult references. It takes place in a world where humans and sentient animals coexist very successfully, and a lot of the humor is drawn from that. The show has lost me a bit in the past couple of seasons, but in season 6, it felt like the show really got back to its roots.
In the second episode of this season, we see one of the characters (a cat named Princess Carolyn, in case you needed proof that they play into the whole “talking animals” thing) go through life as a single mother. We learn about all of the challenges that she faces while trying to work, support those around her, and take care of her infant daughter. At the beginning of the episode, she comes home late from work what must be the umpteenth night in a row, and her nanny quits, leaving her in a bind. Sure, the rest of the episode is great, but here I’m going to talk about those few seconds when the nanny quits, during which time Princess Carolyn pleads her not to go. That’s when I heard it. It was so faint and subtle that I had to rewind a couple of times and look up the script. The nanny’s name was Renata. As someone with an uncommon name, I’m always excited when it comes up in pop culture that really resonates with me. This is similar to when I read the last Twilight book in middle school and learned that Aro’s bodyguard was named Renata (yes, my Myspace name for forever after that was Aro’s Bodyguard…it was also Renata Cullen at one point, just so you can be sure of where I stand). While we only heard her name once and the nanny never came up in the show again, it was a nice send off for me as the series closes.
As I have mentioned at least once on this blog, I love escape rooms. It has been almost a year since we completed our first escape room, and since then, we’ve done a total of 18 (our record is 15 for 18, if anyone’s counting). That’s how much we love escape rooms. I could talk your ear off about how amazing escape rooms are, but here, I just want to make sure they’re present on my gratitude list. Plus, I want to save that information for another post, because I definitely have an entire post’s worth of information about how awesome escape rooms are. Most importantly, I’m grateful for the fact that we had a new private escape room open up in my area, so we can stop driving out of state to do an escape room! At least until I finish all of the rooms at that location…
I WAS PUBLISHED THIS YEAR!
This is probably the biggest accomplishment that I am grateful for this year. I am very grateful to have had my work read and published by editors on Medium, Harness Magazine, and Thought Catalog. As discussed on my blog previously, I’ve been sending my work out to various literary magazines and other websites to try to get published. After countless rejections, finally having someone believe in my work is amazing. As of right now, most of my writing time is dedicated to this blog or to the book that I plan on publishing with the aforementioned Jess Branas, so when I create something that I feel would be a good fit for a literary magazine, I get really excited! While I hope that the coming years have many more publishing opportunities for me, I will never forget these three pieces and the excitement and relief that I felt opening those “Congratulations!” emails and knowing that someone thought my work was worth while. I’ve included links to the pieces below for anyone interested in reading them.
My Favorite Little Everyday Thing
As the weather gets colder, it gets harder and harder to get out of bed, especially when going to work in the morning. When it gets this cold, I always put on a pair of fuzzy gloves before I get into the car to keep me warm as the car warms up. On days when I stop at Starbucks on my way in, however, I only need a glove for one hand. The other hand is kept warm resting on my Chestnut Praline latte in the cup holder. To me, there’s really no feeling like keeping my hand warm wrapped around my Chestnut Praline latte so early in the morning. Feeling warm, knowing that, when I get to work, I have a delicious latte to drink…that, my friends, is the true meaning of the Starbucks Holiday Drink season.
I hope you get the chance this year to celebrate the things that you’re most grateful for surrounded by people you love. Happy Thanksgiving!
Photography by my talented fiancé. You can find him on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/hope_grows_here/