I know, I know. You’re thinking, “Akilah, seriously, a self-help book about ending things? How on earth could that be a comfort read?” And you’re right, mostly, but think of it this way: The pandemic has made a lot of things clear to us and sometimes those things are things (relationships, jobs, etc) we need to let go of but for some reason, we just can’t seem to. In Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud, he walks you through some steps and activities to help you figure out if you really need to let go of that thing or maybe stick in there just a little longer.
As I was looking through my Goodreads to find inspiration for N and landed on this title, it clicked that I should write about it. I was also inspired because I recently recommended the book to two friends of mine in two separate industries who were thinking of quitting their jobs but weren’t sure about it.
My last four books have been for grown ups and I have read only two YA books so far this year (out of ten total books). Who have I become? I don’t even recognize myself anymore.
There’s not much to report around these here parts. I’ve been working and watching TV and that’s about it. I did finish Judas and the Black Messiah this weekend. Oh, and Schitt’s Creek finally but other than that…I got nothing. Okay, that isn’t entirely true, but I am trying this new thing where I don’t cram everything into one blog post a week.
Anyway, here are the two books I read since my last update:
Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
I think what I’m trying to describe is loneliness.
I didn’t post last week because I didn’t finish any books and then about halfway through the week I was like, “Okay, but that has literally never stopped you before???” And I seriously don’t know what I was thinking but it was so ridiculous that I had to tell you all.
I mean, it’s certainly not like other stuff didn’t happen. So here’s a list because honestly my brain is kind of mush.
1. I finally got DDR–yes, Dance Dance Revolution–for my Xbox, so have been playing it almost every day. The thing about DDR is that the songs are the most important and the Xbox has the worst options for songs, I swear. They only have one DDR game with a good tracklist. All of the other ones have weird Japanese songs with NO BEAT. My daughter was watching me play, and I kept missing the arrows and she asked me “Does the pad not work?” and I was like, “No, these dumb songs have no beat.” The proof is that I did just fine on both “Dancing Machine” and “Conga.” So anyway, I need a PlayStation to get a version of the game with a better tracklist.
I did, of course, buy the version with the good tracklist and have been crushing those songs, thank you very much. But only on basic because that’s just who I am.
2. My daughter went back to campus for spring semester. She’s doing well.
My daughter’s shoulder has been giving her a lot of grief. Or rather, she kept complaining about shoulder pain. “This bed,” she would say. “It’s this bed.”
So, finally, after listening to her complain about her bed for almost a year–and more importantly, after she started taking muscle relaxers to deal with the pain in her shoulder–I asked her, “Do you want a new mattress?”
Now, I know a year is a long time to wait to ask that, but part of that is because (1) it seemed to be off and on, especially after she came back from the monastery where she was sleeping on the floor; (2) the mattress isn’t that old–only about three years; (3) everybody else who has slept on the mattress loves it; (4) my daughter is leaving to go back to Florida in a week. I think both of us kept thinking about the mattress problem as temporary, especially with her going back to school. In fact, after my daughter said no to the mattress because she was leaving for school in (then) three weeks, I had to point out that was true but also, she would be back here for breaks and the problem would still exist. She resisted a little while longer, arguing that she was fine as long as she did yoga every day, but, finally, after about three more days or so of trying to thug it out, she finally relented and agreed, so off to the mattress store we went.
I have taken advantage of the current heat wave to get in the pool the past two days. It has been glorious to do my regular workout before being restricted to not having a workout.
Yeah, I’m working on that.
Anyway, the pool was great! I also learned a lot. For one, I learned that the wireless headphones I got do not like when I get in the pool. They kept crapping out during my workout on Saturday, which is beyond frustrating because I use the music to keep time for my workout. Without the music, I wouldn’t know when to start or stop various parts of my workout and–more importantly–I would get bored and cut my workout short. So, the headphones not working is actually a super not great thing and not just because music is fun. The good news is that my headphones worked better on Sunday, and I honestly do not know what changed. I changed the placement of my phone, but I had done that on Saturday with no luck so, sigh. The headphones are a fickle beast. I’ll have to investigate better headphones for when the weather actually breaks because I cannot live this way.
You know, I was beating myself because I hadn’t posted yet this week, and I realized it’s because I have been struggling with how to (and whether or not I wanted to) address current events. All I’ll say is this: Living in this country is exhausting.
My reading deprivation is officially over, so I watched some TV and read some books. More specifically, I finally finished Living Single (Hulu), which is super fun because the characters really do feel like they’re my friends. I was trying to decide on my next throwback comfort watch and remembered that when I was watching The Bernie Mac Show, I started X-Men: The Animated Series (Disney+), so I think I need to go ahead and get back to that. Not to mention, seeing the good guys win over and over again might just be what I need to feed my soul right now.
A note on the wrap-up: I’m going to try something new with my book reviews this week since WordPress has stepped up its game with these blocks. I’ll see if I have the patience for it in the coming weeks.
If you’re unfamiliar, a reading deprivation occurs in week four of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. During a reading deprivation, you give up reading for a week. I started mine on January 1 so that means I’m currently on day four. Just like last time, I have basically given up all media that uses words, including social media. I also gave up Bejeweled (except–TMI alert–when I’m in the bathroom) because I definitely use it as a form of distraction and admit that about myself. Unlike last time, I am a little less crazed–probably because I knew what to expect this time and also, maybe, because I have grown as a person in the last four and a half years.
As a result of the no words thing, I am VERY into the Pop Goes Classical playlist/station on Spotify. It is getting me through. Current faves include “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Queenz of Piano and “Lose Yourself” by David Garrett.
The holidays were nice and low-key. Jólabókaflóð (Yule Book Flood) was a success this year. I received The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (reviewed below) and milk and honey by Rupi Kaur (started but, obviously, on hold until the end of the week). I gave The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas to my daughter’s friend who said she wanted to read more classics, and I gave my daughter The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo because she said she wanted to read more about minimalism. We exchanged books, drank hot cocoa, and read together for about an hour or so. It was a delight. Christmas was also a lot of fun with us hanging out, opening presents, watching movies, and eating some food.
I did make a post last week, and I did read some books and watch some movies that I didn’t post about here before the end of the new year.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! That’s right: A Month of Faves is back, hosted by Tanya and Kim over at Girlxoxo. As of this writing, the official post isn’t up on the website yet, but the prompts are posted on Kim’s Instagram.
I’m finally home after my five-week (!) Eastern time zone adventures. There may be a lot to say about that some other day, but I have read some books and watched some TV & movies, so let’s get into that first. Also, if anyone is on Letterboxd, give me a shout so we can follow each other. (Or, you know, sign up and then we can follow each other. Either works for me.) My username over there is englishist.