Beanie level: Rooftop room dweller

Bonus Post

All the songs I’ve shared over the last two weeks, plus a number of others, can be found on this playlist. I made it last summer, and spent days working on it, trying to figure out exactly what I needed from it. It’s called “BREATHE” not only because the opening track, but also because these are the songs that are like a long exhale to me. They are the ones that help pull me back into the moment, that make me stop and listen to myself. I’m sharing with you today as a reminder to just sit back and breathe, even if just for a moment.

Love,
February

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    thanks for sharing 🙂
    Music really helps <3

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    I love this, thank you!!!!

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    I liked it and part of my Spotify list now!

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    Thank you for sharing, so much of yourself this year, your sorrows, hope, and grumpiness, as well as this playlist.

    Oh, and Pie Guy really likes your taste in music as well. Tigress is noncommittal 😆

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      Thank you, again, for bringing us this wonderful project. It truly has been life changing. This year was very different from others for me, especially given my extended hiatus from this site, but it was a wonderful reminder of what great people there are here too. Writing here has helped unburden me a lot this year, and I’m grateful for that. Life is moving fast for all of us…I feel like so many of the OGs here are really getting out there and living new adventures, and I love to see it.

      Thanks to Pie Guy for liking the playlist; I like to think I have good taste in music, but I also know it can be a bit eclectic, so it’s always nice to hear that from someone else. I hope you are all doing well and staying safe and healthy and happy. I was delighted to see that the Tigress decided to make her grand entrance on Valentines day. Sending you and your family all the good vibes.

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Day Fourteen

One of my favorite feelings in the world is when a song gets under your skin. Not stuck in your head, not just something you like, but when you can’t stop thinking about it. When it feels like the song was sent to you that moment, giving you something to hold onto.

I wish I could say that I shared a love of music with my dad and that it was something that bonded us. But the truth is, he didn’t really like music or understand it that much. I think it was all noise to him, but he tolerated it for me.

Music has always been my thing. It is my touchstone. It helps me deal with the world when things are overwhelming, and it gives me something to ground myself in. It has helped me deal with the darker days of my depression, given me strength when my anxiety threatened to take over. Music has also given me confidence on the days I felt my best and added joy in the moments of celebration and given me peace in the moments of calm.

My history can be traced in the mixes and playlists I’ve made over the years. I love looking back at songs from my past, even the soundtracks to my dark and unhappy moments, because I am made up of all those times, the good and the bad.

When my dad died it was about six weeks before I really heard to music again. I remember the moment so clearly. I was staying with family out of town and a song I’d probably heard a hundred times over the last year came on, and suddenly it felt different. It cut through the weeks of noise and grief and anger in my head. I’d been fighting so many emotions, working so hard to not trigger my depression, to stay positive despite losing my job, to keep moving forward. That song gave me a moment of clarity and respite during a time that was overwhelming in so many ways.

The song was by the Japanese band Sekai No Owari, and while I didn’t understand the words but something about the music got under my skin in that moment. I had listened to that album over and over since the pandemic started, and almost all the other tracks had caught me at some point or another over the year except this one.

On that evening this song felt new to me. It felt joyful and celebratory while at the same time, there was an undercurrent of sadness or lonlieness in that joy, which was just how I felt. I think I listened to it five more times before moving on that night. Over the last year I have come back to this song over and over whenever things felt like too much.

The translation of the song’s title as far as I can tell is “The Night Everything Broke”. To me, it is about life and loss and all the uncertainty that comes simply from being alive. It’s about how we are all singularly traveling through life, but we are never alone on that journey.

I felt like the song had been sent to me at that time to remind me that things are always uncertain, but we get through them together. It was the song I needed at the time I needed it. So today I share it with you, and hope it brings you a bit of the clarity and joy it has brought me over the last year.

Love,
February

[Song of the Day: Subete ga Kowareta Yoru ni by Sekai no Owari]

People say they understand
That they know it’s something natural
But if they know
What they know, then they wouldn’t make a face like that

We all know everything
We know yet there’s nothing but what we don’t know
But I know one certain thing
And you taught me that

I don’t understand you
or him or even my own self,
but still we live on
We live on not knowing anything

We know the beauty
of the blue sea and vast sky
Under the square sky, we
should know the deepness of the blue of the sky

I will eventually die
I’ve known that forever
But I don’t think I can’t
do anything because of that

You go alone and you won’t stop
Including it, that too is your life
But I know what I don’t know
I came to send it to you

We are all alive
We know it’s something natural
But if we know
what we know, then we wouldn’t make a face like that, right?

Source</a

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Day Thirteen

Today I come to you with a bit of optimism.

I think the impatiens which definitely had spider mites may make it. If you were here last year you would know about how much my indoor jungle means to me and how devastated I was last year when I lost a lot of it in a super short period. Spider mites are the one pest I can never defeat. Every impatiens I’ve ever bought gets them. It’s almost funny at this point because I’ve tried so many times.

The particular impatiens was a birthday gift to myself last fall. It flowered throughout November and even a bit of December before slowing down. I noticed the mites about a month ago. It’s been living the quarantine life in my bathtub since then. Most of its big leaves are gone, and looks quite sad and sparse. But no new leaf drop in a few days and the new growth is looking healthy. It’s still not looking great and it hasn’t gotten worse in a week or so.

I’m not holding my breath, I know it can all go sideways in a day. I’ve been burned before. These losses don’t get easier but they do get more bearable over time. But I also keep trying because underneath this snarky, cynical exterior there is a hopeful girl who needs to keep going.

Maybe it’s because I know that despite all the losses there is also so much joy when I succeed, and chasing that joy is worth the heartache.

So today, I have a little hope. And right now that’s all I really need, just a little hope.

Love,
February

[Song of the Day: Keep Going by Standing Egg]

Keep going, just lean on me like this
Close your eyes
I wanna keep going
I won’t let go of your heart ‘til the world ends
I’ll hold you
I wanna keep going

I’m here, I only look at you;
Please take my hand
I wanna keep going,
I’ll never let your hand go, not anywhere
I’ll go together with you;
I wanna keep going

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    I lm glad your plant is doing better. And any day is better because of Standing Egg!

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      Thanks! Still early days, but feeling good about it. And Standing Egg is always a mood lifter! I love them so much.

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    Good luck to the impatiens! I cannot raise indoor plants (even outdoor is a struggle) so I have huge respect for your perseverance in dealing with the spider mites.

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Day Twelve

Maybe I just need to say it out loud:

I miss you Baba.

Love,
February

[Song of the Day: Haven’t Been Doing So Well by Frank Turner]

Don’t you ever wake up and suspect
That you were simply never cut out to be
The kind of person they expect
The person you intended to be?
And I keep it all in with my idiot grin
And I’m doing my best but there’s very little left
So cut me some slack if I crawl back into my shell
I haven’t been doing so well
I haven’t been doing so well

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Day Eleven

Still in a bit of a bleh mood today, but feeling a lot better after walking around and getting a load of errands done. Hopefully laptop will be fixed by Monday. I also treated myself to some fresh flowers and a small bunch of eucalyptus, so at least that can brighten up these gloomy February days. And I’m treating myself to an unhealthy but super satisfying dinner, so that’s always a good way to end a day.

Okay. Scratch all of the above. About five minutes after writing that I had a bad fall in the middle of the street, spilled milkshake all over my dinner and injured my knee. Not sure how bad it is yet – skinned badly, but I can walk and no swelling (yet). As for the dinner, the place was nice enough to replace my shake and gave me fresh fries too. I guess the silver lining to this evening is that I have a milkshake and fresh flowers (albeit somewhat crushed flowers, but still).

It took a lot of willpower to not burst into tears/hysterical laughter until I got home. Sometimes I think I’m cursed. Whenever things seem to be going okay for me something new happens to mess it all up. And I get that this has just been a bad few days, and sh*t happens, none of it is un-fixable. But compounded with the anxiety of going back to work and the looming anniversary of my dad’s death, plus some other personal stuff, it feels like a lot.

Some days I really just want to scream into the void. Or maybe throw myself into it. Screw this stupid month.

I guess I’ll try again tomorrow.

Love (not really),
February

[Song of the Day: Miss Misery by Elliott Smith]

I know you’d rather see me gone
Than to see me the way that I am
But I am in the life anyway

Next door the TV’s flashing blue frames on the wall
It’s a comedy of errors, you see
It’s about taking a fall

To vanish into oblivion
It’s easy to do
And I try to be
But you know me
I come back when you want me to

Do you miss me, Miss Misery
Like you say you do?

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Day Ten

I am in a funk today. I feel surly and grumpy and don’t want to do any of the things on my giant to-do list. I feel anxious over the idea of going outside to get things done. Also, my laptop is out of commission which means I have only my phone to get work done until it gets repaired. Anything I find joy in feels fleeting today.

It’s so frustrating how sometimes it is little stupid things that ruin my mood like this. I’d like to think I have control over it all, but these are the days when my brain reminds me I’m only human and no matter how hard I try there are going to be days my anxiety and depression get triggered. I know exactly what triggered me too, but I can’t control it.

Sometimes I just need to ride these days out and let them pass. Today is one of those days. I know I’ll be better once I start being productive an eat properly and sleep well. These are the days that remind me I can’t control everything, and that (hopefully) there will be a fresh start tomorrow.

Love,
February

[Song of the Day: Monster by Eminem feat. Rhianna]

I’m friends with the monster that’s under my bed
Get along with the voices inside of my head
You’re tryin’ to save me, stop holdin’ your breath
And you think I’m crazy, yeah, you think I’m crazy

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Day Nine

I got super stressed out tonight and then my laptop died on me. I texted my brother because he is the person who can always make me see sense and help talk me down from my worst tendencies. After talking to him I feel so much better and clearer. He was the first person I called when I got laid off and he helped me figure out what to do. Of course he frustrates me and annoys me and droves me nuts too; that’s what little brothers do. But he also holds me accountable and calls me on my bullshit. I’m lucky to have him.

Love,
February

[Song of the Day: Fake Plastic Trees by Radiohead]

Her green plastic watering can
For her fake Chinese rubber plant
In the fake plastic earth

That she bought from a rubber man
In a town full of rubber plans
To get rid of itself

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    Brothers are the best.

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    Snarky, seriously? How do we have the same music taste??? Radiohead is GOD level 🤩

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      I love Radiohead, and The Bends is one of my all time favorite albums.

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        Ah I have so many good memories with Bends! My fav though is OK Computer ☺️

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          OK Computer is just a hair behind The Bends for me. But this song is just everything to me, it got me through a really rough patch a few years ago which is why The Bends wins for me.

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    Your brother sounds like a lovely person. You’re lucky to have him.

    I know. My siblings call on my bullshit, too. XD

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Day Eight

I had a whole long mess of thoughts I was trying to write out, but in the end it boiled down to this:

Sometimes we are our own worst enemies.

Today I want to remind you all to recognize your worth and be kind, but don’t sacrifice yourself for others. Your happiness is worth just as much as the happiness of those around you. It’s okay to put yourself first when things are hard. It’s okay to ask for your worth. It’s okay to say no when people ask too much of you. It’s even okay to say no if you don’t want to do something. You matter, your feelings matter, your worth matters.

I guarantee you, the people who love you want you to make yourself happy before you go out of your way to make others happy.

Love,
February

[Song of the Day: Life for Rent by Dido]
While my heart is a shield and I won’t let it down
While I am so afraid to fail so I won’t even try
Well, how can I say I’m alive?

If my life is for rent and I don’t learn to buy
Well, I deserve nothing more than I get
‘Cause nothing I have is truly mine

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Day Seven

I love a good cover, especially a live cover. There’s nothing like an artist reinterpreting an old favorite in their own special way. I think it gives so much insight into an artist and how they approach music when we see how they approach another artist’s song.

One of my favorite live albums Nirvana’s Unplugged. There is so much I can say about Nirvana and the way they’ve been one of the musical through lines of my life. It’s devastating that they were cut short by senseless tragedy (spare me your conspiracy theories). They perform a few covers during this set, but the one I come back to over and over is their cover of David Bowie’s The Man Who Sold the World.

Though it is fairly similar to the original sonically, there is something about Kurt Cobain’s voice here that gets me every time. I can’t quite explain it. Maybe it’s because, knowing that Cobain would be gone soon after it was recorded, listening to this song always feels so haunting. But there’s also something about his voice that makes me really stop and listen to the words every time I hear this version. To me, this song evokes so much loneliness and sorrow, but there is also something else – an otherworldly feeling that I can’t explain.

Love,
February

[Song of the Day: The Man Who Sold the World as performed by Nirvana, orig. By David Bowie]

I laughed and shook his hand
And made my way back home
I searched for form and land
For years and years, I roamed
I gazed a gazely stare
At all the millions here
We must have died alone
A long long time ago

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    omg! i absolutely love this album and this song.
    I used to listen to this album in the early 90’s when I was in college. Those were rough times and music was what I leaned to all the time.

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      This album definitely got me through some rough patches in high school and university. It’s so good, I can never get enough of it.

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    God dam! I think you are the first ‘girl’ I know who has the same music taste as me….where have you been in my RL???

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      Haha, that’s awesome. I have got fairly eclectic taste in music. But then again so do a few of my friends, and it’s how I bonded with one of my roommates in university. Music is my lifeline, can’t live without it.

      I’ll be sharing a playlist in a few days too, so you’ll get a real good look at my music taste then.

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        Music is everything to me! I sing and I work in music. I have been told many times my taste is ‘boy like’ haha! Whatever that means! I must say I got the best exposure to excellent music growing up in the 90’s.

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          WTF, “boy like”? Music is universal! I was young in the 90s but all my cousins are 10-12 years older so I spent my middle and high school years mining their music collections, hence my affinity for grunge. Plus my parents aren’t into music so I explore a lot of different genres and artists on my own, and I tend to do deep dives when I find a new genre or artist I like.

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Day Six

Pearl Jam is one of my favorite bands. Ten is easily one of my top five albums and a total desert island pick for me. I saw them live almost ten years ago too, and they lived up to my expectations and then some.

But this song from Pearl Jam is a bit different than their usual fare, and I think that’s part of why I love it so much. Eddie Vedder himself said “[It’s] as close to a love song as we’ve ever gotten”, and I think that’s probably true. But who said love songs have to be about romantic love? We need more non-romantic love songs, and this is one of the best examples of that kind of song I can think of.

Love,
February

[Song of the Day: Just Breathe by Pearl Jam]

Did I say that I need you?
Did I say that I want you?
Oh, if I didn’t, I’m a fool you see
No one knows this more than me
As I come clean

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    Ah Eddie Vedder is the man! Yield is my favourite album! ‘Wishlist’ my favourite song from there!

    Ten is great too!

    Good music taste snarky! Good music taste!

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    I love Pearl Jam.

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    I was going to put this exact song as my entry the other day! I love Pearl Jam, have also seen them live and they were amazing. It’s hard to go past Ten, but I think Yield is my favourite album (Faithfull live is so good) – it was the first of their albums I owned and occupies a special place in my heart.

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Day Five

Every time I finish a book or series for the first time, I always feel like I came back from a wonderful vacation. It’s like that moment when you walk through your door and put down your bags and everything is quiet as you take it all in. The moments when you’re saying goodbye to those characters and that world they let you visit for a little while are so beautiful and bittersweet. Like a vacation, I can always visit again, look at pictures, recount stories, display souvenirs, but nothing is quite like being on that journey for the first time.

Every story is a new experience every time you read it or reread it – who you are when you read it will inevitably affect the way you see and understand the story. But there’s also the comfortable familiarity of a story that you’ve read over and over again, which is its own kind of journey. Growing up we used to travel a lot, and spend about a month or more away from home every summer. During those weeks, my books were what helped me from feeling homesick. They were the piece of home I could take with me, a place I could be comfortable and among familiar friends, no matter where I was. It’s so strange, that the one thing that made me feel at home was the one thing that took me far away from home.

Love,
February

[Song of the Day:Bring on the Wonder by Susan Enan]

I can’t see the stars anymore living here
Let’s go to the hills where the outlines are clear
Bring on the wonder, bring on the song
I pushed you down deep in my soul for too long

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    I can relate with everything you said! Sometimes I just slow down my reading speed so that i don’t finish it early! And when I finish it, it feels like some kind of hollow in heart!

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      I’m always so torn when I get to the final chapters because I want to savor the story, but I also want to know what happens! It’s so hard sometimes. I’ve been known to not read the latest book in a series that is ongoing until I know there will be more because I can’t take it being over.

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    I really relate to this as well. I have been known to immediately read the book I just read again because I don’t want to let it go – but it’s never the same as the first time.

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      I definitely do this. I’m also a big re-reader, and I try to own all my favorites so I can skip to my favorite parts. But that first reading is still special and nothing can ever replicate it. Maybe this is the one good argument for amnesia.

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Day Four

I can’t really think of what to say today. My head hurts and I haven’t slept enough. But I’m fine, just tired. I was thinking about what to write today, and my head is empty.

Well, that’s not entirely true; there’s a lot going on in my head but nothing I want to share right now. I have a whole document of things I want say, some of which will make here, some of which will stay forever locked in those pages.

Sometimes life is like that. You are just tired and it’s okay. There are things you want to say and things you don’t. Sometimes it’s harder to do the things we could do yesterday. There’s nothing wrong with you at those times. These days remind me that I’m human, and it’s okay to not be okay sometimes.

So, for today I’ll embrace this tiredness, share a song and try again tomorrow.

Love,
February

[Song of the Day:Heart of It All by Saltnpaper]

Now it’s okay
Don’t fight your day
We’re gonna be on our merry way
It’s going down
But we’ll come around again

I’m going back to the start
I’m going back to the heart of it all
I’m going back to the reasons why
It’s all for loving you

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Day Three

First, thank you all for listening to me yesterday. There’s been a lot going on and it’s been hard to find the time and space to get things out of my system. So, thank you for giving me that space.

Now, onto the post.

I’ve been reading a lot lately. Like, a lot a lot. I read three books in two days last week (granted, I didn’t sleep much, so there was some sacrifice). I’ve spent a lot of the last year reading, getting lost in books like I did growing up.

The thing I love most is to get lost in a story. I love short stories, long epic tales, political intrigues, fluffy romances, comic books, grand space operas and every other type of story there is. There is nothing like being in someone else’s head for a little while. It makes the world fresh and new when you come back to your own reality. It adds shade and color to the way you view the world, and it changes you.

I’ve been reading a lot of romance lately. I think the reason it’s such a popular genre is because it shows us the happy endings we want in the world. Even when things are bleak in our reality, romances remind us that there are still happy endings, and if a happy ending can exist on the page, it gives the hope that it can exist in real life too. And hope is really what drives us all, in light or dark times.

Love,
February

[Song of the Day: Bad Wine and Lemon Cake by the Jane Austen Argument, performed by Amanda Palmer and The Jane Austen Argument.]

I picked this song today because it is just such a vivid little story all on its own, and this verse just gets me every time:
I’d like to rent a wife
Then rent a husband to keep her for life
The three of us, we could be so happy
Them with each other, me with company
I’ll see them off on a flight around the world

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    I always like your song picks ~ if you have any book recommendations, feel free to share!

    I started reading more romance novels during pandemic life too, there’s just something nice about a book you know will end happily.

    I like what you said about it giving us hope, reminds me of a quote from Lord of the Rings about stories sticking with us when they give us hope that there is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.

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      Thanks! I have a playlist I’ve been pulling songs from for these – I’ll share it in a post later.

      If you like contemporary romance, I really enjoyed The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood. I also read two books by Sally Thorne, The Hating Game and Second First Impressions, and I enjoyed both, but the former was a bit rough in terms of writing and needed a bit more polish. It was her first book though, and still very addictively readable in the right mood. I preferred SFI if only because it was more slow burn, though I felt she created a lot of room for character development that she never explored, but it was still just a lovely fluffy story. Currently working my way through Beach Read by Emily Henry, and I loved her other one, People You Meet on Vacation.

      Anything by Jasmine Guillory is my jam, though I found her latest one a bit underwhelming. Also, working on the Brown Sisters trilogy by Talia Hibbert, the first one Get A Life Chloe Brown was delightful. I like Helen Hoang, especially because she really likes looking at romances through the lens of characters who are on the spectrum. I haven’t read her latest but it’s on my list.

      Uzma Jalaluddin’s Ayesha at Last and Hana Khan Carries On are wonderful, and I related to the stories on a personal level. They lean a bit less romance, more fiction, but still are romances at their core. AAL is a P&P retelling, so extra points there.

      I’ve also been reading a lot of fantasy – I’m trying to read more non-white/western stories, and the Daevabad trilogy was just perfection (adult fantasy) and The Ember in the Ashes quartet is also great (YA fantasy). The Priory of the Orange Tree is dense but so well done, and really created a full world in one book.

      I have a ton more too, but these are the things from the last year or so that stand out for me.

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        If you like podcasts then Fated Mates is a really good one that is all about romance novels. Some of the books you’ve listed have been mentioned. It’s usually is good for a laugh or two, plus they have some great discussions.

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          I just looked over their episodes and there’s a lot of stuff I’ve read or that’s in my TBR list, so I’ll definitely try to give it a listen sometime soon!

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    I missed all your struggles and just went back to read them. I’m glad you’re in a better place. How are your plants doing? That was the last time I “spoke” to you here.

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      Plants took a bit of a hit over the spring/summer since I had to spend most of it at home taking care of my mom as she recovered from surgery, but things have been all right for the most part since fall. I do have one impatiens currently quarantined in my bathtub with mites, and it’s probably a goner and also a sign I need to stop buying impatiens. Also, my brother just bought a house in Cali, so I have informed him that I am making him buy lemon and pomegranate trees for his deck because I cannot have those in my cold midwest apartment.

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        Or you could do what my hubby does in this area…indoor gardening. We have lemon and tangerine trees. I actually picked a tangerine today…and we have 6 in of snow on the ground today. 😆

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          My place doesn’t get enough light, and I don’t have the space for a tree now, but the plan is to one day have a place with a balcony and better light to be able to have a lemon tree.

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            He has a set up in the basement storage closet (no light) and bought all these grow lights. Looks like we’re growing something else down there! 😂

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            That’s amazing (and kind of my dream setup one day…)

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Day Two

It was one year ago today that I got a call that made my heart drop into my stomach. I remember it was late and I was alone in my apartment. I remember sitting on my sofa in silence because music seemed inappropriate for the thoughts going through my head. I felt so small and scared and alone. The lights felt too bright, but I was too afraid of what would happen if I turned them off. The day had a happy ending (for a little while) but those were some of the worst hours of my life. It turns out that night was just a preview.

Earlier that day I had written a post for Love, February about how much I hate this month and how it feels like it always tries to break my spirit. Well, February, you won. You are officially the worst month of the year now. This will always and forever be the month that I lost my dad.

I find myself counting the days again. I stopped counting the days in the After somewhere around month three. I kept busy, I found things to do, and I kept living because that is what you do. Time marches, whether you want it to or not, so better to embrace it than be eaten by it. Life got better, then worse, then leveled out into okay. But the days have become numbered again.

17 days to the last time we spoke.
21 days to the start of my new job.
22 days to the day I had to say goodbye.

I don’t know when these countdowns will end. Maybe they’ll become expanded, and days will turn to weeks, and then years, and time will just be time again, no longer the After. Maybe one day I’ll start forgetting the date, and when I see those three stars marked in my calendar it will take me a second to remember why they’re there. Or maybe the counting never ends.

I don’t know which is worse: remembering the days or forgetting them.

Love,
February

[Song of the Day: Rivers and Roads by The Head and the Heart]

Nothin’ is as it has been
And I miss your face like hell
And I guess it’s just as well
But I miss your face like hell

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    *silently sits beside you because words can’t do anything right now*

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    I don’t know what to say to make you feel better, but I hope at least this virtual hug from across the world will let you know that you are not alone.

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    *tightest virtual hug*

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    *huggggssss*

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    Hugs ♥️

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    I am sorry for your loss.

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    I have no helpful words, just to say, I’m sorry for your loss.

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    It does get less painful as time goes by, but it still catches me by surprise once in awhile as if it happened yesterday. Wishing you comfort and peace.

    Thank you for including this song. That’s one of my favorite albums.

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    I love this song.
    Thank you for sharing.
    There are no other words…

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    I am sorry for your loss. I hate September because it is when I lost my mom who was also my best friend. It will be 10 years this year. And darn I still miss her and long for her thoughts and insights. Just for her really. This morning I randomly had the thought, though I do not want to go back to that first year of grief as it is a monster, but being so far from when I last saw her is series sad too.
    Not that it always is or that it is never ending. Time does smooth it out some, but I still actively love her so I still miss her. And that is ok.
    Be kind to yourself and treat yourself gently. A few months after the first anniversary I fell into a dark space that I was not expecting.
    I love seeing how much music helps you. During that time dark time one of the songs I held tightly to was P.S. You Rock My World by Eels.

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      Thank you. I’m sorry for your loss, and I hope your September passes a little easier this year.

      Most of the last 8-10 months have been okay(ish) and I’ve been able to move on, whatever that really means. But for some reason this month is just feeling so hard after so many good weeks. I think I’m emotionally overwhelmed between this anniversary, anxiety over the new job, and a few other personal issues which have cropped up. Just working through it one day at a time is my goal for now.

      That song is amazing, thank you for sharing it, I love it.

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Day One

I had a post all lined up and ready to go for today – one that was a reflection on the last few years of this project and what it has meant to me. I’ll post it in comments. But the thing is, today was a really good day. It was the first really good day in a long time. I suppose it’s fitting that it is the Lunar New Year, and a new beginning, because today I learned that I got the job that I had wanted.

My last post here was almost a year ago, when I was laid off. In the time between, so many things have happened and it’s been a rough ride. But I held on, I was blessed with a wonderful support system, and I made it through. There were dark moments for sure, but I knew that the universe held something better for me. Today it delivered, and I feel like I can breathe easier again.

Granted, with the good comes the bad, and I expect to be a hard month. Last February created a lot of shadows over this time of year. But shadows exist because there is light to make them. I will try to channel this positive energy into my life, to find joy where I can. I hope you all can do the same.

Love,
February

[Song of the Day: Love Poem by IU]

I’ll be there, behind you when you walk alone
Singing till the end, this song that won’t end
Take a deep breath
I’ll sing for you, who forgot how to cry out loud

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    So. Here we are again.

    Last year Love, February was a real struggle for me – I felt uninspired and overwhelmed. I had a small crisis in the middle of it that made me really reevaluate my life. That small crisis turned into one of the worst moments of my life not long after this ended.

    I’ve always said the first Love, February was a turning point in my life – I was finally able to heal some old wounds and put to rest the fears I had been holding onto. The second year was less deep, but it let me have fun and really think about the people and things I hold dear.

    It’s been almost a year since my last post on this wall – and my penultimate post was my last Love, February post of 2021.

    This year instead of feeling uninspired and overwhelmed, I feel overwhelmed and have a year’s worth of thoughts which have been percolating and growing inside me. But I also still feel raw and don’t know how much I want to say.

    But I do know this: no matter what I do or don’t say here, I know that there is love in the world. Even when it feels dark and lonely, even when you are at your lowest, know that there are people out there who love you and are thinking about you.

    Love,
    February

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      Happy new year and I hope this year is filled with light and laughter 🙂

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      Both sets of your words make me feel emotional… Thank you for sharing, thank you for the hope you showed even before knowing about the new job.

      Happy New Year! I pray this year is filled with love and light for you.

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      I’m glad things worked out Snarky. I’m sorry to read about this – it must have been so rough. Proud of you for persevering through the job hunt.

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    Congrats on getting the job you wanted 🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉

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      Thanks! It’ll have been 11 months since I last worked when I start, but it feels like a decade has passed. I had to take time off from job hunting for a while, and it is so intimidating to jump back into everything again.

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    Happy new year! It sounds like you’ve had a tough ride for a while – I hope this year brings many good things for you.

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      Thanks! It’s been a rough year, that’s for sure. A fresh start is definitely welcome and needed.

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    I love this song and sending you virtual hugs from this side of the world.

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      Thanks. This song really helps after a rough day. IU always seems to have a song for every mood. She’s definitely a staple in my music collection.

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    Fighting!

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Today has been A Day.

I got my second COVID vaccine shot.

It was a bittersweet experience.

The last time I spoke to my father was after I got the first shot. He passed away five days later. I never heard his voice again. I’ll never hear it again. The last month has been one of the most surreal and emotionally exhausting times of my life. I have only just started to feel that hole in my life, and it feels like it’s getting larger each day.

Also, I got laid off today. So that’s fun.

I can’t say it was expected, but it also wasn’t entirely unexpected. I know it’s not personal (financial reasons) and I’m not angry. I’m just sad that it had such crappy timing.

I liked my work. I hate my career, but I had found a job that I liked and wanted to do. I’d been toying with the idea of leaving this year, maybe once things got better and I had time to find something new.

I kind of want to make a pivot, move to a totally new field if possible. But at my age, I don’t know. I don’t know if I have it in me right now.

I’m taking the next few days to reset and get out of town. I’m talking to people, being proactive, and working on not letting my anxiety take over and trying not to trigger my depression. It sucks, but I’ll be okay. I think.

I know that the universe works in mysterious ways and that everything happens for a reason. But sometimes I wish that it was easier.

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    Oh, Snarky, I’m so sorry. I’m super impressed by your outlook, though. It’s so hard to not just let anxiety take over–lately I just constantly feel on-edge and it’s the most exhausting thing and I hate it. But you being able to spin things like this gives me some hope.

    I hope you can find another job (one that you enjoy!) soon, whether it be in your current field or something entirely different. Good luck!

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      Remind me of this in like, 48 hours. This is my gut reaction. I know there are going to be a lot of moments of self-doubt, anxiety, and the like in the weeks and months to come. But I’m gonna try my damndest not to let them take over. That already cost me so much in the past. I can’t do that again.

      It sucks (it sucks so much) but I can’t lose sight of what is important and what I can control. This week has been really hard for me, emotionally, because it also marked one month since my dad passed. Ending on this note really doesn’t feel any worse than anything else I’ve been dealing with. Like you said, I’ve been a bit on edge for months now, and this feels like a strange release, even if it’s not the most desirable thing. Like, can it get worse? Probably not. And if it does, I’ll deal. (This is not a challenge, universe.) Life keeps going on.

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    I am sorry for your loss.
    Grief is hard and often ebbs and flows. Be gentle with yourself.
    Hope a new job or whole new path opens up for you when your ready.

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      Thank you.

      Learning about this grief firsthand is hard. Especially because it comes hand-in-hand with so many other emotions, and not always pleasant ones.

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    I’m so sorry Snarky. May God grant your father, the highest rank in Jannah and may he give sabr e jameel to those left behind. Ameen. I can’t imagine what you’ve been going through but I’m impressed with your outlook and your strength! Keep fighting, you will make it through (iA).🧡🧡

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      Thank you, it means a lot. It’s been a hard month, but I’ve been so blessed to have many people around to support me and my family; and because of the vaccine and distancing, I’ve had peace of mind knowing that we were safe.

      Ramadan is going to be hard, especially Eid. I hadn’t seen him in over a year, and the last two Eid’s were hard enough. I don’t know if it will ever be the same, but I know he will still be with me.

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    Oh Snarky. Thats a lot. You’re amazing for not letting the anxiety consume you–but please remember to allow yourself to feel all of it.

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      Thank you. This is what I struggle with the most – I am really excellent at denial, which is not really a skill anyone should brag about.

      It’s been hard, learning to tell myself that it’s okay to cry, even if it’s over something as stupid; but what was even harder was all the other emotions – especially the anger – that came with the grief. Those are the ones that I haven’t felt again much since the funeral, and I don’t know when they’ll be back. It’s mostly been sadness and missing him that I feel these days. Which is why the rest of it just feels so much easier in comparison. (For now. Ask me again in a week. I’m sure I’ll be a mess by then.)

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        Dont rush yourself. And dont push yourself. Be kind to yourself. Do what you have to do to get through. For better or worse you have the whole rest of your life to feel the whole range of emotions. And theyll hit you in unexpected times and places. I remember sobbing at some old lady in Walmart.

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          My brain is slowly coming out of the fog of the last two days and I’m trying very hard not to freak out right now. I just need to make it to Thursday and I’ll be okay. Apparently my coping mechanism right now is watching J-dramas, and I’m finally watching Itazura na Kiss: Love in Tokyo, which of course made me think of you.

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            She has adorable ears and great reactions. Her voice can be on the grating side. Enjoy!

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            I may love Kotoko. She’s so adorable and ridiculous and I would also fall in love with her if i were Naoki. Also, I just reached the college part and the entire tennis storyline has me in stitches. I appreciate that the actress did not mind making herself look ridiculous for the part. Her faces are the best.

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    @snarkyjellyfish
    First let me say how very sorry I am for your loss. Grief is never easy, and now being in the midst of the world as it is, might make some things harder. But you will get through this. Let yourself grieve for everything and celebrate the time that you did have him in your life.

    On being laid off. The first time I was fired and felt so much shame my dad told me “no one is worth their salt if they haven’t been fired at least once in their life” and you know what, that’s true!

    I’ve been fired and laid off numerous times and found that it was in most cases (about 99%) a blessing in disguise.
    But first you have to get through the shock and everything else that goes along with it.

    You sound like you have a good attitude – today – and something tells me that even on bad days you will still have a good attitude.
    So I’m wishing you all sorts of goodness and grace and ways to help with your grief.
    Grief – it comes and goes and that is okay.

    Sending you lots of hugs from Oregon… ((((((Snarky))))))

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      Thank you.

      I strongly suspect that a lot of the shock from being laid off is tempered by the grief right now. But you know what? I’ll take it. If that is what my mind needs for now, fine. I’ll deal when I have to deal.

      I was talking to my cousin, and she had the best description of being let go – “it’s yucky”. Like you know it’s not personal, and you know it’s not (always) your fault, but it still feels bad. And it’s like, no matter how rational you feel about the reasons, there is something not nice about it. It’s yucky.

      Right now I’m focused on getting through the next few days (hopefully shot 2 will not hit too hard) and then reaching out to contacts and putting out feelers. I have enough savings to make it through the next few months, and I’ll probably be able to find some temporary gigs as well to help with that. My cousin has been trying to fly me out to visit her, and I’m taking this opportunity to go and clear my head. A change of scenery is always good.

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        yep it is yucky – for now.
        I just got my second shot yesterday afternoon and to be honest I’ve kinda been down for the count all day. Thank goodness for working from home and the weekend.
        take good care and it sounds like you will be okay.

        A change of scenery is always good – especially in spring!!

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    aww…there must be a lot going through your head right now. The world seems to enjoy testing those that are kind and strong. Remember it is okay to let your emotions out. If you feel depressed, it’s okay. If your anxiety kicks it, let it. Once you completely let them all out, perhaps you will find peace within yourself to move forward. It’s not going to be easy but I think the fact that you are open about it, already shows how strong you are. Trust yourself and I hope good things will come to you soon. We have your back here.

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      Thank you. I’ve learned that being open is the best way to heal, even if it scares me and is hard. I can’t control my anxiety and depression, but I can control how much they control me. I have had times where my depression and anxiety have caused me to sabotage myself and lose opportunities, and I’m trying to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

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        At least you are self aware and willing to face it. Take your time to heal and don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

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    My condolences Snarky. You are going through a real hard time, but your attitude is strengthening many around you, even here in DB with your words. You are stronger than you think are real cliched words, but I do hope you get the strength within you to keep going and not let anxiety take hold of you. You got this! I wish for you the very best in your future job endeavors!

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      Thank you. I think I’m going to be needing all the strength I can get in the next few months.

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    Very sorry for your loss. When I lost my dad I didn’t cry until 6 months later (triggered by a drama). So don’t be discouraged if some days are unexpectedly worse than others — what you say is true, you’ll be okay, just hang in there. Wishing you the best for work in the future.

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      Thank you. I cried when we were at the hospital when he left us, I cried in the days following, I cried at the funeral, but no really big cathartic cry. I’ve cried a few times in the weeks between, when I think of him or remember something. But I don’t know when the dam will break. I’m trying not to hold my breath right now – just letting it come as it needs to. It’s just very raw right now. I made the mistake of watching a drama where the male lead was his profession, and that was rough. But also, he was nothing like the male lead – the total opposite, really. And that was weirdly comforting.

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    Loss is hard, it doesn’t go away but it becomes easier. My condolences.

    I completely understand about wanting to start a new career path but being hesitant because of age. I hope it works out in your favor. Fighting!

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      Thank you.

      The thing is, I’m not that old (thirties) but because I have a very specific degree (law), it seems like it’ll be hard to pivot. I’m still going to try, though, because all the biggest regrets in my life are from not trying. And I refuse to let the rest of my life continue to collect “what if’s”.

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    My condolences, Snarky. Grieving is so very personal, and everyone has their own way of dealing with it. If I were you, I’d just go with the flow, and not force or suppress anything. It eventually works out the way it has to work out. So much seems to have happened in such a short while with you. But I’m glad you are looking at things in positive light. Wishing you all the best. And the beanies here are always a holler away, if you ever want to talk or anything at all. Take care, lots of hugs and many wishes.

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      Thank you. That’s what I’m trying to do – not sure how successful I am being, but I know things will work out. I strongly suspect a large part of me is just trying to process so much information and it’s just too much right now. So I’m just taking things one day at a time and tackling one problem at a time. But I love this community and it’s always been good to know that they’re here. I honestly think this space has helped me work through so many problems, and I will forever be grateful for the Beanies.

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    Jelly.. I’m so very sorry for your loss. I ditto the above comment that WE have your back here so even when it doesn’t seem like so now, it will eventually be fine.

    I got depressed and anxious sometimes too , so I kinda understand what you are going through. Perhaps not all of it, but again, being able and choosing to acknowledge this grief and negative feelings already showed so much strength within you that is so impressive. You inspired many Jelly, to be themselves and to let them be proud of who they are, all of who they are.

    When I am sad, what I need is someone to laugh a little and tell me it’s okay to be like this. I’m telling you the same too. It’s ok Jelly. The situation isn’t ok, so it’s completely ok to experience all sorts of emotions.

    For the first time in my life I intentionally broke a plastic mug because I was so angry and I wasn’t able to do anything in that situation. I called my friend, cried and talked so much *** about what I had gone through. My friend laughed a little and said it was good I didn’t break a glass one so I didn’t hurt myself. Easy take on life gets you a long way and I was so grateful for my friend to have heard me out.

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      And *bows* sorry Plastic Mug. You have sacrificed yourself, perhaps without your intention to, but you saved my mental health. You’ve done well in this life, and I’ll try my best not to send your friends to you (soon.) 🥺

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      Thank you. I hope whatever I say can help others. It took me over a decade of working on myself and learning to acknowledge where I was hurting to know that it’s always better to have things out in the open rather than bottled up (though I still don’t always practice what I preach).

      The first thing I did was call my brother. He’s the most straightforward person I know, and I know he’ll be honest with me no matter what. He was the one who suggested I get out of town and take a real break. Which was perfect advice and something I had been needing and planning to do. Even though the circumstances suck, I’m going somewhere where I’ll be surrounded by people I can talk to and who can help me figure out my next steps.

      I also talked to a friend which was good. And I’ll contact some more people in the next few days. If there’s anything the last few weeks have taught me, it’s that I’m so blessed to have a strong system of support in my life, even if they’re scattered all over the world. I know I’ll be relying on Beanies too, even if I don’t post much. This community is just so wonderful and supportive, I don’t know what I’d do without it.

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        ❤️ It’s ironic that without a major crisis in life people don’t normally know who actually formed their supportive system. This is one of the blessings in disguise.

        I am forever grateful for the DB community here too. Without these kind Beanies I don’t know how else I could be happy sometimes.

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    I’m so sorry for your loss, Snarky. I pray that you find courage and strength to get through this challenging time.

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    My condolences to you @snarkyjellyfish. I hope things get better for you as time passes

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      Thank you. I know one day this will all just be a bad chapter in my past, but that doesn’t make it easier to live through in the present. But I have been blessed with an excellent support system and I know I’ll land on my feet eventually.

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    *virtual hug* a big one!

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    I’m so sorry for your loss. From experience I can tell you that that hole will aways be with you, and as time goes by you’ll just learn to live with it. Sometimes you’ll look at it with curiosity, others with a smile, and other with sadness. Grieving takes time, and every single person has their own. Don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s too long or it’s too short. It’s just the time you need.

    I’m also so sorry about your job, and yes, it’s such a terrible timing. Life has this funny ways, I guess. The year my mum left us was the year that everything happened. It was so overwhelming that I felt I would collapse (and I collapsed some months later and had to take a health leave). I too agree that things happen for a reason and you will find yours. Just keep on breathing and be compassionate to yourself, because you’re the most important person in the whole universe.

    And I’m really glad you have your second shot on the vaccine. You can’t imagine how glad I am. Every time I hear someone I know and care for gets it, I’m glad (and yes, I know and care about you beanies). Give it time to heal. We are here to listen.

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      Thank you. The weird thing is, I don’t even know if this is the worst or hardest time of my life – it probably is, but being in the middle of it, it doesn’t feel as overwhelming as I thought. But again, I only just got here, I don’t know what the next few months look like. I’m trying to just deal with things as they come, which means that today I’ve mostly been lying in bed recovering from shot 2. I’ll think about work on Monday – I still need to go to my offices and pick up things I left behind, and return my laptop and drop off paperwork. It feels so awkward. But like I said, that’s a problem for another day.

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        Take one step after another.
        I know it sounds cliche but time helps.
        And whenever you feel it’s too much, we’ll be here.
        Good thing about beanies is we are all over the globe and there’s a always someone on watch.
        *hugs*

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    I’m sorry for your loss. Right now you’re dealing with a lot, but you’ve got this. Take it one day at a time (*hug)

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    Hugs and much love from me!!! I’m sorry for your losses. It all happens for the best. My brother in law, a manager, was laid off this pandemic as well, but there’s a job opening for him in our city, so even though his family struggled to make ends meet, they may be moving closer to us! Things happen for a reason, but even if you don’t believe that, they happen and most times for the better.

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      Thank you. That’s what I’ve been telling myself. I knew I was starting to think about leaving my job, but I wanted to have a plan first. I don’t love the circumstances, but I will try to make the best of everything. I have luckily got savings to survive a few months, though I will be have to be extra vigilant budgeting until I can get some kind of revenue stream to supplement until a full time position comes along. And I know my family can help a bit if I really need it.

      But the hardest part is really deciding what to do next – continue in this field or really make an effort to find something I love? It feels reckless and selfish but maybe this is the kick in the pants I needed to really try something different. So that’s probably going to be my biggest struggle in the weeks to come.

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        We’re here for you if things crazy and need to vent!

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    I am sorry to hear of your loss and that you were laid off. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be but I know that it will get better.

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    I’m so sorry for your loss, Snarky. Your love for you dad was palpable through your posts on this site. I will pray for him and for your family. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un.

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      I’m also very sorry to hear about your job. For whatever it’s worth, I don’t think now is too late to start a new career. Age is less often a factor than you might think! That said, now might not be the best time for you. Nothing wrong at all with taking time to replenish your mental and physical reserves after this difficult month.

      I just hope that you are well mentally and that this doesn’t worsen your anxiety or your depression. Please take care of yourself!

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        Thank you. So far I’ve been holding on all right – with loss comes a lot of support, and that has been helping me a lot. I’ll go visit some family for a week or so also, and I think that’ll help keep me grounded and out of the negative headspace. I’m going to explore all my options work-wise, because I think a part of me will never forgive myself if I don’t at least try. But it’s quite scary, either way, so we’ll see what happens.

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    I am so sorry for your loss. I don’t know when you will see this message, but whenever you do see this, I just want to tell you that you are doing great so far!

    No words or condolences will ever make your grief go away, so I won’t tell you that one day everything will be ok. And no one can ever understand the feeling of loss unless one went through it all or going through it. As someone who lost my father 3 and half years ago, I just want to tell you one thing. Time is never going to heal it. Those are just empty quotes thrown around. But what I have learned in all these years grieving is that, its going to be the shadow following us around till end of our time. Some days it will so overwhelming, we think we can never see an end to it. And then someday it will be there, in the background, hurting but still from far away and making us to breath and live the moment. Its a never ending cycle. All we can do is, whichever those day coming knocking, just embrace it, feel it and look forward to the next. And eventually you learn to live with it and embrace it as a part of life. There is no other way. When everything is said and done, grief is the price we pay for love.

    And I am so proud of your positive mindset. Even when life is anchoring you down, you are fighting and hoping for the best. Please dont lose your +ve mindset. Better days than these shall come. Have faith! *hugs*

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      Thank you. I know that even though I have rationalized my way through a lot of the last month, that pain really is always going to be there. I’ve said so many things – he lived the life he wanted, he wasn’t suffering for long, I got to hold his hand one last time, etc. – but those are all words. I don’t know if I’ll ever be okay with his death, but I do know that I’ll be okay. You’re right, this hole will never heal, but as long as I don’t let it take over me, I can keep going. The pain will be there, but I can live with that, because pain is a part of life.

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    Please accept my condolences. I’m so sorry for your loss.

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    I’m so sorry for your loss, Snarky. Please don’t be too hard on yourself and let yourself grieve properly. Love and prayers from me!

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    Hey Snarky! I was reminded of you today. I hope you’re doing much better now after the break!

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      I am, actually! Thank you for thinking of me.

      I just got home on Monday after two weeks away, and then Ramadan started, so I’ve been doing all right. I really needed the break, and I feel okay about the whole job situation for now. Just trying to remain proactive and not dwell too much on the things I can’t control. It’s not easy, but I’m not overwhelmed either. One day at a time, and all that.

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        One day at a time is the way to go. Also Ramadan is also a way to keep yourself busy. Glad to hear that you’re doing fine.

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Day Fourteen
I chose my apartment because it has a lot of light. I sacrificed space for light, and I never regretted it once. When I moved in, one of the first things I did was buy a plant shelf. (I now have two more shelves, though one is technically a repurposed shoe rack.) I have lots of plants. I call them my indoor jungle. In spring and summer it’s so hard for me not to impulsively purchase a plant when I’m out.

When the weather is warm, I spend part of my Saturday morning tending to my indoor jungle. I love that time, just me and them. Feeling the leaves and the soil, checking for pests, problem solving when there are issues. My jungle has been a massive source of solace and joy for me this last year.

But this winter, it’s been rough. Both personally and for my plants. I lost quite a few in the space of month or so. I’m not sure what happened. Plants that were totally fine just died. Others just withered. One just turned brown almost overnight. There are two more there that aren’t going to make it. I feel so helpless. I was really upset. I am really upset. I feel like there’s a curse on my plant corner.

I’ve always known that failure is not a sign of personal failing. But it’s hard not to take this personally. I worked so hard, poured so much of myself into them. But nothing helped. It makes me want to give up. Even though while all this is happening, there are also successes – my other plant corner is thriving.

Maybe it’s because I have all the dead plants in the corner of my dining area, like a morbid reminder of my failures. I feel so drained these days, dried out and withered, just like those dead plants. I can’t bring myself to clean out the pots. I need to move on. I need to clear that space, both physically and emotionally.

That’s how this last year has felt. There have been some good things, things to celebrate, but somehow, all that I feel and see is the bad. I’m drained. Maybe those plants dying is a sign I need to take care of myself better. Or maybe it’s just a bad draft in that corner.

I’m going to try to focus on the new growth going forward. If I can’t clean up, I’m going to at least get those dead plants out of sight tonight. I’ll have to deal with them eventually, but I don’t need to force myself to confront it every day. It’s not a clean slate, but it’s a start. Sometimes just those steps are good enough.

This year has been a roller coaster. No one is truly okay. We’ve been forced to think about death more than we like. We’ve learned to hold our loved ones closer. We’ve all had moments of frustration, anger, depression, sadness; there hasn’t been much joy. And none of these feelings are new to any person — just living means you will experience these things at some point or another — but they feel more compounded this year. We don’t know what we’re going to see on the other side of this. It’s been tough, it is tough, and it will continue to be tough for a while still.

One thing I know, though, is that whatever happens, we are all stronger for it. Because here’s the thing – I have plants that died, but I also have plants that survived, that made it back from a being stripped down and almost dying. I have plants that put out their first new growth in six months. I’ve managed to get some roots on cuttings from some of the plants that died. That gives me hope – there is new life, even where there was death.

So, even though I’ve been uninspired this year for Love, February, you all have given me hope. Hope that reminds me that even when I’m drained and tired love exists all around us in many forms. Hope that I can feel fuller next year. Your love stories, the small things that make you happy, the words you have generously shared – they all gave me extra light in the last two weeks, when I didn’t know I needed it.

Thank you.

Love,
February

A picture of my shelf from better days, back in November.

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    I was literally just looking at fake plants because I want some plants in my background for video calls but know I’d never be able to keep real plants alive 😬

    I hope you’re able to figure out the issue with your plant corner and that you and your plants can thrive this year 🌱 They looked amazing in November.

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      Get a pothos! (Also known as devil’s ivy.) It’s really common, and very forgiving. It’s basically my recommendation for a beginner plant to everyone.

      It doesn’t need much light, and only need a bit of water every seven to ten days. And even if you forget for a week (…or three) it perks back up pretty fast. You can also just have cuttings in water and they’ll live happily like that. I bet you even know someone you can get cuttings from, they’re so common. They’re one of the easiest plants in the world, and are really nice and simple.

      I have three myself, including one that I’ve trained to grow up a wall by my bookcase, and another which twines around a shelf. But my mom has like six or so, and one is literally inside a nook and gets no direct light and is thriving. I used to find them boring but they really are one of my favorites now.

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        Thanks for the suggestion! It looks really pretty! And if it’s easy to care for, I might actually be able to keep it alive! 😄

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          I believe in you! The real key is not to overthink it, and if something looks off or unhealthy Google is your best friend. Or I’m happy to answer questions too.

          Literally the only time I’ve seen a pothos die is my brother’s because he way overwatered it. But I once forgot to water my mom’s for three weeks and they all perked back up within a day or two.

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    Urg this hits home. I’m the green thumb in the family but my plants didn’t do well either last year. Hope for a better year for all of us!

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      My mom is the one with the green thumb and I never thought I’d be a plant person, despite the fact that I did grow up watching and helping her garden. But this space demanded greenery and it’s been a great journey. I’ve learned so much about both plants and myself in the last few years.

      Despite the setbacks, I’m hoping maybe this is a sign that we’re in for a fresh start this spring.

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    For me, your plants all look very nice.

    Thank you to for inspiring me to take home some fresh flowers. I have always avoided doing the task ‘cause I know I’m not good at it. But it turned out fine and the living room was much more lovely. 💕

    We need to take better care of ourselves. That’s something I learnt from kind Beanies here, and that’s the thing I want to emphasize to you as well.

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      The best trick to keep cut flowers looking fresh is to trim the stems and replace the water every 3-4 days. I also add a bit of sugar to the water.

      And thank you about my plants. Sadly all the ones on the top shelf are now dead, as are two from the second shelf. I’m just going to hope I can replace them this spring. Maybe it’s a sign of a fresh start.

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    Getting the dead/dying plants out of sight is a good start. I am ….not a talented indoor gardener and dying plants always bring me down, but new growth is so cheering. If I can’t control the world I can at least look at my little corner of green.

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      I moved them last night, and I feel so much better this morning. I used to only have one or two easy plants, but slowly I built up my confidence over the last few years. I will say, usually it doesn’t bother me this much, but something about pandemic/winter/6 dead plants in two weeks just felt like a lot of negative energy at once.

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    Sending you lots of love isa. Move the plants away.

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      Wow. Snarky, not isa. I’ve no idea what brain fart happened there. 😀

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        😂 no worries. And thank you. I did move the plants last night and I felt a lot better this morning when I woke up.

        (Greenie! It’s been a while. How are you?! I haven’t seen you in these parts lately.)

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    so, people with a lot of plants.. how do you plan vacatons? going out for a month or so.. or are you tied down?

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      My last trip was 10 days and I used watering spikes for the plants that needed more water, and the rest were fine. I know a lot of people will ask a friend or neighbor to look after their plants when they’re out of town.

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    I’ve never really been a gardener, but my husband loves plants. He just moved some plants into larger pots this winter that were not doing well, and if they didn’t die, they thrived. Sometimes plants need new homes and nutrients.

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      I wasn’t a gardener initially either. It just moved from having a handful of easy plants into a hobby. My mom was the one with the garden and plants, but it’s only really been the last few years for me.

      My research makes me think this was a water/light balance issue, along with possibly some kind of draft. I did attempt to save one by repotting, but alas, it still perished. These were fairly picky plants (mostly ripple peperomia) but I had finally mastered them after losing a couple two years ago and almost giving up. I think that’s where a lot of the distress came from – it was like I finally mastered them and then had the rug pulled out from under me. I have one left, but it’s barely hanging on. I have three of its leaves in propagation tubes right now, so it looks like I’ll have something new to plant in spring. Not sure if I’ll get more of these anytime soon, but I’ll make the call in spring.

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    I admire you so much. I can’t have a plant. We don’t get along. Whenever I buy a plant, it dies, in days. I don’t buy plants anymore. That’s why I admire people like you who care about their plants. Those plants are so lucky they have you.
    And that picture is amazing. What a cozy place they are so beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

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      Thank you! I really spent a lot of time making this place feel like a personal sanctuary, which has been very helpful as I’ve spent the majority of the last year here.

      And I’m sure there’s a plant out there for you! I thought the same thing about myself a long time ago, but it changed after I found the right plant for me.

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    @SnarkyJellyFish I love your plant corner! A beautiful little oasis.

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      Thank you! I am actually quite proud of it, and it really makes me so happy to see all the greenery every day (I now have another corner for low light plants as well, but couldn’t get a good picture).

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Day Thirteen
I caught part of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast on TV today.

Beauty and the Beast is the first movie I remember seeing in a theater. I have this memory of my mother taking me to the theater and sitting in the with her in the dark. I was maybe four years old? I remember the end of the movie, when the Beast turns back into the prince, on the giant screen.

I’ve probably seen Beauty and the Beast a hundred times. I know all the words to all the songs by heart. I dream of Belle’s library. Disney movies are really one of the cornerstones of my childhood – Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Mulan, The Lion King, Fantasia and The Great Mouse Detective were part of the beginning of my love of stories along with the books my mother read to me, and the stories my father told me. I know these movies are not based strongly on the original tales and they can be problematic, but that doesn’t deter my love for them. They shaped who I am today.

But watching that movie today, it reminded me of being a child again. How the world was big, but as a child, your world is what the people around you make it. I had a happy childhood. We traveled and my mother took us to museums and plays and concerts. My father worked a lot and we didn’t see much of him when we were young. I don’t resent him for it – his hard work gave me so many opportunities. He still taught me to play chess, and how to read a map when we went on road trips, and showed us Star Wars for the first time.

As an adult, the illusions of my childhood have been shattered. It’s been hard to reconcile some of the happy memories with what I know now. There were secrets and lies, though they were all made with the best of intentions. It’s hard to be angry at that, but it’s also hard not to be angry at it.

At the end of the day, I love my family, as messed up as we are. And maybe in the end that is all that matters. The happiness I felt as a child was real, even if there is a shadow on it now. The love was real and that never changed. Those memories are still part of who I am. I’ve learned to come to terms and forgiven. It still hurts sometimes, but with time I have learned to understand.

So, what does this have to do with Disney movies? I don’t know. Maybe, like Disney movies, it’s okay to hold onto the things that are imperfect. The happiness of those times was and is real. It doesn’t change with new knowledge. I’ll always remember how much I loved sitting in that theater with my mother watching the story unfold.

Love,
February

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    I know all the songs both in Spanish and in English. I love it so, so much!
    I totally relate to your feelings.

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Day Twelve
Late, and still uninspired.

That feels like the story of my life these days.

I’m looking forward to the weekend – I plan to spend it reading and playing video games and catching up on dramas. I just put some chicken in the fridge to marinade, so I guess I’ll be cooking too. It’s not that work has been stressful lately (though I can’t say the same about life), but it’s more that I’ve hit a wall. I need time off and time away. Neither are in my foreseeable future.

So, I take the weekends to recharge.

I love waking up on Saturday, no alarm, just lounging in bed with a cup of tea and my kindle. Weekends are the only time I don’t make the bed – it’s sometimes the only way I can differentiate between weekdays and weekends any more. I don’t really go online much, unless I’m researching something (usually new music). I don’t look at my phone except to text friends and family. I’ve been reading a lot lately; I think I’ve read seven or eight books this year already? I haven’t done that since I was in high school. But I have a new book, so maybe I can finish it this weekend.

I’ll get up at some point and do my weekly survey of the indoor jungle (I really need to do something about the morbid plant graveyard in my dining area). I probably have to vacuum, and finish putting away laundry that has been sitting out for [redacted] days. But I know all these things will get done. There’s no pressure, no deadline.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend, and spend it doing something that makes you happy.

Love,
February

Today’s song is “Love You Dear” by The Solutions, one of my favorite K-indie bands. This song makes me happy and reminds me of summer and vacations and just generally relaxing days.

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Day Eleven
Lately I’ve been wearing a ring I took from my mother.

It’s a really tacky looking ring, though from a distance it looks…fancy. Yes, let’s go with that. It’s three little flowers made of tiny diamonds set in a gold band. It looks like it was designed by a kindergartner. I made fun of this ring when my mother bought it, and even she, who usually has impeccable taste, is aware of how gaudy it is.

The ring doesn’t hold a special meaning, but I love it nonetheless. It’s something precious to me the way my grandmother’s kundan ring is; or the is the necklace I don’t take off, which is set with a stone from a ring my grandfather got at his wedding to my grandmother. I never met him, and it’s the only thing of his I have. My aunt had the stone set in a pendant a long time ago, after her wedding, and she gave it to me when I finished law school. I was very sternly told not to let anything happen to it, lest I want to face the wrath of my mother and her three sisters.

These are all such silly, pointless material objects. To others they look like extravagances, and they are. They are certainly not things I would ever choose for myself. But to me these things are much more than what they look like. They could be made of paper and twigs and they would still be precious to me. They are the memories of my past that I wasn’t able to make in person. Of people who loved me and who love me. They’re my history and they’re the stories I’ll pass on.

My mother’s ring is something we both laugh over today. I’ll get it remade into something nicer one day, and maybe give it to my own child if I have one. But for now I wear it as is, a shiny, tacky little reminder of my mother when I can’t see her. (Though she calls everyday, so it’s not like I get a chance to miss her. Gotta love those Indian mothers.)

Love,
February

Here’s a lovely little song from Saltnpaper for you all today.

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    I have a ring too.

    Actually, I got many rings from my mother. However, the ring that I wear everyday these days is the one I bought myself -for me- when I was on a vacation. The ring was made with silver and ruby. I was told it was ruby but it’s so pink I usually think it’s pink sapphire. Anyhow, I love it. Somehow I think it complements me. It wasn’t expensive yet I like it the most (these days). I reminds me of the calm and relaxing place I bought it from.

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      I love this! Rubies are beautiful, and i love how wide the variety of colors are in them. I actually have several rings like this too. I’ve purchased a ring for many of the major events in my life: my graduation from university (silver and turquoise), starting law school (silver and opal), passing the bar (silver and opal again), then one for my first job (silver and black speniel), one for my current job which was a dream job (silver and blue tanzanite). I love that I can look at each of these to remember my achievements.

      Before, when I was younger and traveled more with my family I used to get rings too, usually very cheap ones, but it was more about the memory. I love that jewelry is like that. Pre-pandemic I wore a ring I had made last year with a single stone from an old ring of my mother’s. It is probably the first “big” piece of jewelry I purchased myself and I love that it still has a connection to my mother.

      I love that jewelry often has a story, and it’s always the best when it serves as a reminder of a special time or feeling in your life.

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