To remind myself what was going on, and to illustrate this expanse of silence, we will be exploring a photo listicle beginning with February 2021: Josie yawns and is adorable. No further caption required.
Shortly thereafter, I got myself into a mental bind with regard to writing and art, and it has taken this long while to untangle it enough to come back here and put some words down.
It was February 2021. I was working for BonLook, I was making CookIt meals (and occasionally having meltdowns in the unfamiliar space of cooking), and I was chatting with my friend Emma to get our stories into shape for Confabulation’s Shortest Story XI. I quietly gave my fantasy novel another crack in an orange notebook I’d written in before, keeping one page empty for notes and ideas and doodles.
Then March, and I keep pulling tarot cards, and I start learning the team leader position at work, and I struggle to add new routines to my life. It’s easiest to do something as an established routine, and I want to journal more consistently, and stretch every day, and feel better overall in my life. The fantasy project is going on in the background, for fun, but there isn’t any serious writing happening yet. Training and learning a new role takes a lot of energy.
In May, I turn to runestones (though I will barely broach the second futhark before getting distracted). I like to feel the cold stone grow warm in my closed fist, I like the sound of them rattling together in their bag, I like keeping one nearby to affirm its meaning. They’re also nice to look at.
Then we got COVID. It felt gross to think that although we had “done everything right,” we still somehow failed. While I worked from home, my boyfriend worked in retail, so the math was not in our favour to begin with. Fortunately, neither of us required hospitalization, and our sense of smell and taste were gone only long enough to startle us a little. After five days, things were looking up.
We keep on CookingIt, with a few mishaps, and certainly more meltdowns. My therapist has talked me through visualizing the outcome I desire, and preparing myself: watching videos, rereading the recipe, and seeing myself perform each step properly. It just feels like there isn’t enough time, and I spend a lot of my time feeling drained of energy.
We celebrate Orlando’s birthday in a restaurant, a first since having COVID. I remember anxiously awaiting the vaccine; health guidance was to wait 90 days after symptoms ended to get the prick. But we had a lovely supper at a restaurant with a couple of friends, it felt so “normal” that I got up to go to the bathroom at one point and was three full steps away from the table when I realized I’d forgotten my mask. What times.
Around this time, I also attended the Violet Hour Book Club and wrote the note “hopepunk” in my journal. I have no clue who said it in reference to which book, but I was glad to see it. Hopepunk. Nice.
Summer is weird. Hangouts with friends outside, although the numbers are down and so is our guard, somewhat. But then we can socialize while walking in the open air, sweating and hydrating, or on nicer days when the heat isn’t so cruel. I also spend a lot of time in Final Fantasy XIV as Vile Amethyst, a red mage who dispatches local gods and fights evil empires, like ya do.
September comes, and the COVID cases are rising and making me nervous, but I have two virtual appointments I’m looking forward to. First is my irregular meeting with my therapist, every few months to help with panic attacks or dissatisfaction with my work/writing/entire life.
The other is with École Setsuko, which I have had my eyes on for a while, another piece of advice from my therapist. Their site now mentions a payment plan, and my promotion in the late winter/early spring means I might be able to swing it, if I cancel CookIt. My therapist recommends I sign up for a day-long introductory workshop before committing, and that’s the plan.
I sign up, I sweat through it (which I was also warned of, therapy is fantastic!), and I walk home exhilarated and exhausted. I commit right away, because the workshop was on Sunday and class starts Tuesday. Within a couple of weeks, I know basic strokes, I have far more of an understanding of anatomy than ever, and I buy my massage table.
Life since September 2021 has largely been devoted to massage school, and practice, and homework. There has been some room for creative work, and there are a few things bubbling under the surface that I will mention here soon (but not yet, sorry). There was also a return to the Confabulation stage in March of this year.
Since then, I’ve continued to work as communications coordinator for Confabulation. I have continued to study hard and practice harder at my Swedish massage program, with the eventual goal of building up a private practice. I have continued to work at BonLook, though I am reducing my hours to accommodate a course for massage school.
I have also been writing, but the point of this post was to get all of the prelude out of the way. The real talk about writing is coming down the line, when I’m more sure of my feet and the direction they are taking me in. It has taken a while to claw my way to some space of decent organization, and this space is a tool for organizing myself and drawing a semblance of structure around my life.
It’s also a great way to take inventory of what I’ve been up to and realize, “Damn. I really have been busy. And that’s okay.”
See ya soon. Maybe at the Centaur, tomorrow? Confabulation is celebrating twelve years of true-life storytelling with Signs and Symbols (click the link for tickets!) tomorrow, May 28th at 8:00pm. I’ve actually been working with Emma again, helping her get her story stage-ready, and I can’t wait to see the final result!