June was kind of a sad month for me. It marked the point of culmination for many threads running through my life. I’m an intensely anxious person, and you had better believe that I was drowning in my own existential dread for the entirety of those thirty days. There were definitely high points and low points, but this month has been pretty consistently insane. I’ve spent most of this month (July) moving and waiting for my internet to be installed, so the delay has been wild. I apologize. Here goes the June Month in Review, posted more than halfway through July.
What I did–
- Quit Smoking! Quitting cigarettes was something I’d been working on and planning on since January (I actually really followed through with my resolutions this year, honestly). Even through the fear of change and the stress of moving, I held on and remain smoke-free to this day–a solid 48 days later! I wrote about my experience quitting smoking, and you can read that here.
- Ended My First Full Academic Year as an Educator I spent the 2016-2017 school year as an after school program literacy educator for Manhattan Youth. I spent the year teaching sixth-grade students reading, writing, and study skills. I will not return to the position next year because I have already secured a new, similar position that is full time. I find myself missing my coworkers and students even more than I anticipated. I love being an educator. I love being pushed, even gently, out of my reserved and introverted comfort zone and I am so happy to have had this experience.
- I Changed Up My Approach to Mental Health Care I found a therapist back in April through the mental health services department at my graduate school. I was paired with an elderly Jewish woman with an office on the Upper West Side. Good old Barbara was a strange old girl. She asked no less than fifteen times what I needed from her and from our time together. I told her, but she never seemed to understand and would often become fixated on meaningless turns of phrase, even when I insisted that it really did mean very little. When I secured my new job and apartment in Brooklyn, I felt it was time to let Barbara go. I have decided to try my luck with pharmaceutical intervention. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication will hopefully provide a new perspective on things.
- Found an Apartment There is an entire post coming down the pike about the absolute insanity I’ve gone through with this move, but that happened mostly in July. You can read the beginning of the saga here.
- Bought Stamps Okay, sure, I do this all the time. But these stamps are Wonder Woman and they are REALLY COOL.
What I Saw–
- Orange is the New Black Season five of this viral Netflix original dropped onto the streaming giant in its entirety on June 9th. I watched it a few weeks later since I was waiting for my best friend, but this season was by far the worst since they got rid of Larry. More to come on my critique of the season soon.
- Star Trek: Voyager The reason I had to put off OITNB this season is because I got my friend really into the seven-season series of ST: Voyager. One of my favorite Treks, it’s the second time I’ve seen the series in its entirety, and it never ever disappoints.
- Star Trek: Beyond While Trek from the 90s is always quality, I have never been more disappointed by a film than I was by Star Trek Beyond. I waited an entire year from when the film debuted in theaters before catching it streaming on Hulu. I’ve never been a huge fan of the alternate JJ Abrams timeline other than the good it’s done bringing new Trekkies to the franchise. It was clear, even after the much more quality 2009 reboot, that Abrams and the team took many creative liberties with characterization and major timeline shifts. The second installment was also controversial for the casting of Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan.
Star Trek: Beyond felt even less well thought out than that disastrous casting. Like many blockbusters in recent summers, it is clear that the film was made for a foreign audience, not one familiar with the Trek franchise stateside. Abrams left the project for Star Wars and it comes as little surprise that the project was ultimately helmed by Justin Lin of the Fast and Furious franchise.
- Cooking Shows My absolute favorite way to avoid my problems is to binge watch various cooking shows. My favorites are Cutthroat Kitchen, Chopped, and the Great British Baking Show. None have produced enough episodes fast enough to slake my thirst. I’ve turned to weird alternatives.
- Chopped Jr. Literally chopped with slightly easier ingredients and contestants under sixteen. Kids are so cute and they all do so much to support each other that it really lends some hope to the human race.
- Worst Cooks in America This show was way better in the earlier seasons because it seemed like they taught these “worst cooks” real and useful kitchen skills that the average person might need to prepare meals on a regular basis. It felt like an organic evolution in skills. It felt like an organic evolution in skills. In the more recent seasons, the crew seems intent on crazy wow factors that involve unskilled cooks preparing restaurant quality dishes they’ve never heard of. The show now seems to thrive on beyond-all-odds successes or obvious failures, which is annoying at best.
- Masterchef: Somehow, my cooking show addiction had skipped over Gordon Ramsay entirely up until this month. A Food Network loyalist, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to access Food Network content without a cable subscription that I–a Millennial–clearly don’t have. When I found I could watch recent episodes of the network mega show on my friends’ Hulu account, I succumbed finally to the culinary television empire that is Gordon Ramsay. And, I must admit that I did not hate it. The process of eliminating would-be competitors becomes tedious after a certain point, but it does fulfill my need to know as much as I can about these people.
- Comedy I’ve really been getting into comedy with my boyfriend in recent months, which has been a whole lot of fun. In June, we really got into the work of Jim Gaffigan and how truly funny wholesome comedy can be. Conversely, we also watched Chelsea Handler’s Uganda Be Killing Me special and laughed our asses off.
What I Wrote–
I wrote and published a few blog posts, and continued to work on developing a few ideas. I will hopefully have a fully fledged new WIP (work in progress) in time for NaNoWriMo this fall.
What I Read–
Since June was the first month I’ve experienced in a while in which I wasn’t studying and working simultaneously, I spend most of the month finishing books I’d already started. I finished It Is Well and The Magicians, and both were extremely fulfilling. I also read several copies of the several magazines I’m subscribed to.
I did read one full book in its entirety this month: Quiet by Susan Cain. Quiet is a study into introversion. Cain studies what she calls the “Extrovert Ideal,” in which the business world and modernity in general places extroversion and extroverted traits on a pedestal above all other forms of personality traits. Workers in nearly every field are expected to be gregarious, outgoing, proactive, and bold. The space that has historically been carved out for those who are quiet, reserved, shy, introspective, or self-sustaining have shrunk and been devalued, leading to a higher rate of depression and dissatisfaction among the 30-50% of the population that identify as introverts. The book provides tips and tricks for introverts navigating an extroverted world, as well as affirmations of the continuing value of introversion as a trait.
June was a great month. July is shaping up to be a pretty good one as well, and I look forward to recapping this month SO MUCH. Comments, questions, alternative opinions, or suggestions, please leave them in the comments below!