July 2017 in Review

I literally cannot believe that July is already over. It feels like just yesterday that I moved into my new place, and the summer is now very quickly coming to a close. I’m beginning to feel a little bit overwhelmed, but I’m feeling more confident in my abilities than I have in a really long time. I have some really big decisions to make in the coming weeks and months, and I can finally, for once, see something of a clear path to achieving something that is very important to me. Cancer season was good to me. I pray that the Lion is just as protective.

What I did

  • Started Citizen Schools’ National Teaching Fellowship: I was accepted into the Fellowship back in April, but our official start date was July 26th. This fellowship program, administered through the education reform non-profit Citizen Schools and AmeriCorps, is something I’ve really, really been looking forward to. Over the past year, my academic and professional goals have shifted. If you’d asked me one year ago, my dreams steadfastly rested within academia and with working on research and instructing college-aged adults. Working with sixth-graders in an after school program last year lit a fire in my soul. I’ve been reflecting on the possible avenues I could take within the realm of education. Typical classroom instruction is an option, but one I am hesitant to throw all of my weight behind. Something that I’ve really been considering is education policy or curriculum development. Helping kids learn, particularly New York City kids affected by the both opportunity and achievement gaps, has become a passion of mine and I intend to see it through. The only difficulty with that is that the Master’s Program in which I currently study is not optimized for this transition. It’s something I have to consider deeply over the next few weeks and months.
  • I Moved: I know y’all are sick to death of hearing about this move, but it happened in July, so it’s gotta be here. If you’re just joining us, a full recounting of the harrowing experience can be found here.
  • Pharmacological Treatment for Depression: In the final days of July, at my regularly scheduled gynecologist appointment, I spoke to my doctor about my struggles with increased depression and anxiety and my continued difficulty finding a therapist with whom I am comfortable and compatible. I told her about my surprising success at vanquishing my nicotine addiction and my fears about relapse during the semester. I told her of my research into medication options and my experience with previous pharmacological interventions. This was a consultation that I was very well prepared for. I had done hours of research and reflection before the appointment, and it really helped boost my credibility as someone who was responsible for my own mental health. My doctor was extremely happy to help and I ultimately left the office with a prescription for Wellbutrin. I have only been on the medication for one week, but I have already begun to reap the benefits. I feel far less anxious, particularly in social situations and find it far less difficult to engage new people in conversation. I feel less weighed down by dark thoughts and urges. I can’t know how I will react to the medicine long term, but if the results I have already seen continue, I believe that I have made the best choice for my own mental health and well-being.
  • Rekindled my Spirituality: I started getting back into the various spiritual practices that I had let fall by the wayside while things were up in the air. Alongside taking charge of my mental health, I am treating myself as a whole person and improving as many parts of my life as I can.

 

What I Saw

Since I moved and didn’t get internet installed in my new place until nearly three weeks in, I did not get a chance to see as much television and movie content that I would normally have seen.

  • Netflix’s The Standups: Netflix piloted a short series of thirty-minute comedy sets performed by a diverse group of comedians. My boyfriend binged it as soon as we had a solid enough internet connection to do it. Each comedian showcased has a different style and flair. The one thing they all had in common was quality comedy. Fortune Feimster, Beth Stelling, and Deon Cole were our favorites, but every single person made us laugh.
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming: As my July movie theater gift to myself for quitting smoking, I saw a Marvel movie in the theater. In my opinion, that’s far and away the best way to experience Marvel films since they depend so much on loud sound effects and a truly unique interactive experience. People are not afraid to shout out and exclaim in surprise. You truly experience the film collectively in a way that most films lack.
  • gotGAME OF THRONES: I don’t think much of George R.R. Martin. I think he’s the closest thing we have to a troll in the literary world these days. He purposefully delays book releases so he can crowd source his fiction. His plotlines are too dense and poorly conceived to truly be compared to Tolkien. That being said, I’m a very big fan of the HBO show. The first ever episode of the show that I watched was the Red Wedding, but I went back and binged everything after I saw it. I was SO hype for the beginning of season seven and it hasn’t disappointed yet.
  • I’m also (slowly) working my way through House of Cards and Man in the High Castle. I’m currently watching season two of both shows.

 

What I Read

  • The Magician King by Lev Grossman: The Magician King is the second book in the Magicians trilogy. I’ve just started the book, and its contents have yet to be covered by the show. Each page I read, each pithy turn of phrase I find, I long to see how the showrunners at SyFy will adapt them.
  • The Mermaid’s Sister by Carrie Anne Noble: Another Kindle Unlimited find, I’m only about a third of the way through the book. The book follows a magical cast of characters like “Auntie Verity,” a witch who adopts changelings and found children. The main character of the story was brought to Auntie Verity by a stork the day after Auntie Verity had taken in a baby mermaid. The main character is uncomfortable with the concept of growing up and becoming different from her sister. It’s a really cute story so far and I’m really excited to see how it ends.
  • lbrLeVar Burton Reads: Okay, so this isn’t really a book that I’ve read, but I (like many of you, I presume) was a HUGE fan of Reading Rainbow as a kid. A Trekkie in my current life, LeVar Burton will indubitably hold a place of prime importance in my heart for many years to come. However, LeVar has come out with a new podcast called “LeVar Burton Reads” in which he selects one short story per week to read. It’s like “Reading Rainbow” for adults, and it has been the most delightful addition to my week.

 

What I Wrote

I’ve been writing a lot this month! I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo this month. My goal was 20,000 words as a prep for November’s novel challenge. I fell short at a little over 18,000. I know that it will probably be many years until I finish NaNoWriMo again, considering I’m working full time and attending school part time now. I’ve never been so busy in my life, and it’s really having an effect on my productivity. I published five blog posts this month as well as did a lot of journaling and personal essay writing. I’ve been developing three novel concepts that I’m exploring as both literary, adult fiction and YA. I figured I might as well blend my two passions, fiction and education, and write YA. Hopefully, one of the ideas will emerge as the victor by November for whatever my attempt looks like this go around.

July was INSANE. I’m glad it’s over, but I’m afraid of how quickly August will escape us all. Excelsior, everybody. We will all get better the further we go and the more effort we expend. The world is crazy, but we are powerful. Happy Leo Season!

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