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Gods, remember way back when I used to do Soulstain Saturday music shares? I'm bringing them back. Some of you may be groaning. I probably won't update every Saturday as was tradition... maybe once a month. I've been especially feeling music, lately. For new people: hello. Maybe you'll want to unwatch my journals, but Soulstain Saturday is an awful display of alliteration for the purpose of sharing music that slips inside my soul and stays for tea. I usually only share one song, but it's been quite a while since I've officially shared a soulstain.

You're more than welcome to slip some of your favorite music into the comments. In the past, I've loved grabbing a coffee and exploring different genres and emotions. You'll learn I'm partial to indie, but my music tastes spread all the way from classical to rap, rock, jazz, etc. I'm always looking to explore, especially what other people find meaningful. 

I've been following vocals as they reverberate into frosty air - like the last breath, a sacred thing. I've been doing a lot of self work. I release pent up emotion through music. Music is a beautiful, beautiful addition to our world and I enjoy many shades and faces of it. Here are some close to my heart. Music gives me echoing company for pretty much any emotion I'm feeling. Maybe some of you will find company or connection in these. And if people don't like these, feel free to let me know, too! I just enjoy music, but I don't need to share it here as a journal. 

I'll be getting to my notes soon, for those who have left some for me. Apologies. I forgot how many events are in December, for me. Too many birthdays in close proximity - lots of late nights. I've returned home after 3am a little too often this month for my old-woman mind, who likes me to get about 10 hours of sleep if I'm to be remotely awake the next day. I don't often achieve that, so then people get graced with little ol' excessive-rambling, yawning, overcaffeinated(or undercaffeinated) me. Hello. My eyes are aching a bit and I think I might toddle off and faceplant somewhere soft-ish, soon. 

This will probably be my last journal of the year. My best wishes to everyone over this coming week. Stay safe! :heart:
I sort of rhymed. I'm going through another spell where I hate everything I write. But finals went okay. Swell, even. I want to sleep for seven years, but I also don't want to waste my break and launch into the spring semester. 

I'm starting to lurk in galleries. If you'd like my weird frame in yours, let me know. Any particular piece of yours that you're fond of? Since I'm hating my writing, I'm also hating my feedback, but I'm doing my best. Sometimes, because of that, I just feel a bit out of place showing up in some corners. 

I get all... sensitive in winter. Winter peaks make me cry. It's awe, gratitude, fond yet sorrowful acknowledgements of time passing by. The world looks like a diamond. I feel oddly cozy. Thus, I love the songs that can roll it all into one. So. Here's this gem. Her voice is like smoke and wine. I've been loving it tenderly alongside fireplaces and windows to heavy snow-scapes, framed by bare trees. 

Not that anyone needs a snapshot of me. But. I'm also trying not to think about finals. So, here we are. Why hello.

Winter always brings me thoughts of stillness. It brings a marvel over how good the world looks dying - and once I would have said that cynically, but now I say it with respect and acknowledgment for the cycle. There is beauty here. There is love and warmth, and awe and wonder chasing each other on a frozen pond. There is a perseverant life amongst the death, along with the anticipation of Spring, and I feel at home here. Winter is an end and beginning - an exfoliant. I feel my bones thrum in recognition of something familial. I, too, am still before growth - the splinter, before the initiation of action. I walked through the snow with friends, and we wandered for over an hour. The river was gasping in relief at the snowfall. We marveled over a grouping of robins late to migrate, but they flitted around us, red breasts among white and bare branches and it felt like some metaphor for hope. I photographed a snowflake as the cold temperatures kept it in pristine condition. I'd never seen one so close in person. I included my first oil/Bob Ross painting below. I think acrylics are easier, but I had a blast making the winter scene. I gifted it to a friend, and he's making a grey wooden frame for it. I'm excited to see what he does with it. The mismatch-color-oil-painting was a personal side lesson in letting go of perfectionism. I sat with it so long to learn the lesson, and I feel very tender towards it. But I apologize if your inner perfectionists are screaming that the water doesn't reflect the sky, amongst the other flaws I placed there. 

The best news?? I'm being officially told to stop working as much on project2 at work. This is a bone-deep relief for me, as this project was really setting off my anxiety. I was basically its project manager. Apparently, I was recommended for the position. I'm guessing the government sunk at least a quarter of (if not a half) a million dollars in this study to have it sit there for 5 years, and suddenly they were dropping it in my lap and snapping their fingers and telling me to hop to it, because results were due in August 2019. My friend is the project manager of project1. She works 40 hours a week, goes to school part-time, and they wanted me to do that same job for project2 in less than 15 hours a week while going to school full time and also dedicating time to project1. Perhaps you can see where the anxiety kicks in. I couldn't say no to project2 if I wanted to keep my job with project1, so the sanity recipe required a research manager to say "simon says." and I will play that game, sir. So that is lovely. Now when the other research manager pulls me into her office to demand I sacrifice my first-born child, I can wave the ruling around like a radiant report card, sparking in the sun. It's only been 4 months, and I feel like I've aged with this project. Many tears were shed. But, hey, I got so many participants through this study, and now I can wave my sock around and proclaim freedom... or... at least somewhat more of it, because I just get to allocate my hours differently. I had celebratory coffee after the news. 

So yeah, on top of that and the Finals Freakout™ (which I will return soon from, in about a week), here's some of what I've been up to these past couple months:

Untitled by Nullibicity Untitled by Nullibicity Untitled by Nullibicity Untitled by Nullibicity Untitled by Nullibicity
Untitled by Nullibicity Untitled by Nullibicity Untitled by Nullibicity Untitled by Nullibicity Untitled by Nullibicity Untitled by Nullibicity

I attended a masquerade murder-mystery party last week. There were probably 23 of us in formal attire, squeezed into a small house. It was a lot of fun, though. My character was a reporter, so I played her real annoying. Everyone was scripted to hate me, so it worked out swell. Apparently, I was the main character. So. Let's just say little introvert me saw my round 2 cue card saying "congratulations, you have died. Go to the bathroom, squirt blood on your face and keel over somewhere" and thanked the heavens. I have never talked that long with so many people I didn't know, so I was comically horrified and proud at the same time. I still had to help people as a ghost, and let's just say I'm a horrible mime. I proceeded to not see another soul for 3 days. It was glorious. 

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And of course it would be some evil clone of mine if I didn't include a song. So here! I have an obsession with how smooth this song is, and how I drift off inside my head listening to it. Perfect mountain-top-viewing-in-the-falling-snow music. I have very specific playlists. 
I went out with some girlfriends, and we gave an intoxicated but enthusiastic rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody that had the small bar cheering and laughing - and the look on their faces when I hit that high note! I'm really fond of that night. Therapy has been ripping me open to leave me constructing a new skin, but I feel as if I am finally working towards a better version of myself. My therapist has been having me write letters, since I can't really get closure any other way. I've been writing a lot of letters. I stayed in bed for a week, was stupid and missed a quiz. I forced myself out to a murder mystery and actually solved the murder. I felt very Sherlock-y. I went running and cried under an overpass; I can't run from myself. I painted a canvas for the purpose of imperfection and found so much relief in it, after I could just sit with it. I am going to a psychology conference in Chicago, and my boss wants to see about maybe publishing a paper on my work, once we tweak my stats model a bit. I worked my butt off on this work project and forgot to prioritize a midterm, and I think I didn't do the best on it. I started to look at grad schools, and I'm terrified. But honestly, I feel alive, an electric current of ups and downs on a heart monitor which I can only observe in awe. This is living. Welcome. This is also dying. Welcome. Would life really be the beautiful, radiant thing it was if we weren't racing time to touch every corner of it? 

I've actually, surprisingly, really been enjoying editing. I still suck at it, as a disclaimer. I've shifted from poetry to more prose. Documenting thoughts. Though poetry still finds its way in there. So maybe they will never be interesting enough to post. Sometimes, I miss posting. A lot of my pieces aren't top quality. They aren't mind-altering. Don't put much stock in them if they find their way into your notifications... please. I will tuck them into their own corner. I just feel like if I don't post something soon, I never will. Everything will always feel inferior to what I once wrote, because it's no longer easy. It no longer comes like magic. Many papers have been shredded and thrown in my new writing process. But it's healing, too, and maybe I need to get it out of me. As a sneak peak of the weirdness: I'm currently working on writing about snails as a metaphor for love, and it's in in the style of a children's book. Like, what? So... please just ignore me. I take inspiration from anything these days. You may never have to be subjected to that... we'll see how it turns out, and if I like it. 

Matt released his new album. The week after he teased it I was already hoarding each song as the album slowly came out. The one below was the first one I stumbled across, and it's special to me. This new album has a mature shift, wrapped up in some blues, and his voice makes me want to put two hands around a warm coffee cup in my brisk, November valley. I'm thinking about buying some snowshoes and hiking when the snow comes. I love these mountains. I can recognize them immediately on the three hour bus ride home from the cheaper airport. 

I guess the point is that I'm trying. I'm messing up, but I'm also succeeding, and still finding something to enjoy in the process. And maybe I'll never stop being a mess, but maybe no one does. I think that's okay. I think it's okay as long as we're still trying. There is no success without failure, no happiness without first knowing there is sorrow. Life is just a giant teeter totter. You might as well laugh with the ups and downs, where you can. Enjoy the moments you can, and when they're too sad then try and enjoy the process. 

p.s. LadyLincoln is leading lung cancer awareness for November. It's not too late to show support and spread awareness, if you'd like to. It's also a nice show of support for those who have had personal losses due to this cancer. I am having the hardest time linking the thumb and the url, so I apologize, but it's over on her page.
"Oh, boy. Here we go, again." This has become my fond mantra for life: even on carousels as a kid, I loved to watch the world spin. Still, a carousel has seats. A carousel has other riders who are just as tired of being thrilled and just as thrilled at being tired... because what an experience! Experience is a process of learning - of living. Experience is a weirdly fond thing, regardless of content. Sometimes I just want to recognize the faces. Maybe I'll use that to write something sometime.

If y'all want to be proud of me, I scheduled a therapy appointment, and every time I pick up the phone to cancel it, I remind myself why I booked it. I can't keep running forever, as fond as I am of little distractions and details. 

Sometimes I wonder about love - well, sometimes I wonder about everything, or random things (exhibit A: a splinter in my piece Senses of Proportion). Sometimes it feels like a fairy tale we make up to get through the vertigo. But then I think that loving someone evokes emotion, and it wouldn't hurt if it didn't mean anything. I don't think one would really feel something if it didn't mean anything. There has to be levels to it since effort is required to "deepen" it. Perhaps few just ever take the elevator down. There's something safe in surface-dwelling. There's also something unfulfilling about it.

I've also been wondering a lot over "worthiness." Who makes that call? Beauty, for example, we usually ascribe to the person perceiving. But worthiness... sometimes it is revoked from our control, but too far away from others. It lingers like a deity, like a fact, like a science we shan't bother testing because someone has already proclaimed the results. But who is the scientist? If we are referring to it as a science, who decided the standards for the process? Why does it feel like I am inside a glass box and cannot grasp the answer? Why do I sometimes feel like I cannot grasp myself? The self is fluid, I think - everchanging. We are sculpted by genes, environments, experience, self-perception... but again, the sacred "worth" seems above these things. No doubt these things may help or hinder it, but still the essence alludes me. Still I feel the self is the key, but I've no final mold even to unlock anything. Sometimes I feel okay, and sometimes I feel so worthless that I don't want anyone to even look at me. I've been thinking a lot, lately (but what else is new). I think I love nature so much - feel most myself among the trees - because I can be real, in whatever form "real" takes, and nature is forgiving... without judgement. Worth seems tied to judgement. But again... the judge? This feels like another carousel, and I can only be on so many at a time. Perhaps for now I will dismount my white horse... or if we're being realistic: my black soot bunny. Shout out to those of you who've stuck around long enough for familiarity to that phrase. Also to those people: you seem unreal because it's been almost 6 years with my wonderfully enigmatic self. A badge for you. Thanks for spinning with me, within a spinning world, within a spinning galaxy, and maybe I've also been listening to Spiraling by Jens Kuross one too many times. I feel dizzy. 

I've actually been writing, and I know I say that a lot and never share but please stick with me. I feel like my style is settling into something somewhat more permanent (until it inevitably changes again), and I've been real inspired thinking of my life, my soul, and myself as a house. I guess I was kind of thinking about an old piece (Darling, Look at All the Fireflies) and I wanted to make a possible series. They are so juvenile right now, and I suck with editing which is why it takes forever... but I finally feel like I'm saying something worth saying in some of the lines.  It doesn't mean they will paint me in a good light, or that all will agree or even like them... but for once I feel like I am saying something worth writing. I want the interior to match the exterior so they just need time and work. 

Free To Use Sunflower Divider Free To Use Sunflower Divider Free To Use Sunflower Divider Free To Use Sunflower Divider Free To Use Sunflower Divider Free To Use Sunflower Divider 
Freaked out pointing emote Onto the songs! 'cause you guys know I've been collecting and hoarding old favorites. Because my thoughts are overflowing like a leaky roof climbing out of buckets, you also get commentary~

:bulletred:Lord Huron will always be one of my absolute favorites. As I grow and experience new things, my favorites shift back and forth between everything they've produced. I think that flexibility of love is why I love their music so much. Given my musings, this has been my current favorite:

:bulletred:The idea of feeling so bereft in life that when you're Death all you can think to ask is "what was it like to feel in love?" Man that punches me in the chest. There are so many metaphors and meanings in this piece.  I'm also a Matt Maeson fan, in general. His stripped versions are my favorites.

:bulletred:This one just hurts my soul and I like to listen to it with a coffee and a rainy day (which we've had plenty of here, and partly why I feel so keyed up. I get soaked just walking from classes, so I haven't been able to really get out much. I get sick easy around midterms and finals because, well, stress). I just love this one so much. I find a sense of kindred:

:bulletred:I'm also just a Sam Smith fan. His voice makes me want to sing, and the tone and quality of it makes me feel like I'm driving with the windows down, and the wind is blowing on my face. It's like that place between sleeping and waking. This version also has such a gorgeous woman with an exquisite voice to compliment his. Maybe I'm just striving for meaning, and the human existence doesn't make sense for much other than to love - romantic or platonic. Compassion is always needed in this world. Even if I'm hurt, I feel like I still have to keep going, and I know I'll be better for it. 

Love to you. Bright sunshine to you. I painted my first Bob Ross painting, and I didn't absolutely hate it. I've been painting a lot, still. I've decided I'll just make my way through the different paintings and paint over the ones I don't like. Or something. (:
I've been sharing them on Instagram. So. I've had that for a while. I'm trying not to let people I don't know very well follow me, so it can stay a safer place for expression... but if some of you wanted, I'd share that. You'd probably find a couple of dA's familiar faces lurking around in places. Knowing some of you for so long has honestly just left me feeling blessed. dA has been my safe place... even when I'm a mess. Even when I'm thriving. When I'm any form of myself. So, thanks. Nommy smile 

I needed to go back and read these for myself. Thought maybe I'd share them just in case. I don't think I'm wise or anything. I've just made mistakes, and I know healing and salves can come from anything. I just shared what worked for me. So I thought I'd offer it up in the hopes some might find some peace, and to try and take my own advice. I've lost this strong, loving voice - this strong woman. This despairs me so much. I've lost her, and she sounds so soothing, stable, like arms I want to live in once more. I feel small.  I'm going to get her and that voice back, or reconstruct it as best I can. I'll just suck it up, roll up my sleeves, and whistle while I work - or something. (:
When 'Today' Is Hard (a partial note to self)This journal doesn't need acknowledgement. When I struggle, I like to categorize things. I like to rationalize them, make lists, reaffirm my progress. I've received notes and I've talked with friends, and depression seems to be the leading issue begging for acknowledgement (it gets shoved away too easily sometimes). I thought my rationalizing of this issue might therefore be beneficial. Maybe some of you needed to hear it, too.
I recently told a dear soul that my way of coping with crippling depression is to take things one day at a time; nothing exists past today and the upcoming sunrise. I catalogue my responsibilities in a planner, and if they don't require preparation, I disregard them until it's time to deal with them. This brings me relief. It also keeps my vision from tunneling over things I can't control. It gives me back some control, in a way. But sometimes life kicks you when you're down. What do you do when today is hard? When you can't break it down further into doabl
To Learn To Love Yourself (if you need a reminder)Do your makeup (or look in a mirror) in the midnight hours, where there are no eyes but your own. Study its landscape and thank it for being your home. If you can't do it with your body, your eyes are an excellent place to find yourself.
Surrender your lungs to the cold nights, and the stars, and shiver.
This is you alive. This is you alive.
Stop living your life as an open wound. Scab over. Tell yourself, if you must, it may only be picked twice. Then heal. (Nurses are in actual hospitals, and friends only have so much time to keep you from bleeding out, no matter how much they love you or want to help.) Face a new direction; face east.
Meditate. Shove the embarrassment and stupidity out and sit on the grass, dig your fingers into the ground, and feel love. Feel love for anything. Let it fill you. Turn it towards yourself. You are worth this.
Keep secrets (not the bad kind). Do things you enjoy and tell no one about them; be a magnet for positive experiences, a
I'm going to be taking a break for some mental-health care, and then I'll be back. It's been hard for me to saddle some things and my own wellbeing. So I'm fixing that!  
I don't know if I've really been doing good on this site, but I've appreciated being back. 
Maybe when my sickness fully clears up will be a good time! I'm projecting that at a week or so. Fingers crossed! I think it's a sinus infection from the wildfire smoke. The smoke has cleared up, thankfully, but for a solid two weeks we had warnings about unsafe air quality (which, yeah, let me just stop breathing real quick), so I wouldn't be surprised if that was the culprit. My top teeth feel like they're falling out when I walk (sinus issues can pressure the upper jaw and cause tooth pain), so I'm looking forward to that ending haha. Never taking my painless teeth for granted again!

Stay bright, lovely lights. I love you. I've noted a few of you, and I've been taking care of myself, just running through some woods. I just need some time. You don't forget to take care of yourselves, either! :heart: My notes are still open!

Sometimes I like to smile and just tell myself these tall jungles of problems are just playgrounds for giants or something. Small in the big scheme - available solutions with a different perspective. I've been thinking that after I heard this song a while back. I really, really love this song. In general, there are so many beautiful things about it to love. It drips with nostalgia. I hope you can love it, too! 

I'll return soon, friends :heart:
Obviously I'm no Bob Ross. I just like painting. Some people said they'd like to see. Don't assume I think I'm awesome or anything ha. Just sharing. 
I am fairly decent when I can see the steps laid out. You can tell which ones are from classes, at least. I'm trying to do more original stuff, I just haven't been able to clear the kitchen for a few months. I could do it outside in the grass to avoid paint accidents, but 'tis wasp season and I usually paint weird flowers. Not a good combo. 

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I also have been taking okay pictures. Ireland made that fairly easy. These are just ones from a phone. I haven't extracted the others off the big camera, yet. I take a lot of pictures in general, and normally end up with a lucky shot after 500 boring ones, but there are definitely a couple on the big one I'm proud of. I'll see if I can show you, eventually. I've been taking pictures I can use for my screen backgrounds. I like nature and/or color-coordinated home+lock screens. No one had what I wanted, so I just made them. And voila, the top row. I'm hoping to get an artsy coffee grounds shot, and then when I pair it with that yummy-looking coffee (from an Irish café named after cats, mind you, so it's automatically more awesome), my semester is guaranteed the luck of the caffeine gods. 
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But alas, no writing. Writer's block continues. 2018 shall just be "year of the writer's block."

I mean, I could have just posted the pictures. But this is kind of a writing account that rarely sees writing? It just felt a bit weird, despite having done it in the past. I just don't know if I should do that or not. I don't know if I want these necessarily being out there more than a stash thing. I might think on it. For now, stashing and showing them seemed okay. 

I caught a nasty cold. I've been congested and feeling gross. I always manage, without fail, to get sick around the first week back and finals. Always finals. Anyway, had my first day of practicum today. I'm really excited to start observing therapy. I get to watch some autism and adhd evaluations, and then I also get to observe treatment sessions. I'm stoked! This summer, I got more involved in the lab I'm working in, and I've been doing neurocognitive assessments with kids. So the total amount of application hours I get to report (neuros are 2 hours a session) on my CV is looking good. I've only been working there a year, but I honestly can't imagine where I'd be without it: I've learned so much in so little time. 
I'll just keep trucking on! 
I had an entire thing typed out before, but it didn't seem appropriate. For the context of the below section, I will say that I was reached out to by two very, very close friends, who were brave enough to confide in me that they were suicidal on a particular day. It was distressing. I needed to say that sentence (1) for myself and (2) because I realize so many people who reach out worry about "burdening" people or making them worry.  If you have ever felt similarly, I can assure you, your loved ones' distress (or whoever you trust enough to come forward to) is just proof of their immense care and love for you, and they want what is best for you. It can be so easy to forget how many people love and care about you. If any of you ever need someone to listen, my notes are always open! I may not always express myself properly, but I've had very dark periods in my life. I've struggled with suicidal thoughts and attempts in the past, so I understand how dark and overwhelming it can be. Again: It's really easy to forget how many people love and care about you - the good impact you have in many lives. I know that sometimes hotlines don't seem the best options, either, but (if you don't feel comfortable reaching out to someone you know personally) I and people close to me have had great success with them and their very caring staff members. The National Suicide hotline is free and open 24/7, for those who live in the states. It's available for not only suicidal crises, but also emotional distress: 1-800-273-8255
Other countries have their toll-free hotlines, as well! 

Many places also have local hotlines, if you're looking for someone who perhaps understands your area or circumstance a bit better (should there be environmental or societal pressures of some kind) and many also have free options for counseling if you're financially strapped. These can sometimes even be attained through universities, should you be attending, or at a reduced cost should you not be attending. Counseling can also be achieved through Skype (voice, chat, and video), texting, or phone calls, should you be after something different. Just wanted to say that you're never alone, no matter how it might feel in the moment. And that you are so worth it.

I know that a lot of people tell you "it gets better," and that sometimes that hope is more a sword than the voids you can fall into. I can only say that for me, the little things got me through: the challenge of another hour. Birdsong. Sunrises. Coffee in the morning. My bare feet in the dew of the grass. Music was a huge help for me, personally. It's damn hard, but you just cling to what little lights you can find, and eventually peepholes become sunrays in the storm. You can only do your best. I still cling to those, and I've been out of the woods for over a year. It's definitely not an experience you just get over, so don't let anyone tell you there's a date for you to be better by, either. 

That seems like a sobering note to jump from, but I thought I'd share a favorite song of mine! Every time this song comes on, it makes me smile and want to dance. I'm a kitchen-sock dancer, what can I say? There's an energy about this song, and it's just so catchy! I hope maybe some of you can covet it in a similar way to me. Maybe it can even give you something to smile about? Feel free to tell me some things that have made you happy or proud, recently! Or if you've just had a sucky day, feel free to tell me all about it via notes. I don't care if we've never talked before: I'm always open to falling into new friendships and acquaintanceships! I'd love to hear from you! :heart:

I've been working on some pieces. They feel so inadequate that I actually wanted to edit them. Editing is quite hard for me. I guess it's hard for everyone, though! I've had some of them for a year. I need to stop letting them collect dust. I'm so close on one. Out of six stanzas, I have three feeling pretty solid (or as solid as they can for the way I built it). I really want to make it good. I might just have to settle, eventually. My mind feels like it might be being a bit harsh. It's progress, and I will be happy with it! Not everyone produces shining gems all the time. But yes, I'm not dying again! I'm still trying to write, it's just a bit slow.

I stumbled across this beauty in my quest to discover more gems, and I cried. This... I feel this. I can tell he feels it. That kind of expression isn't always easy.

Honestly, after these past few months, there was a tiny voice in the back of my head asking if my love was enough. If I loved like I was supposed to. Now, I feel like I betrayed myself in a sense by having those thoughts. I just kept trying to put myself out there, and I felt like I kept getting packaged and sent back to myself. I found a river of love inside so deep it made my chest hurt. I found someone I wanted to share that with. That person expressed their wish to help "fix" me. I have never retreated so violently. I may need improvements, but those are for me. I am not broken, just growing - learning, experiencing, living. But I view these all as blessings: I was sent back to myself to focus there. I need to make improvements, heal, grow and thrive. I've shifted my efforts to myself, and in trying to share love more readily with family and friends. This past month, I have felt so fulfilled that I am unsure what to do with the gratitude I feel. I guess I wanted to share that, in case any of you might be feeling similarly. There is love surrounding you. In the Earth. In your friends. In the smile of the barista who makes your morning cup. In the trees. Love is a song anyone can sing. Don't restrict its abundance in your life with rigid shapes for it to fall into. It doesn't always look how you think it's supposed to. As long as it's healthy and good for you, that's okay. You're okay.  If you keep trying to grow and love, you're perfect :heart:. That's all any of us can do.

"I'll have summer free this year." - Nullibicity 2018.

Well, I have had actual free time this year. I've just been investing it in people. This is good! I'm usually a hermit. I've been meeting people, rediscovering my hometown, traversing her mountains and sitting by her rivers. I dipped my toes back into the dating pool, and I think I'm good, for now. It seems ungrateful if I say that finding something that felt real scared me. It also showed me I have so much to work on in myself. I am grateful for that. I will do that work best alone - if I have someone else, I'll use them as an excuse to never get to it, to hide it until my issues with commitment, abandonment, and trauma float back to the surface and focus on them. Pretty sure therapy might actually be helpful, again, so I think I might delve into that. I would be lying if I said I wasn't upset that my past still has ahold of me in this regard... I don't want to live my whole life beneath someone else's hand. I've healed in most other areas, and I suppose this one just needs more time. Perhaps the right person, as well, but for now I'll focus on working on it. This, too, shall pass. 

I decided to actually spend money. No point working and saving if I can't enjoy it. I've been painting more. They have these classes I really enjoy going to, mostly because you can bring alcohol. Whenever you feel bad about your painting, you can just quote Bob Ross and drink more. Problem solved! I guess I could share them here sometime. We're doing a Monet windmill on Friday. Mine is going to turn out crooked, and I'll make up some symbolism for it. Or blame the wine. 

I've been doing aerial yoga at a studio. It's been so liberating.. the feeling of defying gravity? It's incredible. I get motion sick fairly easy, so I never thought flipping and hanging upside down could be so fun! There's nothing like the feeling of completely letting go, and being supported... knowing you can go completely lax and you won't fall. Well, so long as you've set yourself up properly in the silk. I've taken a few tumbles! 

I'm heading to Ireland before school starts back up. To meet my people, so to speak, and give my freckles a tribe. I'm really excited about that, but I'm trying not to jinx myself. 

I received a DD today. I'm really grateful. It was encouragement that even though writing anything has felt like pulling teeth, that just maybe it is still a bit enjoyable. I've been ping-ponging back and forth between trying to write, and then refusing to write, because I thought I was just doing awful. Maybe I'll keep trying, instead. 

Truthfully, I've just felt pretty useless on this site. My insecurities with my own writing have caused me to feel adrift even when trying to write feedback on other's pieces. I find myself thinking "Well, is my idea even good? Who am I to critique if I can't even write a paragraph of something?" I think I've been reading and writing a lot of research article stuff, and so writing seems so calculated, like the APA outline I have to follow. It doesn't feel free anymore. It isn't flowing. I never realized one of my major weaknesses was structuring things. I rely on flow and imagery. But writing doesn't feel therapeutic if I have to think so hard about it. Maybe that makes me a crappy writer. I was only ever a hobbyist, though, so maybe I shouldn't think about it too much. 

Here's a song! I really like this one. José's music, in general, is a treasure. (A lot of people don't know he also makes music under the name Junip. So, if you're a González fan, it's worth checking out.)

I've missed talking with some of you. My fault, of course. Tell me something about your life? Your summer? Or note me. To those of you who always manage to keep in contact with me despite my shortcomings in communication: I appreciate you. :heart:
My knees don't sleep, and direction doesn't really matter. Sometimes I wander just to wander. I've been having adventures and peaceful times. Maybe I've spent too many days running for a while, though, and it's time for walking. Maybe this metaphor doesn't make any sense. Let me start over. 

Hello. It's been a moment. I haven't really been writing, more experiencing, but I think back to the wonderful friends I've made here often. I hope you're all well. Feel free to leave a conversation in my messages, but don't feel obligated!

I quit my "civilian" job. So I will be working a single job for the summer and come school when it starts back up, but the idea is sort of refreshing. I get to watch how therapy and treatment approaches autism come fall, and I'm really excited for that. I just think it will be a meaningful and valuable experience. My psychology sleep lab will also be finishing up next year, and I'm anxious for the study's results! For those of you who are new, I'm mostly just a psychology junkie. Slash weird hippie tree-hugger. Slash music addict. Slash dork. Hola. 

Mostly, I've been listening to Lord Huron and Nahko and Medicine For the People (We Are on Time is a current fave from ol Nahko), and wandering forests and nature trails and lazy sunny days. I guess it just got me to thinking that this summer will be more open for me, for the first time in a long time. What have you guys been up to?

I have watchers here, and I'm not sure how many are active. But I take it you watched me for a reason. I have been taking more pictures lately, if that would interest some. I'll post a couple here in a second just to give you a sense for what that'd be like. Or I can just write daily musings down, they just may not be as interesting. Most are nature-based since I've been spending a lot of time with the earth. Just soaking it all in. So the question: what would you guys like from me?

Any thoughts?
Feel free to self promo yourselves, too. I can look into the works you really want to show off! Otherwise I'll just do what I do best and wander around random galleries. When I don't have direction I just tend to be a bit scatter-brained, so just pat me on the head if I'm wandering around at hours I should be sleeping. Finals are this week, so I'm just sleepwalking through them. 

All my love to you guys. x
I feel like I'm falling apart and yet back together. I don't know how to describe it other than its own cycle, and I will be better for it. For now, I'm just feeling a tad bit raw. I ducked into a bar that had some karaoke, picked up the mic and belted Hallelujah. It's just been one of those weeks. My throat still feels sore, but I think I've made some karaoke friends, so there's that. Ventured out into the snow for some photography too. I managed some I'm proud of, but I'll need to order another USB to get them.  
Some aren't a fan of Kaleo's cover because of the yelling he implements towards the end, but I dig it. There's just that slow progression of silk chords and riffs, and then this explosion. Maybe I'll practice this song. It'd be really great to get into, lose myself a bit before I found it again. I'm just in a normal rut/cycle and I'll come out the other side! Just feeling this today. 

The lovely LadyLincoln held a contest that closed at the beginning of this month, in which positivity was the central goal. Firstly, it's  an amazing concept, and one I think we can never get enough of in these current times. Secondly, if any of you don't know who LadyLincoln is, you should head on over to her page and drop her a greeting; she's basically the glue of the literature community and is a true sweetheart.

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The Winner: WhimsicalBlue
Title: Unity

Unity in Diversity by WhimsicalBlue

It can be difficult to combine text and images, but I think everything really came together in this piece to offer an evocative experience. If I can inject a tiny bit of a ramble, I think the lesson of community is desperately needed. This artwork to me expresses the desire for success and happiness, achieved through hardworking, empathetic individuals willing to connect and grow through supporting and leaning on others.

Congratulations, WhimsicalBlue! :w00t:I've noticed you give a lot of features out, so I'm really happy to be able to repay you one!

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WhimsicalBlue's Other Beautiful Works:
Music of Loneliness... by WhimsicalBlue
Poetry of Earth by WhimsicalBlueMemories Unfaded by WhimsicalBlue

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Hello, all! How's life treating you? I am fabulous, because while I have two more exams and another measure to find for my study, I got permission to use a measure that can't really be found in any other form. It's such a relief! I'm grateful the psychologist kept the measure around for 9 years and was willing to pass it our way! I'm getting really excited about this study!

I went out last night with a group of amazing people, and I had the most fun I've had in a while! It was a really nice break! I only slightly regretted it in the morning :giggle:

This soulstain may leave more of you on the fence, but the emotion... that powerful crescendo... I just feel this one on a deep, personal level. I hope some of you can like it, as well. 

Soulstain Saturday is an awful display of alliteration for the purpose of sharing music that slips inside my soul and stays for tea. It is also a series where I realize I can't count (:rofl: I numbered the last couple oddly, I realized. They have been fixed)!

You guys are absolutely lovely. It has been such a pleasure to know you, on all the varying levels. Thank you. I do not find myself able to befriend others easily, in my real life. I find myself in conflict with how to express myself openly and genuinely, while toeing around this line everyone draws around themselves - the masks we all wear to hide from such vulnerability. Sometimes it feels like the artificial is winning the war of authentic living. I desire to shake some people I meet, for a glimpse of some form of spark behind their eyes. I wonder too often if perhaps I am just living too eccentrically, too chaotically. The human experience, though, I think is this chaos of beautiful happenings and dark pits... of loving and knowing balanced with the unknown and loss. To be able to feel the freedom to be myself here, in all my chaotic forms, and to reach out with a similar openness... it is a medicine. It is a relief. It is a healing art. Thank you.
In realizing the challenges I've been having with being closed off and cemented over (cutting myself off from most people - of feeling like everyone is holding themselves inside a cage, and that I can't stray out of mine), I've been recently feeling this desire to touch others with the same level of knowledge I have of myself. I am starving for relation, for the meaning in true connection. This has just been a chain of thoughts, which have led me down a road of contemplation. It's a consuming road, but I feel the journey has benefitted me. I feel in acknowledging it, too, perhaps I can go about transforming it. 

This soulstain comes again from Matt Corby. He is a singer I covet dearly, and I do not share him readily. However, this song is pure expression - raw relation. I also thought it fit some of the conflict I was contemplating. If you could enjoy any of these soulstains, I hope it would be those from the brave Matt Corby. The courage of letting one's soul be seen, shadows and all, and of howling one's essence unapologetically... I am trying to learn this. 

I'm frustrated with my research, at the moment. I am putting together an independent study, and I can't find the right measures for two variables. I have no doubt I'll figure something out, but for right now it's causing me some unease. I'm due to present in front of some of the graduate program's members and advisors in a little under three weeks. I need the approval so I can request an ethics committee to sign off on my study. 
With a different study I'm doing related to my lab's work, I found the opposite results of my hypothesis, but those results were significant. But lord, if I hadn't have found significance in some area, I would have been in trouble (null findings don't make those overseeing me "look as good" as significant findings). Isn't the integrity of science more important? I'll stop ranting now. It just pisses me off that researchers will claim you need to keep by the integrity of the science, and then punish you for not finding significant findings, which is absolutely impossible to achieve every time. Maybe I'm just thinking about this wrong; I'm probably letting my frustration obscure too much. 
I just need to go for a walk or something, blow off some steam. And I really need to remember that I'm a student of the college before I'm its employee, and I need to start taking care of my classes first. Dang, I have some work to do, haha. But it's okay! I'll get there! 

Here's a soulstain from Dermot Kennedy, whose expressive voice begs an audience and holds them in a sort of rapture. You feel compelled from beginning to end. Or maybe that's just me. He builds this crescendo of meaning. I think An Evening I Will Not Forget is probably one of my favorites. (Can I also just say that he has stupid-pretty hands?)

What's something that has made you smile recently?  Nommy smile 
Hi, hello, hey. Perhaps?

Guys, I suck with some things. I've been trying to put my foot down in certain areas, create boundaries, so I'm not being swallowed whole. So far, I think it's working! I just went from having two meetings a month to 8 in the blink of an eye, and one leaves me 10 minutes to run to my next class. I just am forgetful already, so I'm a little hurricane of disoriented half-memories and a ton of spontaneous ambition that I sometimes even forget to let finish its course. BUT! I'm chug-chug-chugging along. I'm going to kick this program's butt. It's stressful, but when it gets warmer I'm disappearing into the woods for some camping, and taking to the rivers for some kayaking. Blissful restoration!
Do you need a smile today? This gave me one! (: I know, I know... a bit cliché, but damn do I just want to tap my feet along to this. I've been feeling a bit dysfunctional lately in my relationships, so singing along helps (in my experience)! It's a good reminder! Especially for the disheartened :hug:

Tell me a project you're working on? Or a trip you're looking forward to? Or share a song that is stuck in your head! 
I might not be around that often... and I'd sort of like to remember to leave conversation starters... in case anyone still wants to chat between my travels into the abyss.
Hello, lovely lights. x How are you all? Sorry, I've been taking this break as a break: it's been much needed. I've been able to shrug off the jacket of fatigue and feel a lot better! I'm grateful for this. I've been connecting with friends, and a recent reunion brought me so much warmth and joy. There's something about old friends... it brings back a part of yourself, and the feeling of being in their company is unparalleled. I've just been pretty disconnected from everything here. What have you all been up to? Made anything you're proud of? Feel free to link the thumbnail - or send it in a note!

I was sitting with my coffee when I remembered tomorrow's date brings my birthday. Do you ever reflect back on birthdays past and see how much has changed - and how little has changed? Is it possible to have that conflict coexist? Birthdays used to be something I dreaded and avoided, because they usually brought conflict, heartache, and isolation. It has been a long time since then, and I've not the same naïve mind that could not look outside itself to enact change and different perspectives. Although older, I'm still young, and so foolish at times, but it feels so good to know victimization is self-imposed through my actions and choices. It feels so good to know there's a whole big, wide world out there, and that despite mistakes, there are always new choices and destinations. 
I usually don't do much on my birthday, but it seems some friends want to take me out for drinks. It sounds nice. I'm looking forward to it, and this new year. It's not for resolutions or anything... it just feels like a fresh perspective. It feels like freshly healed skin. I'm going to focus on caring for myself. I received Richard Siken's new poetry collection, have already read through it once, and I'm starving to turn its pages over and over until the words become some sort of kindred. I also received a copy of Pride and Prejudiced, since I lost my previous one, so I'm looking forward to loving it until the spine bends and creases.

This whole year has just felt like a cocoon. I'm grateful for the experience. It's shown me it really doesn't matter what is in my life, but who. 

"and the best part of a bad day is knowing it's okay." Here's one of my coveted favorites. 

Soulstain Saturday is an awful display of alliteration for the purpose of sharing music that slips inside my soul and stays for tea.

Squeaking by in the nick of time to make Saturday, but adding these numbers makes me realize how quickly they pass. I've been busy working and thinking about time. All I know how to do is live. It brings panic sometimes to think one day I just... won't. Such is life! Sometimes I just get those thoughts, and they can be pesky. However, I feel the warmth of the season, and I cannot control time. I can only do with it what I will until there is no more. I reunited with an old friend, and it brought me so much warmth. For the first time since I started college, I'm being hit with the hunger for books again. I'm currently digesting Jane Eyre and loving every letter. I forgot what it was to lose myself in a book... I let textbooks steal that joy a bit too much. I'm excited to have it back, and I'll hopefully be rereading some of my favorite novels! I wish you all warm feelings and love this season! Best wishes!

This soulstain comes from Gregory Alan Isakov. There's something so fragile and wistful within his songs, and the strength they pack creeps into your mind after their completion. I'd compare it to a gentle snowfall, watching the snowflakes fall and quietly tuck the world in, and you are left with diamonds and a pocketful of thoughts. You can just tell there is a deep authenticity to his music. It's a bit tantalizing. I don't know how to properly put into words everything these songs mean to me (especially The Stable Song), so I will let them speak for themselves. I really hope those of you who enjoy these enjoy this week's showcase, in particular.

Soulstain Saturday is an awful display of alliteration for the purpose of sharing music that slips inside my soul and stays for tea.

I cut all my hair off, and change is a tangible taste on my tongue, like the aftertaste of a snowflake. I feel a bit rebirthed, and I think it was needed. Perhaps I just needed the physical reminder that change is not always bad. Without it, there is nothing new. There is no growth if the environment never allows a little more sunshine, a little more room. It's important to remember, too, that sometimes you need to lose something to make room for such things.

Bow-chika-wow-wow! Someone please find me a confetti cannon, because I am officially done with finals!! On top of being physically ill through the whole ordeal, and one morning after a snowstorm where I was slipping and sliding into my parking spot and having my butt hit the seat right as the 7:30am final started, I did dang good! Who even decides that an undergraduate-level, cumulative final should be worth 40% of your entire grade?? But I did really well on that final. I want to kiss every coffee place I have visited this semester in gratitude and relief. So it's a celebration day!!

This soulstain is one I love to sing along to with a coffee in one hand and with some god-awful vocal improvisation. It's also from the god Lord Huron. Enough said, as far as I'm concerned.  I distractedly heard Lord Huron for the first time in a study session and passed it off as perfectly ordinary. I added it to some lists, anyway. Then one night the songs cycled through, and I fell in love. There's this sense of transatlanticism with the deeper parts of life, identity, and the human experience,  wrapped up into their whimsical, light-hearted tunes. All of Lord Huron's music meets my soul with the name "explorer." I just love them! It's hard to have favorites, but they are pretty far up my list. Hopefully this soulstain will find most of you as fondly as it finds me. I can't hear this song without nodding my head with a smile.

Happy holidays to everyone! I hope you're all warm and happy. Anyone have any wonderful holiday plans? I hope everyone gets to see their loved ones and relax for the time they can. For the workers powering through the holiday season, I feel your pain, but sometimes it's nice to view it as giving some brightness to someone's life in a warm-hearted season. I used to really hate Decembers. They were full of ghosts (of memories), and the hole depression waited to fester in, but this year I've been embracing its beauty and the way it seems to transform people. It's nice to be in awe every now and again!