So I had a blog post written up for today

It was (is) long and rambly, talking about a new projects I’m working on and some other random thought dump-type stuff. I’ve rescheduled it for Monday, so keep an eye out if you want.

Today, though, I woke up to this weight sitting on my chest, like I’d fallen asleep holding a child, a pressure like fingers wrapping around my throat, not choking, but reminding me of the air going in and out in a way that is usually unnoticeable. I didn’t have a child on my chest (thank god, this would be a very very different blog post. Completely unrelated note: Has anyone every liveblogged a kidnapping? If not, I CALLED IT for 2017. You better remember you heard it here first.)

I have depression, but I haven’t actually reached its depths in a while, maybe a year or even more. Sure, I get sad, but it’s not the overwhelming emptiness that comes with a real Down Day. The kind where I can’t even remember happiness, where I’ve sunk to the bottom of a deep, narrow well and neither the idea of drowning nor the idea of looking up can move me. It’s been a while since a real Down Day. Recently when I get sad it’s just Normal Sad, and that’s good. Fingers crossed it stays that way.

But yeah. Usually, my depression… manifests? performs? as, well, depression. But recently, it’s been a lot less of that, and a lot more of an intense, constant, corrosive anxiety. If you’re wondering “about what” then I envy your gorgeous world under that rock. Stay there.

While, honestly, I’m THRILLED that it seems like the Down Days are becoming less frequent and I would take this anxiety over those any day of any week, I am also feeling a little… Well… Anxious. (About being anxious. I’m great at parties.) The thing is, I am not completely sure how to handle this new development. My coping mechanisms for depression all center around feeling less sad, but although I am sad for The World at large and also My World at tiny, the more overwhelming feeling is this constant screaming, this clawing at my belly that makes regular thought impossible, that makes my actual physical heart beat physically faster, that makes me wake up feeling like I’m being slowly smothered.

I… think the way to calm this rush is to concentrate very hard on something else, and also to relax  and breathe and hear yourself talk. I say I think, because again: this shit is new to me, and although I have been driving this brain around for 26 years now, I still stumble upon new tricks all the time. Insert a driving metaphor here, I can’t think of one, but I’m sure you’ll think of a good one.

I’ve been working on a really tiny scale lately with polymer clay and paintings and papier mâché, and the level of attention needed to work with such fine details has been incredible for relaxing me into the zone or flow or zen or whatever is the cool word for “escaping a state of eternal panic.”

Ambient/dreamy songs + sculpting tiny tiny stalagmites = anxiety cure? You heard it here first! If that comes up in Psychology Today in a month and I’m not quoted I’m coming after you, punk.

Just kidding. Art therapy is a real thing already, and it’s exactly what I clumsily stumbled into while trying to self-regulate. Relax! Here’s an aggressively calming song:

 

I’ve been Really Really enjoying watching artists who sink into their art with the express purpose of exploring their own mind, rather than trying to entertain other’s. I recently found JooYoung Choi, and GUYS. Her process, the way she follows her own imagination wherever it wants to go, regardless of medium or audience, is EXACTLY what I wish from my own art. I encourage you to watch this, then go look through her entire portfolio, it’s wonderful. She began creating to promote self love, and pushed herself to create at the frequency of a professional artist.

“When you see other people at a certain momentum, you start to vibrate that way. I made a schedule for myself. I’d wake up at 7, get on the bus, take the train and get to Lawndale [her studio] at 9:30 or 10. For the first month, I was very rigid about that. I made a syllabus for myself. I made a list of everything I was insecure about as an artist… and said I was going to learn how to do it.” –JooYoung Choi

I think I’m going to do that, too. Make a syllabus. Make a schedule. Push myself to concentrate on making things so that I don’t break apart.

 

I’m not really sure why I’m writing all of this except… I just feel like maybe you want to read it and see someone else is working through it too. Or else you will read it and realize this is an experience you’ve never had before, and feel grateful that it’s happening to me and not you. Either are good. I hope you feel better now. I hope I feel better now too.

W

 

Hermit Kingdom

So… a few years ago when I started getting really interested in North Korea and how it became North Korea, I also started a little pet project: writing a sci-fi graphic novel set in the unspecified near future that paralleled life in the hermit kingdom to life in the increasingly corrupt and dangerous United States.

I would like to now take the time to apologize to the universe and say I WAS NOT MAKING A WISH, but if there was some confusion, I take responsibility and would now like to use my other two wishes to reverse this horror I have brought upon the world.

In light of these troubling events, I’m going to start working on my graphic novel Hermit Kingdom again, and generally keeping track of the development of fascism in America. If you’d like to follow along, click on over to this link! 

If you’d like to troll me about some fat rapist piss-baby that YOU think should be president, click on over to this link! 

W

A (Thurs)Day in the Life

6:00: First alarm goes off. Wish for death. Repeatedly. Snapchat a complaint so the universe knows I am displeased. Get a response immediately, of course someone else is also having to work this early in the morning. We are adults now. Feel sort of humbled, but mostly still grumpy.

6:15 Hear Walker wake up. Ok, I get it universe, everyone has a day job, you can stop being so smug now.

6:30 Sulkily put on the only orange shirt that I own, slide into my mermaid tail blanket and start my first class. Fake smile eventually turns into real smile because ok, I’m sorry, but these are the cutest children on Earth.

6:40 Every time I give Tom a star he smiles really huge and then immediately tries to hide it like he doesn’t care. I cannot stop smiling, shut up.

8:30 Finish with my classes for the day and immediately take Ned’s needy ass for a walk.

8:35 Did I say walk? I meant all-out sprint.

8:40 Can’t breathe

8:50 Eating rice and gravy for breakfast and planning my day out so I don’t end up passed out on the couch at noon taking a siesta

9:00 Starting my Etsy work for the day! For the next hour I’ll be making pizzas for my Keep It Supreme necklaces. 😀

10:30 Soooooo it took almost an hour just to roll the clay for the dough and tint it to the right color. This is why you don’t take two weeks between crafting projects, all your materials decide to give up. I’m changing jobs and working on my STEAMTruck lesson plan now.

11:00 jk lol I’m tumbling

11:45 Ok, now for real I’m going to work on this lesson plan despite it being boring and despite how many Youtube tabs I have right now begging to be watched

12:30 Actually getting some stuff done! I forgot how nitpicky lesson plans are. Lunchtime!

1:30 Get back to work. Quickly realize I’m not doing anything productive on my lesson plan, and grumpily make polymer clay pizzas for the rest of the day.

4:30 Realize I’ve fucked up about half the pizzas I made. Want to cry.

4:35 Realize that tomorrow is the inauguration of the worst sack of cheetos that ever masqueraded as a human. Actually cry.

4:45 Realize this is probably not the best day to record in a blog post. Stop making notes about my activities and surrender myself to the void.

 

I’ll try harder next time.

The first week of the year of Fuck It 1/52

So. Hey, this is me breaking one of my new year’s resolution already, that way I begin the year in the same way I will continue it: always playing catchup. This the year of Fuck It- the world is probably ending soon, we should probably all just throw ourselves onto whatever train we’re most interested in and hold on until our fingers break or they open the doors and chuck us out.

So here are my New Year’s Resolutions. Or Goals.

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My nails are bitten to nothing, I’ve read 0 books, and I missed the first week of vlog/blogging, but I wrote a new short script (featuring a dancing mop!) and watched a few movies:

  1. Exit Through the Gift Shop
  2. The Shining
  3. Amadeus
  4. The 13th

This is the third time I’ve watched Amadeus since I first saw it in December. I need to stop watching it, but it truly is the best movie I’ve seen in SO FUCKING LONG. Every time I watch it I fall more in love. It’s so long, but every minute keeps my attention. It’s just. It’s made for me.

The Shining is also beautiful, but I knew it was going to be because I watched the documentary about it (Room… insert the famous room number here. 204?)

The 13th was incredible, though I think I should watch it again because I was drinking a Walker-made drink and therefore don’t think I really took it in at the level it deserves.

These weekly blogs are probably all going to be like this- disjointed, a little hard to read, and mostly just for me.

W

All the Books I’ve Read in Korea (16-30)

Here’s part two (Books 16-30) of “All the Books I’ve Read in Korea,” a thrilling series that only one person in the entire world cares about (me.) Enjoy!

16. The Bad Beginning – Lemony Snicket. I suddenly got the urge to read the first Series of Unfortunate Events book, because despite knowing the stories well I don’t remember ever reading them as a child. Also because I realized at this point that I was behind on my book count for my reading challenge, and children’s books are always the way to go for quick catchups. I think I read this in one sitting, and it was the same sort of feeling I got from not reading it in childhood: the idea is totally for me, but the book itself isn’t.

17. Bad Feminist – Roxane Gay. I listened to this while getting my classroom ready before school started, I think? I have memories of climbing onto the cabinets to take some truly horrendous paper vines down off the bulletin board at the same time as Gay is talking about Green Girl and the need for truly feminist media. It was empowering, but I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. Mostly, I think, because it was too long in parts.

18. Why Not Me – Mindy Kaling. Oh. This book. This book may have very well saved my life. Well, or my sanity. Definitely one of those, maybe both. So let me tell you a story. This is a story about a girl who, despite being naturally fairly durable with quick reflexes, does not like to exercise. Or go outside. Or, you know, be active in general. This girl thought it would be fun to go on a light hiking trip to one of the most beautiful places in Facebook photos, Seoraksan, a very tall mountain in Korea. This girl thought that, for the trip to be open to the public and publicized as a casual hike with some options for more experienced hikers, the way would be, if a bit sweaty, still doable. This girl then went hiking with a group of people who were obviously masochistic psychopaths parading as casual hikers, including her trip-buddy, a military trained outdoors hiker from Finland who decided to do the 12-hour hike up to the very highest peak of the mountain “just because.” That girl, if you didn’t already know, was a pitiable Past Weatherly, who had no idea that Korea is the Land of the Morning Calm, the Country of Kimchi, and the Nation of the Worst Mountains in the History of Mountains Seriously Who the Fuck Decided to Make This Torture a Pastime?

Basically, I separated myself from the group of crazies, turned on my Mindy Kaling audiobook, and took frequent stone naps, starting at 3am and progressing to 4pm. It was a learning experience wherein the thing I learned was that I refuse to ever experience that again.

The book was hilarious, though.

18. Carry On – Rainbow Rowell. I’m a big fan of Rowell’s other work (see Fangirl, my comfort read to end all comfort reads), but this one was just ok. It felt like a novelty. I mean, it was sort of a novelty, but the best novelties feel important, at least in the moment. I guess that made it a novel novelty. heh.

19. Devil in the White City – Erik Larson. Because nothing says “relax into a cozy chilly November” than reading about serial killers. What, that doesn’t work for you? huh.

20. Tampa – Alissa Nutting. To be perfectly honest, reading about a teacher who sleeps with her young students while being a teacher constantly surrounded by young students was one of the most disturbing reading experiences of my life. This book was super difficult to read (I think it took me four months in total, actually), and the comparisons to Lolita stop at the pedophilia– the writing isn’t anything gorgeous. It’s straightforward, though, and it definitely does its job in crafting a truly horrifying villain in the main character. So… good job? I guess? *Rushes to take 1,000 showers*

21. Julie & Julia – Julie Powell. This is another comfort read for me, and I read it more as a motivational book than a memoir. The idea of doing something every single day for a year and documenting it is something I’m SUPER INTO, though of course you’d never know it by my complete lack of blog… Whenever I read this book, I also get the completely unfounded notion that I might be a culinary genius. This high lasts for about as long as it takes me to fail at baking a potato, or burn a grilled cheese that I have put expensive cheese on, for the flavor palate. 

22. Blue is the Warmest Color – Julie Maroh. This broke my heart into a thousand pieces. I read this as a substitute for watching the movie, which I am self aware enough to realize will deliver an emotional blow from which I will never recover.

23. Flora and the Flamingo – Molly Idle. Look, I was behind on my book count so I read a children’s book alright? Sue me.

24. Under the Banner of Heaven Jon Krakauer. Being completely non-religious myself, I find great joy in learning about religious practices leading to a violent, crazed end. Plus, you know, Mormons. I can’t get enough of Mormons.

25. One More Thing – BJ Novak. This was a reread, and is one of my favorite short story collections of all time. My dad hates it because when we listened to the audiobook in the car, the first two minutes had the word ‘fuck’ maybe 16 times. It’s an acquired taste, I guess.

26. Pixies – Sean Patrick O’Reilly. Pass.

27. Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak. So I read several children’s books. SUE ME AGAIN, THEN. MY LAWYER’S NUMBER CAN BE FOUND ON A BILLBOARD IN LOWER ALABAMA.

28. Powerpuff Girls, Various– Troy Little. I mean. It’s the Powerpuff Girls. (Whenever a series of comics comes up, I’m just going to count them as one, because I probably have no idea which individual book is which anyways, and you probably don’t care. It’s a win-win, if by “win” I meant “arbitrary decision.”

29. Adventure Time, Various. I mean. It’s Adventure Time. (Actually, no, these weren’t my favorite, I read them to catch on my lagging book count, and because they was free on Scribd. I really like the TV series, but I find the comics to be a little dull, except for the ones about Marceline x PB, and the ones about Fionna and Cake.)

30. Conversation #1 – James Kochalka. This is a conversation about philosophy and what art means and other deep stuff, that takes place between two artists in the medium of art. It’s pretty neat.

 

The next 15 contain a lot of chick books and a lot of comic books. What joy.

W

 

All the Books I’ve Read in Korea (1-15)

One of my habits when I start a new physical book is to make a note in the front of when I start reading it and where I am at that moment. This past year I’ve had the (honestly too intense) pleasure of being able to write “Started in Korea” on a lot of inside covers, hopefully to be found sometime in the future, when my future self will be amazed that that object was once in a foreign country, and the body holding it was there with it.

Then again, maybe I’ll continue my well-established habit, and never ever pick up any of these books again. *Shrug* whatevskies. Here are the books I read in Korea (part 1.)

2015:

  1. Tolstoy and the Purple Chair – Nina Sankovitch. This one, to be fair was started in the US and finished, I think, either at the airport or on the plane. Still, I’ll count it for nostalgia’s sake.)
  2. Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro. I read this book in the week when I had no wifi in my house, and was pretty sure I’d just made the biggest mistake of my life moving to a random country on the opposite side of the globe. I felt completely cut off from everyone I knew, from everyone I didn’t know, from life in general. I cried a lot. I loved this book.
  3. The Bees – Laline Paull. I have distinct memories of listening to this audiobook in the very, very long taxi ride from my first hotel to my school (before every seeing my apartment.) I remember feeling equal parts incredibly calm (oh look, a bridge over a body of water! Where I’m from, there’s also a bridge over a body of water! I’m practically in Alabama!) and incredibly panicky (why did my recruiter not pick me up? Why am I going to the school already? Am I going to have to teach? If I run away now and somehow hitch a ride back to America would it be possible to fake being in Korea for a year to hide my shame?) It probably goes without saying, but I probably would have enjoyed this book if I could have found any room in my head at all to give an iota of a shit about bees.
  4. Boy Meets Boy – David Levithan. See The Bees-era freak out. I honestly don’t even remember reading this book.
  5. You’re Never Weird on the Internet – Felicia Day. This is the book that both brought me down from a panic attack (s. Multiple. Maybe a week’s worth…) and also motivated me to get out of my house to find the elusive “PC Bang” down the street. I would have walked for an entire day listening to this audiobook, for five minutes of uninterrupted wifi. Thankfully, it’s about a mile away, and the man took pity on me/possibly had never seen a white girl in his entire life, and gave me wifi for free. Ahh, Felicia Day. This book is why I love you so so much.
  6. Forever – Judy Blume. This was when I started getting my bearings just a *bit* more (though possibly still in the WifiLess Week Hellscape of 2015, hard to say), and I thought I should probably read some Judy Blume, because I’d somehow managed to go through prepubescence as a girl and not done so. This was alright. I think I missed the right age for Judy Blume. By a decade and a half.
  7. Fangirl – Rainbow RowellThis was pure comfort reading, and I loved it. I read this anytime my brain needs a break, it works similarly to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, minus having to encounter all of those characters who are now dead.
  8. Mishka and the Sea Devil – Xenia Pamfil. Pass.
  9. The Woods Volume 1, The Arrow – James Tynion IVPass.
  10. All the Bright Places – Jennifer Niven. Literally one of the top 5 worst books I’ve ever read, including every math textbook since 9th grade.
  11. Bird by BirdAnne Lamott. I liked a lot of this, especially some of the things she had to say about writing. I don’t like that she has white lady dreadlocks. That throws me off a lot.
  12. Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins. Another comfort read. You can see I’m trying to adjust myself to Korea by reading things that make me feel happy, rather than things that challenge me in any way. I’m pretty proud of myself for going this route of self-comfort, rather than screaming in emotional agony in public or jumping in front of public transport. You read all the YA romance you want, Past Weatherly, you’re doing fine.
  13. The Hours – Michael Cunningham. I suddenly became self-aware enough to realize all I was reading was comfort books and picked this up at What the Book, the English language bookstore in Seoul. I started reading it while eating by myself at Vatos Tacos in Itaewon, where I ended up talking to a girl from -I think- Australia who’d gone to the DMZ the day before, and was traveling around Asia by herself for a while before going back down under. Suddenly had the realization that I am better at socializing with people than I was when I left for Korea. Must be all of the forced talking I have to do at my job. Don’t remember much about this book, except that the language was so beautiful that I underlined everything, and the story so unmemorable that I can only think of typing “someone had AIDS and someone was Virginia Woolf.” Riveting.
  14. Locke & Key series – Joe Hill. I think this might be the first time I realized how awesome Scribd was, and started using it regularly. I read this whole series over the course of maybe three weeks, and it was awesome. I finished the last one while at work and only just managed to refrain from crying like a baby.
  15. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes – Caitlin Doughty. This sparked in me an insane interest in cremation and burial traditions that lasted about a week and, (I think?) lead me to one of my still-favorite Youtubers, Catguts. It also made me 100% convinced that being buried in a casket is the dumbest thing you can do while already dead.

So those are the first 15 books I read while in Korea, I’m going to keep wrapping up all of the books I’ve read here in these little blurbs because my blog my rules. This is a nice trip down memory lane (for me.) It totally makes up for being a shit blogger for an entire year, right? RIGHT?

W

 

 

24 Days Left in the ROK.

So. Here we are. July. Arguably the worst month of the year, as an adult (arguably because I assume there are other people in the world with less grumpy outlooks on being hot and sweaty and having to go to work despite being trained for the first 18 years of life that July is Summer Vacation and is not good for anything other than eating popsicles, pretending to read the summer reading list while actually watching Law and Order, and wishing you were back at school.

I have 24 days left of being in Korea. 24. It’s freaking me out a little, I’ll be totally honest. It’s strange, on one hand, because I still have a week and half of classes left, and often I feel like every day is a tiny infinity  of children screaming Ooedehrree! (the Korean pronunciation of Weatherly) that I have to get through before coming home to the quiet of my apartment to try and do as much nothing as possible before falling asleep and doing it all over again.

It’s strange on the other hand because holy shit, 24 days left of living in this country and then I’ll go back to America?!? I’ve already been here a year?!? I can clearly remember the day I left, every detail, including being upset I had to leave my ukulele at home and not being able to sleep the night before, thinking I was going to cry at the airport when leaving my family but not actually doing so, feeling like I was actually only leaving for a weekend holiday and therefore being completely calm, reading Tank Girl at the airport in New York and thinking this was going to be a breeze, and then getting through half of the 12 hour plane ride before falling into an unimaginable sense of panic that would last for, oh, the next two months.

And now I am leaving. Very very soon, actually. I don’t have a job that I’m going back to, and I don’t have solid plans for the future, I don’t really understand what I’ve learned (if anything) in the space of a year, except a smattering of Korean and how to properly roast broccoli. I’m actually scared that I’ll go back and it will be too familiar, that I won’t have been gone long enough for everything to seem different and special and strange. I’m scared that I won’t experience the reverse culture shock that everyone warns about, that I’m actually excited about. I’m truly, horribly, down-to-my-bones scared that I will end up in massive debt and without a job and regretting the decision to both move back to America and of moving away from it in the first place.

And I’m scared that I’ll never get to come back. Or go anywhere else. That this was my one chance to explore.

 

Mostly, though, I’m just excited to eat.

 

Foods I Miss

Roast beef rice and gravy

Chicken broccoli casserole

Ham and potato salad

White queso dip

Real Mexican food

Thick cheeseburgers with cheddar cheese

Cheese, full stop

Homemade pizza

Olives

Hummus

Tomato pie

Velveeta and beef queso

Easy salads with pumpernickel croutons

 

 

 

This has been a completely useless blog post, born out of there being an insane amount of food I miss from America.

T-minus 73 days until my flight leaves, how would you rate my blogging in Korea? 0/10? Negatives? “Is this a blog I thought it was an aggregator of useless shit”? Let me know in the comments!

 

-W

Getting my shnocks together

These past few days I’ve been getting my life together. I’ve done yoga twice a day (10 minutes in the morning, 30 minutes and a TRICK 50 minutes at night. Sneaky video, I see your time stamp.) I’ve set out my outfit before I fall asleep, so Morning Weatherly doesn’t make me show up to work in five different patterns, half of which are pajamas (I like patterns, but come on Morning Weatherly, we’re trying to teach English not give out seizures like candy.) I’ve set out breakfast fixings with a cute little note and actually eaten breakfast before going to work, something I can safely say I’ve done… maybe 10 times in the three (four??) years I’ve been out of college. I’ve even started thinking about a budget, and like… time management and shit. Seriously guys, it’s a little revolting. Am I becoming an adult? And if so… can I make it stop?

In all seriousness, i have about six months until I leave Korea. I know, it’s kind of weird for me too. (What, you weren’t going to say it’s weird because it’s hard to really invest in the timelines of strangers?)

The thing is, I’m actually shit at the adult things that really count. It’s been less than a year *cough* month* that my bank account has been withdrawn. My student loans are all a mess. I’m paying for my car from overseas, but I take full advantage of the several day grace period before late payments are penalized (yeah but when are they really due? *twirls hair*) I have been eating vegetarian at home… because I spent too much money on my Japan trip and therefore have zero money to spend on groceries (actually JUST got paid, thank GOD.) It’s like half of my brain has moved up to Fix it Felix while the other half is still stuck in Sugar Rush. (Yes, I just watched Wreck it Ralph, ok? Not my fault the high-minded cultural references are lost on you…)

I’ve made some good decisions, though. Some about grad school, some about life in general. I’ve felt a lot more motivated to do things. I hope it lasts.

Here are some things that have been inspiring me, in this crazed self improvement

What a disappointment.

Just found out the movie isn’t Tinker Taylor, Soldier Spy, about a super clever, militarily involved adventure seeker with an alliterative name…

But is actually Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy about… some boring crap that isn’t Tinker Taylor, the James Bond Harry Potter.

I’m honestly much more upset by this than I was expecting.

 

 

 

P.S. I’ll post my Japan pictures soon. I’m the slowest/worst/busy.

W