Friday Feels: November

*affiliate disclaimer at the bottom of post*
If it seems like I just wrote a Friday Feels post, that's because I kinda did just write one. But what better time to write a list of feelings than when I'm struggling with unexpected things in my personal life? The last couple of weeks have been pretty challenging for me, and the stress combined with the weather change here ended up making me sick. Now that I'm better, Eden's sick, so life is still just as much a roller coaster for me as always.

But I'm riding the ride, and for the most part, I'm still finding my way. I'm writing here, I'm writing for my amazing Patrons, and I'm still totally stoked about the gorgeous new cover on my novel, Fighting For Freedom.

And if you've been reading along here for any length of time, you know I'm still feeling all the feels; I'm a pretty emotional person, and I pride myself on being open enough to be willing to share my journey with others who might be able to relate but haven't yet found their own voice. That's part of why I started this post series in the first place - as a way to explore my own feelings (even when I didn't quite realize I was having them), and maybe even inspire readers like you to do some exploring of your own.

I like to use this page as a fun way to set these posts up - clicking the link will give you a randomly generated emotion, and each time you refresh the page you'll get a new emotion to explore. I just refresh the page until I have my first ten, and then I use the feelings that came up to build my list. And there's no cheating either; I really do use the first things that come up. I'd love if you played along too - just drop your responses to any (or all) of the emotions/feelings on my list in the comments!

So without further ado, here are our emotional prompts for November:

1. Carefree:
There aren't many things in my life that make me feel carefree, honestly. I haven't had an easy life, and a rough start sets you up for making decisions that keep things going rough. And once your life is on a certain path, it's really difficult to turn things around - "an object in motion," and all that, you know? I'm a single mom, but as a single mom without a co-parent partner, I'm rarely without the weight of responsibility, and my PTSD never leaves me without anxiety of some kind. But if I had to think of one thing that does give me a taste of what it must be like to be truly carefree ... it's Pinterest. My Pinterest account is a place of dreams, and it's one of the few places that I can allow myself to let go of worries and just imagine what life could be for my girls and I. It's the one place where I can truly visualize the life I want without being smothered by self-doubt and the mental/emotional echoes of things I desperately wish I could leave in the past. When I'm surfing there, I'm thinking about finding the kind of romance that made me fall in love with novels, I'm envisioning traditions for my family and for the future generations to come, I'm planning my dream RV adventure, I'm designing a space that's mine ... Pinterest is one of the only places in my life where I'm really me, without the strings of reality that keep me grounded.

2. Cautious:
In the last 12-15 months, my life has undergone an amazing amount of change - some of which was incredibly difficult. I came to terms with some of the people in my life, my motivations for holding onto people who toxic to me, and what letting those people go would mean to me. With some of those people, it was easy - people who were abusive or outright disrespectful to me suddenly mattered much less, and I didn't feel the same need to keep pleasing people who didn't care about pleasing me. With other people though? Well, with some of them, it wasn't as easy. Some people I had truly believed would always be parts of my life just ... aren't, anymore ... and while I know that distancing myself from those people the way I have has been healthy for me, the void those people have left in my life is still incredibly painful at times. There are also other people in my life who are still toxic to me but cannot be so easily carved out of my world. And so, in the absence of the ability to move beyond those people, I'm just learning to be more cautious in how open I am with those people.

Life is like a garden, right? But I've always been the kind of person with open gates, trying desperately to grow a beautiful space in the world, despite the people who would come in unhindered and inconsiderate to scatter garbage and stomp all over my proverbial flowers. The idea of becoming a closed person with a secret garden life is painful to me, and I don't want to be closed off as a person. But I am learning to divide the space of my life into ever-shrinking concentric circles, choosing more and more carefully who is and who is not allowed close to the vulnerable beauty that lies in the innermost corners of my particular garden. And beyond that, I'm learning that setting and defending the boundaries separating the areas of my life-garden is totally, perfectly okay.

3. Cheerful:
I think maybe the most consistently cheerful thing in my life these days is my hands. I still deal with tendonitis from typing like a madwoman most days (some things never change), but there's nothing quite as cheering as catching a glimpse of pretty fingernails between blog and Patreon posts, or during the daily drives back and forth to the girls's schools. Even when I've been too sick to bother much with my hands, I've still kept a plain clear coat of polish on my nails, and some days even that's just enough to provide a needed mood boost. That being said, I can't even tell you how hard I'm jonesing for these. Or these. Or these.

4. Humiliated:
I'm really getting sick of being so able to relate to this particular word. It seems like everytime it comes up, I've got a ready example of how well it fits whatever is going on in my life. I can say though, that I don't feel the true depth of humiliation as often anymore, now that I'm allowing my life to clean itself out a little bit. There are still people in my life who always seem to be looking to kick me when I'm down ... but even with those people, the strength of all the other changes in my life has really helped me find my way with that too. Still, this was a pretty low spot for me lately, and as it's not over yet, I'll go ahead and list it.

5. Indignant:
Another easy one. Much as I'm learning that I've been far too much of an eager people-pleaser with people who simply cannot be pleased, I'm also learning that I've always had a strong sense of justice. Why I never applied it to myself and my own personal right to healthy boundaries is another post, but in the day-to-day, I do feel indignant when I believe I've been slighted or wronged, and I am able to sit back and recognize the difference between what is and is not okay with me.

Enforcing that sense of justice may still be a bit beyond me more often than I'd like to admit, but I'm a work in progress, and that's alright with me. Feeling the sensitive places where my boundaries have been overstepped is helping me to become more clear about where those boundaries lie, and learning where my own boundaries are is definitely a good first step in learning to defend them.

6. Irritated:
This one actually had me stumped for a minute, thinking through things that annoy me - looking for the thing most worth mentioning. Anxiety is a constant presence in my life, and the more I pay attention, the more clearly I can see the places where my anxiety has colored my world. It makes me much more irritable than I would be otherwise, and then everything makes me irritated - from too much noise to too much light to too many people, and all other things in between. But the thing most bothersome to me on a daily basis is usually punctuality. Being on time is important to me, but I happen to have been blessed with an incredibly alive, incredibly free-spirited, incredibly strong-willed young daughter who seems to love dawdling more than she loves anything else. From getting ready for school in the morning to getting ready for bed at night, this kid somehow always manages to create the most unspeakable combination between motor-driven whirlwind and impossible slow-motion. During the 20 minutes it usually takes her to brush her teeth at night, she often manages to drop 14 things, spill 35 ounces of water, use half a roll of toilet paper, sing 7 songs, and make us what usually feels like 3 days late for bedtime.

And then there's still the process of getting into bed, getting into pajamas, quieting down for the night, going to sleep. Waking up, getting dressed, choosing breakfast, eating breakfast, gathering school supplies and items for the day, God forbid if there's homework ... it's a neverending cycle of constantly pushing her to "do this a little more quickly, please," or "get that finished soon, please," because we're at an impasse between my desire to be on time for things like school and doctor's appointments and school due dates and bedtimes, and her complete and total lack of giving a shit.

It irritates the life out of me. She's lucky she's so cute.

7. Puzzled:
People. People have me puzzled. From political outrage to religious oppression to the constant need for everyone to always be so deeply offended by something ... yeah, I'm puzzled. What happened to our unity and our willingness to meet each other in the middle? When did this become a world where it's okay for people like Mila Kunis to completely and utterly mock the beliefs of people like Mike Pence by making donations in his name to an organization he would never support? Why is that okay? And even more importantly, how can that be okay, but the very premise behind the action is that Mila is offended by Vice President Pence having an opinion that differs from hers? It's so hypocritical ... she's effectively saying, "I believe all people should get to choose whatever they want to believe in (abortion, etc) and do whatever they want with their own personal lives without being scorned, rejected, mocked, or discriminated against because of their beliefs and choices. Except not Mike Pence, or anyone like him. And if they disagree, it's okay to shame them, mock them, ridicule them, and override their personal decisions through sneaky, passive-aggressive behaviors. Haha, isn't that so funny?"

And before you get upset about the connection to Planned Parenthood here, let's remember that Mike Pence is the Vice President. Not the supreme dictator of the planet. Yes, he has some sway over the way things are run in this country because he's in a place of power, but ... he doesn't actually have enough power to shut down Planned Parenthood forever and start issuing changes that are either immediate or drastic in any way. Our government runs with checks and balances specifically to prevent any one person from having too much power over everyone else. Personally, I side with Pence here, not only on the basis of my beliefs saying that abortion is wrong (although even I, despite my very conservative leanings, can admit this is quite a gray area), but also because Mila's move was a snarky, childish thing to do in the first place, and making it public in the way she chose to only made it more so. Hypocrisy infuriates me in the immediate moment, yes, but in the long run it confuses me: what's with the double standard? I mean really, if we're walking around preaching one thing, hadn't we better at least try to lead by example, instead of saying one thing and doing another? You simply cannot preach "tolerance" of diversity and "inclusion" of varying beliefs without actually taking steps to tolerate the inclusion of a diverse variety of beliefs. Yes, even the ones that you don't personally like.

Because duh. Sorry, Mila.

8. Stubborn:
Stubborn. I guess this depends on how you look at it and who you're asking, huh? I imagine there are certain people in my life who would say there isn't much I'm not stubborn about. And while those people are entitled to their own opinions, that specific opinion - like the definition of the word "stubborn" - is a two-sided coin. I don't personally think that I am stubborn about many things; I'm willing to give when I'm wrong (if you can convince me that I am), and I'm willing to compromise to keep peace or to make progress. I'm even willing to apologize when I've messed up, and as uncomfortable as it is, I'm willing to humble myself when the need arises.

But on the other side of that? I am determined (they mean pretty much the same thing, see? Look.) Determined to keep believing in the possibility of improvement and change for the better, no matter how impossible things can feel in the moment. Determined to keep thinking that success is just around the corner, like I'm told by those who believe in me, despite the overflowing negativity of those who don't. Determined to hope even when I can't even find the "bright side" in order to look at it. Determined to keep trying when all I want sometimes is to lay down and quit. Determined to keep giving, and keep living, and keep learning, and keep growing - no matter how slow or how grueling the process.

Hm. Maybe I am stubborn, after all.

9. Thrilled:
Remember the garden I mentioned above? It comes into play again here, because what thrills me most about my life right now is the way letting go of toxic people has opened space for people who seem to genuinely care about me and where I want my life to go. People who believe in me enough to show me that they mean what they say. People who speak life into me when I'm discouraged and empower me when I'm struggling. People who allow me to be me, even when I'm negative or cynical or overwhelmed. It's teaching me more of what I do want in my life, especially after having so much of what I don't want - and that in itself is a thrill. It means more change is on the way, and once I survive the hardship of this particular tunnel, I'm going to find that the light at the end is very very bright, indeed.

Or at least, that's what all these new people in my life keep telling me.

10. Wavering:
Finally an easy one! The thing I'm most "wavery" about lately is whether to finish knitting the simple but delicately beautiful scarf I've been working on for ages ... or set it aside in favor of crocheting myself a gorgeous winter sweater jacket with this Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Charcoal - because oh my gosh it's gorgeous, isn't it?

What did you think of this month's feelings? Have you been feeling any of November's Friday Feels? And if so, what's making you feel what you're feeling? I'd love for you share in the comments, and if you liked this post, make sure you share the link with your friends. I'd also like to invite you to browse around while you're here, and I'd love it if you subscribed to this blog by filling out the "subscribe by email" form in the sidebar - it's a great way to make sure you'll never miss a post!

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  1. FINALLY feel like Fall to me!!!

    Great words Brandi!

    1. Thanks! I have really loved writing the Friday Feels posts - they're such a great way to explore what I'm going through in my life and how I'm feeling about it.


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