Friday Feels: January

It's been several months now since I stared this series, and these Friday Feels posts are still some of my favorites here; I love how simple they are but also that they give me a different way to sit down and examine how I feel about what I'm going through in the moment.

These posts make a huge difference in my mental health too, because they give me clarity. I use a random feelings generator to make my list each month, and because these aren't labels I've put on myself, they force me to get outside the box a little bit and really think about what I'm going through in fresh ways. For example, I may not realize that I've been so angry lately because I've been really sad or worried about such-and-such thing, but sitting down with a sometimes unexpected emotional label and thinking it through often helps me connect and clarify what I'm really feeling, even if I hadn't previously understood it well.

January has been a wild month, and I've been pretty much feeling all the feels. BLOGuary (daily blogging through January except for Sundays - this year with a blogging partner!) is kicking my butt, but I've been keeping up and I'm totally proud of myself. I'm still keeping up with Patreon too, although I have admittedly been a bit late on a few things. And in the meantime, my oldest turned 14 yesterday and my youngest is having surgery the 31st. So we're putting it mildly when we say there has been a lot going on in my life.

Oh yeah, and I got sick too, so there's that.

Like I said - all the feels. Let's see which ones pop up this time, shall we?

1. Calm:
This month there has been one awesome thing that has helped keep me calm despite everything chaotic going on in my life - my habit tracker. When I'm stressed or overwhelmed, I tend to forget pretty much everything, so using this app to track things like my water consumption, whether I've taken my Prilosec or not, and how I'm doing with blog views and book sales has made a huge difference for me.

A few years ago I got really into bullet journaling and even had a pretty kickass DIY planner, but it got to be too much of a hassle to keep up with and carry around, so I've been searching ever since for just the right combination of apps to keep me moving toward my goals without becoming overwhelming to manage. I haven't quite got there yet, but using Google Keep to manage notes and tasks, Google Calendar to keep appointments, blog dates, and Patreon obligations, and my Loop Habit Tracker has made all the difference for me.

Now if only I could get my various journals condensed and under control - but hey, one step at a time, right?

2. Confused:
What is it about people that makes them actively seek unhappiness? Seriously, there are so many people in the world today who seem like they're actually looking for things to be upset over and offended about, and I just don't get it. In a society so focused on building happiness, seeking contentment, and cultivating mindfulness practices, what on Earth are we trying to so hard to be miserable for? From politics to Hollywood to product reviews and even the way we manage our relationships, it seems like we're always looking for fault, seeking to discount options, answers, and people before we even truly give anything a chance.

But how can we truly find happiness as a society or anything even close to resembling brotherhood as a community, when all we're really looking for is something to be upset about?

All I know is that I'm not willing to live my life that way or give the space in my mind to actively seeking trouble. Because I'm seeking my own happiness too - but I reckon it would a lot easier to find if we made more effort to look for it.

3. Elated:
This month, Fat Chance somehow shot right up the charts on Amazon, and ended up spending a little over a full week ranking in the top 100 (free) books in three separate categories. It went all the way up into the 200's in the entire free Kindle store and stayed there for nearly a day. I woke up every morning of that week, checked the sales stats for my novels, and proceeded to cry.

I've seen my books rank several times before over the years, but never for that long in one stretch. I'm still totally high on how amazing it was to watch that happen ... and now more determined than ever to make it happen again.

4. Heartbroken:
I don't know where the resilience comes from, but this month my little Eden is a hero. She's eight years old, and she's struggling to keep up in third grade despite being an unbelievably smart kid. She can remember just about anything, she learns as quick as lightning - but her attention span is just about zero. She's a kid living with anxiety, depression, abandonment issues - and on top of all of that, she's got health stuff. "Surgery" has become a regular thing in our world, and she takes it like a champ every time. Even when there's always another surgery to come, this is never the last one, and no one can guess how many more there will be.

She just takes it. She keeps getting up in the morning cranky because she is plagued by broken sleep and nightmares. She keeps taking forever to get ready for school because she's unfocused. She keeps demanding the same breakfast almost every single day because she's rigid.

She keeps trying, she keeps growing. She keeps learning. She climbs every wall life puts in front of her, she tolerates the poking and the prodding and the problems. And she does it no matter how much her body might be tired, her heart might be aching, and her mind might be in chaos.

She breaks my heart with the completeness of how awesome she is.

5. Jubilant:
Jubilance is fleeting - what goes up must come down, right? - but it has come and gone often throughout the month, showing itself in the moments of love I feel for my daughters as well as the pride that carried me through a tough week because of the crazy jump in Fat Chance downloads.

BLOGuary makes things busy for me, and in some ways it complicates a life that's already incredibly complicated. But it also feels good - it gives me time and space to think and express, to create, and to be who I am in this little corner of the world. These things to most people might seem only small ... but happiness is found in the little things anyway.

6. Lonely:
I'm putting a positive spin on everything because that's how I'm getting through each day. But each major thing happening this month has its own downside, too. BLOGuary is exhausting but I'm proud of myself for doing it and proud of what it accomplishes for my brand and my platform. And I'm thrilled to have been joined by a great writing partner who has made this month so much less stressful and so much more fun. Spending so much time chatting with David as we planned and coordinated our posts for this month has been a pleasure even as it pointed out to me how much I missed having strong relationships with my other writing friends. So I've been reaching out more.

Eden's a hero for taking every hit life sends her way standing strong. From one thing to the next, she just keeps on moving through life, and I'm amazed by her tolerance for stress as well as her willingness to stay hopeful and upbeat. But I know I deserve a certain portion of the credit for this as well - I am her biggest (and sometimes only) advocate. I'm her coach when she's afraid, her reminder when she's losing hold of herself, the anchor she leans on for control when she's drifting. And while this gives me pride and purpose as her mother, it does leave me aching for a advocate of my own, someone to coach me when I'm don't know what to do next, remind me when I forget that I can handle so more than I believe, and anchor me to something solid and safe. Because I am a strong woman - but I am still a woman.

7. Satisfied:
While I do admittedly suffer from the same cycles of loneliness that any single person deals with, I'm actually mostly satisfied with the single life at the moment. I like that I can talk to whoever I want, try different things to see what fits, and learn a little more about what works - and doesn't work - for me as a woman.

Not that I'm completely happy to stay single, mind you - and if the right opportunity to change my single status should come along I'd be totally open to it - but in the meantime, I'm not miserable because of being single, and in this time of so much growth and change in my life, I like that I don't also need to juggle date nights and things like that while I'm struggling to build my writing, guide my daughters, and put my life back together.

That being said, maybe having someone to team up with to face the challenges would be good too. I suppose I could be satisfied either way.

8. Secure:
Very few things in my life right now feel secure. Writing is an always changing thing, and it feels like it grows only in leaps and bounds, springing forward quickly, only to stall again until I've almost given up hope of any more progress. As such, my income is much the same - sometimes showing growth, other times not so much.

But motherhood is a place of security for me even when it's painful or I'm struggling or my kids are having a hard time. My girls and I are a solid unit - and while we definitely have our ups and downs, Team Kennedy is, and will always be, in it to win it.

9. Uncertain:
I try to stay positive for the most part and keep my eyes on the prize. I keep my quarterly goals list on my phone where I can look over it often, and I keep a file full of motivational and inspiring quotes on the cloud where I can easily access them at any time. I'm making it through each day, sometimes hour by hour, but mostly minute by minute.

But I'm stressed over things and uncertain of the future, because no matter what our goals are and how ambitiously we chase those goals, life is a fluid and unpredictable thing. There's no telling where I'm going to be in a year, a decade. No telling who will be part of my life at those times - and who won't be.

With so much uncertainty, it's easy to get anxious and worried - so I remind myself of the only thing I am certain of. Which is that I will still be standing, and I will still be trying.

10. Uncomfortable:
So much about my life has changed in the last five years - and there is still so much change to come. While I'm excited about the coming changes and what they could mean to my future, I'm still uncomfortable with processes that are unfamiliar to me and goals I'm afraid of never accomplishing. I'm uncomfortable with the idea of progress not made; this discomfort is sometimes impossibly driving and other times impossibly paralyzing, and both extremes trigger my anxieties in ways I often don't even notice until after the fact. You can call it discomfort, or you can call it fear of failure - or you can choose from any number of other things, but regardless of its name, this is the demon I battle with most often. Perhaps 2018 will be the year I can finally set it aside.

What have you been feeling so far in 2018, and how do your feelings this month differ from what you were feeling around this time last month? Leave a comment below and tell me this: if you were to choose one emotion that you felt the most during the month of January (so far), what would you choose, and why?

Don't forget, this BLOGuary is a writing partnership! David Elliott from the Single Dad's Guide to Life has been partnering with me this month to balance my single mom perspective with the single dad side of everything from serious things like the impact of blogging and how to raise strong women to more lighthearted topics, such as crock pot food, fitness, and travel. Definitely check his blog to see how he countered my posts throughout the month. I loved his answer to today's post, as he expressed such similarity to my own feelings of overwhelm with daily blogging being such a huge endeavor.

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