Part 1: Clarification
I feel like my last post was incomplete. I keep thinking about going back and editing it, but I decided to just clarify it here and move on. I mentioned finding what triggered my most recent depression. I want to make it clear that, this time…for me…there was a definite external trigger and removing that trigger did get me through the worst of it. I’m still not 100% back. It’s rarely that easy with clinical depression. Something might trigger the chemical imbalance (and sometimes not), but once things are out of whack, getting things back to “normal” (or into whack?) takes a combination of things — different for every person — and sometimes it just takes time and the fortitude to hold on until things get better.
I had to make it clear that I do get that. I know that. That’s been my experience and it is right now my experience. Solving the issue of what triggered my darker depression didn’t fix everything magically but I was midway down the pit and now I’m just in the cave that leads to the pit. And some days, I can venture out and feel the sun on my face and almost feel like me again. Pardon the clunky metaphor, but I think it works well enough. And now, as I’m writing, I wonder if part of the difference this time, why it feels harder to get back to “me” is that I have added a whole new dimension to my identity. Mom-Jennifer. And I have to navigate that and figure out who she is and what being in the sun looks like for me now. Something to think about.
Part Two: The Read or Rid Thing
I finished another book – Girls’ Studies by Elline Lipkin. It’s very much an overview, and I’d already read a lot of the works that she quoted from. However, as a new mother of a girl, I still enjoyed the book and thinking of how I can guide Fig through the issues of growing up a white, middle class girl in America. (While the book did give some space to non-middle-class, non-white, non-American experiences, it was mostly from that vantage point and admitted it as a limitation.)
I was surprised by how big the section was on zine culture. I was a teenager during the zine heyday but, as a Christian school kid in a small town, I didn’t know it existed. How I wish I had though. I enjoyed reading more about the different zines from the ’90s. It was published in 2009 so it only briefly touches on social media. I wish I’d noticed the publication date when I bought it because I was hoping for more on that. The book closed out with a huge portion of recommended resources for further reading, watching, and listening so that will be fun to explore.
I’m happy to have another book down in my Read or Rid pile, and next up I’m reading The Weirdness by Jeremy P. Bushnell, which I picked up a while back at Brazos Bookstore based on an employee recommendation card. I’ve found some of my favorite books that way so we’ll see how this one stacks up. It’s already pretty funny.
Part Three: About the Things
I’m really enjoying this more intentional aspect of reading. I’ve always been a big reader but I’ll read several things at once, move between them, and eventually finish, abandon, or misplace the book. For this Thing, I’m focusing on one book at a time (for the most part) and forcing myself to slog through the boring parts instead of stopping and picking up something else. I think it’s good for me.
On the topic of another Thing, I was invited to join a book club that is getting started next month. I was thrilled because this introvert wasn’t looking forward to trying to rally people to start one. On the other hand, this introvert is pretty nervous about being in a book club where I only know one person, and she’s a new friend at that. It takes me a while to feel comfortable with new people, comfortable enough to be my true, loud-laughing self. Our first book is The First Bad Man by Miranda July. I read her book of short stories several years ago and loved them. I’m looking forward to this opportunity to talk about books and make new friends. And to check another Thing off the list! I’d been planning on doing this one in a couple more years, once Fig was a little older and I had more energy (moms out there are probably laughing at that), but I think I can do one night out every couple of months. In fact, I think it will be great.
I’ll be cooking up something new in the next week or so…I’m thinking a dessert. And I’ve been mulling over the list of 42 things I like about my body. I marked that down as one to get done before my next birthday and I think it’s going to be really hard and emotional and draining to actually sit down and spend that much time finding positive things to say about my physical self. It probably wouldn’t hurt to revisit my permission slips before I dig into that one.