Podcasts, Self Improvement, and Learning Off the Internet

I spend a lot of time online. Perhaps I’m not alone in this, but it certainly feels that way. Over the past couple of weeks, I have been trying out podcasts. To encourage regular listening, I’m hoping to share my favorites every once in a while. Let’s begin.

On Feminism and Intersectionality

My favorite podcast in that regard, thus far, has to be Stuff Mom Never Told You. I can’t get over their episode on Miley Cyrus and racism, because oh my goodness this was mind-blowing and eye opening. Another really cool episode I had listened to was about African Americans and mental illness’ stigma. SO GOOD!

Anxiety and Depression Management and Community

You have to check out “Talking in Circles” with Laura Miller. This lady is honest and raw, real about her mental illness and how it affected her pregnancy. She used to make YouTube video series with the same title. I’ll link it right here for you. My favorite episode of the podcast has to be the one with Jen Gotch who is also extremely open and frank about her own life as a woman with mental illness. Also: I am learning from her by rating my own wellness every day. Just to be self aware and honest with myself.

 

So, I don’t know if you heard of Yoga Girl. She had a book come out a few years back, and she is popular on Instagram within the yoga community. I like her a lot, as a person and as a yogi. Luckily for me, she has a podcast called “From the Heart.” My favorite episode thus far is one about grief. The guest on that episode lost her child. Pshaw. That episode was so powerful and moving. It still haunts me and drives me to do better as a human.

Your Turn:

Do you have any favorite self improvement podcasts on iTunes? Please, share them with me in the comments! I want to learn more!

 

          Welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday. This week, the
As you may have read in previous blog entries, I will be participating in Emojiathon
After disappearing for a while there, I am hoping to pick up the pace around

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Recommendations for Fans of Bad-ass Characters

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday. This week, the lovely meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish is fully back in the swing of things with a topic of recommending books. For me, I want to focus on the top ten books I’d recommend for those who are fans of bad-ass characters.

10. Graceling by kristin cashore

In this world, some children are “graced” with special skills/talents. Our main character is graced with the ability to kill people. She is such a warrior and a brave girl. I would posit, though, that she’s not just a bad-ass in terms of physical ability. Her willingness to go against bullies and defy unjust rulers marks her as one of the most bad-ass characters I have ever encountered.

9. The Hunger games by suzanne collins

Katniss Everdeen is not the bad-ass some people know. I think, for me, she becomes a true fighter when she faces her trauma. While I understand this girl struggled from having such heavy burdens and responsibilities heaved upon her, I think she had the issues even earlier in her life.  With all of these factors in mind, I think Katniss is survivor of really tough things and that makes her a bad-ass.

8.The vanishing throne by elizabeth may

Aithinne and Karian are truly my focus in this series. They are the true bad-asses. I understand that Aileana is the heroine, and I love her, but she’s part of something much bigger. I like the exploration of trauma and abuse in this book in particular. The connection Aithinne and Aileana have is just fantastic, and bad-ass.

7.harry potter and the order of the phoenix by jk rowling

Obviously, you have to read the stories leading up to this one, but oh man, how cool is it to see Harry as a teacher. To me, I don’t believe for a second that Harry would  ever work for the Ministry of Magic. He’d be a professor at Hogwarts, to provide a home to those who, like him, have no home. In this book, he becomes this role of a mentor to a group of his friends, and guides them into a war. If that’s not bad-ass, I don’t know what is.

6. A Darker Shade of Magic by v.e. schwab

Bravery is recognizing you made a mistake, and handling the consequences. Kel and Holland have that in common. It’s also about loving people with kindness, as we see with Rhy. Lila is another bad-ass for all the sass she and Alucard exchange, all the fighting tips, all the magic lessons make me love her so much. She bravely steps into new roles for herself and pushes the boundaries of her definitions.

5. the demon king by cinda williams chima

I still am reeling from this book because Han and Raisa are bad-asses. Raisa who is passionate about learning about her people, goes out to experience life in her kingdom. Han, who has a mysterious background, takes an amulet and has to fend for himself in a dog-eat-dog world.

4. Vampire academy by richelle mead

Most people would say that Rose Hathaway is the heroine of these tales. To me, I am more fascinated with Lissa. The element of spirit is hard to control, it seems, and she goes through quite the journey to develop her skill. Lissa is a bad-ass because she never uses physical force to settle her disputes. The older she gets, the wiser she becomes. I love her.

Books on my tbr that are rumored to have bad-ass characters

3. the darkest minds trilogy by alexandra bracken

Dystopia and special powers, concentration camps and kids working together: that is all I needed to hear to get this whole series. Ruby and the gang have so much potential right now.

2. The name of the wind by Patrick Rothfuss

I know the main character is a bad-ass. Just look at that cover. Freaking yes! Kvothe, from what I know, narrates his life as a boy who is accepted in a magic school. In my head, at least, he becomes a bad-ass mage. Can’t wait to read this one.

1. legacy of kings by eleanor herman

Alexander the Great is clearly going to be a bad-ass in these books. People call him the Great for reasons. I cannot wait to see what he’s like in the story. Don’t really know much about the books, but I am excited!

 

I spend a lot of time online. Perhaps I'm not alone in this, but it
As you may have read in previous blog entries, I will be participating in Emojiathon
After disappearing for a while there, I am hoping to pick up the pace around

June Week 1 TBR

As you may have read in previous blog entries, I will be participating in Emojiathon this month. But, I like to break down my June TBR by weeks to avoid getting overwhelmed.

Read a book about a marginalized group

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

 

Cover Buy 

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead(e?)

 

Read a Book that Makes You Happy

The Selection by Keira Cass

 

I obviously may rebel, but I think I just need to read some light stuff with Crooked Kingdom. This is important, especially after Lord of Shadows broke me.

I spend a lot of time online. Perhaps I'm not alone in this, but it
          Welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday. This week, the
After disappearing for a while there, I am hoping to pick up the pace around

May Week 1 TBR, Goals, and Doathon

After disappearing for a while there, I am hoping to pick up the pace around here. For May, week 1 (!!), I have a TBR, and a list of goals to share with you today.

Before I begin, I want to share the Do-A-Thon with you all. You can read the specific announcement here on Mollie’s Blog. But, basically, it’s about accomplishing things that were always on bucket lists. Intentional living! Living with purpose, and doing things that better your life and the lives of others. My attempt at joining the Do-A-Thon event is here.

It’s a bunch of humble goals, I admit.

To Be Read:

A Conjuring of Light by VE Schwab

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

and perhaps the following two:

The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkowski

Raven King by Maggie Steifvater

Basically, I am hoping to finish up some series to start some more.

Moreover, Shakespeare calls my name, so I am hoping to read a play from the collection I have of his work.

Goals

I am attempting to follow the goals I always set for myself. If you’re new here, I suffer from an array of mental illnesses and I struggle to get things done often. For the Do-A-Thon, I am essentially trying to do the things I always wanted to start doing regularly. A brief list of the things I want to fully incorporate into my life: yoga, meditation, reading, and writing.

So, hopefully, I can be more active around the blogging sphere of things. And, of course, just trying to keep my head above water the whole time.

Have a wonderful week ahead!

Your Turn

What will you be reading this week? Do you have a huge list of books to read, or are you keeping it small this week? Let me know what you think of the books I picked, too! And, if you want, I would love to have you join us in the Do-A-Thon.

 

 

I spend a lot of time online. Perhaps I'm not alone in this, but it
          Welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday. This week, the
As you may have read in previous blog entries, I will be participating in Emojiathon

T5W: Authors I Want to Read More From

T5W, or Top 5 Wednesday, is a meme that is run by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. The Goodreads Group is right here, for you to check out topics and participate with us. This week, my T5W is about authors I want to read more from. Some of these authors, I have not read anything from at all. Others are ones I have read a work or two by them, and I want to read more. But, over all, they are authors I would like to read more from regardless of how much I have read from them already.

Let the list of my top 5 authors I would like to read more from begin!

5. Rae Carson

I have read the first book of her Girl of Fire and Thorns. While her pacing is a little off in that book, I remain interested in her work because I am hoping to finish up that trilogy and read her new trilogy. She writes complex worlds and nuanced character development.

4. Cinda Williams Chima

Slowly, I have been gathering up her books. Now that I have read the first book of Mistborn, I want to explore high fantasy some more. While I am interested in reading more Sanderson, I want to also read fantasy from women’s own perspective.

3. Brandon Sanderson

Having said that, I really enjoyed most of the Final Empire and so I want to read more Sanderson. Over the past year, I have been collecting some of his work (a lot of his work, actually). Part of this interest stems from selfish reasons. Sanderson talks about how he is a slow and steady writer, and I am pretty slow when it comes to writing as well. And, I think he writes poignant relationships, vast worlds; how can I not be interested?

2. Neil Gaiman

Stardust is one of my most treasured movies, and I want to write fantastical and dreamlike narratives just like Gaiman. He seems to have a humble, yet strong sense of style and poise in his fiction. All I can think of is how great it would be to pick up some stylistic lessons from reading his work.

  1. Roshani Chokshi

Lush beautiful writing, based on what little I have read from her, and culturally rich stories. As a wanna-be author of color, I am inspired by other women of color who write stories where they are meshing their cultural influences with traditional mainstream stories. So, Hades/Persephone story infused with Indian mythology is what I have heard about her first book, which sounds brilliant to me.

 

I spend a lot of time online. Perhaps I'm not alone in this, but it
          Welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday. This week, the
As you may have read in previous blog entries, I will be participating in Emojiathon

Do-A-Thon TBR

The lovely Mollie from MollieReads created the #Do-A-Thon. It will be taking place during the first week of May. The event involves finding ways to live more mindfully, and to tackle the challenging things we never quite get to do often. So, here’s my Do-A-Thon “TBR.”

Do one thing that scares you or do something that challenges the story you tell yourself.

I have a very bad relationship with my body. Over the years, I have developed some disordered thinking and eating. So, I want to: be more mindful of what I eat, how much I eat. Facing my own body image issues by being more understanding of my eating habits will scare me, I know it. But, I think it’ll help me a lot by challenging my self narrative.

Rather than being a product of medications’ side effects, I get to be in control of my food intake and wellness.

  • Complete a project (creative or otherwise) that you’ve been putting off.

I need to sort through my closet and organize it better. In addition, I would like to revisit my poetry and wrap up some of the poems I did not finish. I have a lot of them jotted on my iPods.

  • Do something that involves someone else or do something for someone else.

This one makes me panic. I can try to comment on blogs more often during the week? And, I want to talk more on Goodreads and Twitter as well.

  • Learn something new.

I am going to try to do yoga every day of that week as well, to help foster a gentler approach to my relationship with my body. I would like to introduce physical flexibility again, because it used to bring me so much joy. While I used to practice yoga before getting too sick, I have gained so much weight, that it will be a whole new experience now.

Probably, I will aim for practicing through Yoga with Adrienne.

  • Do something to foster a calm or welcoming environment.

Read for an hour or two every day! I feel much better when I read. And, I want to live tweet or GR update my way through my reading experience.

 

I spend a lot of time online. Perhaps I'm not alone in this, but it
          Welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday. This week, the
As you may have read in previous blog entries, I will be participating in Emojiathon

TTT: Top Ten Quickest Reads

I am back with another Top Ten Tuesday list. Before I get too caught up in it, I want to link you to the Broke and Bookish, which is home for the Top Ten Tuesday topics and awesomeness. Go check it out!  This time, our topic is top ten quickest reads. Because I have difficulty concentrating and sitting still (manic episodes happen), I don’t really ever read things in one sitting. So, “quickest reads” is what I’m going to be using for this entry.

Let’s begin.

10. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I read this at the beginnings of my own illnesses’ manifesting. So, I was extra vulnerable, but I did finish it over a very short period of time. It really was a quick read, and one full of impact and resonance at that.

9. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Cath and Levi are high on my list of favorite people I have encountered in fiction. Their story was incredibly moving and significant for me. That, coupled with the fact that this book deals with fanfiction, it made easy to love and speed through.

8. Beautiful Creatures series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

I flew through these books, because the series had a Gothic feel to it. Dark things are interesting to me. Not many people like these books, but I adore them. I even like the movie of the first book. Ethan and Lena had a compelling love story. Let’s not talk about the weird spin off thing that the authors tried to pull, because no…Just no.

7. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Charming and endearing, this book was the sweetest breath of fresh air in literature that I have encountered that season of reading. It was such a quick read as well.  I love Emily and Sloane, and Frank! If you want a feel-good read, check this one out for sure. I have a couple of Morgan Matson’s books left for me to read soon.

 

6. Anna and the French Kiss trilogy by Stephanie Perkins

The cuteness is even more real for these books. Perkins knows how to craft interesting and sweet characters. I know the story-lines are not mind-blowing. But, they’re heartwarming and adorable. Sometimes, you need some nice fluff. This is just that. And, I flew through these books.

5. Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkowski

This is a serious-pants kind of book and I loved it so much that I read it fast. I even wrote a review about it. Kestrel is a clever and strong woman, and she was also inspiring in her self-awareness. Arin is also a good match for her in terms of strength and character. I cannot wait to finish this trilogy. I know I’ll be reading them fairly quickly.

4. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

What is this brilliance of this book! It’s out of this world good. I read it quickly because: 1) Alina, 2) The Darkling, 3) the magic, 4) the world

I will not even talk about how much I dislike Mal here. But, I want you to know that I dislike him, which makes me read even faster because I want to see what will happen with him and Alina.

3. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

One of my favorite stories ever is Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. I just love the characters (Baz and Penelope for the most part. I am unsure about Simon in general).

2. Harry Potter series by JK Rowling 

Obviously, it is hard not to speed through these books. They are just so good. And, while sometimes I express some dislike for certain elements of the books, I will always enjoy the stories. I read these books fast, ever time I read them. Humor, friendship, and adventure never looked so good.

  1. Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare 

    All the shadowhunter stuff by Cassandra Clare made me read with enjoyment. I just love her characters, the diversity, the humor, the twists. All of it is just fantastic. I cannot express how thankful I am for these books and this badass author.

 

Your Turn:

What are some of your quickest reads? Do you ever finish books within a day? Share your responses in comments!

 

I spend a lot of time online. Perhaps I'm not alone in this, but it
          Welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday. This week, the
As you may have read in previous blog entries, I will be participating in Emojiathon

To the Stars!

So She Thought

She lived in a shoe-box thinking it a mansion. In her head, she dreamed of being someone else, of being blue-eyed blonde, stick thin and muscly.

Never mind her thick legs. Ignore this frizz like pineapple hair. She promised to erase her wilderness, her half-masked ambition, her enthusiasm. Instead, she would trade it in for a calm, cool, collected caricature to a charismatic clever creature. Shrewd and nonchalant, she would circle those goals, day after day.

Wrong.

Her mind was wrong, but it was made up.

But, she spent her time wishing to be different. Only to realize that she is wasting her glory days gorging and gawking at other brains, other dreams, other beings.

Perhaps, it is less about minding the gaps between her and the rest. More, it is more about feeling the cloth she is working with. Touching the seams and zippers, soothing velvet texture. Throwing it back and jumping off roof tops, cape bellowing behind.

“These are the glory days,” she would whisper to the stars.

 

 

I spend a lot of time online. Perhaps I'm not alone in this, but it
          Welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday. This week, the
As you may have read in previous blog entries, I will be participating in Emojiathon

Introduction Disability Diaries

Welcome to my first Disability Diaries entry for 2017. Over the next week, I will be dedicating my blog to discussions regarding disability (more than usual)). I am joining awesome hosts: Ely (who created this whole thing!), Angel, Cee Arr, Lara Liz, and Jolien.

 

Context

I was always a crier. Frequently suffering from intense mood swings and daily dose of manic episodes. Unable to maintain friendships, I relied on stories to find acceptance. And, unfortunately, it was very hard to find my place in a grander narrative. So, I existed with the pressure of trying to mask all the “weirdness.”

Never did I think that there were others like me. As educated as I thought I was, I was never aware of my family’s history with mental illness.

But, by January of 2012, I was crying all the time. Constantly. Things were going “well,” too. I had a steady job and two college degrees under my belt. There were very few reasons for my sadness. I felt so guilty for being unwell. Days would go by and I would be unable to get out of bed.

Even though I had just gotten a car, I was also starting to see things that confused me on the road. I would hear whispers about how much I sucked at driving. My heart was always beating too fast and loud for me to breathe properly.

Process

One day, my mom sat me down and encouraged me to look into therapy. So I did. I remember my second appointment being on Valentine’s Day. Then, by June, I was writing about my journey angrily on my blog.  You may be wondering why you can’t see posts from my early days on the blog-o-sphere. Well, I was very angry and frustrated. When I shared my experiences, I was quick to delete them out of fear and shame.

Represent

While I am trying to gear this blog toward books and more tangible things, I am also hoping for representation of disabled people like myself. It is hard to find good examples of people who are disabled in literature, I find. And, if the portrayal is accurate or convincing, sometimes the illness takes over the narrative. This is one of the reasons why even five years into treatment, I still struggle to be my own hero in my life.

My hope is to get a dialogue going to help other disabled people voice their experiences too. In doing so, we can challenge the idea of us being “abnormal” or objects to be controlled and manipulated. Part of it is confronting the shaming and overall erasure of our existence and, by extension, our value.

Hope you’re ready for Disability Diaries. I look forward to check out your posts and get the dialogue going!

I spend a lot of time online. Perhaps I'm not alone in this, but it
          Welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday. This week, the
As you may have read in previous blog entries, I will be participating in Emojiathon

People to Thank

Background Information to Know

I have met such wonderful people over the years, who were accepting of my overall weirdness and inability to talk much. I am not an easy person to befriend.

From hiding a lot, to deleting thing, to downright destroying friendships out of fear, I am very hard to be loved. While things are settling a bit, and I am not doing much of the breaking up anymore, it’s quite embarrassing to think of what friends go through for me.

My Twenties

First, to my friends Rebecca and Emily. They are a power couple and I drove them nuts. I am thankful for their persistence. I couldn’t attend their wedding, and they never held it against me.

All my life, I have seen dreams of a girl from a different place, and I met her through Rae. Mel is a soul sister of mine. I am sorry that my illness stopped me from witnessing her happy fairy tale of love and wedding. All the times we would bake, or drive together, or clothes shop, I was and still am grateful for the love from you, from your soulmate, from Mattius, from Jason, from Tia Lisa.

Uh, Kel: you’ll never read this, but you introduced me to so many things and I can’t thank you enough, for hugging me when I had scars all over me, for swimming with, and visiting me. Thank you.

The most darling girl, small and seemingly quiet turned out to be a roaring lion, Ashley-Jean, I am in awe of you and your growth. Legit crying with all the affection and admiration I have for you.

Redheaded, with a glowing nose-ring, Rachael, you and I became vegan together. Open-minded, challenging, clever, beautiful, and happy, I am blessed that you came along when you did. So strong and loving, never one to hold a grudge, I am always wowed by you.

The Internet Age: Late Twenties

When I got sick, it felt like a death sentence to all contact with humans, a comfort and consistent torture. But, I met Bronwyn through her blog about horror things. Incidentally, I am easily frightened, yet we connected and she has never batted an eye at the weirdness of me switching blogs, usernames, accounts. She supported me. Oh, and she introduced to my Megassaur.

Beautiful Meg, you are a powerhouse of hope and sarcasm and humor. I will never get over how quick you were to welcome me in your life, despite my oddness.

Then, I met my sunshine of a friend: Inge, you are an inspiration to all and I will never forget writing you that message on Goodreads. You give me bravery. To me, you’ll always be a shining star, and I am just humbled that you befriended little old me.

I was so scared and lonely, and you introduced me to the gems of my life now: Ely, Michelle (ma belle, Mich!), Jolien, Bee, Annemieke, Shannon, Cee Arr, Angel, and Vlora. As well as the little ones Topaz and Lara Liz

Ely, you teach me to accept my disability. Your bravery, the rawness of your honesty is a breath of fresh air, even if I sometimes just pace around the room for nights trying to think of a response equally as eloquent. Because of you, I feel like I have some sort of use for this world.

Ma Belle (Mich), I know things feel so horrid right now, and you need your space. All I can do is keep you in my prayers, in my heart, and on my mind. Sending you love and hope. You and I have a lot in common. My poetess, you are incredible and I can only pray that we can talk some more.

Jolie, you are the cutest peep. Because of you, I am becoming obsessed with Brandon Sanderson and Scott Lynch, anything fantasy and I think of you right away. My early riser, you are a sun summoner; may the world twirl around you, bring you the happiness you deserve.

Bee, we don’t talk much because I am genuinely intimidated by your cleverness. Books creator, clever and social, you surely will be on the bestsellers lists one day. I can only hope to be part of your journey to share your brilliance.

Annemieke, you are such a busy bee, and I want to get to know you better, mama! You show warmth and kindness so unabashedly, consistently raising my expectations of myself. Thank you for existing. Keep on rocking.

Shannon, don’t ever say you’re old. I think I’m older than you, so watch it. I’ll never look at the Hunger Games and not think of you. We need to tweet more at each other, because you always make me smile.

Cee: you are mysterious to me, and I need to build up the courage to talk to you–genuinely enjoy your blogs about sexual fluidity. You helped me come to terms with my asexuality and being aromantic and I am forever grateful for your openness.

Angel: you’re the prettiest and the most adorable girl ever. I wish we can get to know each other better, but you’re adored a lot by myself and Ely and Mich.

Vlora, I can’t wait to get to know you some more. You are so kind to me, even when I am deleting tweets left and right with manic nervousness. Thank you.

Finally: the little ones, you write beautifully and I wish younger me had your courage. Topaz, dream-like, and poetic, prodigious and inspiring, I hope you gain more recognition for your creativity. Lara Liz (Or as I call you, Little Lara Bar. Shh. It’s a vegan bar. Very delicious), your enthusiasm for life is the contagious and I am so psyched for your future and what it holds.

In passing, some people who don’t know me: Cait the Cake Queen and Aly, I enjoy your blogs and tweets. My heart is full of love for you. Thank you for the humor coupled with the mental exercise.

Family

Mother dearest, you are my harshest critic and my biggest fan. You break my heart with your support. Thank you for buying me all the things, for taking me to doctors, for picking up medications, for being the unfortunate end of a stream of anger and sadness.

Brother love, you got me this domain! You just…I have no words for all the kindness you show me, and I feel ashamed that we weren’t always such buddies.

Little sister, I can only hope to be good enough for you, my fiery fierce friend.

This entry was a million words, but I can only honor you all the best I can. Thank you. I love you.

I spend a lot of time online. Perhaps I'm not alone in this, but it
          Welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday. This week, the
As you may have read in previous blog entries, I will be participating in Emojiathon