February 2021: Month In Review

Welcome, friends, to February 2021, month-in-review! To start, I will take a look at the goals I had set for this month, (delineated in January’s month-in-review), and see how well I was able to accomplish them.

THE MUST-DO’S

  • Maintain mental stability. Mmmm… close, but not quite. Earlier in the month, I had a bit of a hypomanic episode, whereby I got off my meds and did not sleep for 2 days straight (first time I’d done that, since college). I had deadlines stacking up for various commitments and got a bit overwhelmed, and didn’t want to sleep. But the golden rule of bipolar is, GET ENOUGH SLEEP! Because lack of sleep can trigger hypomanic/manic episodes, and that’s never a good thing. So, never, ever, EVER get off your meds without consulting your psychiatrist. (lol, I realize I’m talking in third person. I do that sometimes, during reflective pieces that warrant self-criticism)
  • Exercise regularly, eat three meals a day, and don’t overindulge in junk food/unhealthy snacks.Yes, for the most part I have succeeded in maintaining a physically healthy lifestyle. I’m making good progress on my pull-ups, which has been a long-standing goal of mine. I completely indulged in junk food during my three-day trip to Mammoth (pizza, cookies, chips, potato bread, pasta). But that was vacation, so it doesn’t count (okay, Bel… whatever helps you sleep at night, right?)
  • Journal every day. Mmmm… not quite, either. I journal when I feel the need to, namely, when I’m inundated with thoughts, and I need to open the lid to my brain before it explodes. Unfortunately I have not been disciplined enough to journal every day. The writer’s block (which is still going strong) has definitely dampened my motivation to write… well, anything.
  • Stay socially connected. One key component of bipolar management is having a strong social support network. I’m happy to say that this past month, I’ve put a lot more effort into deepening existing relationships and building new connections. I’ve spent more time at home with family, reconnected with some of my college friends (shoutout to Mikey!), and met other people my age who also struggle with bipolar disorder. Having strong social connections is integral for building robust mental health, as you need people around you who help you in times of need. There’s a quote from a recent Grey’s Anatomy episode that validates this principle: “Find your people and keep them close. Because when you’re at your lowest, those people get you through.”  ~Meredith Grey

HOBBIES AND PASSIONS

  • Dance– improve freestyling ability; expand dance vocabulary by learning new styles and taking online group dance classes; continue with zumba 2x/week; learn how to twerk. I have been consistent with my twice-a-week zumba classes! I even went to class yesterday, with my freshly injured leg. I still would love to expand my dance vocabulary by learning different styles (urban, theater dance, ballet, modern, lyrical), but my main focus is Latin Ballroom. Dance studios are beginning to reopen, so I am very excited to get back into ballroom training! As for twerking… let’s just say it’s a work in progress. LOL.
  • Read one book. YES! I read one book called, “Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me”. It’s written by Ellen Forney, a graphic artist who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 30. Her memoir, written in comic book form, tells her story from diagnosis, denial and madness, to acceptance, peace and stability. I read the book in one sitting, during the car ride to Mammoth. I laughed, cried, and marveled at how brutally relatable her journey was. Definitely will use it as inspiration for my own bipolar memoir– the one I’ve been talking about writing for the past two years.
  • Continue roller skating and start learning how to longboard. I did some longboarding in the beginning of February, and even taught myself some tricks, like the “sex change” (jumping 180 degrees to switch sides) and a handstand on the moving board. Sadly, the longboarding momentum fizzled out, and I haven’t ridden in a couple weeks. Don’t even get me started about roller skating. I haven’t touched them since 2020. Priority level: non-existent.
  • Competitive public speaking! Yeah, that didn’t happen either. That was one of the commitments I had to dial back on, due to my hypomanic episode. Allan, the president of the Toastmaster’s chapter I am a part of, was such a dear about the situation. I apologized for having to drop out at the last minute, and he called me on the phone to make sure I was doing okay, and to see if I was living with anyone who could help me out. Definitely appreciated his kind gesture. See? SOCIAL SUPPORT!

WORK

  • Continue tutoring. Yup. Still tutoring as my part-time job. Had a bunch of cancellations this month, so pace of work has been slower, and wallet was a bit skinnier.
  • Revamp The Athlete’s Corner. This is my website where I interview and write feature articles about competitive athletes. I haven’t done much in terms of redesigning the website and doing digital marketing stuff, but I’ve started reaching out to more athletes to interview. I actually interviewed a rhythmic gymnast today. Her story is pretty incredible, and I’m super excited to write it. Stay tuned for more content coming out!
  • Take on some freelance writing projects from Upwork. I love writing! HAH. Definitely did NOT do this. At the moment, I do not love writing. It is torturous work. So don’t expect me to pick up any freelance projects anytime soon. I’ll start with the journaling, the blogging, and the website. That’s more than enough writing to keep my brain wired.

BLOGGING-SPECIFIC GOALS

  • Word / Quote of the day challenge. I had thought up this blog challenge as a way to expand my vocabulary. Every day, I’d pick a word, phrase, or quote that piqued my interest, and write a blurb about it and post it on here. It never happened. Maybe I’ll try it this month, maybe I won’t. Priority level: non-existent.
  • Blog regularly– 3-4 times a week at least is the goal. HAH. I was lucky to have written 9 blog posts total, this past month. So that’s roughly 2 blogs a week. Between the mood episode and writer’s block, I’d say two posts a week is pretty remarkable. So, good work, Bel!

Alrighty. Now that I’ve reflected on the specific goals I did/did not achieve this month, let’s move on to Part II of this reflection: noteworthy events.

  1. I HAVE A NEW BOYFRIEND!!! Hah. Not. Yeah, the whole boy situation is as dismal as ever. I got out of a thing with an emotionally-unavailable dude back in end of December. January rolled around, and “new-year-new-me” syndrome led me to delete all dating apps, “permanently”. Early February, I started feeling the itch to get back into the game. Not with the intent of finding a serious boyfriend, but simply to meet new people and get some “practice” navigating dating/romance/intimacy, which God knows I’m terrible at (#commitmentissues). So, I revisited an old college pal of mine, Tinder. Made a brand new profile and everything. Matched with several guys, but blocked anyone who made vulgar, crass, inappropriate, or creepy advances. Here are some honorable mentions: “Nice shoes, wanna f***?” “Wanna come over? I’m safe and clean.” “Hey woman.” There were only four guys with whom I shared deep(ish) conversations. I met up with a few of them, but they were all duds. No spark, no chemistry. Or maybe there was some attraction (or was it politeness?), but it wasn’t strong enough to provoke lasting interest. One thing I found interesting was this: most people are nervous for first dates. For some reason, I always thought there was something wrong with me for feeling first-date jitters. I always saw nervousness as a personality flaw, when in reality, it’s called being human. Two of the guys I met up with for drinks/dinner actually seemed MORE nervous than I was! But you know what? I thought their nervousness was sweet and endearing, as it showed that they cared. At the end of the day, though, none of them really worked out, thereby proving my theory that dating apps, especially Tinder, are useless. I’d much rather meet someone in person and have the connection develop organically. There’s none of that, “Omg, what if they don’t like the way I look in person?”, or “What if the person I’m meeting is a catfish?” Pro-Tip: Post the most unflattering pictures of yourself on dating apps, so whoever you match with will be pleased, and not disappointed, when they meet you in person. Obviously dating apps suck, and in-person meet-cutes are the way to go. But those are hard to come by, during COVID-times. So I guess it’s nothing, then. Well, whatever. I’m officially done with men (for now). Just gonna focus on myself, my passions, my education, and my career goals. Who has time to date, anyway? My new motto when it comes to dating/intimacy is this: hope for the best, but expect the worst. Go in with negative expectations, and if he turns out to be a good egg, then you will be pleasantly surprised. Here’s an even better one: if you like a person, don’t show it, don’t act on it, and don’t do anything to manifest it. If you don’t shoot your shot, no one will get hurt.
  2. Another Valentine’s Day, un-cuffed. I have never been in a relationship on Valentine’s Day… ever. Was wondering if this would be the year it happened. But nope. And I’m totally okay with it! You can read all about my thoughts on the matter, in Valentine’s Day 2021 Reflection.
  3. Mammoth Ski Trip Debacle. It was supposed to be my grand comeback after a six-year hiatus from skiing. Instead, I ended up in the ER after a rogue ski sliced open my leg. The gash was 4 inches across and 4 cm deep, right below my knee. It required 11 stitches. It could have been a lot worse, though. Had the cut been a few inches higher, it would have sliced my Patellar tendon. A few inches lower, and it would have gone straight into my shin bone. And I didn’t break or tear anything. So I count my blessings. I’m still super disappointed that I didn’t get to ski (the accident happened on the very first run of the first day), but I’ll most likely be going to Mammoth again in a few weeks, for a redemption trip. Also, update about the injury: it’s Day 5 of recovery, and I’m essentially walking/moving like normal. Took a dance fitness class yesterday, and did some more dancing today. Only downside is that the area surrounding the wound is numb. But my dad said it’s just local nerve damage, and the nerves will grow back, so I’ll eventually regain feeling in. my leg. Thank goodness.
  4. Running injury. I don’t know what it was with this month and injuries. On February 19, I went on a run on the levee (first one I’ve attempted since January) and ended up face-planting on the rocks and gravel. It was a total freak accident. I’ve ran 21 miles in the dark without tripping once. So how I ended up falling down in broad daylight, is beyond me. Other than a few scrapes and a bruised ego, I was fine. My brand new iPhone 11, on the other hand, says differently. She was not even two days old when this little running accident happened. When I fell, my iPhone bore the brunt of the impact. There is now a small crack on the lower righthand corner of her screen. Thankfully, she has on a glass screen protector (I paid an extra $40 for that at Apple) so she’ll be alright.
  5. Dad’s 35th birthday. My dad’s birthday is easy to remember– February 28th. He turned “35” this year, as did he last year, and the year before that. My brothers and I truly did not know what my dad wanted for his birthday. He is a man of few words, and simple in taste. We drove back home from Mammoth on his birthday, and my dad said the following words: “The only birthday present I want is for you guys to get home safely. ” And get home safe, we did. Love you lots, Dad! ❤

Alright, onto the Part III of this reflection: things to improve.

  • Spend less time on phone/social media. Like, seriously, Bel, start tracking your screen time. You’d be shocked at how much time you waste scrolling through Instagram, taking a million selfies that will never see the light of day, and deliberating which dance video to post next on your feed, only to remember that nobody cares about your dancing except you, and you’d rather not come off as a braggart by flaunting your dance skills on social media, which let’s be honest, aren’t that great anyway.
  • Stop it with the yo-yo diet. Eat everything in moderation. No need to resort to extremes with eating– you got enough extremism in your brain.
  • Read more. Gotta fill your brain in with words/content faster than is escaping.
  • DO NOT get off your meds. Like, ever.
  • Don’t drink alcohol. It’s a bad mix with your meds, and abstinence is sexy. So just don’t drink. Don’t do it!
  • Wow, that sounded a lot more judgmental than I intended it to be. So I guess the last thing is… try to love yourself? Just give it a try, and see how it fits. Maybe self-love is a good look on you. But you won’t know unless you try.

It’s 2:28am as we round up on the final part of February’s month-in-review: goals for March, aka, my birthday month!

THE MUST-DO’S

  • Maintain mental stability: meds, diet, sleep, BALANCE (god that is such a dirty word… why are people so obsessed with it?)
  • Journal every day, even if only for 10 minutes
  • Maintain social relationships

HOBBIES AND PASSIONS

  • Latin ballroom dance. Ballroom studios are reopening and I’m so freaking excited to get back into my competitive training! But, remember, Bel: caveat emptor. Be careful not to spend all the money you earned this past year on expensive private lessons.
  • Read one book.
  • The Athlete’s Corner: revamp + produce content. Goal: write 2 articles / month.
  • Pick up singing/piano again. Just for fun. It’s good for the soul.

WORK

  • Continue tutoring. Most of my high school students are taking the April SAT test. So it’s crunch time, baby!

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

  • You’re turning 23 in 5 days. It’s time to get serious about adulting, particularly regarding financial independence. So start by reading that book Austin gave you for Christmas: I Will Teach You To Be Rich. Financial Independence Retire Early. FIRE. That’s the goal.

Aaaaaand, there you have it. All my goals for the month of March. Not as intense as February, but that’s exactly the point. If you overload yourself with goals, you aren’t gonna achieve any of them. Keep it simple, and most importantly.. stay healthy and stay happy. Easy to say, hard to do. But one can only try.

**Side Note: It’s 3:31am. FINALLY finished with this blog. Took me, what, 4 hours to write this? Writer’s block is real, man.

Talk soon,

Bel

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