October Notes

My first attempt at this Monthly Notes challenge resulted in varying levels of success… possibly more failure than success. But I’m still pretty happy about it, so this is going to be a surprisingly positive post. Weird, since I’m so used to only expressing sadness, disappointment, and anxiety in my writing. (My shit must be fun to read!)

Anyways, time for a September recap:

  • Plan weekend with the cousins in NYC!

Despite the headline of this goal, my cousin ‘S’ actually took charge of planning the cousin get-together. She called me up a week in advance so we could plan together, but she had such a clear vision of what she wanted to do, that she ended up deciding the places we would go and the things we would do herself. I jotted down some notes.

At first, I was disappointed. I couldn’t squeeze some of my ideas into our itinerary. I really wanted to have a game night at my apartment with the cousins, so we could drink endless bottles of wine, play Truth or Drink, and drunkenly bond over secrets we learn about each other in the course of just one night.

‘S’ wanted more of an NYC outing, which made sense. She wanted to show our cousins ‘C’ and ‘L,’ who live in Philly, around our city. I was surprised at how much of a foodie ‘S’ was, surprised at all the good restaurants she knew of off the top of her head. I was also surprised at how very particular, or type A she was about things. When we realized we might not have time to stick to her itinerary, she couldn’t help but let her disappointment show–her shoulders dropped, her voice got smaller, and her words took a dismal tone. She seemed to blame herself whenever we missed an opportunity to do something fun, or when everyone wasn’t visibly having an amazing time.

‘S’ eventually cheered up, and we got to do something spontaneous to cap the night off (karaoke what whaat). Even though I didn’t get to add anything to our weekend plan, I thought seeing ‘S’ plan was a good way for me to learn more about her. She really cares about planning things and seeing other people happy. I appreciated that about her.

My cousins and I did get a bit closer, but not to the extreme extent I was anticipating. And I know part of my goal was to manage my expectations, but I was slightly disappointed anyway. I know it’s not any of my cousin’s fault. The blame lies within my own tendency to expect too much too soon.

The get-together happened a few weeks ago, and although I felt kind of bummed the day after it happened, I now think that everything went fine. I’m just glad my cousins all got together in New York and got to know each other a little more. Take my inflated expectations out of the equation, and we had a great time! We ate a lot of good food together, visited classic New York spots, and gabbed and giggled over our common interests (drinking too much wine, talking about our dogs like they’re our children). I think my cousins are going to visit again for Thanksgiving. I’m pretty excited to see them again soon.

  • Make 10 sketches.

I definitely did not meet this goal. But not because it was impossible. 10 sketches in a month is definitely do-able, but I didn’t expect to get so easily discouraged by my perfectionist tendencies. Every time I started a sketch, if it didn’t turn out perfectly the way I wanted it to, I scrapped it right away. In the end, I think I did about 7 sketches in total, and I only completed two of them.

I’m not really that mad about it though. I think I made some good progress with this hobby. During September, I pushed myself to find ways to become comfortable with drawing again. For example, I remembered that I used to like drawing with charcoal in art class because it felt freeing compared to the exact lines of a pencil. I bought myself some charcoal pencils, and when that wasn’t good enough, I bought pieces of charcoal and had some fun experimenting with the utensil.

I also tried to find things that would motivate me to draw more. I noticed that I had more fun drawing if I was also listening to music. Music seemed to inspire the tone of what I was sketching. Music also distracted me from my thoughts in a way. I paid more attention to the lyrics, the tune, and my drawing than to my own self-critical eye. There was no room for me to think to myself that this line sucked or that the eyes were too uneven. I just went with the flow.

Earlier this week, I also realized that my biggest motivation for drawing is if I’m drawing for another person. My father’s birthday is coming up this weekend, so I wanted to draw a portrait of him. A picture my boyfriend took of my father immediately came to mind, and I decided to try sketching it out of charcoal. When I started, it didn’t turn out perfect of course. It didn’t even really look like him. But because this was a drawing that I turned into a project–a gift for my dad–I was more determined than usual to keep working on it until I liked it enough to present it to him.

(Sorry for the dark quality. Living room light bulb went out just as I was taking this shot.)

In the end, I still don’t think it looks perfect, but I kind of like the result. I like the smoky effect the charcoal has on the drawing, especially since this is based on a picture of my dad smoking, his mouth slightly ajar mid-sigh. I’m nervous about giving this to him because I don’t think it’s honestly good enough for a present, but considering that I didn’t get him anything else for his birthday… what choice do I have now? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  • Read a whole book.

Finally, I can end this recap with a SUCCESS STORY!!! I did in fact finish a whole book. Huzzah, the English major within me is not dead after all!

Originally, I was planning on reading a book that my coworker recommended to me, but then I ended up winning the book I Hate Everyone But You at a work raffle! It’s written by two of my favorite YouTubers, Allison Raskin and Gaby Dunn, so of course, I had to read it right away!

I actually really liked it! I always found Allison and Gaby–aka “Just Between Us”/JBU–funny in their self-written, self-directed sketches, so I guess I would naturally gravitate towards their humor in their book. I Hate Everyone But You is about two high school best friends, Gen and Ava, going off to two different colleges, separated for the first time. It’s a compilation of their email exchanges and text messages, through which they recount their freshman year struggles and confide in each other.

The friends are basically the authors themselves. Gen is sexually curious, bit of a party animal, and a spunky journalist confident in her investigative skills and in her bright future. AKA, very Gaby. Ava is an anxious perfectionist who is scared of social interaction, hates her therapist, and is always ridden with self-doubt. BUT, she’s hilarious in her self-deprecation and endearing in her moments of vulnerability. AKA, very Alison. The friends are almost polar opposites, but their chemistry works, just like their real life counterparts.

I enjoyed reading the characters’ ups and downs and how they dealt with questions related to sexuality, healthy and unhealthy relationships, and career-building. I also like that they addressed the question of whether two women can really stay best friends forever. They didn’t really have a solid answer for every question that arose, and I enjoyed that too. Reading I Hate Everyone But You, I felt like I was being transported back to college again. The girls’ problems and their reactions read very realistically to me. Personally, it was a good experience for me to read this. It felt important to remember what it was like to be a college freshman. I can now see how much I’ve grown since then, and I also feel sympathetic towards college students going through similar struggles now.

Now that I’ve finished my recap, it’s time to look forward to October! I feel like I must be boring the reader by now. How will I have any space to write about my October goals before this whole blog entry becomes an auto-TL;DR? (If it hasn’t already.) I’ve always had a problem with rambling on about things. Maybe this is a sign that I enjoy talking about myself too much. (This shit CAN’T be fun to read!)


  • Write a rough draft of a short story. 
    • Last month, I met up with some of my former Creative Writing classmates. We’ve been talking about starting a “Literary Salon”–our fancy name for a writer’s workshop–for months, and finally, we decided to launch it and make it a monthly thing! For our first meeting, we brainstormed a bit on a writing prompt. Our second meeting is scheduled for November 2nd, and we’re supposed to send each other rough drafts of stories that we’re working on a bit before then. I’m hoping this fun Literary Salon will inspire me to actually start working on something new. I can be pretty irresponsible about these things though, so hopefully I will not fuck this up and keep the Literary party going!
  • Get my wisdom teeth out!
    • Been delaying this for a while now. This is an actual necessity. I’m scared. But I need to grow up and get this over with!
  • Plan Halloween
    • I love Halloween! But! It’s a stressful holiday to plan for. I don’t even know what the heck I’m going to be this Halloween! Or what I’m going to do! I’ve been juggling some ideas. I have what could be the makings of a Pusheen costume. I could partner up with the BF and dress up as characters from a Korean drama we liked (‘Goblin’). Or I could tackle the Sailor Moon idea I had from last year (but I highly doubt my ability to create a believable anime costume). Or I could just dress up in all black and pretend to be a witch (Easiest option, potentially very lame). I don’t know! I want to sit down and think about it though and plan it out.

Ok, I’m done now. Sorry if this put you to sleep. Happy October everybody!

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