Another thirty days to rediscover the soul.
“Thirty days has September, April, June, and November. All the rest have thirty-one, save February, which has twenty-eight days in time, and Leap Year brings it twenty-nine.“
That was a poem I learned back in Third Grade. I still remember it to this day, along with one about Thanksgiving, and the German version of two Christmas carols. The first poem came back to me as I began writing the rules to this next writing challenge. All the ones I’ve done so far have been predominantly in months with thirty days total: April Awakening and June Renew. Thirty feels like a satisfying number of days to get my full sentiment of what that quarter of the year is bringing me. I want to keep these ‘books-of-the-month’ going. I’m looking at doing My December to Remember II or cobbling together February’s twenty-eight days into what winter feels like. These challenges hold me accountable and give me a chance to revisualize where I want to go. And with September being another thirty-day month, this seems as good a time as any to begin something new.
I use these challenges to take a break from what I believe warrants one. I’m finding all sorts of ways to do that, but if I can do something I love in the meantime, why not do it? These periods act as reset points, moments in time where I can clear my head and refocus on what’s ahead. I’ve found how to structure these daily entries along the way, layering on what feels right in that next month. September will come along with rules in the same vein as the others, but with some tweaks here and there as I retool my own personal writing workshop.
So with that, here’s the four rules for what I’ll be surrendering in September.
Rule #1: Write an entry every day, with new weekly guidance.
Each year I try to complete the NaNoWriMo Challenge. For those who don’t know, National Novel Writing Month is an organized November challenge to write a 50,000-word novel in a month. You’re supposed to focus on getting the words out first and copy-editing later. It’s fascinated me since 2012, but I never actually completed it. And most of the time, I didn’t even try. I just liked to nom on the feelings I’d get from the fantasies. But for the first time last year, I gave it an honest shot.
I did well for the first ten days. I was writing minimum 1,700 words daily as suggested in order to stay on track. I was beginning a sci-fi tale I had been thinking about for a while, even though I had no clear ending in mind. I wasn’t sure if that’s how other writers begin, by finding the ending first. I was just enjoying where I was taking things and figured I could always find it later. It astounded me that I’d go to sleep each night knowing I had gotten all the words out. They may not have been perfect, they may have been sloppy and disconnected, but they were out and ready for another day of exploration. I would have every opportunity in the world to go back and read what I wrote at another time. As long as I could see my story on the horizon, the process of how I got there mattered less and less.
But then, I got sidetracked. Someone had completely caught me off guard, grabbing all my attention and worse off, my words. I had stopped writing less and less each day to the point where I gave up entirely and pushed it till next year. It didn’t matter, either, because I had what I thought I wanted. But just before November ended, I was told “we should end this.” I had thrown away my NaNoWriMo on something that was not worth the heartache. But that’s a story for another time.
Either way, I want to recreate that feeling of accomplishment while in the midst of the challenge. I want to really finish it this time, and I’m going to use my September Surrender to put me back in the mindset. So here’s new weekly rules for each daily entry:
- Weekly Word Quotas – Minimum 750 words for the first ten days, 1,100 for the following week, 1,450 for the third week, and 1,700 minimum for the final.
- Three Salient Points – Each day I’ll report three anecdotes, detailing what I let go, what I discovered, and what else I hope to find. They may not be laid out as traditional storytelling. It may be as simple as “I was sitting on my couch and had a thought.” But they’ll act as writing prompts to get the information I need and motivation to keep it all written down.
I think adding some structure to what I’m about to do will make me less inclined to just throw out some writing for the sake of it. I’ll be able to think of a topic and write about it all day. Having somewhere I can take a narrative will be helpful when trying to piece together a story. Readers deserve a satisfying ending where all the connections you find along the way make sense at the end of it. Since I absolutely never finish what I start, clearer rules may actually help me get to my goal this time. Which leads me to the next rule of Surrender.
Rule #2: no thc, but this one thing is okay.
I resign. I love smoking. It’s honestly one of my favorite things to do. And thankfully (or not) I’m not talking about cigarettes. I quit those over six years ago already, and I’m happy I did. But I’m sure anyone whose followed me for a while know that I’m a pothead. Always have been, may always be. And it’s finally okay with me because it’s not something I always have to be. I can “quit” anytime I want, even if I pick it back up at another time. I still hope there can be some kind of divine intervention that causes me to quit altogether, as I’m sure my lungs will thank me regardless of what I do. But I know when it’s getting to be too much and know that I’d benefit more from taking a break. I also hope this will lead into #SoberOctober, which I last did in 2020 and am planning again this year. I don’t plan to write about it every day, but there’s still plenty of spooky stuff to write about in October.
I do like how my head feels after thirty days of no pot, which I’ve already pulled off twice this year. The anticipation of stopping is always worse than actually doing it. So when Thursday rolls around and I’m essentially forcing myself to stop, I know I’ll have to be honest with you when I go to write my daily entry. And I don’t want to let myself down, either. But it’s hard when you’ve got an oral fixation you haven’t quite figured out yet. I know the inhale, exhale will be the thing I miss the most. But I have no other choice than to stop. And I’m hoping it’s not going to be as hard as it feels right now. I’ll still always want something in my mouth.
However, should the opportunity arise, I will allow myself to experience a trip from psilocybin.
I don’t often mention this, but my mother has dementia. She was showing signs as early as 2018, but things progressed a lot over the course of the pandemic. She’s in a good place right now as my dad is taking care of her, she just has trouble communicating. She sometimes says words that aren’t words, even though I can usually understand her sentiment. I speak with her on the phone every day. Some of those conversations are longer than others, and my dad almost always joins in, even if that means she’s just listening. But I just want her to be happy and safe as she enters the final phase of her life.
There’s been studies about the benefits of microdosing psychedelics for Alzheimer’s patients, which can be used to bring them a better quality of life. I had a chocolate bar a few years ago which my mom and I tried together, but it was a very small dose and neither of us felt any different. But she’s still willing to try it should an opportunity arise. I’ve personally never tripped before. Part of me is frightened to try, but I kind of want to go first to give my mom a report on what it’s like. I’ve researched all about what a person goes through when they expand their minds with mushrooms, and I think it could benefit me on a different level. The idea of Ego Death, to where all the nonsense falls away could help me get insight on where I can go for the next leg of my journey. I’m in a crossroads where I’m inclined to go down the family route, but the partner I dream of in my heart is not present. I need a new vantage point on this situation because I don’t want to feel like I’m wasting my time dreaming that one day it could happen. Women have a childbearing window, and mine isn’t going to stay open forever. And I think seeing outside myself on may aid in pointing me in the clear direction.
But I can only do that if I’m clear-headed myself. I want to be able to make this decision for me when it’s time, because then I can let my mom know it works. And with my father’s permission, maybe we can go on the trip we’ve always needed to go on together. At least one time in this life.
So, smoking is out for September. I have some herbs that I could roll up that won’t get me high but will satiate my craving to suck. I haven’t decided yet. But I did decide on another rule.
Rule #3: No touching, for real this time.
I have a guttermind. It’s been that way for centuries, probably. And you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love living in the double entendre of life, even if I didn’t always know where the filter was on it. Now that I’m in my late thirties, I’ve found it’s time to put a cap on it and only unleash it when necessary. And right now, there’s no need to be on the ‘prowl’ so to speak. My desire to be satisfied is not like a man’s as I don’t have a physical need to release the valve. I’m sure I could go the rest of my life without being intimate and think nothing of it. So I may as well go thirty days without giving into the baser instincts I find so fun to talk about.
I’ve tried this for two other months and failed each time. Midway through each month I get a little restless and need to really concentrate on keeping my mind out of the gutter. Back in June, I had one night of a lot of teasing and talking and showing parts of myself no one else gets to see. But it ended once again with absolutely no progress and me left holding my d*ck. So I don’t think I”ll pursue that route again, no matter how much I may want to or feel nudged into doing so.
When it comes to my sexuality, I’ve always been better at the talk rather than the action. Most of the time I feel like an awkward, fumbling teen, even if I’m a good enough actress to pull off like I’m having the time of my life. And often times I’m just not. A lot of my encounters weren’t always perfectly pleasurable. Sometimes I’d do things for the knowledge, the understanding, or for the story. And I’m to the point in my life where I’m done searching. I know what it is I want in that department, and I will keep looking until I get that total and complete package. Why on earth would I settle for anything less? Plus, I have it in my head that I could conceivably be researching and writing about human sexuality for the rest of my life. I may as well begin documenting aspects of that journey. By not giving into dying that little death, I can surrender my time and energy into something else. I just need to get over that one big hump before I can actually turn whatever it is I’m doing into a life’s work.
So rule three is in fact no touching, hands to myself, keeping my genes in my jeans. But if I find someone who’s willing to take care of it for me, I’m probably not going to say no.
Rule #4: no delivery, yes meat.
Okay, here I go again with the weight thing. Yes, I’m still overweight. No, I have no idea how much I weigh. But it’s quite possible it’s gone down in recent weeks. I was put on a medication that helps lower my blood sugars and as a result makes me less hungry. So far, it’s been working. But now, I need to take things a step further if I actually want to see results from all this progress.
I’m going to try the Carnivore Diet for thirty days next month. That’s where you eat nothin’ but meat and a little bit of dairy for every meal. I’ve been doing my research and would like to give it an honest shot, as I think it could actually help me to lose weight. However, I’m not beginning on the First of September. I won’t tell you when I start, as there’s a lot more planning that needs to be done, but you will know when my thirty-day trial begins.
There’s been a lot of back and forth about me using food as an emotional crutch. If I had a craving, I’d just give into it. But that is becoming easier to fight against. I can see my body already beginning to respond to these real changes, as minor as some may be. I can barely order food in anymore because it all just tastes awful to me. It’s like I’ve had my ‘favorite’ meals for the final time. I know what they taste like and I never need to satisfy that craving again. I’d rather be cooking for myself and using foods that I think will be much better for me in the long run. I love me some meat, clearly, so I wonder how this is going to go for me. Some say you’ll get sick of it. But I’m willing to try for thirty days, just to see what kind of benefit I get. And who knows? Maybe I’ll want to keep going with an all-meat diet, if only for a little bit longer (and before Thanksgiving, too.)
But the crux of this is no delivery items. It’s just not worth it anymore. Save me some money during this forty-year high inflation nightmare we have yet to wake up from.
Ready to begin?
I don’t know how many people actually read these entries via WordPress, but I’m hoping to extract something out of these months of writing. If this is what I want to do for a genuine career one day, I’ve got to start somewhere. Some people are super cool and can write a novel in one sitting and it’s a perfect and amazing best-seller. But it doesn’t work like that for everyone, because everyone’s process is different. When I write these daily entries, they feel like their own little manuscripts, becoming another page in my life’s book that may take a little longer to turn. And I can make things go a little faster if I stop simply waiting for things to slap me in the face, and learn how to coax it out myself.
I’m not sure what’s ahead for September, but I know we as a people have reached our final breaking point. There’s too much obfuscation of the facts, and too much of them saying you were wrong when everyone knows you were right. I have not an ill word for anybody, and I wish nothing bad for anyone. I just know the stage is being set for something bigger than all of us. And instead of trying to control what cannot be controlled, I’ll settle in my seat, anticipating the dimming of the house lights before the curtain rises one final time. Suspend my disbelief and surrender to the story unfolding.
That’s my fantasy for September, twenty-eight hundred words later. Not bad for a novel novelist.