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Another thirty days of discovery in the books.

Preamble: What just happened?

It’s both hard to believe and easy to believe April has already sailed by us. Time simply has no meaning to me anymore, something certainly reflected in these bygone entries. Halfway through these entries, I recall thinking how fast it was all going, but there was never a moment of disbelief about it. It all just happened, and I liked how I was allowing all of it to unfold. I’m in a good place about everything, so let’s recap the thirty days that was April 2023.

Rule 1: Write here and there every day.

Well, I certainly did write an entry here every day, even if I cut it close some of the time. I fell into a pretty good routine to get out my words, all while keeping a good work-home life balance. As always, it took a little bit for me to get going, as I always think this kind of writing is a little drab before I find a groove. But I think I hit all my usual fare. News, New York, no trusting government. These are all good exercises in affirming who I am, and introducing the world to my written voice. I read back over what I wrote, even the stuff I don’t like, and it’s me. To a tee. There’s very little holding back, and at the end of the day, at least it’s honest. I’ll continue to do these challenges. June is on deck, and I’m mulling adding an additional one beside September and December. We’ll see. I might be a different person by then.

The first draft of my story is, well, another story indeed.

The goal was 750 words a day. That means I needed to bust out a minimum of 22,500 words in the month of April. I’m happy to report I ended up with 23,125 new words in my story, bringing me to a total of 85,195 in the document. While I know word count means nothing if there’s no narrative to back it up, I’m pleased that I actually finished the goal here, though I didn’t always finish 750 words each day. I had to make up a few times here and there, but I figured the rigidity of what I set out to do wasn’t always feasible. I felt lazy some days, other days I was on a roll. But I largely can’t remember what I wrote, and right now, I’m too afraid to go back and check.

I mentioned on day 22 how my book so far isn’t the most stellar thing ever written. Truthfully, I’m just kind of winging it. I have no idea how to craft a story, to make meaningful connections and tie in themes. I don’t read a lot these days, so how can I expect to know? The thing that’s bugging me the most is my main character has no arc. She’s just kind of there. Things happen to her. She’s kind of a bitch about it. There’s plot points I drop with no recollection about them, and I wonder at the end of it all will they make any sort of sense. I mean, this is my first try, so perhaps I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. But shouldn’t I have some semblance of what I’m doing here? I do fancy myself a writer. Everyone tells me as much. But what if I’m not? What if I’m just some abject failure who won’t have two nickels to rub together by the end?

Where’s my arc?

Maybe I’m having these feelings because I’m approaching the end of this draft. There’s still a lot that needs to happen, but I’m certainly more than halfway at this point. 138 pages of my words and no one else’s. I’ve got things in here that no one has thought of, as far as I know. Because it’s my story. My words. My own imagination. I promised myself I’d finish before 2023 is up, and having just completed a writing challenge I’ve never been able to do before, I think I’m well on my way to making that happen. Door will open once this first try is complete. I really do believe that. I just have to keep focused. Which leads me to this.

Rule 2: No social media and I mean it.

So I basically stayed off all social media this month. It wasn’t too hard, honestly. It was refreshing. I really learned to live without it, knowing I wasn’t missing anything but a whole bunch of nonsense. Toward the end there, I’d go on my alternate Twitter account for a little bit and do some scrolling, but largely I felt cleansed from it. I was still ‘in-the-know’ thanks to my job and it felt good knowing I didn’t need social media to be that way.

I returned this month only to get more of the same that I wanted to get away from. People are still being mean to me and no one picks up on my sarcasm. Hell, I got called an “anti-masker” today in the year of our Lord 2023. Twitter feels like a Jersey Shore club at the end of the night and no one is happy they’re still there. I still pay for it, so I may as well use it, but these digital detoxes are far more beneficial than we give them credit for. There were times I wanted to run to Twitter when I felt a little lonely, but it was an easy hurdle to jump over. I didn’t think so much that I “can’t” go to it, but rather, “I shouldn’t.” It wouldn’t benefit me even if I did, much like it isn’t really benefiting me now.

So I consider this one challenge succeeded, and perhaps I should keep finding ways to wean myself offline. Not everything requires my commentary, nor do I need to shove my opinion down everyone’s throats. You can live without it. Speaking of shoving things down throats…

Rule 3: No delivery, think fresh.

I failed this one. Halfway through the month I got lazy one night and ordered some delivery. Then the next day, I figured I had already broken the rule, so I may as well keep going. It’s unfortunate, but I’ve certainly gained back a little weight since dropping so much. I haven’t weighed myself, I’m too scared, but I’m not eating the greatest. I didn’t much talk about weight or food this month, because I don’t want it to be one of my personality traits. I just want to be in good shape and not have to worry so much, but I also have to remember I’m not twenty-four anymore. I can’t ‘bounce back’ as quick as I once did, and the choices I make will have a greater effect on my thirty-seven year old body.

I’ve still been working out. So that’s good. I do my tea every night which acts as my natural diuretic. But maybe, again, I shouldn’t be too hard on myself about this. There are better choices being made here, even if they feel too few and far between. On Day 28, I spoke about what’s in the water, but only touched on what’s in our food. I’ve made a conscious effort to buy organic produce or grassfed beef. That doesn’t feel like a problem as I rarely check prices at the grocery store. But I’m certainly checking the ingredients more. I guess every little bit of efforts helps, even if there’s a more noticeable pad of fat around my stomach these days.

In March, I joined a little Twitter group and did a three-day water fast. So clearly I can control my urges to eat. I think the real hurdle is overcoming my laziness by not wanting someone else to cook for me. I should be doing that for myself. Self-sustainability is the real way to enlightenment. Which brings me to the final part of the challenge.

Rule 4: See the sun once a day.

I think there were three days I didn’t fully stay outside. One day I simply forgot. Two days it rained a lot. But it felt nice to just venture out beyond my four walls to see what was really out there. I didn’t stray far except when I went to Cape Cod, and even then I spent a lot of time outside, as chilly as it felt. This one was a brand new addition to all my past challenges, and I think I enjoyed this one the most. It’s very easy to feel sad about living in Manhattan these days, but it was still an exciting event to head outside each day. I did look forward to it, as there’s still a lot of unique things to like about my immediate living space.

Leaving my home means the world out there is real. Like there’s a million more stories to tell outside of the one narrative running through my brain. Little families, big families, solo riders, pups of all kinds. Hand-holding, passive-aggressive holding, love, loss, contempt, comedy. All under a blanket of weed smoke, sure, but I’d never know that. There’s a lot this city still has going for it. At least I’m trying to still believe that. We’ve still got a lot of healing left to do. But as long as I’m here, I’m going to give this place as much respect as possible. I can change its outcome while I’m still here, and simply bringing this energy outside is a good start. Now is the time of the year where I can start to get some color on my face, which will only brighten my mood if I let it.

See you next month.

I’ll keep doing these challenges as long as I’m able to. The next step is to make this site a little more manageable. To make it look prettier and more organized so you can read all I’ve done in a more cohesive way. Hopefully I’ll come up with more things I can publish here before June Renew year three (!) but no promises. The one promise I do have is to finish my first draft before the year is up. I’m also mulling adding one more monthly challenge, though it may not be a daily thing. I haven’t decided. But I’m going to keep writing. It’s the only thing that holds any truth to me anymore. Why would anyone ever want to give that up?

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