Linking up with Leigh Kramer's What I'm Into series again. I love this series because it encourages me to remember the highlights of my life the past month, try new things thus making new highlights to write about, and I get to read what many others have found and done, expanding my community, even if only a little bit.
The start of the new year was a somber and contemplative one for me, and January has been a challenge. This month I've been in South Carolina for six months, but everything is still fairly new and most things are yet undiscovered. Friends and family are far away, and I didn't feel much like celebrating on New Year's Eve. New Year's Day greeted me as the something inbetween.
My parents drove into town for a pleasant visit (and we missed getting a picture? hm). It was strange how the move has changed things, and how my family is the same yet also different after so many months of life. I wonder how they thought I had changed? I also talked on the phone with my brother in Oklahoma for his birthday, the first I've been really and truly away for. I wished I could have been there to put up the birthday banner for him.
I'm still taking steps to be who I am and be seen for that. This month I got a pixie haircut and took steps to declutter and simply my closet to make that part of life less stressful. It's easier to like what I see in the mirror now. But I'm still filled with doubt about my choices in general and I struggle to trust my instincts. I want to adopt everyone else's passions as my own and enjoy the same intensity, but as that doesn't work for long (if at all) I'm still determining my passion(s) and my cause, and how I will go about pursuing them.
And that leads me to the most important book I read this month. I finished The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Power of the Enneagram, finally learning, after weeks of uncertainty and doubt, that I am a 9. It's a combination of relief and agony to have that label clear things up. When I read the chapter describing 9s, it was like the author had seen into my soul--I felt all the things described in those pages, and I would have cried if I hadn't been reading in a public place--and then dissected it. Ouch. Of course "there isn't a strong individual self in the 9, and that's the challenge--learning to develop one" - page 163. Of course that's me. (insert self-depreciating scream of rage here. oh, wait, I might have something...)
"9s struggle to have a strong and consistent sense of self." - p 159 Sigh. It's true. Yay, me.
Now that I know, I'm trying to learn, trying to grow, trying to be more assertive and be me, not someone else. But man, that is the challenge.
(...I was going to write a separate post about discovering my Enneagram type, but I think that covers it pretty well.)
Over the New Year's break I read the greatly enjoyable The Runaway King, the second book in the Ascendance Trilogy. I wrote about the first one here. Like the first one, I read the second book in just a few days. I wrote a brief review on Goodreads. The third book in the trilogy, The Shadow Throne, comes out next month! Can't wait.
I have discovered the hilarity, awkwardness, and joy that is the show FRIENDS. How did I miss this? As it's not on Netflix, I'm glad my library has it, because I'm getting in the queue. (...I've been watching a lot of British shows over the last several months. Yes, Sherlock is a big culprit. As is Doctor Who.) I think I enjoy it much more now than I would have when it was on because of how I have changed and because I'm now the same age as the characters.
Also, thanks to the library, this month I learned how to suspend my holds until certain dates, so I'm timing the movies I get so that I can actually watch them before they're due back. I should have a Bollywood romance coming available just in time for Valentime's Day! I consider this the perfect way to celebrate another year of singleness. With some tea or wine, of course.
I watched Bride and Prejudice, and it was amazing. I posted this on Facebook when it was over:
I tried some anime shows on Hulu, RideBack and Kino's Journey. Both interesting, for different reasons. Neither quite along the lines of what I usually watch (or read). I finished RideBack. Kino's Journey might be a bit more intense than I prefer, so I haven't watched more than a few episodes so far, but I like the concept. I also watched the first episode of Game of Thrones. Not sure what I think of it, but I was curious and wanted to see for myself what many others have been talking about.
I joined a local writing group. They meet every weekend, but I'll probably only try to join in once a month. I didn't read anything I brought, but we had a fun writing exercise where we had to include five different items in a scene and try to answer the question, Who owns these things? My heard pounded so hard when I read, I had to slow down to breathe, but when I finished, the room was silent. Then the leader said, "Wow. Welcome to the group!" I can tell you, as a self-doubting writer that was what I needed to hear.
My friend Jaimie Krycho released the first in her trilogy Bloodlines of Epheria on the Kindle, and I happily bought my copy. She originally published the story on her website, and I always looked forward to each installment. She had me loving the characters, wanting the powers, and worried about what would happen. Now I'm gonna reread Lorin's--I mean Sifani's--adventure (though I understand it is a little changed from the original?) and eagerly await the next book in the trilogy.
I had the pleasure of joining The Red Couch's book discussion on Jesus Feminist. (Mostly I read, and still am reading, the comments of others.) That book gave me much to ponder and The Red Couch and She Loves magazine inspire me to see a wider world than I can currently walk abroad.
I also signed up for the We Heart Books virtual book exchange. I've been paired up, and it's time to shop!
The other day I happened upon the song "I Lived" by OneRepublic. I love the brief interview on the song here. Adding this one to the list of inpires-me-to-move-become-and-live songs. It's pretty much been on repeat the last, what, three days.
As I was working on this post, my sister-in-law came in and asked if I wanted a chocolate cheesecake beater to lick. This month started rough, but it's ending fabulously.
So, what have you been into?