What I Did While I Was Sick All December

This Christmas season was my 17th year working retail during the holidays. For nearly two weeks I was sick with some kind of cold. It wasn’t covid, thankfully. Pretty sure it was just a cold, but it made me groggy, gave me the worst head congestion. I lost my voice so bad I sounded like Jordan Peterson. Three weeks later, I still don’t fully feel 100%. I’m still coughing up phlegm.

During the worst of it, whatever free time I had was spent attempting to sleep in muscle-aching agony. I tried to read Northanger Abbey, but my brain was too fried to comprehend the satire behind every squabble about, what, exactly? I couldn’t focus. I had to stop reading.

I hate DNF-ing books, but I had to talk myself into realizing that I ain’t got no time to Jane Austen and her 120-word sentences about awkward upper-class misunderstandings. I’m simply just a tired working mom of two at Christmastime.

I’ve been really striving to be more patient with myself, and to give myself a pat on the back when it’s deserved.

I helped my daughter do her spelling work. She’s been struggling with it a bit, because we all know that gEn AlPhA cAn’T sPelL, and my millennial parent anxiety can’t be held responsible for one more thing that is wrong with the world.

I was horrible at spelling as a kid. It was soul-crushing, honestly. My mom ended up spending countless nights going over my weekly spelling test words with me. It was hard, but eventually, something clicked, and I look back on those nights with my mom as one of my favourite bonding moments with her, moments I wouldn’t have had otherwise because she was always busy cooking or cleaning or out in the garden, or rolling up 500 lumpia1 for somebody for no reason at all. Filipino reasons, I guess. Still, I valued that time.

I realized while working with her that she was so pent up with anxiety over spelling the words right the first time that I told her not to erase them if she thought she spelled it wrong, but to cross it out and try again. Let the page look messy.

And holy shit, it worked. She sat up straighter in her chair, and just figured out how to spell every word on her own. She gained the confident to make some mistakes, and like, damn, I felt like such a good fucking mom, and I’ve been really striving to be more patient with myself, and to give myself a pat on the back when it’s deserved.

I keep thinking that I need to write “writerly” posts…

Anyway, another thing I did recently was revamp my website up a little bit, and move my “newsletter” from Substack back to WordPress. TO be honest, I really liked Substack and was proud of the fact that I’d managed to gain just over 100 subscribers in the time I spent seriously writing there. But you know, then the profiting from Nazi stuff happened and people started leaving. And hey, I don’t like the idea of genocide or of corporations profiting with nor morals. I considered moving to some new newsletter platform (WHICH I’VE ALREADY DONE FUCKING SO MANY DAMN TIMES ALREADY), but then I was kind of struck with the realization that there’s no sense in moving somewhere new when I’ve already got a nice-looking website and 10+ years of WordPress experience.

So from now on, my “newsletter” will live here. I probably won’t be posting with any scheduled consistency, as that just isn’t how I roll when it comes to blogging.

I keep thinking that I need to write “writerly” posts. That I need to educate people and tell them how to do stuff right, which I don’t know how to do. That I need to tell people about all the new stories I’ve published, which I haven’t done. That I need to share picture of all the events I’ve attended, of which where are none in my mid-sized western Canadian city.

Sometimes I feel that I don’t have anythign worthwhile to say as a writer. I’m not in the “hub” of any real physical writing community. I get so lonely and down on myself for not having more name recognition. I just feel like nobody has any desire to hear about the shit I have to say. But then I have to remind myself that I’m just like a majority of writers, just getting by, living my life on the side. I’m not some buzzworthy writer who ruined their book deal by making a bunch of scam one-star reviews on “rival” books.

I’m just a humble Canadian author whose recently published book only has 24 reviews on Goodreads.

I’m just a part-time writer who gets maybe two hours to herself every night, gets high, and tries to get a little chunk of work done before exhaustion takes over.

I’m just a hack of writer who doesn’t quite know how to write a novel yet, and most nights I spend writing are actually spent watching Woodstock 99 sets for WIP inspiration. Recently, I watched Insane Clown Posse, and I won’t lie, I’m kind of a fan now…

Anyway, if you’re here and reading this, just know that I appreciate you. Also, if you haven’t already, please subscribe so I can continue slipping into your inbox.

Wishing you the very best this holiday season, no matter what you celebrate and how you celebrate it. I’ll be seeing you here in the new year!

– XOXO, RJH


Footnotes
  1. Filipino spring rolls. My mom always called them “spring rolls” when I was growing up. She also called pancit “chow mein”. I’m guessing she did this because she was trying to fit in as best she could with Western culture and used to words that best translated. These days, I try my best to use the Filipino terms because I missed out on a lot of my Filipino heritage growing up and I’m trying my best to make up for lost time. ↩︎