Classic Film · Mental/Emotional Health · Personal Experiences

Myrna Loy, My Inspiration

Myrna_loyI have been out of  work for exactly one month.

Around this time a month ago, I was called into my supervisor’s office and told that my position was being eliminated due to advances in technology and the execs looking for areas where they could cut costs. Now, thankfully, I’d had a strong intuition that this was coming sooner or later, and was expecting it to be sooner rather than later, but being laid off is still a very unpleasant business. Especially so when you work in a particular field that requires all terminated employees to gather up all their things as soon as you finish with the exit interview and paperwork WHILE SOMEONE SUPERVISES.

This person, typically a higher-up, is required to escort you out of the building. In front of everyone. Many people I’ve worked with in the past have likened it to a walk of shame. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen others go through it, most always with no notice (and for no cause) and almost always resulting in varying degrees of bitterness and/or tears. I just assumed I would have a chance to make my own move to another position before my previous one was deemed obsolete – and I will spare the bitter details of why I felt like I’d have time to do so. What I can proudly say is I managed to impress the HR manager during the exit interview for taking the news with poise he said he rarely sees. I shed a few tears only when it came time to say goodbye to a couple of coworkers. Otherwise, I bottled it all up and sang, Que Sera Sera.

The extra dagger in the back is that my previous job had (still has) an opening for another position. It is a position I could have done. It is a position I qualify for, both in terms of education and experience. They’ve offered a similar position to others with the same amount of education and experience as me who were working in another position beforehand. I received no such offer. The job is there on the site, waiting to be filled. Because apparently something about me wasn’t good enough for them. It’s not exactly the kind of thing someone with clinically-low self-esteem takes well. It’s the kind of thing that validates all of my feelings of inadequacy and incompetence.

This “whatever will be, will be” attitude eventually wore off, shifting to numbness. The question, “What now?” began growing in my mind. Obviously, I immediately submitted applications for a few new positions. Then, I took to Google to read up on tips for dealing with this foreign situation I was in. One article turned into two into three into several more until my head swam and all seemed to be saying the same thing: If you don’t get another job quickly enough, it will become more and more difficult. And don’t even think about wasting time and money to go back to school in the interim because that will make you even less hirable. Such is the economy I find myself job-searching in.

As the days crept closer and closer to today, the first month mark, with no call backs from any job prospects my faithful frenemy, anxiety began to whisper in my ear, inviting my depression to come out and play. It’s a good thing I’m on medicine for both, or else I’d be much worse off right now than I am. All the same, here I am with no clue where I’m going, what I should do, how to do it, how I’ll pay bills, and if I’ll ever find steady employment again. All this at just thirty, thanks to a broken system that I can’t do much to fix.

Alluring is right. Them smokey eyes, that cute nose, and that wicked jaw.

Today also happens to be the birthday of late Hollywood legend Myrna Loy. Myrna Loy has been a favorite actress of mine since before I even had apprehensions about high school, let alone where I can find employment before all of my savings are depleted. Myrna was as beautiful and poised and charming as they come. Indulge my inner fangirl a moment while I say, she is truly one of my queens and everything I’ve ever learned about her – such as her belief that black people deserved not to be discriminated against and that black actors should not be degraded beyond the already degrading role of a maid/servant in films (aka, she typically demanded that any black characters in her films be written with intelligence and strength and not just for laughs) – the more I’ve come to love her. If you were to ask me if I would rather Myrna or her famous co-star William Powell, who was handsome, charming, etc. in his own right, I would say Myrna before you even finished the question.

So today I’m faced with two choices, worry about the future or celebrate a figure of the past. And since I’m me, I will take neither choice and create a third for myself. I will let the hard work, self-respect, perseverance, bold, and gracious light of Myrna Loy inspire me to emulate those things myself. If she could do it in a time where women weren’t supposed to be seen as anything more than housewives or harlots, then I can do it now.

And with a little additional help from my other queen, I will remember that the future is not mine to see.

XOXO Elinor Anne James
Images found via Google’s CC search and are property of their respective owners.
Mental/Emotional Health · To Do

To Do: May

I don’t wish to alarm anyone, but it’s April 30th. And you know what that means!

Most of the first half of 2017 has been pretty bad for me mentally, emotionally, and even physically. But I’m working on it and April has seen more, if not good days then, even-kiltered days than just plain low days. While I seek more drastic changes in my life over the course of this year, I also strive to at the very least look toward small changes in the interim.

So in May, I’m finally going to partake in a Hygge-inspired challenge.

If you haven’t heard of Hygge, then you’re essentially like I was up until a week ago: somehow entirely clueless of the phenomenon. I must have been living under a rock (or more likely was trying not to be crushed by a political landslide) since apparently this became wildly popular some time late last year. Oh well. Better late than never. Actually, the timing of it is completely perfect!

The reason Hygge even caught my eye at last is because in a bout of whimsical longing for a simpler life where I’m actually content I went looking for photos on Pinterest to match my mood. For me this means a lot of photos of Autumn and sweaters and all of the other stereotypical “white teenage girl” things (although, a teenager I am not), but it also means pictures of flowers and sunshine and red hair and blonde hair and hair with ribbons in them and tea parties and trees and girls in dresses and girls smiling and… you probably get the point by now. Whenever I long for contentment, I don’t imagine it while working a 9-to-5, posting on Facebook-Twitter-Tumblr-Wordpress-Etc., bingewatching a show. While I enjoy those things, am extremely materialistic, have to work to pay of student loan debt, and won’t be giving up my favorite tablet games or television shows and movies or shopping, or anything else anytime soon, I’m desperate to cultivate a lifestyle that’s a little less of that and a little more of the things that require “unplugging” so to speak (I’m keen on eventually looking into a minimalist lifestyle).

While indulging my aesthetic and whimsy by pinning photos that represent the ideal (and ironically materialistic if you think about it, but I digress) life, I caught sight of a pin about a Hygge challenge. I was curious, clicked on it, and down the Danish-inspired rabbit hole I fell. I’ve always said I wanted to move to Denmark, so I guess this was inevitable.

That’s why I’m going to try and incorporate more Hygge-inspired things into my life over the month of May. That is, every single day in May, I’m going to do one thing that’s been branded Hygge (while understanding, of course, that this is a superficial attempt and Hygge is much more nuanced than a trend). The bonus is, a lot of the things that I have on my Hygge calendar are things I’ve been wanting to do more regularly or to try for a long time, but I never get around to them because of excuses. Excuses like: “I can’t afford the resources to incorporate those things into my life” even as I lay down money on clothes, hair coloring, Starbucks, fast food, dvds, etc. Or “I’m so tired all of the time” even as I force myself to watch movies, surf the internet, play Sims Freeplay (it’s not an addiction, I swear), write fanfiction, etc. Or “People will think I’m being weird” as if they don’t already think I am (I mean, writing and reading fanfiction at 29 is considered weird by a vast majority of people, but I do it anyhow; the key here is I do that in private when really I need to stop being so afraid of being myself regardless of others’ opinions).

By looking at other challenges and taking into account those things that are sadly still not within my means (aka, I do have a full time job to consider as much as I’d like to be able to wear slippers all day or enjoy an entire day to myself in solitude, which can’t be done at home on the weekend either). I mean, obviously this isn’t going to work at all if I challenge myself to do things that would be so difficult (even if rewarding) that I’d just give up. So, here’s the itinerary I’ve put together.

May 1st Wake before sunrise
May 2nd Spend the evening with a favorite book and some tea
May 3rd Buy some fresh flowers and a vase for my desk at work
May 4th Spend the evening with only candle light
May 5th Clean while listening to Billy Joel
May 6th Pull out a board game/cards
May 7th No Internet
May 8th Take a candlelit bath
May 9th Watch a favorite movie by candlelight with popcorn and hot cocoa
May 10th Spend another evening with a favorite book and some tea/ambience
May 11th Spend an evening with classical music playing
May 12th Meditate/do yoga before work
May 13th Go to local tea shop
May 14th Something special for mother’s day of her choosing
May 15th Go for a walk on lunch break
May 16th Go to bed early (on purpose)
May 17th Buy some pretty teacups
May 18th Fill up a notebook with words and thoughts throughout the day
May 19th Treat myself to a gourmet, hearty lunch instead of the standard workday lunch
May 20th Draw a picture
May 21st Try something new
May 22nd Color on lunch break
May 23rd Do something nice for coworkers
May 24th Lord of the Rings Marathon
May 25th Lord of the Rings Marathon
May 26th Lord of the Rings Marathon
May 27th No Internet
May 29th Take family to dinner
May 30th Take an extra long walk
May 31st Reflect

Look, I could be dishonest with myself and in this post by saying, “Yes! I’m going to do all of this! And in 31 days my life is going to be amazing! I’m so excited to give this a try!” Truth is, I’m exhausted just thinking of this challenge, just writing this post even, and completely scared. I may fail miserably and it’ll be one more thing to hate about myself. I may end up getting no benefit out of it whatsoever. My attempts may not even be genuinely Hygge, since I’m working with what I can to start with. And the excuses are still running through my mind (I really am depressed, and mentally and physically exhausted 80-90 percent of the time because of it, for example).

But physical therapy isn’t easy. It hurts and is hard and many patients have to do it whether or not they want to. Self-care is no different. I’m learning little by little that self-care is absolutely necessary, in some form or capacity or another, and the stigma that it is selfish, that we’re just weak and unable to handle real life, etc. cannot stop us from taking care of ourselves. As someone with ongoing depression, among other things, it’s vital to treat self-care with the same kind of attitude as physical therapy. It may not always be fun, it may be difficult to get used to or exhausting, but it’s a critical component of one’s health, recovery, remission, etc.

So I’m going through with this to the best of my ability. And the optimist in me hopes that I learn a little more about myself along the way. The things that made me feel better, the things that I want to devote more time and effort to, the things that really didn’t do much for me, etc.

I’m not trying to make Hygge a lifestyle, like some, and I’m definitely aware that there’s a time for safe places and a time to throw yourself into harsh reality. I’m simply trying to remind myself that there’s so much to take pleasure in, that life is worth reconnecting to,  regardless of what depression or stress or a ‘keeping up with the Jones’ society may tell me. I want to start being a little more selfish in my self-care. I want to start being a little more exact in my self-care. I want to start looking for the pleasure that can be had in spite of how hard this life is. I want to slow down, evaluate, remind my mind and soul how to appropriately find joy and pleasure even in the humdrum of a small life instead of wishing for a life that is better, more fulfilling, etc. If I wait until I’m completely self-sufficient, able to travel at the drop of a hat, have accomplished some career aspiration, etc. then I’ll miss out on the ever-ticking seconds of my life that can be enjoyed right here and now. Perhaps Hygge will give me a good guide for how to start.

Mental/Emotional Health · Personal Experiences · To Do

To Do: March

Nine days into March, I suppose it’s as good a time as any to outline some goals I have for the month.

March, in the past, has always been a difficult month for me. It’s a month where depression either tries to sink it’s claws in deeper following some January and February lows or it’s a month where I start to climb out of January and February funk only to fall back down harder. Thus, I’m trying to be as proactive as I can at the moment. Staying on top of things. Avoiding triggers. Not stressing too much. Taking steps back from things. Focusing on healthy habits. So on. So forth.

Thus some goals I’ve set for myself in 5 key areas are as follows:


I’ve let myself get lax with my walking and general physicality thanks to 1. winter and 2. emotional health. So I’m currently in the middle of a 2 week restart, getting myself back up to walking 10,000 steps (at least) a day. I’m doing this by using this guide from MyFitnessPal. I’m utilizing the off-the-couch one since even though I used to be able to walk/jog 3 miles a day, my body quite literally feels like it’s back to square one so I’m just going to ease into is as if I am. Today was day 5, so I walked 5,000 steps today! Half way there! But, boy, oh boy, was it a doozy. I don’t work in at a place where I feel comfortable getting up and walking (although many of my coworkers do so maybe a later goal is to deal with my insecurity in this respect), so finding a way to squeeze in more and more steps has been a challenge. If the weather were nicer, it would be no problem, as I can walk a nearby trail after work. So I’m thinking I’ll need to readjust my typical daily schedule to fit in logging some minutes on the treadmill – which is a bonus since I’ve been trying to get myself to use it more!


I’m not Catholic, but I during this season of Lent – and thanks to the inspiration of Simoa – I am trying to spend my Friday’s separating myself from the things that I tend to give too much time to or fixate on which for me is negative media (like social media, news, etc.) and writing fanfiction. The latter one may sound silly, but I sometimes find myself writing 10,000+ words a week and latching onto unhealthy behaviors with it (like writing instead of sleeping, not wanting to do work around the house because I’m writing, obsessing over updating, not focusing on my own original stuff which would probably be of more merit, etc.). While fanfiction is an outlet for me to let the pent up creative energy flow, sometimes I need to reel it in or find multiple ways to release that energy instead of “stemming” so much with it.  On Fridays throughout this season, I will be spending as much of the day as I can focusing on prayer, meditation, etc. I feel like this is especially needed right now as I’ve been so disengaged spiritually due to fatigue from the election and my ongoing break away from Evangelicalism.


This is a huge trigger point for me so I’m simply trying to stay positive and not put any undue pressure on myself. Updating this blog alone is quite the exercise in itself. My goal is pretty much the same as it always is: engaging without getting stuck inside my head. I typically engage and then stress out over it after it’s done or stress out prior to engaging or stress out when it feels like nobody wants to engage with me.


I really do want/need to start working on my own original fiction writing again. So even if I have to pull a few teeth in the process, my goal is to write at least 5000 words, be it a short story,  a few short stories, some outlines or something of a greater work. 5000 words. If only I knew where to begin. Sigh. I have another post about this topic coming soon.


I haven’t been reading much lately and I really want to get back in the habit of it. So I may pick up a few quick (guilty pleasure, campy) reads from the Amazon Kindle store to read this month which will also get me back on track with my Goodreads goal for 2017!