Bloganuary 5: What Brings Me Joy

Today’s prompt asks, “What brings you joy in life?” This question is a joy to answer! Last year, I had to ask myself these very questions. So much of my life has changed, due to several factors. The pandemic changed things, but I also moved to a new town. I left behind some personal relationships that were no longer healthy, and also changed course with my writing career. All of this was very heavy, so I started thoughtfully building routines in my life that would help reduce stress. As I continued my new routines, they became the ingredients of my new life. While healing and starting over requires taking the risks to make changes, a lot of growth happens in the spaces between major decisions and actions, too. Here are some of the things that bring me joy, and are helping me create a happier life:

Video Games-I hadn’t played video games since childhood until the pandemic, when I began playing Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat with my brother. Video games have become a family passtime and shared interest. Mobile gaming took the place of many things I left behind. Even though choosing games in the mobile app store and trying them out seems like just a casual way to kill some time, for me it was exploring a new world I hadn’t expected to find myself interested in, and also helped me reclaim agency. Whether it was a home decoration game, an otome dating game, or a quest game, I reveled in the fact that I was choosing how to spend my time, and choosing something fun and healthy. I haven’t done much gaming lately, but I look forward to finding some new games!

Anime-I have long been a fan of anime. In my childhood, I watched Studio Ghibli movies and Cartoon Network’s Toonami lineup. It’s easier to watch than ever thanks to streaming sites, and another joy for me has been rediscovering old favorites like Gundam Wing and Sailor Moon, finally being able to see classics like Akira, and acquainting myself even deeper with the atmospheric and poignant classics of Hayao Miyazaki.  Much like video games, I admire anime for the artwork and storylines. I love the silly humor, exciting action scenes, and the hardworking, can-do spirit of its pure-hearted heroes. In the middle of some heavy things, anime was a fun and lighthearted balm that transported me with its beauty and storytelling. 

Yoga-In my 20s, I considered myself a very serious Yoga practitioner, and even became certified to become a Yoga teacher. However, in hindsight I see that I followed the Yoga culture of the times by rote,  instead of really making my practice a personal and individualized affair. These days, instead of keeping up with trends featured in magazines I turn to Yoga as a vital tool that helps my body cope with the sore muscles and achy joints that come with growing older, to stay healthy and to relax. When I separated my ambitions to become a Yoga teacher from my practice and started to tailor it to my needs, I began to enjoy my practice and trust the process, once more. 

Blogging-I started this blog while I was working as a freelance writer in my spare time.  I was starting to feel burnt out. I had taken on a lot of commitments, but I think it had also been a long time since I used my own voice as a writer. After participating in a yearly five day challenge that combines freewriting and meditation, I started this blog as a way to continue to write from the heart. I wrote poetry, I wrote about my emotions and observations, and it has been liberating! 

My first try at blogging was years ago, and I was never consistent or confident in it. Later, I began writing fanfiction. My work became very popular, but with that popularity came pressure. When some of my readers’ comments crossed the line into bullying, I lost my focus, resolve, and confidence. I tried for years to continue writing for the fans who consistently encouraged me, and even became some of my closest friends. But, the bullying and pressure tainted the experience and I never quite regained my momentum. 

I see now that I prioritized both fanfiction and freelancing over cultivating my own voice and ideas as a writer because they were safe options I thought would lead more easily to success. I also believed that the validation of knowing for sure that my work was being read by others was what I needed. Putting all my heart into my original ideas for fiction is still a task that intimidates me, taking a huge risk that someone will find an undiscovered new writer and try my book. I used to beta read for independently published romance authors, and I have watched many once enthusiastic writers become burnt out and discouraged due to low sales, watched indie publishing companies who were once a gold standard in their niches fold, seen trends in genre tropes rise and fall, and seen changes in website policies negatively affect authors and their sales. It’s a lot to take in, and I am still figuring out how me and my writing will fit into the online ebook marketplace.

 As I recovered from a personal ordeal, this blog became a safe place where I could slip away from my freelance journalism commitments and talk about what was on my heart, how I was doing and how I was feeling. Having a creative outlet like this has helped me heal and evolve as a writer.  I am so glad I started this blog, and so grateful to all of the readers here who have joined me on a continuing journey of creativity, healing, and growth. 

2 responses to “Bloganuary 5: What Brings Me Joy”

  1. I am a new writer, started blogging last year. Write your book for yourself, for you to read. Do not be pressured about sells or the approval of others. You put words together well, and have some interesting insights.


    1. Thank you so much for your encouraging words! I appreciate it very much!

      Liked by 1 person

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