April Wrap-Up

WELL, I got a lot of reading done, but this month was a rough one for me, and I’ve been leaning heavily on words to survive it, so while I read a lot of amazing books, I’m exhausted, and, you know–

May GIF | "It's Gonna Be May" | Know Your Meme

In trying to continue to read diversely, I’m going to be adding a few emojis to my mini reviews moving forward. (They’ll also be added in retroactively.) If the book features LGBTQPIA+ characters, it’ll be denoted with a 🌈. I will not be marking queer authors for a whole slew of reasons, but, most importantly, that forcing authors to out themselves in order to write queer books is not allyship, it’s bullying, and while I don’t think marking those that we’re aware of is harmful, I do think that it puts pressure on those of us who are not out. That, and I don’t want to assume anything about anyone. If a book is written by BIPOC, it’ll be denoted with a πŸ”₯ because y’all are badass. If a book features BIPOC characters, it’ll be denoted with a πŸŒ‘ because it’s one of my most used emojis and those three emojis together is a Mood. I want to mark this separately from authors because reading diversely does not always mean the characters within the book, but who’s writing it, as well, so this’ll help display both sides. I may add more in the future, but, for now, this is just a note about why there are suddenly emojis next to the titles!

Mini Book Reviews

Legend
🌈 LGBTQPIA+ characters
πŸ”₯ BIPOC authors
πŸŒ‘ BIPOC characters

Girl, Serpent, Thorn | Melissa Bashardoust 🌈πŸ”₯πŸŒ‘
(4/1-4/4) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

Wow, this just truly knocked it out of the park. This was so much more than I was expecting. I was ready for a Sleeping Beauty retelling, but, for some reason, I had no idea about the added ancient Persian mythology, and that just leveled this up big time. I also completely forgot that this was queer, and Soraya was honestly the bi MC of my dreams. Like, wow. There is not enough good I can say about this book, and how damn excited I was to see her falling for both Azad and Parvineh because I don’t think I can actually think of a bi character in a fantasy book that explores both sides of the spectrum? And don’t even get me started on the actual mythology and magic involved because even if there hadn’t been a queer love in this, I would still be screaming based purely on that.

Shine Your Icy Crown | Amanda Lovelace
(4/4) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

My sister came into my room at the beginning of the month and said, “You need to read this because I feel like you’ve already said all of it to me.” And honestly? I wish I could say all of it to her again. I feel so honored that this is how she sees our relationship, and I only hope that I can continue to lift her up as she gets older. This was such a big, powerful book, and I really wish I’d read it over the course of a couple days, but given that I was currently lounging in the sun with my sister nearby meant that I 100% read it in one sitting.

Lost in the Never Woods | Aiden Thomas πŸ”₯
(4/5-4/6) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

I mean, absolutely no one is surprised that I read this in two days, right? I’m surprised I didn’t read it in one, frankly. The combination of Thomas’ beautiful writing + teenage Peter Pan falling in love with angsty Wendy? Like, damn, sign me the heck up. This was utterly fantastic, and it was so much more than I possibly could have ever imagined for a Peter Pan retelling. I loved being able to see Peter ageing, how he’s definitely the child version that we know at the beginning, but quickly turning into something that I’m sure we all wish we could experience. Wendy was truly an incredible narrator, too, and my heart just broke for her with each new chapter. This utterly consumed me, as evidenced by how fast I read it, and though I’m so sad it’s over, I also can’t wait for what Thomas has got in store for us next.

The Accidental Apprentice | Amanda Foody πŸŒ‘
(4/9-4/11) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

This was an utter delight! I knew that Foody was going to excel at middle grade just because she’s an incredible writer, and I was so excited to see her trying out a new age range. This worked so well as a middle grade, too, and Barclay was such a fantastic narrator. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him, seeing his sorrow slowly turn into joy, and just watching him finally come into himself. He was such a wonderful character, and I can’t wait for more in this series purely so I can continue reading about this mushroom-loving, wolf-wielding boy on an unexpected and unwanted adventure. Delightful is truly the exact perfect way to describe this book, and I’m so glad that it finally exists in the world. I can’t wait to rec it to my mother’s fifth grade class that she reads to.

Ruin & Rising | Leigh Bardugo
(4/7-4/8) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

This series just got better with each book, and I love this ending so much. I know it bums a lot of people out, that Alina doesn’t end up as the queen of Ravka, but honestly? She’s exhausted, and she deserves to just chill and hang out with Mal without any chaos trampling all over them. That last chapter is one of my favorite things in the world because getting to see them finally happy and at ease is just ugh. It’s so beautiful. I also love how the Darkling was finally destroyed, and what poetic justice it was to see everyone suddenly take on the mantle of sun summoner. It’s just so fitting. This is an excellent conclusion to one of my favorite series, and I can’t wait to continue rereading.

Six of Crows | Leigh Bardugo πŸŒˆπŸŒ‘
(4/19-4/23) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

I mean, we all know that I love this, right? I’ve got a review of the duology coming out next month, so keep your eyes peeled, but, until then, yes, this is still one of my favorite books ever. I love every single page of this, and I will continue to scream into eternity every single damn time Kaz does anything. Truly anything, and I’m just like KAZ BREKKER MY LOVE. I’d somehow forgotten just how much I loved this, though, and it’s been long enough that I forgot some of the more hilarious dialogue, so this was just a few days of pure joy for me. I’m so excited to be continuing in my reread of the Grishaverse, and I would be remiss if I didn’t weep briefly about the incredible adaptation, which I reviewed earlier this month. EVERYTHING IS WONDERFUL, AND I AM SO HAPPY TO BE ALIVE, NO MOURNERS NO FUNERALS.

That Way Madness Lies: 15 of Shakespeare’s Most Notable Works Reimagined | Various 🌈πŸ”₯πŸŒ‘
(4/7-4/25) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

This was unsurprisingly delightful. I mean, mostly LGBTQIAP+ retellings of Shakespeare, who is one of my favorite writers, and the Hamlet one had vampires in the style of Dracula? Holy HELL, sign me up every time. Now I want an entire retelling of Hamlet with vampires, and I’m gonna need someone to get on that because I will die trying to write it. Even beyond the Hamlet one–which, even without vampires, would have been my favorite just by proxy of it being Hamlet–this was overflowing with incredible short stories. I didn’t always recognize the Shakespeare in them because I haven’t read all of the originals, but even without that, I loved this collection so damn much.

Blessed Monsters | Emily A. Duncan 🌈
(4/25-4/28) β˜…β˜…β˜…

A note before we begin: While I am on Twitter, I don’t go on a lot, and there are usually long stretches of time where I’m inactive entirely. Part of that is because it’s just not an app that I enjoy all that much, and my heart mostly belongs with Instagram. The other part is that it’s a very toxic place, and it’s exhausting to exist around so much hate, so I mostly go on to check political news and keep up with new releases from my favorite authors. All that said, I had no idea of anything that was happening with Emily Duncan until I saw their statement on Insta. By the time I got on Twitter and figured everything out, Blessed Monsters was literally arriving at my house that evening. Because I need you to believe me when I say that I would have stopped reading this series if I’d ever heard about what was going on with Hafsah Faizal, or any of the reviewers that were being bullied, or recognized the harmful themes that were perpetuating this story. I would have stopped at Wicked Saints, and that would have been it, but I don’t go on Twitter, so I never heard anything, and now we’re here.

I’m not going to lie to you and hide the fact that I read the finale for this trilogy. I’m not going to lie to you and say I wasn’t dying to know what happened to Serefin and if he finally found some peace & happiness. I’m not going to lie to you and just ignore everything. It took some doing, figuring out how I wanted to approach this, and here’s what I’ve settled on: I already bought Blessed Monsters, over a year ago, and it was nearly at my house when everything came to light on Twitter. I loved the first two books in this series, and they were each some of my favorite books their respective years. But to read it, and to hide that I was enjoying it, would be embracing my own privilege as both a white person and someone who doesn’t practice Judaism. Thus, while I will no longer be supporting Duncan until she’s made some serious steps forward, this book is already in my possession, and I’m going to do my best to divorce art from artist so that I can enjoy the finale for a series I’ve really enjoyed over the past few years. Much like with She Who Shall Not Be Named, I won’t be talking about this series past this post because that divorce is never wholly possible. And I understand how much harm has been done, how any type of action after Duncan’s horrible behavior won’t ever be quite enough, and I’m so sorry that I ever perpetuated that harm by continuing to support her books without knowing what was going on. I wouldn’t have bought it had I known, but I didn’t, so I do own it, and I hope that this explains a little why I’m here reviewing it. To do otherwise–to read it, but to hide that I had–would be a very ignorant and frankly disturbing thing to do.

Maybe this is me finally noticing things beyond the surface level, but the writing in this wasn’t great. I’m trying to think back on the previous books, and I think Duncan’s writing is mostly the same, but there was also definitely more vagueness happening this time around. I like to hold my readers at a distance while I’m writing, but not quite to the extent where you then don’t really know what’s happening, and you have to kind of piece things together with little crumbs of information. I’d figure it out eventually throughout this book, but there was never a time where I could just fall into this like I had in the previous two and get lost in the world. I kept wondering why things were happening or what was happening because there simply wasn’t a lot of information being given beyond angsty, longing glances and witty dialogue that used way too many exclamation points. I was originally going for four stars for this book, too, right up until the last 100 pages, where, when Duncan could have gone so hard on all the badass Goth fantasy eldritch god nonsense that was happening, she instead had people kissing each other every other sentence. Like, seriously, there was so much head kissing between Serefin & Nadya, and it was strange. And Malachiasz? Look, there is a certain amount of times that you can kill a character and bring them back before it starts to become eyeroll-worthy, and that’s once, maybe twice if you do it in a really cool way, but it was just exhausting. Every time anyone died, I would just sigh loudly because, guess what, they’d be back on the next page with no space to breathe and mourn that death in between. This book whipped by so fast with barely any description besides everyone kissing and vague references to the soft monster boy Malachiasz was, and I wanted to like this so bad, but even Serefin couldn’t hold this together.

The Red Scrolls of Magic | Cassandra Clare & Wesley Chu 🌈πŸ”₯πŸŒ‘
(4/1-4/4) β˜…β˜…β˜…

This was fine. I’ve noticed that the books outside of the main universe are mostly just fine, and I assume that’s likely given the cowriters. The short story anthologies are always just meh, and I only read them because they’re Shadowhunters, and that’s how I felt about this. I’ll read the next one, and I’ll probably enjoy it as much as this one, though, honestly, the only reason I actually enjoyed this was because it was Magnus & Alec. The writing was really subpar and felt like bad fanfiction–and not in a good way–and the plot left a lot to be desired. I did end up reading the last 150 pages in one sitting because Magnus, but, overall, this was just fine. I am, however, glad it exists because ya girl was hella confused in Lord of Shadows with the Magnus & Alec cameos because the last I’d seen them was finally coming together after their time apart in the last TMI book, so I like this little bridge between those two books.

The Lost Book of the White | Cassandra Clare & Wesley Chu 🌈πŸ”₯πŸŒ‘
(4/12-4/19) β˜…β˜…β˜…

Again, this was fine. I was sometimes more impressed, sometimes less, but my general vibe is just wanting to get through this so that I can get back to the main series. It seems as though Cassie may do less writing and more supervising when it comes to the short story collections and spin-off novels, just because the writing style is so different than the main series, and so, I think that’s why I end up not liking them as much. But yeah, fine was a good way to describe this. Magnus felt a little more OOC than normal because he was very much damsel in distress for the first half of the book, but I enjoyed getting to see all the romance between him & Alec.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before | Jenny Han πŸ”₯πŸŒ‘
(4/11-4/16) β˜…β˜…β˜…

This was not as good as I wanted it to be. The writing is really juvenile, and there’s barely any description of anything happening. It’s got very fast-paced dialogue & action, and the chapters are sometimes barely two pages long when a standard helping of description could easily flesh them out and root them more in a concrete story. I think, if I hadn’t bought the other two, I probably wouldn’t read them and just watch the movies instead, but I did buy them, so I’ll be reading everything. This was mostly fine, honestly. The story is cute, and though Lara Jean is definitely way more annoying in the book than she is in the movie, she was a fun narrator to read.

Monthly TBR

Again, no specific TBR for this month! I’m planning on setting myself the insane total of twenty books to attempt in June, so I really just want to chill in the weeks leading up. I also went on a book buying ban because my TBR has officially spilled out of the allotted two shelves, so I’m really working on getting that down before I buy a bunch of books for Pride. I do have some I’m eyeballing, mostly fantasy tomes, but I don’t want to make any grand allegiances so I’m free to bounce around. However, if you’re really that curious, I did post about all the bricks I want to read right now.

Favorite Posts

CW @ The Quiet Pond wrote an absolutely stunning review of Between Perfect & Real, and if it wasn’t already on my Pride TBR, it certainly would be after that.

The Orangutan Librarian askes a question I’ve been considering a lot lately–was GOT always going to disappoint me? With the tenth year anniversary, I’ve really ben reconsidering if I’ll ever read the last two books when they publish (probably not), and this post really puts into perspective why not.

I wrote a review for the Shadow and Bone Netflix adaptation, and it includes over twenty screenshots of me absolutely losing my shit for eight hours straight, so y’all should check that out and witness me going MY BOYYYYYY every time Kaz was onscreen.

Charlotte @ Reads Rainbow compiled a list of ten adult lesbian fantasy recs, and I am here for it! I will always rage about needing more queer fantasy, so my heart is soaring at all these possible new reads!

Krysta @ Pages Unbound discusses why Mr. Knightley is undeniably the best Austen love interest, and she is right. He is the best, Emma is the best, and anything else is just silly.

Writing Updates

Oh, who knows, honestly. My writing life has been weird since January, and I don’t know what to do about it, and I’m starting not to care anymore. I started a new job, and my life has just been up in arms ever since. I love the job, but finding time for things outside of it has been hard, especially when I’ve been so in love with reading lately. And though I have been writing a little, it’s nowhere near my usual, and I just–I’m okay with it. Chelsea just finished reading SW3, so I’ve got a lot of excitement surrounding that and revisions. I’m making slow work on about a thousand other projects that I keep bouncing between, and it’s okay. The bouncing is annoying, particularly because it’s not something I’m used to doing, but it’s keeping me writing at least somewhat consistently, and that’s what matters. And thus, my word count is a little weird this month because:

  • I wrote 22,215 words for Saintsverse, which is just never something I thought I’d be saying because what?? Saintsverse?! I want to say that I don’t know, but I’ve been dreaming about Landon, consistently, for a few months now, and I woke up wanting to reread the duology, so I just? Decided to rewrite it instead? I was always meant to rewrite it because I need to elevate the language from YA to NA, but I had no plans to even look at Saintsverse this year, never mind possibly think about rewriting it, so this is all very surprising, but you know what? I fucking love Saintsverse, and I’m having a grand old time. I only got about five chapters in so far, and while the content hasn’t changed, I’ve kept almost none of the original writing, so it’s been a lot of fun!
  • Space thieves was actually on my goals list for this year, though I was being vague and just called it a mystery project. I knew that I was going to go off the rails at some point, and, apparently, that point is now? I was hoping the mystery project would end up being space thieves, and then I wrote 7,633 for the first three chapters. I’m not sure if I’ll keep on with it, but I’m hoping so!
  • I’ve also got some secret short stories that I’m working on between now and June, which is a spoiler in and of itself, so I’ll just tell you that I’m writing short stories for Pride, and I’ve written 1,433 words toward that goal so far.

All told, I’ve written 31,281 words this month, which is actually a way larger number than I was anticipating, and I guess even if I don’t feel like I’m writing a lot, I’m starting to move back toward my norm?

What I’ve Been Watching

Look, here’s the thing. I almost always enjoy every movie that I watch. I generally like every book that I read. I’m a fan of bad TV, questionable music is right up my alley, and I have written fanfiction about everything. I am so easy to please. Like, truly, I can name on one hand the movies that I actively don’t like–Tristan & Isolde, Pacific Rim 2, and Godzilla vs Kong, apparently. I don’t know why I had such high hopes for this. I mean, to be fair, I never actually watched a trailer, and I was mostly just excited because I love both of them, and I was hoping they’d team up and fight another evil instead of each other, which, sure, they did for about three seconds, but wow. The second we started talking about hollow earth, everything just went downhill, and the science was so unbelievable that I was literally incapable of suspending my disbelief enough to even try to enjoy it so that when Godzilla blew a hole straight through the earth into the impossible second world living at the center of our earth, I just–what the fuck.

The week after we watched the cartoon Peter Pan, I texted Erin and said, “We’re watching the live action, right? Because that’s what I’m doing, I don’t know about you.” And she was honestly just like “SAME THOUGH”, so we ended up watching the 2003 Peter Pan. I was in the middle of reading other books, too, which I totally blame for my psycho 400 pages read in one day so that I could get to Aiden Thomas’ book sooner because the 2003 version with Jeremy Sumpter is actual perfect, fight me. We both cried, and it was wonderful.

After a really long day for both Erin and me, we decided to keep with the chill mood and watch another Disney movie. We’ve both seen The Great Mouse Detective a couple times, but she was vibing it, and I was down for something short that I didn’t need a lot of brain power for. This movie just the cutest, the score is phenomenal, and it’s such a good film for pure enjoyment. Also, I def need to write a character like Basil.

I talk more about everything that happened at one of my acupuncture appointments below, but the tl;dr is that it was mildly traumatizing, and I was utterly exhausted for the rest of the weekend. Thus, though I’d planned a five book weekend, I ended up wanting something familiar and beloved, and I don’t know how that equation came out to be the first season of Primeval, but here we are. Not gonna lie, this show was one of my favorites in college, and I’m forever bitter about how short it ended up being. It’s such a damn good show, and I totally forgot the seasons were only about six episodes long, so I definitely binged the entire first season in one go, and I would be not at all surprised if more of the show appeared in this wrap-up.

There’s a strange abundance of space films in the last couple of years that I’ve apparently missed, so when Erin & I were searching for something to watch one of our Fridays, I stumbled across quite a few of them, and now we’ve got a list of space movies that we want to watch. We started with IO because it had Anthony Mackie, and I just so wish we’d picked anything else. It was weird, too, because it was really promising in the beginning, and even though the middle was a little meh, I was still hanging on right up until it drifted into sexual assault. I mean, Mackie’s character says “I can’t” and visibly steps away, and the woman says “We have to”?????? What the fuck. And it just got worse from there. This began as a really intelligent movie about a scientist living on an earth toxic to humans, and it ended with horrible depictions of sexual assault, awful dialogue, abusive & possessive behavior, and potential suicide. 10/10 would not recommend.

I had all these grand goals halfway through the month that I was going to finish two books, get halfway through a second, write a bunch, and binge watch the second season of Primeval, all in one weekend. And then I ran about eight hundred errands on the Saturday and went hiking on the Sunday, so I finished one book, started nothing else, wrote nothing, and only watched one episode of Primeval. All said, though, it was the episode where the raptors are hanging out in the bowling alley, so that was a pretty solid one to start on. I wrapped up this season toward the end of the month, and I had the exact same reaction to the Connor & Abby episode (iykyk), so that was fun. I’m definitely going to be continuing with my rewatch next month, too.

I mean, obviously, I watched Shadow and Bone, who do you think I am? I watched it with my friend in CA, which meant figuring out the time difference was absurd, and we originally had this whole specific schedule setup until we were both suddenly free on the Friday and just binged four episodes straight and decided we were going to replicate that the following night. Trust me, I would have loved nothing more than to watch the whole thing in one sitting, but we had to start around 8PM EST, which meant ya girl was exhausted by the time those four episodes were done. I won’t go into an extensive review here because I discussed the entire thing here, but tl;dr is that it was absolutely phenomenal.

After the disaster that was IO, Erin picked Promising Young Woman, and WOW. Talk about something that made me want to rage stand on a table. It was so good and so conflicting, which left me having all sorts of thoughts by the end. There were times that I was all in, burn everything down, show the world how furious we, as women, are, but there were other times where I was like ehhhhh not great choices, actually. And that ending, jfc. I was so mad, but also so vindicated? It was such a weird place to be. And my goodness, the aesthetic alone! I want everything in my life to be rainbow pastels while I commit crime to a string version of Toxic.

LIFE

Normally, I write this portion at the end of the month, and I’ll just summarize everything. It’s the only thing I write last since I generally work on my wrap-up all month, and I feel like I’ll ramble more than usual if I add to this section throughout the month, but a lot happened, and I’m going to be exhausted trying to talk about it all at once, so here we are, discussing my vaguely referred disaster acupuncture appointment.

At the end of March, I was hopeful about acupuncture, and here we are, mid-April while I’m drafting this post, and I’ve cancelled all of my upcoming appointments. April started good. My chiropractor told me to work on my core as much as possible, so I started doing a lot of planks and HIIT-based core work. I got to practice outside a bunch, and I was having a really good time–up until my third acupuncture appointment. They’d mentioned that cupping would be a good pair to go with acupuncture, and that if I was in the private room to get cupping done, they could do localized needles on my back rather than tapping into the spine through other areas. This sounded like a great idea, and I’ve done cupping with my massage therapist and loved it, so I scheduled two cupping appointments with two weeks in between them of just acupuncture.

There were a lot of factors that made this a traumatic experience, and not all of it was based purely in the actual acupuncture, but it started off bad when I got to the office and realized I’d accidentally grabbed one of my mom’s masks, which are way too small for me, so it was very close to my face and painful on my ears and generally hard to breathe in. I thought it’d be fine, though, because acupuncture is basically taking a nap for 40 minutes. I was seeing a different specialist than before, but she’d been briefed on my pain, and she sat with me for a while to discuss it. She left me to undress and get on the table, and there was a paper robe, but it ripped in two different spots, and I got frustrated and just laid down on top of it. I didn’t really care since I’m literally only wearing underwear during a massage, so I’m used to it. When the specialist came back in, I’d already told her that I’d done cupping before, so she didn’t give me any long explanations, though I wasn’t expecting any, either. What I definitely was not expecting, though, was for the cups to go on cold. Generally, when you do cupping with a massage therapist, they massage the area first before they put the cups on so your muscles are warm and primed to be worked deeply with a cup. However, all they did this time was put some oil on my back and then put the cups on, and honestly? That shit hurts.

Cupping is great. Every time I tell this story, I’m so nervous that it’ll turn someone off of it, but it’s a really great experience when done right, and I will absolutely continue doing it with my massage therapist. I didn’t even think to say anything because they didn’t hurt at first, though I did think it was strange they were being put on cold muscle, but then it got worse. The specialist placed the needles in very basic points, just hands and feet, and didn’t put any localized on my back. I thought maybe she’d put them in when we were done with the cupping, so I didn’t say anything. And then, she left me. When I told my massage therapist this part, she actually cringed. “You can’t leave someone with cups on,” she said, “That’s how people get hurt. I turn on the lights when I do them to make sure I can see how the body is reacting.” When the specialist came back in ten minutes later, she said that she’d never seen someone bruise so darkly from cups, and I was just so at my wit’s end that I didn’t know how to vocalize what I was feeling. Like, fucking duh? If you put cups on cold muscle and then LEAVE so you can’t observe, of course it’s going to be hella dark! They’d teetered past uncomfortable and straight into painful, too, so I was really relieved when she finally took them off. And then, despite the fact that I’d been slated for localized needles and told the specialist that lying on my stomach was really difficult for me to get up from–that movement is where the worst of the pain comes in–she left me again, for about 30 minutes. This is where it all fell apart.

The headrest of the table was tilted way down, so I got severely congested in about 10 minutes, which meant I couldn’t breathe through my nose at all, but breathing through your mouth in a too small mask induces panic lightning fast, so I ended up lifting my head for the entire 30 minutes, which meant my neck and shoulders were tense, which just literally defeated the purpose of everything. The amount of times I considered getting up, taking out the needles myself, and leaving, but I have always been an anxious person, and I couldn’t imagine having to walk past the specialist in the main room. When she finally got back, I just wanted to get out of there as soon as possible, so I didn’t say anything. I was so frustrated that I thought I’d end up crying out of anger, and as soon as the needles were out and the specialist left, I started to push up off of the table, and holy shit.

I wish I could describe the kind of pain I get in my SI joint when I try to get up from lying on my stomach. It’s actually debilitating. I thought I was going to have to roll off the table, but I managed to get my feet under me, and I honestly almost collapsed. I kept looking at my shoes on the floor and wondering how the hell I was going to get them. And I knew, no matter how angry I was, the tears were going to be 100% pain-induced. I somehow managed to get dressed, literally ran down the stairs, and threw myself into my car to burst into tears for the next hour. I was in so much pain. The rest of the day was a miserable cycle of icing my lumbar, taking Ibuprofen, and trying not to move too much. I was probably in more pain than I’d been in when we started this whole journey toward a healthier spine.

I was already thinking that I should cancel my upcoming appointments, and meeting with my massage therapist a couple days later confirmed that. She was horrified by the experience, and she commented on what a mess my back was when we were finished. I feel so much better after having her work on my body, and I’m so grateful to her for her help. She advised me to think a little before going back to acupuncture, especially because I wasn’t seeing any effects from the needles and certainly awful effects from the cupping. My chiropractor had much of the same to say, though I was very happy to hear that my appointment with him post-acupuncture/cupping & massage therapy was the easiest adjustment he’d had with me thus far, and that my spine felt much better than when we’d started.

And then, the final straw came. When I was going online to cancel my appointments, I noticed that the one in two weeks, that was to include cupping again, had something called moxa scheduled instead. Off to Google I went, and holy shit. While I was with my massage therapist, she told me that she was always nervous about acupuncturists doing cupping since it was kind of out of their wheelhouse, and they often used an old method to get around having to warm up the muscles–lighting a flame inside of the cup before putting it on. Even that makes more sense to me than cold cupping because the flame will heat up the body. But moxa? Instead of a normal flame, mugwort is burned inside the cup. Even had I not been a witch and known about the hallucinogenic & toxic properties of mugwort, I still would have been upset to see this listed. I’m very specific about what I put in my body, and I like to know what herbs are being used before I do anything, and I honestly don’t think they would have told me anything about mugwort before using it. I’m sure they would have said that they were going to burn an ancient herb that was good for anti-inflammatory, but I doubt they would have said that it would numb my pain rather than actually work toward eliminating it. And I’m just baffled that I was scheduled for this treatment without anyone discussing the actual process of it. I mean, seriously? Don’t tell me you’re scheduling me for cupping and then actually have me set for a treatment that uses an herb that is literally toxic over extended periods of time, which I’m going to need!

I don’t know. I’ve gotten past my anger at this point, and I’ve cancelled all upcoming appointments, and I very highly doubt I’ll ever do acupuncture again. I’m very grateful for my massage therapist and chiropractor, for their help and their advice with everything. We’re headed on a good path toward recovery, and I’m feeling better every day. But I also didn’t do yoga for a week because I was so afraid of the pain that would come from moving my body too much after that disastrous acupuncture appointment, which felt like it moved everything backward rather than actually helping, so. That’s my story, I guess.

Annnnnd moving on from that heavy & lengthy conversation, the rest of the month was okay. I did a lot less yoga than I’m used to, and, mentally, that was really challenging. I don’t talk about it a lot on here, though I do on my personal Insta, so if you’re ever curious what’s going on in my yoga life, check that out. However, it’s been my primary coping tool for the last decade, and having a five-day/week practice brought down to once/week was way more difficult than I was anticipating. I’ve shed a lot of tears, been very angry, and honestly afraid. I don’t want to be in pain, and yoga has been something that’s helped while hurting at the same time, so it’s a weird space to be with it. However, toward the end of the month, after several amazing adjustments from my chiropractor, I had THREE practices in a row with ZERO pain, and I’m just beaming all over the place about it. My practice is still far from what it used to be, but things are finally starting to look like they’re headed back to a place that I love.

I also went hiking this month! It was a weird hike because while I thought there might be some snow, I also thought, based on the fact that it was 50 and sunny literally everywhere else, that it definitely wouldn’t be an entire foot of snow. Alas, we all brought winter jackets just in case, and we’re prepared for these kind of events, so we made the best of it and had a lot of fun. We hiked Sunapee, which is my favorite mountain to begin with because it’s got a gorgeous lake in the middle, and even though we didn’t hike up to the cliffs to look out at it–the trail had started getting sketchy near the lake, so we were nervous that no one would have gone up to the cliffs and carved a path yet, and ya girls were not hiking through one foot of untouched snow–we ended up having a lot of fun, and it was exactly what the three of us needed.

Of course, the weather completely flipped the following weekend, and it was 70 and sunny, so that’s New England for ya, I guess? I’ve been mostly practicing outside, and it’s just been a delight. Other than that, my month has been a lot of reading and a lot of dinosaur TV because why the heck not.

How was your April?

Posted by

she/her | yoga teacher | Tibetan Buddhism | part-time witch | full-time author | astronaut in a previous life

3 thoughts on “April Wrap-Up

  1. i want to read the way madness lies so badly! as soon as i saw who was going to be involved in it, i already expected it to be super queer and i’m so excited. i’m not super familiarized with too many of shakespeare’s works either, but i’m still looking forward to see how the authors are going to add their own twists to it.

    i loved the way you approached the emily duncan situation! at the end of the day, since you had already bought the book, i think you dealt with it in the best possible way, which was reviewing it but addressing the controversy.

    i love the 2003 version of peter pan, though the more i watch it, the more i’m like…. why were they sexualizing these characters so much when wendy is just 13 omg. but the vibes are so immaculate!

    i’m glad you enjoyed shadow & bone so much. i can’t get over how good this poster looks, honestly, hahah. i couldn’t finish it in one sitting either, but watching it through the spam of a weekend was an amazing decision and even though i was a bit confused at times, i still enjoyed it overall.

    i hope you have a great may, mary!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Way Madness Lies was just excellent, and the stories worked totally on their own without prior Shakespeare knowledge. I’m so happy they were so queer, too, because so much of that is already written into the foundation of his stories, so it was just lovely to see it leveled up.

      UGH YES! Literal children! Let them just fly around and have fun! Honestly, I’m so glad Aiden Thomas graced us with an aged-up Peter for that exact reason.

      I’m glad to hear you enjoyed S&B, as well! I’ve just started rewatching it, and I’m taking a full week this time, and it’s already so much better to just relax with it.

      Have the most wonderful May, Lais! πŸ’•

      Liked by 1 person

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