Bullet Journal: Plan with Me February 2021

Bullet Journal: Plan with Me February 2021

January hasn’t gone all that swimmingly so far, and seeing how there are only a few days left I think it’s safe to say that it’s not going to redeem itself. But onward we go. I’m trying another month of bullet journaling, and I’ll just see where it takes me. It’s time for February Plan with Me 2021.

Today’s Bullet Journal video includes a voiceover. So if you’d rather listen to my thoughts than read them, this might be right up your alley. I talk briefly about some not-so-fun things like the Capitol coup, and the scary MRI report I got a couple weeks ago, but I also just talk about bullet journaling in general. Oh, and Izzy’s back to being Izzy if you’re in the mood for a little cat therapy.

If you’re a bullet journaler too and have shared your Plan with Me spreads for February 2021, link me in the comments! I love seeing how other people organize their journals and what art and stickers and etcetera they use to make them more aesthetic.

Materials Used

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Archer and Olive A5 dot grid 160 gsm notebook

Archer and Olive Acrylograph pen – silver

Washi tape

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MRI #20: The Nazi in the Waiting Room

MRI #20: The Nazi in the Waiting Room


On Monday night, I had my twentieth brain MRI. It was just another routine scan to see if there were any changes in the malignant tumor on my brain stem, but the outpatient hospital visit was more distressing than usual. There was a Nazi in the waiting room with me.

And I mean aside from the pandemic protocols that didn’t allow Dan to come inside with me.

After checking in at the radiology desk, I scooted down the hallway gripping my walker and found my way to the secondary waiting room. I was hoping the room would be empty like it was back in July, but there was one other person in the room. A man, probably in his early- to mid- twenties. He was listening to someone on speakerphone.

I chose the farthest seat from him in the waiting room. We were both masked, but given the choice to be exceedingly cautious or increase anyone’s risk by one tenth of one hundredth of one thousandth of a percent, I took a few extra shaky steps.

I turned my head toward the waiting room TV and tried to focus on the “Chopped” contestants and their basket of squab, poblanos, and a some weird-ass fish made of chocolate when I realized that the man wasn’t talking to someone on his phone, he was listening to a podcast or watching a video or something without headphones. I was mildly irritated.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this here before, but I can’t single out a line of audio when two things are competing at the same time. Whether it’s a result of the tumor, a side-effect of radiation or of chemo, or just the result of being under persistent stress for years, it’s impossible for me to do. I could kind of feel the words being spoken, though. The rhythm and tone of what was coming out of the man’s phone gave me very cishet, militant Baptist vibes.

I pretended to look past him while checking for a mask, wondering if I’d seen a mask when I walked in or if I’d just assumed he was wearing a mask.

He did have a mask on. Good.

I turned back toward the TV, and in the brief silence between commercials, I distinctly overheard the words “they want you to be ashamed of your whiteness” then a little later something like “don’t be ashamed of your whiteness.” Then later, as the speaker was wrapping up, he thanked everyone for listening and said “I love you. We love you.” He said he and Pastor Todd or Pastor Jeff or something were praying for them or something.

It was nauseating. I checked to make sure I still had a vomit bag in my tote.

My waiting room companion was a white supremacist. And he was brainwashing himself. Having endured my share of emotional abuse, I know most all the greatest hits from “he must really like you, because you’re not that hot” to “they don’t accept you, only I accept you.”

What I’m saying is, if there’s a way to not be highly sensitized to this kind of manipulation in everyday life, even when not directed at me, I don’t know what it is.

I stared up at the TV and forced myself to smile behind my mask. Tamping down some emotions I’d rather not have alone in a room with a fucking white supremacist.

Folks, if you ever had an internal dialogue that goes something like, “He’s dangerous, but I’m white. If he goes postal, I might be OK”… congratulations! You’ve been terrorized, not directly by a white supremacist, but by the mere existence of white supremacy. And being able to calm yourself with the color of your skin is a sick type of privilege.

I have no additional facts to tell you about the waiting room nazi, just my gut feeling based on some subtle (maybe even imagined) cues from the guy. I think he was uncomfortable with the insurrection—the barbaric murder—and unequipped to deal with his discomfort. Instead of owning up and confronting his choices, he sought comfort. He went looking for someone to tell him he was right, because it was easier than taking responsibility.

That thought horrifies me.

January 10, 2021

For the Record

Why? He doesn’t want the job. Why doesn’t he just tell the world “I didn’t want to be responsible for all you suckers and losers anyway,” and walk away.

I wonder how many in my extended family are white supremacists. I know who the proud ones are. I wonder who the quiet ones are.

They were proudly wearing shirts glorifying Auschwitz, saying 6 million (Jews lost during the Holocaust) was not enough.

I just keep staring out the window. I haven’t seen my neighbors come out of their house. It’s winter and there’s a pandemic. But it feels creepier than that now.

They don’t hold any regard for elderly and disabled life either. No life at all, actually. They will try to kill anyone who is different. Anyone who’s frame of mind doesn’t reflect their own. But their frame of mind, their view of the world, is unstable. It changes instantaneously from moment to moment.

They tried to assassinate the Vice President and the Speaker of the House.

People, actual members of Congress, are trying to persuade us to do nothing. Tweeting that the rest of us shouldn’t stoke the fires. I keep starting to say, “I can’t believe they are” but I stop myself. I CAN believe. I just can’t find words.

Why is justice always so much slower then injustice. Why hasn’t Pence invoked the 25th? He was a mark. There was a plot to kill him.

Why is an impeachment vote forthcoming and not already behind us? “As early as next week.”

What the fuck is early about next week?

I keep trying to unsee the Capitol officer being crushed by bodies. Screaming out in pain.

Then another video, “He’s got a gun!” There’s just an arm. He fires into the mob.

Another video. Did that cop just move the barricade for them?

Another video, the cop is taking selfies with them. My god. My fucking god.

There were cops in the crowd. In on the plot. Carrying out the plan. They traveled to D.C.

We begged for them to defund the police. We begged. We begged them to see.

He smiles and waves for the camera while walking away with the lectern. Like it’s an innocent game of capture the flag and his coach is going to take him out for ice cream at Dairy Queen even though they lost the first game.

They’re chanting in unison. “Hang Mike Pence”

“Hang Mike Pence”

“Hang Mike Pence”

They patted me on the head four years ago. “Silly little girl. It won’t be that bad.”

For the Record

This is a living document which may (likely will) be supplemented as necessary. If you have received this link in response to a comment, it’s because I’m tired. Cancer fatigue necessitates I create more efficient methods of communication. Items are numbered to make referencing points easier, not necessarily by priority.

This document was not directed at anyone specifically or in response to any specific remark at the time I wrote it. I just found myself repeating a lot of things over and over to people and thought this would save me some time and heartache as I try to take care of myself.

It is not uncommon for me to be assumed rude, disrespectful, mentally unwell, or just a “bitch” for being unwilling to listen to “reason” when I bluntly disengage from “debates” with others. Mostly because people who don’t routinely set their own boundaries don’t recognize mine. Some of these boundaries have been set for ages. Others are relatively new, borne of necessity because of my presence on social media.

Comments are turned off. If you don’t understand why, I probably can’t explain it to you. So I won’t bother.

–Emily
1/9/2021


  1. Censorship by private companies is not comparable to censorship by the government.
  2. You cannot reasonably argue that your Aunt Betty shouldn’t have to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple but Simon and Schuster should have to publish a nazi’s book or TLC should have to keep Duck Dynasty on the air.
  3. If a sitting senator, such as Josh Hawley of Missouri, forced a book publisher to distribute ANY kind of writing, the United States would be guilty of the very things we have long accused countries like China, Russia, and North Korea of doing.
  4. The First Amendment protects citizens from retribution by the government for criticism of the government. It does not protect you or me from being grounded by our parents for saying fuck or guarantee you your own talk show.
  5. Also, SCOTUS has ruled there are limits to your right to free speech. If you cannot at a minimum explain to me in your own words the crux of Oliver Wendell Holmes’s SCOTUS opinion about shouting “fire!” in a crowded theater, I will not further entertain your First Amendment grievances on behalf of criminals.

  1. To deny the existence of white privilege is to further the cause of white supremacy. A person does not have to write or speak racist slurs, be a member of the Klan or the Proud Boys, or make people drink at separate water fountains to be a racist.
  2. A person does not have to be aware of their racism to be a racist in the same way that a person does not have to know that fishing without a license is against the law to break that law. Ignorance can be considered a cause of racism, but not an excuse for it.
  3. The United States is a racist nation for many reasons. Chief among them are the discrepancies in how Black and brown bodies are policed, denied equal justice under the law (bail, sentencing, use of solitary, juvenile jail, etc), disenfranchised, and systematically excluded from rights to life, liberty, and happiness.
  4. If you cannot at a minimum define the words sharecropping and redlining, I will not subject myself to your whining about “special rights” let alone your opposition to reparations for Black and indigenous people.

  1. The Confederate flag is the flag of white supremacy. The Civil War was fought because of slavery. It was only about “states’ rights” in that some states claimed that slaveholding was their Christian duty. If you cannot at a minimum, tell me from where the following quote originates, I will assume you want to defend the defenseless position of white supremacy and end the conversation.

    The quote: “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery—the greatest material interest of the world.”
  1. “Heritage not hate” is a shibboleth for our racist contemporaries. It is not a catchphrase used by people who are just really into confederate history.

  1. Donald Trump is a white supremacist; white supremacism is terrorism. Therefore, people who support Donald Trump support white supremacist terrorism.
  2. Nothing you can argue will dissuade me from acknowledging this reality or excuse you for it. If I know you to be a Trump supporter, I will treat you as I would any white supremacist. To be welcome in my sphere, you must cease being a white supremacist. There is no workaround.

    We can disagree on many other political, religious, social, and philosophical things and still maintain a friendship or a loving familial relationship, but not this.

  1. I am not responsible for the version of me you have created in your mind, and it is not my responsibility to protect your delusion.

  1. I am not hiding who I am from you in order to deceive. If you are shocked to learn that I swear, speak my mind, publicly name doctors who have harmed me, bluntly respond to unwelcome comments on the internet, etc—it’s probably because you were assuming facts about me not in evidence.

  1. Insisting that I be positive about or simply “get over” any of my trauma is not welcome at anytime. If you minimize my trauma during a particularly stressful time, you should expect to hear what I think about your actions.

  1. I witnessed via real-time video a violent, deadly coup attempt—carried out by the President of the United States, members of the Republican party, members of law enforcement and white supremacist militias—in which people died.

    For four years I was treated by many as an alarmist for noting how Trump’s presidency would and did parallel the historical rise of fascism around the world. I was told that there was no difference between Hillary and Trump. I was told there was no difference between any Democrats or Trump.

    I was gaslit repeatedly about Trump and many other things. I have been traumatized by the constant gaslighting. In addition to those traumas I have spent four years wondering if I’d be denied healthcare, lose my house, die of cancer, continue to watch my Black, brown, immigrant, native, and Jewish friends and fellow humans endure hate crime after hate crime, all while my federal government let us die of and encouraged others to promote the spread of a deadly virus. I am not OK, and I will not likely be for a long time. I will not apologize for not being OK or attempt to make anyone else more comfortable with how not OK I am.
  1. My post-traumatic stress episodes bypass the parts of my brain concerned with your feelings and all processing resources are directed to protecting and deflecting harm. IMPORTANT: You do not have a say in what words and actions my brain deems harmful. Your good intentions cannot be factored into the equation until the episode ends, at the absolute earliest. Pressing for immediate reconciliation by insisting you didn’t “mean it like that” will make things worse 100% of the time.
Don’t Let The Screen Door Hit You, 2020!

Don’t Let The Screen Door Hit You, 2020!

Welcome to 2021, everyone! It’s 32 degrees Fahrenheit and pouring sleet in Urbana, Illinois this fine New Year’s morning. The dog has already thrown up on the carpet, and I feel like there is a hole in my forehead above my left eye that’s exposed to the wintery cold. It’s an icepick headache kind of morning.

A New Year of Bullet Journaling

But I will not be daunted! I have plans for this New Year, and I will do my best to set them in motion today. Starting with the list I created for myself for the day in my new Bullet Journal.

I have made a couple of videos already about my new bullet journal on my YouTube channel (Archer and Olive Subscription Box Unboxing and January 2021 Bullet Journal Setup) but just in case you haven’t seen them, here’s the gist: I’m chronically ill and bullet journaling partly to get more done with less confusion but mostly to show myself what I can accomplish with a tumor in my head.

(By the way, I really love my Archer and Olive stuff, and I was given a referral code. If you use my link as a new customer, you get 15% off of your first purchase.)

A New Year of Coloring

For the next 365 days, it is my plan to color a GPI (general pain index) diagram every morning. I’ll be using AutoDesk Sketchbook (it’s free to download and a great program if you can’t afford Photoshop or Illustrator) so that I can just open a new file every morning, assess my pain, color in the general pain index accordingly, and tuck that information away for future reference.

Maybe I’ll learn something new about what makes me pain worse or better. Maybe I’ll be able to help my doctors understand me better. And maybe I’ll just get into the habit of being mindful of my body first thing in the morning and learn to take better care of it. Who knows what the end result will be, but I’m eager to find out.

Here’s my first day of GPI coloring. I just grabbed a diagram I found on the internet like the ones they hand out at the doctor’s office and saved it as a .tiff file. The color range I’ve chosen is snagged from thermodynamic images I found online as well. The difference is that instead of them representing temperatures like red equals hot, blue equals cold, red equals the worst pain (8-10 on the pain scale) and blue equals the least pain (1-3 on the pain scale.) Purple is zero, meaning no pain.

Colored coded GPI index of the pain levels I am feeling. Pain is most intense in my head, neck, and shoulders.

I made this diagram about two hours ago when I first woke up, and it is already outdated. Chronic pain is such a dynamic thing. When I first woke up severe pain covered about 20 percent of my body. Now we’re closer to 80%. To the point my hands are getting numb and there’s a dark red strip of red across my lower back now—about where the blue and green section meet on the posterior image above.

Dear God. Dan just took this picture of the gas grill on the patio that we regretfully forgot to cover at the end of grill season. I am going to be nursing a lot of aches today, and so I cut this blog post short. More later. Happy New Year, guys.

Metal gas grill covered in ice with knobs frozen in place and icicles hanging off of it.

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