Today, January 1st, 2016, I registered the domain name Unquietlyme.com. The title of my blog Unquietly Me was inspired by the book An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamieson. I was diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder in 2007 and havenâ€™t been able to work since 2008. When I was manic apparently in 2010, I began writing what I thought was a feminist, romantic fantasy novel. Right before I completed the final story arc, I decided the novel wasnâ€™t good enough; it didnâ€™t feel authentic. Iâ€™m still revising it, still trying to get to my authentic voice and self.
In January 2015, I started Unquietly Me as a creative writing and mental health blog, but was also binge-reading romance novels for comfort. Iâ€™d started a NetGalley account in late 2014, but didnâ€™t start reviewing in earnest until April. Since then, Iâ€™ve been posting more book reviews than creative writing and mental health updates. For one thing, I havenâ€™t written any new short fiction and poems, and itâ€™s hard to talk and write about my mental health, because itâ€™s painful and complex and having a severe mental illness is hard enough.
I never know what my mood will be when I wake up in the morning. My mood affects my productivity, energy, and social activity. It affects the quality of my writing. When Iâ€™m manic or hypomanic, Iâ€™m obsessed with my writing and believe everything I write is freaking AMAZING. Iâ€™m very project-oriented, impulsive, and talkative, and my mind is awhirl with ideas. Iâ€™ve learned to jot down my thoughts and ideas, so I can save them for later to view objectively, refine, and revise. When Iâ€™m very depressed, writing is very hard. When Iâ€™m relatively stable and functioning a notch above my baseline depression, Iâ€™m more self-aware. I can finish the projects I started when I was manic.
In September, rather than retitling my blog, I decided to transfer my creative writing and mental health posts to a separate blog. My blog has grown significantly since I began reading M/M romance and hosting virtual book tours for both mainstream and LGBTQ titles, which are more socially conscious and align better with my values.
The principles Unquietly Me stands for havenâ€™t changed. As a person of color, I wonâ€™t be “unquiet” about my values and beliefs. I wonâ€™t hide behind my diagnosis and let my illness, stigma, and narrow-mindedness walk all over me. Iâ€™ll advocate for POC and womenâ€™s rights, mental health awareness, and #LoveWins. And Iâ€™ll never give up on my childhood dream to write and publish a novel that matters. I say this now because I can, because who knows what tomorrow will bring.
*This essay was originally posted at http://unquietlyme.com/2016/01/01/2015-in-review/.