What It Means to be Unquietly Me

unquiet 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 haven’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 wasn’t good enough; it didn’t feel authentic. I’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. I’d started a NetGalley account in late 2014, but didn’t start reviewing in earnest until April. Since then, I’ve been posting more book reviews than creative writing and mental health updates. For one thing, I haven’t written any new short fiction and poems, and it’s hard to talk and write about my mental health, because it’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 I’m manic or hypomanic, I’m obsessed with my writing and believe everything I write is freaking AMAZING. I’m very project-oriented, impulsive, and talkative, and my mind is awhirl with ideas. I’ve learned to jot down my thoughts and ideas, so I can save them for later to view objectively, refine, and revise. When I’m very depressed, writing is very hard. When I’m relatively stable and functioning a notch above my baseline depression, I’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 haven’t changed. As a person of color, I won’t be “unquiet” about my values and beliefs. I won’t hide behind my diagnosis and let my illness, stigma, and narrow-mindedness walk all over me. I’ll advocate for POC and women’s rights, mental health awareness, and #LoveWins. And I’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/.

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