Shoutout Saturday (What I’ve been listening to)

How I'm Feeling - Wikipedia

~how i’m feeling~ by lauv

I discovered this album a little while ago, and I kid you not, I’ve been listening to it on loop pretty much every day since then. Inevitably, I will get sick of it at some point or other, but right now I will happily be jamming out to “Modern Loneliness” in the middle of a high school computer lab, giving approximately zero shits. (That’s actually been a cool development by the way! It’s been three weeks since school went back, and I haven’t actually had any panic attacks. I’ve gotten a anxious about certain things, but I’ve actually been able to deal with it really well so far. I’m really proud of myself!)

Anyway, ~how i’m feeling~ is this wonderful mishmash of sweet love songs, and more serious ones, exploring anxiety and depression in the modern age. Lauv has this really gorgeous, unique sound I don’t think you quite find anywhere else. Despite him being a larger musician, this album really has the same vibes, lyric-wise of something an indie band might put out, just with a more pop-ish sound. (Is that a word? I know what I’m doing, I swear. Dear lord.)

I don’t know, it just hits you in the feels, and I don’t think there’s anyone who could honestly dislike this album, although inevitably there’s someone out there who disagrees. I don’t know, whenever I feel depressed or anxious, I like to put this album on Spotify, and it always makes me feel better–or at least, less alone. It’s just makes me just want to get up, and start dancing around my room like a girl in a movie.

mxmtoon - dawn Lyrics and Tracklist | Genius

dawn by mxmtoon

If you’re familiar with mxmtoon, you might know her for the songs that she posted to YouTube as a teenager, and eventually got a lot of attention for. Generally, her songs are a little sad and downcast, like in her previous album, the masquerade. But recently, she’s tried her hand at writing more hopeful songs, and I feel like she pulls it off really well. I remember deciding to check in on her Spotify bio one night I was feeling kinda blah, and deciding to put it on while I wrote–and it just made me feel like I could take on the whole world.

The instrumental backing her singing is always so heartwarming and simple. I think that’s a lot of her songs’ appeal. They never put on airs and graces; they never seek to impress, or express some deep artistic truth. In her Spotify bio, mxmtoon describes her songs as “rhyming diary entries” and I think that’s really true. I don’ t know, I just love her music a lot. (Also, as a ukulele player, I’m probably biased, but Maia is such a ukulele icon.)

Melodrama (Lorde album) - Wikipedia

Melodrama by Lorde

I remember, when Lorde’s song “Royals” got really popular. I was in fifth grade, I think, and I remember the student teacher we had helping us play it while we were working on some craft project I was definitely too cool for, and my friend informing me that this song was Very Fancy and I should be impressed. (I was ten, and honestly couldn’t care less.)

I didn’t even listen to any of her music until a year ago, but it seriously took me until last week to get to streaming this album, I kid you not. What can I say? Pasta fazool, I am a fool, it’s actually really good.

Lorde has this really unique musical style I don’t think I’ve seen any other artist use before. All of her songs have this gorgeous reverb/echo/chorus effect on them, and, as the album title suggests, have a very melodramatic quality to them–in the best way possible.

Her lyrics are also so gorgeous. Not going to lie, I am that nerd who, whenever I find a song I like, will look it up on genius.com, and read through all of the lyrics, and go through every single analysis of them, and read all the artist interviews I can get my hands on. Lorde is absolutely one of the artists I do that for.

This album is magical, and I love it so much, so give it a try if you’re looking for something to listen to.

Puberty 2 - Wikipedia

Puberty 2 by Mitski

This is a new find for me! My friend sent me “Your Best American Girl” a few weeks back, because it reminded her of one of my characters, and I listened to it, and it reminded me of that character, and then I checked out her whole album, and it’s… really beautiful. Her songs are so many things, all at once–overwhelming in the best way possible. They always start out so soft, heartfelt, and innocent, and just erupt suddenly into this chaotic, often unconventional chorus. I love how she brings in these sounds that would typically be considered ugly, and manages to make them sound so evocative and beautiful. Her lyrics feel so honest, and real–with that same diary-entry vibe I talked about before, but with a bit more metaphor and poetry to them.

And that about sums it up! I know, my tastes in music are very basic, but I had fun trying out this whole new format, so hopefully you liked it, and, I don’t know, check out these albums if you want.

How are you doing? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to chat. 🙂

Lots of love,

dragonwritesthings

yarrow

i put myself to bed early last night, you know? wiped the tears off my eyes with the sleeve of my sweater. and i dreamed of something strange, and cold.

got lost. in these long, winding roads, lined in an endless funeral procession of cornflower and yarrow.

and as the tendrils of smoke start to tighten around my throat, the chickadees beg for help. and i will try to let go.

try not to listen too closely. as the walls press in around me. and the monsters under my bed to scream, and shout, spittle dripping off their hungry, serrated mouths.

the riptide lashing against my flimsy island of blankets and pillows. a thousand empty sentences, and mismatched syllables.


Ever since I stopped seeing my therapist, I’ve had to do a lot of coping on my own.

I know that sounds sad, but honestly, I feel like I’ve learned a lot about myself, and I feel a lot more confident just knowing that I can manage myself, even when my friends are off their phones, and when I don’t have a mental health professional to turn to.

On a good day, I can do it. I can care for myself the same way I would a small child, with compassion, and patience, even when my brain is at stubborn and slow. But… on a bad day; when I’m so deeply consumed in my own mind, well, that tends to go out the window.

This is the thing with depression: you have an army of supportive, loving friends and family surrounding you, and yet still–it has this way of making you feel so alone; distorting your reality in whatever way it pleases. I’ve heard people describe depression a loss of interest in things they used to get pleasure from, but for me it’s more like I can’t remember, in the moment, what those things even are–and nor do I care enough to try and remember.

For the record, in no way would I recommend just trying to cope on your own before having seen a therapist. I tried using small mental health blogs (rather like this one, now I think about it) as a substitute for therapy for a very long time–and the fact is that reading this post will not help you manage your illness. Working really hard with a professional, for a really long time will help you manage your illness. I spent about two years in therapy before I started going it alone. I’m not writing off therapy forever, just taking a break for the foreseeable future.

Even if you can’t afford to see a therapist–which is totally reasonable–there are always crisis lines you can call to talk anytime, anonymously, for free. Here’s a masterlist, which should have something in your country. 🙂

Lots of love,

dragonwritesthings

fire with fire

don’t you just want to forget, sometimes? crawl into the freshly washed sheets, and let yourself drown in the strangling humidity.

or just stare into the mirror, unable tear your eyes off the bulge of your stomach. or those chunky thighs. and i know it’s just a game, i know it’s just a lie but… i guess it’s hard not to fall for these things, sometimes.

so i’ll beg my false god for forgiveness. i’ll kneel at his feet. i’ll say thank you, and please. and yet still… no matter what i feed his hungry jaw, it will never appease.

so i’ll fight fire with fire. i’ll set my good luck charm alight.

i think it’s long past time i learned to accept that this twisted fantasy, of crisp dollar bills, of fortune and fame… it doesn’t love me. doesn’t care, if i make it through the night.

all it wants is one more flame. bright, and desperate. and so full of life…


I guess I’ll start at the beginning.

I’ve spent so much of my life thinking money was the endgame–if that makes sense. That if I could just save up this much, suddenly, all the problems in my life would just go away. I literally have kept thousands of dollars of birthday money over the years, and honestly, that was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. I would much rather be able to move out after I graduate than have blown it on tacky animal hoodies circa 2012 at the dollar store, or Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, you know what I mean?

But back then, spending it ever wasn’t the goal. It was this strange safety blanket, something that set me apart from everyone else. Whenever I felt threatened by a situation, that money was the first thing I reminded myself of. Spending so much as a dollar–it felt like giving up a limb. It still does, now I think about it. Sometimes, I just lie awake at night panicking that something’s going to happen to that money, that I’m not going to be able to get enough of it fast enough, my mind flashing through all of these nightmare scenarios.

I think part of that is caused by the way I was raised. My parents always brought me up as an independent person, which I am glad for. But that combined with my anxiety combined with the culture I was brought up in really only served to reinforce the concept, at as young an age as five or six, that if I didn’t have enough money, bad things were going to happen, and when they did, no one would come to help me.

For so long, all I dreamed of was wealth. I didn’t care, about liking my job, or about having a loving relationship with friends, family, or whatever. All I wanted was to know I’d be safe–forever.

When I was ten, and starting to get into writing, I remember casually telling my mom in the car that I could always probably fund my career with a rich husband, if all else failed. She laughed like it was a joke, but honestly, it’s still an option I consider sometimes.

I don’t think of myself as a selfish, or ruthless person. But in a thousand tiny ways, I can be. And I hate that.

But it feels like it’s what I have to do right now to survive. Even if makes me feel awful.

I don’t know. Just something that’s been on my mind of late .

Lots of love,

dragonwritesthings

honeysuckle

you are imperfect. you are the wind in the leaves, you are the broken branches, and the buckling trees.

you are dollar store hoodies. you are old navy jeggings, and clashing teeth. embarrassing diary entries from 2015.

you are sappy fanfiction, password protected on your broken hp. and maybe it was cliched. maybe it was messy. but god knows, it made you so happy.

made you frenetic and crazy. made you shaking hands, made you quivering leaves. dancing around your bedroom to songs about turning sixteen.

because deep down you have always been the art of wandering through shittily paved suburban streets. of picking honeysuckles off the vine, and searching for something sweet.

and… i think that’s beautiful. in a way. think that maybe, if all i could leave behind were those simple moments of childlike joy… well, maybe that would be okay.

Shoutout Saturday (What I’ve been reading!)

Havenfall by Sara Holland

To be honest, I went into this book not expecting any more than your standard YA fantasy will deliver–your bookish, shy protagonist, love triangle, and, I don’t know, some sexy elves or something. But boy, did this book take me by surprise–in the best way possible.

It follows Madeline Morrow, whose family runs an inn in a small, remote town called Havenfall. Although this inn looks ordinary from the outside, it serves as a meeting ground between three magical realms every summer, for a peace summit. Maddie loves this inn, and fantasizes about growing old there, in this town she feels so safe in. Until everything goes wrong–and that dream comes true, in the worst way possible.

What’s so fascinating about this book is how well it twists the normal fantasy adventure format completely on its head. Maddie never actually enters any of the fantasy worlds she knows so well, and has no real desire to. Despite that, though, the lands of Fiordenkill, Byrn, and Solaria are still fully developed, and feel very rich and real.

It’s one of those worlds you just want to get lost in forever.

The Dragonet Prophecy By Tui T. Sutherland

If you’ve taken even the tiniest peek at my Wattpad page you know that I am a pretty big Wings of Fire fan. The series meant a lot to me growing up, and honestly got me through some really dark times.

So what is Wings of Fire, you ask? Well, it’s a middle grade series, set in the world of Pyrhhia–and what’s so interesting about it is that rather than being these cool side characters or plot devices, the dragons are the protagonists, with their own thoughts and hopes and dreams. The first arc centres around five young dragons who have spent their whole lives underneath a mountain, who have been supposedly prophesied to save the world, and somehow stop a war that’s been raging for almost twenty years, and is tearing apart the continent. The only issue is, they don’t really know how to do that.

The series follows them along their adventures, as they come to terms with their past, and find the courage to make their own futures.

Each book is told from a different dragon’s perspective so even if you don’t like one of the protagonists, there’s something for everyone.

This series has meant so much to me throughout the years. And I know it might seem a bit childish, but it makes me happy, and that’s all that matters.

There are a lot of books–which I’ve been currently doing a massive reread of. The Dragonet Prophecy is the first one, so make sure to start with it if you want to check it out.

Artemis By Andy Weir

In seventh grade, I read The Martian–aloud to my whole family. It was kind of our thing back then, back when I had enough time and energy to read aloud to my parents for hours on end. Anyhow, it was pretty much my favourite thing in the world at that age. I always meant to check this book out, but I just never got around to it until now, I guess.

Artemis is set in the city of–you guessed it, Artemis, a moon colony, described as being the home to wealthy tourists, eccentric billionaires, and the impoverished working class. Our protagonist, Jazz Bashara, falls into the latter category. She emigrated when she was six from Saudi Arabia to Artemis. After leaving home at around sixteen, she had to resort to smuggling, in addition to her day job to make ends meet. Through this, she ends up getting tangled up in this whole web of crime, and I won’t say any more than that because I don’t want to spoil you and also I suck at summaries, but basically, this book is my favourite genre: fuck capitalism in space.

I don’t know if this was intentional or not–but this book defines the Gen-Z/Millennial experience of growing up in a world set against you, and it’s not afraid to discuss the “us against them” mentality that experience tends to induce, and the moral grey areas financial desperation can push you to.

This book is heartfelt and smart and funny and true, and I would 100% recommend checking it out. 🙂

Wilder Girls By Rory Power

I picked up this book a little while ago at my local bookshop, and since than it’s become one of my favourite books of all time. I got home, and read the whole thing in one fell swoop–which I don’t do often, but it was so good I just couldn’t bear to stop reading.

Despite being set in the modern age, this book kinda has the same vibes as those “Victorian child school drama” books, as my friend likes to call them–you know the ones I’m talking about! Like, historical fiction books in which the main characters felt absolutely nothing beyond mild satisfaction or discomfort, and wore knee-length plaid skirts and Mary Janes. Except Wilder Girls is a lot more badass and feminist. (And psychological-thriller-y.)

Wilder Girls is the story of Raxter School for Girls, a boarding school located on a remote island. This school used to be your nothing more than your idyllic, mildly creepy boarding school, until the Tox hit;a disease turning the bodies of these girls into something strange, mutated, and not quite their own. (Some of them have lost eyes, some of them have grown tails, or gills, and many have died in the process.) They have been quarantined on Raxter Island, their only contact to the outside world the shipments of food that are dropped on the shore. (I know, it sounds a lot like the current COVID situation–and there are definitely similarities, but it’s not as on-the-nose as it sounds, and the Tox is definitely its own independently horrifying disease.)

Right away, what stood out to me was the beautiful writing style. It’s hard to describe–lavish, and yet sparse, emotional and distant. It’s one of my favourite books of 2020, and no matter who you are, or what your normal taste in books is, you need to check this out.


Okay! I think that about wraps it up. I really loved just geeking out about all these books, to be honest Shoutout Saturday posts are so fun to write and always cheer me up. I really hope you’ll check all of these books out, they just make me so happy.

Lots of love,

dragonwritesthings