Self-Care Sunday #22: My Favourite Motivational Reads for Autumn

Autumn is such a beautiful time of year. It’s one of my two favourite seasons of the year, and I’m quite positive that my birthday being in the middle of it has nothing to do with that, of course. Yet, even with how much of an aesthetic it is, even with all of the cosy and comforting aspects fit for an introverted gender non-conforming King, it can cause me to feel unmotivated and even quite gloomy.

When I was younger, I had assumed that I was supposed to feel apathetic and lazy during Autumn because that’s how it was almost always portrayed in the media, television and books alike, or by the people around me. Folks who are positively obsessed with Spring and Summer, which was about 98% of the people I knew, would share memories of feeling heavily depressed and miserable when the seasons shifted into the colder and rainier days and nights. You know what? I could never relate to that because I fucking love the cold (although I hate being cold, what a dichotomy).  

Jon Snow Hair

Me, right now with my frozen phalanges…

Rainy days are my second favourite thing in this whole fucking galaxy. Unless there are Xenomorphs out there, then I love those second best (cats are always number one). They are the picture-perfect atmosphere for drinking obnoxious amounts of hot chocolate. Cuddling with my cats on the floor on a pile of blankets and pillows. Eating all the pumpkin spice stuff (and I do mean all). Watching spoopy thrillers. Binging Harry Potter books and films. Plus, late night Scooby-Doo marathons. However, since liking the cold season made me an oddball, I kept those inclinations to myself. Now as an adult, I say, “Fuck it.”

Even with completely embracing my love of all things Autumn (and Winter), I can still feel a bit unmotivated. The truth is that my birthday and the holidays are not a great time of year for me. With my brother gone and so many atrocious events in my life happening during this time of year, my mental and physical energy constantly feels sapped. My spiritual energy wavers between the good and the bad, never truly finding a comfortable balance. Meditation doesn’t seem to help it out either. So, what can a person do to alleviate this significant sort of discomfort when it arrives, unannounced with all the luggage in the world? I do the one thing that Autumn is known for: I comfort it.

Being an otaku bookworm, there are a few things that I like to turn to as a means of distracting myself from my unwanted mental guests. Yet, only one or two of them actually work to alleviate the strong demoralisation that begins to plague me. Today, I wanted to share with you what those things are, specifically as it relates to books. I feel like everyone either has, or should have, an activity or place or thing that can provide them with a deep sense of nurturement when they find themselves loaded with the holiday blues. Reading is my number one pick, followed closely by watching films (which I’ll be sharing next week!).

I have three books that I constantly read every year, almost without fault, in order to remind myself that the seasons are just as fleeting as these feelings of inadequacy that I’m faced with. Three books filled with infallible characters and an abundance of emotions that I relate to intimately that help me to see the beautifully rain-draped rainbow (ssh, my imagination, my shiny, wet rainbows) at the end of the spoopy disorienting fog. I’m sure that some of you will recognise at least one of them because I gush about it every chance that I get. The other two aren’t ones that I talk about often because they tend to by own my secret safety novels. But, hey, if they can help others, then I gotta share, right?

thieves of bloodThieves of Blood by Tim Waggoner

Let’s go ahead and get the main gushy one out of the way, shall we? Thieves of Blood is a fantasy, sword and sorcery novel that is the first in a trilogy called The Blade of the Flame, and it’s set in the Eberron universe. It follows an assassin-turned-priest human and his half-orc mate as they travel the lands ridding the world of evil and helping the less fortunate. While visiting the priest’s hometown, something malevolent washes over the city and sends the duo on a quest to eradicate it. They make new mates (and a bit more for some) along the way.

This is not a perfect book. There are a couple of grammar errors in it and it’s quite standard as sword and sorcery novels go. Yet, I read and re-read this book (and most of the time the whole trilogy) every single year. Diran (the priest) and Ghaji (the half-orc) have such a wholesome friendship. They each have histories that they aren’t proud of but try to work through whenever it starts to create a wall in their ability to keep moving forward, and they do it together. They’re honest with one another and know each other so well that I find it to be immensely gratifying.

Friendships aside, Ghaji’s romantic relationship is also very cute and it was one of the first interracial relationships I had ever read in a book; one that wasn’t toxic or harmful. Being able to witness that diversity was also quite rewarding and made me feel very hopeful about whatever my future romantic endeavours may entail; that I didn’t need to stick to “my own kind” in order to find true happiness (a phrase my family likes to use).

Lastly, the book has everything you could want for a spoopy October read. There are monsters, which include spiritual entities, a long journey that is dark and a tad bit macabre, and vampires (monstrous beings that are vicious and violent, not romanticised fuckboys, gender non-specific).

Because of all these wonderful, positive things, Thieves of Blood is a must-read for me whenever the Autumn clock strikes loudly in the world.

resident-evil-umbrella-conspiracy-bookResident Evil: The Umbrella Conspiracy by S.D. Perry

Okay, I know the biggest question is, “How the hell can a Resident Evil book be inspiring C’mon Nyan.” Well, it inspires me to run the bloody hell away from anyone stumbling down the street that’s for sure. Oh, and spooky mansions that look… well, spooky.

Jesting aside, Resident Evil was my first survival horror games ever. I played the Nintendo GameCube version with The Ex Who Shall Not Be Named, and this was one of the few good things that came out of that relationship. He hated it, but for me, with this game, came an obsession unlike anything I’ve had before (excluding Sephiroth; I’ve been OBSESSED with the One-Winged King for ages). One day while browsing Barnes and Noble, I came across these books—all seven of them, miraculously—under the sci-fi section, my mouth fell open with astonishment. Naturally, I used my holiday money and got ‘em all.

I love to read Resident Evil: The Umbrella Conspiracy (the novelisation of the original Resident Evil game) because it’s so wonderfully nostalgic. It takes me back to that moment when we finished the game and my heart had swelled with a brand-new passion. It reminds me that I can be passionate about whatever the hell I choose to be passionate about. If other people don’t like it, or they believe it’s stupid, or anything else of the sort, that’s too bad for them. It’s not about them. It’s about me and what makes me feel joy. I’m not normally a zombie type of person, but for some reason this entire franchise is my fucking drug, so to speak; the good, the bad, and the in-between.

Reading RE: The Umbrella Conspiracy is wonderfully motivating to me as a gamer, a reader, and a content creator—both blogging and authorial. I don’t believe there is a greater sense of joy in life than the things that can make us feel alive and understand what it means to be wholeheartedly enthusiastic about a creative work of art. Video games are works of art in their own right. As are books and podcasts and illustrations and more. Reading this novel always, always, brings that sense of awareness for the arts and of the things that ignite such passion, back into my bones. How can that not be motivating and inspiring?

how to be a bawseHow to be a Bawse by Lilly Singh

Lilly Singh is a Canadian Indian YouTuber and now late-night television host who I first discovered randomly while paroozing YouTube videos a few years ago. Seeing an Indian female YouTuber with over 7 million subscribers was so phenomenal!! The more that I watched her videos, the more I became utterly infatuated with her. She brings out my Gayness more than anyone else (not including, Lucy Liu; Holy Hell, I love that woman). So, when Lilly released a book about conquering life, I picked up a copy.

How to be a Bawse is a wonderful book. Within the pages, she chats about battling depression, cultural and social expectations, all the mental blocks that we tend to build around ourselves that prevent us from reaching our full potentials, and overall just how to live and strive for the best existence that we can. My first time reading it, I cried immensely. My second time reading it, I cried again, but I also opened up my mind and began to take her advice to heart. I honestly don’t believe that I would be here, sitting at this fancy new laptop, talking about mental health and fighting for the things that I love and the changes I want to see in the world, if not for her book. It helped me evolve from someone who felt sorry for myself to someone who wanted to be a Bawse of my own damn narrative.

I don’t read this book every year, but I do read it during those moments of severe loss of self or complete lack of ambitiousness. Out of all the books I’ve listed today, this is the one that’s the closest to motivational in the most obvious sense of the word. It will make you laugh and cry and ponder the things you’ve done or what you’re feeling, as well as what you want your future to hold for you. Sometimes the truths are a bit too real and I need to step away, but once I’ve processed through it, I always appreciate it more and more each time.

If Autumn is a season that tends to make you feel down-in-the-dumps, then I recommend contemplating memories of the things, places, or people that always provide you with a great sense of warmth and nurturement; whatever shall assist you in gently and kindly getting back out of the hole. If anything, just remember that those feelings are as fleeting as the seasons around you. It may be visiting, but it’s a short visit that won’t last forever.

Thank you so much for visiting me today! I appreciate your support. I wish you a lovely day ahead.


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