Thursday, April 17, 2014

Independent Womaannnn!

So I've been listening to "Unconditionally" by Katy Perry a lot lately. And at first when I heard it I was like, "Ugh gross, unconditional love, romance, booo! That's dumb!" because I'm still bitter and jaded from my now eight-month-old breakup. But then I started to sing it to myself, as a love song to myself, and I realized that from that perspective the song is fucking great. I think we should all sing epic ballads of love to ourselves on a regular basis. It's a really good feeling, windows rolled down, the sun coming out after the rain, driving along just belting out how much you love yourself. Because I will love myself fucking unconditionally.

In that vein, I guess, I've been weirdly surprised at how self-sufficient I can be, and how rewarding it is to be on my own. I was on my own in London, but I was still with Greg, and whenever anything difficult or scary happened he was only a Skype call away to comfort me. I even made him talk to me while I killed a spider once (London spiders, man!). And I was living off of student loans, the tiny amount of money I made from my part-time job, and semi-regular small gifts of money from my parents, so I was still relying on others to sustain myself in a lot of ways. I did complete the first draft of a whole novel, so yeah I'm really proud of myself for that achievement, but there's been something entirely new about how I've come to view life over the last several months.

When I got in a minor car accident recently and had to deal with two insurance companies, the DMV, and a mechanic, I figured it all out even though I'd never had to do anything like that before in my life. And then I spent all the of the insurance money on fixing the headlights on my car, buying new tires, and generally making it safer and more reliable. All on my own! I hate spending my money on practical things, as you know, but it felt really good to drive away from the mechanic with a happy car that day.

And then I went to Best Buy the next day and bought myself an Xbox 360. As I've already rambled about. But I felt so badass being able to say, hey, I earned this money and as an adult who buys tires for her car, I can also spend a few hundred dollars on a gaming console. And it's all mine! Nobody else's! When I move, I will still have this Xbox. And I'm really proud of it! I feel like such a dork, but I'm so proud of my Xbox!

Another thing that's really been striking me lately is the emotional support, or rather the lack thereof. I've always (for basically as long as I can remember) suffered from anxiety and depression. When I was in Salt Lake City I was significantly and more consistently depressed than I've been since high school. And so many times I'd just let that emptiness overwhelm me. I spent a lot of nights just wanting to fast forward the rest of the night, or the week, or the year, so I wouldn't have to experience it; I just wanted life to slide past me while I laid there. So many nights I would look in the mirror after a shower, hating my body, and lie on the bed staring at the ceiling for what was probably an unhealthy length of time to lie in silence, staring at the ceiling. Or I'd lie on the couch in the living room after another unfulfilling and unhappy day, listening to Patrick Wolf, and wish that somebody would rescue me from whatever it was that I thought was trapping me. And every time I did this, I was waiting for Greg. I knew, even if I wasn't entirely conscious of it, that when I lay there on the bed feeling sorry for myself, I just wanted Greg to come and say something to make it all better.

There's nothing Greg could have said that would have fixed it. I think I knew that, but was too afraid to take full and complete responsibility for my hopelessness. I thought that if Greg just told me I was beautiful, then I wouldn't feel so ugly. And I thought that if Greg just tried to do something fun with me, or make me laugh, then I wouldn't feel so alone. But he rarely if ever did, and even if he had done something every time, would it have mattered? I was unhappy, I was lonely, and I beat myself up constantly. Why couldn't I be happier? Why couldn't I like the way I looked? Why couldn't I make more of an effort? But I never did anything, not until the very end, and it didn't make a difference. I just let dark feelings wash over me until I was too exhausted to face them anymore, and went to sleep.

I know, this is the longest buildup ever, but I have a point. The other day, I was standing in my room after a shower, holding up my shirt to see my stomach in the mirror. I assume every other girl does this, because otherwise I'm a total freak, so please don't tell me if nobody does this. Anyway, I'd been eating badly and I was bloated, and I let it get to me. I started to worry that I'd never get any thinner than this, that I would just start gaining weight until I was chubby again (which I was, for like two years at the end of college), and that I'd grow old and die hating the way I looked. It sounds really shallow and ridiculous, and it was. It totally was. But instead of realizing that, I laid down on my bed, towel still wrapped around my wet hair, and stared up at the ceiling, trying not to cry. I laid there for maybe two minutes, and then it hit me: there was nobody to wait for. There was no Greg in the next room who might come and finally tell me I was beautiful no matter what. There was just me. Why was I lying there? What was the point? So I sat up, stood up, and carried on with my evening just fine.

That was huge for me. Realizing that I could be happy for me, because of me. Nobody is here to save me. Nobody is here to take away my sadness, or maintain my self-esteem, or keep me emotionally fulfilled. My friends are here, and so are my parents and so is Lyall, but they should not be relied upon to give me these things. Only I can accept and create those things in my life. When I realized that nobody was going to pull me out of my vortex of body shame but me, it was like a cloud lifted. I didn't have to feel that way. I could enjoy the rest of my evening. Because if I didn't, who else did I have to blame but myself? I find it easy to curl up in a little ball of despair and blame everyone in my life for not caring, or not making an effort to fix me. But it's absolutely pointless, and it isn't the greatest way to live, let me tell you. I'd rather be grateful to myself for being happy, for being fulfilled, and for taking responsibility for my state of mind.

Today I was playing BioShock Infinite (again, yes, I know), and remembered the final battle before the game ends. When I was playing through the first time, I could not beat that fight. I kept dying, and dying, and I hated it. I get really angry at video games when they're too hard for me. Like, really angry. I was screaming at the TV, trying to string together as many curse words as possible, still not getting across how pissed off I was. Nearly in tears of frustration, I tweeted angrily that I would do anything for Greg to be there to beat the fight for me. He used to always take over for me when I got to a difficult spot in a video game, or he'd sit by me and coach me through it. He's a natural gamer, which is a weird natural trait to have, but he really is. So I always relied on him for getting through the tough parts. But there I was, unable to beat this goddamn fight that I swore was glitching out on me, feeling like I'd never beat the game because I'd never win the fight with nobody there to do it for me.

After sitting for a few minutes, wanting really badly to give up, I thought, well fuck. Greg isn't here to do this for me. I don't know anyone else who could do it for me. And no matter how glitchy the fight seems, there's obviously got to be a way to beat it. So I started again, with a better idea of what I had to do to win after trying to beat it like fifty billion times. And I beat it. Beat that damn fight! All by myself! And then I got to finish the most beautiful, sad, thought-provoking game I'd ever played, with only Lyall by my side. It was so fucking satisfying. I did it on my own. I bought an Xbox, played a new game, and beat the game with no help from anybody.

It may sound small, but it made me feel so completely awesome. I'm an independent woman! I can beat my own video games! Yeah, it's super dorky. But it's important to me. Enjoying that video game on my own terms, in my own way, was such a wonderful experience. And it reminded me that I can do so many other things on my own, without Greg or anyone else. I can support myself and Lyall comfortably, I can buy tires for my car, I can beat video games, I can join a writing group and attend every week, I can embark on a road trip on short notice, I can go clothes shopping every day for a week without fear of judgement, and I can do whatever I want because I am in charge of my own existence. And that is the best fucking feeling in the world.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Back in the Game

I spent the great majority of today gaming. It was a day very well spent. On Thursday evening I finally bit the bullet and bought myself an Xbox 360. My old one belonged to both Greg and me, and he ended up keeping it, so I've been without my beloved games for almost eight months. I'm not such an avid gamer that a console or a gaming PC are absolutely necessary for me. A laptop, internet, a smartphone, and a Spotify account are pretty much my only true necessities. But lately the ache for video games has grown particularly strong, and since I'd been devoting all of my daydreams for several weeks to fantasizing about Dragon Age and WoW and even Yoshi's Story from back in the day, and since I had the money, I decided to finally just do it. 

I'm so glad I did. I set it all up last night. I had to buy an HDMI cord because of course it didn't come included with the console, an extension cord and a power strip, and a set of headphones because I couldn't find the right adapter to connect my speakers to my Xbox (which I've since had to order from Amazon, wah, get here already tiny adapter). Instead of a TV I'm using my PC monitor, which had until yesterday been in its box in my room, taking up space. It's only 24", but I set it up so that it's basically right in my face so I can pretend it's bigger. It has an HDMI connection, though, which is ace, and the game looks gorgeous on it. I woke up this morning, took Lyall on a little walk, made coffee, and spent the next eight hours happily in another world.

Rambling on about video games in my blog isn't new for me. Sorry to yammer at you, again, about how great I think gaming is. Probably the best way to put it, at least in terms of why I personally love video games so much, is something I tweeted the other night: "I feel like playing a video game can be one of the most intimate & engrossing ways to experience a story. Much more than film or TV." (Hahaha yeahhh I just quoted myself shut up.)

I mean, it depends on which game you're playing, obviously, but to me the best thing about gaming is the combination of the fun of playing a game, while being told a story. Sometimes you decide how the protagonist reacts to things, and sometimes you decide how the story unfolds. Even when you're just along for the ride, it's just such a rich way to tell a story. In my opinion it's second only to reading a book in terms of experiencing a narrative in an emotionally fulfilling way. And that's only because with books, your imagination does all the work; an imagination doesn't have limits. But there are often times when a video game achieves what a book never could, and that's the level of control a gamer has over the story. There are some things that the written word could never get across properly, that only a visual medium can. It's just... I could go on and on about why video games are so important to me, and so important to the world of art. Nobody judges a person for spending most of their free time reading a book, but as soon as you tell somebody you've spent all weekend playing a video game, it's a different reaction. Video games are art. And they're important.

The game I'm playing right now is BioShock Infinite. It's... well, let's just say I'm super upset that nobody had told me about this game until very recently. I had heard of it, obviously, and I think I knew it had a vaguely steampunk feel to it, but for some reason I'd never looked into it further. But one of my coworkers was recently telling me about it, and when I saw it at Target in a bundle with Skyrim for only $30, I didn't have a choice. I had planned to play Skyrim first on my new Xbox, but since it's so open-ended and can essentially go on forever, I decided to start with BioShock.

Can I just say. Everybody who has played this game and didn't tell me: whyyyyyy? Seriously, why? I was hooked at the main menu. And about five minutes later when Booker ascends from the lighthouse up into the floating city of Columbia, I fell in love. I don't even like FPS games, and maybe that's why I never went for BioShock before, but I am so engrossed. It's strange, sweet, and unsettling, and really really good. I've been told it just gets weirder, which is perfect. I wish I could think of a better way to describe it. Look it up if you've never played it before and you're a gamer. Don't be like me and miss out for a year.

So yes, this was a Saturday well spent. Really well spent. And that $249 I dropped on the Xbox? Best $249 I've ever spent. (If you don't count my iPhone 5. Or the new tires on my car. Or the numerous plane tickets I've bought over the years. Whatever, you get the point.)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Emerald City Comicon

So if you follow me on any social media you'll know that Megan and I went to Emerald City Comicon yesterday! And if you know me at all you'll know that pretty much my favorite thing to do in life is go to cons. My very first one was PAX Prime 2010, and ever since then I've got the bug. I love being around huge crowds of like-minded people; it's one of life's most gratifying experiences. Renaissance faires are awesome for the same reasons, but cons... they're better.

Megan had never been to a comic con before, and it was so fun going along with her to her first! She wore a pair of amazing TARDIS leggings and I wore my doge Game of Thrones mashup t-shirt, and we wandered around the expo hall, saw some panels, and people-watched. People-watching is one of my favorite things at cons. Our favorite cosplay that we saw was Steampunk Belle, but sadly we didn't get a photo, and I can't find any anywhere! Someone help, if you see it on the interwebs, send me a link! I did get a photo of an awesome Loki cosplay, though, and there was a TARDIS so obviously we had to wait in line to get a photo with it. 

The highlight of the convention for me, by far, was getting to meet one of my favorite artists, Jakface. I had no idea she was gonna be there (because I am oblivious to everything around me most of the time), so stumbling upon her booth in Artist Alley was the BEST. I bought her Dragon Age Man-Calendar (which is exactly what it sounds like) years ago, and I'm obsessed with her art and a total fangirl. I got so flustered meeting her, but she was super sweet and friendly and I was totally star struck. I probably would have spent all of my money just on her art if I had no self-control. I ended up buying her GAMEboys calendar (which you can buy here), and this print of Alistair from Dragon Age, which combines Art Nouveau and my favorite video game boyfriend, so obviously it's my new favorite thing of all time!! I'm gonna get it properly framed and everything!

Other highlights included: Karl Urban's panel, ugh so hot; a dude wearing the same shirt as me and telling me I wore it better; seeing Noelle Stevenson and being too terrified to approach her booth because she is so awesome; shirtless buff dude in Dragon Ball Z cosplay; everyone cosplaying as any character from Assassin's Creed; Newt/Hermann cosplayers; running into two friends by chance on the expo hall; and the poop emoji pillow, WHICH I DID NOT BUY, whyyyy?

I'm a little bit disappointed that we didn't plan on attending the con for all three days, but I feel like I would have been way more into it than Megan, and she would have grown to hate me by the end. Next year, though, all three days for sure! And I still have Denver Comic Con coming up in June, which I am so excited about I can't even!

And now have a pic of Megan and me at Ramen Man, where we went for dinner with her sisters after the convention. It was a fun-, geek-, and food-filled day of awesome! And the time I got to spend with two of her sisters (which wasn't very much, unfortunately) was really great. 

And that is it from me, because I get to wake up at 4:30 tomorrow morning and go to work after an entire weekend of not catching up on any sleep, oh boy! That's gonna be fun. And by fun I mean absolute torture. Totally worth it though. Totally worth it.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sunny Days

Lyall always looks like a total weirdo in photos. He looks extra freaky in this one. Doesn't he look like some kind of alien pig? Look at his dead eyes.

As you can see from the sunbeam, it's actually not raining here. Which is... weird, considering it's March. And this is Portland. Not that I'm complaining! Oh wait yes I am hahaha you thought I liked the sun suddenly. No. I got really excited after work and was like "I'm gonna walk around in the sun and go shopping real fast for some stuff!!!" but after about 10 minutes I was hot and sweaty and regretting it. I need to remember that Meg's keys to surviving in warm, sunny weather are as follows: 
  1. Don't move. No seriously, don't go anywhere. Don't get off your ass. Just sit there in the shade and wait to move until the sun sets or else you will regret it. You will become a sweating, bright red, angry mass of misery. You will regret it.
  2. Sip a cold beverage. Do not stop sipping said beverage. Never stop with the cold beverages; just keep 'em coming continuously until the sun sets.
  3. Wear a wide-brimmed hat. A very wide-brimmed hat. With sunglasses. Keep as much sunlight at bay as is humanly possible, and you might get through this without wanting to kill yourself.
  4. SUNDRESSES. Do not trick yourself into wearing anything outside but a sundress. If you wear shorts, or pants, or a maxi dress, or tights, or even a shirt with a skirt a lot of the time, you will sweat a lot and regret it
  5. For the love of god, sunblock.
I feel that these are important rules to live by for any pale, blue-eyed, sun-hating girl. I don't know what you'd do if you were a boy. What do men do without sundresses? Whatever it is, it must result in some sweaty man-parts. I do not envy that.

Since the Volvo place insists on taking forever to fix my car's broken headlight (full disclosure: it's not technically their fault it's taking so long), I've had to walk to Fred Meyer twice in so many days. Which isn't actually that bad, because my neighborhood is gorgeous, and Fred Meyer isn't very far away. I've been bringing this badass Downton Abbey shopping bag my dad sent me a while back, and buying just enough food for the next few days: a few apples and bananas, baby carrots, coffee grounds, some chicken sausage. I feel very European. But let's be real, when I was forced to buy tiny amounts of food in London for a year, taking the stupid bus to and from the shop, walking and sweating and walking and sweating all the time, it fucking sucked. I'm very thankful for my car (THAT I CAN'T USE) and for vehicle-friendly 'Murica. That said, Portland is also very accessible via public transit, and no matter where you live, you're probably a five-minute walk from a coffee shop and a bar, or a fun combo of both. Add strip clubs to the mix as desired.

And now it's time to sleep, even though I am not tired because I drank a Coke Zero too close to bedtime. I'm like a child. Somebody please restrict my caffeine intake. Help me.

P.S. Should I get an asymmetrical pixie haircut?? I am getting tired of the bob, I think, and I need others to tell me whether this is a good idea or not. I'm gonna give it some time though because, as a woman, cutting my hair short is one of the most horrific things I could possibly do to myself and therefore requires much introspection and forethought before any decisions are made. I will keep you updated. In the interim, yes? No? Thoughts.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sportsball Bracketing

Super upset that I've not gotten every single game correct in my March Madness bracket so far!! Or whatever! I don't even know the rules of basketball but I am SO READY to win some cash money! Honestly I would be totally okay just winning and not getting a prize; I am that into winning at things. I'm a terrible loser, too. It's great, and by great I mean horrible. If you beat me at something it sucks because I give you abuse, and if I beat you at something it sucks even more because I won and I give you abuse. I should probably just not be allowed to be in competitive situations. One time in high school my friends got super mad at me because I was apparently "gloating" about my good score on the American Revolution quiz in AP US History, as I recall. I was just telling everyone how smart I was okay! Repeatedly! That's not gloating. I will, however, gloat if I win this March Madness thing. Even though I'm pretty sure I won't.

In other news, I really hate not having my car readily available to me. It's at the shop getting a bunch of shit done to it I guess, and the guy had to order tires for it so I'm not sure when the hell I get it back? So annoying. I need to buy dog poop bags and more bananas and apples but I'm stuck at home because who wants to take the bus or walk anywhere? Not me.

Spending my money on practical things really irks me, on a deep and fundamental level, but it's really great that I can afford to buy new tires for my car and make my vehicle safe to drive in. I feel so adult and responsible! I also put clean sheets on my bed today, which I don't do enough, but I do it way more than I ever did in college or high school or even a couple of years ago. Which was never. I never washed my sheets. My mom did it for me until I moved out, and then it was like... I just never thought to wash them? Horrifying! Clean sheets feel super nice, though. I wash them semi-regularly now. I guess I'm slowly becoming a human who can actually do things and pick up after herself. *pats self on the back a whole bunch*

Getting reeeaaalllly excited about the new season of Game of Thrones! Anyone else? You know you are! I'm pretty sure it's the main reason I can get up day after day -- the knowledge that Game of Thrones exists and is going to be on TV again. HAHAHA just kidding that would be really depressing and weird if that was the main reason I kept living! Ha. What a loser that would make me.

Sportsball! I wish I wasn't too terrified of bros to go into a sports bar, because I'd totally go into a sports bar to watch sportsball. I wanna WIN!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Tiny Rut

I just had a fleeting moment of, "Oh, I should post pics from my trip to Northern Ireland on St. Patrick's Day because Ireland!" but then realized I'd have to dig out my external hard drive and then pick which photos to use and edit them and all of that business, and promptly said fuck it, so here's an old Instagram of my car.

Okay wow so I started writing this post about half an hour ago, but got super engrossed in this tumblr devoted to man-buns. Which is, obviously, my new fave place on the internet. Goddamn, why don't more dudes grow out their luscious man-hair and turn it into a man-bun? Sure, some girls think it's gross. You don't wanna date those girls. I feel like if I were a man, I would totally go the bun route. It's obviously the hottest route in which to go. Okay I'm just typing in circles here about man-buns. Moving on.

I've finished the first draft of the short story I'm working on. I think I'm going to cut most of it, but I have a satisfactory "climax" if you will (shut up, pervs) that ties up the emo nonsense that is my story. I've never really written nonfiction like this, so it's... weird. And by "nonfiction" I mean autobiographical. It feels kinda like I'm jerking myself off a lot of the time, but it's also very cathartic. And hard to write without making myself sound just as neurotic, over-emotional, and socially awkward as I actually am. I have to maintain some air of competence here.

Anyway. I'm feeling the social life overload. For an introvert I've not devoted very much time to hermit activities lately, and it's starting to wear on me. I could sit in my room and watch House of Cards for the next week straight, not talk to a single soul outside of the internet, and be perfectly content. ...Of course I say that, but I'm sure after two days I'd start to go stir crazy.

In other news, I'm thinking about going to have my tarot read again, or to see a counselor for a few sessions, or both. I feel like I'm emerging from this really confusing, grief-stricken period of my life, and I'm not sure where to catch my footing. I'm pretty proud of myself for joining the writing group, actually making friends at work, and maintaining some sort of social life without going completely insane, but I feel like I'm in a tiny rut and I need a boost out. Or maybe it's just the long winter catching up with me.

Either way, I'll sort it out. And now you should all probably listen to this song, because it's beautiful:

Sunday, March 9, 2014


I don't know what my deal is, but I've been feeling super out of sorts for the past several days. Going to see Her definitely didn't help. I loved it, but it brought me to a dark post-breakup place. I was identifying with every depressing moment, and there were so many breakups in that movie, way too many, and too many "we grew up together but now we need to go our separate ways but I'll always care about you no matter what you do in life, goodbye" moments (okay maybe just one) where I was just like, FUCK, this is too close to home.

Lately I've been wishing I'd had more resolution with Greg. The way we left it felt so stupid and incomplete. Greg reacted very differently than what I'd expected, or what I suspect he expected, when we broke up. I wanted to be able to speak to each other like adults, and say goodbye, and say thank you for being with me for almost a fifth of my life, and hug, and recognize that this was something we both knew had to happen. I mean he'd practically tried to kick me out the door only weeks before. But he didn't allow any of that. He closed himself off. When I tried to say goodbye, he said, "Enjoy." That was it. After five and a half years, that was his goodbye. And I feel like an idiot for saying this, considering it's been over six months, but it still hurts. A lot. I wish we'd said goodbye, at least.

Maybe one day I'll be okay enough to actually call him and tell him what I wanted to tell him six months ago. Or maybe one day I'll just stop caring and let it go.

I'm just tired of being sad as fuck. I have to remind myself sometimes that I don't feel this way because my life is falling apart, or because everything around me has become inherently upsetting; I feel this way because my brain chemistry is kinda fucked up. Which is okay, but also really annoying. But whatever, I'm used to it. In a few days it'll pass, if not sooner, and life will be a giant pile of awesome again. Until then, I'm staying in bed and watching House of Cards.