Facing the Future Part 2

On a different, but related subject, today while dredging through my workload, my mind wandered to a variety of other tasks I would rather be doing instead of my daily grind. Things like cutting out patterns, playing video games, trying to catch up on recorded anime while crocheting, sleeping (which I actually did before noon; I took a half hour nap because I was so drained), etc.

As it was, I managed to push through my work so that I could spend the rest of my evening watching Netflix and cutting out a pattern. But these wandering snippets got me thinking on how much I dislike my work. Lately, it really does feel like work. Whereas other things like crocheting and gaming make me feel energized and alive. Even the prospect of cutting out a sewing pattern was more appealing than working.

Which got me thinking on how much better (or worse) life would be if I could actually spend my time making things for other people. I love crocheting blankets especially, but I can also make hats and I recently began making amigurumi, but as long as I have a pattern, I could make pretty much anything, because crocheting soothes my anxiety. And I might still be learning how to sew, but I think once I became skilled enough, I could probably do some cosplay stuff for other people beside myself. I think I would enjoy creating beautiful cosplay items.

This also comes on the back of someone close to me wanting to make and sell jewelry on Etsy, and this makes me want to do something similar because I have this love of creating things. I already work on my own schedule, but it would be nice to not have to be at a laptop all day since I also have problems with my eyes. Still, there’s no guarantee of success there either, especially not right now. Crocheting blankets is great and all, but blankets take time and on top of my other work, they take that much longer.

So while it was a nice thought to get me through my day, I’m not sure it’s quite right for me at this particular moment. Still, I’ll continue to make things as a hobby to soothe my anxious mind. Until next time…<3

The Power of Creation

As a writer, creating is something that’s ingrained in me. You might say it’s my lifeblood. I absolutely relish that feeling when something in my stories finally clicks and comes together in total perfection.

But lately, I’ve been feeling stifled in the writing area and every time I feel like writing, or have some urge of thoughts that need writing down, once I get to the page, they’re gone. Or as is in most cases, I can’t fully express whatever thoughts are going on in my head and I’m left unsatisfied.

Instead, as I’m sure most writers can appreciate, in the artful pursuit of mastering procrastination, I’ve been diving headfirst into my crochet projects, which give both a visible and tangible sense of creation. Take the abominable snow monster I was working on in the last post. I can pick him up, fill him with stuffing, touch and feel him…He’s a visible, tangible source of creation. The same goes for the blanket I’m working on, which has been set aside for the moment due to the Bumble. And just this morning, I had a burst of ideas jump out at me for future crochet projects, like an amigurumi Link and cosplay Silver/Gold Gauntlets from Legend of Zelda for my friend Jerad as a housewarming gift, and a My Little Pony Princess Cadence hat for my little niece.

Now I can’t be entirely sure why I’m getting all these creative bursts for yarn-related crafts; however since I’ve been crippled with what I can only describe as writer’s block since, well, January maybe, I’m guessing that’s what it is. There are still creative juices flowing. They’re just being focused through another outlet.

Writing isn’t as tangible, even if you’re writing in a notebook or printing off pages you typed up on the computer. You can’t see or touch or smell whatever it is you’re creating (unless you’re truly gifted and/or writing in a specific location that you’re basing your writing on, like a coffee shop, etc.). For me, anyway, there’s only the visualization process, where I can only see the characters and places I create in my mind’s eye. And lately, even that’s been getting more and more difficult for me to accomplish. It’s awful. It feels like an essential part of me is missing and I don’t know how to get it back. (Which is really resonating with me because I watched Moana last night before bed and it seems like that’s what happened to the “villain” of the story.)

Even now, in just trying to finish this post, my mind has gone completely blank. I hope this is not a sign of my gift with words is gone. I still have a book to finish writing/editing! But it’s more than just sitting down and getting it written, more than simply waiting for inspiration to strike (because let’s face it, sometimes inspiration strikes as rarely as lightning). It’s about being in the right mindset, being in the right mood, and being willing to shut everyone and everything out temporarily to get something, anything done on the page. And in such a fast-paced world, finding time to slow down is a challenge in itself.

What do you do to overcome writer’s block? Or overcome a challenge you’ve met in other ways, like a crafting project, a new workout routine, or even getting your dream job? How do you find the motivation to sit down (or stand up) and get whatever you’re working on finished? Please share your thoughts and comments below! Much love!! ❤ ❤

My First Sewing Project…Ugh

Part of this blog is about describing my own personal “reinvention” and part of reinventing myself is finding new things that I enjoy and not things I enjoyed because other people around me enjoyed them. One of the things I’ve wanted to learn how to do is sew and make my own costumes, because I’m kind of a tricky size and I don’t trust clothes made by other people because I don’t know how they’ll fit once I get them. So I wanted to learn to sew my own clothes just to be able to see how they fit as I’m making them, and then I can make my own adjustments. So the other day, I mentioned in a previous post about how I was playing with my “new” sewing machine, which was a rejected item for my grandma who decided she didn’t want it after the return date had passed. My mom and I spent about 45 minutes just learning where everything was on the machine, how to thread it, etc. and just how to change the style of stitches.

My mom had come to me a few days ago with a small, easy project for me to do as my first sewing project and as a birthday gift for my best friend’s daughter. So yesterday I had quite the adventure. First off, I decided to go to the mall to spend some time before popping in on this supposed journaling “class” my mom had told me about (which actually turned out not to be a class, but rather a hands-on demonstration to showcase fancy paper and glitter gel pens). Anyway, one of my stops in the mall was the Disney store to look around, maybe buy some birthday gifts for my adopted niece…The cell service in the store is spotty, so I had to keep walking around while I was texting my best friend asking different questions about what was available in the store. I probably spent half an hour in there just walking around kind of slowly, holding a bag of dolls and waiting for responses in the spotty service. Doing this made me feel a bit like a creeper, because I don’t have a kid that I could’ve brought in with me, like all the other parents were, and I was just taking laps around the store.

Eventually I made my purchases and was on my way to the store where my mom works to check out this “class” she had told me about. When I got there I was a little disappointed to see that the journaling stuff was just on a table at the front of the store with stickers, pens, and other random things. And then, my mom told me, “Why don’t you go find some fabric for your first sewing project?” Which is a little girl’s skirt for my best friend’s daughter. Ok, not a big deal. I wandered over to the kids fabric section and started looking around for stuff this girl likes, like My Little Pony and Shopkins. After a lap, I found the perfect fabric: Shopkins with rainbows, since her favorite color is all of them. I take it back to my mom and she tells me to go find a second piece…

By this point, I’m already tired from walking around the mall. My feet and back hurt. But I nod and smile and look around. The only problem is, even for a small store, there are TONS of fabric options and all I know is what fabrics not to match with the one I chose, like no fleece or flannel, etc. I spent the next 15 to 20 minutes walking around trying to find something to match, but I didn’t like anything I found. It was either too dark or too light, or just not right for the fabric. And after my experience in the Disney store, my anxiety was already pretty high. So now I’m even more overwhelmed and scared I’m not going to find a matching fabric, and my inner monologue was on a continuous loop of, “I just want to go home. Let’s go home.”

After 20 minutes, I go back to my mom with this look of disappointment on my face, desperately trying not to show her or anyone else how panicked and desperate I feel inside. She’s talking to this lady, another customer, who then suggested I take a strip of each color of the rainbow and sew them together. I really wanted to tell this person, “You know what, lady? I’ve played with my sewing machine for all of 20 minutes just learning my stitches, and 45 minutes just trying to learn the ins and outs of it, like threading the damn thing. This is too much work for me.” Of course, I’m cranky and tired and overwhelmed and I hold my tongue. When I tell my mom I couldn’t find anything and I don’t want to do this strip idea, she suggests this type of ribbon, which I had to ask the other manager, who I actually like and like to bother because it’s funny, where to find this ribbon. I finally find the ribbon and start looking through what’s there and I find the perfect one. It’s Shopkins themed and it fits with the fabric I picked out. It’s perfect.

I take both items back to my mom, having now been in the store 45 minutes just doing laps again, and she asks if I want her to get it cut later or if I want to get it cut now and pay for it myself. And now, I’m mentally exhausted. My back really hurts and I need to go home. So I tell her I’ll put it back behind the counter for her to do later, which I do, and then I went home and spent my day in the basement gaming just to calm myself down.

She comes home later that night and says she forgot the ribbon I had picked out. -_- I was very upset about that, even though I didn’t show it. After all that work and effort I had put into finding something for this project, she forgets one of the pieces. Needless to say, this was not a good start to what could potentially be a great new hobby and experiences like this make me not want to start anything new. One of the drawbacks of being a perfectionist is I don’t like to make mistakes, even when it’s something I’ve never done before. And I need things explained to me like you would a child, and in a visual way, since I’m a visual learner. In any case, having all of this information thrown at me and being surrounded by a thousand choices was way more overwhelming than I thought it would be and I’m almost not looking forward to making this skirt.

Too Little, Too Late/Making Plans

I know today isn’t my usual posting day, but I have a fun story to tell from yesterday. I was visiting my cousin-in-law and her new baby with my mom, and I was texting my friend Jared, who lives in the area, but was in school. We have this thing that if we’re passing through the area, we text each other something silly like, “Waving hi from ‘x-city’, etc.” and so I texted him saying I was in the area. Anyway, as I’m sitting on the couch cuddling with my baby cousin, I get a message out of the blue from Gia saying something along the lines of, “Hey, I feel like I haven’t heard from you in ages. Just wanted to check in and see what’s up with you.”

My first thought was, “Oh, NOW you decide to message me, after we haven’t spoken directly to each other since January, and even then, I left early on New Years Day because I didn’t want to be around you.” I think I may have actually rolled my eyes too. In any case, I responded so as not to appear rude, and come to find out, the only reason she messaged me was to see if we could get together for lunch at the end of the month because she’s coming home for a family vacation. So, in all honesty, it’s not that she’s making any special effort to come and see me just for the heck of it. She’s only asking to see me because she’ll be in the area anyway. At least Jared and I make more of an effort to see each other just because. I’m actually thinking of planning a trip up there again soonish. Clearly, I was putting more effort into the former friendship with Gia than she was.

So my plan is to be busy on the day she wants to get together. Or, maybe I’ll go and rub my latest adventure in her face, since she couldn’t be bothered to give me a solid yes or no answer on the matter.

Now, for the other, happier part of this post. Wednesday night, my mother made the mistake of taking me into the store she works for in order to find a color combination of fabric I liked for a shirt they were doing as a demo for one of their education classes. We ended up getting fabric for the shirt, as well as three dresses, the pattern for which is for a different class at the same store. After we got home, she had me help her cut out the pattern for both the shirt and the dress, which actually wasn’t too bad, despite me having to use the scissors I’ve had since kindergarten. They’re literally four inches long and terrible for pattern cutting because of their size.

Anyway, we got the patterns cut and while I was actually in the store, I was very excited about picking out fabrics and thread and zippers, all that stuff to make clothes, and when I was looking for the adult Belle dress pattern, I ended up finding four cosplay patterns I really wanted. And the best part? I got the four of them (plus one other one, our own copy of the shirt pattern) for less than the price of one because they were all on sale. So super win there! I also mentioned that I would really like to learn to make my own cosplays because I’m kind of a weird shape, and a little on the larger side, and I don’t feel comfortable ordering from someone else without knowing how it’ll fit when I get it, especially since most commissioned orders like that are expensive because they’re all handmade. At least if I make it myself, I can try it on as I’m making it to see how it fits.

The problem with that is I don’t actually know how to sew…But mom told me she would be glad to start teaching me as soon as next week, since she has three days off (as of right now) and we can do little projects during my afternoon work breaks, and possibly at night when she’s home. I also got an offer from one of my new friends, Lucy from a previous post, to get together with her for a sewing day and she would help teach me how to sew. She tried to set up yesterday as our day, but I was gone most of the morning. 😀

She did mention getting together on Sunday, as that’s her usual day off, but I already have plans for Sunday as well, so I’m thinking about doing it the following Sunday, since that next Monday I’ll be helping my parents clean our mountainous Christmas collection. And I really would like to sew. Our home economics class in high school basically taught us how to handle a baby and how to cook. I’ve only hand sewn two things in my whole life and only because they were on a seam so it looked pretty easy. And to my knowledge, the sweater I sewed is still intact. So now, I would like to learn what I would consider another essential life skill, even if it takes me a little while to get the hang of it. Plus then, I can make my own cosplays and feel the same source of pride I imagine other cosplayers have after spending hours and hours of time on their own outfits. I have a deep respect for those people, and being among other cosplayers puts me in my element. Being able to make my own outfits would just add to the circle of my reinvention.

Don’t Be Afraid

I had meant to write this yesterday but I was still just flat out exhausted. Grocery shopping was enough to wipe me out, if you can believe it. So anyway, the anime convention I mentioned in a couple previous posts was this past weekend. I only went on Saturday, February 18th. And guess what? I went to it not only by myself, but in cosplay as well! I went dressed as Tifa Lockhart from Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children. Needless to say, this was kind of a scary endeavor for me because not only was I by myself but also in costume as well so I had to be my own handler.

But I did it. I was exhausted and sore as f**k afterwards, but I did it.

So the main reason I wanted to go was because some of my absolute favorite voice actors were going to be there. Two of them ended up canceling because their flights were grounded due to weather. Not a big deal, that was out of their control. But the one I wanted to see most was still there and I was determined not to miss him.

It was a little scary just walking in the building and trying to navigate my way around a place I had never been before, but I basically knew I had to be on the third floor to register and the escalators were right by the entrance so I went up and followed some other cosplayers right to where I needed to be. Easy enough. After I registered, I kind of wandered a little and eventually back to the registration area because it was right next to the vendor hall and I needed to find something for one of the voice actors to sign. The vendor hall was amazing, like this overwhelming labyrinth of anime, gaming, and general nerdy merchandise, and I did several laps. I didn’t buy as much as I could have, and probably would have liked, but I think that was mostly my subconscious telling me, hey, you still have to carry all of this around all day and you don’t have a lot of room in your bag. So I only bought three shirts for myself and a notebook for my bestie, which I was going to use to have one of her favorite voice actors sign.

So after finding some stuff, I started wandering the halls, 1. To try and find my panel rooms and 2. To waste time while taking pictures of cosplayers I really liked. I ended up taking like 70-some pictures and a couple videos, and that wasn’t even everyone I had wanted. There were a couple really excellent cosplays I didn’t get pictures of because I was either waiting in line or too tired to get up and ask them. One of the honorable mentions was a Bob’s Burgers family minus Bob. So it was Linda, Tina, Gene, and Louise, and the great thing was the “kids” were actual kids that fit the general age range of the show’s characters. I’m actually sad I didn’t get their photo because they were awesome. Other honorable mentions included a Super Saiyan God Mode Goku doing the power up Goku challenge, which was awesome; Vegeta in his pink shirt, which read World’s Greatest Dad on it; Noctis from FFXV; a group doing Ignis, Prompto, and Gladio from FFXV; some awesome Edward Elric cosplays; two members of the Elite 4 from Kill la Kill (the girl and the guy who loses his eyes, I can’t remember their names); several furries in their elaborate (and likely hot as hell) animal costumes; and several Steven Universe ones including a really awesome Pearl, Peridot, and a couple that was Pearl and Greg…? Steven’s dad, I think Greg is his name.

Ok, so I decided to head to the first panel I wanted to go to, which didn’t start until 1 and it was only 12:30. I am SO glad I went to wait in line then. The room ended up being packed to the brim with no empty seats. The girl I sat next to, both in line and at the panel, was very friendly and we chatted a bit. (I actually chatted with several people during the course of the day which was huge because I’m not usually very chatty with people I don’t know.) So this Q&A session was about 90 minutes long. It started a little late because of how many people they had to squeeze into the room, but it’s all good. I was in a seat second from the aisle so I had a pretty great view, and the best part was, the actor, Vic Mignogna, wandered the room while he talked. So I got some great close up shots that were not zoomed in because he was literally within arm’s reach of me. I got some great video too.

The reason for the title of this post actually comes from something Vic said when asked what advice he would give his younger self. His answer was to not be afraid, of how things turn out, of what’s going to happen next, etc. Don’t be afraid. And this really resonated with me, especially on this particular day, because for a good month or so I was afraid I was going to be coming  to this convention alone, even after finding some new friends who were also supposed to go and couldn’t due to financial struggles. And one day I just decided, I am going to go regardless of who is coming with me. And I did, and I regret nothing. I basically spent the afternoon with Vic because right after his Q&A session was his autograph session and I spent another hour and a half in line there.

So after an hour and 45 minute wait I got to meet, hug, take a photo, and get autographs from Vic freaking Mignogna!!!! If I weren’t so tired I’d have been screaming and crying, but I was exhausted. I ate some candy to try and soothe my starving stomach and charged my phone for Matt Mercer later. Unfortunately I didn’t make it as long as I would have liked. I decided to skip Matt Mercer because I was flat out exhausted with a food headache. And having been up 12 hours by the time I left didn’t help either. In any case, not only did I get some good photos and video of Vic Mignogna; I got his autograph both for me and my bestie, and I went to this convention by myself, had a blast, and got to hug Vic as well. And to my friends who decided not to go, I say suck it. You can never take away from the amazing experiences I had today.

So even though I was exhausted the next day to the point where even grocery shopping was too much, and I’m still sore all over today, especially in my legs, my back, my feet, and my left shoulder, which was carrying my bag all day, I have no regrets about facing this convention alone. I am sad I didn’t have the energy or strength to make it to the autograph session for the actor my bestie wanted, but after seeing the group of people already waiting, some of whom had been waiting since 3:30 and his session wasn’t until 7:30, and being told they had only let in 60 people the previous day, AND after standing in line for an hour 40 minutes for Vic’s autograph, I was wiped out and didn’t think I could handle another long wait on my feet, which I had already been on for 8 hours almost straight, just to be turned away at the door if they capped off his session before I got there. So I told my bestie I would try again another time and hope he came to the area again soonish. She understood.

I also know how jealous she is when I go to cons like this, and I try to rein in my enthusiasm some so as not to make her feel bad. But I also know that she knows I would take her to one in a heartbeat. Because taking her with me means really, truly, genuinely going in a judgment-free environment. That’s what these cons are supposed to be anyway, but certain people, like Gia, I feel would judge me six ways to Sunday for wanting to go to certain panels, or for liking certain things from vendors. At least with Arabella, she would be geeking out as much, if not more, as I am, and she would likely drag me to the panels I was curious about because that’s how awesome she is. She doesn’t care what I like and will join me in it because she wants to. Because she’s interested too.

So I’m going to pass along the message that stuck with me most from Saturday’s adventures. Don’t be afraid. If there’s an event you want to go to, a new relationship you want to work, a promotion you’re working for, a career change, whatever it might be, don’t be afraid of the outcome. Don’t be afraid to make the leap and do whatever makes you happy. Whatever happens will happen, and it might be scary at first, but it will all be worth it in the end.

Monday Musings Part 2

So that first post was less composed and coherent than usual, but again, I’m stuck in a bit of a block so I’m basically just writing what comes to mind. But then my bestie reminded me I have a few things to be super excited about in the future.

While I’ll be sad to be leaving here on Wednesday, I’ll also be happy to be going home because this upcoming weekend is the anime convention I’ve been waiting for for a month. I’m only going to be going on Saturday for the day because the group I was going to go with is having financial troubles and are no longer going, but I can still have fun by myself.

Speaking of, I just spent the last half hour highlighting my must-see panels and events from the posted schedule. I’m going to have a busy busy day!

I’m super excited to meet several voice actors from the Fullmetal Alchemist series, as well as see and possibly join a Final Fantasy cosplay meet-up. I have not yet decided whether I’ll be wearing my Final Fantasy cosplay, but if I am, then I can join in with the other Final Fantasy cosplayers. Plus all the other fun panels and vendors I’ll get to see and enjoy. I’ll have to really manage my time on Saturday.

On another note, my friend Jared bought us tickets to the Distant Worlds 30th Anniversary concert in September, and not just any tickets. He got us VIP passes, which means the concert tickets, a reception after the concert, a meet and greet with Nobuo Uematsu, the composer of a majority of the Final Fantasy music, and Arnie Roth, who helps compose and conduct the orchestra for the Distant Worlds shows, AND an autograph/photo op with both of them. Needless to say, when I got the message this morning that we had VIP passes, I screamed like a little girl and did a dance. I don’t even care that Gia is coming along. I can ignore her for an opportunity like this. Besides, I decided this year would be about doing more things I enjoy, even if I have to do it by myself.

In addition, I was doing some research and discovered that another pretty big convention will be coming to my area the following weekend, which is making my September look pretty epic. Plus I believe another local convention is coming in November that I also intend to go to as well. So yeah, with all of these upcoming events, my year is starting to look pretty epic and that’s pretty awesome. Have a good night, everyone! I’m off to get some work done.

Group Meet-Up

I’m feeling ambitious tonight. Two posts in one night? Sure, why not!

This afternoon I had a somewhat planned, somewhat impromptu meetup with three people I’ve only just been introduced to. Like Maka from one of my earlier posts, the girl I met today, Lucy, was introduced to me by my mom, who had gotten me a name and a phone number which I then used to find her on social media. Again, I made the initial friend request, sent messages, and off I went on more new friend-making. I had wanted to do a face to face meeting with Lucy and the other people going to this anime convention I’ve been wanting to go to now for a month, just to see who they were and get a feel for the vibe they gave off and whether we would mesh as friends, so we discussed schedules and places, etc., and today ended up being the day.

I arrived at our meetup place first, and for a good ten minutes was silently panicking that no one would show up and that I left the house for no reason. Well, they did show up and the greeting I got from Lucy was by far the friendliest one I’ve ever gotten from someone I’ve never met. She came right up and hugged me! That just made my whole day better. She had also come with her fiance, Terry, who is one of the other people in this group and shortly afterwards the third person, Chloe showed up. And the energy they gave off was exhilarating. Lucy was just a bundle of energy, like a hummingbird on speed, and she was happy and chatty and it wasn’t exhausting. It was refreshing. She has so much enthusiasm for, well, everything we talked about. The flow of conversation moved as quickly as my brain likes to move, which is to say, we’ll start on one topic and move to another without needing anything to transition. (And if that didn’t make sense, let’s just say the conversation was very fluid and tangential.)

We discussed cosplays and times and hotels, and possibly doing another meeting yet this week. And there was talk about different anime and Netflix and fabric and all this LARP talk, which I didn’t understand entirely (I got the gist of it, but not being part of their specific group made it a little hard to follow), but listening to them talk about it felt like how I talk to my best friend about my book and its characters, and her book and her characters. I felt like I would fit right in with this group and came home bubbling with energy myself, which is pretty good after another crappy night’s sleep. I’m super excited to be going to this convention with them. Just have to buy tickets yet…

Who knew making friends could be so easy? I guess when you’re around the right people, it just happens naturally, and I feel like I’ve found more of the right people.