Lost and Found

Now that things have calmed down a little and I’m more level headed, allow me to give you a little context for my recent explosion.

Monday morning I was sent a group text by Gia about getting together for a summer hangout time, since all four of us were home/in the state (we have a mutual friend who’s going to school in Arizona right now). Along the way of deciding dates and such, I made a simple, polite request for Gia to clean her apartment because of my health issues (allergies, mostly). I even included a remark that my allergies had been getting worse and that anything from animal hair to dust to pollen was aggravating my sinuses. And I knew firsthand that I wouldn’t enjoy myself if I had to spend most of the weekend with an ice pack to my face. Here’s where the first of the sparks fly.

Gia’s first response was half-heartedly sincere, but she had to point out that she ALWAYS tries to clean her place before guests arrive. Note the key word “tries.” Then she added that she’ll shave her cats and hire a maid service, and not to be surprised if her cats magically had all their hair back come the weekend we had settled on. If you can’t tell, this was heavy sarcasm. First off, the fact that she had to point out that she always tries to clean her place annoyed me because it’s a lie, unless cleaning house doesn’t include dishes or taking out the recyclables. Second, I can take a joke, but the sarcasm regarding her cats and a maid service was not only unnecessary but also showed me her true unwillingness to take my request seriously. For those of you who’ve had sinus infections or have allergies and no medication seems to offer relief, it’s no fun having your face hurt and not being able to do anything about it.

In any case, I ignored the sarcasm because I know that’s how her personality is. Next came the discussion of who would pick up who, what routes to take, etc. and after much discussion and a period of silence, I decided to make an executive decision: to have Jerad pick me up late afternoon that Friday so we could go up to Gia’s, and Gia could pick up our other friend around the time he was done with work. Well, earlier Gia had mentioned that she could get off work at noon and in my executive decision, I mentioned that she could use that extra time to clean her apartment before getting our other friend, not in a mean sort of way. I just know she’s busy with a full time job and she’s very tired after work and I understand that sometimes you just don’t have the energy to do something. Plus I’ve heard her mention to me several times she “ran out of time” or “didn’t have the energy” to clean the place up. So my suggestion to use the afternoon to clean was meant to be helpful, not hurtful.

Gia takes it as hurtful and responds with a photo that said, “Bitch, don’t tell me what to do,” and that I am not ok with her place and if the other two can think of a better place to meet, that would be great. To which I responded that I just wouldn’t come if she was going to be that way about a simple request. It should also be noted that I’ve been having an anxiety attack for about an hour and both of my parents have seen it and been trying to council and console me.

The next day Gia sends a message to all of us to “disregard and cancel all plans made yesterday. I forgot I had babysitting duties that weekend.” My first thought: Are you fucking kidding me? You triggered an anxiety attack on me for nothing?! And of course, this is where I snapped and deleted her from all my emails, my phone, and my social media. And then the narcissistic manipulator comes out and sends me a long text the following morning with this great sob story about how I’m immature for taking her off my social media and that I’m not the only one with medical issues; how this could’ve been resolved by a little self awareness and we could’ve talked it out like mature adults. But the way she wrote it makes it sound like she’s the victim, the only one with hurt feelings, and she pulled Jerad into it by saying something along the lines of having to mention her own health issues because “a little birdy whom apparently speaks for you had to lecture me since you apparently do not comprehend sarcasm anymore.”

I mentioned before that I recognized her sarcasm and ignored it. However, the fact that she blatantly attacked Jerad for no reason really irritated me. First of all I’m sure he wasn’t actually lecturing her. He’s too nice a guy for that. And second, I didn’t ask him to speak for me. He did that all himself, for which I thanked him in genuine appreciation for because sometimes it’s hard for me to speak at all, especially during an attack. I’m glad he wanted to be an advocate for me.

Since receiving this long text, I have not responded or risen to meet her challenge. I’ve had several long internal thoughts of writing a revenge letter or something about karma being a bitch, but up until now, I haven’t written anything down. It should also be noted that she pulled this same kind of thing when we were living together and having all the tension. She messaged me a big long spiel about everything we were both feeling at the time and when I responded via the messenger that I felt the exact same way, her retort, in all caps, was “And yet no words!” I don’t remember what else she put with that but I was hysterical and bawling my eyes out because I was desperate to end the fighting and once I calmed myself down enough, I managed to go out to the living room by her and apologize, even though I wasn’t the only one at fault. (I never got an apology from her.)

So I know where this trap goes and although I may have lost a 10 year friendship, I’ve found something more important. Confidence, self respect, and freedom from my tormentor. Being that this year is meant to be about taking care of myself and finding new things about myself, letting go of this abusive friendship is refreshing and freeing, and I feel so much lighter now that it’s finally over. It might’ve been messy and volatile, but it’s done and over with, and that’s what matters. No one has the right to bring you down and make you out to be the bad guy when you’ve done nothing wrong, though I will admit I wasn’t perfect either and things could’ve been handled better. But your reaction to a situation shows what kind of person you are, and if you need to walk away before things explode, to avoid getting burned, then don’t be afraid to walk away. Some things just aren’t worth it.

The Last Straw

That’s it. I’ve had it. I’m done.

I’m cutting all ties with Gia for good. I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life. I don’t need to be scolded for suggesting she clean her apartment twice in the same conversation (How dare I!) and be lied to about her ALWAYS having her apartment clean when guests arrive. Bull. Shit.

I deleted her contact info from all my emails and my phone, and unfriended her on Facebook. I’m done. Triggering a second anxiety attack over something so stupid is two attacks too many.

pocahontas-bye-felicia

Pre-Midlife Crisis

The reason this is titled the way it is, is because I’m not old enough to be having a midlife crisis, but I imagine this is what it would feel like anyway. Earlier I was trying to take a nap and after half an hour of limited shut-eye, I had a disturbing revelation, though not one I haven’t thought about before, but this time it felt as honest and true as anything I’ve ever felt.

I don’t want to be at my current job for the rest of my life.

If the last year and a half have taught me anything, it’s that I love editing and correcting people’s grammar, but it’s been nothing but a rollercoaster, and not the fun kind either. This has been the kind of rollercoaster that jerks you around and makes you want to vomit at every turn. Not for the first time, I thought, god, I’m bored with this tediousness. The same crap day in and day out, never knowing what to expect in the morning work-wise, and not getting paid enough for some of the bullshit I have to deal with. It’s exhausting. I just don’t feel like I can do it anymore.

More of the people I like working with have already left or are leaving soon and I’m down to maybe three people I actually like to work with because we communicate better than the new people. We’re being sent regular emails about how to improve our “efficiency” or new changes to something, even though we just changed it a few weeks ago. Most recently, we got a harsh email about a spelling mistake in one of our forms, and what’s ironic about that, the person who sent it, as the head of our department, made an error in the first sentence of his email. Ridiculous, right?

I’m not sure how much longer I can suck it up and deal with this nonsense. But I also don’t want to lose my only source of income and I don’t know how my family will take the news. I’m not even sure they will support me if I decide to leave.

Weight Loss: The Never-ending Struggle

Let’s face it: not everyone is happy with their bodies, and unless you were gifted with the metabolism of a five year old and can get away with eating whatever you want, whenever you want, and as much as you want, you may have dealt with, or know someone who’s dealt with, the struggle of weight loss at least once. I’ll admit I’ve been struggling with it my whole life and it never really seemed to bother me until middle school. And then in college it really started to bother me, because I spent a lot of time alone for six or more months and did a lot of stress eating. None of my clothes fit and I had to keep going up in sizes. I wasn’t really happy with anything about myself.

Then halfway through my sophomore year of college, my doctor at the time told me to lose 50 pounds in 6 months. I was like, yeah right, lady. First off, since I was literally fighting genetics, it was going to be more of a cliff scaling battle for me than a gentle, sloping, uphill battle. Second, the most exercise I did on a daily basis was walking from one end of campus to the other. But I decided I at least needed to try. So I started eating a little healthier (or as healthy as school food goes) and I tried taking the stairs more often, which in my case, meant walking up five flights and taking the elevator the rest of the way since I lived on the tenth floor. And I talked my roommate (Gia) into going to our health and wellness center for weekly Zumba classes. Which turned out to be a lot of fun. I absolutely loved them. By the end of the semester, I had managed to lose 20 pounds and I was super proud of myself for that. I tried to keep it up the rest of my college life.

Fast forward to after graduation. Gia and I found an apartment together and because of where she worked, she discovered this smoothie place which was supposed to be really good for you and the smoothies were like meal replacements. I had a good job at the time and decided to try this fad diet. Well, as it turns out, it was just a fad. I managed to get back down to my high school weight and was wearing clothing sizes I had never worn before. But after I lost my job and could no longer afford to pay for the stuff, I gained back everything I had lost, plus a few extra pounds, just from eating real food instead of drinking two of my meals. It was awful. And then on top of that, the falling out had begun and I was stressed out and stress eating again, even though I was still trying to work out in my room by doing stuff like pushups, sit-ups, etc. Now, since living at home, I’ve managed to keep a (semi) regular routine, though it varies week to week and I’ve found two things I never thought I would enjoy as much as I do. Yoga and Pilates. Yoga is more for pain relief and stretching tight muscles and Pilates is for toning, weight loss, and general overall fitness.

That being said, over the past five months I’ve noticed a trend. I’m neither losing nor gaining weight. I’m maintaining it. Which, honestly, after 10+ years is kind of a relief. Am I happy with my current weight? No. But I’m stronger than I was then, I’m more flexible than I’ve ever been, and I’ve also been able to step back a little and find what makes me beautiful in my own eyes, which I’ve never been able to do until the past few years. I’m chubby. My best friend will say I’m not but I am. I like to think I’m cuddly and plush, and besides my sinus problems, which were gifted to me by my mother, I’m the healthiest one in my family, aside from being overweight. But I keep pushing myself to try and be better. Most days, that means just finding the energy or the will to work out, and most times I feel better afterwards, albeit sore and sweaty. And I think what’s hardest about learning to love yourself, is seeing what’s beyond the mirror and into what makes you special. Your shape and weight do not define who you are. I’m overweight and I love to work out and eat healthy foods like salads and fruits and veggies, but I also like my junk food. I’m addicted to Pringles and chocolate. But my weight isn’t going to define me. It’ll just push me to be stronger and to do better for myself, because I’m the only one who can. Fad diets are only good if you stay on them. And only you can decide what makes you happy, if you’re willing to look past the mirror and see the beauty within. Much love and respect ❤

Undeniable Proof…Plus an Announcement!

Remember a few posts back when I mentioned I got an unexpected text from Gia wanting to get together and hang out when she came home next? Well, turns out she didn’t want it all that badly because the day she came home has come and gone, and I didn’t get a single text from her. The only reason I know that is because I glanced at her Facebook page, having hidden her from my news feed, and she had already left this morning on her family vacation.

Looks like I was right to abandon this sinking ship.

This little event has given me undeniable proof that I had clearly been putting more effort into this friendship than she was and that the only time she wanted to, or claimed she wanted to see me was when she was already in the area for something else. I mean I get it, it’s a long drive from here to there, but that’s beside the point. Jared is still a ways away and he made time to come visit me just because he wanted to. This friendship street works two ways.

Needless to say, I’m glad I didn’t get a text. I went on an adventure this morning just to avoid her because I couldn’t remember what day she said she was coming home and yes, I may have been expecting a text, but I was also planning on ways to make myself unavailable. Clearly this friendship has run its course.

**

Now for the announcement: As I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed, I stumbled upon a post by one of the literary agents I follow and it said she was looking for interns to commit 10 hours a month for six months, ideally. I read through the specifications of what she was looking for and after discussing it with my best friend, I decided to make the leap and apply for it. Now I know interns don’t get paid usually, but I see this as an opportunity to learn more about the publishing world and also potentially get hands-on coaching lessons from the agent to better my writing. I’m both nervous and excited, because I don’t know what the future holds for me with regards to this internship, but I’m hoping and praying I get it. I’m hoping it’s a stepping stone to the career I’ve always wanted.

Hoarding

**TRIGGER WARNING; Please read with cautious.**

This is kind of an awkward topic for me to discuss, not because I myself am a hoarder, though I will admit I may have some hoarding tendencies. I mean, I have an entire dresser full of random miscellany that some people would probably ask, “Why are you keeping this stuff?” Some of it is books I bought for research that wouldn’t fit on my bookshelf because of how tall they are. Some of it is coffee mugs I can’t use until I move into my own place again. And some of it is random collectibles from my childhood that you can’t find anymore and I can’t bear to part with it. However, all of these things have a place that is out of sight and not cluttering up my room, and I know what’s in each drawer respectively. I have obtained my father’s OCD about organization and I can’t stand a lot of clutter so my room is fairly organized with a minimal amount of chaos, and I do get rid of things from time to time. Like the half a dozen scented candles I’ve never burned that were given to me and I can’t use often because of my mom’s allergies.

That being said, my mom is the total opposite, though her hoarding hasn’t yet gotten to the point of looming towers of stuff and a foot of garbage, etc. But she has a crafting room which used to be an office downstairs. Her crafting stuff has spilled out into the rest of the basement in various locations. Now, her stuff is semi organized because I have tried on multiple occasions to help her sort and organize everything so it has a place in the crafting room, or the large “playpen” which is just like a wire crate on wheels. Yesterday, I was helping her clean again (this being probably the third or fourth time) and I wanted to start small, since I recognize her hoarding and I’m not sure she does and I didn’t want to push too hard because I know it’s not something she can necessarily control. So I decided we would start with the bookshelf, because it’s full of books I’ve never seen her read. Most of the religious type books did leave the room and she’s intending to donate them to a religious organization just two hours from us. Which is good; I honestly wasn’t expecting her to get rid of those. She also found a bunch of books and supplies that went to our local elementary school. I was also watching her go through huge stacks of paper detailing various crochet and quilting patterns, deciding which ones to keep. Now, she did throw a bunch away, but she also kept a few that I separated into two binders for her, one for crochet and one for quilting.

What really bothered me, though, was the fact that she wanted to keep what I estimated at being around 20-30 hardcover books on quilting. I’m not a quilter. My mom is fairly new to quilting; I think she’s made two or three quilts, with help from friends. I couldn’t understand why she wanted to keep ALL of these books and her excuse was, “They have a bunch of cool patterns in them.” My first thought was, “That’s not a reason to keep ALL of them when you have so many other projects to do.” (Although, having read through this again, I realized I might have 10 or so books on writing and improving my writing craft). One of mom’s projects is the “confetti” quilt. -_- She has a small bag of random, tiny, tiny bits of fabric that to a normal person’s eye, looks like garbage. It’s not usable because it’s so small. It’s her bag of “remnants” and I don’t know why she wants to keep them other than for this quilt she hasn’t even started yet. It almost felt like she’s afraid she’ll run out of projects.

But she also has at least 40 projects going on right now and between her job, my grandma, and her work at home like dishes and cooking, she’s stretched pretty damn thin. And I’ve been trying to help out more so she has time for these projects. I’ve done their laundry the last several times. But the thing is, she’ll start a project, leave it for a couple weeks because she’s too busy, forget she has it, and then start on a new one entirely. It’s maddening. So I’m going to try something with her, and we started it yesterday, where I have her make a list of her top five quickest, or highest priority projects, and she’s only allowed to work on one of those five projects at a time. When she’s finished all five, she can add five more to work on. I’m not sure whether it will work, but she’s made the list and agreed to it, so we’ll see what happens. And I’m a huge fan of this to-do list idea; it works great for me and I try not to fret when I don’t finish everything on the list (usually my lists are for daily accomplishments). So I will try to be patient with her, and I know that in starting to sew myself, I can see how this becomes a dangerous and slippery slope, having been in the store picking fabric twice already. But my plan ideally is to use fabric she already has before going to get more, because my mentality is do I need this right now, and am I going to use it right away?

To the untrained eye, her crafting room looks like chaos. To me, it still looks like chaos, but chaos that has been semi organized by me. As a whole, it’s still not ideal, but for now, most everything has a place and it’s not as all over the place as it was. And that’s a good start.

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.