Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Republicans vs. Democrats

The United States presidential elections are coming up.

This is probably no surprise to you if, like me, your newsfeed is getting blasted with about fifty political banners and criticisms every day. It's getting exhausting already and a part of me just wants to hibernate until January.

Don't get me wrong, the presidential election is incredibly important. YOU NEED TO VOTE. Not voting is probably about the stupidest thing you can do this fall, other than selling your home so you can afford all the useless crap you're going to buy on Black Friday. But that's not what I want to talk about here.

What I want to talk about is the demonization of opposing political parties.

You see, I consider myself a libertarian, which is to say I'm conservative with a good deal of democratic beliefs (ie. I'm pro-life and pro-marijuana*). Therefore, I don't consider myself either Republican or Democratic, though I'm more likely to vote Republican than Democratic if it comes down to one or the other. (This is majorly because being anti-abortion is the most important thing to me, above all other political issues.).

Growing up mostly around Republicans, I grew up thinking that most Democrats didn't know what they were talking about. I assumed that the left was full of ignorance and ill-intent and that you would have to be a moron to consider yourself as such. As I got older, however, I started to see things in a new light. I made friends with people who were highly intelligent and deeply concerned about the state of our nation that identified with the Democratic party. Furthermore, when I discussed certain political standpoints with them, they actually made sense.

I then started to notice that there were many Republicans who had no idea what they were talking about and simply took the stances they did out of fear, ignorance, or in an attempt to fit in. They hadn't really thought through why they believed what they did. They simply accepted their initial inclination as fact and worked from there. I'm not saying all Republicans are this way. I know just as many highly intelligent Republicans as I do Democrats; the same goes for ignorant ones.

This is the point I'm trying to make: We need to stop demonizing one party or another. We can't keep going around acting like because we're Democrats or because we're Republicans, we're somehow better than everyone else.

The way I see it, both Democrats and Republicans are wrong about a lot of things. But they're also right about a lot of things. It's our narrow-minded inability to empathize and see things from a different point of view that keeps us from growing. Sometimes it's worth it to consider your "enemy's" argument. Considering it never means that you have to accept it.

I suppose that's the end of my rant, but I hope I gave all of y'all something to think about. So the next time you're in an argument from an opposing party member, please don't just shut them out. You never learn if you don't listen. Just hear what it is they have to say. You don't have to agree, but you might just learn something new . . . and look a tad less ignorant.

*Saying I'm pro-marijuana doesn't mean I advocate smoking/taking it while it's illegal. Nor does it mean that I do it. I just don't believe it ought to be illegal and ought to be treated like alcohol, legal but only for those above a certain age (18) and not to be used while or before driving.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Exhausting

Chilling with Aiden, the little boy I nanny. :)
Does anybody else ever feel like their life is moving too quickly and yet they don't know what they're meant to do next? I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. In fact, it's a pretty common feeling, from what I can tell. I think it's especially apparent in the transition from graduating high school to encountering the rest of your life.

Right now, I'm working at a video store, taking a semester off from school, and living by myself in my parents' home while they're living overseas. I'm trying to figure out what my next move is going to be while saving up money and trying not to freak out over the fact that I don't have any substantial plans yet.

I mean, even a few days ago I was worrying over the fact that nearly all my coworkers at the video store work two jobs and thinking that maybe I needed to get another one when I realized I already have one working as a nanny (at least, that's if he starts calling me in more often--which it looks like he will).

*Sigh* It's like I know what my major goals are. I have a good idea of where I want to go. It's just the periods in between that stare back at me like a blank page just begging to be written on, but writer's block keeps holding me back.

I have plenty of stuff to take care of in the meantime. Lately, I feel like I've just been running from one thing to the next with barely enough time to keep up with everything that's important to me. It's just exhausting worrying about what my next step is going to be while trying to take care of everything else that needs to get done.

What I really need to do is put more trust in God and his ability to lead me through this and make sure I end up where I need to be. But honestly, that's easier said than done. Still, it can't hurt to start now.

I guess I just wanted to get that off my chest. I know I can deal with this and everything will fall into place in it's time. Sometimes I just have to remind myself of the fact that He makes all things work together for my good.

I can do this. I can make it through. I can accomplish my dreams.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Gryffindor


It seems like I have a really hard time adding to this blog very frequently and, because of that, every other post is a life update. I personally enjoy life updates, particularly when they are for people I know, but if you don't--feel free to skip this one. I should have a legitimate post with something other than updates on my life on this site soon, so just sit back and I'll bring it to you soon enough.

Where should I begin? My burn is all healed up. I have a scar that I'm supposed to be putting cream on to reduce its visibility (that I keep forgetting to use), but other than that I'm all good. It healed up rather nicely.

For those of you who haven't already heard, I also have a job now! Thank God! I am now a salesperson at a video store about twenty minutes from my home and I really enjoy it. I've been employed there for about a month now and I'm still learning, but I'm getting into the swing of things now. I'm definitely glad I was able to finally get a job. That search took way too long! So now I have an income. *Does happy dance.* Plus, I get dollar movies free. Success!

LeakyCon was wonderful! LeakyCon, for all of you non-Harry Potter nerds out there, is a Harry Potter Convention run by Melissa Anelli (author of Harry, A History) that was located in Chicago, Il. this year. I took a road trip across country with my brother and, barring a few unpleasant circumstances on our way there and back, it was a wonderful trip.
LeakyCon itself was amazing. I have never seen so many nerds in one place! It was so cool to be surrounded by all of these other people whose lives have been seriously impacted by J.K. Rowling's book series and who love it just as much as (or more than) I do. Harry Potter jokes were told, received, and understood by all. And it was so much fun to meet someone and immediately ask, "What house are you in?" The funny thing was that Mitchell and I mostly made friends with other Gryffindors (he and I were both sorted into Gryffindor on Pottermore), though it was entirely unintentional. We made friends with people in other houses, but somehow ended up getting along with Gryffindors the best.
LeakyCon Lit was also exceptional. I won't harp on it much here, but I did write a post about it on my book blog that you can see by clicking this link.

Our parents came back stateside during our absence, so when we got home our parents were there. We hadn't seen them since May, so it was definitely exciting to see them again. The only downside was the reason for their return: Mitchell was going to college.
Mitchell went to college about a week after our return, but that hardly seemed long enough. We all drove up to his college as a family and stayed there for a few nights before finally having to say goodbye. Saying that it was pretty emotional would be an understatement. That last morning, there wasn't a single dry eye. Mitchell barely managed to stop crying before class and I cried all the way back to the hotel.
My brother is my best friend, so it was really hard to say goodbye to him. Still, I'm excited for him and this new stage in his life. I know he'll do great and make lots of friends. It's just hard when you've had a best friend that's been at your side since the moment he was born and then knowing that this is probably  the last time you'll ever live together or spend all of your time together. It was rough, but I know we'll both be okay. Besides, I get to see him in about two weeks, since family weekend is coming up. I'm definitely looking forward to that.

Well, that's about all I've got for this update. I need to get going anyway. The guy I occasionally nanny for just called and needs me to come by in less than an hour. Better go get some food in my stomach and some makeup on.

Have a blessed day!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

2012 New Year's Resolutions: Midyear Evaluation

I have mentioned before that I'm really into New Year's Resolutions. Setting goals for myself is one of the chief ways that I manage to get things done and that is exactly why I enjoy them as much as I do.

On New Year's Day, I put up a list of my resolutions for 2012. Since it is now mid-July and the year is halfway over, I thought this would be a good chance to look back and see where I am on those goals and which ones I'll manage to accomplish this year.

So without further ado, here is my midyear evaluation:

1) Create/Write a Dream Journal

This goal has basically been accomplished. I purchased a journal for the task just after Christmas and, though I don't use it as often as I would like to, I have been steadily adding to it throughout the year. As of today, it has fifteen entries. That may not seem like a lot, but my dreams tend to be long and elaborate.
Here's a little excerpt for your sheer amusement:
(4/2/12): "The games didn't last very long. Soon enough, it was down to four of us. Nathan Fillion (I think as Castle) was there and sought me out for an alliance. At this point, we had all been relocated to a sort of hotel room and were told that Stephen Moffat would show up to congratulate the winner(s).Nathan wanted me to tell him more about myself, but I refused, saying that it was dangerous information and I didn't even know if I could trust him."
Yeah, my brain is a weird place.
Hopefully, I'll manage to start writing in it more often. My biggest problem is getting myself to wake up and immediately start writing out what I dreamt. As a rule, we tend to forget our dreams quite soon after waking. If I don't go immediately to the journal, I tend to mull it over while checking my phone or my social media sites and by the time I feel up to writing it out, I've forgotten most of the details I wanted to put in.
I'll definitely have to work on that over the next few months.

2) Move to New York City.

Yeah, this definitely won't be happening. At least, not this year. I've been meaning to write a blog post about this goal and will probably do so in the near future. The point here, though, is that I still don't have a job. There's no way in hell that I'll be able to afford anything at this point in time. I hope to be moving up north sometime next year instead, if at all possible.
Like I said, I'll be writing a blog post about this whole thing soon, so keep an eye out for that one.

3) Read 75 Books

As of yesterday, I have read 41 books this year. This means I only have 34 to go!
However, as any of those with whom I've discussed this goal will know, I have been steadily working my way up to reading 100 in a year. This is due to the fact that I once read that English majors at Oxford college are required to read 100 books a year. As a book enthusiast, this seemed like a wonderful idea to me. In 2011, I read 55 books, so I set the goal at 75 this year.
But I would be overjoyed if I could manage to read 100 this year and reach that goal sooner, rather than later. So if you look to the sidebar on the left and see the Goodreads Book Challenge Widget, you'll see my goal there is 100. If I can reach it this year, I will be overjoyed. If not, there will always be next year.
Either way, I'm totally going to blow the 75 goal out of the water.

4) Learn Tae Kwon Do

This one will likely remain partially done this year. I did take two Tae Kwon Do classes sometime around May, but I basically let it slip through my fingers and the trial period ran out. I decided it wasn't something I needed to be pursuing just yet.
I would still like to take some sort of fighting class in the near future, whether it be Tae Kwon Do, Karav Maga, or Kickboxing (all sound awesome). It's just not something I want to focus on right at this moment. Maybe next year will work out better for me.

5) Finish Writing My Book

Honestly, I don't see this one happening this year either. The book I was working on when I wrote that resolution didn't work out and I abandoned the project. Since then, I've been so wrapped up in FanFiction story lines that I haven't had the time to start yet another book project.
I think once I finish up the loose ends I have in my current FanFiction stories (A Matter of Trust (Newsies), Eyes of Purple (Narnia), and Winning the Golden Hearted (also Narnia), then I'll buckle down and focus on churning out a book.
In the meantime, this gives me the chance to work on developing the stories bouncing around in the back of my head and add new depth, as well as improve my writing skills. So don't worry, this time isn't being wasted in the least.

6) Accomplish at Least 3 Things on My Bucket List

And my final resolution has already been passed with flying colors. I have already accomplished four things on my Bucket List and will definitely be accomplishing another before the end of the year, hopefully more.
The three items on my Bucket List that I am probably most proud of are:
1. Go to Ireland
2. Get a Tattoo
3. Try Fish Sticks and Custard

So there you have it, my midyear evaluation. Maybe more will be accomplished by the end of the year than I expect and we'll have even more to celebrate. I'm already looking forward to the goals I'll be pursuing next year.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I Might Just Be Mental

Sometimes I feel like my laptop is a sentient being.

When I'm reading a particularly good book or have an idea that keeps turning itself over in my head, this little MacBook Air of mine seems to loom bigger and bigger in my mind as if it's calling out to me.

"Write!" it pesters incessantly. "Why aren't you writing? Aren't you the one who calls yourself an aspiring author?"

Of course I want to write. The problem is multifaceted and cumulates in a lack of focus and far too many ideas ricocheting off the boundaries of my mind. Nothing's cohesive. I know where I want to go with some stories and the premise of others, but it's like the moment I've got that going for me, by brain freezes up and my fingers seize.

My laptop scoffs. "Maybe you should just give up," it jeers. "Everyone else is better at this than you. They've all at least finished a rough draft of their manuscripts. You just keep getting stuck after the first ten chapters then ditching it and it's cluttering up my files."

I sneer and go back to reading or watching YouTube, doing my best to ignore its nagging. I have to figure out how I want the opening to work. I have to hash out the story first. I can't write down some half-baked idea and call it a manuscript.

"That's what editing's for, dimwit. It doesn't have to be perfect the first time around."

But I want it to be perfect the first time around! I want it to be the potential I see it having. And I have other things to do. This isn't my entire life after all.

"Isn't it what you want your entire life to be? Writing? Publishing books?"

Shut up! I'm doing the best I can. I'm reading like a maniac over here, trying to learn as much as I can through what others have done. As John Green would say, it's the best apprenticeship I've got.

"You just ended that sentence with 'I've got'."

I groan. That's besides the point. The point is that I'm learning right now. You can't expect me to do everything at once.

"Practice makes perfect. You can set a little time aside at the very least. What was that quote you used to be so fond of? Oh yeah, 'The way you define yourself as a writer is that you write every time you have a free minute. If you didn't behave that way you would never do anything.' -John Irving. Or 'Learn as much by writing as by reading.' -Lord Acton. Or even that one from Ray Bradbury, that author you look up to so much, 'Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you're doomed.' I win."

Not fair! You can't just bombard me with quotes I like and win the argument just like that. Okay, maybe you've got a point. *sigh* Fine, I'll get to writing already. I'm not saying I'm gonna type up a novel in the next week, but I promise I'll stop procrastinating somewhat and at least write for an hour or two every day. Scout's honor.

"You weren't a girl scout. They didn't let you in the troop because the lead mom hated you, remember?"

Enough with the low blows already. You already won.

Just let me finish one more chapter of Suite Scarlett first. Things are getting intense right now . . .

Saturday, June 30, 2012

What is a Nerd?


Celebrate your nerdiness!

I'm currently reading American Nerd: The Story of My People and finding it insanely interesting. It  is, as expected, a very nerdy book that explains the history and dynamics behind what is commonly considered a nerd.

In the beginning of the book, Benjamin Nugent, the author of the book, gives his opinion of what exactly a nerd is. I agreed with him on some points and disagreed on others.

I, having been classified as a nerd by myself and many others, thought it would be an interesting exercise to write a post on what my definition of a nerd would be.

So here we go:

1) A nerd is almost always an enthusiastic learner. We enjoy learning new things and knowing that we're storing away knowledge. This doesn't, however, mean we're great at everything or enjoy learning about everything. We all have specific interests that we love amassing information on. For example, my brother is more of a tech nerd, so he's more interested in learning about javascript, html, and css. While I've dabbled in html, tech is not my expertise. I'm an avid reader and comic bird nerd that knows more about the technicalities behind tattooing, sociology, and DC Comics trivia than your average girl.

2) Nerds generally enjoy a good cosplay. I honestly haven't ever met a nerd who doesn't enjoy dressing up as their favorite character from a book, movie, or graphic novel. I've met a few who are more shy about it, but never one that thought the idea was stupid.

3) Nerds are passionate about at least one thing that isn't a social norm. I've noticed this just recently: there are some things it's socially acceptable to be passionate about (ie. sports, your occupation/future occupation, mainstream television shows, or even academics to an extent) and other things that aren't okay because it's not what everyone else is passionate about (ie. superheroes, sci-fi, too much reading, or video games). 

4) Nerds rarely enjoy massive amounts of physical activity. This one is more relative because I've seen a few exceptions to this, one being my younger brother. Generally, however, we tend to participate in activities that require little to no physical exertion. Common exceptions to this, however, are any activities that have an obvious nerd factor or make us feel more like the fictional characters we admire. Sword play/Fencing, other fighting techniques (ie. Tae Kwon Do or kick boxing), and fictional games (ie. Quidditch or water-bending wars) are the major categories of these exceptions. Generally these at least appeal to the majority of nerds, whether they pursue them or not.

5) Nerds have a large variety of different personalities. Unlike the generalized model one is often acquainted with, we come in many shapes and sizes. We can be arrogant or humble, introverted or extroverted, confrontational or non-confrontational. We aren't all cookie-cutter copies and we have a plethora of interests that span a wide variety of topics. In fact, I'm quite certain I've never met a nerd who didn't want to be a Renaissance man/woman (aka. someone who would like to be skilled in many differing areas, see Leonardo DaVinci). 

So that's a rough list of what a nerd looks like to me. You may agree or you may disagree. If you have something to add/comment on, feel free to leave it in the comments!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Fun Stuff

She needed to wrap her "burn" too. 
So I almost used a picture of my nasty burn as the picture for this post. You're lucky I didn't. I just figured it had already nauseated enough people already. It looks much worse now than it did in the "day of" picture. You're welcome. You got an adorable picture of my niece instead.

For those of you who aren't up to date on my medical issues, I recently sustained major second degree burns on my thighs due to a Starbucks Venti Chamomile Tea landing in my lap. Fun stuff, right?

Anyway, I ended up going to hospital that day to get it treated. They prescribed a cream to fight off infection and hydrocodone (which I didn't take . . . I don't cope well with things that make me loopy).

On Tuesday, I went to the dermatologist to have them check up on it and they gave me more of the cream, along with some antibiotics. I have to go back on Friday to get a steroid cream that ought to prevent scarring.

So I've basically been bedridden since Sunday, since the location of the burn makes it difficult to walk. I'm thinking I'll be able to walk around a bit more tomorrow, though, which is good because I have stuff I desperately need to take care of (aka. fixing my haircut, turning in library books, going to appointments, etc.). In the meantime, I've been chilling on the couch in the living room and sleeping in my parents' bed (remember, they're in France), which is closest to me and also downstairs.

Also, guess who called Monday? A possible employer that wanted to set up an interview. *facepalm* This would happen the day after I wound myself. Thankfully, when I explained my situation, they said they could call back next week and schedule one then. Success! Prayers for getting this job would be much appreciated. I'm sick of the job hunt.

Back to the wound, I have relatively high pain tolerance in general, so it wasn't entirely unbearable. The worst part of the whole ordeal, pain-wise, was when I had to wash the wound Tuesday night. That was excruciating and, looking back, I should have made an exception to my "no hydrocodone" rule for that one. Only cried three times this week overall, though. I'm kind of a boss.

My little brother has been taking care of me all week, which is quite a task for anyone. He makes me food, brings me the things I need, and even gets clean clothes (including the dreaded underwear) for me when I clean my wound/take a bath, because my room is upstairs and that's currently out of the question. Chull is the best.

Starbucks, by the way, has contacted me recently and filed an incident report, since my injury was partially caused by a lack of following procedure. This means that I can send in the out-of-pocket expenses that I accumulated through this injury and they will review it and possible compensate me for it. Also, as an act of goodwill, they're sending me a gift card in the mail soon. So, thank you Starbucks! No hard feelings over here, but I'll definitely be sticking to cold drinks for a while.

Anyway, that's all for my little life update. Thanks for everyone who has taken care of me, asked about me, and prayed for me. Y'all are amazing!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer TBR List



Over at The Broke and the Bookish, they have this thing called Top Ten Tuesday. Each Tuesday they give other bloggers a chance to participate in making a top ten list with them. This week the topic at hand is this summer's To Be Read list. This is meant to be each person's top ten books they are excited about this summer. They could be new releases or old favorites that you're planning on rereading: whatever you choose!

I thought this sounded like a lovely blog post idea and couldn't pass up the chance to do it. . .

Read the rest of this post on my book review blog: Booklist That

Have a lovely day!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

Happy Father's Day, Pa!



Had to go to the hospital for second degree tea burns I sustained at Starbucks this morning.
Fun stuff.  (Yes, I'm blonde now.)




Had my grandma and good friend over to spoil me with a hot fudge sundae.
:)

As you can see, Father's Day has been particularly interesting. But hey, at least it was memorable. Haha.

I love you, Pa. And it's a good thing I'm your favorite. ;)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Motivation and Reflection

I've just finished cleaning my desk in the hopes of spurring on my creativity by being organized. I feel like I've been slacking in my writing for the past couple of weeks, churning out my work just before my self-imposed deadlines (which I only end up enforcing because others are waiting for that work) and dragging my feet when it's time for me to write. I'm hoping that I can jumpstart my "writing juices" by getting myself to learn to sit down and focus more often than I normally do.
Thus the cleaning off of my desk.

It seems I get both reflective and motivated at night. Motivated in the sense that I do some of my best writing at night, probably get the most cleaning done (like my desk), and generally strive to create goals for myself or seek how I can do things differently, therefore improving my way of life. I become reflective in the sense that I start analyzing the things that are going on in my life, which inevitably ends up making me emotional because I tend to focus on the negative things. It was in that mood and state of being that Growing Up, my last blog post, was written.

This is where I find myself right now. I'm thinking up goals for myself and planning out art projects I'd like to complete quite soon. I'm mourning the impending and likely inevitable loss of a friendship while stressing over the job interview I had today.

I suppose I get restless when I'm up late and this causes my mind to slingshot through emotions and such. It's a bit irritating, but I learn a great deal about myself during these late night forays into the depths of my own mind. Sometimes I'm not sure if this is something to be desired or cautiously avoided. There are times when it hurts to mess with old wounds or try to clean up new ones, but if we don't examine those wounds, we can't clean them and ultimately stimulate healing. It's a frustrating chain of events. I'm the sort that likes to coddle my emotional wounds and bottle them up until they become unhealthy and begin to fester. Let's just say I'm not great with emotions.

It's probably quite obvious that I'm writing this late at night and I wonder if it will even be coherent to all of you. Oh well. Maybe that just means I need to start getting some sleep and cut down on the "exploration of my inner self." It's rather uncomfortable, after all.

Then again, some of the most beautiful things emerge from discomfort.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Growing Up

My brother. Yes, that's a half-chewed grape in his mouth.
Growing up is a terrifying ordeal.

I guess I'd better specify exactly what it is I mean by "growing up." When I refer to growing up, I am basically referring to the age group consisting of seventeen to twenty-two year olds (and possibly older). This is a time in nearly everyone's life where they are trying to figure out exactly what they want to get out of life and how they are meant to make that happen.

This sentiment -- this feeling of terror in the face of the unknown -- is one that many are familiar with. Still, the realization that others are dealing with they exact same questions you are trying to tackle somehow doesn't make you feel much better. This is likely because we all realize that these aren't questions that anyone else can truly answer for us; rather, they are decisions we each have to make on  our own.

Up until now, our parents have been the decision-makers in most of the big dilemmas our life has presented us with. They generally had the final say at the very least. Now we're supposed to strike out on our own to "find our fortunes" ( that's a Howl's Moving Castle reference, for those who care). It's terrifying and exhilarating all at once.

On the one hand, it's scary trying to move from being supported to supporting yourself, finding where you fit, and where you want to be. On the other hand, it's wonderful when you feel like you're finally getting closer to accomplishing those dreams you've desired for so long and it feels like the world is at your fingertips.

Coming from my own prospective, I have the potential and the desire to become a published author. There's much I have to do in order for me to accomplish that dream, but it feels doable now. There are times when I can almost taste it. But there are also times when I feel like I'm looking through the wrong side of the telescope and all of my goals are comically out of reach. I feel out of place in my hometown (particularly after living in Paris, France) and I'm literally itching to get out of here, but my circumstances have determined that I stay for now.

It's like those cartoons from when I was a kid where the person trying to get the horse to move dangles a carrot in front of its nose to keep it going, but the carrot is always out of reach. There are times when I wonder if I'll ever reach the carrot at the end of the line or if it'll always just be a dream and never a reality.

I realize I sound a bit melodramatic and I apologize for that. Still, it's a legitimate feeling that I know I'm not alone in experiencing. It's a big world and there are so many opportunities to shoot for the moon; but at the same time, there's such a potential for failure that it can nearly paralyze a person at times.

All in all, I know its all in the hands of God. He knows exactly where I (and everyone else) need to be and if I listen and follow, I'll be able to finish the race. Trusting Him is key and listening to His voice is more than necessary.

Still, what I wouldn't do for a couple of neon signs to point the way for me right now . . .

Thursday, May 24, 2012

This Crazy Life

Birthday shopping with amazing people
I guess this is sort of an update post. Just a head's up on what's been going on in my life.

My birthday was a couple of weeks ago. You may have noticed that I switched my age from "19" to "20" a while back. It's nice being able to say I'm not a teen anymore. Plus I only have one more year until I'm legal to drink in Texas. You have no idea how much I've missed beer. I may sound ridiculous saying it, but it's true. Just like I missed Dr. Pepper while I was in France.

Altogether, it was a good birthday, though. I got some pretty cool gifts from my family and friends. I had a lovely day spending time with those same people. I did end up at a sports bar I didn't know existed in our suburb (don't worry, no drinking of alcohol took place). Let's just say I'm really not the sports-watching type and we definitely felt our IQ points dropping by the minute.

My dad, Uncle Henry, and myself before he got so sick
There's recently been a death in my family. Anyone who follows me on basically any social media site knows this already. I've only mentioned it about a thousand times. It was my Uncle Henry that died, my dad's godfather and one of the funniest and most kindhearted men I know. He was in his late eighties and the situation had been deteriorating for some time now. His Alzheimer's was getting steadily worse and my Aunt Lois was having an especially hard time taking care of him, so I suppose his passing was in his best interest.

Still, it hurt like a blow to the chest. I sobbed when I found out, I cried at the visitation, I wept at the funeral. Everyone in my family cried -- even my dad, whom I've never actually seen shed more than a single tear before. As you probably guessed, that set me off crying even harder.

He meant so much to me, and having to say goodbye hurt more than I could have imagined. I wish I could have spent more time with him and gotten to know him better. I wish I had more pictures with him. I wish I could remember more of his stories. They're all wishes everyone grasps at when a loved one dies, but that doesn't make it any less truthful. His death reminded me how fragile the human life is -- and how we ought never to take it for granted.

A glimpse of my tattoo. :P
In much better news, I got my tattoo on Friday. I love it. It's everything I wanted it to be and the experience was wonderful as well. Alika, my tattoo artist, is incredibly friendly and makes you feel at ease immediately. Not to mention, I'm inherently fascinated by tattoos, so watching him ink both my friend and myself was an incredibly interesting process. Yes, I did watch the entire time I got my tattoo. No, it didn't hurt that bad. Yes, I would and will do it again.

Oh, by the way, it says "Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic". Also, it was on my bucket list, so that's another thing crossed off and one of my New Year's Resolutions completed!

Still no news on the job front. I'm just a tad irritated about that, so I don't really want to talk about it. Crossing my fingers that something will come through soon, though.

My baby brother graduated from high school this weekend, though, and I couldn't be more proud. It's easy to forget that we're not the same age, that we aren't twins, because it feels like it at times. But there's nothing like sitting beside your sister and screaming for your little brother as he crosses the stage to receive his diploma. Two years after my own graduation, my parents have now officially succeeded in getting all three of their children through high school.

Isn't he just adorable?!
Being only seventeen months apart, Mitchell and I have always spent a lot of our time together. I'm not ashamed to admit that he's been my best friend since the beginning and will be my best friend until the end. I'm eternally grateful to my parents for instilling the mentality in us that our siblings will be the only friends that will always be there for you no matter what. And I'm eternally grateful to have the amazing siblings who have always lived that, even when being difficult runs in the family.

Speaking of siblings, Mitchell's graduation meant that Miranda came back in town for a week. We don't get to see my older sister very often, seeing as she lives in Michigan, and it's always nice when she comes down. The last time we had seen her was at Christmas while we were still living in Paris.

I'm always happy about sibling bonding time and I definitely got that with Miranda this time. Seeing as things were pretty crazy with preparing for Mitchell's graduation, that left Miranda and I free for some quality time. She was the one with me when I got my tattoo and all three of us started watching a new manga (well, new for Mitchell and I) called Gurren Lagann that she loves.

Myself and my big sister waiting for the DART after the zoo
The day before she left, Mitchell had already left for senior trip and Mom had gone back to France. Both she and dad were due to leave on the next day to go back to their respective homes. So Miranda decided we should go to the zoo.

Frankly, the idea of zoos freaks me out. Large animals caged only feet from human contact? You can count me out. But Miranda seemed so excited about going that I conceded and went with her to the Dallas Zoo.

We actually had a lot of fun. Miranda fed the giraffe and nearly died with excitement about it, we rode the monorail and agreed that the guide was incredibly attractive, Miranda freaked when we saw the baboons having sex while I nearly died with laughter at her reaction. We even got to take pictures at the photo booth, and anyone who knows me well enough knows how much I adore photo booths. They're my absolute favorite. We almost rode the carousel too, but chickened out when we realized there were a lot of kids and no adults. We decided to wait until we had a kid with us so we wouldn't look like complete morons.

All in all, it's been an interesting couple of weeks, both sad and wonderful. Mostly good, though, and I'm quite happy about that. Life is always changing and I'm excited to see the places that it's taking me.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Twenty


The weird outfit is my Tae Kwon Do uniform. :P

Tomorrow is my twentieth birthday. That means today is my last day as a teenager. Want to know what I did? Homework.
(Okay, I did work in a few episodes of LA Ink and an unintentional midday nap.)
It's a little scary, standing here on the brink of my twentieth birthday. I mean, I know nothing's going to change between today and tomorrow. I won't magically gain bundles of wisdom and whatnot. I won't become suddenly cleverer or more independent.
I'm excited for the same reason that I'm a little worried. I mean, by birthday really just serves as a more obvious reminder that I'm getting older and closer to the dreams I'm trying to make a reality for myself. It's a landmark of where I've been and where I'm going.
I have so many things that I hope to accomplish in the next few years of my life. I have so many dreams and imaginings that make me more and more excited about life. My mission is to reach my dreams and experience life to the fullest and I can't wait to do that.
It's funny when you look back at where you thought you would be when you were a kid. People change so quickly and it's crazy when you think about it. A couple of years ago, I had plenty of ideas of where I would be at this point. I thought I had my life basically planned out. It turned out nothing like what I thought it would be! I didn't expect to have the friends I do now or have lived in Paris, France. I had thought I would be married by now or on my way to graduation college. Neither of those are in my near future now and I don't want them to be. Even looking at the person I was when I graduated high school versus who I am now is pretty weird. I've changed plenty, mostly for the better, and I love who I am today.
I guess it's just weird when you look back at who you are, what you've become, and who you hope to be. Certain things have been constant all the way through, like my writing or my walk with God, while others have shifted substantially or fallen by the wayside.
I couldn't be more excited for life and where it's taking me now. If y'all haven't noticed, I'm a bit of a dreamer (understatement of the year) and devising plans for my future is almost as exciting as seeing myself accomplish those goals.
So, 20, I'm ready for you. This year's gonna be good.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Skinny Obsession

Just to warn you right off the bat: this is going to one of those rage blogs. You know, the one where the blogger rants about something that majorly pisses them off. Yeah, that kind.

And the thing that has been majorly pissing me off as of late is our culture's seeming obsession with being skinny. There is nothing more inherently frustrating or disgusting to me than the fact that so many beautiful women are convinced that unless they reach that size 0 body, they can never be attractive or beautiful.

You have got to be kidding me.

I shouldn't have to tell you that Marilyn Monroe, the icon of sexiness, was a size 16. Neither should I have to tell you that the average jean size of American women is in the double digits. It should be more than obvious that being overweight is far healthier than being underweight.

I spend a great deal of time on Pinterest, I'll admit that right out. I love the creativity that can be found there. I spend most of my time looking at tattoos, crazy colored hair, and nerdy greatness. Seeing what friends of mine find inspiring is another great thing about the site, but I am beyond sick and tired of the "dream body" posts.

In modern culture, it seems that being skinny is the ultimate goal. Eating disorders are running rampant, both girls and guys are working themselves to the bone exercising for the purpose of feeling better about themselves, and I don't know how many PARENTS I've heard criticizing their children when it comes to their weight. (Seriously, if you don't shut your mouth, I'm liable to shut it for you. How dare you?)

Speaking from the standpoint of a girl who has dealt with insecurity concerning my body, my personality, and basically every aspect of who I am; I breaks my heart and frustrates me beyond belief that we allow ourselves to have this mindset, much less encourage it. Losing weight should not be at the top of our list of priorities. "Being skinny" should not be looked at as the only way to assure happiness or confidence in oneself.

Seriously? What ever happened to loving ourselves for who we are? What ever happened to just being yourself and not caring what the rest of the world has to say about it?


Look, let me be brutally honest here: Being skinny isn't all it's cracked up to be. You're never going to be skinny enough to satisfy your insecurity. Because insecurity is something that will cling to you until you force yourself to get rid of it.

I'm all for getting in shape of that's what you want. I'm all for getting healthy and making sure you have a long life. I'm all for wanting to be strong. Those are all worthwhile endeavors. Being skinny? Not so much.

Insecurity isn't something you can fix by heeding its demands. Insecurity is a beast that, if you keep on feeding it, will keep on growing and consume you. Learn to love yourself. Learn to be happy with who you are. It's going to be a battle and it'll probably be a long one if my own story is any indication. You are beautiful. You don't have to be a size 0 for that to be true. You just have to be you.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Following Your Dreams

Ice skating: Not one of my greatest talents
My time in Paris is coming to a close soon. I leave on March 31st and it's such a bittersweet thing. On the one hand, I am super excited to see all the family and friends I have at home; but at the same time, there are so many wonderful family and friends here that I will be leaving.

The prospect of going back to Texas both excites and scares me. As much as I've loved my time in Paris, it has felt quite a bit like I'm putting my life on pause. Now it's time to press the play button and start moving full-force toward those dreams that I have been looking forward to and holding so close to my heart. All those plans I have been making are going to become actions soon enough. It's exhilarating and terrifying.

One of the things I have loved so much about Paris is all the amazing people I have met. So many young people are giving their everything to follow their dreams and they aren't afraid to take a leap of faith or two to get there. It's so inspiring to see these wonderful people fulfilling their heart's desires.

At times, my own dreams seem so far away and nearly impossible. It seems like every time I give voice to a new goal or another part of my dream, there's always someone who responds with, "Yeah that all sounds well and good, but logistically . . ." and it makes me want to scream! Every day someone does the impossible. Every day someone reaches that dream that once seemed to be the most unlikely thing possible.

What I've learned from all this and from each of the people I've come in contact is this:
Always chase your dreams. No one else is going to chase them for you. And if you let others convince you that your dream isn't valid, you'll spend the rest of your life wishing you had chased it instead of listening to the people who were "just looking out for you".

I understand that people will always have concerns with the way I live my life or the way I follow my heart, but that's something that ultimately comes down to me. I have to make the decision to do what I want to do or to listen to the skeptics.

I can't wait to see what lies in store for me in this journey of life. It promises to be one amazing trip and I can't wait to see who else I will meet or what else I will accomplish along the way.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

We Gon' Find You!

Found this on Pinterest and, in light of the amazing efforts of everyone taking over the internet to make their voices heard, decided it was worth sharing.

Here's what this is all about, in case you don't already know:

Thursday, February 23, 2012

In Defense of Fan Fiction

My niece doesn't actually write fan fiction . . . yet.
 As a proudly nerdy girl, I'm into a lot of things that aren't generally considered cool. I collect comic books, read obsessively, and would rather stay home writing half the time than go to the bar with my friends. (Don't worry, I generally go and socialize anyway.) 

I'm also really into fan fiction. Don't cringe! It's not that bad. Don't you think you're overreacting a little bit? No? Well, let me explain why you're wrong.

Now, I realize that the term "fan fiction" can make even the nerdiest of people suppress a shudder. I've taken flack for being an FF (abbreviation for fan fiction) author from some of my closest friends. It's not entirely unwarranted, I can admit that much. I can attest to the fact that I've read my fair share of cringe-worthy, terribly written stories. There have been times that I've logged into Fanfiction.net only to sift through an hours worth of bland, unintelligent stories that leave me discouraged. 

But please, don't base your opinions of FF solely on those stories. While there are some pretty crappy stories out there, there are also some pretty amazing ones too. There are quite a few writers out there who have quite a talent for what they do. It's not all about people inserting themselves into fandoms so they can play out their fantasies of dating the hero. Some of us actually write the characters well, creating interesting stories that pull you in and leaving you wanting more when the story ends.

Fan fiction can also be a wonderful way of honing one's writing skills. When I first joined Fanfiction.net, I was sixteen years old. Description was my weakest ability when it came to writing and one of the first stories I wrote had so many plot holes in it that I eventually took it off and have since been rewriting it. (I'm referring to a work I titled, "Eyes of Purple" which was in the Chronicles of Narnia section. It's currently on hiatus, but I will get back to it eventually -- I promise!)

Since then my writing skill has improved immensely and I'm prouder of my recent stories (written in the Newsies section) than I have been of almost anything I've ever written before. As an aspiring author, I've learned so much about description, character development, and writing in general through experience than I have through any other avenue I've come across. I have so many stories to tell, rattling around in my brain, and it's great to have a way to express them.

I still write my own stuff on the side (even if my current story, "How the World Turns" seems to be taking over my life at this point). I don't plan on writing on FF for the rest of my life. I'd like to publish some books entirely my own in the future. But in the meantime, I love that I get to write to my heart's content and there are people who enjoy reading my stories as much as I enjoy writing them.

So my point here is this: Don't write of fan fiction as one of those things that only creepy fangirls and horny fanboys read and write. There are some fantastic fan fiction writers out there who will probably be writing novels of their own in just a few short years. Don't count them out. They're pretty amazing. 

When, one day, I have published books of my own -- I hope there are kids out there writing fan fiction for it. There is always so much to be explored in each "universe" an author creates. There are always more adventures for the main characters to take. Don't limit yourself to just that one story, because there could be another out there that you like just as much or even more than the original. 

P.S.I guess this post isn't complete without me unashamedly pimping out my FanFiction profile, even though it's in the sidebar.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Just Being Me

So the story of my hair in recent weeks has been a rather obnoxious one. Just a month ago, my hair was black with a streak of purple in it and though I loved the colors on me, I wanted a change. Yes, I wanted all of my hair to be purple.

At the River Seine with my brother and sister

Being the smart kid I am, I decided I would go to the hair salon and ask them to make it as blonde as they could get it. I didn't want to tell them I was going to dye it purple when I got home because I thought the hair stylist would try to talk me out of it and I just wanted to do it my way.

The process was hell. I spent six hours in that salon getting my hair stripped and stripped again. 6 hours! That's a ridiculous amount of time to be stuck in a hair salon with a French stylist who laughs every time he looks at your hair and tells you, "No more black. Never again," as if I had chosen my previous hair color for the sheer purpose of making his job harder. Believe me, buddy, I wasn't enjoying myself any more than you were.

After those 6 excruciatingly long hours of torture, I walked away with coppery brown hair. Since I had been stupid enough not to tell him I wanted it purple (or better yet, bring the purple dye with me for him to put over the bleached hair for me), he had to put a color over it before sending me home. The lightest he could go without frying my hair worse was that ugly shade of brown that, though it did match my eyes, irritated the crap out of me for the next two and a half weeks while I waited for it to heal up enough for me to bleach it again.

Definitely not my favorite hair color. :/
After some intense conditioning, I decided my hair was ready and I bleached it yesterday morning with some product I bought at the grocery store the day before. It worked relatively well. Though I'll definitely have to learn to spread it more evenly next time. (That's what you get when you don't even have a color brush to work with.) I let it air dry afterward, not keen on damaging it further with blow-drying, even if it would make the dyeing process move faster.

Yikes! 
A few hours later, I pulled on the dyeing gloves once again, pulled out my purple hair color and went at it! I was terrified I would miss a few spots and, true to form, I did. But overall, it came out as nicely as I had hoped.

Think I got enough dye on my face?
So I'm now sporting purple hair, which I've been dreaming about doing for quite a while now. One of my best friends is always saying, "Everyone should dye their hair their favorite color at least once in their life." Well, my hair is now my favorite color and I have to say, I'm really loving it!

It's a tad brighter than this, but it'll get even lighter the more I wash it. :)
(Also, ignore the frizziness)
I'll have to go super easy on it for the next few days, but I can't tell you how excited I am that I finally had the nerve to dye my hair a "crazy" color. I love it!

Friday, February 3, 2012

On Snow & Criminal Justice

I went out to dinner with my brother and some friends tonight. There's a restaurant about twenty minutes away from where I live by Metro called "Breakfast in America" and one of my friends haunts it like the ghoul in the Weasley's attic. He knows every waiter/waitress and they all know him. It's a little scary, actually.

Anyway, it started snowing on our way out, first a little bit and then it was coming down pretty hard. It had  us all so enthralled that we legitimately were almost hit by a bus because we weren't paying attention to what we were doing.

Silvia was hopping up and down, so excited about the snow. I was less than enthusiastic.

I often claim that I hate snow, but I suppose that's not entirely true. I love the idea of snow. It's just so picturesque as it floats down from the sky. And walking through Paris at night, looking at the snow flurry lit by lampposts and light streaming from the store windows, you can't help but remark at how beautiful it is. It's like you stepped into a romantic movie and the love of your life is about to come sprinting around the  corner.

At the same time, though, this is coming from the girl who absolutely can't stand being cold. I'm not as bad as some people I know. I enjoy sliding around on the ice as much as the next person. And who can resist the appeal of nailing someone with a good-sized snowball to the face? Still, this is about the time of year that I'd much rather spend all hours of the day bundled up on the couch with a good book and a large mug of coffee.

I guess I'm doomed to to a love/hate relationship with snow. It will always be beautiful, but it comes at the price of my being more than a little uncomfortable.


In other news, I'm really enjoying my Introduction to Criminal Justice class. I have a strong feeling it's going to be what my Sociology course was last semester -- aka. my favorite class. I'm taking three classes this semester: Introduction to Criminal Justice, Introduction to the Humanities, and Composition & Rhetoric II. They're all going rather well and I'm enjoying each, but there's something about Criminal Justice that is inherently interesting to me.

Like who knew that "it is impossible to determine with accuracy the amount of crime [or delinquency] in any given jurisdiction at any particular time"? Or that, "A child under 7 years of age is considered a legal infant or of legal nonage. Thus, if a 6-year-old child picks up a shotgun and shoots his or her parent, the child is unlikely to be charged with a crime,"? It's all rather fascinating.

I suppose I just really enjoy understanding how the law works and how criminal justice is handled in America. I'm sure it will come in handy one day in my writing too. Who knows?

There wasn't really a point to this post, I guess. These are just two things I was pondering today and I thought it was about time I wrote on this blog again. So please excuse my rambling. My brain just works this way, I suppose.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Officially A Vlogger

*Edit 2/1/12*: I figured out how to edit the video on my computer and did so, then uploaded the edited version and deleted the original. So the new one is not as bad as I say below. Still, I could do with a bit more editing expertise. Haha.

So I decided to finally do what I've been whining about wanting to do for months now. I've started to vlog!

Being a huge fan of YouTube and following multiple vloggers, you eventually hit a point where every time you watch a new video by someone you've been following, you go, "Aw, that looks fun. I wish I could do something like that." I hit that point somewhere around May of last year and most of my friends can attest that, "Dude, I wish I had a vlog," has been uttered by yours truly almost daily since.

So I finally did it. I posted an "Introduction" vlog, which my brother has already picked apart. I'm definitely going to have to play around with editing, because the whole one-take-wonder thing is not going to work well for me.

Anyway, I've decided to make my vlogging a bit of a project, or at least that's what I'm calling it. I'm going to post a new one every Wednesday, basically going over what's happened in my week or just whatever I feel like talking about and go from there. I've committed to doing this for a period of about 6 months.

If you decide to watch it, that's awesome, but you'll likely have to bear with me the first few weeks. I'm still getting the hang of things and I am virtually clueless when it comes to video editing -- which means I really need to play around with that before I upload the next one.

Hopefully this will be a fun experience and by the end of it, I hope to have learned plenty from it. So here's the first vlog, if you'd like to watch it. Feel free to subscribe!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Less than Human

I'm currently reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett. It's a New York Times Bestseller and has recently had a movie adaptation of it hit the big screen. The fact that Emma Stone plays one of the leads had me interested before I even heard the premise of the story.

The premise, it turns out, is about civil rights in the early sixties, back when my parents were mere toddlers.  The book follows the story of three women, one white and two colored, dealing with the racial inequality of the day. It's a story about standing up for yourself and standing up for others. It's a story about racial discrimination that seems so long ago, but was really only a few short years ago.

I won't go into detail about the book. My review of the book will be up in a couple of days on my other blog, Booklist That. That's not what I really want to talk about.

Sitting back and reading this book, I can't help but feel aghast at what passed as acceptable behavior just fifty short years ago. That anyone would treat another human being with the kind of disrespect and condescending nature that was bestowed upon anyone who wasn't white is just disgusting. It legitimately makes me sick that this was considered appropriate.

I don't even know how to put into words how messed up that is.

This wasn't that long ago, though. This was less than a lifetime ago. Only five decades ago, people treated those with differently colored skin like they were nothing better than well-trained animals. Seriously?! I mean, what the hell is that? How can anyone look at that and think it's okay?

But the thing that pisses me off more than that is the fact that some people still think this way. Some people still call black people the "n" word behind their backs. Some people still keep their distance like they're going to get their wallet stolen. The fact that I have black friends that can't so much as stop for gas in certain Southern towns. It makes me want to vomit.

And don't even get me started on how racism has affected Hispanics in the States. It's like people were told to lay off the blacks, so they switched to the Mexicans -- making jokes about illegal immigration, indicating that they're less intelligent than someone with paler skin.

It's that kind of thing that makes me ashamed of being a Southerner.

People are different. That's a fact that people have to come to terms with sooner or later. Some people will have darker skin, some will have paler skin. Some will like loud music, some will only listen to instrumental. Some will have different political, religious, or philosophical point of views than yourself.

THAT DOESN'T MAKE IT OKAY TO ABUSE THEM OR TREAT THEM LIKE THEY ARE LESS THAN HUMAN. EVER.

It's never okay to treat someone like they are disgusting because they are different. The world isn't ever going to get any better until we learn that.

In the words of one of Michael Harmon's characters in his book, Brutal, "It's all the small things we accept that make this world such a crappy place."

So stop accepting it. When you see things like this, you have a responsibility to do something about it. You have a responsibility to change things.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Quoted Love Affair

In my sophomore year of high school, I took a Creative Writing class where my teacher had us buy an index card case to collect quotes in. Whenever we heard or found a quote we particularly liked, we were to copy it down on an index card and keep it for later. I took to this project immediately and thus began my love affair with quotes.

Cheesy as it sounds, it really is a love affair. There's something about finding that inspirational few sentences, that beautiful turn of phrase, that captures something profound that just appeals to me. I still have that index card case. In fact, it's sitting right beside me, looking a tad worse for the wear, and filled to the brim with collected quotes that I like to thumb through every once in a while. And, every once in a while, it does come in handy.

One of my first assignments in Introduction to Humanities this week was to find a quote that you feel represents you. I immediately grabbed my case and chose the one my sister had found for me and posted on my Facebook page a few weeks ago. 

"I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I'm afraid of." -Joss Whedon

But there were quite a few runners-up that I was rather sad I couldn't post, so I've decided to post them here instead. Oh, the cleverness of me! (Anyone catch the Peter Pan reference there? No? Okay, moving on. . .) So here are a few more of my favorites:

"Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties." -Erich Fromm

"Be yourself. Above all, let who your are, what you are, what you believe, shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish." -John Jakes

"These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but minds alive on the shelves." -Gilbert Highet

"Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten." -G.K. Chesterton

"Let there be goblin hordes, let there be terrible environmental threats, let there be giant mutated slugs if you really must, but there also be Hope. It may be a grim, thin hope, an Arthurian sword at sunset, but let us know that we do not live in vain." -Terry Pratchett 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Writing Hindrances

There are two major things that hinder me as a writer. Honestly, there are probably more -- it varies from day to day -- but I'm here to discuss the top two.

First of all, we have distractions.

I'm very easily distracted. And in this day and age, there's more than enough distractions readily available to do the trick. From the internet to movies, from TV to books -- none are specifically bad for me except when they're keeping me from hitting the pavement on something I consider my passion and what I hope to do with my life.

I'm serious. Even as I was pondering writing about this topic for my blog post, I was scrolling through Pinterest for at least half an hour.

I guess I need to learn to sit down and set boundaries for myself. It's not like it's a punishment or anything. Telling a story that's been bouncing around in my head is one of the greatest joys I've had the privilege of experiencing. Spinning a tale is as much a pleasure as drinking coffee or eating a really good brownie.

(Trust me to make some kind of connection between writing and eating . . .)

Secondly, I have trouble getting frustrated with the fact that the story isn't always perfect when I first write it out. A huge part of writing is the editing, I know that, but I love it when the story just bleeds from my fingers on the first run. If I feel like it's not on par with some of my better work from the get go, I tend to lean toward giving up. It's stupid, but it's how my brain works.

It reminds me of my exploits in art class when I was in high school. I loved art and I was relatively good at it, but it was so frustrating to me that it wasn't worth the effort. I didn't want to do it if I couldn't make it perfect. I've always had trouble with stuff like that. It's my own brand of perfectionism, I suppose. It's a good thing I love writing as much as I do or I would have given up a long time ago.

Learning to let go would probably be my best advice for myself in this case. I need to give myself permission to suck sometimes. Editing can be as enjoyable as writing and can provide new opportunities to make the story loads better than it would have been if I'd just shotgunned it.

Well, now that I've got that covered, I suppose it's time to sit back and start working on that novel of mine. Maybe, if I work really hard, you might just be reading it in a year or two.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year, New Resolutions

I'm a huge fan of New Year's Resolutions.

Now, I know that resolutions have gone out of style, so to speak, but in my opinion the whole I-don't-do-New-Year's-resolutions attitude has also gone out of style. Don't tell me it doesn't work like that! This is my blog and in my blog, that's how it works.

As I was saying, I'm a big fan of New Year's Resolutions. I like to make goals and strive to accomplish them. I like to have a set day where people hope the best for an entirely new year. Yes, I like to romanticize everything about life, but if we don't romanticize things like new years and and new dreams, where else will our enjoyment come from?

So, as I'm sure you're expecting, I've made a list of New Year's Resolutions. Sorry, I can't tell you if I accomplished last year's resolutions because I left my journal in Texas and wasn't clever enough to write them out anywhere else. I did accomplish one of them at least-- I read over fifty books! Here's the post I wrote about it in my other blog, Booklist That.

Anyway, here are 2012's New Year's Resolutions:

1) Create/Write a dream journal
- I have really weird/crazy/imaginative dreams and I figured it was about time I started cataloguing them. I think I came up with the idea after fist fights started showing up in my dreams around late October. I'm a sucker for a good fight and figured they ought to be catalogued. As an aspiring writer with a crazy overactive imagination, I figured I could forego Dumbledore's warning not to dwell on dreams (proven true by the sad fact that is Twilight) and keep these in case they give me a good idea someday, or at least become the start of a good idea. Besides, other perfectly legitimate authors have had ideas from dreams. Let's not let Stephanie Myer ruin it for us!

In order to appease my inner Harry Potter nerd and my love of quotes, I decided to put a quote by Albus Dumbledore on the first page: "In dreams, we enter a world that's entirely our own."

Do you like the Deathly Hallow's symbol on the top left? So do I!


2) Move to New York City
- I'm not one of those people who has been dying to move to New York their entire life. In fact, it's a relatively recent decision of mine (not THAT recent. . . more like a couple of months old), but the more I sit and think about it, the more I am convinced I have to do this. I'll go into it in more detail in a later post.

3) Read 75 Books
-Like I said in the post above, my goal for 2011 was fifty. I finished number fifty-five on New Year's Eve! So this year my goal is seventy-five. You can read more about this craziness on my other blog by going to the link above.

4) Learn Tae Kwon Do
-I hope that's spelled right. Anyway, I've been wanting to learn how to fight for a while now. I mean, seeing as I have an odd fascination with all things superhero and all things, well, fight-like, it follows that I really need to do this. The current plan is that Chull (my brother) and I are going to enroll in a program when we get back to the States. So Tae Kwon Do it is!

5) Finish Writing My Book
-Well, currently my uncle has my copy of the book I was working on, but this still stands. I would definitely like to finish it this year, at least the first draft, and get a running start at becoming a published author already. You know how I was talking about NYC not being a dream I've grown up wanting? Yeah, well this is! I really want to write and publish my own book. Maybe, just maybe, 2012 will be my year to do just that.

6) Accomplish at Least 3 Things on My Bucket List
-I have a rather large bucket list and, honestly, if I complete the rest of my list, I'll have completed this goal as well. But if I don't get all of these resolutions followed through with, I'd like to know that I at least accomplished number six. I would love to say that I followed through with at least that much. Here's to hoping I accomplish six things, though!