Analog web comics: self(ie) esteem

This one is based on a true story. The moral of the story is, don’t worry about your looks and just enjoy your life.

   
   
The end.

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Analog Web Comics: Superpowers.

I recently came to an important conclusion.

   
    
    
    
   

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A Window into Someone Else’s World

Lately, I’ve been getting really into Instagram (although I’ve been neglecting posting much). I think I’m following close to 200 people/places/things on it. Some of the accounts, of course, are the obligatory internet-famous and utterly adorable dogs and cats. Others are a few people I know personally, whose adventures I want to poke my nose into/live vicariously through/admire. And let us not forget National Geographic, which I’m beginning to think should just come as an automatic follow on any account created.

But the vast majority of accounts that I follow are world travelers, interesting natural areas (such as national parks) from around the world, conservation organizations, and individual photographers from around the globe. The latter are my favorite to follow, because not all of the photographers are professional – they’re just everyday hobbyists or people who find a snapshot of their day to share.

It’s beautiful, really. From my own little spot on this planet, I can share a moment of my day that was meaningful or lovely or exciting. I can share a memory when I’m feeling nostalgic; it doesn’t even have to be #throwbackthursday. Similarly, with the press of a button I can scroll through someone else’s experience. I can learn about their culture, and see what their life is like no matter where they are.

What I really appreciate about being able to look through that little bitty window into someone else’s every-day experience is that, regardless of location or culture, there are some human universals. People have friends, and they do fun stuff together. They love their families. They eat delicious meals. They get excited about little things, like school or work or a new purchase. Overwhelmingly, people love animals.

It’s very humanizing. I think everyone should take a moment to look at the world through someone else’s lens. Experiencing even a single photo from someone’s life makes it harder to “other” them, and in a world of so much animosity, we all really need to stick together. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have internet access, or a camera, so I definitely don’t take for granted this privilege, but those of us who are able should definitely partake in this opportunity!

And this is why I love Instagram 🙂

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People who really overthink cartoons

Recently, a friend and I were discussing “Hotty McBody-San, Captain Li” because of this Buzzfeed article. While Li Shang is clearly the hottest Disney “Prince” there is, that is really neither here nor there for the intents and purposes of my little soapbox here. As KJ mentioned, Mulan is an underrated movie. It has a kick-ass female hero, solid bad guys, fantastic soundtrack, and distinctive art. But it’s more than that.

As a child, I loved Mulan because of aforementioned strengths of said film. Something about it just made me sparkle inside. Even now, I get excited watching it. Like, “Yeah! Kick his ass! Be the best! Woo!”

But that isn’t really important, either.

Watching this movie as an adult, I can see and appreciate Mulan’s “different-ness.” Mulan is someone (or anyone) who can’t help but to fail at being what society expects of her, because her strengths lie elsewhere. She finds outstanding success and, ultimately, external acceptance once she finds her strengths and utilizes her talents in novel ways. We’ve all been the person who doesn’t fit in with the norm, who fails, who struggles at one point or another.

But more than that, I can now see Mulan as a gay or possibly transgendered person. It’s a pretty easy leap, I think, to argue for either. The entire song “Reflection” is about her not recognizing her own reflection, not being able to pass for a perfect bride or daughter, and not feeling comfortable in her own skin generally. It’s a kids’ movie, so the message isn’t overt, but (and this is from a straight, cis-gendered person) I think there are a lot of kids out there who could relate more than the writers of this movie ever intended.

And that’s beautiful. Mulan saves her entire freakin’ country, simply by being herself and using her own unique skills and ideas. What a great message to anyone who feels lost, wrong, or inferior for any reason! Sometimes simply seeing another person, even a fictional one, overcome their hurdles can inspire you to overcome your own.

Yeah, reality is harsh and sometimes we don’t find acceptance or love from those around us. But it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be true to yourself, because you have a lot to offer the world just as you are (well, you might want to hone your talents, but the point is to go with what you’re good at or interested in rather than make yourself miserable trying to be something you’re not or please someone else).

This is what I’ve learned from Mulan.

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Analog Web Comic: Hanging in There

more analog web comics, also about cats 🙂

   
    
 
What? Were you expecting something else?

Sorry. I got tired and also couldn’t come up with a punch line. So, you’re welcome? 

~fin~

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What State am I in, and What is the Speed Limit? – A memoir, by me.

On August 9th, I picked up my packed belongings, a gerbil, and a box for my grandmother, and set out on a very long, sometimes tedious, journey. I left my home in Denver, and also my cat which I’ll elaborate on in a little bit, and moved to the Georgia coast for a new job. See previous posts alluding to the new job/move.

However, I didn’t arrive at my current location for over a week. The breakdown of the drive went like this:

8/9: Drive 15 hours. Nebraska was boring but fun to drive because you can speed easily. Nobody in Iowa knows how to drive, though the scenery was better. I wondered frequently, “Where the heck is Illinois? Oh, there it is.” Gave up driving for the day and stayed the night in a squicky motel.

8/10: Drove like 3 hours to get to my grandparents’ hometown in Indiana. Visited with relatives last seen in 2011. Chillaxed with cousin. Talked with uncle about fish for forever, which is cool.

8/11-13: Loaded up on family time in Indiana. It was pretty fun; my cousin took me to the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo!

8/14: Sneaked out early in the morning, and drove 10 hours to Atlanta. Kentucky was pretty, but Tennessee was my favorite state to drive through; utterly gorgeous! Though Chattanooga had some of the worst rain I’ve ever experienced, right at rush hour. Survived driving in Atlanta, and made it safely to my friend’s place. Met some of his family, who also happened to be visiting.

8/15-16: Took some much needed naps, watched some much needed Netflix. Also cuddled kitties and hung out, and waited for my friend to be freed from his night job.

8/17: Hiked Stone Mountain at dawn. It didn’t go great, but I made it and didn’t die/kill anyone! Then we just kind of relaxed some more, before I had to leave at 1 to make the final leg of my journey.

Since then, I’ve done a little bit of exploring the Island, and a LOT of training. My new job is incredibly rigorous, with four 12-hour days, and one 8-hour day. We’ve even done training overnight on another island. Even though it’s intense, I’m learning a lot and I feel that this will be beneficial to whatever semblance of a career I am building towards.

Pros include beach proximity, beautiful sunsets, afternoon showers, sunrises over the ocean, lizards everywhere, lots of snakes, cool new job, owls, alligators, dolphins in the river, room and board, humidity is good for your skin, walking to work, and flourishing flora.

Cons include bugs that bite everywhere, bugs that bite are everywhere, bugs in general are everywhere, it’s hot, it’s humid, I might be stinky, far away from all my friends and family, I can’t have a cat, I miss my cat, I almost broke my thumb, and the South is giving me culture-shock.

The hardest thing has been leaving my cat at home. I love him so much, he’s absolutely my favorite non-human thing in the universe. Whenever I’m sad, which has been often this week, he knows and comforts me in exactly the right way. I’m not really one for physical contact, but I snuggle him all the time and miss the affection. Right now I’m doubting my decision and regretting taking a job that forced me to leave my cat behind, but I know that I will get past this and grow. See “Scar Tissue” and painful growth and all.

As hard as the next week or so will be, and I know that it will all be worth it, and I’m excited to bring you more stories of my little adventures! Also, pictures, which I will get to someday.

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Scar Tissue 

I don’t remember for sure where I saw it (probably Skip Beat), but the idea was that a heart was broken, like glass, and could never be put back together the same.

I really like that. Heartbreak, from loss or betrayal, is painful but eventually you put yourself back together again. Yet it won’t be the same. You won’t be the same. Being hurt fundamentally changes who you are.

Maybe it isn’t just heartbreak, but any experience that chips away a little bit at who you were. Sometimes you get stuck in a rut and feel tarnished, and sometimes you become bitter. It’s okay to feel how you feel.

What’s harder, for me at least, is to be different – but that’s good, too. The things that make you grow that are fun, like travel and developing hobbies, are easy. They just add on a little bit to your heart or identity. It’s the painful things that cause fissures in you that are difficult to accept.

But once you’re able to accept those cracks, you can heal. You can grow. I want to go back and look for the things that I lost, but a lot of it might be gone forever. In its place, filling those cracks, is scar tissue. It’s a memory of something difficult, but it’s important.

It made your heart bigger. It made you grow. It’s a sign of strength. Maybe one day you can look at them and be proud, because although who you were is gone, who you are is someone just as valuable. Someone who didn’t give up or break down permanently. You are courageous.

There are many good things waiting for you. Look forward to what lies ahead, think of all the wonderful things coming your way. Or think of what could be. Have the courage to suffer and the strength to grow.

You’ve got this.

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