Dear Parents of Millenials

pexels-photo-551588Dear parents, guardians, and other otherworldly beings who raised millennials:

 

It’s not your fault. You were not a bad parent or guardian.

Didn’t quite turn out how you envisioned it would, did it? Your child, or person you take care of, who was born somewhere between the early 80s and late 90s, might still be living in your house. They might have a sucky job in a retail store or food joint. Those are the lucky ones. I bet you didn’t know they didn’t realize how this was going to work out as well. Most people in their late 20s and 30s wanted to be like you: work hard, get an education, have a home, and a job that paid the bills and allowed for savings. Who doesn’t want that?

Now, you can get all the economic info anywhere on the Internet, but here are some links to supplement what I’m saying for you to read later. I’m not making this up.

(https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/06/even-baby-boomers-think-its-harder-to-get-started-than-it-used-to-be/395609/

http://fortune.com/2016/03/04/young-millennials-job-market-losers/ )

But finances and economics are just a few things that plague me and my fellow millenials. We also have this touchy-feely membrane coating our every decision, thought, and aspect of communication. We also have over 63 genders to choose from and a plethora of mental disorders to either pick or discipline ourselves into having…or we actually have one that we are taught to flaunt (and make it worse), or told to hide because it is shameful. We can also have a disability if we want and be tans-disabled (http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/becoming-disabled-by-choice-not-chance-transabled-people-feel-like-impostors-in-their-fully-working-bodies ). We have everyone around us telling us we were abused as children. Our friends tell us our parents are mean, super-strict, prudes. Some say our concerned family is crazy and we need to get out. I know every once in a while this is true, but really, most of us are just cry babies surrounded by negativity and people who want to hurt us.

Social expectations and pressure are at an all time high these days. Social media makes us accessible and available to criticism and vice every minute of every day. If we’re fat, someone will let us know. If we say we love America and are a patriot, someone will tell us what murdering scumbag racists we are. If we post a prayer or a blessing, someone will condemn us for having a faith. If we post a video of our cat with a piece of tape on his paw, someone will call animal services and report us for abuse.

We are on pins and needles, walking on egg shells because everyone is waiting for someone to point at us and scream “Look at how baaaad that guy is! Thank goodness I’m not that way.” This coupled with the victim trend is crippling our generation—and we are doing it to ourselves. Yes, the economics of our time sucks all the nasty. But our mind-sets could change the world. Everyone knows that you can train your brain to look on the bright side or hunt for vile images to meditate on EmilysQuotes.Com-focus-positive-defend-mind-negative-victory-inspirational-encouraging-Billy-Cox(https://www.marieforleo.com/2017/09/negativity-bias/ ) (no, this will not cure depression, but good grief does it make it worse—get meds if you need ‘em). If we tried to see the light, I’d post a lot more “Got my paycheck. Yay!” on social media and less “Omg I am so broke poor me, be sad, I eat once a day” nonsense. The latter may be true as snow in Norway, but that doesn’t mean I need to talk about it all the darn time. I do though. Know why? It’s so much easier to be the victim these days. We millenials love to commiserate, but damn you if you are worse off than me!

Being a victim is the new in-thing. If you are a victim, then you are not the one to blame. A radio show I used to listen to said it best:

Our society places a great deal of importance on ‘individual rights’. It seems a day doesn’t go by that someone isn’t telling us they have the right to do something. And, it’s true. Rights are very important. But there’s a flip side to them that is hardly ever discussed these days. It’s called responsibility. As the old song says, you can’t have one without the other! But these days, people are trying to. And the sad thing is, they’re succeeding. They’ve created a whole new class for themselves called, “victims”. “It’s not my fault,” they say, “Don’t blame me, I’m a victim! It was the way I was raised! It was the neighborhood I grew up in. I’m not responsible.” And so we excuse. And even reward all sorts of bad behavior. And little by little, our society decays and crumbles. Don’t let that happen. You can stop it! You, me, we, the people. We make the laws. We can stop the decay. We just have to have the courage to do it

Applying to this situation here, it’s not the laws I’m talking about but out mindset. We can change our mindset if we want to. I did want to and the last couple months have been a whole new life for me. I refuse to be a victim, but not everyone will. I’m going to call out someone who’s desire to be a victim makes them a weak pansy by choice. In a lot of ways, we millenials are victims of society in that we are being attacked our peers. But we don’t have to live there. We can move on from that one time we were victimized. It’s like with a mental disorder: you just need to realize you need to get better. Any way…

(Another post for another time).

It would kill the millennial spirit to post positive, un-emo, not-suicide-endorsing, content to Twitter and Instagram. We have raised ourselves, with the help of our suffering, oh so poor and abused peers, to think this way and see no way out. Yes, your kid’s friends are to blame as well. Millenials are so easily influenced because we are looking for any comrade no matter how hateful. We put up with the abuse we blame you for from our “friends”…We want any comfort no matter how much poison it comes with. And you, as the parent or guardian, are out of the picture because they are convinced you don’t love them and will turn them out or shun them.

Let me take a moment to say one thing though. Your child is having a rough time for so many reasons: poisoned by friends, by media, and having a rough time due to the economic strain and job market. If they come limping back, or you see that they are in dire straights, don’t get angry and say you will kick their ass for ending up in a way. Love them, help set them back on their own two feet, and give them a gentle push. Like on a swing. Or riding a bike. Sometimes we fall off. People are tribal creatures. We are not created to be alone. Maybe your child hurt you when they left. Forgive them for they know not what they did. Be the parent—the bigger person—let it go and help. Reach out. Don’t wait. (More for another post at another time.)

Now, when we do need help, most millennials don’t want handouts (no, seriously, some of us like to work for what we need) but just make them take it. Don’t shower them in money, gifts, and comfort. Just supplement. Help them find a job (my millennial siblings: take the retail job…it may be for ten years, but it’s not forever), help them find a place they can afford, give them some groceries and send them on their way. Tough love. But please note, it IS love. Not just tough. You are lucky to have an oportunity to step up and prove your child and his peers that they were wrong: you did love them and still do.

It’s hard to show even tough love when your baby seems so wrong. Maybe they are doing drugs. Maybe they turned out gay or got pregnant. There are more ways to get screwed up for my generation than there were 30 years ago. If you raised this 20-or-30-smoething year old kid to the best of your abilities and the best way you knew how—with LOVE—then you did fine. As a millennial, I am sorry. I am not sorry for how my generation is because I can’t help that—even though I think we’re all super screwed up. I’m not apologizing for the poor specimen you churned out. And they probably weren’t even that. They were a good kid, tried hard, did what they thought would get them through life (we were all told to be good, get a job, go to college and it will all fall in to place…well…). But this world wants to see mankind fail. You are one –or a lucky two—parents against the world. God bless you for what you did, even if you don’t see it as a success. Think about it, please. You did an amazing job. You versus 7 billion other people who want you, your morals, loving efforts, and child destroyed.

It’s only going to get worse for your grandkids. Everything goes from order to disorder and that goes for our galaxy. Think about thousands of more years of going to disorder. I’ll be gone by then, thank goodness, but my gosh I fear for my descendants. I just have to do my best. Like you.

Please don’t give up on millenials and generation Z. We need your support and wisdom, not your condescension and resentment. We don’t need your snide “Back in my day” comments. You are the ones who shape how we see the world. Because of that attitude we turn to our peers and thus end up with a blind leading the blind scenario.

My point is, you can’t blame yourself for how your babies are turning out. You can’t blame us either as we didn’t make the world we were born in to. But I know some mothers out there who probably cry themselves to sleep over the choices of their darlings. I defend you and thus ask that you not blame us either. We have an illness and love is the cure. Stick together, support each other, and brave the storm. Don’t throw yourself overboard and leave us in the gale–you did what was right.

 

 

 

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Rockstar VS the Fans: What is it you really want?

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“Overwhelmingly negative”  is not something you want to see on a game that has such a hardcore following is Grand Theft Auto. If you are new to the franchise and you were excited to see a new game come out and wanted to hop on that train, then get ready with your fists up because the blows are flying.  Grand Theft Auto V is not unlike other games in the Grand Theft Auto series or franchise aside from the fact that mods are absolutely 100% band. That’s right, one of the most fun things to do in a PC game is use mods and Grand Theft Auto is no stranger to having its mods be a source of controversy for the media. The big deal was back in 2014 when some then supposed hackers modded the game that would allow them to virtually rape another player in the game. At this point in our lives and at this point in the discussion of mods and violence in video games, you might just shrug your shoulders and say that’s what happens. After all even in Halo you can get tea-bagged mercilessly without a mod. The big deal is that teabagging really and rages the majority of male video gamers. Not to say that the rape mod was and raging female Gamers but it definitely concerned parents when they’re young children would log into the game to find their character being raped.

Think I’m kidding?

When the accusations begin to fly towards Rockstar that their game included rape, they blatantly denied it. Granted what they said is true; their game does not include rape it was implemented by the fans. But in Rockstar’s defense their’s is not the only game where this happens. Aside from massive teabagging there was also an incident in the game DayZ where a female gamer complained that she had been cornered by two male characters and was murdered and then they simulated having sex on her corpse. Modded or simulated character rape in games is not something new but has come into the light once again with the mod restrictions for Grand Theft Auto V.

A vast majority of mods for video games are surprisingly not harmful. There’s a favorite for Skyrim that turns dragons into various characters from Thomas the Tank Engine. Even in Grand Theft Auto there were mods for ridiculous things like riding a UFO or submerging the game’s entire world underwater. But like most things, Grand Theft Auto fell into the hands of the trolls. Trolling is a natural part of online play and should be expected by new Gamers and old Gamers alike. The trolling has usually been tolerated as you could mute a character or block a player. Some mods in Grand Theft Auto, like going around without your pants, didn’t really hurt anyone aside from being mildly disturbing. But that all changed when the rape mod was created and you could suddenly make characters that were not your own do things against their will. The mod in question literally comes with a menu that you can choose from and force on to other players.gta revierws.PNG

Even having your character forced into something they might not want to do or you might not want to happen to them could seem like something that should just be shrugged off. However, the issue was that the mod glitched your game and there was nothing you could do after you had been raped. Your character would be stuck in the bent-over position or would randomly begin another action inside the mod menu such as pole dancing. You also couldn’t do anything to the character assaulting you. The mod had control of your character and essentially made the one raping you invincible.The subreddit for Grand Theft Auto V is full of complaints like this one. After several incidents like this and the subreddit exploding with stories and YouTube being flooded with GTA online rape scenes, Rockstar stepped in but only with a toe. They said that people who cheated to get millions or even trillions of dollars and use such mods would be punished at Rockstar’s discretion. Much to the dissatisfaction of some players, there was a large majority of modders and rapers that were never punished.

Flash Forward to 2017 and the release of Grand Theft Auto 5’s mod restrictions.  Rockstar Games parent company Take-Two was so fed up with the legal action that was threatened against them that they banned the popular modding tool  OpenIV. They didn’t just ban and have the modding tool shut down. No they ordered a cease-and-desist to the developers of OpenIV. This might just sound like a slap on the hand of an adult telling you to cut it out, but a cease-and-desist order is a legal order. This means that if you do not stop the action that is being asked of you, then it can be taken up in court and set before a judge. For a small-time developer that just wants to create mods for people to have fun, this comes out of the darkness scarier than a Freddy Fazbear. It means that you have to stop the action they’re asking you to or you will be in some deep legal trouble.

The tool was banned for Grand Theft Auto and the backlash was unbearable for Rockstar Games. All one has to do is sign in to Steam and look at the reviews for Grand Theft Auto V to see that they are overwhelmingly negative. A brave soul opened up an account on change.org to have fans sign a petition and rage and flame until Rockstar Games relented and tackled its parent, becoming the rebellious teenager we all hoped it would be. Slapping its parent company in the face, Rockstar Games has decided that OpenIV will be usable again. Surprisingly enough just the other day Rockstar actually said that it believes in the responsibility of its fans to play the game like the adults it was intended for. They also stated that they hope Take-Two will not actually be taking legal action.

Rockstar was questioned about single player mods as the general concern seems to be for Grand Theft Auto online. Rockstar replied saying “Rockstar Games believes in reasonable fan creativity, and, in particular, wants creators to showcase their passion for our games. After discussions with Take-Two, Take-Two has agreed that it generally will not take legal action against third-party projects involving Rockstar’s PC games that are single-player, non-commercial, and respect the intellectual property  rights of third parties. This does not apply to  multiplayer or online services; tools, files, libraries, or functions that could be used to impact multiplayer or online services, or use or importation of other IP in the project.”

Passion for the games? Responsible creativity? At least they said it doesn’t apply to multiplayer or online services. No matter where you stand on the topic or whether you think it’s an expression of free speech or not, mods are technically allowed in any game. The only thing that is currently super punished in the gaming world is scripting and that usually has to do with eSports and competitive play.  Think of it like using hormones or steroids for athletes. Yes, it will ruin the playing experience for you, but it’s not illegal and is not necessarily punishable. And really we should all be standing applauding Rockstar for standing up to their parent company and defending their fans. It’s an extremely unpleasant sight to come in and see that your character has been raped or to see it being done and to be absolutely helpless. But what are you going to say to the griefers in Minecraft? To the people who come in and destroy your entire house that no doubt took you hours to create?  It’s all a form of trolling and so long as they are not harming your actual bank account or your physical person, the damage is repairable.

And in case you were wondering, the petition on change.org has almost 80,000 people signing it. That’s a lot of people that play one game. If you have those 80000 people trash-talking your game to their friends that’s at least a whopping 100,000 people who will not be buying your games in the future. Or if they think you’re going to be a weak developer under the toe of your parent company, then they might not risk it and play your game even then.

On a brighter note for those who enjoy it, Rockstar has said that it is in contact with the developer of OpenIV and that they will be discussing the situation. Whatever the outcome it will be better than completely shutting down the modding tool. However, Rockstar did mention that their rules do not apply to multiplayer or online services including functions that could be used to impact the other players. So while you may not be able to forcibly and virtually rape your fellow players, you will still be able to mod using OpenIV.  This will have gamers asking themselves what it is they were actually upset about. Will you be satisfied with the outcome that Rockstar has with the developers of the mod tool? Or will you, as a gamer, be enraged that you cannot virtually rape those around you?

We know that there are other mods in there that are malicious that don’t include rapes but the point is they are all focused on other players in an extremely harassing way. Of course you get pleasure from harassing another person, you’re the one in charge and in power! But if you have to come to a video game for a power trip then you should mod yourself a new life.

The point is, both sides are speaking to each other and there will no doubt be a resolution soon. We should all be rejoicing that Rockstar has stepped up on  behalf of its fans and those with the creative thumb that want to enhance the game. While some mods are obviously terrible to experience, the fact that gamers love your game so much that they want to enhance the experience for themselves and share it with others shows true creative heart and love for the game. And how often does a developer actually stand up for its fans? In the history of video games it has definitely been a very rare sight. In some cases it is the gamers versus the creators. Fortunately, Rockstar isn’t being offended at the decision for gamers to mod the game, declaring it more enjoyable. They are touched that fans want to have creative in put on their games. Like a brave warrior, Rockstar has stood up to its parent, slapped them across the face, and declared that we shall have our freedom.

As it stands, OpenIV is still banned and you cannot use the mods even in single player. However, with a little responsible chatter between the developers of OpenIV and Rockstar, hopefully we will see mods return at least to single player games.  As gamers though, we should be asking each other what is it we miss about the mod?  Was it the power play or was it the ability to fly around on UFO spaceships?  Rockstar thinks its fans are responsible…Think about it, gamers!

The Basic White Girl (and Non-White Girl) Conundrum: The Most Anti-feminist Thing This Feminist Will Ever Write

This is not about race. This is not in defense of “white privilege”. This has nothing to do with that. This has to do with women.

There is this fad of hating white people in general but the favorite subject of ridicule is the white girl. You’ve seen the hashtags floating around about white girl problems, and even the offensive basic white girl slogan. I’m not here to talk about race and get defensive, I’m here to talk about a gender issue. Society is laughing at this white girl and, like women always have, she is laughing it off and saying “Well, I guess this is my place in society and everyone is going to abuse me for it.” Like always, the modern day white girl is being abused. She is not being abused because she is white though. Like I said, this is not about race. She is being abused because she has adhered to the societal and traditional roles of Puritan America. Let me explain.

 

Brunch. Starbucks. Leggings. Ugs. Cool weather. October. Oh, very white girl.

This girl likes brunch because her day starts either at 6am or before. She wakes up, makes her kids breakfast and lunch, packs them up, cleans up the kitchen and takes them to school. She may do the shopping then. By the time she has a breather, she’s been up for about 4 or 5 hours and is hungry. It’s 10am. It’s brunch time. She calls up her friends and they get together because the life of a basic white girl is lonely. The house is empty and she’s working alone. Starbucks because she is tired and there is one on every corner. Her life operates on convenience. And Starbucks tastes good. She loves that one little pleasure she has in her lonely, busy life and you are laughing at her trying to find happiness. Leggings and Ugs because they are fast, easy, and she can move in them–dash to save the baby, run around the store to gather all her family needs. Cool weather because she works hard, physically, and is hot all the time. She is moving, stressed. So yeah, she likes it when things cool down for her.

Like I said, this is not just a white girl problem, but even women of other races who are adhering to this role are getting flack for it and told they are a “basic white girl”, which is supposed to be a really rude insult to those not of the white variety. You are telling the women who raise the future of this country that they are basic and stupid and less valuable because they enjoy these things, when all they are doing is what they were trained to do.

Women are finding it hard to break out into the workforce and I know we’ve come a LONG way since the 20s and even the 60s. But the fact that a phrase like “basic white girl” even exists and is meant to be mean shows that we still have a long way to go. Some women have laughed it off and even learned to apply the phrase to themselves, but honestly, it’s a form of defense. “Haha, yeah,” she laughs nervously, “I’m so basic” and sips her PSL. But inside she wonders why you have to call her that and what she did wrong. As Thomas Moore said, why do you educate people in a certain way then condemn them for the way they live out that education? These women are doing their best and people have the nerve to laugh at them and devalue them?

The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. But we can’t let women know that, can we? No, they must be laughed at, and put down. Told they are basic and not important. God bless the women who fill this role and do it with grace, because the rest of you aren’t.

American Illness: A Tragic True Story

There are two harsh truths about America. One, it loves to be the leading lady when a drama about viruses or illnesses crop up. Two, it’s impossible to find good help in America.

I like to think I’m the type that works hard and I like to think of mankind as just that: mankind. We are not all separate races, we are the human race. I don’t discriminate between anyone. Unless you are absolutely lazy or smell really bad because you haven’t showered in three weeks, I won’t have any reason to dislike you. But Americans like to be disliked. Remember, drama queen. Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 3.10.11 PM

It was a normal day at work: all the old people were not waking up and I was taking them to the bathroom half asleep and wheeling them to their first meal with their eyelids droopy and lips limp. I went to check on one resident who I don’t normally handle and she wasn’t feeling well. I asked her to go ahead and try to sit up. That was all it took. Next thing I know, I’m diving for the garbage to catch her projectile vomit so I don’t have to steam clean the floor. Woohoo for Spider-Man-like reflexes. Another day saved and all was well.

The next day rolls around and I wake up with a very communicative stomach. I can’t even move in my bed without a squelch, a rumble, and a burst of bubbly anger. I pull myself up and march into work any way, sure that the day would be nice and simple since it was just some training on Alzheimer’s. No such luck. An hour in, I’m discreetly charging to the bathroom to allow the last night’s dinner a safe home in the porcelain throne. I sit back down. not an hour goes by and I’m not quite so discreetly visiting my queenly realm once again. Naturally, I left the meeting as soon as I could and spent a day sleeping. I have never slept an entire day. I’ve never even slept past 10am. I knew it must have been serious so I took the whole next day to rest up, knowing I have 4 days to work right in a row, all starting at 5am.

Today, I got to work with a still upset stomach, though much better than the first day. “You had a whole day to rest!” you shout. “You should be fine!” I dare you to go to work with this particular flu. I was not hungry, but my boss had bought us all pizzas to help ease the pain of all of our residents being in quarantine thanks to the virus that was going around. Big mistake. The oils, the processed meat, the gross cheese–it could have been anything. By the end of my shift, I was almost doubled up with puke-alert again. My own fault. I still hauled hundreds of pounds of old people around, wiped poopy bums–the lot. I finished out my 8-hour shift, stayed for the meeting after, and went to Wal-Mart for my mother after.

Here’s where it gets good. Tired, ill, and ready to vomit in the parking lot, I stepped across those very convenient little lines behind the stop sign that are for pedestrians going from the lot to the store. You know the ones. I was trudging across that when some kind of car slammed on its breaks just close enough for me to feel the heat from the grill against my knees. I nearly jumped out of my skin and dropped my purse to face the offending windshield. The lady inside rolled down her window and screamed through a snuggle tooth, “Black people go first, bitch! Out the way!”

In my own defense, I guarantee that women will not being going to her job at 5am with vomit waiting to erupt out her nose and mouth. Granted, I hadn’t puked in about 24 hours, but that pizza was not settling well. And now, I felt even more sick.

America is ill and not feeling well. No, I’m sorry, she can’t come out and play.

The Writer Who Works Out: Code for Laziest Fitness Teacher Out There

yoga-241609_1280It has been some time since I’ve written and I’m going to put on my “good grad student persona” and say that it’s because I’ve been working hard on school and work. I believe with all my heart there is some truth in there. I may also be moving up the ranks in League of Legends, but no one knows that.

This is post of utility. I want encourage other writers and computer-hoverers out there to get up once in a while and stretch your lungs. I have been doing a self-imposed workout plan for five weeks now that I called “Six Weeks Until Xena”. Yes, I upped my workout game and healthy living in order to become the Warrior Princess. Since I’m almost done, all I have t show for it are thighs too large with muscle for my old jeans and some more stamina. Not the results I wanted, but I’m sure if I go six more weeks, I’ll tone down and shape up. I plan to go again but this time with less strict planing.

How many times have you started a workout plan and then had to give up because you cannot get into that routine. Or maybe you said you’d wake up at 6am and failed after a week because you are just not a morning person? I tried to be a morning person thanks to this guy (http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2014/08/14/how-to-become-a-morning-person/) and it was awesome for a little while. But then I fell off one day and got really discouraged (writers do that, when they fail–no matter what–they fail HARD). Everyone says do your workout in the morning to wake up. Hah, I can’t wake up before 9am. So sad, I know. But I did try. For months!

So here is what I want to tell you: Do not try. Now, don’t freak out. YES, WORKOUT! But let it come. I no longer do my yoga, Insanity DVDs, or belly dance routines in the morning. I started using a Spinning bike at about 1pm and suddenly my workout was better, I had energy for that gross 2pm slump that everyone hates, and I felt better. I just cannot concentrate if I haven’t some work or school or homework (or whatever!) by 10am. So I ditched the morning workout and I do it whenever I can. If I see I have an hour before something, I cram it in and think of nothing else while in my workout. WHAT ABOUT WRITING? It’s ok, I have a blessed 30 minutes before bed (even I’m crazy tired) that I try to hammer out 300 or 500 words. Just push that much longer. It’s ok.

That’s what I want you to think about while your working out and getting in no matter the time of day: It’s ok. A 1 hour workout is ONLY 4% of your day. You can do it. Don’t rush it, don’t stress while doing it. When you workout, think only of your body and feel its inner workings. I love time with my body, while I’m working it. It does things to my psychi as well. Don’t stress over it.

Here is a list of things to try:

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1st, to help you out, here is a link to a timer I have set up: http://www.intervaltimer.com/timers/5745947 This is my personal timer. I use it while I’m working or studying. I set a timer to work for an 1.5 hours or just 1 hour. When it goes off, I start some music and start this timer. It’s just 8 minutes. It gets your blood flowing and gets you awake again. Don’t forget to breathe.

2nd is yoga. You may feel weak when first doing it, but trust me, it gets easier and within a few months, you will have the muscles to feel relaxed while doing this. I recommend Fightmaster Yoga. She is free, professional, fun, and has many, MANY videos to choose from: https://www.youtube.com/user/lesleyfightmaster

3rd, go to your library and get a workout DVD. Your local library is FREE and almost unlimited in its resources. Get dance workouts, fast paced cardio, fun weight training–anything that sparks you interest. Use it for the week you get it barrow it, then get a new one. Fresh workouts keep you interested and excited about getting a new DVD.

4th, eat right. I’d say in my experience, eating right is about 70% of healthy living. I am not a fan of veggies, but I do love veggie dip. I eat celery, carrots and broccoli often enough. It has also gotten to the point that I cannot stand candy and cake. I prefer fruit pies, fruity yogurts and just fruit (nature’s candy!) in general. Impossible, you say? Nope! I love grapes more than I love Twizzlers. Try it. You’ll get there!

5th, and lastly, DO NOT cut out carbs and proteins if you are going to start exercising. The point of exercising and eating RIGHT is to get into a habit that you can maintain for your WHOLE LIFE. When working out, you need that protein to build muscle and you will need those carbs for fuel. If you are just now adding a workout to your life, don’t cut the carbs but don’t add to them too much either. This workout is new for your body and the amount of carbs you eat is fine. You are adding more work to your body and cutting off its fuel supply is a bad idea. Just don’t stuff you face. Eat slow, take small bites and you’ll be fine.

I hope this helps someone. I had intended to put more links in here, but I’ll save those for later. In the mean time, have a great day and may you find more power and strength in your days!

It’s all in how you look at it: I like my story better

candle-386607_1280I toasted tonight in the dark to a candle. I clinked the glass, cold wine against warm fire. Where do I go from here? Do I tell you about the fire? About how the candle was almost burnt out; hot, liquid shimmering in a dangerous light. I’ve written about nearly burnt out candles for a long time. The first poem I ever wrote involved one of those. It was about societal cannibalism. A candle burning low is so symbolic. The contrast is my wine. Cheap, and from a grocery store that gouges the prices out through customer’s eyes, the wine was pink. A pale reflection of red. Diluted, dainty, faint. It’s cold because it tastes better that way. It’s too sweet to be room temperature, and not sweet enough to allow itself to be really cold. It’s a stupid wine, can’t make up its mind. I drink it because it’s all I have. That and the chocolate I bought. Hearshys with almonds. I had a line of movies set up to watch tonight by the light of this candle. All with shirtless, gorgeous, ripped men. It was to be a lovely night with warmth, outside and in, flowing through my veins, calming my mind. I started it off hardcore, taking my antidepressants with a swig of this symbolic wine. Then I warmed up, lit the cnadles and turned on Smallville. Not at all what I was planning. These things never do go as planned. I am drinking and taking melatonin so that I can fall asleep before my sister gets home from her date with her boyfriend. She keeps me up and then I’ll never get to my workout in time. If I can make myself do it. About the fire though, I can’t remember what I was going to tell you about it. I think I was asking where it was all going. The point is, I was alone and if I wanted to make it worse, I’d say I was taking drugs and drinking alcohol. And playing with fire. I was also losing my mind because I toasted to the fire, clinking my glass to it. But that sounds ridiculous. Why tell a stupid, depressing story, when instead I can say I had pink wine with chocolate while watching some Tom Welling. Much better. Happy Valentines Day.

I Don’t Believe In Love So I Wrote a Romance Novel

At the end of October, I had fully intended to use this year’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) to finish up and polish the sequel to last years “Camelot Project”, which had a brief life of it’s own on Blogger where I posted chapters. I have an outline for the second novlove-316640_1280elette, have started a few chapters, and kind of know where I want it to go. But then something inside me said, “No, write that romance novel.”
“What?” I laughed. “The one I’ve been joking about writing for years?”
Yup, it was that one. When I say “that one” I don’t mean that I’ve had one planned out for a while or any remote idea of a plot. Just that for years I’ve known that romance will probably sell faster than my fantasy epic and I’ve always had that as my backup. Now, some of you may have the same reaction my psychologist did the other day when he asked about my relationships and I said I’d never had one.
Silence. “Really?” Silence. “Ever?” Ahem. “How old are you?”
Total disbelief. Tells you something about the world we live in, huh?
So why should I write a romance novel. HOW? Fortunately, I have a great imagination. But I know, as some great “real life romantics” will say, that I could never imagine the feeling of being in love. Probably not. And neither can they, not the way they’re telling it. Love is a chemical reaction in the brain and is strengthened by sex. Love is not a heart thing. Not this, romantic, guy-girl thing people long for.
I don’t believe in love. Only because I haven’t seen it or experienced it. Yes, I kind of have a concept of it because I’m a Christian and there is that whole Jesus’s Love thing, but that’s another post for another time. I don’t really want to experience it either. I watched my three older brothers fall in love, date, and get married.
They were complete morons while in love. I have never hated them more than when they were dating. My best friend was impossible while dating.

I don’t want to be that moron. I’d rather be under control and plan my time around myself and work and school. I’m that selfish, some will say. Sure, sure. You want to know the real reason I don’t believe in love?

Because the world doesn’t. And the world has ruined it. There is no love, there is only sex and I believe them. And I don’t want sex. This novel was hard for me to write then because it was like fantasy. A fantasy the world doesn’t believe in. But then I read a passage in the wonderful book “On Writing Romance” by Leigh Michaels where she said that your romance novel will only work if it ends with once in a lifetime love. I laugh, out loud. Who believes in that? I guffawed.

But it got better. Dangerous Books for Women had a quote about how romance novels were about women who chose to love to a higher standard. That really stuck with me as I try to hold myself to the highest standard I can. How fascinating these romance novels were turning out!

I was encouraged to keep writing by telling myself that there may be some people out there who still believe in a committed love. In a “once in a lifetime love” and strong women who chose to love to a higher standard. Could there really be people out there who want that kind of love? But, oh yeah, romance books are unrealistic. My bad! Let’s move on then!

If It’s Fun It Means You’re Doing the Wrong Thing!

Here I was being a good student and grinding away at my chapters in Collin Brooke’s “Lingua Fracta”, when I realized I had left my Netflix open and BBC’s “Sherlock” was vying for my attention. “Remember to be put the audio books on your iPod!” it whispered as I tabbed over to close the wonderful distraction as fast as I could. “Hmm, yes, iPod. Music,” I thought. “Let’s check real quick on this creative commons web site real quick just to make sure I bookmarked the music I want to use for my Dracula project!”

The End.

I then spend 20 minutes listening to sound bites and wondering where I could use this beautiful piano/violin duet. The index? The ending where you’ll read her last words? The next thing I know, I’m day dreaming about my projects and how fun this one is going to be. “I could get a lot done with this attitude!”, I think to myself. How great would that be? But no…

I want to write on my creative writing ideas, stories, and little novel ideas that I’ve had for years but I cannot make myself do it. But I’m sending stories out almost every week, surly that counts as profitable! It does, my dear fellows. It does. And that Dracula project? That’s for school, for crying out loud! I want to work on Dreamweaver too to iron out how to work it so I can tackle the page I have to build for my book review. What do all these have in common and why can I not get them done?

Because they are fun.

Yup, that’s right. Whenever work that is fun, and I know I’ll have a great time doing comes up, I ban myself from it. It feels like a waste of time. Somewhere along the lines, I convinced myself (or the world told me, or I was raised to believe–whichever theory suits your fancy) that if I was enjoying something, I was doing it wrong. Back in my church days, my favorite line was from the movie “Little Women” when the mother says “Nothing provokes speculation more than the sight of a woman enjoying herself”. This was in reference of course to my friend and I enjoying music, clothes, and movies everyone else thought were bad (read: sinful). Why does the world do this? If you like it it must be bad. No, it has nothing to do with religious teachings or that influence. I honestly believe it’s a kind of American thing. Yeah, most Americans these days don’t want to work at all, but back in the day (and I’ve always been something of an Old Soul) people worked and worked hard. Somehow I’ve gotten it into my head that I must be working on something (and if I’m unhappy I’m doing it right) or I’m wasting my time.

I don’t know how to conquer this right now. I put work off until it’s not fun to do. I’ve almost done that with a short story I was super excited to work on and now I’m just like, “Well, I better write that” and I can’t remember what was so great about it! So until next time, I have something else to think about.

Rejection and Going After It Again, Wondering If I’m Just That Bad

I’ve had a short story going around for only about a month now. It’s been rejected five times now. I’m not sure if I need to fix or if I’m just sending it to people who don’t want Steampunk right now because all I get back are the generated “thanks but no thanks” emails. My professors said that sometimes they people who reject you will tell you why and give you feedback. That’d be nice but without it, I’m going to assume the story is fine and is just written in a difficult genre that no one in the mainstream wants to read. One day, I think Steampunk will be popular, just not yet. Despite the millions of creative outlets it has.

So imagine how utterly down I feel now when I read this story from one online magazine I submitted to and think it’s probably one of the worst micro fictions I’ve read. Then I read that the author was the one who beat me out of the Simon451 contest too and is having his book published. I scratched my head and wondered, “Why do people publish this stuff?” My blogs are not fancy or poetic, but I’d like to think my short stories are pretty good. I can’t say, “Yes, they’re prize winners!” because I’m not sure. I just write what I like and what matters to me in the best way I can with attention to what may be “good” writing.

Sometimes I whine too much because I feel like I used to back when I would go swimming in the ocean. No matter how hard I swam against the waves and the current, I couldn’t ever get back to where I had started out. No matter the effort, no matter how much I nearly passed out from lack of air, I could never get back to the same point. I was too small and the ocean was too strong. Not that I’m not a good swimmer, I am. I’m just not an athletic swimmer. So because I am not that swimmer I could not win.

I have class tonight and I’m going to make the best out of it. I’m going to learn what I can and hope that one day I make it. I have plans, I have dreams, and all I can do is what I’m sure some other writers like me have done: Keep writing. I don’t want anything I do to be a waste. I think I’m a good writer and I love what I write. To those of you like me out there–grad students, baby writers, dreamers–stay with me on this one. We’ve got this.

October Inspiration

Photo by @matylda

Photo by @matylda

I realized with horror last night that my finals for this semester are in December. I tried to look back and see what I’ve learned and my heart sank when I found that I had not thought I’d learned a lot.

But that’s not true. I’ve learned a plethora of amazing things. So then I thought maybe I’ve just not gotten enough done. True, I have projects for school that are lagging behind but that’s because the program I’m in is only in it’s second year ever. It’s very new and I’m enjoying being part of the growth of this university’s new program. I think the reason I’ve felt like I’ve not completed enough is because I had too high of expectations for this first semester. I wanted to have a full time job, be cranking out projects, burying myself in homework–everything a very studious student should be doing. Now, I know some of my fellows are drowning in work. But those are the second year students who have TAs that I wish I had.

So really, what I’ve learned this semester is that I have time to work on other things. I should not lose this time to wondering what I’m missing out on and go out and create things to do. So I have. I have found a call for chapters to write for, a call for papers to write for, and am still on the hunt for freelance gigs when I have time to sit and search for them.

I am doing my best to not feel like a waste. I know things will pick up and I will soon feel left behind. I suppose that since I’m a creative writer and used to being an undergrad with papers due every week, I feel lazy not writing 1000+ words a day and freaking out about due dates. Soon, though. I have no doubt. I thrive in work environments with things to do. So until then, I will look for work and ways to better myself.