Soulful Saturday: Happiness

Happy Saturday, everyone! Can you believe June is almost over? That means this will be my last Soulful Saturday of the month! Amazing!

Today, my topic is going to be all about happiness. What makes me happy, what I’m grateful for, and, most importantly, what happiness as a word means to me. And yes, I got the idea of PopSugar. I just needed something deep, and happiness is pretty deep a topic to me!

So first of all, what IS happiness? Well, to me anyway, it means even my heart is surely smiling. It means I feel filled with energy from the feelings in my chest, like things are just going better than expected by far. I know not everyone thinks it this way, but to me, true happiness is as simple as that.

To be fair, I’m the type that’s pretty easy to please. I’m a bit childish still, in that even the sensation of walking a straight line makes me feel pretty happy. Then again, walking in a straight line is hard for me in general. I get happy when I finish a puzzle, when I’m enjoying a game, or even just writing for you like this.

So many places, people and projects make me happy. I’m grateful for more than you can probably imagine. I’m grateful to my dad, who still takes care of me each day, reminding me about my meds, making food… I admit, I’m a bit spoiled. I’m also thankful to have my boyfriend in my life. He may be far away, but I always feel warm when I think of him. I’m thankful he cares so much about me and understands well that I have a very simple sort of mind. He may not always show it, but he cares for me dearly. And for that, I’m thankful. I’m also thankful to his mom, who’s very accepting and treats me as part of the family.

I’m grateful for a lot of things. So many things, three per day wasn’t always enough for me to write in my gratitude journal. I need to start that over, but it’s hard some days to feel grateful. And you know what I do those days? I write something I’ll always be grateful for: the fact that I’m alive, and survived another day on this sometimes cruel, many times beautiful world.

What are you guys thankful for? What does happiness mean to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Throwback Thursday: Forums

Hey guys, and welcome back to another Throwback Thursday! Today, I’m going to be talking about forums- you know, message boards? Those things now mostly used to roleplay? If you still don’t know what I’m talking about, you should probably look at some of the ones on my Sites to See page- they’re fun!

You see, I’ve been on a real forum kick lately. Don’t get me wrong, I love my chat servers on discord- but I also really love how relaxed I feel chatting on forums. I love it so much I’ve managed to end up on six or seven forums of various types, and I’ve begun to take an interest in what it takes to run one.

My love of forums is far from new, though. For those of you who were around when I wrote about my nostalgia over the chat server of my youth, .hack//chat, you likely already know this- but I was really big on forums, both for just chatting and for roleplaying, at a pretty young age. For a long time, forums were my life- it was how I made friends I felt I could trust more easily than those offline (though I do adore my offline friends too!). It was where I felt safe to say things I normally couldn’t offline… Basically, it was my safe haven.

I was on all sorts of forums in my teen years- mostly avatar forums, but also just chat forums and roleplay forums. Ah, to be young and oblivious to how hard the people that ran those sites worked to keep things running smoothly.

Recently, the admin of one of my favorite forums has been helping me learn the ropes and try to make a forum of my own- one which I intend to make for writers and artists of all sorts. A few others that know of this project help me out too- they give me advice, they tell me how to work certain things in the admin control panel… And that admin I mentioned? He’s hosting it on a part of his own server for me! I really meant it when I said you can make some amazing friends on forums!

What I forgot about was how dangerous it can be to let me anywhere near an FTP server. It’s gotten easier to add extensions to forums, but not enough for my simple mind to comprehend. I was able to add some different style sheets for my forum as I work on it, but I don’t know how to edit those- and the extensions? I can’t even seem to put them in the right part of the FTP server. They just… don’t show up no matter what I do in the control panel.

And that’s when I remembered the last time I tried to install an extension. This was about… I wanna say ten years ago? I am pretty sure I was still in high school when it happened. I worked on a small site that was going to grow after we were done building it. I was asked to add an extension to the FTP server… It was a lot harder back then, so they also sent me word for word instructions.

I followed the instructions to the letter. Apparently, the instructions were on how to destroy the site completely! The site broke so bad, the admin control panel couldn’t be reached. The site was all bones.

And now, that anxiety has caught up with me. I haven’t blown up my site yet, but I’m certainly not gaining any headway with these extensions… Do they just hate me? I hope to find out soon.

That’s all I have to say for today. That, and try some forums! They’re hard to maintain, but you might meet people you’ll adore for a lifetime!

Topical Tuesday: My Identity

Good afternoon, my friends, and welcome back to another Topical Tuesday. I had to do some snooping around for ideas for today to be honest, but that list on PopSugar saved me again. In the end, I’ve decided to talk about identity- my identity. The way I see myself, and the way I want to be seen- and how people often say they see me.

First, a couple things I consider important in terms of my identity. I am demisexual/demiromantic. Many people don’t know what this is when I bring it up, but to me, it’s a very important piece of my life. I can only be attracted, emotionally or sexually, to a person who has both earned my trust and broken down, somehow, the many walls I’ve built around myself over the years.

Now, the reason I bring this up first is actually because of something others often notice, and I only recently came to recognize: I am a total flirt. I do it without thinking, and knowing about it makes me hate myself a little. I don’t intend to flirt with anyone- but somehow, it just happens, and then I get depressed. There’s only one person in this world I intentionally flirt with.

And there was a likely reason I’m such a flirt. I’m a person who tries to avoid conflict- that means complimenting people I don’t know or like just to distract them from any stimuli that would cause a fight. I flirt with people who can’t see the many walls that hide between the person and my heart so they won’t realize how far they’ve yet to get.

So that’s one topic from both sides tackled. Next, I’d like to note that while you shouldn’t ‘identify’ as a diagnosis, I often do. I define myself with my borderline personality disorder. I make sure to bring it up quickly in a new relationship, no matter the kind, so that people understand how thin the thread is that they have to walk on to be near me. My trust in people generally flips on a dime.

If you worry that you don’t know how I see you, you should stop worrying and ask me, because I take great pride in my blunt honesty. I won’t sugarcoat whether I like you or not, and I’ll likely include my reasoning. I also like seeing the honesty of others- so don’t be afraid to tell me your personal opinion. Just remember, if we don’t match up that way, it’s okay- don’t be an ass about whether you’re in the right or not. Opinions are opinions, no?

The next part of how I define myself has to do with hugs. I was raised with a lot of physical affection- mostly from relatives and my dad. When I was small and throwing a tantrum about not wanting to visit my grandmother, all dad had to say was she needed a hug and I’d start bouncing, excited to go. However, my love for hugs and closeness can be a problem. Not everyone is comfortable with touch or hugs- and my clingy nature can be quite a difficult obstacle. I’m slowly learning to manage by asking permission from certain people, in hopes of not entering their personal space without consent. Even I say no to a hug once in a while- especially depending on who it is. I’ll skip the details on some of those for the time being.

My final way I describe myself with (outside being overly picky with numbers and food) is that I’m fairly lazy. I’m not someone who picks up her room properly, I spend most of my time in chairs and beds, and I play a lot of games when I should be doing more important things. To me, making a phone call takes a lot of spoons (if you haven’t heard of spoon theory, look it up! It’s interesting and relatable, for me at least). On the days I make a phone call, I feel like I’ve done enough work for ten people. My hatred of phones is just that bad.

So there you go- five (or maybe more) ways I personally identify myself with. How would you define me if you had the chance? How would you describe yourself? Please tell me in the comments- I’d love to know!

Soulful Saturday: Addiction

Welcome to another Soulful Saturday, everyone! Today, I’m going to talk about something very deep in my opinion: addiction. You see, addiction has played a part in a lot of my life. I both suffer from it and have seen it rip my family apart. In no way do I intend to endorse any form of addiction. Instead, I want to tell you what’s led me to it, and the history in my family that makes it most unsurprising.

When my mother abandoned my family, she claimed it was for the sake of her rehabilitation. She had an addiction to a few meds, to smoking, and to gambling. I used to come home to see her on the computer playing card games. Sometimes, she’d involve my innocent, single-digit aged self. She’d ask me to choose a random number, not telling me what it was for.

My mom was a habitual liar as well. She said she had quit cigarettes, but I’d catch her on the porch with a cigarette in her mouth lit up and glowing amongst the trees that were part of our backyard. That was the day I learned not to trust my mother… And yet I still tried to.

When I was eight, my mother gambled away my family’s business entirely. She also gambled away all our savings- and it was actually that that tore my family apart. I was kept in the dark about what my mother had done, and assumed the rehab was for her smoking. I didn’t know the details- I just knew that it was my mother’s birthday, my first day at a new school for third grade, and a day I’d never forget or forgive fully.

Of course, it’s not like my dad hasn’t had his own share of addictions… but his are generally caused by doctors, as are mine. We both suffer from severe pain, causing us to be on controlled pain meds. The thing with that is, after being on it for a while, you won’t feel as much of the aid, but you’ll definitely know the difference when withdrawal hits. Adding to that, I’m also addicted to some of my psychiatric medication. It’s not just emotional, either- some of them cause withdrawal that actually hurts my body a lot… which leads to more pain killers, which depresses me further.

Now, I’m someone who hates taking pills. I’m always trying to avoid using anything I don’t need- I fight taking things even when I need it, like tylenol or advil or even simethicone (also known as Gas-X). But my psych meds? I need those or I’ll start hallucinating and lose my mind. And the pain meds? If I don’t take them regularly, my pain gets to the point I can’t stop crying and whining.

Because I’m already addicted to meds, I’d like to not be addicted to anything else. Since gambling addictions run in my family on mom’s side (her dad had it too), I have worked hard to avoid gambling in any way… But now I let myself gamble in games that only use game currency, such as Harvest Moon DS.

I do have more than medication addiction, though. I’m also addicted to the internet, especially forums as of late. I’m a part of seven and planning to make my own with help from a friend. To most, that would seem insane! And you know what? It might be. Still, I prefer to focus on getting rid of one vice at a time.

My father and I are both trying to wean ourselves off the pain meds. I have to take at least two or three a day to avoid withdrawal, but it used to be up to six. Dad is working on multiple pain meds, while I’m on just one- tramadol. For dad, it’s even harder because he’s been on two different ones for so long… But I hope that for both of us, someday, we won’t need these meds… and we won’t have withdrawal because of it anymore.

Do any of you have an addiction problem? If you do, or just know someone with one, please let me know any tips and tricks they used to quit on their own! I could use all the help I can get.

Happy Saturday, everyone!

Throwback Thursday: Prankster

Hello everyone! You know what today is, right? It’s the day we (well, I) reminisce about the past… And what better subject is there than the ways we torture or taunt people as children?

I may have gotten a hate letter saying I was too much of a goodie two shoes, but even I made false phone calls… Mostly to my friend’s crush. We’d call them for lots of things, but mainly pizza. Yep, you heard me. We bugged them pretending we thought they were the pizzeria.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, however. My dad has done some interesting little pranks using the phone. He called his friend he hadn’t seen in ten years and got voice mail… in which he pretended he was dead and the one announcing it to the guy. But then he made sure to note it was all a hoax. Considering the pranks that guy did to dad, I was surprised that’s all he did.

It’s not just our friends and classmates we scam when using the phone. We torture telemarketers to the best of our ability too. Dad usually answers in a groveling voice to say, “You have reached the grim reaper.” IT always makes me laugh! In my case, I just try to make myself sound like a baby or a little kid. Or I just talk to them reluctantly and point out every fault in their methods.

Point blank… You’re never too old for a prank. Just make sure it’s all in good fun, and that you don’t cause someone to eat a pizza drenched in hot pepper powder. Prank responsibly! Okay?

Topical Tuesday: CampNaNo

Hello everyone, and welcome to Topical Tuesday! Today, my topic is actually more of a status update on my life: I’m officially taking part in CampNaNoWriMo next month!

If you don’t know what CampNaNo or NaNoWriMo are in general, NaNoWriMo is an event each November that pushes you to write a novel of 50,000 words in just that month. Camp, however, is an event that’s much more relaxed: you choose your goal, work on anything you’d like, and you’re not even confined to word counting! It’s every April and every July. I highly recommend them all!

The greatest thing about NaNo and CampNaNo is the community aspect. This year, I’m joining in on a couple festivities held on the NaNoWriMo forums for Camp: the postcard swap and the care package swap! I did the postcard swap during April, and it was a lot of fun getting postcards from both around my country and even the world. I got some great encouragement through them, and think the care packages will be even more thrilling to send and receive! It’s like a free goodiebag! I already have ideas of things I’ll send.

Now, I’ve told you about the special related events, but what I haven’t talked about is my goal for July. I failed horribly in April doing a page count for a script. This month, I decided to make it easier on myself in two ways: One, I’m writing in novel format. Two, I’m going by hours. I want to spend one hour a day writing this project or working on it in some way.

I hear you asking me, “But Jaluna, you haven’t told us your project yet!”

Yes, you’re right. I haven’t yet. Let’s fix that! My project is a magical girl tragedy/death game. I love reading death game manga, so I decided I wanted to make one of my own- and I was really inspired by manga like Mahou Shoujo Site and Mahou Shoujo of the End to make my own quirky and dark magical girl story. The project is officially called Treasure of Eternity- and I promise I’ll share snippets with you as I write it.

All that said and done, Camp means I’ll likely be altering my posting schedule both here and on the Alien Irony Redux blog. I’m going to start doing calculations today about how I wanna go about things- I’ll get back to you on it next Tuesday.

So, until then… Have a great week, guys! And don’t forget to tell me any thoughts you have in the comments!

Unplanned Update: Reviews!

Hey guys! Jaluna here (obviously). Today, I’d like to talk to you a quick moment about a new feature I intend to add to my blog. If you read the title, you probably already get where this is going but… I’m going to be doing reviews! I intend to review manga and video games no matter what, but I’m also thinking… What else can I review? And so, I came up with this quick survey to get your input. I put some of my own ideas in it- but feel free to share your own! I want an idea of how people feel about different topics being on this blog once in a while. Please be honest with me, okay?

Soulful Saturday: Dad and Pride

Good afternoon, and welcome back to Soulful Saturday! Today, I’m going to be getting pretty deep. I’m going to be talking about two things that are important to me and are getting celebrated this month: the LGBTQIA+ community and fathers.

Before I get into the nitty gritty, first let me come out bluntly and tell you, I’m not straight. I myself am part of the elusive asexual spectrum. I identify as demisexual and demiromantic. And, if you don’t know what that is… Well, don’t feel too bad. It took me years to come to terms with.

My journey to figuring myself out has been long and dizzying. I’m lucky, as my father has been supportive of me the entire time. In fact, when I first came out to him… He was more surprised I thought it wasn’t obvious. I’ve always been easy to read, though, I suppose.

Now, there’s one thing you have to keep in mind: at the time, I came out as lesbian. I had never found a male attractive to me, and was only interested in the girls around me. Thus, I thought lesbian was the right role… until suddenly, it wasn’t.

I found myself falling for boys just as often as I fell in love with girls. It made me a confused mess- I didn’t understand my criteria that lead me to want to be close to someone. It wasn’t like I didn’t notice attractive people as attractive- even now, a hot girl is a hot girl, as is a hot guy a hot guy. But no matter how attractive someone is, I never feel aroused by them. I wouldn’t want to touch them at all.

And that’s when I finally figured things out: I didn’t care about gender, but I wasn’t pansexual either. I wasn’t bisexual, I wasn’t anything. Because for me, the only way I can feel aroused is if I’m in love with someone- and that only happens after I’ve come to trust them an exuberant amount, along with some unknowns still playing in the background.

Demisexual, as I noted, is a part of the asexual spectrum. To be demi means you’re only attracted to people you have a strong emotional tie to, essentially. For me, ‘friends first’ isn’t just a motto my parents pushed in my head- it’s the only way I can love.

Luckily, throughout this entire ordeal of finding myself and my orientation, my father would listen and has always supported my realizations. He’s so wonderful and open-minded, and he’s always cheering me on. That’s why, this Father’s Day weekend, I wanted to give a shout out to the man that’s always been open-minded and protected me from bigotry, my understanding father. My dad’s the first person who saw me as I was and never judged- and when others did, he’d confront them and comfort me at the same time. He’s seen all my pain and all my joy, and has always been on my side.

So thank you, dad. Thank you for watching over me as I walk down this confusing road known as life. I’ll never be able to thank you enough for all you do. I love you.

To my readers, I thank you as well- both for reading this long wall of text and for sticking with me so far. I hope I can continue to count on you again and again, and that maybe once in a while, you’ll find yourself able to rely on me as well!

Throwback Thursday: Health Month of Hell

Good afternoon, friends! Today’s Throwback Thursday is inspired by my recent decline in health due to medicine I’ve been on running me ragged. Rather than one memory, I plan today to share with you memories of a short period of time, a time going back all the way to my middle school years. That year, you see, I was sent to the hospital three times in a single month, for three different things… And here, I’ll tell you what was found, and how it still effects me today.

(Please note, I actually don’t remember what order they happened anymore… I’m just sharing the pretext in the order that I deem suitable.)

The first cause was my heart condition. I had been blacking out and finding myself on the floor one too many times, and finally ended up making someone take me to the hospital to get it figured out. It was at that time that they discovered something: I had a heart condition, WPW. The same WPW that I have since had removed through surgery to burn off extra nerves.

To be fair, though, that wasn’t the only reason for my fainting spells. I still get close to blacking out, but now it’s purely because of my low blood pressure- and my pulse, sadly, hasn’t gotten much lower since getting my WPW fixed. That said, there were a lot of things the WPW was affecting… And now, let’s talk about one of those things.

The second cause to send me to the hospital was my migraines. I was sent from school because I couldn’t concentrate and was holding my head in tears. It was a fairly easy diagnosis, but because of my heart condition and age, the options of what to give me were a bit limited and awkward. The first medication I was put on for my migraines, once my body got used to 800mg of advil regularly, was percocet.

Sadly, my migraines still exist. That’s why I’m out of sorts in fact, because of medicine to break a cycle that’s lasted too long. I’ve been hospitalized more than once because of my migraines, but I pray each time it will be the last. So far, last one was… So far.

And my final cause? My anxiety. I had such a bad attack at school that my body was affected- I lost the ability to use one of my legs. At the time, we didn’t know what the cause was. I was sent by ambulance to the hospital, and spent twelve hours there. It was after they talked about a spinal tap that my leg snapped back into working order. Apparently, the two anxieties fought over me, and the one fearing a spinal tap won. I was immediately told I required psychiatric counseling. I still have it today.

Now, the anxiety right now is familiar. Whenever my heart would go out of whack, my anxiety would join in and make it worse. Right now, I think that’s happening to me on a daily basis. I’m on steroids- steroids that have me as mentally unstable as I was off my meds (even if I’m taking them!). And from there, my heart is affected by the anxiety and immense emotion my body is dealing with, leading to my pulse rising and blood pressure dropping low.

Today, sitting or standing, my blood pressure had a diastolic of under 60. I was close to 90/50 no matter which pose I took, which for me is pretty abnormal. Either way, it’s leading to a dizziness level I haven’t had in a long time… And that’s what led me to these memories I share with you.

The moral of the story: If you don’t feel right, get checked out. Don’t be me and wait until the problem gets to an excessive state. Alright, that’s all for your little lesson. Take care, guys!

Topical Tuesday: Goals

Hey there everybody! It’s Topical Tuesday, so it’s time for some light-hearted conversation… about goals. I know, I know. Goals aren’t light-hearted in the long run- but it’s a topic I deem worthy anyway. After all, I’m just telling you some of mine. I’ll tell you just a bit, I swear- just some of the things I’m working on, saving for, and hoping to achieve. But first, a big thank you to my new friend at http://evereview.xyz/ for the inspiration!

Now, I’m a person who tends to stretch themselves thin- I have a lot of goals, and sometimes, that can be a real nuisance. I have goals in all sorts of criteria, ranging from travel plans and expenses to projects and how I want them to work. So, today, I’m going to just share a few of my goals in each category. This will be short and sweet, I guarantee!

Financial Goals

Currently, my financial goals coincide with my health and travel goals. I’m not gonna give you the total I need for the medical stuff, since I don’t know that. But, I have two big trips planned for this year, so I need to work hard to save up!

Goals in this criteria include…
*Visiting Arizona
*Helping a couple panels at Anime North
*Getting back into therapy (and affording it!)
*Getting rid of my migraines once and for all.
*Getting the depo shot.

Okay, I have more goals than I realized… But see? These are just some of my goals! My other goals include projects. Yep, it’s time…

Project Goals

Unlike things like my financially inclined goals, my goals for projects are a bit more relaxed.

For example…
*Being able to start making Alien Irony: Redux manga, at least four to five chapters for book one.
*Starting my for-fun magical girl project, Treasure of Eternity
*Enter five poetry contests or calls for submission in the next couple months.
*Start working on VN project Crow.
*Decluttering my room (this counts as a project right?)

Other Goals

After those goals, all I have is a wishlist of things to buy, really, including…
*A new computer
*A better mic and webcam
*More books
*Probably some new shoes that aren’t sneakers

And that’s pretty much it! As I said, I have a LOT of goals- and these don’t even include goals regarding the magazine. Are you the type to have a lot of goals like me, or just broader goals in general? I’d love to hear your input. Until next time!