Throwback Thursday: NaNoWriMo

Welcome to the last post of October! It feels like time’s blown away quite quickly, doesn’t it? It’s already Halloween- and that means one thing to me: Tomorrow starts the craziest writing time I have each year: National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo.

If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, it’s a challenge for writers to write 50,000 words of fiction within just the 30 days of November. This requires writing almost 2k a day, which is surprisingly difficult at times. I’ve been a participant in NaNoWriMo since my school days.

It’s called ‘national’, but the challenge is spread across the globe nowadays. NaNoWriMo has a very social part to it, both online and off. Online, there’s forums and the ability to chat with your writing buddies. Offline, home regions (in my case Northeast New Jersey) have write-ins where you meet up at a library, cafe or some other institution to sit, have word wars, and quite a few other activities to help boost your word count.

It took me until about three years ago for me to really get to enjoy the socializing offline, when I finally found someone who could drive me to them since my dad often was sick and couldn’t. The next year, a different person drove me. Last year, I skipped NaNoWriMo due to mental health issues… And this year, I found out someone in my own town is going to be taking part, so they agreed to pick me up and go with them to the write-ins they plan to go to. For write-ins that this new friend isn’t going to, I have a secret weapon to get there.

See, my aunt is finding joy through writing recently. She’s always encouraged my writing, but finding a writing group made her realize just how good the social aspect could be for me. She gave me a prepaid card I can use to get Lyft rides to writing-based events. And you know what? I’ll do that if I need to, because it’s an amazing feeling to be surrounded by other writers working vigorously on their craft. It just makes me want to work harder!

However, while this is a quick trip down memory lane, this blog post is also an announcement: I’ll be cutting back my posts to every Saturday only. The posts will be about my writing process and things of that sort. I won’t have much time to blog, but I’ll try to check in on sporadic days to update you on how I’m doing, maybe share some pictures of things going on.

I’m sorry to announce this so late, but I hope you’ll cheer me on. By announcing my participation to you, my readers… I’m certain it will improve my chances of finishing this novel. Having people to check in on me and encourage me is a great feeling, and it just makes me want to finish harder knowing I’ve made a promise to do my best.

Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo? Do you just want to send your support? No matter what it is you have to say, please comment! I want to hear everything you have to say!

Topical Tuesday: My Planner

Howdy folks! It’s the last week of October already- that’s both amazing and a bit intimidating, don’t you think? But with a new month in tow, I have plans this week to reorganize my planner. I’d like to share my planner experience with you.

I’ve never been an organized person. I’m lazy and a clutter bug. I’m easily overwhelmed, and seeing my own mess makes me feel terrified of having to go through it! I finally realized that I need to organize my life. So, I finally gave in to my urge to journal.

At first, I was trying to do a bullet journal. I bought a small notebook at the dollar store and tried to start it, but I found I dropped it during my trip to Arizona and realized it didn’t quite fit my needs. I started looking for spreads I could duplicate, but it had too little space for me to handle with my bad handwriting. I needed something a bit bigger… And a bit more flexible than I found my bullet journaling to be.

That’s when my dad found a bunch of binders that we hadn’t used yet. We found four in total, and dad said they’re all mine to use. Dad recommended using one of the big ones as a physical copy of my writing projects, which I’ve since done. It’s got everything from maps to printouts of my world building and a workbook I printed the pages of because I was intrigued by it.

That’s not the planner I started with, though. Though that too is an important planner in my life, what really became important was another binder I began using: it’s filled with planner printables I found online, and though I intend to redo some of it this week, it’s not just this week that I’ve been using it.

Sure, I’ve missed a couple days in my habit tracker and such. I’ve more easily accepted my imperfections as I’ve worked with this planner. I found a lot of sites with great free printables, including everything from an about me to weekly and daily planning pages. I’ve got a gratitude journal, my mentioned habit tracker, and even a mental health tracker. I try to use each of them each day, and while I’ve missed some as I’ve said, it’s really amazing to see my progress. I can see what parts of my life I’m still struggling with (mainly decluttering).

I do have some changes I plan to make for next month. For starters, I’m going to try a mood tracker instead of the mental health one I currently use. It’ll be more fun to color than just x a box about an emotion. I plan to make a headache tracker of my own using online resources, too. I’m thinking I can change a habit tracker to a symptom tracker in general, actually… But I also want to track my blood pressure and heart rate, too, so I’ll probably be playing around with methods to do this for a good chunk of the week.

There’s more changes I plan to make, but it’s mostly just changing where things are and adding labels to my dividers so that I can better access things after I readjust. If you want me to share some of the printables I’ve used, I’d be happy to take some pictures. That, or I can share some of my favorite places to get printables. Whatever you might want, let me know, because I’ve come to really love my planner, and it’s seriously helping with my anxiety!

That’s all for today, I’m afraid. I look forward to seeing you on Thursday, where I’ll be sharing the biggest event of the year to me and how it’s going to affect this blog for the upcoming month. Please make sure not to miss it! I look forward to telling you all about it soon. 🙂

I Made a Thing

I’ll be talking more about my planner tomorrow, but I just made a page for my planner all my own. See, I have to check my blood pressure and pulse every day due to having certain issues. The thing is, my dad and I have only one blood pressure checker that we have to share. So, I decided to make a very basic blood pressure/pulse tracker. And, proud of my work, I decided to share it with you all today! There’s one for 30 days and one for 31 days.

P.S. You’re welcome to use it if you might need it yourself! If you have any ideas for other interesting printable planner pages you think I should try making, comment and let me know!

Soulful Saturday: Passion

Good morning and happy Saturday, everyone! Is everyone having a nice weekend? I know some of you might be working today, but I’d like to discuss a topic that’s a bit more broad than usual today. A big thanks to my friend who often gives me prompts when I’m stuck! She gave me this idea when I was struggling on Tuesday’s post… But this one is going to be a hard one, guys. So get ready… ‘cause it’s time to talk about passion.

Now, passion can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, and I want to emphasize that I’m not talking about romantic passion in this case. I’m talking about passion for your hobbies, for living. I’m talking the kind of passion that drives you to work each day and to do the things you love to do. While those types of passion may be similar to the passion in a romance, I don’t think of them quite the same. So, let’s talk about them, shall we?

Passion, I believe, is important in just about anything you do. It’s the thing that motivates you when you’re feeling off kilter to get something done, even if sometimes that something feels tedious. To me, passion is both acquired and a bit of nature: I find many families have similar hobbies in each generation, including my own. Sure, I’m not a tech wizard like my dad… But I’m a writer, and not the only one in my family.

My father, after being severely ill for years, found a love of writing when he was starting to recover. My aunt, his sister, recently found herself in a writing group and has really taken to it. She’s started to understand both the difficulties and the triumphs writing can bring, and I’m really happy being able to talk to her about it just like I can talk to my dad.

But as I said, passion isn’t purely nature. It’s something we acquire after trying something a couple times. I may have always loved telling stories, but I wasn’t that big on writing even after I learned to read and write. It took me time to realize I wanted to write the stories I was telling. And then, it took even more time for me to truly enjoy it. But, with a few tries, my passion for it blossomed. I can’t imagine my life without the ability to write poems and stories anymore.

That’s not my only passion, though. Yep- you can have multiple things you’re passionate about! It’s a matter of trial and error, finding the things that make that flower blossom in your chest. Sometimes it’s easy, and sometimes it’s hard. And, sometimes, you’ll have too many flowers bloomed at once to focus on one project or another. That’s something I personally deal with on a regular basis.

But to me, passion is vital. It’s a building block of life, in my mind. Without it, I’d never feel joy through the things I do. I strongly believe that it’s the passion we feel for things that truly makes them worth our time. It may take time to grow, but it’s best to stick close to the things it blooms from. Those things will bring you ample joy and fulfillment over time… And that’s part of their beauty, don’t you think?

I know I talked in circles today, but I believe this topic is a very broad, personal adventure. So tell me, my friends: what are you passionate about? What do you think helps make passion bloom? I’d love to hear about it from your perspective, too!

Throwback Thursday: My Coming Out

Hey there, guys. As you may or may not have seen online recently, this week is Asexual Awareness week, and to me, that’s a pretty big deal. See, asexuality is a spectrum- one I happen to be a part of. I’m a proud demisexual/demiromantic, meaning I lack the ability to feel sexually or romantically inclined towards someone I don’t have a strong emotional connection with. Yes, I was raised to think ‘friends first’, but I didn’t quite realize just how much that statement impacted me until a few years ago.

Now, I want you to understand something. Just because I’m not attracted to people without a strong bond doesn’t mean I can’t recognize a handsome man or a beautiful woman. I just wouldn’t want to date or sleep with them unless I know them well and feel strongly tied to them to begin with. I don’t doubt my Borderline Personality plays into this, but that aside, it doesn’t change my reality. And my reality was far more complicated in my younger years.

When I was a young teen, I had my first interest in a girl (not my first interest in general, just in a girl). Confused, I brought it up to my grandmother, who told me it was just a phase. It wasn’t. I tried coming out to her again after that, and she just called it a phase again. She’s still calling it one over a decade later, just in general thinking the idea I ever liked a woman or dated a woman ‘part of a phase’.

My father, however, was far more accepting of me. In fact, when I came out to him, he already noticed I was showing signs of interest in other girls. To him, it was perfectly fine no matter who I fell for, as long as I was happy. In fact, back when Hurricane Sandy hit years ago, my dad helped me speak up to my grandmother about how hurt I’d been when she kept denying my feeling things for other girls as anything but ‘a phase’. I wasn’t necessarily happy with the timing (I’d just been coming out of the bathroom in a hotel room we were sharing when I heard them arguing), but I was happy he was standing up for my sexuality.

However, that was a long time ago. I ended up falling for another guy, and this confused me heavily. I was starting to notice I only seemed to fall for people I was friends with, too. It was so confusing! My parents met on a blind date and had instant attraction to some extent, but I didn’t feel anything really for people I wasn’t friendly with. Was there something wrong with me? Was it just a fluke? I honestly couldn’t figure it out.

It wasn’t until my late high school years, which I’d retaken a couple of times, to even hear about asexuality. It was my friend talking about it that lead me to doing more research on my own- because I never felt things like straight, lesbian or bisexual really ‘fit’ me. And then I found the word ‘demisexual’, and it felt like all the fog was clearing.

It took me a while to learn that demisexuality put me on the asexuality spectrum, but to be honest, that felt like a big fit too. I came out as soon as I figured it out to my dad yet again, who was just as openly accepting about it as when I came out thinking I was a lesbian because I’d fallen for a girl. We still converse about the attractiveness of actors and actresses (mostly actresses), but with a strong understanding that likely neither of us would want anything physically to do with them.

My grandmother still doesn’t get it. She regularly asks if I’m still going through that phase that I’m not straight. To be honest, she’s just happy I’m with a guy at this point, even if the likelihood is we’re not having kids anytime soon, and we’re both okay with that. My dad was never fussy about the idea of grandchildren- it was always my grandmother who I felt I betrayed in some way with my sexuality. She won’t accept I’m on the asexuality spectrum, though. I have a feeling she never will.

Tell me, my lovely readers: if you had to come out to someone, who would be your first choice? For me, it was my grandmother, who was my female role model at the time. My father was usually in bed ill, as he was in and out of comas for the years we lived with his parents. So, my grandmother was the next best choice, though apparently not for my mental health.

I want you to know this is a safe place. Whether you’ve come out before or not, whether you need to or not, I want everyone here to feel safe with who they are. Though my own coming out wasn’t that exciting, I know it can be far more painful and difficult for others. And, knowing that, I want to spread awareness of all sexualities, but especially asexuality today. It’s a spectrum, not a single sexuality- but it’s one that needs to be accepted and known. So please, if you don’t know much about it, do some research. Try talking to someone who comes out as it to you. If we all learn to accept these things, we won’t need awareness dates anymore… And wouldn’t that be amazing?

Topical Tuesday: For the Love of Video Games

Hello, hello! It’s already the second day of the week, but I feel like talking about something fun. And for me, what’s more fun than video games? Well, I’m sure there are other things, but that’s a topic that came up when I asked my friend to help me choose a topic for today, and it sure as well is hard to get more fun than that for me!

I’ve always enjoyed video games. I played them a lot when I was in elementary school, often with the neighbor boys or my cousins. I remember my Sega Genesis quite easily, and I’m sure I put many hours into Sonic games way back then. But while a simple game was all I needed as a child, my growth in years has also changed my point of view about what makes a game fun for my tastes. And for me, I think what really impacted that is when I gained my love for writing.

You see, I consider the most vital thing to a good game the story. I want compelling characters, interesting plot twists, and just a general story I can really immerse myself in. This goes just as much for pretty much any game genre nowadays. I can’t handle playing bullet hells, but one with a good story at least doesn’t feel like a bad thing to try for me. Sure, I mostly prefer RPGs, but simulation games with a storyline adds to the fun when I’m building a town. Or, at the very least, features that make the town feel more real.

It’s because of my love for stories that I tend towards certain creators and franchises when it comes to games. On android, I’m particularly a fan of Kairosoft simulation games (I especially love Oh Edo! Towns and Pocket Academy). They have a wide variety of simulators, where you can build anything from a school to a water park. They usually include some form of quests or character engagement and such in these games.

Also for android, my favorite RPG maker is definitely Kemco. My dad got me one of their games when there was a sale years back, and I’ve been obsessed with their games ever since. Though the stories all have the same main theme, they vary in how the concept is used, and there’s a variety of settings that just makes it hard for me to get bored of them. My very first game by them was Symphony of the Origin, which includes both fantasy and robotic characters.

Finally, I love the Rune Factory and Harvest Moon series, many of which have had wonderful storylines. Some were certainly better than others, but seriously… Rune Factory 3 you get to turn into a Wooly, and in Harvest Moon: Magical Melody, your daily tasks can lead to helping undo the petrification of the Harvest Goddess! How is that not at all interesting?

Of course, a good game needs more than just a good story and characters. I am very particular in the systems a game has and how easy it is to work with. For example, Harvest Moon: A Tale of Two Towns was interesting because it had a feature to let you move between the two towns in the game, and each of them has unique features to them and focus. I preferred Harvest Moon: Another Wonderful Life over it’s predecessor, A Wonderful Life, because you could actually ship your fruits and veggies, not just the produce from your livestock. In Rune Factory, you have to tame monsters to become your livestock. That’s just a few examples. I could probably give you an endless list with Harvest Moon alone!

As someone who is trying to learn game development using a variety of tools, I often have to think about what makes a game good to me, so that I can try to implement those things into my projects. But what makes a good game varies from person to person, I know- some people focus heavily on the music (which especially makes sense to me with Eternal Sonata). Others are very keen on the graphics. Video games are amazingly personal as a subject, I think- and that’s why my projects are so personal and important to me, even if I’m working extremely slowly on them.

Now that I’ve given you my two cents, why not give me yours? Tell me what you think is most important in a game, or tell me the things in games you didn’t like that made you turn off from them. What sort of games do you play in general, if any? I want to know more about you, and know more for my craft, so please comment and tell me just about anything related to video games and you! I look forward to it!

Soulful Saturday: Self Care

It’s that time again, everyone! What time do I mean? Oh, just time for me to pour my heart out. Well, actually, not so much today. Today, I want to talk to you about something very important: self care. Self care is very closely related to self love, something I’ve struggled with most of my life. It’s not easy to learn to love yourself when your self esteem has always been shit… But there are things you can do to show yourself some love even if it’s just simple things. I want to talk about those today.

I’m still fairly new to the self care scene, I’ll note. When I as young, I was very bad at taking care of myself- in fact, I was seemingly bullied for certain things I didn’t do often enough, but I didn’t understand they didn’t quite intend to bully me by saying the things they did. I was often yelled at by the school bullies to take a shower, which I thought was just them being mean and calling me a dirty existence. I found out later that it was because I had a seriously bad odor even if I’d showered that morning, as I sweat profusely throughout the day sometimes, and thus my body odor doesn’t stay tame.

It’s been more than a decade since those words were said to me, however. Since then, I’m not sure my hygiene has gotten any better- in fact, it’s gone downhill. My father has to remind me to do things like brush my teeth still, and I no longer shower every day. I don’t go out much, so I just wipe myself down (aka a sponge bath) some days instead of taking a shower, as I get dizzy even in just warm water. I do have a stool in the bath/shower for when I get dizzy, though. So really, I shouldn’t be worrying so much about the dizziness…

All that said, I do try to take care of myself lately. I’m trying harder not to apologize for things that aren’t my fault. As you probably already know, I’ve also started journaling and planning my day to some extent ahead of time. And you know what? I may fail a lot of my tasks, but I really enjoy using my binder journal. I have some really good things in it, like a mood tracker for the month, which has shown me just how bad my anxiety and depression can be. I also have a habit tracker, a gratitude journal and other things in my journal. I’ll talk more about that another time, though. The point is, I find my journaling fairly soothing and insightful!

Another thing I’ve gotten into is cosmetics. I like playing around with them, but I also do it to feel better about my appearance. Some days, I’ll look in the mirror and tell myself I’m cute even if I haven’t put makeup on- but many days, if I don’t feel my best, I’ll do my makeup both to relax myself (I don’t know why, but hitting myself with a sponge is oddly relaxing). I also do a facial mask every few days, not like clockwork but in general. I find having it on my face for ten to twenty minutes and just daydreaming and laying back in my recliner really enjoyable. Sometimes, I’ll time it by watching a cartoon with dad instead. We both enjoy kids shows (not like toddler shows, mind you… but cartoons like Danger Mouse are great!).

Something I’m trying to learn to do is positive affirmations. Things like ‘you look fine as you are’ or ‘there’s nothing to worry about today’. I’m still not good at saying them regularly, which I need to work on, but I do practice positive self talk when my anxiety rolls in like it does regularly in its cool car. At those times, I try my best to do positive self talk and tell myself a certain phrase: “This pain will pass.” I always say that when I’m in pain, even if I’m in the middle of an anxiety attack or panic.

That’s it for the self care I personally practice. Now, let’s hear yours! What do you do to try to ease your inner pain? And what do you do to show yourself love throughout the day, or even just the week? No matter what you do to take care of yourself, I want to hear it. It can be something as simple as a positive affirmation or just doing something you find relaxing. Please share your tips with me- because I still need all the help I can get!

Well, that’s that. Have a great weekend guys!

Throwback Thursday: My Big Sister

Hey there guys! It’s already Thursday. Time certainly flies! In fact, I already have plans for Saturday. I’m going to see some musical theater with my big sister. “Wait, Jaluna, you have a big sister?” I hear some of you questioning. No, she’s not literally my big sister. We share no blood- she’s older than my father, so that’d be kind of hard to explain, wouldn’t it? No, my big sister is a very important friend of mine. Today’s post is dedicated to her, how we met, and how much I appreciate her despite never showing it.

When I was eight, my mother left us. It was then just my father and I, whom had a bit of an awkward relationship at first because I grew up uneasy around him (funny enough, now we’re like best friends sometimes!). There’s a program, at least in New Jersey, that helps kids who lack a role model of their own gender. This program, called the Big Brother/Big Sister program, led me to the person I call my big sister. It’s a friendship that’s lasted more than half my life!

She wasn’t my first big sister, mind you. My first big sister, Gabi, was someone I treasured for a fair amount of time. But when Gabi had to return to her homeland of Germany, I felt defeated, depressed, and abandoned. Then, a new big sister was assigned to me. She had a very different air from Gabi, but somehow it helped me relax over time. We bonded well, I visited and stayed at her home many times- we once got snowed in when I was sleeping over, so I ended up having to stay another day! I was perfectly fine with it though, especially back then. Time with her was precious. It still is, but I never show it well.

Although I was kicked out of the big sister program when I became a young adult, my big sister and I had a bond that had us spending time together without it. I still call her my big sister, because that’s kind of what she is to me in a way. Sure, she’s old enough to be my mother, but she’s not. She’s my big sister. Unfortunately, my trust in her is a bit of a double edged sword. I trust her, but the more I trust her the more I fear her leaving me, so I push her away. I’m really bad at inviting her to do things, and I don’t do well keeping in contact with her (or people in general, if I’m being honest). So, when I get a random text from her inviting me to hang out, I’m fairly quick to agree.

We’ve gone to see musical theater together before, as well as just general theater. When we hang out, we usually go out for a meal as well. I have to think hard on Saturday about what I want to eat- I’m always bad at figuring that out. Another place we go together is her- or more our- hairdresser. My big sister knows a lot of really nice people! I’ve met a few of them, and I was extremely glad!

My big sister is always doing things for me. It makes me a little guilty. In fact, I owe her a couple hundred dollars, as she helped me last year with a bank issue, and I still haven’t been able to pay her back a year later. She always pays when we go out- so naturally, like the cheap girl I am, I try to look at inexpensive stuff, which she always reminds me not to worry so much about. She’s a bit of an introvert like I am at times, and I think that’s part of how we mesh well.

She’s logical and calm, and I feel emotionally safe with her in the moment. It’s just outside those moments that my innate fear of losing people kicks in and says ‘let’s avoid them so they can’t leave us!’. I intend to apologize for the millionth time for not texting or calling more often when I see her. I also look forward to telling her about Comicon, because last time we had plans to go to the city, I was too scared to go. I think she’ll be proud I managed to do it this time- and I hope someday, I can go with her to the city, as long as she doesn’t mind holding my hand so I don’t get lost.

I think I’ve rambled enough for today, but tell me, do you have any siblings? Whether they’re by blood, adoption, or the friendships you have, I want to hear all about them. It’s amazing how different experiences we can have with a single person added to our life!

Topical Tuesday: Kindness

Greetings to you all! It’s already Tuesday- hard to believe, isn’t it? October is flashing by in a blink of the eye. Another thing that often goes unnoticed or under-appreciated like time is kindness. Now, before I delve into the topic for today, I’d like to note that kindness as a topic was kindly given to me by my friend. I was whining as usual about not having an idea in time for what to write about, and she mentioned the idea of kindness.

Now, let’s dive into it. First, what IS kindness? When I think about it, I think a bit about how I was taught it in Hebrew school as a kid. A mitzvah, or good deed, is something done for another’s benefit. Kindness is generally doing such things, even if it’s just talking to someone who needs to talk. But the greatest mitzvah, I was told, is one where no one knows you were the one to do it. That’s where I intend to diverge a bit.

You see, kindness is an act of selfishness in its own right, at least to me. When I’m kind to people, it’s not just common courtesy or doing something for someone else. It’s because when I help someone, I feel a unique and genuine sense of happiness. Their smiles make me smile, their words of thanks make me thankful. It may sound more or less like empathy, but in reality, I do nice things for people because I want those feelings to reflect on. So to me, while something I do might be nice, it’s also just me selfishly getting the emotional fodder I desire.

As I said before, kindness is doing good unto others. Common forms of kindness I personally like to do are things like listening when someone’s down, holding doors open, offering or getting someone visiting a drink… You know, really common courtesy things like that. Well, I think they’re common courtesy. They should be, at any rate. But I digress. The point is, it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture- what matters is you’re doing it because you want to help them, and/or want to feel their gratitude. And sometimes, you know what? You won’t get that gratitude you want. But even without their spoken gratitude, it feels nice doing something for someone else. And you can milk that feeling any number of ways.

And the best part about being kind? People are more likely to do nice things for you back! Just the other day, I went to Walgreens to pick up some cosmetics. I agreed to do a somewhat longer than advocated survey about the nice lady that helped me find what I was looking for. As a thank you, she gave me a freebie- she claimed it was something special for me only, but I’m still a little unsure if she was telling the truth. Either way though, I got a reward for doing something nice for her, just like she was nice to me. “No good deed goes unpunished” is the common phrase, but it doesn’t actually always mean something bad as a punishment. The point of it is simply that every action has a reaction- and sometimes, those reactions are the nice little things that brighten up our day.

If you’ll only take one thing out of this rambling mess, I hope it will be this: If you feel like being kind, don’t hold back. Do what you think will make someone smile and accept that it’s partially selfish sometimes to yearn for that smile, that gratitude. Sometimes, it’s okay to be selfish. If we’re being selfish by helping someone or doing something nice for them, surely there are bigger crimes, are there not?

Tell me, my readers! What’s something kind that’s happened to you recently? And what kindness have you spread so far this week? I’d love to hear your views on this topic, and get to learn more about you and more about the different views people have of kindness. Whether we match or differ, I’d be glad if you’ll be kind enough to tell me!

Well, until next time! Bye bye!

Soulful Saturday: Friendship, Online and Off

Hey there everyone! Today, I want to talk about a very important topic to me: Friendship. Friendship isn’t something that occurs in a day to me- it takes time, it takes conversing, and- okay actually, cut that. That’s how it should be, not how it is. For those of you that don’t know already, I have borderline personality disorder. My views of people can change at the drop of a hat. So that makes me wonder… Why do I feel loyal to my friends, and not feel that light switch go on and off?

I think to start this conversation with you, it’s best if I make something clear: I’m not talking about online or offline separately. I’m talking about friends of all forms. For me, a friend is a person I feel safe with. I feel they’re honest people, and not people I have to fear losing as easily. This feeling is strongest when I first meet people, online or offline. However, the closer I get to people, the more I usually pull away…

So why is it I have certain friends that I’ve had for years now? I certainly feel unusually close with them as time’s passed. Have I improved my ability to trust people?

The answer to that is probably a yes. Or rather, I hope it is. See, just last week I met up with an online friend for the first time (as in first time meeting this particular friend, mind you! I’ve met others before this.) I was offered a free ticket to join her at Comicon, which was my first time going to a convention by the way. Trusting someone so much that I’d want to meet up with them and even go to a big event that’s sure to bring me anxiety and such isn’t exactly my norm.

Another thing outside my norm that I did recently: I texted my offline friends just to check on them. I’m not a big phone person, but texting is something I feel comfortable with. However, I don’t normally text friends that much. The last time I’d texted these friends was in April! I had nothing really to talk about with them, but I wanted to see their names, and to see how they were doing. I’m never good about keeping in touch. It’s just part of my internal algorithm, if you will.

This just brings me more questions and, surprisingly, more anxiety than I can shake a stick at. What led to these changes? Is it actually a good thing I’m doing these things? Sure, I’d talked to my friend from the Comicon adventure plenty of times- we’ve been friends for years through a common interest, and we’ve even video chatted many times, alongside our mutual friend circle.

And that’s another thing I’d like to mention- I never even wanted to video or voice chat with people only a year ago. When did I start wanting to hear the voices and put faces to the names I’d used for them so long? It feels as if I’ve changed drastically in just a couple years. I just don’t know what lead to it!

I think it’s a good change- I hope it is, at the very least. Still, I can’t quite put my finger on the trigger for these changes… and that bothers me a lot. I’m thankful to have the friends I have, whether it’s my friends from middle school I texted just the other day or online friends like the one I went to the city to meet.

I just feel a little rattled by the fact that, for the longest time I’d been the type to pull away the closer I felt to people. To suddenly realize I’m not doing that… It makes me feel vulnerable and scared, even if it also makes me feel a sense of relief and accomplishment. I must be lucky I’ve met so many kind, honest and patient people!

What do you consider the most important thing in a friendship? How often do you communicate with friends, and how do you personally prefer these communications work? As someone new to keeping in touch with friends and trying to keep them, I could really use the feedback from your own experiences. Let me learn from you- and maybe, if I’m lucky, you’ve in some way learned from me what not to do based on my past.

As always, I appreciate you taking the time to read my ramblings about the deeper parts of my life. I hope you’ll share your own experiences with me someday- and I hope mine can do something for you, too!