Topical Tuesday: Conversation

Hello, everyone! Enjoying your week so far? Today, I thought- okay, not me. Sophie. Sophie thought of this. I love when she gives me prompts! Anyway, Sophie recommended a pretty interesting topic idea this time around too: conversations. She said she’d be curious to see how I talk to people, how I perceive others in conversation, things like that. And, to add to it myself, I’m going to talk about differences between different kinds of conversing- for example, voice chat versus text chat.

I’ve never been the best conversationalist. I have a soft voice because of my hearing too loud, and I get too anxious to look people in the eyes most times. I have a local accent that involves not being able to pronounce the letter ‘t’ in words it’s in the middle of like water or letter. They always come out wader and leder. As someone who took vocal lessons, I find it fairly annoying that I can’t annunciate things properly when I speak, but when I sing all the words sound normal!

But that’s not the end of my own skills that don’t exist. Whether in video chat or not, I often have notable hand gestures and do stupid things in front of my computer. I’ll wave hello after typing it knowing no one can see it but me. To be frank, I talk with my hands a lot. They’re constantly on the go, trying to emphasize my points and phrases.

That, however, is just how it looks on my side when having a conversation.

There are lots of things I see as good or bad in a conversation. To me, raising your voice, name calling (unless it’s all in good fun), talking too fast or slow- those are all pretty bad things, and I know I do some of them myself. The more excited I am, the faster and louder my voice can get. The hardest part is getting me to shut up. It’s sadly a family trait- all of it. It’s how I learned these things, you know?

Of course, those forms of conversational issues only really matter when you’re using your voice. Some of them, like the name calling, are bad in text as well- but you can’t really yell outside caps lock (which I find quite annoying, frankly), your speed is mostly based on how fast you can type… It’s just different by design.

I’ve seen a lot of bad conversations. My grandma is a terrible listener, and she has a habit of trying to force food on people who are trying to leave her house or that are just not hungry. She’ll repeat herself over and over until you say yes just to get her to leave you alone. I use the food example because it happens more than other times this kind of situation comes up. I once saw her friend stuck at her house for an extra half hour because she was trying to leave to go to dinner with her kids, and my grandma couldn’t accept that fact and that clearly she didn’t need food.

I have some beliefs about what make a good conversation- for starters, not talking in circles (unlike me and my family) is great. Get to the point as quickly and reliably as possible, I say- but I’m still learning to do it myself. Don’t speak so fast that no one can hear your words, obviously- but don’t speak so slow that it takes an hour to say a sentence.

The big issue for me is volume. Whenever I’m in a voice chat, unless my buddy JD is joining us, my volume is usually set to maybe ten, fifteen at most. For some reason, JD is even quieter than I am, though- so I have to put on my headphones and turn up the volume just to hear her. It’s a shame, really.

Outside of speech patterns and such, though, is how you talk when you text. I tend to use a lot of smiley marks and such in conversations online. I don’t think it’s good nor bad to do- it’s just a preference. The way I end my sentences with tildes is not proper grammar, but part of my doing that is to learn to not be as stiff about grammar and such when it’s not work related. How you end your sentences, how you start your sentences- there’s a lot to think about whether text or voice with how you express yourself in words.

Your inflection is a tell, a tell for the listener to know what emotion you’re working off of. Since you can’t do that in text, it’s a lot easier to confuse people about your emotional state. The speed at which you talk should affect your grammar when you text too- if you speak really fast, make your sentences shorter so that the many stops fit how you’d usually speak. Or, just ignore grammar altogether and let all your words flow without punctuation in that particular text. Yes, you heard me right.

What’s important with conversation, no matter how it’s held, is simply this: You listen and take in every piece of data you can get from their speed, their inflection, their volume. Or you read, keep an eye on context, and get the gist of things that way. No matter how you hold your conversations, the most important thing you can do is get your ideas across in a way your partner can understand. And if you don’t understand, guys… Just be honest! Honesty is the best policy. It’s also the best way to get someone to reword what they said and repeat it differently when you’re confused.

That’s just my two cents though. Others will see conversation in different ways, because we’re all different people. We’re all just trying to make sense of the world and the people around us- so shouldn’t we try to make sense to those doing the same?

That’s it for today guys, but you know the drill! Tell me what you find important when holding a conversation with someone. Tell me about a bad or good experience conversing- just share what you thought of while reading this! I love to get to know you through that, more than you’ll ever know!

Well, until next time!

Soulful Saturday: Family Frenzy

Hihi! How’s it going guys? Today, I want to talk about something very serious- after all, it’s Soulful Saturday! So, with a confident boosting ally, I have decided to talk about something very difficult for me to deal with… My family.

For those of you not in the know, my mother left me when I was about eight years old. Before she left, though, my relationship with my father was kind of rocky. If you look at us now, you’d never believe it- but, I was actually scared of my dad when I was a kid.

Why would I be scared of my father, you might ask? Well, for starters, he yelled a lot. When you have overly sensitive ears, loud people aren’t exactly people you want to be close to. It was 99% of the time towards my mother, as well. And that wasn’t the only thing I heard in their bedroom.

I heard fights. Physical fights. Because I grew up in an age where it was always assumed the woman was in danger of the man, I assumed my father was hurting my mother. Now, my mother did hurt me quite a bit as a child- mentally. She was never really emotionally available, and she neglected me quite a bit. But still, she was the one who was regularly home. My father had to work some hard hours depending on the job he was consulting on. So, the idea that my dad was hitting my mom stuck in my mind and scared me.

Here’s the catch, though. Dad never laid a hand on my mom. It was the opposite way around. My mother was the one attacking my dad. And this was just the first female role model I had that turned out to be messed up in this god forsaken family of mine.

If you read my Thursday post, you know I spent some time living with my grandparents due to my father needing neck surgery. By that time, my mother had been out of my life for a few years- and I’d gotten to actually know my father, and we became fairly close once I realized he wasn’t the scary monster I envisioned. But my grandparents were also pieces of work. My grandfather taught me where dad’s yelling came from. My grandmother yelled a fair bit too, usually at one of the men in the house. Grandma’s idea of boundaries was virtually non-existent. She’d walk in my room without knocking, keep the door open when she was on the toilet, etc. But that’s not why she bothers me.

My grandmother was a social worker. Her office was across from my bedroom- but the important part is she was a social worker, after retiring from nursing for a state-run hospital. She knew all sorts of stuff about medical and mental health issues. Her problem was accepting anyone in our family wasn’t perfectly healthy. Whenever it came up that I had mental health issues, as were diagnosed by my doctors, my grandmother would deny it being possible and say I had bad doctors. In some cases, I did have bad doctors- but it wasn’t because of diagnosing me. That’s not here or there, though.

My grandmother has always had this idea that she’s perfect and everyone around her has to think the same way she does. She’s always been narcissistic, especially in the aspect she treated anything that made me different like it didn’t matter or exist. She didn’t think it anything interesting that I talked to the trees- she just assumed I was lonely, not psychotic. Everything had a way simpler, wrong answer. And that’s just the beginning of my issues with her since she got Alzheimer’s (and refuses to accept it, obviously). But I wanted you to get a glimpse into how I was raised.

Now, to do this right, I need to tell you about a few more people that have come in and out of my life family-wise. My dad’s youngest sister, AKA my youngest aunt, took me in for six months during middle school. It was while my father was in and out of comas from blood ammonia he didn’t know he had to worry about, exacerbated by his new allergy to corn. When it was decided by myself and my aunt we’d go through with the idea of living together for a while, my grandma and aunt both told me they’d take care of talking to my dad about it. Know when he found out? The day of the court hearing to adjust custody so that my aunt could legally be my guardian when I moved in with her in California.

Now, a few things about my aunt: She had an eating disorder when she was young, became a doctor, and had a knack for schedules. Her idea for me was that she’d set me up with a full schedule so that I’d just be a little adult doing all I had to do and that was it. She didn’t understand I was an early teen, who needed attention and time to herself alike. She took my phone away so I couldn’t talk to my dad, who worried like hell because of it. She wanted me fully immersed in my new, busy life. And I appreciate her efforts, and some of it was really fun!

But really, she wasn’t someone who knew how to take care of a mentally ill teenager. The ‘therapist’ she brought me to should’ve been helpful, but instead my aunt turned it into family therapy where she just told the psychiatrist all the things I needed to change and he just told me to do them without listening to me at all.

After I hit my rebellious phase and my aunt realized she had bitten off more than she could chew, I was sent back to New Jersey… and within a couple years of my dad and I moving out of my grandma’s place, things with his older sister got a little out of hand.

In middle school, I’d been in a group for kids with divorced parents. I continued it in High School. I found it really helpful and so, when we were asked people we think it could help, I mentioned my cousin, whose mother was getting divorced just recently. (By the way, the ex-husband is the uncle that sexually harassed me to the point I won’t go to grandma’s if he’s possibly there).

Now, my eldest aunt was someone I admired when I was young. She liked to say she was my second mother, and I was all for it since I saw my cousins, especially the one closest to my age, as siblings. I’d sometimes call him big brother, even! But that divorce was just the start of my aunt going a little crazy.

My aunt and cousin heard about the fact that I, in a confidential group, shared that the divorce was happening. I saw how it affected my cousin, who would come to my room crying and trying to understand the feelings inside- he knew I’d had them once before, so he knew I’d be able to be there for him with understanding. But the moment I mentioned him in that group, my aunt and cousin lost their minds. I don’t know who mentioned to him that I’d recommended it, but clearly confidentiality was blurred. But the chaos with this part of the family doesn’t end there.

One day, still during high school, I was at home having my in-home therapy session for the week. Then, all the sudden, I heard a ton of yelling from our front door. My dad had offered to give her a present of something like 400 bucks for home depot on a gift card- but she demanded, quite strongly, that he give her way more than that. She was broke, or so she claimed (we found out later she’d hit grandma up for way more money just before this!). She wouldn’t leave us alone until dad gave her another card. When she left, I had a panic attack… She was yelling a lot, and it scared me. After that happened, we started to distance ourselves from her- mostly because the moment she and my dad get in the same room now, sparks fly.

I’ve since seen my aunt, but to be honest, I don’t feel comfortable around her even when dad isn’t around. I went to her house earlier this year because, as I found out, my second oldest cousin who’d been living in Israel moved right down the street from my aunt, and their kids often were at my aunt’s house to play. I went there to see my brother-like cousin, who I’d since gotten through the hardships with, and to meet my cute second cousins. My aunt made me nervous, but she was fairly tame. Without my dad there, there was no arguments about the stealing that happened- I didn’t dare to mention it.

I have plenty of other stories about the craziness in my family, but I don’t want to numb your eyes or mind. Perhaps next week, I can continue to tell you these tales of my youth, of my family. If that’d interest you, let me know!

Normally I’d prompt you guys to comment your own stories, but today’s is pretty personal and I don’t want to push anyone on it. So today’s prompt is just what I said before. Should I continue to share about my family? I have plenty more material where this comes from! Well then, until next time!

Throwback Thursday: Puberty

Good afternoon, everyone! Well, as I’m writing this, it’s almost noon. See, I got an extra magical migraine yesterday, and spent 99% of the day sleeping through it. So for a change, this post is being written on the spot! And to help me, I got my good friend Sophie (also a loyal reader) to help me decide what today should be about. And, for whatever reason… The result is my history with puberty.

Puberty is no fun for anyone- but it’s especially not that great when your hormones start going out of whack and your mental health takes a dive. I started my first red river (aka my period) when I was eleven- but I’d already stopped growing at the tender age of ten years old. But the growth lacking isn’t really puberty related- it is, but it isn’t. For now, let’s focus on a fun story: my first period.

It was the middle of the night. I had woken up thinking I just needed to use the toilet, and so merrily made my way there from my bedroom (which wasn’t hard, since they were both at the end of that particular hallway). I pulled down my pants and such, as you do when you need to pee, but… What I saw in my underwear and my toilet wasn’t urine. It was blood- a hell of a lot of blood.

My dad and I were living with his parents at the time. This was because he had to get neck surgery and there were concerns about me getting to school and all that jazz with him not able to do all that much during the recovery time. Plus, we were losing our condo. So, his parents took us in.

Now let me give you a quick landscape of the house: it’s a big ranch house, that doubles as a mother/daughter. It’s one floor (technically there’s a basement, but that matters little), with three bedrooms in the main part of the house, one of which was being used as an office across from my room, and then a quasi ‘apartment’, which is where dad stayed. My grandma was very particular about separating us because of our codependence… Or at least I like to pretend that’s why.

Anyway! I ran across the house and into the apartment with more speed than I knew I could muster, managing not to drip the blood en route by awkwardly wearing my clothes again. I was in a panic as I knocked on my dad’s door, who immediately answered with worry. I told him what I believed was happening.

“Dad, dad! Something’s wrong- my butt’s bleeding!”

You heard that correctly guys. The granddaughter of a nurse and the daughter of people with plenty of health issues to spare automatically assumed the blood was coming from her behind. I was in middle school- it just wasn’t the year we took sex ed. So I basically knew absolutely nothing.

Luckily, my father knew right away what was likely going on. Unlike me, he grew up around a lot of women going through puberty- rather, he had three sisters go through it around him as a child, and his mother was always explaining this stuff to him as much as to the girls. She just decided not to bother me with the details until it was my time.

So, knowing his mother would be able to better help me deal with the issue, he carried me to his mother’s room, where we knocked on the door. He told her straight out I got my period, and the two worked together to calm me down. Following the discovery and my grandma giving me some pads to start with, I got a two hour lecture about how the female reproductive system works. Yep, two hours was all I needed. Mostly because, if I recall, it was a school night and she had me up until 1AM.

Of course, that’s not the end of my woes with my period- and not just because I kept having to get them. I think your teenage years count as well, so I’m going to share another period story- which will also tell you a shocking fact of why my grandmother kept my dad and I separated in reality.

I missed my period one month. I was a little confused, but I was told it was fairly normal to miss a period every so often. However, it wasn’t just one month I missed. I forget how old I was- 15, I think? I’m pretty sure it was actually after we left my grandparents’ house to live in an apartment in town. Anyway, not important. The important bit is I stopped getting my period for about 4-5 months. My grandma, concerned, took me to the OBGYN. She made me get a pregnancy test despite my regularly telling her I was still a virgin, as my grandmother apparently had this weird idea my dad was doing dirty things to me. It was concluded I wasn’t pregnant (since I had never had sex)…

Okay wait, no, those two situations were separate. I don’t know why I went to the OBGYN the first time to get a pregnancy test anymore. I just know that happened.

Anyway, I did go to the OBGYN after four months of missing my periods. I was eighteen, however. I remember it more clearly now. My therapist at the time joked I might be the next virgin mary. I didn’t take the joke well, because I was seriously scared shitless.

Anywho! Apparently it wasn’t the weirdest thing my doctor ever saw. She simply gave me a week of birth control to try to restart my reproductive system- which worked! I got my period right after! But then, I stopped getting it again… I think this was the five months. I was diagnosed with ‘secondary amenorrhea’, which basically meant I had no period as a symptom. I was put on regular birth control, and got my period under control again.

It’s been many years- almost a decade- since then. In that time I stopped all my meds from side effects that I couldn’t tie to one medicine, but the birth control apparently got my system in regular functioning order, because I got my period fairly regularly. I’ve since been put back on birth control to help deal with other issues regarding my hormones: primarily my PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) and migraines caused by hormones. I’m on the depo shot, which is a shot you get every three months. It has no estrogen in it, which is why my doctor chose it- apparently with my migraines and stuff, the last thing I want is extra estrogen. She told me I could get heavy periods for a while on it, but so far, I haven’t gotten my period since starting the shots. I also have less cramps during those times than I used to, so I count that as a win.

There’s more to puberty than just menstruating, though. Other things happened to my body: I stopped growing, started getting hair all over that I didn’t recognize, started sweating more, and my chest grew, which led to even more sweating. I thankfully got my grandmother’s breasts, over my mothers’, which my dad thinks mom is probably jealous of since she saw me once after they’d grown in. Mom had ‘droopy nipples’. She was otherwise flat as a board. Her self-consciousness over this is likely why I as raised entirely on formula as an infant.

The worst thing about puberty, I think, was the fact my mental health problems started around then. My brain chemicals went all nuts, and by the time I a teen, I was showing very clear signs of bipolar. I was often having spurts of sleeping 3 hours a night maximum, yet being productive all day long. Then I’d get depressed and need more hugs than usual. I think part of the reason my grandmother had those delusions about my dad and I is because as a teen, while he was bedridden, I still went to curl up in his bed next to him for comfort. You know, like a child afraid of the ghosts in the closet. If I was down or scared, I crawled into dad’s bed to feel safe. The fact that I would be in his bed was enough for my grandma to get those weird thoughts.

Anyway, I think that’s enough rambling at you for today. What about puberty hit you the hardest? For me it was clearly my period- but what about you guys? Share some of your tales in the comments, and maybe we can share our current woes together too! I promise you, puberty may be over, but it still effects me plenty. I’m sure plenty of us are affected long term by it, too!

Until next time!

Topical Tuesday: Top Ten Anime

Happy October everyone! It’s getting closer and closer to the end of the year as we speak. With NaNoWriMo around the corner, I’ve been writing more than reading, so I thought instead I’d share my favorite anime instead of manga. Coming up with this list was pretty hard to be honest, but I promise to explain why I like them all, so at least you’ll get an idea of what goes on in my mind, right? Anyway, let’s get started with my number one favorite!

Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle
Phi Brain is a story surrounding puzzles, as the name implies. But the puzzles in Phi Brain aren’t simple- no, they’re quite dangerous in fact. In Phi Brain, Kaito the puzzle-solving genius is brought into the world of Philosopher’s Puzzles, puzzles that are large scale and can mean death if you fail to complete the puzzle or complete it in time. Meanwhile, he meets more geniuses, and they all end up working together to solve some of the toughest puzzles there are. A thing I really like besides the puzzles is the naming system: a lot of characters are named after mind games and puzzles, and the geniuses are given titles that are actual influential people in history, such as Kaito’s title of Einstein or Ana’s title of Da Vinci. Using two unique naming patterns was quite interesting to me.

Natsume’s Book of Friends
If you prefer modern fantasy over what’s essentially science fiction to me, I highly recommend Natsume Yuujinchou, otherwise known as Natsume’s Book of Friends. It has all the classic elements of a modern fantasy anime: and by that I just mean it has a lot of yokai. See, Natsume can see them while most people cannot, and the story involves him dealing with yokai in a variety of ways. He makes some great friends in the process, while definitely having some enemies, including human ones. Natsume Yuujinchou proves you can have a life both in the human world and the yokai world, and love them both evenly in the end.

Humanity Has Declined
This one is a total mind fuck, guys. Don’t mind my wording- it’s true. As the title has made clear, Humanity is no longer the dominant intelligent creature in the world- now, creepy, always smiling ‘fairies’ outnumber the humans by far. Our heroine, whose name is never revealed might I add, goes through all sorts of bizarre hijinks to better understand the fairies and to help bring them and the human population closer. I found it really interesting they kept certain names private the entire time- for example, the heroine and her unusual family situation. One person is literally named assistant. And with scenes like skinned chicken running a factory and a time loop involving banana peels, I think it’s pretty obvious… This anime is just out there.

Eden of the East
If you want another totally bizarre story, I vote you check out Eden of the East. Not to spoil it for you, but there’s a lot of fighting, death and weirdness in this show. I mean, it starts with the hero butt naked with nothing but a gun and a phone. And that’s just mildly mind-fucking compared to the rest of the series. I thought the bizarre storyline was really impressive and interesting. I also just really liked the ending theme video- it was done with paper art and… You just gotta see it, okay? Unless you’re sensitive to topics like terrorism, serial killers and things like that… then don’t, because they all have a spot in the show.

Acchi Kocchi
Acchi Kocchi, otherwise known as Here and There, is a gag comedy with adorably weird characters and even weirder, silly plots. From a genius making chocolates with frog parts in them for valentines day, or the heroine struggling to greet her crush early in the morning on the way to school, this anime is made of pure cute and silly behavior. Warning, there’s a lot of blood if you count the nosebleeds people get after Io says anything.

Haiyore! Nyaruko-san
Yep, I’m back to a crazy antics anime, but this one has a neat twist. You see, Nyaruko is actually short for something: Nyarlathotep. You know, one of Lovecraft’s creepy creatures in his famous works? The show even explains the fact that the names are the same because the creatures are based on aliens Lovecraft met, such as the Nyarlathotep people. Add in a hero who’s oddly good at attracting aliens and throwing forks, Nyaruko’s childhood rival and various other bizarre characters, and you get this comedic love story. Comedic sci-fi at its best.

Inu x Boku SS
Taking a quick break from total insanity and instead bringing you a somewhat more serious anime, Inu x Boku follows the lives of people with yokai blood living in a special high-class apartment building. Each tenant has a secret service specialist, each of whom also has yokai blood. Put all these people with unique bloodlines together, and you get a heartwarming coming of age story that’s not quite human, yet as human as it can get.

Kill Me Baby
Okay, enough of the serious for now. Now we’re going back to gag comedies. Kill Me Baby focuses on a somewhat stupid girl and her classmate who just happens to be a professional assassin. This setup isn’t actually that uncommon as I found later in other manga, but this particular anime is just really enjoyable to me. The friendship that blossoms is quite nice, too.

Mushishi is a very serious anime, in my opinion. It focuses on Ginko, a man who can see ‘mushi’, which are creatures that are hard to describe, but can often cause unseen havoc for humans. This anime is very episodic, meaning you can watch any episode at a given time and you probably won’t have to look back much to understand what’s going on. Ginko’s travels are vast and interesting- I really like the unusual phenomenon the mushi cause, as well as Ginko, who is very standoffish, but understandably so once you get to know him.

The last one I have to share with you is Working!! Working!! is about the daily lives of the staff at a family restaurant. Each of the characters has a notable quirk, ranging from a height complex to a complex of loving small things, especially children. Though it’s mostly a gag comedy, it also has a few romantic plotlines involved. The shenanigans are a hoot, and the characters are so quirky they go together perfectly. It makes me want to eat at the shop just to watch them in person! (Too bad it’s an anime, huh?)

So those are my ten recommendations. I have a lot of anime I love, but these were stand out ones on my long list of things I’ve seen. What about you guys? Do you have a favorite anime? Do any of the ones I talked about today intrigue you? Let me know in the comments- I love getting to know you guys better! Why else would I ask you all these questions?

Soulful Saturday: Colorful Memories

Good morning, everyone! I had a hard time thinking of what to write about today- I’ve been having issues with that a lot, haven’t I? Well, I was smart about it and turned to friends for help. And, when my friend recommended the influence of colors in my life, I was stunned. I’d never even thought about it!

I’m not the most visually acute person. I’m oblivious, in fact. I walk into all sorts of things throughout the day from not noticing where it was compared to my body. I have no ability to separate and name hues the way women are supposedly able (I think maroon is a brown color, dad says it’s red, and I still can’t see the two as separate!). I’ve paid very little attention, as such, to the colors around me as well.

Well, I say all that, but I have memories that relate to specific colors in a way… I mean, I don’t normally categorize my memories by color, but there are some that definitely fit the bill! So, I’m gonna tell you about the things different colors make me think about. Let’s have a good time exploring my psyche together, shall we?

Starting with red, I immediately think of blood. I’ve seen a lot of blood in my life- I’m a woman, so I have had my period before, but I’m also from a clumsy family that gets itself injured easily and regularly. I also think of freshly scrubbed psoriasis when I think of red, because I’ve seen my dad after a shower. Without the scales, the patches are bright red afterward. So basically… Red is a medical color in my head.

Orange makes me think of oranges as the fruit… But it also makes me think of ‘The Oranges’, a grouping of towns in central or southern New Jersey (I forget where exactly it is, but I’m thinking central). I also have a silly memory of how I got some of my nicknames from this color. My friend (we were friends at the time at least) was the daughter of one of the lunch aides. When I’d finish lunch, I’d go to the track… And then my friends would look for me. Her mom always described me like food based on my dressing- for example, Orange Pumpkin, as I was wearing an orange sweater, or Fluffy Green Marshmallow when I wore my green down jacket.

Yellow just gives me a headache to be honest. I think about the sun’s glare, which regularly harms my head because of migraines. I do prefer soft yellow light compared to white lights inside though. Another thing I think about with yellow is… urine. And that makes me remember this time a classmate brought their pet rat to school and it peed as soon as I held it. Right there in my hand. It was… lovely… not. This also makes me think of Cuervo Gold from my Thursday post. You’ll understand if you read it.

Green is my favorite color, and it makes me think of a lot of things- but first and foremost, it makes me think of trees and grass. Basically, I see green and think ‘nature’. I’ve always had a strong affinity with plants and such. I used to talk to what I believed were spirits in trees, but apparently it wasn’t? I dunno. They say it was psychosis, but… I like to think they were really there. Green also automatically makes me think of other things, like money. I always use green when color coding files that include financial stuff.

Blue is, of course, the sky, the sea- it’s a lot of things that are nature just like green is. However, what I really think of most when I think of blue is how jealous I used to be of my dad having blue eyes. I don’t know why- I guess it’s because they say blue eyes see clearer than green and brown. I have needed glasses since I was five, so I’ve never been fully content with my eyesight. Other things that blue makes me think of is meditation, as it’s a calming color… and fire. Water and fire- it’s a conundrum that both include blue to me. I can’t help but be in awe and yet terribly uneasy about that thought process as a pyrophobe.

Purple usually makes me think of fruits, especially grapes. I see purple as a royal color often times, so when I play sims I choose the room where you’d want that kind of feel and give it a purple theme- usually the dining room, as I’d seen in a magazine once. I also think of the band Hey Violet, as well as my character Flutter due to her favorite flower being lilacs.

White- ah white, such a lovely lack of colors. When I see white, I usually think of snow and paper- paper being something I’m oh so happy to think about anytime! I’m a bit of a stationary lover and even plain paper means a lot to me. White also makes me think of weddings, which I’ve never been to.

Black, the color that is all colors. Black actually gives me bad vibes most of the time, because it reminds me of the time I literally ran over a dead crow. I ran and jumped over it before realizing it was a corpse. It was honestly really freaky to me, just seeing a dead crow on the sidewalk… I still feel nervous seeing crows in the trees or on power lines, but it’s mostly because I don’t want to see one fall to their death or something in front of me, you know?

Brown makes me think of chocolate. I love chocolate! But it also makes me think of tree bark- which makes me happy, as long as I don’t try to eat it (no, I’ve never tasted tree bark). In all honesty, it only makes me think of chocolate and wood. And that just makes me stare at the nearby bookcase. Brown somehow… lacks any notoriety with me- besides avoiding brown bugs to be safe, that is.

Gray reminds me of my dad’s hair and just getting older in general. It also makes me think of stress, as I knew someone in middle school who was starting to go gray because of stress… And I’m talking a student! I also think of metal with gray, which is an awkward feeling on its own. I’m somewhat…averse to metals. I don’t like to touch things like silver and gold. I’m slowly growing out of it, but it takes a lot of shock therapy to get even close to finishing the fight. I can handle pens and eating utensils now… But still not coins. It makes me feel so wrong when I touch change, I end up rushing for the hand sanitizer.

And finally, we have pink. Pink is interesting to me. It makes me think of love, mostly because it’s my loved one’s favorite color. However, it makes me think of other things too- such as cherry blossoms, which used to bloom in my area before a ton of the trees got cut down. Also, for some reason, I immediately imagined a whoopee cushion. So apparently it’s a prankster too.

I think that’s all the colors I can think of, basically. What do you guys think of when you think of specific colors? Do you relate to my thoughts, or are your thoughts completely different? I’d love to hear the memories colors trigger for you! It’ll be fun to learn. 🙂 Until next time!

Throwback Thursday: Pet Stories

Howdy everyone, good to see you again! Today, I’m going to talk about some memories I have of pets that I’ve had throughout my life, or that I’ve known throughout my life. I have no pets at this time, as it’s too expensive in my apartment, but it’s not like I’ve never taken care of animals before.

When I was a toddler, we had a dog that came with our apartment named Cuervo. She was a collie/golden retriever mix, and wasn’t my greatest fan. She didn’t mind me, but she wasn’t exactly pleased I was always climbing on her back trying to ride her. I have very few memories of her in reality, but I saw a home video a while back. She would always run towards a wall to knock me off her- looking back, I almost feel a little guilty, even if I was a two year old with no understanding of what was going on.

I had a hamster once as well… But the only memory I have of it is a story my dad told me where I left the cage a crack open and it disappeared. I cried in hysterics, and my mother said we should’ve gotten another dog. I calmed down immediately at the idea of a dog, because I was six with no attention span.

On my 7th birthday, my parents brought home a two month old golden retriever puppy. He was already my size in length, and strong enough to knock me over regularly. I named him Cuervo Gold, after our first dog. Cuervo Gold, though, was very different than the collie mix we’d had. He was hyperactive and playful, and hysterically loyal in weird ways. Whenever I got home from school, he’d tackle me to the ground to give me kisses; when he came to the bus stop with my dad and I, he’d growl at the bullies to scare them away.

But, what I still find fascinating to this day is how differently he reacted when one of my family members gave him a command. If it was my father, he wouldn’t listen the first or second time- dad would have to yell to get him to listen many times. For me, he’d listen immediately- as a child, I was his favorite. But what’s funny is when my mom would command him. No matter what the command was, if it came from my mother’s mouth, he’d pee on the spot. Yes, it was a conditioned reaction- because frankly, he didn’t like my mom much. And nowadays, looking back, I don’t blame him.

A story that I wanted to share about Cuervo Gold is actually why I decided on this topic. Someone shared a gif of a squirrel with peanut butter, and it reminded me of something fairly silly. There was a time, you see, where we had his food in a bowl on the patio. One day, I noticed a couple of chipmunks come close to the sliding glass window that worked as our gate out of the house. To my amazement, the chipmunks were taking the food! It was something I’d never seen or thought of before. Chipmunks eating dog food? Apparently they’ll eat more than nuts, that’s for sure!

That also eventually led me to wondering if humans could eat dog food, and that curiosity led me to pushing my dad to eat a doggy treat. To this day, whenever I ask him how it was, he goes back and forth in regards to whether it was good or not, and I don’t know what to think of that. So, I try not to. Though because of it, I do sometimes think I’d like to try one for myself…

Anyway… We had to give up Cuervo Gold when I was ten and moving into my grandmother’s house with my dad. He’s since passed, but lived a long and happy life with my dad’s best friend, whom I call my uncle. In my grandmother’s house, we had new pets. There was a giant fish tank in the front hall, and a bird cage with two cockatiels in the living room. The fish didn’t have names that I knew of, but I did often help feed them. It was fun to watch them zip around the tank for food. What wasn’t so fun was when it was my turn to take the eggs out of the cockatiels’ cage. Those birds are quite possessive of their eggs, even if there’s no way they’ll hatch- after all, they were both female!

I unfortunately remember the death of one of the birds. Sparky, the younger cockatiel, died drowned in the water trough of sorts that was in the cage for her. It was after Tweety, the elder bird my grandmother called mine, had already passed. Sparky and I weren’t as close as I was with Tweety, but Sparky loved my dad….especially enjoying grooming him in his sleep, so that he’d wake up with bleeding cuticles. It made me sorta glad she wasn’t my fan- though it didn’t make it less difficult to see her dead body. I remember crying and clinging onto my dad. Sparky and I didn’t get along well, but I still saw her as family!

I’ve likely got other pet stories I can share, though most of them are of other people’s pets, not ones I had myself at any given time. Would those be interesting? And what about your pet stories? I’d love to hear some. Please feel free to share any or none- but if you do share, I will be extremely happy!

Until Saturday- bye bye, guys!

Topical Tuesday: Travel Tales

Hihi! How’s it going guys? Today, I was given a prompt by a friend who’s been helping me a lot lately when I get in a rut on what to write. I’ve been having some pretty bad signs of ADD showing recently, so my doctor intends to put me on new medication that should do the work of two I’m already on. That’s not what this post is about though- just wanted to update you.

No, today’s post is about travel. As many of you probably know, I went to Arizona back in mid-August to visit my boyfriend. This wasn’t my first time traveling there, or even traveling to Arizona- in fact, I’ve traveled a fair bit in the United States over my life. And today, I’m going to tell you some tips and tales from those times.

The first time I traveled to Arizona, I was twelve years old or so, with some of my extended family. This was a three part trip, starting in Arizona, leading to Nevada, and finishing in California. In Arizona, my most notable memory was melting in the harsh summer heat alongside my cousin. We got ice cream, but it was messy. We were too bored inside where the adults were dealing with selling one of my grandma’s properties, but it was too hot to handle the outdoors. It wasn’t fun, let’s leave it at that.

The more interesting part of the trip, Nevada, was mostly just something to laugh at. You see, in Las Vegas- where we went- kids aren’t allowed on the carpet of hotels because it’s considered part of the casino. As my cousin closer to my age and I were being told to get off, so was my fully adult cousin with her law degree and passed bars. Why? Because she’s shorter than I am, and I’m not all that tall to begin with. She’s so tiny that to this day she still has a kiddish air to her. I couldn’t help but giggle when that happened.

Finally, in California, I was helping my grandparents house-sit for my wealthy aunt and her family while they were on vacation elsewhere. You’d think that house-sitting would be boring, but in my case, I was also cat-sitting… and also learning minor Japanese. To practice cat and flower, as their cat’s name was Daisy, I started calling her Hananeko. After two weeks of that though… Well, it took some adjusting for my aunt and cousins, as she stopped reacting to Daisy altogether! I renamed their cat in my process of practice!

The next story comes from when I was moving in with my youngest aunt for my last year of middle school. Like many trips before, I flew- but it was the first time I was flying alone. During this trip, I learned a lot of things. One, kids can fly alone but have to have a flight attendant keeping an eye on them regularly. And secondly, sitting next to strangers can be not just scary, but annoying.

You see, I was dressed in a long skirt and shirt that day. I was flying from freezing New Jersey in the dead of December, so my normal clothes were usually sweatpants or long skirts or similar things. The guy who sat next to me thought it was a smart idea to ask a kid he’d have to sit next to for five or six hours, “Hey, you’re Jewish right? I can tell by the big nose and the way you’re dressed.”

What I hated was technically speaking, he had been right. I was born into Judaism, but I certainly didn’t practice it. I hardly believed a word of it! I didn’t want to be recognized as ‘Jewish’, because he was making it sound like only Jewish girls wear long skirts. I just like skirts! I find them cozy! What about that means I have to be Jewish!?

I hadn’t traveled much for a decade after that trip, aside from the trip when I moved back home to New Jersey that June. It wasn’t until last year that I took a plane again to visit Arizona- and I learned some interesting things from that trip, along with this year’s. For starter, I learned there are two kinds of ‘Economy’ seating, and different airlines treat ‘Basic Economy’ differently. United does not allow a carry-on for Basic, while American Airlines does- meaning I didn’t have to have a checked bag with them, potentially. I tried it the second trip, and it worked like a charm! Other things went wrong though:

For starters, I required a wheelchair going through the airport. My legs have been getting worse lately- both from lack of exercise and my nerve problems. I still need to get them x-rayed, actually, but that’s a story for another time. It wasn’t bad being brought on a wheelchair to the boarding area. In fact, it was kinda nice to have help getting there.

When I landed, though, I found myself baffled by the layout of Phoenix’s Sky Harbor airport. I ended up asking a person that worked at the airport to tell me how to get to where I needed, only to be sent in the wrong direction! I don’t blame them for not getting it right though. That place is a jungle in my opinion. A crowded jungle.

My return trip seemed a bit better. My wheelchair also got me staff members that would come check on me and offer me food, water, or to wheel me to the bathroom. They also were in charge of wheeling me onto the plane- but that’s where something went wrong. See, my plane wasn’t at the gate yet- a plane to Atlanta was. I’d been confused by the boarding display myself, but when I noticed it said Atlanta, I had to stop her.

The reason it bugged me, though, was because she had me show her my boarding pass. It says where I’m going, and I was clearly not going to Atlanta. And she was just happy to push me onto that Atlanta plane if I hadn’t stopped her. I got really lucky with my neighbor that flight though. He was a nice fellow, and helped bring my bags off the plane and out of the gate area for me while I as in my wheelchair! I was in awe.

By the way, both my flights this year were delayed by like an hour to an hour and a half: one because there was a group of 40 Israelis visiting the country as a special program, who were all very bad at the ‘sit down when the sign says to’ concept. The second was because of a bad storm in Newark, which I still felt the strength of when we got there- that rain was horrifying. I got lucky a limo driver offered me a good rate when he saw me struggling to get my bag on the escalator.

So, what did I learn through all of this? A few things:

  1. Sometimes airports are just as confusing to staff as they are to consumers.
  2. When traveling alone, it’s Russian roulette if you’ll get a decent seat neighbor or not.
  3. Sometimes you can believe the weird person who comes up and offers to drive you home.
  4. Don’t do the above without contacting someone that you know will keep an eye out for you in case it’s not a good person driving you home after all.
  5. Kids and disabled adults are treated similarly by staff.
  6. Airplane food has gotten way better.

That’s all I have to say today. Have you been on any trips recently? Do you have any wild or just general stories about your trips you’d like to share? Whether it’s advice for my next flight or a story from your own, I’d love to hear it! Thanks as always, guys!

Soulful Saturday: Nightmares

Hihi, guys! How are you? I’ve been doing a bit mixed in terms of health and other things, but I’m still alive and kicking, so that’s good! Now if I could stop dying in minecraft, that’d be even better. Honestly, I’ve seen and died to so many creepers and skeleton archers, I’m surprised I’ve yet to have a nightmare about them when I’m terrified of them in reality. And it was that concept that lead to today’s post: nightmares.

Not all of the dreams I have are nightmares, mind you. I’ve had good dreams- but my bad dreams, or just the weird ones, are so vivid! They’re far more realistic than my good dreams that I wake happily from. The weird and wild dreams usually fall in line with the nightmare side… So I’ll be sharing some of those as well. I won’t go into excessive detail, but I’ll give you enough to learn how my mind has worked since I was young.

The most memorable nightmare I have ever had was when I was in elementary school. My dad thinks it was induced by stress from overhearing a DYFS worker saying they planned to take me away from him because she didn’t like how our apartment looked or something like that, but I don’t know for sure. All I do know is this is one of the most bizarre nightmares I’d ever had at that point, and for most of my life, to be honest.

It starts with a news flash: Clones of all the people in the world were starting to appear. At that same time, aliens were invading, particularly colorful animals that otherwise seemed harmless… except for the ducks. The purple ducks with black spots were far from cute and innocent looking birds. They had sharp teeth and were eating anyone in sight, original or clone. The dream ended when the ducks got into our school, which was at max capacity because of the clones. I believe it was around the time I was about to get eaten that I woke up. This no longer counts as the weirdest dream I’ve had, but it’s still pretty damn creepy to remember!

I won’t tell you much about the weirdest dream I’ve had now, as I plan to use it to write a story- most likely in comic form. What I can tell you is it’ll be a psychological thriller of sorts, focusing on magic in a world that no longer actively has it, and a death game that brings magic back to life.

Not all my weird dreams count as nightmares, but sometimes they came from something that I think of as a nightmare to deal with. Once, when I was young, I had a migraine. I was sleeping at the time before the pain started- and to warn me it was there, my mind gave me a peculiar dream. I lay flat on the ground, in a barren world. There was only the sky, me, and random feathers floating softly to the ground. I’d pick up one of the fallen feathers and drop it on my head with a giggle. But then, I picked one up and dropped it on my head again, only to feel like I’d dropped a brick on my head instead. I tried another and another- it just kept leading to worsening pain. When I woke up, my head felt like it did in that terribly painful dream. It’d been so picturesque before my migraine decided to make itself be heard.

Now, let’s roll back the clock even further. See, I have a couple of memories of dreams I had as a toddler. One I even have a vivid image of in my head. For some reason, as a tot, I had a lot of dreams about being chased by food- the most memorable one being a strawberry. Every time I’d have one of these nightmares, I’d refuse to eat the food involved, slowly but steadily limiting my intake of food in general until I got over the dreams in time.

Another one I remember well was Reader Rabbit popping out of my computer screen and trying to kill me. I mean, he was pretty tiny- it was hard to understand at the time I was safe at all though. And it wasn’t just Reader Rabbit. Mario, one of my cereal box mascots… Many of them apparently had a violent streak and wanted to off me. I’m not really sure why.

The final nightmare I intend to share is something that’s very triggering for a lot of people, including myself. If you’re triggered by any form of sexual harrassment or misconduct, please skip over the next paragraph.

When I was about six or so, I started therapy. Then, one night, I had a terrifying dream that my therapist raped me. I couldn’t remember being raped, or anything like it, but somehow I had vivid images of the act, and I’d wake up terrified every time. Yes- it wasn’t a one time thing. I had similar nightmares with a lot of people in them. I had them since childhood, but they didn’t really stop completely. I get them once every few years at most now, but the fact is, they happen. And the impact was so strong that I ended up with a notable case of androphobia.

Anyway, that’s all the nightmares I can think to share with you today. If you’d like, why not share some of your own? To talk through the scary things in life can be quite liberating. I know this was for me! So let me know in the comments, what kind of nightmares do you get? And, if you have any, tips on how to avoid them. Until next time- take care, friends!

Throwback Thursday: Hobbies and Habits

WARNING: There is a small part that pertains to self harm. You've been warned.

Good morning everyone! Has the week been treating you well? Today, I thought I’d talk about a couple things from my youth… namely, my hobbies and habits. I have some old hobbies I’d like to take up again someday, though I’ve little funds to take part in them. Habits, meanwhile, are things I’ve changed a fair bit in my life comparatively. My hobbies were almost all always based on the arts, but my habits… Well, let’s get into that a bit later.

The first hobby I wanted to talk about is scrapbooking. Scrapbooking was something I took great interest in from the time I was in elementary school and joined the club (or the equivalent of one at any rate). In high school, at my first special needs school, one of the elective classes was scrapbooking, which I immediately rushed towards. It was so much fun! It brought back fond memories, and it brought my creative juices to a new light. I’d really like to get back into that someday, when I have the funds for some art supplies I’d need/like to do with it.

Another hobby that comes to mind is golf. I wasn’t as big on the driving range that my grandpa used to take me to as I was miniature golf, but I stopped playing slowly as I got older for some reason. I haven’t been in at least eight years, I want to say? I’m certain I was a teenager when I did. Again, this can cost money, and I also can’t drive, so I’d have to take a service like Lyft to the only one I know in the area.

Another physical hobby I used to like and still occasionally take part in is bowling. This is something I got into when I was really little, as my mother was a league bowler and dad had taken part in some too. My mom was as close to a pro athlete I’ll ever have met, most likely. I went bowling last year for the first time in a decade, and finally figured out how to not completely suck the entire time without bumpers: I need to bowl left handed. That was a fun thing to learn, in my opinion.

I saw some kids the last time I went to the park all playing basketball together, and that reminded me of how much I enjoyed the YMCA team I was forced onto my by aunt. I’d love to find a basketball to take to the park and just shoot some hoops on my own sometime! Wow, I had a lot of sporty hobbies in my youth… It’s kind of amazing.

Now, on to habits. I had some pretty whacked out habits and routines when I was young. With my first bipolar manic phase, I slept 3 hours a night like clockwork, and could never sleep more than that. I used to only drink cold water, which I nearly never do now. My hygiene was trash, which lead to me being bullied- but that’s a story for another time. And finally, I always kept a journal- which likely is why I’m so intrigued by bullet journals and the like now.

There’s one habit I’m proud of myself for breaking though. For those of you who don’t know, I used to self-harm a lot. It was usually just biting my fingers or my arm as hard as I possibly could (the marks concerned my family, however, even if I never bled). However, I had a habit of locking myself in the bathroom, crying while sitting against the door, and staring at a sharp object fighting the urge to slash it upon my skin. It was well known what I was intending to do, so at one point the police had to be called to get me out of there when I refused. When I say I was in a bad place in my school years, I’m not kidding around.

I do still bite myself on occasion- but I’ve gotten a lot better at holding back, even if sometimes that means sitting on my hands to keep in control. I can’t bite what I can’t reach, after all! I still think of the butterfly project as a great aid to me, and fairly regularly draw a butterfly with sharpie on my hand, to promote myself to not bite it. If you don’t know what the butterfly project is, you can read more about it here. Just know it’s not just for cutters.

And that’s that for today, my friends. What hobbies did you give up since childhood that you want to take back? Do you have any habits you’d like to fix, or ones you’ve conquered and are proud of? I want to hear all about your experiences with these subjects in the comments! C’mon, snap to it! Please?

Topical Tuesday: Social Media

Hey everyone! Can you believe it’s already Tuesday? I can’t, cause I’m writing this on a Monday. Yeah, I admit it, I pre-write my posts. I never know how my health will be on any given day, so I do this to make sure I can get a post up even if I’m in crap condition.

That’s not our topic for today though. No, today’s topic is all about social media. Social media plays a big part in many lives, including my own. I love Twitter and am constantly scrolling on there and retweeting random things I like while sharing what I’m up to like it all somehow matters. Somehow, though, eight hundred people- including some of you reading this, I bet- like what I do on Twitter enough to follow me. And that’s something I find truly amazing.

Now, I don’t use all forms of social media- I’ve tried to, but I just can’t anymore with some. Facebook is dead to me, I haven’t tried to log in in probably a year or two, except to connect games to it so I won’t lose my work. The other day (or rather, last week) I actually got an email that someone was trying to break into my older account. I just sat there like, “You go man. Dig up that corpse.”

Now Instagram I did use for a while. I have two accounts on there that I seriously need to get back onto. One was for just my daily life and a lot of selfies, which honestly sucked, but my poetry account was doing amazing. I need to start updating it more often with new poetry… I just haven’t written any in a while. So, if you feel like giving me a prompt or something to get my poetry motors oiled up again, that’d be great!

Finally, there’s Youtube. I only got into really using it as myself just recently. I posted an introductory video you can watch, but the video I really hope you’ll watch for me is this pep talk I made:

Why am I promoting my youtube video to you? Because I worked hard on it, spilled my soul out. If you watch anything ever on my channel, let it be this pep talk, because the content is super important to me, and I think it’ll be important to you too after you watch.

Now, a bit about how I see social media: It’s a drug. Social media is like a drug. I know a few things about addiction. I’m from a family with addictive tendencies, and I myself am addicted to another of things. I’m addicted to my computer, addicted to social media, addicted to my medication… There’s a lot you can be addicted to.

But social media plays a huge role in my life. I spend many hours of my day scrolling through Twitter. I have literally taken my phone into the bathroom with me, and just sat there reading Tweets for an hour when I could’ve gotten up a lot sooner. (C’mon, don’t tell me you don’t use your phone on the toilet.) I don’t even fully watch when I’m watching TV anymore. I spend a lot of my TV time with dad just playing on my phone while listening and looking up once in a while. So what am I doing while I watch TV? Mostly lurking social media and maybe playing a few games I like. That’s a story for another time.

But seriously, the social media binging is a problem. You never know what you’ll see and that’s what makes it exciting- but it also makes you want to constantly check it for new content, you know? I’ve literally sat tweeting in the middle of a staff meeting before. Luckily my boss didn’t get angry, but I for one did. Social media is great- but make sure to take a break from it from time to time. I don’t mind if that means I get less watchers or followers or anything like that. I’m being serious: you can have too much of a good thing. Keep that in mind, okay?

Well, that’s all for today’s rambling. Now, it’s time to share your thoughts! What social media do you use most? Why do you prefer one site over another? Do you have methods of fighting the urge to binge on social media? Share any thoughts or answers you might have- it may just help another person in their fight! 😀