On Resolutions

I’ve never been one to hang all my hopes on a half-thought out plan I form based on the fact that one year is giving way for another. It somehow makes things feel grander to start the on specific calendar dates – the first day of the year, the first day of a new month, the dreaded self contract that starts and restarts on Monday.

I do, however, enjoy personal projects and self improvement, so this is as good a time of year as any to contemplate a new project (or a few new projects) and see what I can do to put them in action. The was to succeed is to have a clear plan, one that can be followed. This means that having to rely to heavily on something outside of myself could sabotage my seemingly well-laid plans of success.

At the beginning of this year, I started a writing project that was meant to be a page a day of a fictional blog. I was supposed to do this every day of 2013. I didn’t. I admit that life got in the way, and doing a project that required constant internet access as part of the central premise, while I was traveling, and eventually when my life made a huge transition, made me feel like a failure for not following through. In reality, other things in my life took their turn at centre stage, and rightly so. It would have been awesome to say that I started something on January 1st and saw it all the way through to December 31st without hiccups along the way, but it wasn’t practical for how my life progressed this year. I held on for months before I gave it up in a search for ways to mend my heart, which in itself was a success, as I usually grow upset at my writing projects within a matter of days. I don’t know how to plan them out, and get frustrated. I wasn’t allowed to edit that project, so it did help me give up some of that control to which I desperately cling, so it served a purpose, even if I didn’t finish.

There are two aspects of my current life that I would like to address in the coming year: radical self reliance and the dangers of comparison. I’ll likely attempt to talk about both of these subjects on this blog in the coming months as my way of working through what they mean to me. I’ve identified that I have some severally unhelpful feelings when it comes to these topics, and my life would be much happier and more productive if I were able to detach from their negative aspects.

On Radical Self Reliance: I have spent a lot of my time on this planet alone. It is not uncommon for me to bottle up what I think or feel in favour of not rocking the boat, or because I simply don’t know what to do or say, so I remain silent. This doesn’t allow a lot of people to really get to know me unless they take an interest in doing so. As a result of being self sufficient, which is a trait I admire in myself, for I have an incredible amount of strength, I kind of fall apart a little bit when someone sneaks past the emotional castle walls I have built. Suddenly there is a human who understands and enjoys me, and I remember how good it feels to be around someone and share life moments. I’ve been known to feel alone in crowds, but when I am in a state of usually being alone, this sensation doesn’t phase me. When I suddenly have a very pleasant option of not being alone, being alone doesn’t feel right anymore. I begin to rely heavily on the other person to fill my social calendar and I grow very attached to this feeling of inclusion. It is my feeling that I grow too attached, and if this relationship happens to end or shift dramatically, I am deeply hurt by the absence of that specific arrangement in my life. It is my hope that in the current year, I will be able to focus on spending more quality time by myself, so when I find myself alone, I am okay with that. I am as good a person to spend time with as anyone else, and I shouldn’t feel bad because there is no one around to whom I can look for comfort.

This doesn’t mean that I am going to cut all contact with people I care about simply because something could go wrong and then I could get hurt. This does, however, mean that I am going to take a step back and not rely on them so heavily for my social and emotional needs. I am more than capable of fixing issues in my life by myself, and I am more than capable of filling time by myself. My preference is to spend time with those I enjoy, but I need to learn how to enjoy myself and the time I spend alone. It will also be a very nice feeling if and when other people make the initial move to set up a play date, as I often feel like I am the one constantly asking other people to occupy space and time with me.

On The Dangers of Comparison: We are taught, I feel, from a young age, to gain facts about the world around us through comparison. This is how we categorize a lot of the information we are exposed to daily. This is not at all a bad system; however, I have a tendency to admire positive traits in other people, and not acknowledge my own (be they the same traits or different). Without a second thought, the person to whom I am comparing myself goes from being intelligent, beautiful and talented to more intelligent, more beautiful and more talented than I am. They have these traits, and they are so easy to identify, that I simply must pale in comparison to them.

Meeting someone intelligent does not mean that I am stupid.
Meeting someone beautiful does not mean that I am ugly.
Meeting someone talented does not mean that I lack positive skills.

Unfortunately, those are assumptions the my subconscious made a long time ago. I may not be the most [insert desirable trait here] person in the world, in the country, in the city or in the room, but someone else’s possession of that trait does not diminish the fact that I have that trait as well. Although I have a competitive nature, I don’t so much compete as I forfeit any claim to my own personal strengths. This forfeit runs so deep in my nature that it is hard for me to even think of what my strengths might be. I need to figure out how to identify them, give myself credit for the hard work I put into my life. I expect a lot of myself, but I should also feel comfortable in acknowledging my achievements instead of dismissing them because it is just a given that I should be living to the incredibly high standards I set for myself.

To recap: This coming year, I want to be able to learn more about myself, learn to not attach to other people as a means of not being by myself, and to stop assuming that the positive traits exhibited by others means that I don’t also have strengths.


Competing Fandoms

Hey everyone, I’m Kathy, and I’m a geek. I’m a complete nerd and I’m proud of it. I am a part of many fandoms: different authors, vlogs, television shows, web series and movies. I just really enjoy fiction – it is one of my favourite things in the entire world. I’ve even been known to play a few sweet video games in my time (spoiler: The Cake Is a Lie), although I get pretty aggressive about it so no one wants to play with me. Whatever, I have too many books to read, anyway.

What I really wanted to talk to you about is kind of appropriate for this time of year, because it is about harmony, peace on Earth, and also about two fandoms that I haven’t gotten around to subscribing to, that some people are really, super excited about. Maybe I would be excited to if I had more time to devote to learning more about them, but I just haven’t worked them into my schedule. Feel free to cheer if you are a geek when it comes to of either one of these fandoms. Don’t hide. Be proud of it! Today, I want to compare the fandoms Doctor Who and Jesus Christ.

The timing is appropriate because Whovians everywhere have just celebrated another, some people tell me Epic, Christmas special, not to mention the 50th anniversary last month, but also because the fictitious birthday of Jesus just happened, and I’m sure more than a few of you celebrated that one. In fact, I bet there are a few people out there who celebrated both!

Now, as fandoms go, these brands are both pretty popular. To use the current societal marker to indicate that you have made it big, Doctor Who has nearly 4 million Likes on Facebook and Jesus Christ has nearly 6 million Likes on Facebook. That’s pretty close considering the story of Doctor Who has been around 50 years and Jesus has been talked about for a couple thousand years, wouldn’t you say? Given a few more years, The Doctor might overtake Jesus in popularity. What they have in common is that each of them have countless websites, magazines, books, movies and spin off series devoted to their stories, and the fans of each are both very protective of their preferred protagonist.

If you’d rather compare them based on what they were able to accomplish during their lifetime, then Jesus is the clear winner. He lived, what, 38 years before he was killed off? That would be a pretty long life expectancy if the Bible were written by George R. R. Martin, but 38 is pretty young for a hero to be struck down. The Doctor is still going strong at over 900 years old, but there is a small catch to that logic. Maybe Jesus would still be around too if he could regenerate (resurrection is so not the same!). This just doesn’t seem like a fair fight. Perhaps each incarnation of the Doctor should be compared up against Jesus to make this a more even playing field.

I’d like to address a popular notion that I have always found a little ridiculous – and that is the notion that the actors who portray their characters actually are their characters and should be treated as such at all times. Talk about overshadowing a career! The guy who played the Soup Nazi in Seinfeld still makes appearances as that role! In the spirit of comparison, if we wanted to see a duel between The Doctor and Jesus, I’m sure that could easily be arranged between David Tennant and Christian Bale, right? How about Matt Smith vs Willem Dafoe? Yes, Bale and Dafoe have both played Jesus. IMDB that shit right now if you don’t believe me.

So, why haven’t I gotten around to learning more about these fandoms? They’ve both been in the periphery of my knowledge for quite some time, but the time to really immerse myself in either of them just hasn’t come around. I do know some of their sub plots, though, like how Jesus walked on water – although, come to think of it, I might have only remembered about that because it was redone on an episode of Misfits. Either way, he turned water into wine, and anyone who has ever been a student can appreciate that, so based on brief sub plots I have heard here and there, I understand his appeal as a hero to the masses. I’ve seen a couple episodes of Doctor Who, and really enjoyed the two-parter where The Doctor and Rose arrive in 1941 London during the Blitz and spent a lot of time trying to figure out why a strange child in a gas mask is repeatedly asking for his mother and terrorizing the neighbours. The Doctor really did some great problem solving on that one, and you could feel his high level of compassion, so I understand his appeal as well, even if Eccleston was one of the less quirky Doctors, and my quirk preference runs rather high.

Both fandoms are broken up depending on the preference of the particular audience member. Whoivans have 12 different Doctors to choose from, not to mention people who are hardcore fans of the different companions, and everyone seems to have a heated opinion about which one is better. And Jesus followers: God, where to start? People get just as upset if you put them in the wrong category as Whovians do when you mistake them as backing the “wrong” Doctor. For the Jesus fandom, you have Catholics *and don’t even get me started about the sub categories in that sect of fandom), Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox (hey, don’t look at me like that, I’m just reporting back from Wikipedia on that – I didn’t know that was an official name either), Church of the East, Protestantism (kind of like the class of Whovians who didn’t want an older actor the play the 12th Doctor, or the other sect that really wants the next Doctor to be a) a ginger and/or b) a woman), Lutherans, Pre-Lutherans, Anglicans, Calvinists, Presbyterians, Brethren, Methodists, Baptists, Charismatics – honestly, the list just goes on, but each of these sub groups was basically formed because they really love Jesus Christ.

It is my wish that the fandoms of both Doctor Who and Jesus Christ, let alone every other fandom, can just put aside their differences for a moment and really appreciate why they are fans in the first place. Sure, it is easy to over analyze every detail of the different facets of storytelling, but in the end, everyone just has love and admiration for their chosen franchise. Can’t that just be enough? Who needs to argue about who shot first, or who would win between a pirate and a ninja, or Robocop vs Terminator, or which old school console was the best, or Freddy vs Jason, or if sex with Superman would kill Lois Lane, or Alien vs Predator, Angel vs Spike, Trek vs Wars or Kirk vs Picard!? Can’t we just agree to disagree on the minor details, but overall agree that whatever sect of geekdom you subscribe to is fraking amazing!? Just think about it – every character you have ever loved, hated, lusted after, admired or wanted to emulate started as an idea inside someone’s brain. How awesome is that?! One day you think up a cool idea and a couple years down the line, and after a large amount of hard work on your part, that tiny idea has become something that people line up to read, buy, see, hear about, or have streamed into their individual homes without them even having to put on pants! Does anyone else find that completely amazing? Props even moreso to the old white guys who authored the Bible, because their fiction has lasted the test of time. I, for one, am extremely excited about the miracle of human consciousness! Can we all just be excited to be alive in a time when we can submerge ourselves in countless works of fiction, and have peace among us because we are too busy devouring the works in our newest fandom? That is my hope for all of you.

And just remember when you are passing judgement over someone else’s fandom, yes, of course, Jesus loves you, but the Doctor has twice as much heart.

As they say in John Green’s hometown, DFTBA: Don’t Forget To Be Awesome.

Sudden Shifts

Slumbering tight, void of light
Shrill screech comes in the night
Answer the call, tragedy fall
Time slows to a crawl

Can’t go to him, get the prelim
Something shifted, made him grim
His mind tumbled, causing bodily fumble
Causing worlds to crumble

He wasn’t sick, must be a trick
Healthy except for walking stick
Told he’s in bed, something wrong in his head
World takes a sudden shift to dread

Numb as I wait, can’t think straight
I don’t care that it’s tremendously late
Search for aid, arrangements made
Hoping his departure from life is delayed

When he awakes, his face quakes
Mind flashing over life’s mistakes
Don’t let it end, more time to spend
With those he loves – please be on the mend

On Youth

The world grows old
With distracted people
Always trying to re-obtain
Wasted youth

Working toward
Goals, missions and huge tasks
Always trying to save our time
To bank it

There is never
As much youth time banked as
You want, for youth does not keep
It grows stale

The option that
Perpetuates living
Is to make croutons from bread
Always move forward

If we get caught
Always look back instead
Our lives decay, are wasted
(Poor) Moldy youth

Living with passionate
Regard for life, outweighs all
Young time spent

S.A.D. Poem

Crushing weight upon my spine
Constantly battling this mood of mine
I have plans and things to do
But I’m unproductive and rather blue
Fatigue camps in my body
Cursing winter and genetics shoddy
Solstice approaches and that means
Days grow longer and new joy greens

On Dating

I used to be much more carefree, equally driven to succeed and less stressed out about it when I was a teenager. It wasn’t until someone showed interest in me (something to which I was not accustomed), and then fed me rejection, that I started to wonder why I didn’t date as much as my peers. I started to wonder what was wrong with me. This was the brginning of me not trusting in how awesome I am. Instead, I would try with renewed determination to make my next relationship work. And again. And again. This flawed perspective needs correcting, because I have, at times, bent completely out if my natural shape and when rejection inevitably came, I blamed myself for not bending further rather than understanding that I should not have to bend.

Finding someone who is perfect for us to spend our lives with seems such a monumentally improbable task that we try to swing the odds back in our favour by altering things about ourselves that could be seen as unappealing. Dating destroys individuality if you aren’t careful. Isn’t it ironic that trying to find someone to compliment me has caused me to lose myself?

On Brain Chemistry and Self Imposed Impossible Standards

This post will centre around two big points of my current existence: the legitimacy of crying, and my need to not feel stupid.

It has been pointed out to me that I have a negative connotation when it comes to crying. Until this was pointed out, I didn’t realize people could feel positively about crying. I have always wanted to either a) hide my crying from every other human being, or preferably b) suppress crying all together because I hate doing it. I have always thought that if I am crying, it means I am weak. It means that I am not good enough. The perplexing thing is that I don’t hold anyone but myself to this standard. If someone I know (or even don’t know) is crying, I don’t feel any embarrassment or shame for them (like I would for myself). I have compassion for others, but not for myself.

Added to this complicated way of living is the fact that sometimes, during the winter climate, when I walk outside, I instantly want to cry. I am extremely displeased by this, because I don’t view “I want to cry because my body hates that it is winter and I have terrible Seasonal Affected Disorder side effects” as a legitimate reason to cry. It takes a large amount of energy to suppress this want to cry so that people do not see this illegitimate need on my face. It is exhausting, and it makes me want to not leave my bed, let alone my house, but I get up, regardless, because I don’t want anyone to know that I feel so wrong.

Wouldn’t it be more of a show of strength to just cry when I need to? This line of thought was proposed to me, and I would love to fully accept this premise but feel a blockage due to my long-standing phobia of me – and just me – crying. I have always associated crying with not being strong. I fear the reactions of people seeing me cry. I fear them knowing that the reason I am crying is stupid.

That leads me onto the next subject – my overwhelming need to not feel stupid. I am intelligent and I want to keep that a fact, so anything that threatens that title feels like a personal attack on me as a good human being. I have many things to offer (I’m sure of this, even if I have trouble identifying these things) but my brain power is a skill that I focus on because it is a trait that is seen as being valuable and attractive for people to possess. It is because of its status as an attractive skill that I can hone it with endless learning while staying true to myself. I find it in great juxtaposition to the attractive quality of beauty, in which I do not classically score as high (but only in the sense of classically good looks). Although intelligence can be seamlessly enhanced through learning, beauty – when not given as a genetic gift – is so often manipulated into culturally accepted manifestations and not “true”. There are two different ways to look at beauty – being pretty (the state that can be physically manipulated) and being beautiful (the state of being your wonderful self).

I struggle with the idea of feeling pretty versus the fact that just by being myself, I am beautiful. I see beauty in being true to myself. I know that I am beautiful. When I feel like crying because it happens to be a certain season, I don’t feel pretty. I don’t feel I am classically pretty – although I do clean up nicely – and I also don’t feel like I should have to alter my appearance to be accepted as pretty. When I don’t feel pretty, I struggle to find my own beauty, which is something entirely different and yet commonly thought to be linked.

Since season change doesn’t seem legitimate in my mind as a reason to cry, my brain tries to come up with reasons from my life as to why I should be feeling like crying, which results in massive blows to my self-esteem and some very detrimental lines of thought. I think of classic reasons for people to be upset – such as reasons of not being loved by a partner or failing at something important, and take on those mindsets. I still don’t allow myself to cry, but at least now my reason doesn’t seem stupid; unfortunately it comes at the cost of now being terribly upset that I’ll never fall in love, get married and have children because I have failed in some important aspect of my life (for example; the so-called legitimate reasons for sorrow change day by day, but if I don’t deal with them and identify that they are crap my brain invented as a way to process an odd chemical reaction, then I get incredibly depressed).

I am working on identifying them and changing the story I am telling myself, but it is hard. I don’t choose, for the most part (at least during this annual chemical imbalance) to see myself as a negative being. My want is to be better, because I know I can be, which is part of why I am hard on myself. I need to figure out the rest of why I am hard on myself and cut that shit out. It is not serving me. There has to be a way to motivate myself to continue to improve without making myself feel like I am horrible and somehow should seek redemption.