Character Over Corpus

-I am just a human being trying to make it in a world that is rapidly losing its understanding of being human.-John Trudell.png

I follow a few Youtubers, well Vloggers, really. I can list them off for you since it is in fact so few: Hannah Hart on occasion, Mamrie Hart on occasion, Craig Benzine for sure, Hank and John Green (Or John would prefer: John and Hank Green) and the rest of my Youtube activity is split between Crash Course, The School of Life, Good Mythical Morning, It’s Okay to be Smart, PBS Idea Channel (Mike Rugnetta is like my spirit animal) and videos of cats. Cats wearing hats. Hats filled with cats and sloths oh and the occasional prehensile-tailed porcupine. Vlogging is a strange thing for me and I have very severe usual opinions on various Youtube ‘celebrities’. I don’t understand Tyler Oakley, Michelle Phan or PewDiePie (by all means feel free to ask about my rants on PewDiePie). I don’t understand how people can make literally millions doing something so innocuous as posting their daily rantings, ravings and nonsense but the few vloggers that I follow do remind me that it can and is a full time job and I’d love to thank Craig Benzine (WheezyWaiter) for showing me that being a personality is a lot of work.

But today we’re here to talk about people. Because there’s a strange cognitive dissonance between seeing an online celebrity and recognizing them as human. I know John Green not as an award-winning author but as the Nerdfighter behind French the Llama. This comes really from a very central thing: Hank Green recently announced that he and The Katherine were about to have a baby. I noticed in all of the videos where Hank mentions the new human child that’s about to enter his life that in my opinion he seemed terrified and miserable. I went to judge him as I would a comic book character before I realized this is a human being. This is a man who wakes up every day just like I do and is about to add to his family. Anxious, worried, scared, mortal: he was a human being and had every right to feel that way and I have no right to judge him.

Vlogging is in fact a rather voyeuristic thing. You do in fact open yourself up to be no longer a person but an object. When you put every single thing you say and do and start to monetize those things and build a community it does feel a bit like a forfeiture of your personal humanity. You are then not a person but a personality. Think of Oprah. It’s one of the reasons I’ve always resisted posting too many videos from convention or my panels or even of my costumes: those memories are personal, private and mine. I know what happened 2 AnimeFests ago. My friends do, too. The rest of the Internet? They don’t need to know the whole story. But the clips, vignettes, intimate glimpses are more than enough to share with the unwashed masses. As a blogger, writer and social media professional, I am keenly aware of what is appropriate to post and what is not and I’ve gotten pretty good at keeping my personal and private lives in check but also managing my online footprint pretty decently. But because I panel and cosplay there is a little bit of Stage!me and Everyday!me: those two people are very different and wear vastly different amounts of make up.

It’s interesting coming from someone like me who is a writer, cosplayer and general nerd. My friends and I talk rather casually about comic book characters, anime characters, novel characters like they’re people: like they’re real people. If you ever get in the middle of a Harry Potter conversation between friends and I, you will hear us talk about Potter as if he was right there and we were still equally annoyed and displeased with him. And if you sit with us further to hear conversations of headcanons you’ll come to find that even characters have idealized versions of themselves.

What’s even more interesting is that glimpsing into these people’s lives can reveal plenty of curious things. For a brief moment I found a person annoying based on a Let’s Play video. Think of how very shallow that is. I was willing and able to pass judgement on another person based on a video that completely out of context showed nothing about this individual or their life. And if anything I find that I am more sympathetic to John and Hank Green and the choices they make of who to show in their videos. John’s wife is famously in known in Nerdfighteria as “The Yeti” because she is often spoken about and rarely seen. He kept his son, Henry, out of many videos because he wanted his child to have agency over what what kept of him in the digital archives. And when clips, and snippets and soundbites are taken out of context: well, doesn’t that change how we’re all viewed? If someone pieced together a simulacrum of me based merely upon old anime club meetings and things I said while I was in costume: then you’d scarcely know the me that’s witty, charming, bookish, entirely too smart for my own good and frightfully introverted.

And what’s more important is that we forget to in these moments see these people are mortal. We put them on pedestals. We assume the wealth they’ve amassed from advertising makes them monoliths. But they are human, just like the rest of us. John Green goes to bed every night with his wife and family and if anything his open discussion of his anxiety to me makes him even more human. He worries about his existential life. He openly discusses mental illness and admits to the struggles he has had with faith. He admits to being an insufferable teenager ( I was, too) and he admits to being normal. Well, aside from the awards and stuff. I think it can all be summed up very well by another quote: “Even on the most exalted throne in the world we are only sitting on our own bottom.” said so wonderfully by Michel de Montaigne and illustrated beautifully in this video.
The moral of the story? Context is key. We’re all human and the internet is a scary place where we try to put our best foot forward only often to have our kindness used against us. So stay kind. Stay human. There’s a fine line between personality and persona.

The Nearly Paranoid Concerns and Worries of a Roman Catholic

“What the mind doesn't understand, it worships or fears.” ― Alice Walker

Catholicism is pagan in its roots. Most Western religions are pagan in its roots. If the story of a charismatic teacher bathing in rivers, being born of virgins, saying a bunch of cool things and then dying (sometimes coming back) but for sure dying and then saying more cool things from that either post-death life or from the clouds it’s because it’s a story that has been told for literally thousands of years.It is Osiris, Shiva and many many more deities (Religulous had a pretty comprehensive list and that’s just a great movie so for reals watch it.). The fear and aversion of snakes: pagan. The allocation of owls as evil: pagan. Sun worship and aligning positive figures with the Sun: pagan.

So here’s a good place to define the word “pagan” because I’ve used it a lot and many people probably have different ideas of what pagan means. Let’s go over what I don’t mean. I don’t mean Satanism in its current form. I don’t mean other dark arts or dark forces. What I mean by Pagan is exactly what the word means: the religion of the people of the hills. This does include Witchcraft both New Age and Ancient. It does include Druidism. It does include the religions of the First Peoples to this great continent. It includes many of the folk religious heroes and figures that are often spoken of but now only as a whisper. That’s what I mean by Pagan and yes: Catholicism is very Pagan. The statues, the stained glass, the smoke, the draperies, the extravagant costuming…yeah, I’m talking about a Catholic mass and not a Samhain gathering. This very pagan looking service is exactly what caused a huge schism in the church. The color and statue symbolism alone could convince you that the average Catholic service is a Celtic romp through Stonehenge (And if you ever want to talk Catholic imagery…oh boy, please feel free to comment.).

I keep bringing that up for a reason: superstition is the antithesis of faith. Now, for those of you that know me I am a somewhat neurotic little thing. I worry about a lot of things. But I also grew up in a very spiritual household. My grandma and parents were staunch believers in ghosts and the paranormal and I’ve admitted plenty of times that I’ve had supernatural and paranormal experiences. Friends of mine have experienced similar paranormal things and many others think it’s senseless nonsense and that I’m crazy to believe in this “Ghosts roamin’ ‘round” junk. But as Catholics and even many evangelical Christians have a very strange view of ritual, religion and superstition.

The biggest example I can think of when it comes to going through the motions for the sake of purity is the intent of the Eucharist. It is said that if you approach the Eucharist during mass with less than pure intentions: like you aren’t caught up on your confessions or reconciliation rites or if you break the fast (yes, your pancakes are not holy enough to sit in your stomach at the same time as The Body of Christ) then you in fact ruin the sacrament for everyone. Think about it. Your salvation and dedication can be rendered entirely useless and ineffective because of someone else. And we as individuals wouldn’t know until Judgement Day comes. So we all do our best. We collectively try our best to be pure to avoid being that ONE person who ruins Heaven for the rest of the congregation by breaking the fast or by thinking about Scandal while in line before taking the bread and wine.

We’ve talked a lot about theology and it’s been really really fun to talk about this stuff in a somewhat safe space. Want to learn a little about things that I am somewhat superstitious about? Let’s find out!

  • I bow to cats.
  • There are places that have a weird energy to me and I now try to avoid those places.
  • Numerology, astrology and symbolism all mean a lot to me: remember, horoscopes used to be a normal part of daily life for quite a long time.
  • I do tend to avoid haunted places. Not because I always assume these places are haunted but just for the risk of pissing off any ghost or demon that could be lurking around.
  • I do not however believe too heavily in possession. Not that I don’t think it exists at all but I don’t think it’s the ultimate cause of all things that are bad or even a few that are good.
  • I do believe in soul mates.
  • I almost want to believe in reincarnation but that’s a pretty iffy issue for Catholics since some saints are said to be “of” someone else but scholars do struggle with reincarnation in its Asian incarnations like in Buddhism and Hinduism.
  • I’m not much one for miracles or signs. I’m a Deist, remember? God is busy.
  • I do though almost superstitiously believe in the power of the Saints.
  • I find prayer meditative and I do have a few personal favorites which are you are welcome to ask me about respectfully.

This is a pretty short list on this and it’s been fun to go over. Let’s chat theology and superstition again really soon!

Thoughts and Musings from a Concert: Fitz and the Tantrums

 

Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness. Maya AngelouRead more at- http-%2F%2Fwww.brainyquote.com%2Fquotes%2Ftopics%2Ftopic_music.htmlConcert tickets. She got me concert tickets. I was so surprised when Amber said “Hey, July 24th…can you just X that day out? It’s for your birthday.” (which is by the way an awful thing to tell someone who is Type A and hates surprises). She told me later on that we’d be seeing Fitz and the Tantrums. I love this band and seriously if this is your first time hearing about them I’ll wait a minute for you to find out what you’ve been missing. I can’t think of the last concert I went to (well, that is if you don’t count the Night Vale show). So I was excited to go to a concert. Here are some of the thoughts I had before, during and after the show.

  • The drive to Austin isn’t very long. I’m always surprised by how long and short the drive is simultaneously.
  • 1776 is way better than Hamilton.
    • Unpopular opinions forever.
  • Always stop at Bucee’s.
    • Like seriously. Just do it. One of the best bathrooms ever.
  • An 8 year old saying the word “noob” like physically hurt me. What corner of reddit did you learn that from, kid?
  • Also, as much as I love Pokemon Go…people, live in real life. It’s a game. Put it down.
    • That being said: Team Mystic forever.
  • Don’t park under the tree that is supported by poles.
  • Midget wrestling is still apparently a thing.
  • If you end up seeing a line 2 hours before the doors open: go ahead and get in that line.
  • Apparently some venues separate lines out male and female because that’s a thing.
  • Grapefruit vodka and Sprite is my new official summer drink.
  • By the time the opener had started I was already in so much pain.
    • I am out of shape, guys. I don’t belong on my feet for hours.
  • It was also hot as hell out there. C’mon. Texas. July. Show just before sunset?
  • Concerts are not short people approved. Seriously, guys.
  • Also, I’m over standing for concerts. I’m old, guys. Chairs are awesome. Chairs.
  • Apparently you can shake a tambourine so hard that you can break it: the opening act did so.
    • She then proceeded to throw the shattered remains of the percussion instrument into the audience which cannot be safe. That has to be a hazard.
  • The lag between opener and the main act was almost insufferable. It was hot. It was humid. I was sweating in places I didn’t think I could sweat in. There were bats.
  • There was an insurmountable amount of bodies. So many people. I was not expecting how many people would turn up.
    • I’m still sorta in the camp that I believe most of the stuff I do/watch/listen to are kinda underground and hipster (also like me feelings during Night Vale) so I was very surprised to see how many people who were there to see a band that I also loved.

I had a rough time at this concert. I felt that my complaining was insufferable. Amber’s so gracious and she always worries about me. Between my flat feet and asthma, really it’s a surprise I function sometimes yet alone am a panelist and cosplayer. I struggled with being on my phone to quell boredom, capture the moment but still somehow in it all be present. Be in attendance. I spent the evening covered in sweat and sore but that all changed as soon as Out of My League started. I put my heart up proudly and I danced like no one was watching. All the pain seemed to go away during that song and then quickly returned after they finished and move on to some of their newer stuff.

I had an amazing time. I danced. I sang. I laughed. I got emotional. I sweat. I whined. I realized that I am an old woman in a somewhat young lady’s body. I rejoiced when we hit traffic and I got to sit down and be off my feet. I had never been happier for a shower. I embraced my hoarse voice. I had an amazing time. I’m so glad I got to go to this show.

Now if you all will excuse me, my feet still hurt and I’d like to continue resting a little.

Amanda.Actually: Panelist Most of the Time

Hello, readers! As many of you know, I’m a panelist, cosplayer and general fangirl. It’s convention season for me and I wanted to ask you: my friends, readers and those that are generally made of awesome a simple question.

AichiYume Needs Your Help (1)

 

Topics I’ve covered in the past include: Fandoms 101, Character Development, Men’s Roles in Anime and Convention Etiquette. The writing ones are a huge hit and I’m lucky enough to be a seasoned fangirl so I can talk to a few topics.

Here’s a picture of my panel crowd from Character Development at A-Kon 27 ( I apologize for the crappy pic but this wasn’t even all the crowd, the room ended up filling out by the time I was finished with my panel).

20160604_210312-COLLAGE

 

And here’s another picture from MizuumiCon to another fairly packed house where I presented my Fandoms 101 panel for the first time!

20150321_131112

At this stage of asking about topics there are no wrong answers so don’t hold back. I’m very open to suggestions.

What topics would you love to see in a panel run by the tiny awesome me?

I look forward to your submissions in the comments below or on any of my social media channels that are linked to this humble little blog.

Thanks for reading as always and thank you for continuing to inspire me to be a better writer, panelist and person.

Meditations on Welcome to Night Vale After Seeing it Live

“Exit, pursued by a bear.” ― William Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale

So I was fortunate enough to go to the Welcome to Night Vale tour while it stopped here in San Antonio. I went with my friend Amber and went in costume as Night Vale Community Radio’s favorite host, Cecil. And as many of you know I’m a big fan of the show and have written about it before at least once and probably will again at least a few times. I had an amazing time and I loved the show so here are a few thoughts on fandoms, waiting in line and headcannons. I’ll do my best to keep this spoiler-free because I respect that many may not have been able to see the show yet but one or two may leak out in my excitement for the show and the fandom so blame the zeitgeist, I suppose. So let’s get started, dear listeners.

  • Body paint is almost never worth the trouble. No amount of tutorials will make it worth it. I do not care. No third eyes, no nothing. Concealer is already too much effort for me.
  • Parking downtown is a nightmare. That’s not even hyperbolic. It was a nightmare.
  • Suspenders are not made for people with busts. They are though, cute as hell. I now need more excuses to brave the discomfort and wear suspenders.
  • People drove from several states away to see this show: while walking out from the parking structure Amber and I met a group of women one from Austin, one from San Antonio and one all the way from Oklahoma.
  • Getting compliments on my costumes is always great but it does sometimes make me a little insecure.
  • Though getting a compliment on my “radio voice” and the fact that I have good enunciation is always fantastic.
  • Hearing that people support my unpopular headcannons is always fun.
  • The Aztec is amazing when it comes to lines and despite the long lines we did not wait long.
  • HOWEVER: Aztec, get your seating together.
  • Also, sitting while short is a problem. Luckily, there was a space between tall between and I had the perfect short person’s window.
    • Please feel free to take “Short person’s window” for your own. SHORT PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE. Just smaller people.
  • Night Vale is if anything an amazingly written podcast and I admire Joseph Fink and Jeffery Crannor as writers.
  • Costuming while having no cannonical descriptions are fun.
  • Sentient patches of haze are pretty intense.
  • Night Vale Community Radio interns are in fact delicate and we should all treasure them a little more.
  • I sometimes forget how big the Night Vale fandom is: it’s a podcast. We don’t all hang out. But this show was PACKED.
  • Always stick around for the Horoscopes.
  • Continue your well-suited disappointment in Steve Carlsburg.
  • The weather was good.
    • Fun fact: this is probably one of my favorite fan artifacts. I wonder how that will be read in the distant future. A bunch of cyber archaeologists going on about “Why is everying commenting about the weather!”
    • Though there are not many artists that get to babble at me incoherently for several minutes.
    • ALSO: my clapping is just fine, lady. You don’t know me or my life.
  • Cecil Baldwin’s kinda hot…
    • Okay, he’s very hot. And well-dressed.
  • But seeing Cecil Baldwin BE Cecil Palmer confirms a few things that were a part of my headcannon including that Cecil is very expressive, gestures a lot and does genuinely love his job. He also is very much not aware of how dangerous Night Vale is making him a precious cinnamon roll who needs to be protected.
  • So this isn’t really a spoiler but I need to say it: I was NOT expecting that ending and it ended up making me really emotional but in the best way. In the way that all writing should. When you connect. When you feel. When you become the story and the story becomes you and suddenly then, only then, it isn’t a story: it is your life.

Night Vale is a sleepy town on the edge of the desert but there are thousands, millions of virtual citizens. We are all citizens of this strange little town with mysterious lights, unsupported oak doors and 6-legged cats that hover in the men’s bathroom of the local radio station. Night Vale is a fandom that is close to my heart. I love Cecil, my radio host. I adore his relationships. I fear greatly The Dog Park and want justice for the literal 5-headed dragon in prison. We as a fandom have a community: we have opinions. Some of us love Carlos. Some don’t think Kevin is so bad. Some hate Desert Bluffs, some hate Desert Bluffs more. I couldn’t imagine that Night Vale would end up meaning so much to me. I never liked it when it first came out: I didn’t understand the love of this strange fictional land but now I listen in regularly. I listen to Cecil as if Night Vale is my hometown and the nightly community radio broadcast is my public radio station. Welcome to Night Vale is TPR for nerds like me. Imagine: people sitting in their cars, sitting at home, doing chores all while listening to Welcome to Night Vale. Just as I’m sure the creators intended. This is our radio. This is our show. Night Vale is our hometown: well at least, it is if you can survive the Glow Cloud and avoid the Shape in Mission Grove Park.  So I highly recommend the Night Vale live show. It’s engaging, funny, dark, twisted and thoughtful. So enjoy the show. Listen. Tune in. You won’t regret it. 

And as always: good night, dear readers. Good night.

The Lessons from A-Kon 2016

-So if I'm Fuudo, then that means Carlos is Infiltration and Ricky is Xian.-

I have returned from A-Kon and it was the most bittersweet time at a convention that I can think of in recent memory. Here are a few musings during my time paneling, cosplaying and being with friends: both old and new and some people that I much rather just avoid.

  • There is nothing like eating white cake and watching Django Unchained.
  • Paneling is still honestly the most rewarding and fantastic thing I have done in my young life.
    • Having fans and people listening is absolutely amazing and I hope to keep doing it for as long as I am able.
  • Swimming is a fantastic way to unwind.
  • Hot tubs are in fact magical.
  • Mackerel is really really delicious.
    • Let’s just say that this weekend I sorta just turned into Haruka Nanase.
  • Having a bedroom to yourself as a lady, cosplayer and introvert is a fantastic luxury.
  • Always save your presentation on your desktop and flash drive.
  • Bonding over webcomics and music is absolutely amazing.
  • Patience is a virtue: my friends have a lot of nonsense to put up with being my friend so I did have to learn to support my friends despite not being as invested in the activity as they were.
  • Cosplay dogs are the best.
    • It’s even better when you see the same cosplay dog two years in a row.
  • Jurassic World is a hot pile of NOPE.
  • Teen Titans vs. Justice League can not be saved by Sailor Moon transformation sequences.
    • And despite Damien Wayne being an insufferable brat, he has every right to feel that way. You do you, Damien.
  • As a former Sebastian, getting a hug from Ciel is actually kinda cosplayer cool.
  • Teaching Drag lingo to someone is an arduous task.
  • A girl in a Trump hat may call you a social justice warrior: she may just be right and that isn’t a bad thing.
  • Friendships aren’t about understanding everything: it’s about support.
  • I absolutely do not understand Gundam model building but I will gladly accept the hobby being explained to me.
  • Meeting other panelists is amazing.
  • Street Fighter is pretty awesome and Karin is the best.
  • Convention tournaments are amazingly fun.
  • Free breakfast is fine but paying for a Dutch Baby was worth the money.
  • Backstreet Boys are best heard at 1 AM.
  • Being recognized as a panelist and a pretty low-rent one is kinda a terrifying feeling.
    • Like I am legit not famous so for people to say “Hey, I remember you from last year.” out of like THOUSANDS of people they saw LAST YEAR is insane to me.
  • I have apparently a very intense angry face that can strike fear into the hearts of men from several feet away.
    • This face was apparently more angry than the AoT potato proposal anger face.
      • You are welcome to ask about that reference later
  • Blackberry ginger ale should not taste like grape but for some reason it does.
  • Shopping at  Tom Thumb at midnight is pretty fun but the rabbi there shopping for last minute items will judge you terribly on your choices to frolic through the aisles looking for s’mores-making materials.
  • Tastemade Japan has clearly gone too far by hollowing out a bread loaf, filling it with meat sauce, broccoli and potato then cracking an egg over it and covering the bread’s edges in mayonnaise.
    • You must be stopped, Tastemade Japan. You have gone mad with power.
  • Do not try to ride the hotel elephants.
  • Dim Sum is best when with a group and when you try new things.
    • But also eat lots of the things you love.
      • Also do not touch my pineapple buns.
  • Drama may happen but what matters is how you respond to drama.
  • Don’t be afraid to stand your ground: if someone makes you feel terrible, you do NOT have to put up with that noise.
  • Having a CVS within walking distance to the hotel is fantastic.
  • You can in fact make a cake with just two ingredients.
  • Do not do your makeup in the dark.
  • I look forward to the day that I stop being my screen or badge name to many and start being “Amanda”.
  • Fuudo apparently looks a lot like Japan from Hetalia.
  • Conventions absolutely can take you out of anime and fandoms in general.
    • Conventions are intense and they remind all of us that our fandoms are FULL of people we don’t exactly like getting to know or see.
      • To that point, it did remind me that there’s A LOT I still have to learn about modern fandoms and fan culture.
  • Team Razer forever, though.
    • And to that point despite me being a HUGE advocate of E-sports I for the life of me do not understand watching people play a game that you yourself own.
      • Zero judgement, I just don’t get it.

I said earlier that this convention was bittersweet. I had some of my biggest panel turns out and some very light drama but it was drama that I think I learned from the most. I learned so much about myself and patience and understanding things that just aren’t my thing. I had to learn that friends will make choices you don’t get. That support means support no matter what. Hype is what you make of it. And it’s always rough leaving a friend behind. I won’t forget this one. I won’t forget the applause in my panels. The costumes I saw. The costumes I wore. The bus trip there and the bus trip back. Being angry at paying for getting my car back but being so happy to unpack my loot, stash my costumes and just get ready for the next one: there’s always a next one. The show must go on and I’m always excited to be on stage and then get off the stage again. Paneling is amazing: the thrill is fantastic but learning and being around others is even better. I’m happy to be back and I’m looking forward to my next convention…but for now I need some hot tea and a nap.

 

Mediations on the Nature of Grief on the 5th Anniversary of My Mother’s Passing

“There is no place for grief in a house which serves the Muse.” ― Sappho

June 7, 2010 was a normal day. And even the years before on that day were normal: some even joyous. I graduated from High School on June 7, 2008.

My aunt got married on June 7, 2001. But June 7, 2011 was not a normal day. It was by no means a normal day.

June 7, 2011 my mother died.

 

On that day I lost the one remaining of my parents and became the very last of my already terribly small nuclear family.

I’ve talked a lot about how struggling to cope with these days and anniversaries a lot over several blog posts: here and here. But I’m here to mention something bigger.

Today: June 8, 2016 for the first time in nearly 5 years it was just a normal day. I got up. Got dressed for work. Drove to work. Talked with friends. Was excited to post something about A-Kon (which got shelved until tomorrow.). I had gotten a message from my Godmother last night and I simply shook it off. She sent prayers and it wasn’t for any lack of gratitude that I shook it off: it was for am immense desire to return to being normal. I wanted today to be any other day and I thought it was going to be. In fact, for a brief moment I almost forgot. I even flubbed the dates. She had in fact passed yesterday the 7th but I had switched the dates from the day she died to the day I had posted about it after midnight that evening: the 8th. It was actually Facebook that reminded me that 5 years ago today I lost my Mother. (Thanks, Facebook.)

I felt absolutely normal up until that point and for the first time in a while I was reminded of that feeling that today was in fact not a normal day and despite my efforts to make it a normal day for many of my friends and family members it can never return to that normalcy that I desperately crave. And I say “normal” over fine and happy because I do not wish to worry those closest to me. I am not sad. I am not broken. I am actually quite content and calm enough to crank out a blog post, obviously.

So today: after 5 years of being officially an orphan I’d like to say a few things.

I do miss my parents immensely. I do love my parents. But I have no choice but to move on. I have to keep going. My sadness and my grief do not negate the right that I have to a life. And my parents would not ever want me to waste a single moment of my very finite breath on grieving them incessantly. So if I come off as callous or cold; if I seem detached from the date. If I seem unaware of its significance: do not assume my normalcy is out of rudeness. It is in fact the highest honor I can pay to my fallen parents. I will move on. I will keep going. I will live.

You have to keep moving forward.

The Literal Best Post Like Ever

“I live in a constant state of hyperbole.” Eden Sher

Trust me, I hated writing that title. Really I didn’t like it. But this isn’t about poor writing and the terrible writing convention that is the hyperbole. I wanna talk about why I STILL write hyperbolically, at least sometimes.

I am a writer. I think that’s obvious. I hang out with also mostly writers. We all talk though like the product of our generation. We talk like 90s kids. This is hardly the group of Bad Boy French Poets of the 19th Century. We speak to each other normally. We use slang. Lots of slang.We use short hand: most of us grew up with the last part of the AOL generation. I got my start online with Xanga, MySpace and AOL IM. I came into my own as a writer in the mid 2000s and despite the rampant fanfiction and emo-poetry: we did write pretty formally back then. (For the record referring to the mid 2000s as back then hurt my soul.) I continued a dualist form of writing: informally with friends with lots of shorthand and formally when it came to school work and writing. But in my speech and life I kept most of the shorthand I grew up with: LOL, LMAO, BRB; I’ll even use these to this day. But this isn’t just about shorthand. It’s about hyperbole and internet culture.

I’m a social media manager and I hate click-bait titles and the current trend of the Internets is hyperbolic generalizations.

I can’t even.

This is literally me.

This is the worst/best ever.

As much as I hate these because you cannot be any of those things. You can even, you have to so that you can exist. No block of text is literally anyone. And any one things is the best and worst all the time for most people because life is beautifully subjective. PBS Idea Channel did a great episode about it here.

But there’s something interesting about the relationship of being a writer and still using slang and Internet speak. In communications with my best friend, most of our posts are glimpses from Tumblr that are literally me right now. But as a writer I should be more proper. I should be above that. I should be better than that. I am not better than that. I currently moderate a chatroom that has a somewhat strict no-chatspeak policy. The policy cites that as a room for writers, we should all be literate. Now, this isn’t a berating of the policy: it’s a policy and they’re in place for a reason but it’s made me come to terms with the fact that I use A LOT of chatspeak. I frequently abbreviate words and shorten them based on how I feel and for the few times I was clocked on the policy I was charged to enforce I felt a lot of shame. I felt like I was somehow failing the English language itself if I didn’t end every single sentence with proper punctuation or with a definite article. I felt like a failed writer each time a phrase didn’t end in some Shakespearean couplet.

So I moved my more informal writing habits to personal chats and wherever the damn hell else I wanted. But I still struggled with the feeling that I was a failed writer whenever I used shorthand and spoke in like literally the best ever sort of way. But what’s so bad about speaking hyperbolically?

There’s been plenty of posts about the Age of Hyperbole where everything is the best and the greatest then what really is the best and the greatest.  I see that there’s a problem with this at its core and we’re reaching a saturation point that with all things being the best there is no the best anymore. We’ve long since lost the meanings of the word awesome and terrific because their Romantic-era meanings involved fear, sublime dread and literal mouth-gaping awe at something so vague, overwhelming and intensely other.

So here’s an unpopular opinion: maybe that’s okay. Yes, the word awesome is dreadfully overused and I can’t stand it but it’s just a reflection of the modern era. Thanks to technology and globalization we don’t get many awe-struck moments anymore. And I’d challenge if anything we aren’t in an age of hyperbole but an age of understatement. I find that when I use these words there’s almost an implied irony to it. Nothing is literally awesome anymore but it’s an understatement as a means to fill the void left behind so many of the little victories we face in day to day survival. Amazingly despite my disliking of him as a writer, John Green has been a bit of my model for the modern writer. A modern writer should use social media, should play video games, should falter, should have flaws and should be if anything opinionated and true to themselves. Being a writer doesn’t mean not being human.

Thanks for reading and if you ever hear me talk like a late 90s era Valley Girl, please don’t judge me. I literally can’t even sometimes.

Just Don’t Read the News…Constantly

Good evening, Readers. I hope this finds you all well. 

Now, as promised in my dedicated post to Colonel Meow, I did allude to a greater post on news media. Well, folks, here it is. 

Many of you likely start your day like I do. By clicking or opening your favorite source of news. Left or right leaning. Whatever your choice may be. We ingest the news. We take it in. We are hungry for it. We make it a part of our daily routines. Even periodically checking throughout the day at breakneck pace. Now, don’t get me wrong, this practice of taking the news in through various forms an formats from social media, to apps, to newspapers to television has saved, enriched and progressed the lives of millions; myself included. 

But here is where I find myself faltering and concerned with constant pursuit of news. I have grown paranoid. 

It’s hard not to. When you calculate the amount of murders and terrible atrocities of the human condition. It’s hard not to become scared, horrified by what humans can do and are at times subjected to. Murder, violence, arson. These are all a part of daily life, sometimes in your very community. It is mine. Though I struggle to think why it affects me any more now than it did when I was younger. It isn’t as if I moved from one area that is more urban than the other. Not as if crime doesn’t exist in the suburbs. It’s just gently swept under perfectly manicured lawns.

Now, I’m not saying to live in ignorance. I believe us millennials learned that hard way in the wake of social change and global tragedy, that our local new sources were at times unreliable or just damn fictitious. And that couldn’t have come at a better time. Behold, the age of the Internet where I saw first hand those hard-hitting stories. Unfiltered language, uncensored photos of chaos and the evils of humanity. CNN became my first taste of the horrors of the real world.Bodies in streets, outrageous poverty, disease, human-trafficking, drug usage. My first terrible view of the world outside of the green laws and gated world views of my suburban childhood.

I do recommend heavily being connected to the world. But know when enough is enough. I realize around the time of panic and general melancholy…it’s time to turn away from The Huffington Post.     

But don’t live in an ignorant bliss-filled daze. As a Communications major, I was often reading just for class 4-5 daily publications just to keep on track. Not to mention all of the reading I did while a debate student and for senior projects But we should learn from the news. We should gain something. Tragedy shapes us. Makes us stronger. We are to learn from our mistakes and failing as humans. 

So let’s start acting like it. All of us. Myself included.