Highlights from My 2016


I did a lot of growing up this year. I experienced different reality checks, forced to grow, to change habits. However, I accomplished a lot in 2016 personally, when I look back because of them. I’ve been in a stand still for a long time (when trauma happens, “fight or flight” is not the only survival instinct. There is also “freeze”. That’s where I’ve been after the last few emotionally traumatic years.) But I’m unfreezing, and I can see that with each passing year; especially in 2016.

I moved forward. These are some of those highlights. ❤

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Self Public Transportation For A Semester.

I wasn’t driving when I took a math course at my community college; so I used the bus and my bike for transportation. It was a first big step I took to leave the house alone and get myself somewhere like that! It wasn’t a huge commute (would generally take a good half hour if the bus wasn’t late and I pedaled steadily) but it still meant a lot to me. I was not used to biking or the bus, so in that first week, it felt like the most difficult trip in the world. But each week it got easier. I got physically stronger from biking and mentally empowered. My MP3 player was a life saver. I even lost some weight riding that bike. The worst thing that happened? I almost got flipping RUN OVER at a big intersection (legit; in the cross walk, I got knocked to my knees in the street and the car was bearing down on top of me) and that was slightly traumatic. I won’t forget some of the most peculiar people I met waiting for my bus after class (a talkative ex-con, a friendly teenager with a Batman shirt, a drunk woman who was so proud of her daughter, a bus driver who told me I had beautiful eyes.) People told me their life stories in moments at that bus stop. It was a crazy experience for me but I’m happy I persevered through it. And with an A in math too.

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Flew the Country Twice Alone

At the end of that semester, I flew to Georgia to meet James for the first time! And just wow, flying is just an incredible experience! It was empowering to get myself through those airports on my own some, especially after all my biking practice. I flew the first time in May, the second time in December, and both were overall very smooth! I remember everyone I sat next to on each plane well, at least for both flights to GA, as they were so sweet and kind. I’ll never forget the butterflies in the pit of my stomach when I first saw all the green trees around the landing strip from the plane window and realized “I’m here. He’s here.” But now the sight of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport runway is one of my favorite sights! Outside of a few common silly fears, I actually really enjoy flying and I look forward to all the future flights ahead of me.

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I Got Myself a Job

I began paying rent this year to stay home, but my savings were very limited at the start, so a job I needed. A job I got, one that worked best for me due to location. Boy, it has been a mad adventure since getting that job: racing in when others didn’t show, learning curves one after the other, adjusting to a boss’s needs, staying out of coworker drama while still being the ear everyone wants to talk to about it, haha. But now I have my very own source of income and I’m saving up for my car. I have grown a lot as a person by learning to persevere throughout the unforeseen trials of that job. I have learned so much about life in general there. I have also built some incredible friendships with several coworkers there, and I go on late night adventures with a couple of them even! I also enjoy my repeat costumers who get so excited when they see me. I’m thankful for the consistent pay and am happy to work with so many nice people.

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I Learned to Drive

I’ve been very scared of driving for a long time. Partly because I didn’t have a longing for it like many kids. But I was also seriously terrified of the being in control of such a powerful vehicle while being among thousands of other drivers more stupid and incompetent than myself. I live in Phoenix, it’s a big city with lots of crappy drivers ok? But I studied the rules hard and took a lot of time to really practice throughout late summer and fall. Now I can say I’m fairly comfortable with driving! I’ve driven to a lot of different places in my state for practice and all of those trips were great fun! I’m a more cautious driver, but I do enjoy flying at high speeds on the freeway. The only thing I still struggle with is parking, but I’m getting better. XD It was a big deal for me to learn how to drive, but I’m glad that I’ve learned!

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I Successfully Began Long-Distance Dating My Best Friend

This took the most time, the most energy, most of the year to do, but it is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done! I couldn’t be more grateful for where we are now compared to a year ago. I remember seeing him for the first time, running to hug him and not wanting to let go the entire trip. I’m glad I choose to take my time before committing to “boyfriend/girlfriend” titles until later in the year; we were just “us” and we are still “us” even now because of it! I’m happy that I decided to be honest about myself with him, about what I felt and needed. It was amazing that at the end of the year, we could announce we were happily dating long distance, fully secure in each other and our feelings. He is my first real love, my first date, my first kiss, and I hope my first for many, many, many more things! He enriches and blesses my life so abundantly; I’m so happy that God has brought us into the security we have now, in His plan, our friendship and love for each other. ❤

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2016:

was the year I painted big parts of the house and reorganized the attic by myself. The year I really dug temporary tattoos. The year I started a music blog. The year I started Breaking Bad but didn’t get around to finishing it. The year I flew 2000 miles for my first date. The year I learned new crochet patterns (and crocheted my biggest blanket ever.) The year I got to eat Captain D’s again. The year I biked through the park at night to breathe music better. The year my kitty disappeared and never came home. 😦 The year I stopped walking the dogs. The year I choose to have my first kiss. ❤ The year I worked double-shifts. The year I bought 5 anime posters at comic-con. The year I found Home far away, then had to leave him behind twice drenched in my tears. The year Chris Pratt tweeted emojis at me for loving “Passengers”. The year I finally found Father Goose at the thrift store. The year I lost 25 pounds. The year I watched 73 anime shows beginning to end. The year I started buying dream catchers.  The year I said, “I love you”.

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2016 was a good year for me, despite all the election drama and the different trials I did experience. I learned I could overcome obstacles if I tried, that I was loved for exactly who I was, and that God was bigger than my fears. It was a good year. ❤

~Jamie

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Social Media and The “Freedom” of Expression


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For those who might follow me on Twitter, you will have gone through some self-realization with me on the day after my birthday. Taking a break from personal blogging resulted in several things, and this was one of them. Keeping my thoughts to myself for a while somehow made it possible for me to–well, more than just identify a problem, but I had a clear-enough head to do something about it. I have my original train of thought from Twitter below for you to read:

It’s a constant struggle, it seems, to continually express myself openly. It is something I struggle with a lot. Social media lets eyes into your mind when they otherwise wouldn’t be. Let’s be honest: The people on social media who make each site what it is can create expectations that are intimidating, and can make it hard to share yourself honestly. Don’t get me wrong, I love social media because they can create platforms to do so many different things…but there’s a negative side them all, too.

Facebook is fully of well-meaning parents, peers, and elders who can be quick to speak their minds without being sensitive. Twitter puts up expectations that one must be funny and sarcastic all the time. Tumblr will literally get offended by anything you might say, no matter what its about. Instagram sells the misconception of “they must have perfect lives, look at their perfect pictures, my life sucks compared to them.” There’s just no filter for “I just feel like a mess right now.”

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And blogging can have heated articles full of unresearched opinions, while the opposite side of the spectrum is full of writers who are too scared to share certain fandoms or thoughts; simply for the response they might get from readers and family–“What are you doing? You watch that? You need to write a disclaimer before every tv show you watch to make sure no one stumbles.” It makes it really hard to share some things about yourself.

It’s for reasons like this that one doesn’t just casually state, along-side their other fandoms, “I love Game of Thrones.” No seriously, that’s me actually admitting that I love Game of Thrones for the first time on this blog. 99% of you didn’t know that about me because its something I’ve kept private for the reasons I just listed in the paragraph above.

Vulnerability IS SCARY. But I meant what I said in that last tweet about being me everywhere un-apologetically. That’s why I’m sitting here writing this.

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Of course, what you share on social media is ultimately up to you. Privacy is always a very good thing to keep in mind; I generally share more than most because I know that speaking plainly about topics resting on my heart not only helps me but others too. And I like to feel connected to people who feel the same vulnerability. I actually wish there was more of this on the Internet but I understand why most people are private.

But its silly when things like fandom Pinterest boards and silly little thoughts for Twitter become filtered for no reason. And it took me two months of blogging “radio” silence to realize that’s what I’ve been doing to myself.

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Being myself has and probably always will be a battle for me as I learn to let go of expectations. Besides, I’ve had people freak out over my likes and dislikes for years–In 2011 my sister and I were verbally attacked for an extended period of time by church peers because we were watching Star Wars without dissecting it to pieces. STAR. WARS. So, I’m learning to wear tough skin when it comes to the fandom things. XD

To cut this short: this whole social media thing was a fantastic “ah-ha” moment that I had almost two months ago and I’ve been looking forward to sharing it with you guys! I felt like in a day I grew up a little bit more. I live for these types of moments in my life, these types of revelations of my hesitation.

I feel kinda dumb after having them; like, “wow, I shouldn’t let this bother me. I can make however many stupid Pinterest boards I want. Why do I do this to myself.” This might honestly sound like a pretty silly, trivial issue to some of you, to struggle with social media, which is ok. But I know a lot of other people might struggle with this too, and I want those people to know they’re not alone.

I love social media. It’s an awesome thing.  But it’s especially awesome when I can feel free to use it for me. Thanks again for listening, guys. ❤

~Jamie

Of Tears and Hurts | Some Self Discovery on Films and Fandoms


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The past month I’ve come to some awareness to certain aspects of my life in regards to movies and TV, and writing about my thoughts is great therapy for me, so I thought I’d write this post up and share it.

Well, the last week was brutal fandom-wise for me; The Walking Dead mid season finale was devastating; I had tears in my eyes the entire last half of that episode and was very distressed. And as all my Twitter followers should know 😉 I flew through Season Four of Doctor Who and had to say goodbye to Ten, David Tenant’s Doctor. Through three seasons I got attached to him and his last farewell was very sad. I didn’t want to see him go. I did cry but it was after I shut down Netflix and walked away because Eleven’s sudden appearance broke the build of emotion (which I did not appreciate, by the way.)

But when I did cry, I cried hard because I felt I had once again lost another friend and that’s a very devastating feeling to me. I cried and cried in the bathroom for probably two solid minutes and then came out all red eyed. Kayla was very supportive of me that night and I ate sugar and watched Downton Abbey with Mom.

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But it felt good to cry. And I’ve been crying more over movies and TV recently, which for a while I thought was rather weird. But I’ve realized that I feel better afterwards when I do. It’s because I am acknowledging that I am sad and am expressing it in a healthy way. It doesn’t stay pent up in me forever; I grieve because I care and when I’m done grieving I can pick myself up and move on. I think it’s been a healthy step for my emotional side, to become more in tune with my feelings and let them come out more.

That’s not the only thing I’ve realized in regards to myself with movies and TV the past few weeks. I’ve realized how I feel about Christian critical ‘thinking and sharing’ about films and TV, especially here on the Internet, for me personally. I’ve come to some conclusions.

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For most of my teen years, my family spent all it’s time in a very conservative, small church circle. Movies and talking about movies didn’t really mix there. One of the reasons was because it was considered good thing to ‘think critically’ when it came to films. In many ways talking or sharing about movies with those kids became a very distasteful thing; it felt as though, if I or my sister spent more time talking about what we liked about a movie and not what we discovered was wrong about a movie, it felt like we weren’t quite as up to par as the rest of the children. This was part of the problem, of course, that I felt like I had to be up to par compared to other children who were being raised differently then we were.

And ‘thinking critically’–or rather ‘sharing critical thoughts out loud‘ rubs me the wrong way now because of those experiences, which includes experiences with my dad when he still lived with us because he really liked tearing movies apart. He nearly ruined our first viewing of Iron Man because of how much critical speech came out of his mouth the next day. It made watching movies almost a dread because I felt like I couldn’t enjoy the experience when I was going to have to tear it apart right afterwards.

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Even though I’ve been away from that atmosphere-that more extreme thinking-for quite some time, I still sometimes feel that I must include with my movie reviews ‘warnings’ and/or proof that I still am up to snuff. And that’s burdensome. It weighs down on my spirit, being busy worrying if I’m spiritual enough for some people. I feel as though I am still stuck in the old even though I’m not.

And so I recently came to to the conclusion that from now, until I feel better about the entire matter, I will no longer write anything about a movie unless I want too. I won’t include or acknowledge un-biblical issues in movies on my blog UNTIL I have been able to recover or unless I really want to. But at this point I don’t want too for most cases because I feel like when I do, I’m only doing what some people expect me to do, or prove myself worth something in some sort of twisted sense that is not biblical at all.

I feel as though the only way I’ll ever be able to get back to real, biblical, proper critical ‘sharing’ is to not do it at all.

(This would include me feeling responsible for warning people of anything distasteful in a movie; do your own research on a movie before watching! Everyone’s standards are different and what I might find except-able might not be in your book.)

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Don’t get me wrong, I do understand the importance of thinking critically in regards to media and entertainment. But feeling like I HAVE to share my critical thoughts is horrible. I need to get back to just talking about movies and enjoying the good in them without an unhealthy old burden from three years ago still weighing on my head.

Coming to this realization has been very freeing. My mom is very supportive of my discovery of this and with support, I hope to be on a road to real recovery in this area in my life in the future.

In conclusion: I would like to encourage anyone who hasn’t done so already, to do some soul searching of your own. Come to grips with some things that you might be doing only out a fear and see if you can get to the place where you can either stop doing them or can do them for the right reasons. It’s very freeing, lemme tell you!

PS Short movie reviews  now coming!

~Jamie