Archive for April, 2014

I’ve been binge-watching the first season of Game of Thrones. That’s more of an FYI than important good news, haha.

 

First things first —

WE DID IT!

LOFK

You may or may not remember me mentioning that I was working on getting this screening of Legends of the Knight to my local AMC in hopes of raising money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association in memory of my friend, Eric. Well… we met our threshold! With FIFTEEN MINUTES TO SPARE! It was a close call, but we made it. We still have 53 seats available, and are taking donations through the site: http://www.tugg.com/events/8559  — if you would be feeling so generous.

So even though I have a fairly stressful week ahead, with my appointments Wednesday and the screening that I’m hosting on Thursday, I’m really pretty excited. This has been a scary wound reopen, but it’s going to be worth it.

What other news do I have to share, you may be wondering? Well, seeing as I am always looking for a way to make something productive out of things otherwise considered “useless” by some people, and I do have a small addiction to projects…

I’ve decided to put my nerdy knowledge and con travels to good use – I’m starting a website called Hail to the Geek, Baby.

HailtotheGeekBaby

It will feature a little bit of everything, from Nerdy News, to con coverage and cosplayers, geek fashion, etc. I want to cover the bases.

Right now, the only functioning thing up and running is the Facebook like page – Hail to the Geek, Baby. I’m planning to launch the site itself next month for Geek Pride Day. Fingers crossed it does well, folks. I’ve already got two staff writers on board, which will take a huge weight off my shoulders.

Well, that’s all I can really say for now, guys. Hopefully some more good news to come!

~Angel

 

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Fun fact: I just realized Wednesday night I have A LOT more medical debt than I actually was aware of. So just as I figured out a game plan to get my life all situated and ready for progress, I’m hit with the cold truth I have three times as much four-digit debt than I assumed.

And you know what?

mattsmith4

That being said….

I’m still working on getting it all paid down or off, so that I can move forward. I would love to have my own home in the next year or two, but financial circumstances keep getting me into weird messes. And even though I have no plans to quit my job right now, things are getting pretty rough here, and I can’t even promise they’ll keep me if push comes to shove.

So, what will I do about all this mess?

The answer: The very best I can.

I will continue to live and travel and plan and make myself happy now. Because you know what? I need to be happy NOW. I can’t be guaranteed that there will be a tomorrow if I don’t take care of myself today. My body freaks out under stress now, something I used to handle A LOT better pre-Sjogren’s flare-of-doom in 2012. But now I am constantly reminded: Cut back on some stress, or it will only continue to get worse. My body has made this point to me, too.

KIDNEYS

Yet, stress keeps building: bad news, big news, dread, debt, work, health, everything.

Last night and today have been particularly rough, and I want nothing more than to go curl up in bed. But duty calls, and I must do that which must be done before I can focus on my body.

And while I do have some good news to share, that will come with the next post.

~Angel

I’m just gonna photo-dump my images from April 4th – 6th here for you….:

My best friend, Brittaney, with Matt Smith from Doctor Who.

My best friend, Brittaney, with Matt Smith from Doctor Who.

Myself with Matt Smith and Karen Gillan from Doctor Who.

Myself with Matt Smith and Karen Gillan from Doctor Who.

Brittaney and Bruce Campbell.

Brittaney and Bruce Campbell.

Horrible picture of myself and Adam West. I was too excited to not derp-face it seems.

Horrible picture of myself and Adam West. I was too excited to not derp-face it seems.

Brittaney geeking out over Sean Astin.

Brittaney geeking out over Sean Astin.

Myself, Sean Patrick Flaney, and Brittaney.

Myself, Sean Patrick Flaney, and Brittaney.

Myself, David Della Rocco, and Brittaney. Moments later, he kissed us both :D

Myself, David Della Rocco, and Brittaney. Moments later, he kissed us both 😀

Breaking Bad - Jesse Pinkman's Monte Carlo

Breaking Bad – Jesse Pinkman’s Monte Carlo

SILENCE WILL FALL, DOCTOR.

SILENCE WILL FALL, DOCTOR.

Sean Patrick Flanery REMEMBERS ME FROM WHEN WE MET. He's such a huge inspiration to me, and a gal can't deny he's rather easy on the eyes. Seeing him is always wonderful. Also, he ruined my favorite Boondock Saints shirt for wearing, since he signed it lol.

Sean Patrick Flanery REMEMBERS ME FROM WHEN WE MET. He’s such a huge inspiration to me, and a gal can’t deny he’s rather easy on the eyes. Seeing him is always wonderful. Also, he ruined my favorite Boondock Saints shirt for wearing, since he signed it lol.

David Della Rocco... Can't deny how much I love this man, either. Him and Sean are two of my favorite people I've ever had the privilege of meeting.

David Della Rocco… Can’t deny how much I love this man, either. Him and Sean are two of my favorite people I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting.

Can't forget the AMAZINGNESS which is Sammy and her husband, artist Tommy Castillo - who donated SEVEN SIGNED PRINTS of his art to my Legends of the Knight charity screening for MDA. I collect his art, so this was a huge deal to me. It took everything inside of me not to cry on the spot.

Can’t forget the AMAZINGNESS which is Sammy and her husband, artist Tommy Castillo – who donated SEVEN SIGNED PRINTS of his art to my Legends of the Knight charity screening for MDA. I collect his art, so this was a huge deal to me. It took everything inside of me not to cry on the spot.

 

So there you guys have it, some highlights of my Geek-end the beginning of April. =]

NERD PRIDE!

~Angel

“You have the power to choose the way you see life, and the way you experience life. You can take whatever comes, and make something positive out of it.”

I’m trying so incredibly hard lately to not have a meltdown. I can still function under gratuitous amounts of stress, but I can’t deny I’m starting to feel overwhelmed. The weight that gets lifted when I make progress seems to immediately replicate itself in some other way. Obviously, there is work related stress. Everyone has it, and specifically everyone I work with has it. But it’s just a job, and if I can manage to leave the stress of work AT WORK, then I’m fine. Yet constantly something is happening to make that 10+ hour day horrible, and now it’s looking like my workload is going to increase.stresscalories

But there is also the stress of my health, which is a hilarious mess. Reducing stress, as I was medically advised many times to do, is about the only option I have to get my body to attempt to cooperate. I would love less Sjogren’s flares, let me tell you. But not being as capable as I used to be adds more stress. I have so much less energy to accomplish what I need to, which hinders progress, and thus adds to the stress. Not to mention the fury of bad health stuff that has been all of 2014 so far. Hospital bills, test bills, doctor bills, procedure bills… everything. I can’t get out of the bills to save my life. And more are on the way, since I have two appointments April 30th – one new specialist about my ovarian mass/cyst issue, and the other my ENT Oncologist. SO MUCH FUN, RIGHT?! Not an ounce of stress or dread there…

Oh, but the fun doesn’t get to end there. (It never does.)

My Legends of the Knight screening for Muscular Dystrophy isn’t selling as well as I’d hoped, and I have a little over a week to pull off some miracles. But it’s making me bitter and eating at my faith in other people. I know I just need to push harder, and when I feel overwhelmed I should step back and take a deep breath. But it doesn’t change the fact that I’m terrified it will fail when I had my heart set on it. For now, I can only keep pushing forward.

Not to mention, I’m getting more and more frustrated with myself for not progressing any farther in terms of my manuscript and the edits that it needs. I’m obviously growing tired of not getting anywhere and burning out on the day job. Writer Angel and Artsy Angel want my full attention, and they’ve grown tired of Sickly Angel and Day Job Angel. I am a WRITER, dammit.

comeonkid

Let’s not even get into all the things wrong in my personal life. Like a burning desire to have my own place and move forward with my own life. Or trying to fix my car. Or everything.

But at the end of the day, even though I feel like I’m cracking into pieces, I know I have to hold it together and keep trying. This post isn’t about how stressed I am, so much as it is about overcoming said stress.

anewwaytothink

“Choose to live a life of unique greatness, and to give that greatness to your world. In every moment you have the power to choose, so choose the very best.”

I’ve said it a few times: I handle my depression and stress and anxiety without the assistance of any substance. While I agree, we cannot tackle these matters alone, I learned at a young age some of the best advice I had ever been given. At the time, it didn’t seem like good advice whatsoever. In fact, it devastated me and made me feel like no one would help me. But after two failed anti-depressants, I took the time to consider the advice.

What magical words did my doctor give me to completely turn around how I view life? “Learn to deal with it.”

*gasp* WHAT?! That’s so rude! He told a 13 year old coming apart at the seams to just DEAL WITH IT?!

Yeah yeah yeah. I had these thoughts myself. But after time, and some mature thinking, I internalized and reconsidered what this meant, or at least what it could mean for me.

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.” -Robert Frost

I spent my childhood surrounded by friends and family members that used unhealthy coping methods to deal with their problems. I had friends and family, also, that immediately sought out a medication to make them happy, instead of trying to actually make the attempt to change the situations around them or how they react to the onset of depression or anxiety. So, when my world was crumbling, I didn’t start drinking or smoking or using prescribed or illegal drugs. Instead, I taught myself how to deal with everything.

thewoods

“The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep. “

Robert Frost

To be fair, I won’t lie – it was a rocky start. I didn’t just laugh in the face of Depression like it was some harmless beast and expect to get away with it. No, instead, Depression started to tear me apart. There was a long stretch of time in which I couldn’t stop myself from bodily harm as an instant reaction to my triggers – it started small, by biting off chunks of flesh in my mouth or shredding my cuticles or jamming my fingertips into sharp objects. Eventually it led to more aggressive versions of self-harm, and that’s something I don’t enjoy admitting even at this point in my life, because it was an incredibly dark time that I have a hard time accepting. But it happened. I don’t take pride in it or babble about it to every human I know, and it took a lot of time and love to get myself out of it. Eventually, I did overcome the self mutilation and constant self-loathing. And it was all because I finally learned how to cope in healthy ways.

creativity

I would stay after school and work on artwork for a few hours, go home and dive into my writing. Eventually I started to get somewhere in both areas – I had scholarships and college interviews for my art, I went to New York for my writing and was well on my way to getting an agent. I even started getting some publication. After high school, I started getting into photography. That’s still my coping methods: art, words, pictures. If I need to reboot my brain, I surround myself with creation.

“So I stare into this paper instead of sitting at a cubicle, take all the ugly shit inside and try to make it beautiful.”

As I’ve grown, I have found more methods of distracting myself from the overwhelming waves Depression tries to drown me in: video games, exercise, cleaning, etc. I’ve found  girls nights with my closest friends does wonders for my sanity. As does time with my nieces.

“I’m gonna make it through, you’ll see.
I swear I’ll prove you wrong.
You haven’t seen the last of me.
I am way too strong.
It’s not impossible, you’ll see.
You’ve never been inside my head:
Ten billion burning suns and belief in a strength that can raise the dead.”

I’d like to believe I can inspire this in other people. It’s an incredibly difficult thing to do, to overcome your need for a chemical substance of some form to act as your crutch, and I’m sure there are instances that some people simply cannot handle the world without it. But I think there is a problem with over-medicating people, or people seeking out poor coping methods, instead of healthy or productive ones. We’re taught through example of everyone around us that we can treat the symptoms of our sadness with alcohol or drugs or whatever. That’s the real issue: we treat symptoms, not the problem.

I’m not saying cold-turkey stop your medications you’ve been prescribed, either – that can be incredibly dangerous for your health. But maybe work on finding the positive changes you can make, see if those can help you at all, and then talk to your doctor about lowering your dose or coming off entirely. Or, ignore this all entirely. It’s 100% your life to do what you need to do.

Anyway, I thought I’d open up about a bit of my own struggles and how I cope. I’d like to think I could be of some help to someone who needs it. Or at the very least, letting someone else know they aren’t alone.

~Angel

 

Quick little post for you all….:

nerdy

A good percent of the time, I am met with a lot of disrespectful comments because of my tattoos/appearance, general interests, career goals, etc. This is especially frequent in my job. However, after an extremely unpleasant instance of this today, in which you’d think because I have tattoos I kick puppies or something, I ended up having a wonderful conversation with a work associate about our nerdy interests and such, as we normally do, and how I remind her of her daughter and my advice has been awesome and journeys etc. and how she adores the general comradery of most legitimately passionate nerd-folk. We briefly touched on my own appreciation because of instances like earlier, and she agreed it made no sense. We talked about some different things off topic that I am doing or have done of any interest, and she said “Wow. See? You’ve done more and aspire for more than all those people combined, and there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.” I agreed. We also discussed her daughter finally realizing that being a nerd-minded girl wasn’t something to be ashamed of, but rather to embrace.
I told her she was exactly right, because despite the negativity for my tattoos, or the double-standards these days regarding ‘nerds’ (hot people with a nerdy interest being totally cool, but a passionate but supposedly unattractive nerd…. absolute social suicide), and the like… I’d rather be completely true to myself and not compromise for anyone, than to change or suppress who I am because of people that don’t even know me.
This conversation turned my entire day around. NERD PRIDE!

~Angel

I’ve been invited to participate in a blog tour about the writing process. It was started by Maya Rock www.maya-rock.com. I was invited fellow writer and Facebook friend, Megan Bostic http://meganbostic.blogspot.com

daydream

1) What am I working on?

Oh, you know. Everything. Anything. Nothing.

Honestly, I’ve been splitting my time between edits on the book I’d like to query – let’s nickname it BM, shall we? – as well as two in-progress stories, one of which isn’t much more than an idea still being fleshed out. I normally prefer to actively work on one at a time, but with my Sjogren’s brain, I can only do so much. It’s all over the place, I’m all over the place. It’s a mess in here. *taps forehead*

I’ve also been trying to have more practice at writing in general, specifically trying to get out of my fictional comfort zone. I took a class last semester called “Creative Nonfiction” which I honestly thought would become my breaking point to make me realize I’m a joke of a writer and should give up while I’m ahead. Turns out, I was wrong, and did fairly well in the class. I ended up passing with Honors, my extra Honors project being paper over Sjogren’s Syndrome and my journey with it. My instructor loved it. I was amazed I made it. But it really gave me a much needed boost. I thrive in classes like that, even when I’m doubting myself.

So, to gain more practice, I’ve been writing for various things. There was, of course, interviews and reviews for A Thousand Lives Reviews. But I haven’t been able to log into that blog for some time now, and that’s a bit disappointing. I’ve also been a Staff Writer for Ax Wound, which is a giant honor to me, and I’m proud of my work there.

And, oddly, if I could get around to having more time for it… I think I’d love getting back into FanFiction.

2)How does my work differ from others of its genre?

This is a weird question to me. Obviously I think it stands out because, well… It’s MINE. My work, my voice, my way of perceiving and regurgitating this grand adventure we call Life. Was that a bit much? Oh well. The point is, what I really see as the difference is that it’s my way of doing things, my voice shouting into the void.

3)Why do I write what I do?

I write what I do because that’s what I like to read about. Mostly, it’s just because some idea pops up in my skull one day, and off I go scribbling things down until there is something worth fleshing out. Sometimes it’s a thought, or an image, or just something playing out in my head like a memory. I write what I do because it’s just what the Muse is throwing at me. She pokes and prods at my brain until I give in and give her what she wants.

But mostly, I write because there is something within me that needs to come out, and so I release it back out into the world with words or paint or photos until I can think clearly again. That’s why I write what I do. That’s why I spent a lot of time writing strictly horror – because I had a festering darkness that needed to come out. Now I just want to prance around La-La Land. And that’s just fine.

4)How does your writing process work?

Oh, you know:

TwirlPencil

Actually, in all reality, my writing process is simple. I just sit down and let the words come. I’d like to say I have that stereotyped image of me sitting in Starbucks with my laptop, sipping on some coffee and hammering out a bestseller. But that’s not how it works for me because a) I hate coffee, and b) I’m not a Café Writer. Writing is a very solo experience to me. I like to be alone with my headphones on. Usually I write at my desk or at the dining room table. Occasionally, I sit outside on really nice days, especially if I’m working on something that has to do with my characters being outside. I’ve also been known to write at specific tables outside of the college between classes, as well as in the library at one of the private cubicle things.

Wherever I am, I let the words come. If it’s a specific project, I read over where I left off, maybe glance through notes etc. If I’m just free writing for the sake of getting an idea or scene out, I just let whatever needs to be written down come out. I typically work off of paper initially, or at least for a good portion of whatever I’m working on. It’s not too common that I write everything out on a computer. Not that I don’t like to, I just enjoy handwriting everything first for whatever odd reason. I have notebooks upon notebooks of work.

Which leads me to this: I’m a Notebook Writer (there are various types of writers in my mind), which essentially means I carry a notebook everywhere at all times, or at least make sure I have a pen. For example, the instance of being so inspired in New Orleans, I was scribbling thoughts on top of a pizza box as I walked down Royal street. Wherever I travel, I take a notebook of some form with me. I keep a notebook in my purse at all times, to fill with quotes or dialogue or ideas or whatever I need to jot down.

But it’s all part of my process as a writer. Mainly, I’m a slave to the ideas and the muse. I’m also a big fan of music while I write. I especially like making soundtracks based off of music that I feel matches the overall theme or even some specific scenes for whatever I’m writing.

 

So, there you have it – My Writing Process. Now, here’s where I’m SUPPOSED to tag someone else. I tagged my friend Alesha, but I don’t know that she’ll have time to post one… so, we shall see. Otherwise, I’m a partial failure. 😀

~Angel

BeAWriter