Posts Tagged ‘thankful’

elephant-rocks

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and usually this time of year, I like to make a stereotypical post about things I’m thankful for. So here’s a list of what I’m thankful for, or just brings me joy right now (in no real order):

Movie nights with someone you love.

My Batman collection. 

My nieces. 

Fur babies. 

Feeling inspired. 

Productive nights of insomnia. 

Feeling accomplished. 

Qdoba nacho dates with my  best friend. 

The hunt for collection things.

Long calls with your favorite person.

Clear nights with the moon and stars shining bright.

Hoodie weather.

Nature walks / Hikes.

Road trips with good company and good music.

The exhilaration on your favorite rides.

Doing something kind for someone else, and knowing they appreciated it. 

Knowing this is the first December in a few years I don’t have a surgery scheduled.

The catalyst of meeting Kevin Smith one year ago. 

Filling up a box of comics.

The excitement of somewhere new.

Being so happy that I can’t stop the big, dorky grins. 

Painting with music blaring days. 

Adventure. 

Chinese food. 

Supporting the dreams and projects of others.

The Bat Force / Bat Force Radio while working on my collection. 

Naps.

My fandoms.

People equally passionate about the same things I am.

Good memories.

Cards Against Humanity nights. 

My closest friends.

My BEST friend.

Everything about a certain someone. 

There are many, many other things I could list. But these were the first things to come to mind today, and that was the most important part of this to me: the RIGHT NOW.

I hope everyone has a great week, and if you’re celebrating – a great Thanksgiving.

-Angel

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RAGEAGAINSTDEATH

Typically, I make some sort of Thanksgiving related “Thankful” post. Today, I show how thankful I am for what turned around a very bad weekend.

There is a giant reason that this blog is called “Misadventures of a Misfit” – Frequently, my best laid plans fall apart. Hope for the best, expect the worst, settle for something in between. More often than not lately, these plans are damaged by my wonderful body deciding to do something terrible to me at an extremely inopportune time. I was hoping to come back from Reno with fantastic tales of comic con, and loads of pictures of me super excited and looking like a major dork. But instead I come back still battling my body from what can best be described as the worst flare I’ve had since the initial, horrible flare that put me in Barnes hospital for 3 days and started this autoimmune (mis)adventure.

For a few weeks now, I have been very scared that I’ll have to have a hysterectomy after my procedure. I’ve been very scared to find out I have a cancer I wasn’t bracing for.

This weekend, I was very scared I was going to die.

And as weird as this statement sounds, the weekend was saved by Jay and Silent Bob.

I had just gotten into the con, and my first thing I needed to do was get in line for my picture with Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith. Jason was going to be there for the con itself, but Kevin however was literally there that one day for that one dual photo op with Mewes. I have a lot of admiration for Kevin Smith as a writer and as a creator and person in general and knew this may well be the most I’ll ever get to do in terms of meeting him.

Now, I will say this – I had not felt particularly well this day. But I also hadn’t felt well for a while, hence why I had gone to an ASAP appointment with my surgeon and tests and now the procedure in two weeks. So I wasn’t phased really. It was what it was and had been. I had things to do.

Unfortunately, just before I went up for my photo op, when I had just a few people in line before me, something went wrong in my body. Suddenly I was dizzy, and realized I was going to be ill. Apparently, my blood pressure dropped, my O2 dropped, and ultimately I dropped. To top off this horribleness, I vomited as I went down. Hello, hundreds or so people around me. I am Chronically Ill Girl, and you are not used to my horrible body.

To make this portion of the story as short as possible: I was not well, the Wizard World staff took very good care of me, until the EMT came, checked me out, and had me wheeled away to the first aid station, where I was urged to go to the hospital considering everything going on with my past medical history as well as my current concerns. In reality, I should have agreed for them to call the ambulance. But I was already heartbroken that I’d missed my one shot to see Kevin Smith, and I wasn’t about to miss seeing Adam West and Burt Ward on top of everything else. I got cleaned up and changed and went on with my day.

When I was walking away from my photo op with Adam West and Burt Ward, I was weaving through the booths, and saw that Jason Mewes was at his table doing autographs. I figured I could salvage some of that photo op mishap by at least meeting Mewes. One half was better than not at all, right? And at least I had hopes he didn’t know I was the girl that went down in the line outside.

And he didn’t know… Until my mother told him.

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So at this point, I’m feeling embarrassed all over again, and I’m ready to shuffle off with my autograph and hide in the corner, especially since I still felt horrible. But that’s when Mewes told me he felt terrible for what happened with me, and that I didn’t get to meet Kevin.

Then he took my number and gave it to his assistant at the table. And told me he’d help me meet Kevin before he left for his flight. Hugs and selfies and many “Thank you”s. I cried when I walked away. I couldn’t believe this was happening to ME.

Now, I’ve been very nervous about actually talking about this, because what was done for me was something I didn’t ask for or expect, and I don’t want someone to ever take advantage of the kindness of others. But still, this kindness meant more to me than I think either of them realized.

So, I went back to my hotel room to shower and rest and in general gear myself up for a few more minutes at con and to prepare myself to somehow meet Kevin Smith.

When 5pm rolled around, my mom and I were waiting in the hotel lobby, as instructed, with promise that Kevin knew I was there waiting for him. I was weak and dizzy and severely anemic, but absolutely determined not to miss this opportunity.

And then I saw him heading my way, iconic jersey and all, and I completely lost focus of how bad I felt as my brain took over.

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I got to meet Kevin Smith. I got to hug him, and take selfies, and he asked how I was feeling. And I GOT TO MEET KEVIN SMITH.

The admiration I have for him already on top of how absolutely freaking AMAZING it was that he and Mewes did this for me made my entire trip. Unfortunately, not long after this, I went downhill again. But for this amount of time, I was on top of the world.

Rage against death by making some art today.

It really sparked a fire in me. I want to create things while I still can. And if ever, for some insane reason, someone looks to me like I do to him, I will do all I can to help make their day too. Someday, even, I’d like to repay Jason and Kevin both. Because something so small and simple to one person, can mean the whole world to another. This was the highlight of my trip, and has turned around the doom and gloom attitude I’ve had toward my health. I can accomplish anything I want, and I don’t have to let anything get in my way. It doesn’t matter if I live ten more years or 60 more.

I will rage against death.

Time to make the best of what time I have. Time to make my mark.

~Angel

Edited to add: Based off of symptoms and blood work, it looks like this was all brought on by a very, very bad disease flare to rival that of the initial one in 2012 that sparked the whole Mysterious Sickness of Doom thing. So I’m still not 100%, but I’m recovering, slowly but surely. Two weeks until my biopsy!

I had a bad day yesterday. Not the worst day ever. I didn’t have a great appointment about my kidneys. Not the worst news ever, just more worry and stress. But because of the bad day and the bad news, I decided I’m not devoting any more energy to bad things. So, today I want to focus on something good.

Here’s something about me that confuses people: I hate Christmas time. I’m getting better about it, but it’s mostly one of those situations where 1.) there are several bad memories tied particularly to Christmas, and 2.) I get irritated with people that ruin it for me because everyone seems offended by something, or people lose the basic point of Christmas, or whatever. That isn’t what I want to get into, since it isn’t the point of this post.

Now, while I become a tad bit Grinch-y during Christmas time, I do love giving. I try to do what I can for people I love, pick a perfect present (in my mind at least), to let them know I actually put thought into what I bought instead of generic body wash gift baskets and junk they won’t really like or use.

But besides the things I buy for friends and family, I also work with local organizations as much as I can to help get things for people who have lost everything, or who are alone (a lot of times, these are Veterans), or people who just don’t have the money to do anything for their family for Christmas, etc. My mom and I will buy the things, give them to the organization responsible for distributing them to families in time for Christmas, and go on with our lives. We don’t give our names. Most of the time, my friends and family don’t realize I do this, except in instances where they ask me what I want for Christmas and I give them one of the people on my list to help and have them buy for them instead. Because trust me, I’m not in need of anything. I’m perfectly fine buying myself Batman collectibles and random other junk.

Another thing my mom and I have done over the years, which even less people realize, is buy a bunch of things for the residents in nursing homes and deliver them for Christmas. It can be anything from crossword puzzles, card decks, or handheld poker games, to body wash or blankets, treats, etc. There are a surprising number of people that are alone on Christmas in those facilities, because their families don’t bother to visit, or maybe they don’t have families for whatever reason. This kills me. If I had more free time, I would like to go in and visit the people that won’t have visitors but would like to. I can’t imagine myself ever being in that scenario, where I’m alone in a home with strangers, bored and basically waiting to die.

Again, we don’t give our names, we don’t want to be praised for doing something that I wish more people would do, just because it’s the right thing. We’ve started involving Lillie and Dica, my two nieces that live with me 50% of the time. One year we dressed them as little elves and took them into the nursing home with us to drop off the presents. The residents that saw them loved them, and the girls liked being “Santa’s helpers.” I was proud to have started showing the girls at a young age the benefits of giving to someone, not because you have to, but because you want to. Because it feels good.

This year, I hope to involve them more in the buying for families tradition, and have them help me pick out things for little kids their age that aren’t going to have much of a Christmas. I’d like for them to help with that every year, to see that not everyone gets quite as spoiled as they do every year, and that they can help make a huge difference in someone else’s life.

But I don’t just do things at Christmas time. Many friends, family, acquaintances, people through work, etc will tell you that I readily give when needed, and sometimes just because. If I can avoid people knowing I did something, I will avoid it, and let it be a miraculous gift from the Universe. My mother and I have bought and delivered an entire Thanksgiving dinner for a family I barely knew, because they had just lost everything. The home of some of my friends burned to the ground and they lost everything in it,  just a few days before Christmas, and we didn’t hesitate to go get them some clothes, food, random things they may need until they could get back on their feet. Mom and I have bought groceries for families struggling to pay bills and keep food on the table.

I’ve bought many, many friends random little gifts, just because. I’ve offered to buy or help with paying for the purchases of someone in front of me in Walmart, because they didn’t have enough to buy the things they need. I donate to the local no-kill shelter, where I got my big baby boy Lenny. I’ve donated to random charities, both with money and item donations (food drives, toy drives, etc). Every single time the gas station I frequently use has the donate $1 or $5 Shamrocks for Muscular Dystrophy, I buy the $5 shamrocks every time I’m in there, or at least the $1 ones if I’m short on cash that day. And trust me, I’m in that gas station A LOT. I organized the Legends of the Knight screening in Eric’s memory and, while I’m still gathering the money from that event, I’m happy to say that so far we’ve sent more money to the Muscular Dystrophy Association than I ever thought I could from one thing. At Hot Topic, and various other stores, when they have the round your purchase total up to donate your change – I usually do it. I leave some really good tips for exceptionally nice waitresses having really bad nights. Plus other things I can’t even think of at the moment. When I have more free time, I plus to volunteer at a place or two locally, even if it’s just a few hours one day of the week. If I ever make it big as a writer, and am more than financially stable, you can bet I will be donating monthly to Muscular Dystrophy, and offering any and all help that I can to the organization.

Now, here is the point of all of this babbling, because I sure as hell wasn’t doing it to praise myself. I wouldn’t keep most of the stuff I do a secret if that was the case. I don’t do any of this because I want people to think of me a certain way. I don’t do it for brownie points with God or the Universe or any other deity or religion or cosmic force you can think of.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

I do it because I want to give the world my very best. I want to do the best I can to put everything I can back out there into the world. I do it because I’ve been there, stuck at rock bottom, and I’ve been lucky to find my way out. I do it because of the kindness of strangers and family and friends that I witnessed as a child, when we were going through rough times. I do it because my mother taught me by showing me how good it feels to know you’ve helped someone else, whether they know it was you or not. I do it to pay it forward for the help I’ve been given in life. I do it because I don’t want to be part of the problems in this world, but rather because I’d like to help see those things change. I’d like to teach other people, whether or not they know it’s me, to give back too. Because maybe some day their stars will change, and the opportunity will present itself for them to help someone else. I’d like to think I could be a part of something like that. That if I’ve inspired at least one person to help another, that maybe my life has been worth something.

And since it is November, and this is the time we all try to mention the things we are thankful for, I thought I’d mention a slightly different group than I normally do in my Thankful posts.

creativeminds

I’m becoming surrounded by these wonderful people in my life. Even though they may not all be physically close to me – some several states or farther away – they help and inspire and teach me to grow.

There are plenty of friends and other people that inspire me in some way, but these people inspire me, motivate me, and make me want to keep growing as a person and giving back to the world. These are a very particular set of inspirational people:

First, I do need to say that a lot of my drive to do better, to give, to inspire, and just live the best life I possibly can, comes from my friends Eric and Whitney, both of which are no longer with us. Eric died many years ago, and Whitney died in 2013. Both of them were dearly loved, and deeply missed. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of either one, because I miss them both more than I can say. They were some of the most beautiful souls I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting. I know I have to live the best life I can, or it would be a dishonor to their memory.

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I have a friend, Sky, that’s about to embark on an amazing adventure, volunteering in other countries and traveling for at least 11 months. She’s saving and working hard to pay her way on this trip to help other people and grow as an individual through this experience. And you know what? I think that’s absolutely beautiful. You can check out Sky’s journey on her blog: Sky vs World.

There’s Brett Culp, his amazing family, and the incredible people in Legends of the Knight. Because of the hard work Brett and their team and the people interviewed put into Legends of the Knight, so many people all over the country have gotten to host screenings of the film, and not only inspire everyone that watches it, but also help raise money for so many different charities and people that need it. I’m one of the many people that were inspired by their great work, and was lucky enough to hold a screening myself for Eric. I was even more lucky that Eric’s mom and brother were there, and we could cry together when we thought of how proud Eric would be. This is a blessing I will never, ever forget. You can learn more about Legends of the Knight on their website and order a copy of the DVD.

Which leads me to the amazing duo: Tommy and Samantha Castillo. Tommy is an incredible artist, and Samantha is his amazing wife (with quite a bit of her own talent.) They were kind enough to donate several signed prints of Tommy’s work to us for the Legends of the Knight screening. Tommy and Sammy visit a TON of conventions, if you want to meet them in person for some prints, or you can order online on their website. I have a huge collection of his work, myself, and it is gorgeous.

And these are just a few of the people I can think of that inspire me on a regular basis. People that motivate me to keep going for my dreams, and to keep trying to give the world my best.

Now tell me: Who inspires you to give the world your best?

~Angel

PART TWO: A slightly more detailed look at people that need to specifically be mentioned.

  • Whitney:

I still can’t accept that you’re really gone. It seems like every day there’s something I want to tell you or talk to you about, and I can’t just text you or come over and see you anymore. You were someone I could talk to about anything for hours. I miss that. I miss going to take pictures or run around at the mall, like that day we went to see the last Saw movie, eat Chinese food, and went shopping. I remember trying on clothes with you and just having a good day, where we didn’t have anything or anyone else to worry about. I treasure the memories of that day as some of the most peaceful ones I have. I miss you. I wish that we could’ve had more days like that before you left this world. You were a beautiful soul, and my rock when I was too scared and weak to go on alone. I love you. Thank you for watching out for me.

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  • Eric:

It’s a little over two weeks until what should have been your 23rd birthday. I miss you, and it’s hard to believe it’s been 8 and a half years since you died. It still feels like yesterday we were sitting in your room, listening to music and talking, just like we always did. It was a few weeks before you died, and I remember how scared I had felt the 6 months before that – from the moment I found out on Christmas Day, all the way up to that day in June. And I remember leaving, and telling you I loved you and I’d come back soon. But I never did make it back before you died. It haunts me every day. I miss you, I love you, and I couldn’t ask for a better guardian angel. You’re my hero, and where I draw my strength from. I wouldn’t be alive today if it wasn’t for you.

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  • Sam, Jake, John Ray, and Ryan:

The four of you, as well as Eric, were the most important people in my entire world for so long. And I don’t see any of you as much as you deserve. Sometimes it’s because it’s too hard. It’s a shitty excuse, but that’s how it is. I lost touch with John Ray because it hurt too much after his brother died. He reminded me so much of Eric, and I only ever wanted to tell him that I would willingly trade spots with his brother in a heartbeat if I could. I tried to keep up with the rest of you, and sometimes I do, but mostly we just talk online or text or something. I love you all still, but sometimes I can’t handle it. This is something I’ve realized the last few days. I do want to spend more time with you all, but I need to slow other aspects of my life down first. I’m too drained from work and illness to handle the extra strain on my heart and body. I’m sorry. Someday, it will be better again. Sam, we can go get nachos and mountain dew. Jake, we can hang out and watch movies and just be our old selves. Ryan, we’ll stay up all night on the phone talking about everything and anything. I’ll find John Ray someday and try again, but I’m not sure I’ll ever be strong enough. I love you all, and I don’t want to lose you. Ever.

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  • Chris, SP, Tori, Kristin, Josh, Kyle, and the ten trillion other friends I miss spending time with…:

I really, really miss you guys. :/

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  • Lillie and Dica:

I couldn’t love anyone more than I love these two. My own children will have a hard time living up to them lol.

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  • Skylar:

My not-really-but-might-as-well-be little sister, my muse, the Charlie to my Patrick. I’m more than happy to have you along on my adventures, big or small. I love you. I’m so glad you’re back from the army because I missed you so much it made me crazy. Good things are ahead for both of us, and you know I will always be right there when you need me. Take the world by storm, kiddo. I wouldn’t expect anything less.

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  • Brittaney:

Everything I have to say to you, you already know. You’re my best friend, parabatai, the Sam to my Patrick, Luigi to my Mario, Frodo to my Samwise, Ron to my Harry. I love you and our adventures and no matter what happens, I have your back chica.

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  • Taylor:

My Mr. J, my favorite, my heartbeat.

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~Angel

I’m an incredibly confusing person to know, let’s just throw that out there now. I’m a mess of contradiction and chaos and I do what I can to tame it but really, it’s no good most of the time. For example, even though I’m an introvert and quite fond of my alone time, I am quite paralyzed by my autophobia. For those of you that may believe I’m afraid of cars, you are incorrect. You see, autophobia is the fear of being alone. Here’s a copy paste definition:

Autophobia is the specific phobia of isolation; a morbid fear of being egotistical, or a dread of being alone or isolated.Sufferers need not be physically alone, but believe that they are being ignored, unloved, threatened by intruders, and so on. Autophobia is also used in its literal context to mean an irrational fear of oneself. It is sometimes associated with self-hatred. Autophobia may be a symptom of other psychological disorders or it may predispose a person to developing other psychological disorders.

Mainly, I am consumed with a dread that I will lose everyone that I care about – I have super abandonment issues, I guess you could say. But I also very much have the literal context: I am afraid of myself. I’m my own worst enemy, to put it very simply. My mind and I do not always agree, and sometimes it’s like I can’t shut my brain up long enough for reason to come through. This is where my very rarely mentioned addiction to cutting became so prominent in my life. I was mislead to believe it a means of control, but really I realize now that hurting myself only lets the other thing win. It has been a long battle, but I’ve been recovering.

Annnnyway, on to the main point of this babble: I’ve had a shit Thanksgiving break for a variety of reasons. The one big positive has been my marathon of InuYasha I’ve been having with myself. I’ve loved this show for years, and it really makes me happy to watch just because it sort of takes me back to a much more simple time in my life. It reminds of of my friends I’ve lost and friends I still have. Good times, etc.

One of my favorite episodes is “The Truth Behind The Nightmare: Battle in the Forest of Sorrows” (of course it has to be the one with the huge friggin’ name.)

Now, I wasn’t really sure what it was about this episode that I adored the first time I watched it. I just knew there was something about one of the lines that haunted me, about how InuYasha’s deepest fear was to be alone, and that the only true way to free himself from it was to die. His companions are all trapped and dying within these nightmares, and he’s desperate to pull them out. Toward the end he realizes he cannot free them himself, he can only encourage them to save themselves.

Watching this episode nowadays, now that I understand things a little better, I realize just how much I identify with InuYasha, especially in this particular episode. He’s the courage of the group, the cocky, brave, strong “I don’t need anybody” sort. A lot of people see me as ‘the strong one’. Even I know how strong I actually am, which is why I have the reminder tattooed on my right wrist. But being this person has good and bad effects. I want to save everyone else. I want so badly to keep my friends from making the mistakes that have nearly destroyed myself and those around me. Sometimes people don’t want to be protected. Sometimes people want to make their own mistakes. That’s their choice, and I need to learn to accept that. I’m trapped in my own nightmare, watching everyone I love fight their own battles, and I am powerless to do anything more than offer my encouragement and stand by their side.

The truth behind the nightmare is that I do not want to be alone. I do not want to lose those I love because they help me keep the courage I need to fight on every single day. Without them, I’m a wounded creature. The fight in the dog will fade.

So, my next post will be back tracking to the most recent holiday: what am I thankful for this Thanksgiving?

~Angel