Lists, Personal

What We’ve Been Enjoying Lately Volume 2

Nicole

The Big Flower Fight on Netflix

The Big Flower Fight on Netflix Will Soothe Your Weary Soul

This competition show is all about creating big, pretty sculptures out of plants and flowers. All the competitors are nice which I love, and flowers are my favorite.

The Sims 4 Available Now - An Official EA Site

I go through periods of being completely obsessed with the sims, and then don’t care about it for a few months before becoming obsessed again. I started doing an alphabet challenge where every generation starts with a different letter. I’m only on generation B, but I’m in love with my little family. I’ve also bee watching xurbansimsx’s videos on youtube, Angie Thomas stream on youtube, and Claribelstreamsitall on twitchwhich has also been a lot of fun.

Media Click

I’ve found AllBlanc TV on youtube. They put up 20-40 minute workout routines that you can do in your home. They aren’t that hard, but they are definitely a workout. I particularly like that they have countdown timers because it motivates me to keep going.

Watch Superstore Episodes at NBC.com

I watched the first season of Superstore in a day. I loved how light and funny it was. I could watch without having to stop everything else I was doing. Because I have a hard time only watching TV.

Pendleton Weighted Blanket

I’ve talked before about how I have a heard time sleeping, and usually need listen to ASMR to relax. But that doesn’t work all the time. And I have this thing where I am unconsciously tensing my muscles to the point where it hurts me. And that’s where my weighted blanket comes in to save the day. It’s only ten pounds, but it forces me to relax and eventually sleep.

Booktube

For about a year or so I haven’t really been watching people talk about books on youtube like I used to. I would still watch BooksandLaLa because she’s my favorite, and the occasional video on writing, but that was all. But recently people started compiling lists of Black booktubers, and I thought, why not look some of them up. So, I did and I fell in love with booktube again. I guess maybe this whole time I just needed new people to watch, whatever. Since then I’ve also been reading more which I think is just natural when hearing about people reading and talking about books again. Some of the ones I’ve been watching is: Booked and Busy, Bookish Realm, Myonna Reads, Bowties and Books, Mina Reads, and Reading with Nori. There is a lot more, but I only wanted to list a few.

Isis

Killing Eve

I have always loved Phoebe Waller-Bridge because Fleabag is a masterpiece. But I had never given her other show a chance. I’m so glad I did. Killing Eve follows a super terrifying and beautiful assassin named Villanelle (I mean, how perfect is the name?) and her growing infatuation, or love, for this woman named Eve. Eve has always been into female assassins, and she has been trying to track Villanelle for a while. You can imagine the tension between them. I feel like this show is written like really good f/f fanfiction, and I am here for it. 


Love, Victor

Love, Victor (TV Series 2020– ) - IMDb

I was so hesitant to watch this show because Becky Albertalli hurt me with Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda. It’s a long story. The point is, I don’t trust the author. But I’m so glad I watched this show. Victor is a Latino boy who is trying to figure out his sexuality as he starts going to a brand new school where our beloved Simon used to attend. Victor messages Simon, and asks him for advice, and so Simon becomes Victor’s mentor. It’s such a great show. I loved it all so much. 


Writing My Story

Every day, I have been writing in my story. I call it a story, but it’s a Dean/Cas Supernatural fanfiction right now. It is currently at 112k words, with my final goal being 200k words. This is a very long story, and it has not been easy to write, but I’m really enjoying it. I plan on making it an original novel after it’s done. I wanted to start it as fanfiction because it’s so much easier to jump into a new story with characters I’m so familiar with. I hope I can finish it soon, and that it has an audience that likes it as much as I do. 


Artwork I Commissioned

Adding onto the previous thing, I commissioned a lovely artist to do a piece for the story I’m writing. She finished it, and it looks incredible. I just love this sweet little family. Her name is Gabby Garcia and you can find her here: https://gabester-sketch.tumblr.com/

Cookies In a Mug

I recently found this brand new invention (to me) of these little packages of cookies you can bake in a mug in the microwave. They’re from Betty Crocker, and I picked up a box that came with four individual packages. I am currently eating my last one, and I plan on buying more soon. They’re so delicious and they’re so quick to make. I love them. 


Harry Styles

Arena VFG - Tlajomulco de Zuñiga | Tickets, Schedule, Seating ...

It took me until now, at the age of 26, to recognize how incredible Harry Styles is. It all started when I saw the horrible movie, After, and felt angry for Harry, who was originally written as the main character. It was a trashy movie, based on a trashy book, based on an even trashier One Direction fanfiction. However, due to my rage, I decided to look up Harry Styles music, and I now love his new album, and all the songs in it. I have seen his music videos, and interviews, and Carpool Karaoke. I just love this man so much. He has such a great style, and he’s so talented, and sweet, and his smile is gorgeous. I’m so glad I realized how amazing he is. 

Lists, Personal, Uncategorized

What We’ve Been Enjoying Lately

Isis

Watching a Mexican Telenovela

I’ve been watching a Mexican telenovela called Como Tu No Hay 2, which is really silly and funny. It’s been super entertaining. I love that I’m not obsessed with it, so I can enjoy it for what it is and not suffer when characters break up or whatever. And, most importantly, I found a character who is exactly like my original character, Diego, who is my son. 

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Digital Drawing

I’ve gotten into digital drawing lately. I started it a while ago, but then stopped. I picked it back up again recently. It’s really fun for me. I’m still learning, trying to get better, but I think I’ve improved a little. Here are some examples of stuff I’ve drawn. 

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Rewatching The Office
How many times have I seen The Office? Probably over 100. It never gets old. It’s always awesome. And it makes me really happy to rewatch. Brings me so much comfort. 
Some Good News
 John Krasinski, from The Office, started a show on YouTube where he talks about good news around the world during this pandemic. It’s filled with wholesome content. I love John and I love his show. Recently, he got the entire cast of The Office to reenact Jim & Pam’s wedding dance. Always makes me cry, but good happy tears. 
Office Ladies Podcast
Another thing that relates to The Office. Do you see how happy The Office makes me? This podcast is hosted by Jenna Fischer & Angela Kinsey who were Pam & Angela on the show. They’re best friends, and they have all the behind the scenes scoop on the show. They go over every episode starting from the beginning, and they have cool guests come in. I love this podcast so much. It’s perfect. 
Writing Fanfiction
I started a new long Supernatural fanfiction. This one will be very long, and very angsty, but it’s been nice to write. I usually don’t write fics like this, so it’s a nice change. I’ve been writing it on my phone because my laptop sucks, but even then, I enjoy it. I hope when it goes up, other people will enjoy it too. 
Texting My Friends
I love texting my friends and seeing how they’re doing lately. I’ve texted people that I don’t talk to as often, and it’s always so nice to catch up. 
What We Do in the Shadows
This one should be higher up the list. I recently found the beauty that is What We Do in the Shadows, the movie by Taika Waititi, who is a fucking genius. I loved loved the movie. It’s full of vampires and dry humor. Then I realized there is a show by the same title, and it’s even better than the movie. So, yeah, this is my new favorite thing. It is absolutely hilarious. 
www.gstatic.com/tv/thumb/tvbanners/17983728/p17...
Never Have I Ever
Mindy Kaling created this new Netflix show, which was so good. Mindy is my hero and she always makes amazing content. This show is about an Indian American teenager who is kind of wild but super relatable. I loved it so much. It’s so Mindy. 
Never Have I Ever (TV Series 2020– ) - IMDb
My Dogs
 I just love spending more time than usual with my dogs, Shrek & Fiona. They’re both really old, and they can’t really move around as much as they used to. But working from home has given me more time to spend with them. They can get annoying, but I love them with all my heart. 

Nicole

Video Games

I’ve always loved video games, but they’ve really come in clutch these past two months. Like many others, I’m obsessed with Animal Crossing New Horizons. I check in on my island everyday though I still don’t have cherries. Also, this past week I’ve been playing Rayman Legends with my boyfriend. The graphics are so bright and cute, and it is simply a fun game to complete.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons - WikipediaUbisoft - Rayman Legends

Streams

While I love games, there are some I hate to play but love to watch other people play. Particularly battle royal games and FPSs like Warzone and Valorant. I don’t know if this is from being forced to watch my older brother play when I was younger, but I love having a stream playing even if I’m doing something else. Right now my favorites are Jordan Fisher (Book people may know him as John Ambrose in To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You on Netflix) on Twitch and Courage JD on Youtube.

Jordan Fisher Stars In CouRage's Music Video Remake of Ariana Grande's 'Boyfriend'
Courage JD (left), Jordan Fisher (right)

The Secrets of the Zoo

So I gave in and got Disney +, and my favorite series is both The Secrets of the Zoo and The Secrets of the Zoo: Tampa. Sometime it can be really sad (cause some animals do die), but I love seeing when they healthy, and the happiness of the zoo keepers and vets interacting with the animals.

Zoom

Like a lot people now, I’ve been using zoom, and I really like it. It is a lot more comforting now to talk face to face (kind of) right now. I use it with my mom, friends, even my therapist and psychologist. Which is so much better than simple phone calls. Am I the only one that has more trouble hearing on the phone than face cam? 

Writing/Researching My Novel

I thought I would be reading like crazy, and writing would be hard but it is the opposite. Writing has been a relief since before I had been struggling with it. And my research for this particular novel is so much fun.

Music

I forget sometimes how much I love music, and then when I remember I become obsessed. I will repeat three songs over and over again, one after the other, and never become bored. Right now I am loving Megan Thee Stallion’s EP “Suga”, the quarantine music Machine Gun Kelly is putting out, and Disney songs (particularly Aladdin’s “Speechless”, Moana’s “How Far I’ll Go”, and Frozen 2’s “Into the Unknown”).

Leslie Sansone’s Walking Videos

For the past week I’ve been on one of her walking videos, and I’ve been sleeping much better. I like them because they are easy enough when you haven’t been exercising, but they will still make you sweat and make you feel like you did a good workout. And, unlike a lot of workout vids, you truly don’t need any equipment to do them.

Leslie Sansone Mini walks 1 Mile Gentle Walk - starting easy after ...

ASMR

ASMR videos also help me sleep if my mind won’t shut up. Something about complete silence when trying to sleep that wakes me up completely. Some of my favorites are Peace and Saraity ASMR, Lynn Cinnamon ASMR Beauty, Silver Hare, and Soft ASMR.

Avator: The Last Airbender

I’ve never watched it before, but when Netflix up it up I forced my boyfriend to start watching it with me. And we love it. I’ve heard so much about it before that I’ve been wanting to see it, and this was the perfect opportunity.

7 reasons Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of the best shows on ...

Personal

The Comfort of Old Things

I’ve always been a fan of re-watching and re-reading stories. Whether that’d be a show, movie, or a book, my favorite thing has always been revisiting those stories I loved so much. When something impacts me, I tend to take comfort in the familiarity of it, trying to find the joy it once gave me.

Lately, though, I’ve found myself stuck on the same three things. Things that I loved, like, ten years ago. And I don’t know why. I don’t know why I have found myself so drawn to these things from my past.

The first one is The Office, of course. I’ve talked about The Office a lot because it’s my ultimate favorite show. I’ve seen the first seven seasons more times than I can count. I love everything about it, especially Michael and Pam.

office

After all of my re-watches, I’ve come to dislike many of the characters. Maybe because the show isn’t meant to be re-watched this much, or maybe because the characters weren’t always that great. But come on, Jim is so annoying. Own up to your damn feelings, man. And be nicer to Pam when you’re married to her. Don’t be an ass. The woman is a fucking gem.

And don’t even get me started on Michael. That guy is a sweetheart. I know that he often comes off as a childish idiot who fully believes in harmful stereotypes and doesn’t know what maturity looks like. I know that. But he’s so damn relatable. I don’t know if I’ve ever related more to a character. I know it doesn’t make me look good, but it’s the truth. And if you think you’re better than Michael Scott, I’ve got news for you: You’re not.

Anyway, the point is, The Office still plays a huge part of my life. This is a show that I started watching back in 2012 or so. I’m dreading the day Netflix takes it off because I will be forced to purchase it digitally so I can keep re-watching it at work. Because that’s how much I rely on this show for comfort.

Next, we have Supernatural. Another show from back in 2012. Lately, I’ve spent days re-watching Supernatural. Only the older seasons, though. I stopped watching around season nine because it was just too much to continue with it. I think now that the show is coming to an end, on it’s 15th season, I’m starting to miss it. And it’s strange because I spend most of my free time reading Supernatural fanfiction. But it’s just not the same as re-watching the episodes that made me love the show.

trio

When I decided to stop watching Supernatural, I thought I would never want to come back and re-watch the seasons that made me so crazy over the show that I attended four conventions. And let me tell you, those things are not cheap. Coming back to this show has felt like coming home. It’s like I never left. It’s like Sam, Dean, and Cas have been waiting for me to revisit them, so they can entertain me like they always have.

People tend to think Castiel is my favorite character because Misha Collins is my favorite celebrity, and because I have a huge thing for angels. But as much as I love Cas, Dean has always been my absolute favorite. Dean is stubborn and terribly flawed with some serious daddy issues and a repressed sexuality, but I love him with all my heart. I have never loved a character as much as I love Dean. There’s just something so beautiful about him.

This is leading to my final obsession: Point Pleasant. When I say Point Pleasant, I mean both the town in West Virginia, and the book that led me to road trip to the town last year.

book pp

I don’t know why I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Point Pleasant lately. It’s been stuck in my head like an overplayed radio song. This is the book I’ve re-read the most. At least ten times. It’s the book that has touched me like no other book has. Others have come close, sure, but nothing has surpassed this story.

Point Pleasant is such a lovely small town. It’s filled with rich history and people that are proud to belong to that town. Being there felt like stepping into my favorite book. And there’s no better feeling than revisiting this book. I love the Mothman.

All of these things are so important to me. Maybe that’s why I haven’t been able to let them go. I don’t think I want to let them go. I think I want to keep the familiarity of old things. I want to keep that comfort. I want them to make me feel safe. Because change is inevitable. My life has changed so much in the past ten years. I’ve lost loved ones. I’ve lost friends. I’ve graduated from high school and two different colleges. I’ve had crushes and I’ve had heartbreak. I’ve had car wrecks. I’ve had injuries. I’ve been hurt, and I’ve hurt others. I’ve gotten sick. I’ve healed. I’ve created. I’ve been to new places.

With change, new things are introduced to me. New things I love, and new things I hate. But returning to things I’m so used to always feels so good. I know that no matter what changes, these stories will never change. They will always be the same stories. Always. I might see the differently, with a new perspective. But the stories will never change.

To me, these stories are my home. Home has never really been a place for me. It’s been a feeling. A feeling I get when I’m around the right people, or when I revisit old stories. Home is where I feel safe. And sometimes, that means being far from reality.

Book Reviews, Personal, Uncategorized

Nicole’s Reading Round Up

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Sooo, hi! I’m back (hopefully). The last time I posted anything was at the end of February. As the one half of this blog that tried to update on a twice a week schedule, that was very different, and, understandably, it’s been reflected in our stats. Still sad though because we were really getting (kind of) popular.

Why did I disappear? Well life. And a reading slump. And laziness. And stress. We also opened up for accepting review requests last year (I think), and, boy, that was a mistake. We quickly got overwhelmed, and really neither of us deal with that well. So, yeah, we aren’t doing that anymore. Sorry.

But hopefully I’m back for good with a nice schedule because I do really miss making posts. I feel like a lot of the books I did read during my impromptu break feels too far from my mind to make individual posts, but I also feel like I can’t move on without acknowledging them in some way. Hence this post. Consider it a lighting round of reviews. Hope you enjoy!

 

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“If you don’t make the decision to love, every day, it’s an easy thing to forget.”

The Last by  Hanna Jameson is an interesting mix of murder mystery and post-apocalyptic novel. When Jon is away in Switzerland for a conference, a nuclear bomb hits Washington. He’s stuck in his hotel with strangers at the end of the world with no idea how his wife and children are doing, and then he discovers the body of a dead little girl. As a historian, he compulsively writes about the events for future generations while also becoming obsessed with finding out if the murderer is still in their midst.

I love how this book was written. It was refreshing, a nice break from the regular narratives of novels. The characters were interesting, and I was very invested in the beginning. I was convinced it would be one of my favorite novels of the year. But around the middle/ending, the story lost it’s way. I think the author had many ideas of where to go and instead of picking one, she tried to stuff all of them into the book. It didn’t work. Overall, I found this book disappointing, but I can’t forget how great the beginning was. 

3 stars

 

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“You must forge your own path for it to mean anything.”

“Life is only precious because it ends, kid.”

Oh, Rick Riordan, you always make me feel better when I’m down. I’m always torn between ripping through these books because they are so good, and saving them for when I am really stressed and sad. 

This is the spin off series to the original Percy Jackson series, and yes, you must read those books first. These books bring in a new enemy, new heroes, new friendships, and new jokes. I am loving it. I think I like it more than the first series which I think is an unpopular opinion but oh well. I can see Riordan’s writing improve in this, and it’s simply a magical adventure everyone should read.

5 stars

5 stars

 

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And that’s how you go on. You lay laughter over the dark parts. The more dark parts, the more you have to laugh. With defiance, with abandon, with hysteria, any way you can.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor is a young adult fantasy about a librarian, a magical world with a name that disappeared, and blue monsters. It’s weird but entertaining and really beautifully written.

I’ve heard so much about Laini Taylor’s writing, but this is the first time I’ve read from her. Everyone made me feel intimidated by her which made me put off reading her, thinking that it would be a little complicated to understand. But that’s not true. Taylor’s writing style simply gave me writer envy. I spend the book in awe of her writing, but also wondering if I could ever write so beautifully. 

The story itself is unlike anything I’ve ever read, yet, still boiled down to a simple love story. I have to admit that did disappoint me a little. I did like it, and I might read the sequel in the future. It’s not a need though which I always thinks says a lot about a book.

3 stars

 

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I doubt there is a loss in the universe more profound than a daughter losing her mother.

The Mother-In-Law by Sally Hepworth is a thriller surrounding the seeming suicide of Lucy’s mother-in-law Diana. It switches from Lucy’s POV of the present to Diana’s of the past as the mystery unfolds.

I liked the characters more than I usually do in thrillers. I especially liked Diana, and I feel like her POV made the novel. The mystery itself was a little lackluster, but the relationships shown was very good. The commentary of the concept of a mother-in-law, and what is expected of women was great as well.

4 stars

 

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I’m lonely but I’m not alone. My body works, my brain works, I’m alive. It’s a good life. I have to make a conscious effort to remember that. To choose to be happy every day. If I didn’t, I think my own pain would’ve killed me a long time ago.

Shadow Me by Tahereh Mafi is technically book 4.5 in the Shatter Me series. It’s a novella following Kenji through the final chapters of Restore MeThe whole series in general is mainly about Juliette, a girl who’s touch kills, set in a dystopian world.

Kenji is really one of the reasons I love this series so getting into his head was amazing. Mafi did not disappoint my little fangirl heart. However, with my reader/writer brain I realize this novella was kind of pointless. Yeah it clarified a couple things, and made me more interested in the next book. But it wasn’t needed at all, no like, in my opinion, the other novellas in this series are, and I think that’s the point of novellas.

5 stars

Personal

Listening to the Signs

I’m Mexican, so naturally, I grew up Catholic. My grandmother was a firm believer in the Virgin Mary being there to offer her support at all times. I grew up going to Sunday school and talking to priests like they were my friends.

That all changed when I was eight and moved from Mexico to Texas. As soon as I arrived to the U.S. I was told by my older brother that we were no longer Catholic because he was no longer Catholic. He had recently converted to Christianity and attended an Evangelical church. I learned to just roll with it when my mom, sister, and I all switched over to his religion. It all made sense at the time. Plus, I liked that they played upbeat music at the beginning of the church service.

My family drifted from church, though. It happens. But when I turned fifteen, I returned, and got settled in nicely. I found friends and had had a huge crush on the pastor’s son, which played a big role on my sudden commitment to the organized religion. I spent most days at church, sang in the choir, got involved in all the youth events. I lived and breathed the church.

Things eventually went sour. I realized that the people in the church were not as perfect as I once saw them. They were hypocritical in their actions, and yet felt superior due to their constant attendance of church. I was caught in the middle of their gossip and was sort of kicked out of their little clique. A lot of it also had to do with people finding out my feelings for the pastor’s son and using it to mock me. In the end, I quit the church and the religion in general.

But I’ve never lost my faith. I have a strong faith in God that I cherish. It helps me in my darkest times, and it helps me feel less alone. I see God as my friend because he listens to me when I pray, when I just randomly talk to him. I love God with all my heart. When I lost my mom to cancer almost four years ago, my only comfort was my faith in God. I never got angry. I trusted in him.

I’ve realized, though, that as much as I love God, my views on religion are a big different. First of all, I don’t trust my old church anymore. I feel incredibly uncomfortable just stepping inside the building. I can’t speak to my old church friends anymore. I’ve tried to go back, make nice, but things turned so bad so quickly. I have decided to never attend another church again, because I can’t go through that again.

I do respect people who practice all types of religion. I think the freedom to do that in amazing. I’ve learned a lot about other religions, and it’s opened up my mind. But I do still hold a bit of stigma when it comes to Christianity. Part of me thinks that anyone who’s Christian will immediately try to exorcise me for being the gay that I am. I also really hate it when Christians say stuff like: “I don’t hate the sinner. I just hate the sin.” Like yeah, but you still hate that I’m gay and wish I wasn’t.

My point is, I have had many interesting interactions in my life. Random times when people come up to me and tell me to keep believing in God, no matter what. Or people telling me they see God working through me. My first reaction to these things is to run away from the person and not look back. But I don’t. I listen to what they’re saying, and I replay it in my mind.

Yesterday, while I was at work, a random guy looked at my necklace. I wear an essential oil diffuser necklace that’s round with a tree in the front. He said he loved the tree, in particular. And then, he looked me in the eye and said, “You know what part of the scripture it reminds me of? John 15:5. Look it up.”

And I laughed and said, “Oh, okay. I didn’t know that.” And the guy just repeated, “Yeah, it’s John 15:5.” Then he left.

My instinct was, of course, to completely disregard this guy. Who the hell did he think he was? Did he think I was Christian, too? But then, I thought about it. I thought that I do want to read and learn the Bible. I want to know more about God’s message. So I wrote it down on a sticky note and when I got home I looked up the verse. Here’s what it said:

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

And I instantly realized what he meant when he said my tree reminded him of this. I have read this verse over and over today. It’s pretty simple, honestly. But the message speaks to me. I think it’s a message for me. From God. And look, I know it sounds a bit crazy, but I like to listen to the signs. I like to think that God just wants me to stick with him. He doesn’t want me to stray from him. Because if I’m with him, then I will achieve many great things.

I just wanted to share this because it’s been in my mind all day long.

Personal

I’m In Love…with Fanfiction

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I stumbled into fanfiction when I was around 15. It was kind of an accident. Twilight was the most popular thing at the time, and of course I was obsessed with it. One thing led to another, and I started writing a fifth Twilight novel — starring me and all of my friends. I thought I was so clever. I thought I was the only person who could ever have come up with something so ingenious. For a while, I was convinced that my book would be published and the world would get even more Twilight goodness from me.

Of course, it didn’t take long for me to find the wonderful site fanfiction.net. There, I discovered hundreds, if not thousands, of stories continuing with the Twilight story that I loved so much. I started a few of them, and I was shocked by how good they were. Immediately, I was bummed out about how insignificant my story was compared to them. But I kept writing. I finished my Twilight fanfiction, entitled Sunlight (see how clever I was?) and it ended up being over 500 pages of pure nonsense.

It didn’t take long for me to grow out of that. Twilight was old news, and I had just discovered what was to become my brand new obsession: Supernatural. Now, I know this show isn’t very popular. Sure, it has a big fandom, but odds are, you’ve probably never seen a single episode of the show. It’s perfectly understandable. The show is on it’s 14th season, with plans for a 15th. No one has time for that. I actually gave up on the show around its 8th season. However, my love for Dean and Castiel knows no bounds.

Supernatural came into my life at a very crucial time. I was fresh out of high school, starting college with a very open-mind. I had just stumbled into many LGBT+ books that had me obsessed with learning about the topic. I thought of myself as the biggest ally. And when I read my first Dean and Castiel fic, I knew I had found something amazing. I was hooked on the spot, and I never looked back. Dean and Castiel encompassed all that I loved. Dean was often a closeted bi boy, while Castiel often struggled with his religion and sexuality. I connected with those things so much, and I didn’t even know why. (It took me a while to realize how gay I was, but don’t worry, I got there eventually).

It’s been over a decade since I’ve discovered fanfiction. Now, at 25, I wonder if I’ll ever give it up. Chances are I’ll read fanfiction for the rest of my life. Maybe it won’t always be about Dean and Castiel. Maybe it’ll be about some other crappy show with a couple that isn’t queer-baited. Maybe it’ll be about characters from a book. Who knows? For now, though, Dean and Castiel is all I care about. I have written many fics about them. And through them, I have improved my writing skills. There’s still a lot for me to learn, but I owe so much to my fics.

I am currently in the middle of reading a +400k fic. It is all I can think about. In fact, it’s what inspired this post. I had a brief moment today when it all came back to me. And I thought about all the things I love now because of fanfiction. I found the show The Office thanks to an angsty fic, and it is now my favorite show in the world. I found Bob Dylan thanks to another one, and Elvis Presley, and Alt-J, and Dead Man’s Bones. I learned about The Mothman, who is by far my favorite cryptid ever. I learned so much about angels, too. I found countless favorite songs through thoughtful playlists made by the many authors who write fics. So much of who I am as a person was shaped by fanfiction.

The best part is, I know fanfiction will be there for me when I need a pick-me-up. Every time I struggle getting back into reading, I know fanfiction is a good place to start. The stories are there, written so carefully for anyone to read. And they’re all free and easily accessible. Fanfiction is such a positive thing in my life, even when the fics tear my heart apart, like the one I’m currently reading. I love reading them. I love finding a new favorite, and then re-reading it so many times that I can almost memorize it. I love writing them, and getting those lovely comments from readers who are just as excited about the story as I am. I love knowing that my fanfiction has made others just as happy as it has made me.

For someone who struggles with feelings and dating and all things romance, nothing makes me happier than seeing my favorite couple get together. Again, and again, and again. In every scenario imaginable. In every alternate universe. In a coffee shop, or a pet store, or a concert, or a wedding. It doesn’t matter where you put them, they will fall in love, and they will get a happily ever after. And it never gets old.

This is sort of my love letter to fanfiction. I love it. I love getting lost in it. I love the community around it. It’s my happy place.

If you love fanfiction, let me know what kind you like to read!

Personal

Pansexual and Bipolar

I’ve recently realized that there are two very big things about me that I can choose to share with the people around me. This occurred to me because I recently got a second job, which means I have many more coworkers than I had before. I’m a very open person. I like to share, sometimes overshare. At my first job, my full-time job, I have one close friend. She knows everything about my life — including the fact that I am pansexual and bipolar. I’ve shared these things with her because she makes me feel safe and she has never judged me. But it also dawned on me that she is my only coworker who knows these facts about me.

Maybe it’s normal not to share such personal things with coworkers. But should these things be shared with all my friends? The thing about me is, I’ve always labeled everyone I share more than one conversation with, a friend. My therapist recently made me see that many of these people are mere acquaintances, and not friends. I still haven’t fallen out of the habit of calling these people friends, but I’m trying.

But I’m also not sure when it’s safe to share these things about my sexuality and mental health. They’re huge things. To me, at least. And they aren’t things I’m ashamed of. I know who I am, and I’ve accepted it. I’m an honest person. I hate lying. And not sharing who I am with people often makes me feel like a liar. But I would hate to go up to a person and tell them I’m pansexual and bipolar, and have them see me differently.

You might ask, why do these things matter? Nobody should care.

Well, I care. I care because I want to talk about my sexuality. I want to talk about my past crushes on guys and girls. I want to say when I like a girl, as much as when I like a guy, or anyone else. And my mental health matters to me. I want others to be aware of it because it affects the way I act sometimes. I have bad days and good days, and I’m still learning how to be okay. I want people to understand why certain things take more time for me to adjust to.

I wish it were easier to share these things with people. I wish I didn’t have to “come out” all the time. I wish I could just be myself all the time.

But for now, I’ll just keep these things to myself. And you guys.

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Personal, Uncategorized, Writing Projects

Writing Update: Listening to My Gut

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It’s been a long time since I’ve talked about my writing. With it being NaNoWriMo  and me semi attempting to do that, I figured why not write about my writing? Especially since I have no book reviews to post because of it.

So I have started a new project about an all women magical pirate crew. It’s a story that’s been in head for about a year though I’ve never worked on it before this month. I always wanted to practice writing more, do research, make outlines and aesthetics and character profiles. And then I got an idea for it and said fuck it. I grabbed a piece of paper and wrote out the first page because I didn’t have my computer at the time.

I didn’t know anything about my story other than what I mentioned here. I decided my character’s name and the plot right there on the spot, and the first time in a long time I had fun while writing. Before I couldn’t help being overwhelmed with anxiety about word choice and what people would think and outlines and profiles and research. But I was actually making it all up on the spot and loving the story and not thinking about anyone reading except myself and making me happy.

After that, I decided to continue with it. I got a navy blue notebook with a gold whale on it (I love matching notebooks with the story) and I decided to continue handwriting. I usually struggle a lot with typing on the computer, but I usually still use that as a main writing source with only sometimes using a notebook for a particularly hard scene. A computer is simply the proper way to write a book right? Not this time. I decided to go with my gut and continued handwriting everything.

No other story has flowed out so easily for me. I wrote out ten pages in a single day. I’ve never been that productive ever. Typically I can get maybe five hundred words in a day which I would guess would be a page and a half in handwriting. 

It has been amazing how shedding the conventional writing advice (using a computer, character profiles, outlines) has actually helped me. The outline especially surprises me. I have always needed an outline before. But even with no knowledge about this world doesn’t stop me. If I don’t know a name for a place I put [City Name] and continue on like that. 

I’m curious about how others have dealt with this if they’ve even dealt with it at all. Do any of you have trouble with going against the norm to find out your own path? How do you deal with it? This seems like such a small struggle, but actually listening to myself and what works for me has been my hardest hurdle in writing (and life honestly). 

 

Personal

When did I know I was gay?

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In honor of pride month, I wanted to talk about a topic I’m very curious about. Back in college, I wrote an essay for my creative nonfiction class, where I mentioned my sexuality. My professor was unhappy with me leaving out a big detail regarding the topic. During workshop, she asked, “When did you know you were gay?” and requested that my answer be added to my revised essay.

I wanna preface this by saying that I’m using gay as an umbrella term. I identify as pansexual. I’ve seen many debates about the legitimacy of pansexuality as an identity separate from bisexuality. I’m not here to make a statement about my identity. I’m pansexual, and that’s it.

Now back to my class. My professor asked a very pointed question about a topic that I wasn’t very used to discussing. When I told one of my queer friend about it, she rolled her eyes and said, “You should have asked her: when did you know you were straight?” And we just laughed it off.

Recently, I’ve been seeing tweets about queer people sharing stories about the moment when they knew they were gay (or not straight). I don’t really know what to do with all of these stories, because I’ve never given much thought to a specific time when something clicked in me and I thought, “Hey, I’m not actually straight. I think I like everyone!” My journey to coming out was a bit different.

What I’m trying to say is, there is no one specific moment when everything changed for me. It happened gradually. Mostly because I’m clueless to most things, including myself. As a kid, I found my girl friends attractive. I never paid much attention to it, though, because I found boys just as attractive, and that was all that mattered. As I got older, I found myself getting all sorts of “girl crushes,” which I believed to be totally normal for a straight girl.

And then came the day I watched Black Swan. If you’ve seen the movie, maybe you’ll remember the scene between Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman having sex. I certainly do. The moment I saw it, I was very, very shocked. I had never seen two women getting it on, and let me tell you, it was doing funny things to me. I remember being unable to stop thinking about it for days. I kept bringing it up with my friends, but pretending I’d hated that part of the movie. I wanted to know their thoughts on it, but they were clearly not as fazed by it as I was.

I guess if I wanted to pinpoint a pivotal moment in my coming-out journey, it would have to be seeing Black Swan. But it was until many years later that I finally accepted my sexuality, and wholly embraced it.

In high school, I had come to the conclusion that I could probably fall in love with anyone, regardless of their gender. Because gender didn’t seem to factor in my ability to fall for people. But I still didn’t consider myself anything but straight. I figured every straight person in the world felt the same way as I did. See what I mean about being clueless?

I was in college when I had my first crush on a girl who wasn’t a celebrity. In other words, a real girl. It started out slowly. I was so confused as to why I was so drawn to her until the day I came out to her, after knowing she was queer too, and realized I liked her. After that moment, I just kept coming out to people. Because, why not?

I didn’t know that pansexual was a term, but Nicole brought it to my attention. After a lot of reading up on it, I grew attached to the term. Now I don’t know what I would do without it. I feel comfortable using that label. It feels right. It fits me.

So, to answer the title of this post: I guess I always knew I was gay. It just took me a while to figure it out. I used to feel bad about not having a specific moment when things clicked and I just knew. But I don’t care anymore. I’m pansexual. I’m gay. I’m happy to be part of the LGBT+ community. I’m here and I’m queer.

Do you guys have a specific moment when you knew you were gay, or is that a silly question? Let me know! I’d love to hear your stories.

Happy Pride!

Personal

Cassandra Clare Is Attending NTTBF and I Am Not Happy About It

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I know from the controversial title of this post, people will judge me, maybe even want to attack me. But before you do, hear me out.

Although I’m a huge fan of Young Adult novels, I’ve never read any of Cassandra Clare’s books. I’ve never been intrigued by them, though I’ve seen a few episodes of Shadowhunters, and it was pretty decent. But that is neither here nor there.

I happen to know a lot about Cassandra Clare’s past because Nicole and I did extensive research about it for our podcast episode: Spilling the Tea About Cassandra Clare, if you want to hear a more thorough explanation.

In our research, we learned that Cassandra Clare has allegedly plagiarized in both fanfiction and her original novels, has cyberbullied people to extreme lengths, has refused to take criticism, has had an obsession with incest, and has overall done her fair share of shady stuff. Again, we talk in detail about all of this in our podcast, so I won’t take the time to explain it here.

I am writing this today because I am very upset by Cassandra Clare’s attendance this year at the North Texas Teen Book Festival. I’ve been attending since the first year it started in 2015. I’ve gotten the chance to see amazing panels, and have met many of my favorite authors throughout the years. I’ve loved each and every experience, and I plan to attend this year and continue attending in the future.

However, upon searching for information about this year’s festival, which will be held on April 21, 2018, I saw a tweet from their official twitter account.

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I immediately showed this to Nicole because I couldn’t believe my eyes. Let me preface this by saying that I realize this is a free event, and most of their gains come from book sales. I know that book sales are extremely important for these authors, because many of them aren’t very well known, and this event is great exposure.

But come on, we’re talking about Cassandra Clare, who has created a huge fandom and has a movie and a TV show inspired by her books. She is the biggest author at this festival. At first, her attendance didn’t faze me at all. I was happy for the fans that would get to meet their favorite author, like I’ve done for many years.

But this is absolutely ridiculous. No other author at this festival has ever demanded that their readers buy a specific book to have signed by them. Not one. Not even Holly Black, who is very close friends with Cassandra Clare, and who I think is just as popular.

My anger stems from the fact that the majority of readers are not rich. Most of us can’t afford one copy of a book, let alone two. Requiring for her readers to purchase one of those three very expensive books — even though chances are they already own them — in order to even get in the signing line, is ABSURD.

There is no logical explanation for why Cassandra Clare would have these demands, aside from greed. The majority of these fans are teens. They are attending a free book event in the hopes of meeting their favorite author. They’ve probably bought all of her books from all of her series, which are A LOT. And for her to demand that they buy these extra copies as a requirement for her to sign them is just awful.

I really doubt the reason behind this demand is that her book sales are dwindling, because I don’t see that happening. This is nothing but greed.