Sorry for the Silence

So we’re all stuck in this sinking boat of misery.

Hello, friends. It’s been quite some time since I’ve had the chance to sit down and write a post (just over two months), and a lot has happened. Most of the things that have happened aren’t really worth mentioning, but there are a few things that I’d like to share with you.

15995039_10208147301339761_8093609280292525493_oFirstly, and most important in my eyes, yesterday was my son’s second birthday. He’s two. I have a two year old. Trying to wrap my head around the fact that I have been a mother for two years is just… insane. I was babysitting all day, so we really couldn’t celebrate, and my entire household has been battling the cold from hell for a few weeks, so we were all more than happy to lay low. We had a cookie cake, took some pictures, and enjoyed some family time at the end of the day. Liam had an actual party a little over a week ago, when we went up to visit Kyle’s grandmother, and the whole rest of his family, for the big, annual family Christmas party. We bought Liam a really nice, super delicious cake, and he got to open a massive pile of Christmas AND birthday presents. He’s gotten so many amazing gifts this season, I might have to start doing some more toy reviews. There’s plenty to report on!

Luckily, we got all of our holiday and birthday shopping done early this year, because as you all know, whenever things are going too well for us, something goes wrong. Now, I went off on Facebook and Twitter recently, ranting about the medical lab where Kyle had his blood tests done last year when he was starting his new job. He had to be screened for diabetes, which we then discovered he had. Well, what I may not have mentioned, is that the clinic ordered a number of other tests, which we did not ask for, and in the end, we were charged roughly $1,000 from the lab, and nearly $500 from the clinic. For BLOOD TESTS. Gotta love America…

So, since Kyle is unable to afford insurance through his employer (oh, he no longer works two jobs, just the one driving now), and doesn’t qualify for state aid, it all had to come out of pocket. His mom agreed to help us with the clinic bill, since she was supposed to put Kyle back on her insurance and forgot about it, but the rest was on us. We were making the minimum payments for a while, but since Kyle’s job pays pretty well, he decided to pay half of it all at once on the site. Well, he screwed up and accidentally hit “Pay In Full”, and over $800 was taken from our bank account… and we didn’t have that much in there.

We got slammed with an overdraft, and a fee to go with it. Of course, he didn’t tell me this was his mistake until after I went off online, blaming the company, but when we reached out to see if we could maybe get half of the money back, they wouldn’t work with us. Not even a little. Luckily, I got paid enough the next day to pull our account back from the negatives, but we’ve been riding on $32 in the bank for over a week. Thank goodness for Christmas cash and gas card gifts. Tomorrow, Kyle gets paid, and then I get a few dollars on Friday from babysitting, and we will be all set again. But it sure threw us for a loop.

And speaking of babysitting… that’s all over.

It’s been rough. I had to put my Twitter as protected, because I found out that someone has been stalking my tweets, taking screenshots, and sending them to people who don’t follow me there, which has caused me some drama. Ridiculous, high school drama. I have a good feeling I know who it might be… though I’d like to think it isn’t one of my friends who follows me. I don’t trust anyone anymore.

I feel empty. More alone than ever. I feel like there’s been too much to deal with, but I haven’t been letting myself deal with any of it, because there was always something that needed to be done. Something more important than me, and my feelings. I didn’t let myself feel, or deal, or vent. Blah.

I also recently became an aunt again, to a little girl whose name I don’t even know, and who I’ll probably never meet, we lost my grandmother’s husband, Richard, to cancer right before Christmas, and I gained 45 pounds in 2016.

Oh, and Trump. That happened. So we’re all stuck in this sinking boat of misery.

Thanks for reading, friends. I should have more time to do writing prompts, reviews, etc… I missed writing. Talk soon.

Jan

My Last 8 Selfies

A lot of people associate selfies with vanity, or narcissism, and sometimes, maybe that’s the case… but certainly not all of the time.

Hello, friends! I was recently inspired by a very lovely mama over on the It’s A Mum’s Life 2016 blog to post my most recent, eight selfies. For those of you still living in… the age of pre-smartphones, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a selfie as “an image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera especially for posting on social networks.” A lot of people associate selfies with vanity, or narcissism, and sometimes, maybe that’s the case… but certainly not all of the time. Continue reading “My Last 8 Selfies”

Reblog: What Makes A Good LGBTQ* Ally?

Recently, I had the honor of submitting a little something for a friend’s blog post on the topic of LGBTQ* allies, and how important they are to the community. You can read Zuul‘s full post (and I highly recommend that you do), and all the great responses, below. Enjoy! Continue reading “Reblog: What Makes A Good LGBTQ* Ally?”

“We Can Do Better”

“Let’s all learn from our mistakes, and try to be a better person than we are today.”

Hello, friends. I want to talk about something today that is very near to my heart. It may be triggering to some, and to others, you may not even care. Today, I want to talk about bullying. Specifically, cyber bullying. Recently, a very funny man named Wade, who I regularly watch on YouTube, and who I follow on social media, made a post to his Tumblr page that tugged at my heart. In his post, Wade spoke poignantly about how we, as a generation who spends much of our lives online, treat other people on social media, and shed some light on the ever growing issue of cyber bullying. Continue reading ““We Can Do Better””

Remembering Christina Grimmie

Christina Grimmie was such a beautiful, kind girl, and an amazing talent. She was my sole inspiration to upload videos of myself singing to my old YouTube channel, over four years ago, and I related instantly to her fun personality, and love of Zelda. She had a powerful, unique voice, amazing keyboard skills, and was known for performing in her room, in front of her iconic Sonic poster.

Hello, friends. I wish I had something positive to write about at the moment, but due to some recent events, I’m left feeling quite numb and sad. As many of you may have already heard, Christina Grimmie, talented YouTube phenomenon, and ex-contestant on The Voice, was shot last night while signing autographs at a hometown show in Orlando, Florida, where she was performing. The male shooter, a man who is rumored to be a deranged fan, then shot and killed himself. Christina’s brother, Mark, is being hailed a hero for tackling the shooter before any more harm could be done. Christina was in critical condition when she was brought to the hospital late last night, but her injuries were too severe, and she passed away. She was only 22.

christina-grimmie-gives-her-fans-sneak-peek-cliche-her-birthday-alt_1465627259725_1423755_ver1.0

Christina Grimmie was such a beautiful, kind girl, and an amazing talent. She was my sole inspiration to upload videos of myself singing to my old YouTube channel, over four years ago, and I related instantly to her fun personality, and love of Zelda. She had a powerful, unique voice, amazing keyboard skills, and was known for performing in her room, in front of her iconic Sonic poster. She got her start on YouTube, performing beautiful covers of popular songs, but later moved into writing her own music. The first video that I ever watched of Christina’s was her 2009 cover of Rascal Flatt’s “What Hurts the Most”, one of my favorite songs of all time, and I was blown away. She inspired me to push past my own fears, and post my first video of myself singing on my own channel.

As well as singing covers, Christina’s channel is also filled with videos of her performing her own, original works, and a handful of music videos. She put out her first album, Find Me, on June 14th, 2011. It is bittersweet to think that just three days from today will be the 5th anniversary of the release of Find Me. She later moved onto the big time, and was a powerhouse and crowd favorite on The Voice in 2014, impressing audiences across the world with her talent. She performed in numerous concerts in the United States, as well as overseas.

Last night, the hashtag #PrayersForChristina was trending worldwide on Twitter, and many YouTubers and celebrities tweeted their support. Unfortunately, this morning, the hashtag changed to #RIPChristina, with over 1.7 million people tweeting. This is a sad day for the YouTube community, as well as the rest of the world, and many YouTubers, celebrities, and fans have posted their condolences to various social media platforms following the tragic news of Christina’s passing.

https://twitter.com/pewdiepie/status/741558376782569473

Today is a sad day indeed, as the world mourns the loss of a great talent. Today is also the 25th birthday of fellow popular YouTube star, and radio personality, Dan Howell, and I sincerely hope that he has a good birthday, despite this sad news.

Rest in peace, Christina.

1143289-Christina-Grimmie-Shani-Barel-Desser-617-309

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

Dream Journal 6/9/16 | Hashtag

#Get********to50k?

I was sitting at my desk, scrolling through Twitter, when I saw the trending hashtag: #Get********to50k. I censored the name, because it is a real person on Twitter, who I have had very public issues with in the past. I thought it was strange, and clicked on the hashtag to see what it was all about. There were thousands and thousands of tweets showing support of something, but it wasn’t clear what their cause was. One tweet read something like: #Get********to50k because we’re tired of not being listened to.” A couple of the other tweets made it seem like it had something to do with the Warcraft community, but they were all vague enough to give no real answers as to what the hashtag was about.

I went to this person’s Twitter profile, who actually has me blocked in real life, and nothing seemed out of the ordinary, until I noticed that their follower count was just over 49,000 people. Their tweets were all about equality and justice, but once again, still very vague as to what the cause was. I got upset about it for some reason, and left my computer.

I called Kyle while he was at work, and told him that there was a bad storm happening outside, even though I could clearly see that there wasn’t, and he was confused, and hung up the phone because I wasn’t making any sense, and he knew I was lying.

The last thing I remember was making two salads for Liam and I, and working really hard on them, and he kept throwing all the vegetables on the floor, and it made me start crying.

Then I woke up.

Daily Prompt 6/7/2016 | (Dis)Connected

Everyone around me had moved on to bigger and better things, and left me behind, stuck in the Dark Ages.

In response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 6/7/2016 | Connected

For the last several years, I’ve basically been living in a cave when it comes to modern technology. I am 26 years old, which means I fall into the age range commonly referred to as the “Millennials“, and we are supposed to be the generation of technology and social media. In fact, nearly everyone I know, who is around my age and younger, own the latest iPhones, iPads, the latest gaming consoles and devices, play all the latest games, etc. They’re also on every social media platform you can imagine, like Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr, and all those other ones out there that I’ve probably never even heard of. Not me. Not even close.

Did I miss something here? Is 26 the new 40? When did all of this happen, and how did I miss it?

Up until around 2012, when I was 22 years old, I was pretty up-to-date on everything (good lord, I sound old). I had a Samsung Galaxy (yes, those were relevant then), a good gaming PC, and a profile on all of the major social media sites, a podcast, and a large group of friends, who I spent hours talking to on Skype, as well as in the various games that I played. Unfortunately, as some of you already know, 2012 is the year that the long-term relationship that I was in ended, and my life crumbled around me.

I lost my home, my computer, my phone, my internet access… basically everything that people need to function properly in first world countries these days.

First world problems, folks, I know.

I went without internet for two years. Two. Whole. Years.

During this time of living on my own, I was unable to pay for any sort of luxury, such as internet and phone, and spent the majority of my time working at my full-time retail job, and reading. I had absolutely no contact with any of my online friends, and my Facebook and Twitter profiles could only be accessed whenever I was able to get to Kyle’s parents’ house and use their internet (this was early in our relationship, when he was living in Wisconsin, and was only able to visit me every/every other weekend).

I wasn’t able to buy a new phone for a year and a half, and when I found one that I could afford, it was far from an iPhone or Samsung, and it was a month-to-month plan. I still had no internet at home, but was able to use Facebook and Twitter from my phone, as long as I had any sort of signal, or WiFi… which, honestly, wasn’t all that often.

In November of 2014, a month and a half before my son was born, we were finally financially stable enough to buy new phones, and get internet in our apartment, something we had kept putting off due to how often we moved around. I tried to get back into my old routine of social media, vlogging, blogging, and gaming, and reached out to the same friends that had been in my circle just a few years ago… but, unfortunately, it all fell apart. With the arrival of my son, and the overwhelming feeling that everyone had moved on from me, I retreated back into the life of being a hermit, and chose to focus on my newborn.

Everyone around me had moved on to bigger and better things, and left me behind, stuck in the Dark Ages.

By the way, do you know hard it is to dig yourself out of a hole, and get yourself back into the present, when you lack the finances to do so? I’ll be stuck with this 2 year old, knockoff Samsung phone, and this ancient, hand-me-down computer that can barely handle Flash games.

Once again, first world problems… I know.

Anyway. I feel like, at only 26 years old, I’m turning into one of those middle-aged moms who has no idea what the cool kids are doing these days, and tries to join in on social media, despite being completely irrelevant, and only posting things for my 14 followers. Ugh… but, hey, you should all totally follow me on Twitter and Instagram!

I’ll never catch up. I’m getting too old for all this. I guess the good news is, since I’m so disconnected from the online world, I’m more connected to real life than most? Maybe? No… probably not.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

Never Feed the Fucking Trolls

PSA: Just because something is not YOUR problem, does not mean it is not an important problem for others.

WARNING: Strong language.

Hello, friends. I have a general rule for myself when it comes to dealing with internet trolls: DO NOT interact with them. Don’t. Just don’t do it. Lately, I have been having a hard time abiding by this rule. With the current state of politics and the presidential race, as well as the women’s rights movement (International Women’s Day was just a few days ago), various LGBT rights movements, and other pro-equality movements going on, our nation has become a nation divided in the ugliest of ways. I am very upfront with my political and moral views, and most of you know than I am an Agnostic Atheist, who believes in equality for everyone. I am not only an LGBT ally, but also a Pansexual woman, and member of the community. I am also a feminist, and a Liberal. I don’t really care if you dislike me for those reasons, because your close-mindedness does not effect me, and I don’t want you in my life if you choose to judge me based on those facts. For just these reasons alone, I have been judged very critically by complete strangers who know absolutely nothing about me, and who throw wild generalizations at me, and that isn’t fair.

I have been called everything from a libtard, feminazi, fag lover, and so much more… all because I believe in basic, human rights and equality for everyone, which apparently, is an awful thing. Who knew?

For the last several days, I have been engaged in a handful of online comment wars, spanning across Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. Sometimes, I am guilty of being a bit of an instigator, but more often than not, I simply voiced my appreciation on a topic. I am not a troll. I do not scour the web in search of things that I wholly disagree with with every fiber of my being, just to jump into the comment section and spew ignorance and hatred on the subject. I also rarely skim through comments in search of someone who supports said topic, just to call them names and trash their opinions. I don’t make a habit of fucking attacking people on a personal level just because I disagree with something they say on the internet.

Apparently, I am a minority when it comes to this sort of behavior, because people online are fucking assholes. Shocking, I know!

Recently, an LGBT/equality page that I follow on Facebook posted the following picture:

12814179_1038899126200121_5370000327505668958_n

This graphic was posted on International Women’s Day, and while it did received a ton of praise from the LGBT community and its allies, it also received a lot of backlash from a lot of people who knew very little on the subject, and really had nothing of value to input other than “Fuck Caitlyn Jenner!” or “Until you’ve had a child you’re not REALLY a woman.”, both of which have nothing to do with what was said. The latter isn’t even a correct statement.

I posted the following two comments beneath the photo:

comments

Both comments received more positive feedback than negative, but there were a few people that had apparently just had a bad day, and wanted to tear everyone on this page apart for no reason. There were even a few commenters that were clearly fake accounts, created for the sole purpose of trying to hurt other people who disagreed with their views. Others had nothing of value to say other than calling me ridiculous names, or paraphrasing the Bible in all caps, WHICH AS WE ALL KNOW MAKES YOU SOUND SO MUCH MORE INTELLIGENT.

Why? WHY? What could you possibly get out of doing something like that? You are about as unlikely to change my way of thinking as I am to change yours, and that’s why I don’t waste my fucking time.

On a day that was for celebrating ALL women, there were feminists who wanted nothing more than to point out how they felt that trans women weren’t women, and gave them no support at all. There were civil rights activists, and #BlackLivesMatter activists, talking about how trans people, as well as the LGBT community in general, did not deserve rights, let alone to be recognized in a holiday. This lead me into several, one-sided, heated “debates” (I can’t even really call them that, because only one side had anything logical to contribute) across all of my social media platforms, that I let get to me. I couldn’t stop.

I let these trolling, immature, ignorant, terrible people get to me. I broke my own rule. And boy, did it get me fired up.

How can people actually think like that? It is 2016! How can you still have so much hate in your heart that you think it is okay to hurt people like that? I’m not even a member of the trans community, but as a woman who has struggled with her sexual identity for many years, I can certainly tell you how hard it is to KNOW that you one thing, but have everyone around you tell you that you aren’t, for a whole list of bullshit reasons. What if you were black, and people told you that you weren’t black enough, because of your eye or hair color? Telling you that you weren’t what you KNEW you were, what you were meant to be, because you didn’t look like it on the outside? That would hurt. You would be stuck feeling like you don’t belong on either side of the tracks, and it would tear you apart.

No one deserves to feel that way.

There are people who use sources like the Bible to back up their behavior, thinking that they are doing their god’s work in tearing down and hurting these people, because they disagree with how they live their lives, and that is WRONG. But even more wrong are the people who have absolutely no reason to hate these people, and choose to anyway.

Hatred is a choice.
Sexuality, gender dysphoria, and race are not.

If you want equality for women, or African Americans, or Latinos, but not for your brothers and sisters in the LGBT community, then you want privilege. Not equality. Those are not the same thing.

PSA: Just because something is not YOUR problem, does not mean it is not an important problem for others.

I’m so done. Back to my happy place.

Jan

[Just now, as I finish writing this, I am reading the comments beneath Ingrid Nilsen’s latest video on public bathrooms and gender identity, and it is honestly making me want to scream and rip my hair out. I fucking hate people.]

Daily Prompt 2/17/2016 | Secrets

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 2/17/2016 | Evasive Action

What’s the most significant secret you’ve ever kept? Did the truth ever come out?”

If I told you that, I’d probably have to kill you. That’s the point of a secret, right?

Okay, in all seriousness, I am basically the Keeper of Secrets to everyone. Though most of the secrets that I have been keeping are no longer secrets, and the owners of said secrets have brought them to light, I still choose not to tell them. Personally, I don’t have secrets. I have one secret, that is mine, that I have not told anyone. I want to, but I honestly don’t know how, and if it would even make a difference in the effect that this secret has had on me.

But, I will tell you all a secret now that I am finally comfortable telling. Some of you may not understand, or even care, but it is important to me.

I have a friend, who is very near and dear to me. I won’t say his name, because I’m simply not sure if he would want me to. We met online, through Twitter, as well as the World of Warcraft community, and have been friends for years. My friend was married to a wonderful man for 4 years, and they played WoW together. On January 1st, 2013, my friend’s husband passed away suddenly, and unexpectedly, and he was absolutely devastated. There was nothing that I could do to comfort him in his time of need, as I was so far away, and being a friendly ear can only help so much.

During this time, I was also the host of a World of Warcraft podcast called Something Suggestive. While my show wasn’t big, I had made a bit of a name for myself in the community, and decided to go out on a limb, and talked to one of my favorite community managers about possibly having an NPC (non-playable character) added to the game in his husband’s memory. Blizzard is amazing when it comes to in-game memorials. After a little bit of back and forth between this community manager, as well as a game developer, we decided on a model, name, and location for his character.

In patch 5.2.0, the model, who was named and modeled after my friend’s late husband’s own character, was placed in the Seat of Knowledge, in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms.

Elloric

Very few people know that I did this, and I kept it quiet for years, even after the YouTube videos, WowHead article, and blog posts came out, talking about the tribute. I asked my friend not to name me. I didn’t want credit, or attention. I wanted to help. I wanted to do whatever I could to do fix some part of this horrible tragedy.

In the following weeks, there were beautiful in-game tributes and meet-ups on several severs, and you can still find the videos on YouTube, years later. I went to a handful of these as well.

aa-hunt-580

The way that the community rallied around our friend was incredible. Strangers, too, came from all corners of the world to pay their respects to our fellow community member.

It was beautiful. And I was so proud to be a part of the large group of people who reached out to show him that he was loved, and not alone.

And to my friend, if you are reading this right now, know that you are still so, so loved. ❤

And now you know my secret. Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

Daily Prompt 2/9/2016 | Stats

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 2/9/2016 | The Stat Connection

“Go to your Stats page and check your top 3-5 posts. Why do you think they’ve been successful? Find the connection between them, and write about it.”

Hello, friends! For today’s prompt, I did a little digging through my stats for 2016 and 2016, and discovered that the following are my top 5 posts on my blog. My top pages were actually my Home/Archives page, as well as my About Me page, but I don’t count those as posts. I’m actually not that surprised by these results, as I’ve noticed that my personal blogs, as opposed to my prompt posts or reviews, tend to get a bit more attention and feedback. Here are my top 5 posts, with links and descriptions, in case anyone wants to check them out:

1) My Thoughts On First Birthdays
Exactly what the title states. My son was creeping up on his first birthday, and I was feeling a lot of pressure from society, and family, to throw him a big bash. Spoiler alert: I had other ideas.

2) Sinking Ships
A complete stranger attacked my parenting via Twitter, after following the leads of two of my so-called-friends, who had been sub-tweeting about me that morning, all over a completely innocent tweet, which was taken out of context, and blown out of proportion. It got heated. Spoiler alert: I’m an awesome mom.

3) 15 Facts About Me!
Just some more fun with my Twitter followers, involving a graphic, some hearts, and some fun facts about yours truly. There was even a Part 2! Spoiler alert: I’m not very interesting.

4) Most Terrifying Experience of My Life. WTF!
Just another day in the life of living in shitty apartments. Yellow jackets burrowed into my apartment, and my neighbor had to come rescue Liam and I. Spoiler alert: Yellow jacks are assholes.

5) Why I Chose to Leave WoW
World of Warcraft has played an unimaginably large part in my life, and after many years of playing, I say goodbye (for now?). Spoiler alert: Sad post is sad.

So there you have it! If you normally read my daily prompts, or my baby blogs, and want to get to know a bit more about what goes on behind the screen, I would suggest checking those out. I lead a verrry interesting life (no, not really).

Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan