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There’s No Right Way to Deal With Loss

I haven’t written much on here since I packed up all my belongings and moved to another city. I was excited to document the new chapter in my life, to experience new things, foods, interactions with new people, and figure out my place in my new home. A lot of things have been taking up my time, and I didn’t find much motivation to do some actual writing. I found some. And it has come from the unexpected passing of my cousin, Lucille.

As I grow older, my view on life in general continues to change. I accept things with more ease than I would have been able to in my younger days. And yes, I am relatively young, but I do feel that there has been enough life altering experiences that I have directly and indirectly been a part of, that I am becoming more accepting of the fact that life often times deals you a crappy hand and you either fold or you make the best of it.

I’m 32 years old.

In the grand scheme of life, that’s young. I acknowledge that. What I also acknowledge is that age is just a number and anything can happen. I have loved ones in my life both younger and older who have had to deal with cancer, depression, suicide,… Some of these people are no longer with us. It wasn’t until a friend of mine (close to my age) died unexpectedly a couple years ago that I realized that the circle of life is more like a crazy, jagged structure that has no obvious shape or path. When you understand the basics of life, you come to terms with certain realities. I fully expect to witness the passing of my parents, maybe even my brother. That’s not a morbid thought. That’s based off of the life expectancy of age and gender. I also expect that I will be sending my dogs to the Rainbow Bridge at some point in the next few years. Again, it’s not morbid. I don’t obsess over the ideas, but in the back of my mind, they are there and they are things I have to accept as part of life.

My cousin, Lucille, was not much older than me. I found a letter she had written and sent to me right after my 13th birthday. She was already well into college in another city. She used to babysit me and my brother when we were kids, and I distinctly remember her making us grill cheese sandwiches. Sometimes, we would get them with ham, and whenever I asked, she would cut the ham into a star.

I remember her watching Magic Knight Rayearth with me (I loved that anime), and she even gave us lighted pens that matched the colors of the main characters of the show. I remember her adding a little poem to a notebook I carried with me since 2002, and I remember being super envious of her penmanship. Because she lived in another city, we didn’t see her during the holidays much. Before the next generation of cousins were born, we did a lot of White Elephant events. Lucille sent in one present; I won that present. It was a homemade quilt, and it’s amazing. I still use it to this day.

I remember seeing her when her father remarried (her mother/my aunt had passed years before this) and she asked me what I thought about it. I said “well, there aren’t any fires that have broken out, so I guess she’s okay with it” and Lucille laughed. She had a contagious laugh. It was just wholesome.

I remember her asking me if I thought fairies and elves were real or existed at some point. I’m not sure how I responded, but I know she believed in them at the time she asked me that question. She believed in otherworldly things because there just had to be more to this place.

Fast forward to now. Just last week. We received texts from her sister that Lucille was ill. She had been in the hospital for a few days. I sent her a text saying that I was thinking of her, and I loved her. Even though I hadn’t seen her in many years, the sentiment was still true. I never got a response from her, but I hope that she saw it. Couple days later, we received news that Lucille had passed. I had just gotten to work, and I just cried in my car.

Even while writing this, I feel like crying. And I feel many different emotions. Above all sadness, then comes disbelief, confusion, anger, more sadness, rinse and repeat. All of us mourn in different ways. My mind went all over the place in the last week. I wondered why her, then wondered who was next, then contemplated the fact that it could be me or my brother, then went into thinking I was being punished for moving away from my family, then I went numb. There’s no real logic to your feelings when you’re in mourning, and really there’s no right way to mourn.

I play video games or cook, anything that takes my focus off of the sadness I feel when I think about her. Some people deal with loss by just not talking about it or talking about it all the time. Some use humor to deflect, others find as many things as they can that reminds them of the person who is gone. Some just don’t process it at all and don’t accept it as truth. Some break down. There is no wrong way to mourn. Actually, there is one wrong way. I cannot and will never accept suicide as a means of mourning. I know that if someone were to do that in response to Lucille’s death, she would be pissed and probably hunt down your spirit and kick your ass. Lucille celebrated life. Her very name means light.

This year is the first year of my entire life that I have spent the holidays without my family. I never felt more lonely, but only because I couldn’t be with my parents and my brother during this family tragedy. Luckily, I have friends here and all over the world who have helped me. I know I regurgitated a lot of stuff on Twitter , FB, and IG, but they didn’t mind. They were only supportive. Another way I deal with mourning is continually telling people that I love them. Death not only serves as a catalyst to remember fond memories of those no longer here, but it should also revitalize the relationships that are still present in physical form.

So if you’ve made this far into my blog post, thank you. And I love you. Thank you for being part of my community, and thank you for being with me this long as I remember one kick ass cousin who truly did make this world a little brighter.

If you would like to help the family, Lucille’s brother set up a donation page.

Hey! Listen! Kick cancer’s butt!

A good friend of mine will be getting a hysterectomy done because she had been diagnosed with cancer and this is one of the safest ways to keep it from spreading. Many friends came together to wish her all the best and a speedy recovery. This is one of my favorite collaborations.

I asked many people to come together to send my friend Jenn/RT Lozelda all the positive thoughts possible. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this project. You guys are the absolute best, and Jenn and I are thankful to know you.

SPECIAL NOTE: I asked Jenn to watch this video before it went public. She totally cried her eyes out. We totally made her cry like a bitch.

 

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Moving Onto the Next Adventure in My Life

I was going to vlog this, but then eczema decided to visit my face thus I have put away the camera for the time being.

If you’ve been keeping up with me on Twitter, you know that I am moving out of my hometown and going to Austin! This is a really big step for me. I am genuinely scared how this will affect my life. It’s not a negative feeling, but more a feeling of excitement mixed with nerves and uncertainty. For some of you, this may not seem like a big deal, but allow me to elaborate on some key points.

I have never left home. Whether my destination is Austin, Seattle, NC, or somewhere in Cali, my feelings would be the same. I was born and raised in Vegas, and I have never lived anywhere else. Seeing that I am about to enter the years of an inevitable mid-life crisis (half joking), I figured it was time to see what else life had to offer. Yes, moving out of the parents’ home is a form of independence, but I believe taking it a step further is healthy and essential to helping one grow. Does it mean I do not love my family? Course not. Does it mean I will forget my roots? Not at all. What this does mean is that I will be able to continue to grow in ways that my hometown could not provide.

I was born in Vegas, but I never felt like I belonged here.  Even as a kid, I felt out of place. A while ago, my dad admitted to me that when he picked me up from kindergarten class, he felt sad because I was always alone. I didn’t play with the other kids; I just kept to myself and stayed in my own corner. I vaguely remember that. I remember being teased because I thought differently than the rest of the class. It’s a silly memory, but I remember the teacher asking use toothpicks and marshmallows to make squares. I wanted to make a circle. And I wanted to be in the center, so the marshmallow circle could act as a barrier between myself and everyone else.

Years later, I eventually came out of my shell, but that really only meant that I could mask my loneliness and blend into a crowd better. It was hard for me to find a group of people that understood my growing interests. The few friends that I do have are always supportive of me, but even fewer of them really understood why I delved into things like conventions, social media, cosplay, community management, and video games. I could share that love with very few people, so I thought moving to a city where that was naturally abundant would be healthier for me.

I tried different circles, and while I found people who I would be friends with for years on end, I didn’t fit into the overall atmosphere. They weren’t bad environments; they just didn’t match me for one reason or another. Eventually, I realized that maybe I should try living in a different city to see if I could actually find a place that felt like home.

I want to be in a place where I could learn more than what I know. That sounds vain, I know, but I want to learn new skills, and have different experiences than what Vegas can provide. This ties in with the previous point of wanting to be around people who are like-minded. I like to create, collaborate, and be taken under the wing of a well rounded mentor. I like knowledge, but I gravitate to very specific knowledge. The casino industry doesn’t hold my interest as much as the video game/production industry. And while it’s true that you should always obtain knowledge and experience wherever you happen to be, I want to have some control over what specifically will affect my life.

Dating. 

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I am scared. And that’s not a bad thing. In fact, the more scared I am, the more I want to make the leap into the new chapter. There are certainly a lot of unknowns, and I have no idea how this will work out long term, but I feel that it is certainly worth the risk of letting go of everything I am comfortable with right now. Honestly, I could not say that I lived to the fullest if I just stayed in same place for the entirety of my life.

Whenever I feel frightened to the point of being metaphorically paralyzed, I just think to myself “I don’t know if what I’m doing is the right move, but I know staying is definitely the wrong one.” And I’m good. And I continue on my path in moving forward with my life.

Austin, see you soon. ❤