I’ve Decided What My Superpower Would Be If I Could Have One

I sit here, thinking of my hometown, of Las Vegas, and I feel a multitude of emotions. The two I feel the most are sadness and anger. I am sad that people are suffering, that there are those who have no choice but to go back to a home that feels emptier. I am also angry that people are hurt and continue to suffer and that lives have been lost.

Even though I feel such rage, I don’t wish to add to the violence or the hate.  I wish I could make it so that no one would ever have to shed another tear over a senseless death by ensuring that hate didn’t exist anymore. I wish I could plant a seed of compassion in everyone’s hearts. I wish I could make people experience the best day of a stranger’s life. I wish could make people experience the absolute worst day as well.

If I had a superpower, I would want to be able to cross paths with another and they would know empathy.

I am heartbroken for my city, but I see her regrouping, rebuilding. I see the community, the people, helping each other selflessly and without a second thought. I see a fire that refuses to be put out. Tears may fall, but that flame still burns bright. My home remains strong, so I should do her proud and follow suit.

 

Achievement Unlocked: Adulting

I wanted to share some awesome news with you all, and in order for this news to have some level of significant impact, I feel I should start from the beginning.

It was no secret that in the last few years I was not happy with where I was in life. I never thought that my hometown felt like home, I wasn’t happy with my career, and I felt utterly trapped and alone. I did what I could to get out, but there were a few opportunities that slipped through my fingers and I felt even sadder with each that flew by.

I was in a very toxic environment at the time, completely unhappy and I was even breaking down often. Luckily, I had several pillars of support in my life, some were happy that I was trying to move on with my life and others who were upset that I wanted to leave them behind  but still encouraged me to follow my dreams. They were the best. Now, I had no idea where I was meant to be, only that I would have the biggest regret if I stayed.

I made several attempts to make it to Austin. It was a city that I had visited several times over the last 5 years, and it felt like a healthier and more positive atmosphere overall. I figured… why not try to make that my new home? And try I did. I can’t go into details, but there were more than a handful of times where I received messages or calls indicating that I didn’t have enough experience or other qualifications. I never tried to get my hopes up during interview processes, but at the same time, there was always some level of expectation of success because you did your best to kick ass. But that success never came. There were even a couple of times where I felt like I was slapped in the face because I thought passion, experience, and loyalty would help me achieve my goals. No such luck. I was told my long term ambitions weren’t good enough. It took me a while to get back on my feet after that.

But I continued networking and making connections. I continued to learn all I could from my peers and role models. And even though it was hard to wake up in the mornings at times, I just kept hoping onto the belief that one day, things will work out for me.

Because of my desire to leave home, and having a couple of carrots dangled in front of me, I took a risk and didn’t renew the lease on my apartment. Not gonna lie. That was one of the most brutal things I’ve ever done to myself. Didn’t renew for a few months, opportunities slipped away, then dove into a 6 month lease, then didn’t renew again because I had a couple more things sent my way. It was a weird feeling because I was both being hopeful and making myself even sadder at the same time. If you’ve never leased month to month, it essentially adds 30% of your base rent on top of your well… base rent. And when you renew a lease for 12 -16 months, that is usually the cheapest base rent to owe, however, every year you stay in a complex, they raise the rent at least 10% every year. And if you don’t immediately renew like I did, you don’t get that 10% hike, you get lumped into the “industry average” and that went even higher. Like I said, it was pretty brutal.

I was pretty miserable at this point. Even my parents began to notice a change in my behavior. I was even contemplating talking to a professional at one point. First question I would have asked was “am I wasting my life for something that will never happen?” and the worst part is, I was pretty sure they couldn’t answer that.

After what seemed like half my life that had gone by, I found something I qualified for! And it was in Austin! I also knew someone who could give me a great referral, so I went for it. And holy crap, they contacted me back. Four phone interviews and one test later, I was on my way to meet people in person. Only, I couldn’t, I found later. I won’t go into details, but there was absolutely no bad blood whatsoever. We kept in touch and I even become friends with the people who were trying to recruit me. It was a positive experience and I wished with all my heart that our paths would cross again. Five months later. I got that glorious message.

Literally, a few weeks before I received this message, I already made the decision to go to Austin and not look back. I told my apartment complex that I was moving, and I was talking to temp agencies in Austin. I was so depressed and sad, I just decided to make the leap because I couldn’t stay in my hometown anymore as I was. Then that message came, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I said yes, agreeing to a contract, and there was such a weight that was lifted from me, I momentarily forgot that I was packing up my life and leaving everything I knew behind me.

Three amazing friends drove with me and the moving truck to Austin in November (shoutout to Mary, Bret, and Chey), and they were kind enough to even unpack all of my things in my new apartment. I started work a week later, and I couldn’t believe how NICE everyone was. My team was and is still awesome and the best people I could ever hope to work with, my department is full of talented and wonderful people, and the company culture itself made me feel so welcome like I was a real person and not just a body or a number.  I was in disbelief for the first couple months.

Then a couple more months went by, and I wondered what would become of me. The reality is, I was under contract, so there was no guarantee that I would stay on board. I started losing a teeny tiny bit of sleep due to the anxiety and fear of having to start this process all over again. I was afraid of losing the best job I ever had in my life. I was afraid of losing my team because they were more than my peers, they were my friends. My contract was due to end in May. I was sweating bullets toward mid-April. I could do the job, and I did it well. I always gave them my best, and I always made sure to take care of my team and any others I worked with. I hope that they would keep me. But in the back of my mind, I felt the career teachings of my hometown, that dreams were meant to be crushed.

I got another message. I went through four more interviews. And then I received my official offer letter.

I was driving home that day, and ended up at a stoplight. I cried so hard. And I laughed so loud.

I couldn’t tell you how scared I was for the majority of 2016. I was downright terrified at times, and I was calm and collected during others. That is, until reality set in and I thought “OMG. I’m making a mistake.” But I went with it. I went with my gut, and I went with 85% of my parents’ blessing (Mama Fried Rice was pretty heartbroken), and I followed my dreams. Somehow, it worked out.

So now I will always be an advocate of if you feel that your life is pulling you in a direction, you owe it to yourself to at least see what’s there. Will it actually pay off in the end? It might, it might not. There’s no promise that it will. But I always felt I would regret it if I didn’t at least try.

So May 1st was my official first day as (in my eyes) a full fledge adult.

Guys, it was so worth taking that risk.

EdcuALFN (1)

A bit of a life update!

It’s been a while since I posted on here, and I apologize for that. There’s been a lot that’s happened in the last couple of months. I’m amazed by how much has changed in that short amount of time.

  • I moved to Austin in November.
  • I spent my first holiday season away from family. Like. EVER.
  • My cousin passed away right before Christmas
  • I got to spend New Years among friends (which is a rare occurrence for me)
  • My uncle had a heart attack
  • I found that some friends aren’t really friends. Not a bad thing. Just a good revelation.
  • For weeks, I felt completely alone and isolated.
  • I was kidnapped to PAX South by a bestie
  • I rekindled a lot of friendships
  • My dad text me that he was proud of me
  • My mom text me saying I needed to text her every 2 days so she knows I’m alive
  • I found a level of happiness I never thought I could reach
  • I’m now prepping for my family to visit so they can see my new home

My uncle passed away about a week and a half ago. Mama Fried Rice went to the memorial service to represent our side of the family. It hit me today how much time I’ve let pass me by because I lost motivation to do a lot of things. I’m pretty sure I watched almost every stand up comedy special on Netflix because I needed to smile and laugh. If that mental stimulation wasn’t there, I was always sad. I sat on my couch a lot, mostly numb and bewildered.

Admittedly, when all this was happening to my family, I had many irrational thoughts. I was worried about my family, and I was worried about them worrying for me. I thought I was being punished for moving away. And I thought I somehow deserved all of this because I was breaking up my family. Again. I know it was irrational. Luckily, I was able to open up to people very close to my heart, so I wasn’t completely alone through this transition.

My Patreon and Twitch streams suffered the last couple months. Although, I gave whatever I made in December’s Patreon funds to my family for Lucille’s funeral and hospital costs, January and February were almost nonexistent. I lost my motivation and my drive to create content. I was just so… gone. But I’m snapping myself out of it, and I’m going to start up again. It’s been in the back of my mind to get my butt in gear, and now I finally feel like stepping up again. I was just knocked down for a few moments.

There has been a huge shift in my life lately, and it’s brought me so much happiness. I actually don’t know what to do with it, but I’m just going to let everything happen naturally and cherish every moment. I have the best people in my life, I truly do. I know that no matter what happens in my life, you guys will always have my back. That is such a fantastic feeling to have, and I am so grateful for all of you. Y’all are my heart.

So thank you. And I love you. ❤

It may be slow coming, but I am back.

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.