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.

 

Paladins. I Don’t Necessarily Mean the D&D Ones.

I’ve had quite a few of these conversations lately, and that has lead to me writing about this topic. Everyone has a rock, someone they lean on for strength, support, and encouragement. We all have one or two, and in truth, it’s healthy to be able to vent to someone who is wiling to listen to you and not pass any judgement.

What isn’t healthy is if that is the only types of interactions we have with these specific people. There should be a healthy balance in any type of relationship, but once it becomes incredibly one-sided, it starts becoming toxic. People who are rocks are essentially paladins. They are altruistic, empathetic, and selfless to the point where they won’t openly admit when they themselves are crumbling because they don’t want to show the people who rely on them that they can no longer be supportive. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard “it’s nice being able to talk to someone because I’m usually the one people come to.”

Imagine being the journal, the ear, the foundation to multiple people who are struggling for various reasons. Now imagine instinctively carrying that weight in your mind and heart even though the conversation ended with “thanks for listening.” Paladins don’t shake those conversations, those worries or those burdens off.  Paladins accept these as their own because they feel it’s their way of contributing to life, to the world, and to their loved ones. It becomes part of them; that’s part of being empathetic.

And as much as paladins don’t want to admit it, even they struggle as well. They have their own share of misfortune at times just like everyone else, but they don’t like to tell others about it because they understand what that weight can do to someone. It’s a vicious one-way street for them more than it is a cycle.  They want to remain and appear strong for those who rely on them, and they will only break down behind closed doors.

Why am I writing this? I want people to have an understanding of the paladins in their lives. This isn’t to make them feel guilty about venting to their pillars of support, far from, but this is more to help them understand that those pillars are people too. Allow them to recharge. Understand that they also need time away from the crazy of the world. No matter how much they hold things together, sometimes, they need to step back and take a breather. One of their flaws is that they won’t ask for this break because they believe that they have to be helpful 24/7. I write this for those who  may find themselves all of a sudden wondering why their rock may disappear for a while. I write this for those who may even be angered when one of their friends goes dark for a bit. I write this for those who may only come to their paladins when they need them. I write this for those who may be paladins themselves. There is no one reason I’m writing down these thoughts, but the overall intention is understanding.

It is possible that some people will read this and spin negativity out of it. They may assume that I am writing this to make people who have troubles feel guilty about talking to their friends about their issues and problems. I am not. And that is an entirely different topic of discussion. I am writing this post to shed some light on a perspective that isn’t always thought about. I will throw in, however, that if you are only coming to shed troubles and leave, I won’t back down from saying that treating paladins like that isn’t healthy and it is unfair. People may assume that I speak for everyone on both sides, but I do not. As with all of my posts, I speak for myself and my own experiences. People can feel however they want with my posts, but it is no secret that my intention is to help, not damage.

Bottom line is whatever situation you may be involved in currently, if you have a paladin in your life to help you along, I’m glad for that. As I wrote earlier, it’s healthy to be able to share your troubles with trusted friends. I think you can agree that we need more people like them in the world. I am only asking that you remember that while paladins seem unbreakable, they are human.

Blood related or not, a mother’s love is a mother’s love

When I was much younger, I always thought your mother was someone who strictly gave birth to you, and that’s it. I believed that no one else who could be your mother; the idea of a mother figure was nonexistent. I am blessed to have my birth mother in my life, and she’s still here to this day. We don’t always see eye to eye on certain things, and we do argue, but she’s always done what she felt was best for me and my little brother. She put us first before her own needs and she fought for us when she felt we were wronged. My mother has always done her best to provide for us and even when life threw us curveballs, she adapted and didn’t let anyone push her or us around. She’s quite a strong woman. Tiny, but strong. And she’s the best.

As I wrote, I am lucky to still have my mother in my life. As a kid, I never imagined my life without her. I never once considered what it would be like to look up to another woman as a mother. That concept just didn’t exist for me. It wasn’t until I played FFVI, that I realized a familial bond could exist between a child and a woman who is not his/her biological mother. I love FFVI for many reasons, mostly because all the characters were captivating, the villain actually succeeded in destroying the world, and the female characters were pretty badass. Terra Branford remains one of my favorite video game characters of all time. Terra is the first playable character in FFVI, and her story begins with her feeling lost, used and fearful of the world around her. Her memory was wiped, and she had to learn to trust people again. She began as a shell of a person but blossomed beautiful by the end of the game. Throughout the story, she begins to find herself, finds her purpose in life. It isn’t until she becomes a guardian for several orphaned children that she comes to terms with who she is and what she wants to fight for.

It was one of the most touching scenes I experienced in a video game. And it made me realize that there are many women out there who look after the people in their lives whether blood related or not. Who knew that I could learn such an important lesson from a video game? So to all the women out there who are actual mothers, mother figures, or play a similar mother hen role, I wish you a happy mother’s day. May you feel that you are always cherished, treasured, and loved by those you look after every day of your life. Thank you for your love, for your strength, for your wisdom and your patience.

Never forget that you make the world a better place.

Happy mother’s day!

Did I ever tell you about my first family dog?

While I am waiting for my flight to PAX South, I can take some time to tell you about my first dog, BJ. He was our first family dog and my parents got him while I was very young (I was maybe one or two years old). BJ, at the time, didn’t have a name. My parents told me one day we were out for a walk, and I was being pushed in a stroller. A stray dog came at me, and BJ chased him off. So my dad named him Baldijac. Baldi means protector and Jac was just my name shortened. Hence, BJ.

I don’t have many memories of him as he was an outside dog. But fast forward almost thirty years, and all of our dogs are rescues and adopted. Progress. One of these days, I will adopt another Beagle and I will make sure he/she will never live outside. I’m thinking of naming him/her, Bagel. Hee hee.

2015/01/img_1445.jpg

Does race matter? Yes and no.

If you have been following me on Twitter for a while, you know that I am a huge fan and an active community member for Rooster Teeth. RT is a production/video game type company based in Austin, TX, and they are best known for the web series Red vs Blue. They’ve grown so much in the last few years that they’ve expanded their company to include an array of online content, so they create weekly recap videos to give fans a run down of what was uploaded during the current week. Last week, I was asked to submit  a short video that will be featured in Rooster Teeth’s weekly recap video. JJ, a very talented video editor who works for RT, asked if I was interested in submitting something for a fan created recap vid, and I was more than ecstatic. I recorded my bit, sent it in, and waited anxiously for the finished product.

The video can be seen here. RT is known to show an enormous amount of fan love, so for this to be compiled and showcase fans from all over the world was amazing. I was incredibly happy and honored to be a part of it. Then I saw this comment.

Image

 

I honestly laughed and just shrugged it off. Clearly, I do not lack pigmentation, so I thought nothing of it. But then I started reading more comments that went from “glad to see RT is so diverse in who they choose to put in their vids” and the one seen above.

Should race matter? In this case, no. I don’t feel that it should at all. At the very core, we are all RT fans. It shouldn’t matter what our gender is, what color our skin is, or where we are from when it comes to loving the same thing. A community, especially one that reaches all over the world, encompasses such a variety of people from all different backgrounds and that is what makes this community so beautiful and special. A handful of people were picked and chosen for this recap video because JJ felt we were reliable, would work well together, and he wanted the video to showcase a balance of male and female RT fans.

Should race matter in general? I will say, yes, and hear me out before you jump to the “but we should all be equal” standpoint. What I mean by race should matter is that I am proud to be of Asian descent. With my upbringing came a lot of cultural influences like traditions and food. I’m half Chinese, half Japanese, so there’s a lot of history with who I am and where I come from. It’s part of my identity. I am also a woman (spoiler alert!), and I am proud to be one. And there are instances when I don’t care that I am reminded I am a woman. Here’s an example of what I mean.

Over the years, there has been a very interesting shift in the perception of the “girl gamer.” When I was a teenager, I was labeled as a girl gamer, and it was fun and cool, and offered a lot of opportunities to talk to other gamers whether they be male or female.  Back in the day, the girl gamer was almost looked upon as the holy grail (there were not as many female gamers back then). Call a woman a girl gamer now, and she may actually be insulted. Why? Because, you specify that she is a woman plus she is a gamer. Some women just like being called gamers; they want to be thought of on equal ground as male gamers. To me, it doesn’t matter either way. I’m a woman, and I love video games. Nothing will change that no matter what you call me. When I hear someone call me a girl gamer, I think, “hell yeah. I’m a woman. And I game. That makes me doubly awesome,” and I think nothing else of it. That label isn’t insulting me, in fact, it empowers me. A lot of women will not agree with me on that point, but that’s how I feel.

When you step back and look at yourself, look at all the different roles you play in life, you’ll find that you wear a lot of hats. I’m a woman, I’m Asian, I’m American, I’m a gamer, I’m a dog rescuer, I’m a sister, I’m a daughter, I’m an employee, I’m a friend, I’m a writer.. I am ALL of these things. These identities are pieces to my puzzle and they make me who I am. So when I’m part of a project that allows me to collaborate with a bunch of other people, I’m part of a team. Gender and race don’t matter. But if you ask me who I am and what makes me unique, I will give you a longer list than what I wrote at the beginning of this paragraph. At the end of the day, I’m still Jackie and no one can take that away from me.