‘Twas the night before Christmas when I started to write…

‘Twas the night before Christmas when I started to write

What would I jot down?  Many nails did I bite.

And then it hit me, so I began to type

Hurriedly, quickly, the ideas were still ripe.

 

Here, let me tell you of my adventure so far

The start of the year was less than sub par.

For I was broken, but not of bone mind you

My heart was in pieces, blackened and blue.

 

I was hurt but not lost; I trudged on ahead.

I was down but not out, I was far from dead.

Over few months time, I could smile once more.

May opened up my first happiness door.

 

Hosting RT Vegas was a dream of mine

Rooster Teeth Vegas fans, ‘twas our time to shine.

Thank you Dane, Daniel, Dustin, Michael and Nick

You guys are so awesome, my very top pick!

 

And extending my thanks to the very group

that threw our party for such a huge loop!

What group you ask? Why it’s the B Team!

It took much willpower not to fangirl and scream

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But my thanks for Rooster Teeth ends not in May.

July 5th is marked as such a special day.

I’m an RTX Guardian, hip hip, hooray!

My happiness level is more than I can say!

 

I was a noob but paired with a great crew.

Surrounded by friends some old and some new

Thank you so much to our leading lady

We couldn’t have done it without you, Caiti!

 

A fantastic con, my words are at a loss

Demarais, my fav Hobbit, you’re such a cool boss!

Such great memories I will cherish forever

My love for these people will never be severed.

 

Parts of 2013 had also brought tears.

Two friends were taken, too early in their years

Always remembered, their legacies live on

Through those they are still here, never truly gone.

 

What to learn from this, answers there are many

I say cherish loved ones, more than dimes and pennies.

Mike and Knuckles you are thought of every day

You both are missed, so much more than I can say

 

And then in August, my dad became dog sitter

For I was off to DragonCon thanks to friends from Twitter.

A weekend full of panels, drinking and more

So many cosplays I saw were seriously hardcore!

 

I could not believe how happy I felt.

I met new friends, they made my heart melt.

Dauna, Emma, Kelly, Eric, Kathleen,

DA2 cosplay group, best cosplays I’ve seen

 

Karissa, Liz, Miranda and Scott,

Best roomies ever for the con ticket I bought.

Tymber, Adriaan, Amanda, Eric, Susanne…

HUGS ALL THE FACES, as many as I can

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Aaryn, Aidan, Dave, Bioware men I adore

Team Fangirls sends kisses, hugs and more! (as in love ya pervs =P)

I drank with Steve Jaros and Chris Avellone

Leading men in the industry, mind = blown

 

And to my leather making friends Misty and Lance

Heart your faces for giving cosplay a chance.

Dragon Age Tallis debuted at this con.

Be proud you guys, many hearts it has won.

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And as it does annually, my birthday was here

This one was special, the best in many years.

So grateful for all who came to celebrate

Shots, bull riding, beer pong… God it was late!

 

Looking back on everything, I couldn’t believe

How I started the year in sadness and grief.

But how that has changed because of family and friends,

I want to hug all your faces, my lovely godsends.

 

Shortly after I found myself in a pinch!

Surely this would make me a Grinch!

I lost my job, but I held my head high.

Company merge be damned, I refused to cry.

 

I feel liberated so it’s a blessing in disguise.

Seriously, don’t feel bad for me guys.

I’m keeping busy, finally raising life’s bar

A writing project called Fallout Lonestar!

 

Many doors will fly open, at least… I hope.

Writing is medicinal for it is how I cope.

But life is a mystery, destination unseen

You continue being better than you have ever been.

 

And now here we are on Christmas Day

I want to tell you one more thing, if I may.

My dad has worked for the last twenty plus years

Through this day but now we’ve switched gears!

 

He has the day off and now we can spend

The holiday as a whole family again!

So comes an end of my twenty thirteen tale.

It was full of win and of some fail.

 

How you spend today, I wish you this

May your holiday season be full of joy and bliss,

So to you my loves, I raise my beer

I say Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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I know it’s not beer… work with me here…

I treat Thanksgiving as a time to reflect on the last 11 months of the year

I can’t tell you how to see Thanksgiving or how you should spend it. But I can tell you how I see one of the craziest times of the year. I don’t focus on the newest sales or worry about which stores to hit come Black Friday madness. I don’t even think about what I’m going to wear to the family dinner. With all the holiday propaganda that is shoved into our faces, we can’t help but be affected by the subliminal messages, some good, some bad. On the good side, we are told to be grateful. But all of us have different things to be grateful for. Let me tell you about the downs in my life this year.

My nearly 4 year relationship ended. Won’t go into details, but it was a difficult time for me.

Two people that I knew (one a really good friend) passed away this year. They were both around my age. I’m 29 years old.

I lost my job due a company merge.

Now let me tell you about the ups in my life this year.

I held a small gathering called Rooster Teeth Las Vegas in May and I made friends with even more RT community members.

Months later, I was fortunate enough to volunteer for the Rooster Teeth convention called RTX, and I witnessed such an amazing display of camaraderie, friendship, and leadership with the staff and fellow volunteers that I worked with for those three days.

Thanks to the presence I keep on social media, I made some fantastic friends. We interacted with each other for a good portion of a year, but we did not actually meet until DragonCon 2013. I will be friends with these people for the rest of my life. They made me forget my depression and see myself in a new light.

I may have lost my job, but I am focusing on what I really want to do with my life now. I am taking charge of my life and doing all I can to get into the video game industry. Just by networking and keeping tabs on the industry, I’ve made many connections, and I am so grateful to have met them.

Being a geeky woman, I’ve learned that women who enjoy the nerdier things of life were being harassed and bullied for being who they are. I was able to create a very special project this year. I collaborated with people from all over the world to create a video that shows men who love geeky women as they are and geeky women expressing their thanks for that special support and encouragement. The Thank You Project is one of the best projects I have ever done.

In order to gain experience in the field, I’m now working as a writer on a very cool project called Fallout: Lonestar. This would not have been possible if I did not go to DragonCon. Thanks Twitter friends!

I watched Ender’s Game with my mother. This is the first time I have ever watched a movie on the big screen with just my mother. I can’t even explain how unique and awesome this experience was.

I had the most amazing birthday this year. It reminded me that I should feel that I am special and that I should be happy. I smiled so much during my birthday this year that I forgot I was ever sad earlier in the year.

I managed to raise over 1K for the Extra Life charity.

I am also currently working on a cool project called the Mass Effect Cast Cosplay Project for PAX East 2014 with Karissa Barrows that will feature the voice actors from the Mass Effect series. This project is partnered with St Jude’s.

So based on the lists above and when I add in my family, friends, and loved ones, I can say with confidence that I am a very lucky person. No year is perfect. There’s going to be crap that you experience every year, and there’s going to be awesome things that happen every year. That’s life. When it’s going tough and you can’t think straight and you can’t see through the tears, hang in there. It will get better. Focus on the good things and take charge and go out to find your happiness. Life will not work around you. When you really sit down and think about what you have going for you, it makes all the negative seem that much more insignificant.

This year, I’m going to think about the positive list above and I’m going to take that with me into the new year. Lists like these should serve as a daily reminder not an annual one. I suggest you make your own list and you do the same. So be thankful, be safe, and I will see you guys after I stuff myself full of turkey and mash potatoes.

Happy Thanksgiving.

The next time you believe you have nothing in your life…

I am currently looking for job which means that I am stuck at home for the time being. I can’t complain very much because I get to spend a lot more time on personal projects, plus I get to hang out with my three little dogs. In the past week, I’ve been diligent in taking them to the park. Every day, I came across an old man who pushed around a mini cart and scoured the park for trashcans. Living in this city has taught me to be wary of people regardless of how innocent they may seem. For the first few days, my dogs and I walked on by without so much as a hello. I kept my eye on the man, however, and he would just mind his own business and dig through all the trashcans he could find. He didn’t bother anyone else at the park, never asked for money or food, never really approached anyone.

Today, I saw him moving on to another trashcan and he looked right at me. I assume he’s in his sixties or seventies and he was nothing but skin and bones. I’m around 117 pounds and his arms were tinier that mine. They were dry, completely wrinkled and he moved so slow. Most of his weight was shifted onto the cart he was pushing. I said hi. He didn’t respond. I walked away with my dogs.

I thought about him when I dropped the dogs off at home, and I thought to myself, I’m still in a pretty good place. I set off to the grocery store and purchased a few items. As I was going up and down the aisles thinking what I could buy that wouldn’t spoil as soon as it was opened, I stopped and thought about what I had and he didn’t. I couldn’t get some foods because he didn’t have a fridge; I couldn’t get others because he didn’t have a microwave.

I settled on the following:

Bread, peanut butter and jelly mix (NO IDEA THOSE EXISTED), honey buns, Cheezit crackers, mandarin orange cups, a pack of spoons, and a gallon of water.

It cost me roughly $14.

I went back to the park and searched for the homeless man and I found him about ten minutes later. True to nature, he was reaching into another trashcan. I grabbed the food I bought and slowly approached him. I kept calling out to him, saying hi and hello. He at first didn’t respond. I called out louder and this time he lifted his head and looked behind him. I was directly in front of him, so I’m lead to believe he could have both a hearing and sight issue. When he finally saw me, I waved. “Hi! Do you remember me?” I asked him.

He didn’t speak English. Frack. So ensued a horrible round of charades on my part. “I saw you this morning. Do you remember me?” I asked again. I pointed to the spot where we saw each other and then I placed my palm on my chest. He responded, but I had no idea what he was saying and I didn’t recognize any of the words he was muttering out. I took some hardcore Spanish in 8th grade, trust me, but everything he said to me didn’t register. I showed him the bags and said, “I bought you food. You’re hungry, right?” He said something else. Nothing. I walked around the trashcan and placed the bags next to his feet. I pointed at the food then to him. “This is for you. Take it.” He said a few more things and I shook my head, “I don’t understand.” I again gestured toward the bags of food then lifted my arms like I was giving them to him. “These are for you.” He said “bueno.” THAT I UNDERSTOOD!

There was nothing left to say. I just waved at him again. “So… take care of yourself, ok?” And I went back to my car and drove back home.

I don’t know how long that food will last him, and I have no idea if he has any family that can take care of him. When you stop and just think about everything you have in your life and you compare it to someone who has nothing, to someone that was searching for plastic bottles and scraps of food, an epiphany hits you and you begin to have a newfound appreciation for everything. The fact that you are able to read this on a phone or a computer already says that you have a pretty good life.

Don’t take the people, the things, or the opportunities you have in your life for granted. We are human, so it happens from time to time, but try to train yourself to be grateful for what you have. I sometimes look at the people in my life and I want to say ‘you have it SO good! Why can’t you see that?’ but I hold my tongue. I can only hope that experiences like these serve as a reminder to not let the good people slip through one’s fingers, that having a roof over one’s head is in fact a pretty sweet deal. I may not have a job right now, but I am very wealthy in family, friends, and dogs that care for and love me. New exercise: remind myself of that every day for the rest of my days.