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Turtles All The Way Down Book Tour with John & Hank Green

In 2012 I attended VidCon for the first time and was recognized by Michael Buckley as a “YouTuber on the Rise.” I got to go onto the mainstage while he introduced the promising creators to the crowd and afterward, as I was walking off stage, John and Hank Green (who were co-MCing the morning’s events because VidCon was still small enough at this point for them to do so) passed by and offered their congratulations. And before I even knew what was happening, John Green hugged me.

John Green hugged me. Like no big deal.

And the saddest part about this whole incident was that I really didn’t know THAT much about John (or Hank) at this point. I knew they made up the Vlogbrothers and had seen some of their content. But wouldn’t have considered myself a “Nerdfighter” at that point. And I definitely hadn’t read any of John’s novels yet. It wasn’t until I got back to my new found VidCon friends who I quickly learned were DEFINITELY Nerdfighters that I realized the gravity of the situation.

People wait in lines for hours to hug John Green! And I got a casual, congratulatory hug like it was nothing.

So now let’s fast forward five years. I have decided that maybe there’s some merit to this whole “John Green” thing and read all his books (except Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and that’s only because it wasn’t in my library during my “Read Everything By John Green” phase). I made sure I saw (and sobbed through) “The Fault in Our Stars” and “Paper Towns” in theaters. And I’m an avid “Dear Hank and John” podcast listener in part because I deeply relate to John’s cynicism (and germaphobia). Essentially, I have very much embraced Nerdfighteria.

And when John announced his book tour for his latest novel “Turtles All the Way Down,” and I saw there was a stop in Washington, D.C. (which is about as close of a stop most anyone makes near me because so few people come to Virginia!), I knew I had to find a way to go. Because despite seeing John and Hank perform in various capacities at VidCon for the last 5 years, it just felt like there was something special about this particular tour at this particular time in my life and the world.

And it was immensely special. It was silly (as expected) and heartfelt (because TAtWD deals with struggles that though contained in a fictional book, are very real things John’s dealt with) and something I really needed.

Feeling part of a community is so important. And the Internet has made it possible to be a part of many diverse communities that before the ability to digitally erase physical distance, would have been impossible. However, the difficulty of internet communities is that the physical distance does eventually become felt. VidCon was the first answer to this problem for me, but now it’s become SO BIG and with SO MANY communities coming together that it can be hard to connect with the right people in the right communities that mean something for you.  

Which is why if you have to opportunity to go to something like a John Green Book Tour stop where you’re in an auditorium filled with people who are all very much a part of the same community you are, you absolutely need to do it!  The last five to six months have been really tough for me and one of the things (surprisingly enough) that’s kept me grounded has been listening to the Dear Hank and John podcast. While hearing Hank and John give answers or insights that I agree with or find interesting is one part of it, what’s really helped me is hearing other Nerdfighters’ questions. They are inquisitive and sarcastic and confused by the world sometimes. But more than anything it confirms that other people, all around the world even, go through some of the same struggles I go through. It’s a helpful reassurance to know I’m not alone.

All of this is to say, I’m so thankful that the Green Brothers are out there creating communities for people like me and that I get to be a part of them digitally and even sometimes physically. These are special moments for me, and I hope that you have a community (or two!) that you can take part in this way too!

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Once Upon a Time: 7×01 Thoughts and 7×02 Predictions!

I promise I’ll get back to non-Once Upon a Time/TV-related content eventually, but there’s just too much stuff to think about, and I want to write it down for posterity!

Last week we talked about the new season of Once Upon a Time and how it was a reboot and a new beginning for the show. (Queue tears for the loss of Jennifer Morrison on the show, but excitement for new stories!)

But basically, we’ve known very little about what actually is going to take place this season or how Emma exits the show (Death? Break-up? No!) But between the first episode of season 7 and the preview images and promo for episode 2 (the one-off episode that Jennifer Morrison agreed to return for), I think I’m getting a better idea of what’s happening, and I’m FREAKING STOKED!

First, let’s talk about the first episode of this season. My first thoughts post-watch were mixed and confusing. It was Once Upon a Time, the show I love. But for a show in it’s seventh season, it had a lot of exposition for a season opener.

But that’s when it hit me that this is a pilot episode. It’s a pilot for this new world and new story and new characters. It’s definitely based in our original OUAT mythology, but this episode is setting up more than a season. It’s essentially establishing a nearly new TV show. Same mythology, but mostly different characters and slightly different execution.

I can understand why this might totally turn off some fans. It’s like getting a spinoff or sequel series labeled as the original series. If you weren’t expecting it, I could see it being jarring. But from what I’ve been observing on social media since season 6 ended, is that people are in two significant camps. They either love the show for it’s unique take on fairytales and will follow it wherever it goes (I’m here!) or they have a very narrow view of the way the show should function (mainly with respect to its seasons 1-6 main characters and the state of their happy endings) and had abandoned ship with the announcement of Jennifer Morrison leaving the show. They might have decided to watch the first few episodes to see where it goes, but I think with the pilot-like feel of episode 1 and what I suspect is going to happen in episode 2, they may not be returning.

And honestly, that’s okay. I think (although I certainly don’t know at this point with only one episode under our belt) that the OUAT creators are going to honor the journey we went through in seasons 1-6 and season 7 is very much a new, slightly unrelated journey.

I will say that I’m excited for this new and untraditional Cinderella. She definitely captured my heart as soon as she knocked out Henry and commandeered his motorcycle! Also, the new adult Henry played by Andrew J. West was a pleasant surprise. While I feel like we’re going to have reintroduce ourselves to this adult Henry a bit, I feel like in the first episode he navigated the line between likable hero and irritating, clueless grownup who doesn’t believe in fairytales that harkened back to Emma in the pilot. (Especially with his “Really?” at the troll under the bridge. Like mother, like son!) Also, a standout is Alison Fernandez as Lucy, Henry and Jacinda’s daughter, who’s taken over the “little kid who remembers, but everyone just thinks she believes too hard in fairy tales” mantel from Henry. She has been amazing on Jane the Virgin as young Jane, and she’s just as innocent and beautiful on OUAT but with a much larger role! So I’m excited to see where she’ll go!

Now for what I think might happen in episode 2 and how Emma’s absence will be explained. First take a look at this picture:

OH MY GOODNESS DOES THAT HAND TO BELLY MEAN WHAT I THINK IT MEANS?!?!?

So I’ve been torn about Emma/Jenn leaving the show. On the one hand, I’m actually glad to put Emma’s story to rest (because she has been through A LOT!), but on the other, I’ve been afraid that in order to explain her absence in this time jump, they were going to have to kill her off or have she and Hook break up so that he could be caught up in the curse because there’s just no way that if Henry were in trouble that she wouldn’t be out looking for him and certainly wouldn’t be separated from her true love in a curse!

But with the promo suggesting that there are somehow TWO Killians and this photo suggesting that she and Hook are expecting a baby, I think I’m getting a clearer picture of what’s going on. We were introduced last season to alternate universes as Regina’s Evil Queen half had Emma sent to a Wish Realm where the Dark Curse had never been enacted. We met AU Robin there who Regina brought back with them, though later it turned out he wasn’t quite the original Robin and not really fit for this world. Eventually, when Regina accepted her Evil Queen side and gave her some of her good heart, and eventually sent she  her to live in that Wish Realm. So essentially, we know that alternate universes exist in OUAT mythology and there can be multiple versions of the same person. I don’t know if it’s a Wish Realm or perhaps Killian is the only Captain Hook in the different storybooks, but I think they’re going to introduce an AU Hook and he’ll be the one left in the Cursed World with Henry and the others. And Emma and original universe Hook will return to Storybrooke (or wherever!), have a baby, and continue living their “happy beginning.” I imagine there will be some conversation between Emma and Henry along the lines of, “It’s my story/journey now” and the torch shall be passed.

From a show writer’s perspective, I think this makes sense. We don’t destroy the true love story that was built over several seasons, and we now have a new single Killian Jones to pair off with someone because if we’re being honest here, there was no way they were going to continue with Colin O’Donoghue on the show and somehow keep him single. This is primetime TV we’re talking about and romance sells.

So…these are just my hunches (and maybe a little bit of hopes because I don’t want Emma to die!), but I think we’ve been given enough clues that I’m on the right track. This does open up the question of whether the Regina and Gold in Hyperion Heights are also AU versions of themselves. We know Regina already has a doppelganger in the Wish Realm so could it be the Evil Queen running Roni’s instead? As for Mr. Gold, while it seems unlikely that Rumple would actually let himself get caught by a curse, it’s also just as difficult to imagine there being any other Rumple, but Rumple himself.

Whatever it turns it out to be, we’ll just have to wait and see!

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Once Upon a Time: New Season, New Storybook!

If you haven’t seen it already, you need to check out my Emma Swan cosplay from yesterday’s new video. I am in high excited gear for the new season of Once Upon a Time premiering tonight on ABC at 8 PM! So excited that I felt like this was the perfect time (and maybe the last time it would be relevant) to finally realize my dream of cosplaying Emma Swan.

OUAT’s season 7 will begin with a big absence as it’s main character for the last 6 seasons is leaving the show. Emma has always been my favorite character, and I’m sad to see her go (and admittedly, curious as to how they’ll explain her exit from the show), but I’m also incredibly excited for this “reboot” as we now recenter with adult Henry as the hero of a new storybook world and curse!

OUAT has been in need of a good reboot in my opinion. At first it was always exciting to go to a new “land” every season (e.g. Neverland, Oz, Camelot), but I suppose, the gimmick got old especially when it stopped seeming as important to the story. I love exploring new Fairytale lands and characters, but if you look at season 6 and the introduction of the “Land of Untold Stories,” we were actually there for such a short period of time and it seemed like more of a device to throw in some extra characters for one off stories rather than full arcs. Things just started to feel rushed, I guess. I like diving into the backstories of characters, but it started to feel somewhat disingenuous, especially since new fairytale characters only seemed to be brought on to somehow further the story of the main cast (i.e. Emma, Snow and Charming, Regina, Hook, Gold, etc). One and done style, basically.

But that’s enough negativity! Because despite my gripes with the show, I still love it. And I have hope that maybe a reboot with new characters will lead to deeper character exploration and more interesting (or rather, less convoluted) stories!

So What Do We Know So Far?

We’re jumping into the future when Henry’s older (29, perhaps?) and has experienced new storybook worlds on his own, but somehow has fallen prey to a curse that wiped his memory.

And it’s up to his daughter Lucy, much like Henry’s original mission with Emma in season 1, to make him believe again!

We’re in a new land with new versions of characters we’ve seen before: Cinderella, Alice, Tiana from the Princess and the Frog so that gives me hope for even more takes on those fairytales.

Also, no more Storybrooke, Maine! We’re now in Hyperion Heights, Washington, just outside of Seattle. We find our characters under a new curse, seemingly instituted by Cinderella’s evil stepmother and somehow Regina, Hook, and Gold have been caught up in the magic too!

Also, Henry drives a (August’s?) motorcycle and it’s AMAZING. (I love this picture of Cinderella in her big, poofy ball gown on the back it with Henry!)

Should You Be Excited or Scared?

I saw a lot of super negative comments when it was announced that OUAT wasn’t ending after season 6, but instead rebooting itself after Jennifer Morrison’s exit. “Once Upon a Time is done for me after season 6!” “How can you get rid of the main character and expect people to keep watching!?” And yes, it’s extremely sad to see Emma/Jenn go, but the great thing about a show like OUAT with an ensemble cast and based on fairy tales, is that it’s completely possible and logical for a new hero to take center stage. As long as the show doesn’t negate any of the journey we’ve been on for the last 6 seasons in doing so (i.e. breaking up Captain Swan when they were supposed to be true love; killing Emma without any sense of a happy ending, etc), I feel like change is good!  I feel like there are definitely still stories to be told. (That’s one reason I’m super excited that Zelena got added back to the cast since I feel like there’s still some sister bonding that Regina and Zelena need to do!) And while sad to see some of our favorite characters go (i.e. Charming and Snow, Belle), I think it will give the show more room to breathe and develop new characters and stories!

OUAT has had so many great characters they let fall to the wayside because I think they’d overextended themselves story-wise and focused too heavily on side stories for the main cast. (Some of my favorites were Mulan, Aurora, Ruby/Red Riding Hood, and Ariel! Plus whatever happened to the rest of Camelot’s townspeople?) But hopefully with a pared down cast, new characters, and a new curse and set of main heroes, I think we have the possibility of finding a new OUAT groove!

But then, it also might not work at all. And that will be sad, but okay too. I’m just excited that we get more OUAT and to explore new worlds. So here’s to another season of magic and mayhem!

I really hope this hand to hook action from a sneak peek photo means that Killian and Emma are still going strong!

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A Concert for Charlottesville

Two weeks ago, my friend Katherine called me on a lazy Sunday afternoon and asked what I would be doing the following Sunday. For once, I actually didn’t have much planned that weekend so I told her I was totally free, and she subsequently invited me to A Concert for Charlottesville hosted by The Dave Matthews Band at Scott Stadium on September 24th.  And it was with that invitation that I had the privilege of going to this night of music and unity.

I was both incredibly excited because this was technically a free concert with musicians that I would probably never get see perform live because of distance or money or impracticability, but also uneasy or perhaps, uncomfortable is a better word. While what happened at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville on August 11th and 12th didn’t directly affect me because I wasn’t there and I don’t live in Charlottesville and I didn’t go to college at UVA, I still felt the subsequent ripples of pain because Virginia is my home, and I know Charlottesville well. Once the dust had settled and the victims started being identified and interviewed. I realized that I played softball as a child with Marissa Blair, the woman who was pushed to safety by her fiance, Marcus Martin. This face I knew from a young age was plastered over the news stations, distraught from the horror of the attack but also fiery with the injustice of everything that took place in Charlottesville that day.

So when amazing and talented musicians come to town to put on a benefit concert and I happen to get invited, I wonder how sincere it is. I wonder if my being there is right. I wonder if we are doing the right thing to honor Heather Heyer or if we’re distorting healing and justice with pageantry.

Honestly, I don’t know the answer to these questions. I do know that I thoroughly enjoyed myself. (Justin Timberlake was so amazing! The Roots were phenomenal! Chris Martin from Coldplay and Stevie Wonder were there!) I do know that I was moved by many of the statements and songs and poems. I do think that every artist that came out on that stage was moved to perform for this specific concert because of a desire to help in whatever way their skills and gifts allowed.

It was a night of authenticity and sincerity while also being more complicated because music doesn’t heal physical wounds or change people’s worldview. I think it’s important to remember when you’re enjoying yourself in your bubble of safety with like minded people that there is an outside. That coming together is wonderful, but you then have to be able to go back out into the world and advocate for change. Many people are doing this. And many people like myself are not doing enough because we don’t know how or are afraid to leave our comfortable bubbles.  But nothing great was ever done or injustice solved by staying in your bubble.

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Fall 2017 TV Show Round-Up!

Somehow the summer has slipped away from me, and it’s fall again. Even though I’m sad to see the warm weather and beach days replaced by cooler temperatures and Halloween candy, fall does bring one of my favorite parts of the year: new seasons for my favorite TV shows! I’m always excited to see what creative minds have cooked up for my favorite characters and worlds. So let’s dive into some of my favorite shows (and shows I’m considering trying out this season) and see where we left off!

The Mindy Project

Tuesdays on Hulu starting Sept. 12

I’m such a fan of The Mindy Project. And I’m sad to see it in it’s final season, but I’m so glad it didn’t get canceled without any kind of closure. Last season was an interesting one with a lot of changes and the deeply felt absence of Danny. But I think the show did a great job of moving past that absence and onto more interesting topics and development of characters. Basically, I don’t know what to expect from the Mindy Project anymore and that’s the best part!

We ended last season with Mindy getting engaged to Ben (seemingly the “Happily Ever After” she’s always been pining for) and open this season with her already married and living that “Happily Ever After” that turns out to not be all that fun. The Ever After part isn’t what makes an interesting story, so where does a show about typical romance stories go from here? I have nothing but high hopes for this final season!

The Good Place

Tuesdays on NBC starting Sept. 20

Okay, if you’re not watching The Good Place then you are MISSING OUT! Kristen Bell. Ted Danson. Lots of death jokes. A healthy dose of cynicism. Absurd happenings. And it’s about the good side of the afterlife…right?

I haven’t felt a connection to a comedy show like this in a long time.  It’s a show about morality and good deeds, but it is SO MUCH MORE. And hilarious. And weird. And like The Mindy Project, I don’t know what to expect around each corner, which is what I really enjoy in a TV show.

I won’t give you a rundown of how season 1 ended just in case you haven’t seen it yet. (If not, go binge it on Netflix now!) If you have seen season 1, then you’re probably just as excited for what season 2 has in store for us!

(NOTE: Between writing this blog and posting it, I got to watch the season 2 premiere and it is EVERY bit as amazing as I had hoped. I am SO excited for this season!)

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Tuesdays on FOX starting Sept. 26

Last season ended with the OMG moment of Jake and Rosa actually being (wrongfully) convicted and sentenced to prison! We’ve had dire season finale’s before (like when Jake and Holt had to go into the witness protection program last year), but there always seemed to be an obvious resolution (aka “Catch the Bad Guy”). But this particular ending feels much more out of their hands since they did their best detective work and still got outsmarted. And now they’re in jail.  So it looks like it might be up to the rest of the team to figure out how to right this wrong and bring them home!

While I have pretty good faith that the Nine-Nine team is up for the task and Rosa and Jake won’t be spending too long in prison (I imagine, 3 or 4 episodes? I think that’s how long Jake and Holt were in Florida.) I do think it could give the show an opportunity to breathe and highlight the rest of the cast. One of the biggest issues I’ve had with Brooklyn Nine-Nine in the last season or so is that Charles Boyle’s character has become something of a caricature of his original self. He offers a lot more than physical comedy gags and being the butt of every joke. Can we bring back a little more heroic Charles, please?

This is Us

Tuesdays on NBC starting Sept. 26

Bring on the feels (and the tears) people! I am so ready for this! From the moment I saw the trailer for season 1 last year, I knew something special was happening. And not a single episode disappointed me. (In fact, I’m not sure if there was a single episode I didn’t cry in!) This is Us is a masterful show of emotion. I’m so invested in all the characters and what their stories have revealed so far. I’m afraid for what’s going to happen to Jack (because Milo Ventimiglia! *swoons*) I’m excited for anything and everything that involves Randall/Sterling K. Brown because he is a powerhouse on that show! And I love Kate like a sister, like myself. I connect with her insecurities on an intense level.

Basically I am SO READY for season 2!

Once Upon a Time

Fridays on ABC starting Oct. 6

Since OUAT season 6 wrapped up the main storyline with Emma Swan and we’re now jumping forward in time AND getting a new main character and storybook characters, I thought I’d save all my thoughts for its own dedicated blog post. Just know that while I’m sad to see so many of my favorite characters go, I’m excited for a new storybook and a revamp on the formula!

Riverdale

Wednesdays on The CW starting Oct. 11

So I waited until Riverdale was on Netflix over the summer to watch it, and OH MY GOSH I AM OBSESSED WITH THIS SHOW! It’s full of beautiful people and a sexy darkness without the supernatural element that was so customary for The Vampire Diaries. There’s murder and intrigue and mystery and plucky heroines trying to investigate and save the day. Basically it’s amazing, and Fred Andrews better not be dead! But whether he is or not, we’re definitely in for another amazing season.

I do worry about it falling into a sophomore slump like many shows do, but from everything I’ve seen so far, I have nothing but high hopes for higher stakes and more interesting stories. 

Jane the Virgin

Fridays on The CW starting Oct. 13

Jane the Virgin has a special place in my heart. I’ve loved it since the beginning and this last season was a rollercoaster. Jane and Michael got married! Michael got shot before they had sex! Michael didn’t die and Jane eventually got to lose her virginity! But Michael died from complications of that original gunshot wound. And it broke all our hearts. Even those who weren’t particular Jane and Michael shippers, I think we all knew the importance and sweetness of their relationship.

Then with a three year time jump, a fling with a sexy boy toy, and questioning whether she still had feelings for Rafael, I was actually a bit exhausted by the end of the season.  I enjoyed the time jump (it was needed!) But it also felt like something that should have happened between seasons and not midseason. Ultimately, it left the second half of the season feeling oddly disjointed for me as some episodes felt like filler while others were incredibly poignant.

I still have high hopes for this season though. Though the new promo leaves a bit to be desired in terms of what’s actually going to happen this season, I love Jane the Virgin for its wittiness and snark and telenovela charm.

 

What about NEW shows coming to your TV/streaming service this fall?

Also if you’re interested in NEW shows this 2017-2018 season, here’s what has caught my eye! (Though honestly, I already consume a fair amount of content. It’s probably going to have to turn out to be a breakout hit for me to add something else to my roster!)

The Good Doctor (Mondays on ABC starting Sept. 25) →  I’m a sucker for Freddie Highmore. He’ll always be the amazing musical prodigy from August Rush for me and so the idea of him being another savant/genius makes me especially intrigued. I also don’t have anymore medical dramas right now since I gave up on Grey’s Anatomy a few seasons back. I never really forgave them for killing Lexi and Mark. And after Derrick died…my heart just wasn’t in it anymore.

The Bold Type (Available on the Freeform app and Hulu) → So technically this was a summer breakout hit, but I wasn’t quite convinced at the outset to watch it, but after seeing several previews and reading about the buzz it was creating, it’s left me wanting to get on The Bold Type train. Since there are only 10 episodes, I’ll probably binge it sometime this fall in hopes of a second season!

The Gifted (Mondays on FOX starting Oct. 2) and Marvel’s Runaways (Tuesdays on Hulu starting Nov. 21) → So I have a thing for kids with superpowers stories. (I blame Disney’s Sky High and Static Shock honestly). Both of these shows have the kids with power premise although they seem like entirely different shows. The Gifted has the mythology behind X-Men and political allegories while still being a family drama. Marvel’s The Runaways seems ensemble and friendship-focused.  I’ll be interested to see how they’re received and whether it would be worthwhile to watch an episode or two and see if I like it!

Kevin (Probably) Saves The World (Tuesdays on ABC starting Oct. 3) → For some reason, I’ve always been intrigued by shows that explore Christian mythology. Joan of Arcadia and The Returned are a few that come to mind. Kevin (Probably) Saves The World has gotten my attention for this reason too as Kevin touches a meteor and then finds himself being able to see an angel who tasks him with learning to be selfless in order to save the world (or something along those lines.) I might give it a chance if I have some free time. We shall see!

The Shannara Chronicles (Wednesdays on Spike starting Oct. 11) → So technically this show isn’t new this season. But I did think it was dead since it premiered in 2015 for one season on MTV and then went on a weird year long hiatus but was never officially canceled. And yet, here we are! It’s now got a new lease on life for at least a season on Spike. I love a good fantasy show and though Shannara is by no means perfect, it intrigued me enough to stick through the whole first season. So I am excited to try out season 2 and see what a new network has to offer!


Any new shows this fall that have you hyped? Something you think I should check out? Let me know in the comments! I might just watch it and review it on my YouTube channel!

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Immune Disorders and Why I Can’t Seem to Take a Sick Day

Let me tell you a little bit about immune disorders.

  1. If you didn’t know…they suck. (But I imagine you could guess that.)
  2. It’s really easy (and almost mandatory these days) to suffer silently from them.
  3. Because you’re suffering silently. It’s difficult to justify taking a “sick day.”

My body is pretty much always in this strange and uncomfortable dance between “okay enough to manage daily life” and “immensely ill.” I’ve learned my body’s signs well enough to know when my immune system has started to get beaten down. Mouth ulcers are a tell-tale indicator. They usually come after an extended period of high stress. I start to get unbearably tired. Like falling asleep sitting at my desk at work when I’ve had 8 hours of sleep or more. Eventually comes the chills and the aching (despite not having a fever) if I let it get far enough.

Because I know these signs, I also know when to start beefing up my vitamin D and C and echinacea intake. I know when to try to start backing off from the stress and giving myself an extra 30 minutes of sleep here and there if I can spare it. Which means most of the time, I only ever get the ghost of sickness. Aching bones and a raw throat for a day, but a dose of NyQuil and a solid 8 hours of sleep later, I usually feel fine enough to go into work the next day.

Which is all fine and good, except that eventually those illness ghosts build up and it’s like three strikes and you’re out for me. I get almost unbearably sick. This usually happens over weekends or holidays or vacation time. It’s like I rally myself throughout the week and then the moment I can relax, my immune system puts down its defenses and voila! Illness strikes.

It’s exhausting. I mean, being some level of sick all the time because your body doesn’t quite understand the difference between good and bad cells and attacks things haphazardly (for me, this mostly results in random and painful inflammation in various parts of my body, hence, the mouth ulcers). But it’s even more exhausting to be constantly managing your level of sickness.

Like what level do I have to reach before I can say, “Okay, it’s time to take a day off and sleep and nourish and try to find a balance in my immune system.” I’m always putting it off though. I’m always thinking, “But what if tomorrow is WORSE.” Why waste your time now if tomorrow will be worse anyway? Or what if there will be a really BAD attack soon and I’ve wasted my sick days on “kind of bad” days?

This is a very real thing for me. In the winters of both 2008, 2012, and 2014, I got really sick. To the point where it hurt to move at all because my joints were so sore and swollen. I’m always worried that something like that will happen again (although since I have had a fair amount of testing since then, I could probably get a doctor to listen to me easier now and maybe find something to alleviate some of the symptoms faster). I’m always comparing the way I feel now to how I’ve felt at my worst. And since I barely took off work or school during those previous episodes, it feels disingenuous to do so now.

I’m like a squirrel storing up sick days (even though they don’t actually carry over year to year.)

I also have the problem of being an extreme HUSTLER. While maybe I could take time off from my professional job without much issue, YouTube is 24/7 and it causes me more stress than good to take a “sick day” from that. So if I still have to do YouTube things, why not just go into work and do everything else?

I am a never ending robot with a Duracell battery. And I am exhausted.

I’m trying to find a way to be okay with taking sick days and accepting that the way I present illness with an immune disorder is going to be different than Average Joe who doesn’t have any immune issues.

That it’s okay to take breaks. That it’s okay to take time now if I need it rather than storing it all for the unknown immune apocalypse. That it’s okay to feel bad if you feel bad. Even if you don’t seem so terribly ill on the outside, it does not mean that you’re “making it up” or “exaggerating” the illness you feel on the inside.

These are still things I’m trying to understand and believe and implement in my everyday life. It’s hard journey. But it’s a worthwhile one.

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Dogspotting Love

Last week on the blog, I shared with you my cat obsession. And this week I felt like I couldn’t leave out my other animal obsession: DOGS!  More specifically, a Facebook group called “Dogspotting Society” which has honestly changed my life for the better.

Social media in 2017 has pretty much been making a slow descent in the toilet bowl of life. In other words, it’s a REALLY negative place to be these days. Between the constant deluge of Trump headlines, natural and humanitarian disasters, and vitriol spewed in online comments, there’s not much hope hanging out on the Internet these days. Compound that with my own insecurities so that I’m always comparing myself to others and their picture-perfect lives, and you’ve got a cocktail for unhappiness.

But…what if your newsfeed was mostly something you enjoyed looking at. Like dogs, for example? What if it was mostly people posting pictures and videos of their dogs doing silly things? What if it was telling funny or crazy or sad stories about what their dogs did recently? What if it was support for when your pup crosses over the rainbow bridge?

Well that’s what I found in Dogspotting Society, and it’s the absolute best! To give you a little taste of the awesomeness, I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite photos and trends!

I love the photoshop requests and their results:

I love the memes:

I love how someone finds a cool app like Patternator or Ditty and then we get an influx of posts with everyone’s dogs starring in their own music videos or wallpapers:

I love it when photographers show off their skills and love for dogs:

I love to boop the snoot!

I love the lingo:

I love when people dress up their pups in costumes and how heckin’ concerned they look with it!

I love when people decorate photos of their dogs with stickers and truly show how much they love them:

I love how we get to know many of the dogs personalities through the posts! (e.g. Momo and how he’s ALWAYS WATCHING).

I love seeing pups with (safely) dyed fur and all the cool ways that people groom their dogs!

But most of all I love that a group like this has helped me turn something that caused me a lot of anxiety and obsessive thoughts into something that brings me joy, laughs, and relaxation. Honestly, if we’re going to use social media, that’s really what I think it should be about. It’s created a community for people who might feel disconnected in many other ways in their life, but can come together with others in a shared love of dogs. It’s a wonderful and magical thing to witness. Consider joining the group if you’re up for being friendly and excellent social dog loving. Or if cats are more your thing, consider joining the sister group, Catspotting Society! (I’m personally in both because who could get enough pet posts?)