Goal Setting

A few years ago I set myself a goal to actually finish the writing that I start and to some extent I’ve been doing so.  I’m still very far from where I want to be but I feel I’m moving in the right direction.

I think it’s time to set a new goal.  Previously, it was finishing what I started.  Now I want to get to the point where I feel something is good enough to publicly share.  Maybe, it will be a self publish if I feel it’s really special, most likely it’ll be a blog post or something similar.  Something where I can openly post it and share for all the world to see.

I had initially thought about putting it off and calling it a New Year’s Resolution. But we all know those Resolutions are bullshit. If you stick with it until Martin Luther King Jr day you are doing better than most.  So, this isn’t any kind of resolution, it’s a goal. No preset time frame or anything, just a destination.

That’s my plan and I’m putting this out here so I have a modicum of accountability.  It’s here, written in electrons and pixels, digital stone. No going back now, no matter how chicken shit I get.  I need to do this.  I want to do this.  Writing has always given me joy and I think if I really work at it, focus on it and treat it seriously I can produce something others would like too.  I want to give back to the world.  I want to be a creator and not just a consumer.

Hold me to it Internet, because talk is cheap.

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Family, Loss, and Grief Processing

Earlier I was hit by some sad news. A friend of mine, Ryan, suddenly passed away. As far as we know he hadn’t been sick or had any issues, something just ticked and he was gone. I’ve been struggling with differing emotions ever since.

I guess I’ve never really had to deal with death and grief. When I was growing up I had all my grandparents, both parents, and my step family.  Death was not something that young Paul ever dealt with. Even our pets, we didn’t have to put one to sleep until I was nearly 20. So here I am trying to deal with this loss. In the last few years I have had to deal with death a bit more, but still, it has been something far away, never striking close to home. The closest the Reaper has ever come was another friend, Sean, a few years ago, even then I was able to mostly deal with it. Sean and I were friends, but he was closer to Jenn and a few others than me. This time it hit closer to home, feels like my family that has lost a member.

Ryan and I were both members of the 501st, and I guess his loss shows how much this group of people means to me. We dress as plastic spacemen from a silly sci-fi movie but there is a deeper connection there. They are family to me, especially here locally.

Since I moved to Virginia, my actual blood relatives have been very far away. I guess I haven’t had that support system that people have when you live near your family. I talk on the phone to my Mom regularly and she has done a lot for us, in fact, more than I could ever repay, but there is something to just having them there for you in person. Jenn’s family has been terrific about being that family for me. I guess I took the Legion members and made a family out of them. We share a lot and I think of all of them as close friends, no matter how far they live. To lose one…. well it hurts. We have lost one that was close to us.

I struggle to find the words to express it. The best I can come up with is from Lilo and Stitch. Ohana means family. It may be small and broken, but it’s mine.

Looking for a new path

This is my third attempt to write this. The first one was far too raw, the second one wasn’t right. This time it feels right.

I’ve been feeling less like myself recently, stressed out, frustrated, feeling like I was out of control. I’ve spent tonight taking stock and trying to get my thoughts and emotions under control. I don’t know if this is depression, anxiety, or just a whole bunch of bad days in a row, but I’ve been worn down and I don’t like it.

It’s partially stress from work. It feels like I’m working twice as hard as everyone else and getting no extra benefit because of it. It’s also partially the current social and political climate.  In just a few short days it has felt like our whole world is being systematically dismantled. I’m terrified of what is going to happen in the future.

However, I have to learn that there are pieces I can control and pieces that I cannot. I can’t control the workflow at my job, but I can control what I do for my own well being, taking time to relax, center myself, and refocus. Make sure to not let myself get overwhelmed and overly emotional. No attachments is the Jedi way.

I also can’t control what our new administration does, but I can keep fighting back however I can. But again, I have to not push myself too hard or too far. I can’t get pulled down into the muck and drown in the nastiness, especially online. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the outrage that you can lose yourself.

So this is where I’m at now. I’m trying to do better. I’m trying to find a new path through life, I feel like I’ve hit the end of this current path and there are so many new places to explore. So, I’m looking and trying to remain open for what is put in front of me.

2016: It Wasn’t All Bad

calendarbackdrop2016 has been blamed for a lot of pain and heartache.  It has, quite literally, felt like some force was actively trying to destroy any piece of hope and joy in the world.  While it’s easy to get bogged down in all the horrible things that have happened in these last 12 months I wanted to take a look at some of the good things that happened for me this year.

Of course, the calendar is a human construct for us to measure our time and the actual day, month, or year has little bearing on what happens day to day.  But, it’s basic psychology to view the end of the year and the beginning of the new year as a fresh start to make amends and changes.

With so much negativity in the last few months, I wanted to look back and take stock of the good things.  I went through my calendar of events this year and found quite a bit of positivity and even some things that had slipped my mind.

For me, 2016 began on a high note.  We were still riding the good feelings of the release of Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens in the last weeks of 2015.  There was a lot of excitement and anxiety going into the film, and I feel that the film delivered admirably.  This would carry forward into the spring when we got the home video release.  I have since watched the film countless times, and it always makes me happy.

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In February, we had new windows installed in our home.  Our house is older with poor insulation and very drafty windows.  For years, we would freeze in the winter and melt in the summer.  Basically, whatever it was outside, it was the same inside.  Adding new windows to our home has made a huge improvement to how the house has felt.  We haven’t needed to run our a/c or heat nearly as much, and the house looks so much better.

In April, we traveled to the west coast to visit my family in Seattle.  Since moving to Virginia in 2000, I haven’t gotten to visit my family as often as I would like.  So, I treasure any chance to visit and we try to go at least once a year.  This year was a shorter trip, but it was fun.  We got to take my nephews to various art exhibits and a Mariners game.  Seeing their joy and enthusiasm was infectious and just what was needed.

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This was a big year for us in the 501st Legion.  Countless new members joined.  Garrison Tyranus in Virginia is now up to nearly 200 members and the Legion as a whole is over 10,000 members worldwide.  We did countless troops, conventions, and events throughout the year.  The endless smiles work like magic at lightening even the darkest day.  We have definitely felt a shift with the release of the new Star Wars movies, everyone is excited for Star Wars these days.

I was able to complete a costuming goal I have had for many years now.  Well, when I say completed, I mean Jenn worked extremely hard to complete it for me.  We were finally able to complete my Revenge of the Sith Obi-wan costume.  In the few chances I’ve had to wear it this year, it’s been a huge hit.  I also completed my TIE Pilot costume.  I managed to start work on a new costume as well, Kylo Ren from The Force Awakens, but it will be a while before that one is completed.

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This year saw the release (finally!) of the newest Metallica album “Hardwired to Self Destruct” after 8 years in the making.  I don’t know if it’s worth 8 years of waiting, but it’s a thrashing good listen.

The year ended as it began with the high of a new Star Wars film.  Rogue One is simply the exact film we needed for this year.  It is an exciting message of hope and fighting for what is right.  Important lessons to take with us into 2017.

2016 is coming to a close on a series of highs and lows, but for this, I am only focusing on the highs.  This year has been a lot of things, but I recommend taking a look back as I’ve done through your own personal year and look at the good and exciting things that have happened throughout this year, no matter how big or small.

Post Election Thoughts

First, let me apologize for all the political posts recently.  I try to post more interesting things, but this has been on my mind a lot.  I am working on my own writing more and trying to find better ways to share it.

I spent most of yesterday offline, avoiding Facebook and Twitter for the most part.  It helped to get my head in order and to get my emotions under control.  I highly recommend this if you are feeling overwhelmed by it all.

In thinking about the election and the results I’ve had some thoughts.

Third party candidates.  If you want to be seen as a viable contender and not a joke or a throwaway vote, you need to make some changes.  First, you have to play a long game.  You can’t just jump to the front of the line and win the presidency.  Focus on the state level elections first.  Build a true party.  Win seats in state legislatures, then win some seats in Congress.  Stop with the bullshit joking and act like a real candidate.  We all saw the ridiculousness that Gary Johnson did and some of the stupid things that Jill Stein said.  If you want to be taken seriously, you have to act like it.  Focus on the real issues.  Then you can have a real chance at winning the presidency.

Stop with this “Not My President” and secession bullshit.  For 8 years, Republicans and Tea Partiers pulled this bullshit and Democrats always called them out on it.  Now when the shoe is on the other foot, we liberals are doing the same things.  It’s still just as childish and stupid.  It just makes you sound petty.  I didn’t vote for the asshole, and I am seriously concerned about what he can do in power, but this talk doesn’t help.

Same goes for the “I’m running to Canada.”  Every 4 years somebody says this, and then nobody acts on it.  It just makes you sound stupid and it gives the other side a point to mock you on.  If you’re gonna talk the talk, then you need to walk the walk.  Otherwise, shut the fuck up and work within the system to make a difference.  If everyone with a dissenting opinion leaves, then there is no one left to challenge and power will go unchecked.  That’s not good for anyone.

That is my last point.  Not happy?  Work within the system to make changes.  Call your congressman.  Run for office.  Work to make changes.  Shut the fuck up with your bitching on Facebook and get out there and make a real difference.

What. The. Fuck. America.

It’s currently 5:00 am, I went to bed before the election results were final, but I just found out.  America has decided to embrace intolerance, racism, and fear to an extent we’ve never done so before.  I’m sick, disgusted, angry, depressed, and ashamed.  So much for the beacon on the hill.  I thought we were better than this.

Make America Hate Again

I didn’t want to believe that this could happen.  This isn’t about Democrats and Republicans.  This is about electing a dangerously unstable person who has been proven time and time again to be a liar, a cheat, and whose entire campaign was based around preying on our worst fears and the lowest common denominator.

Make America Racist Again

The KKK.  Seriously, we just elected a man in 2016, who was openly endorsed by the KKK, and did not refuse their endorsement.  The fucking Ku Klux Klan.

Make America Fear Again

This is our own fault.  We did this to ourselves.  For all our talk about being the best and most enlightened country.  We are nothing more than racist hillbillies.  We have elected our drunk, lecherous, uncle who no one wants to be around at Thanksgiving to the highest office in the land.

Make America Afraid Again

For weeks this post has been brewing in my head.  I had this sitting in there, just in case this were to happen.  I had planned on laying the blame at the feet of the uninformed voters, the non-voters, the Bernie supporters who refused to back Hillary, but now I’m just sick and disgusted.  It may be that I’m tired and only running on a few hours sleep, and the shock hasn’t worn off yet.  I’m still very angry at those people, but for right now I’m just sad.

Make America Pay Again

I’m white and straight, so I know that whatever happens I have a fair amount of privilege to protect me.  But, I worry for my non-white friends, my LGBT friends.  All those people who dream of coming to America to make a better life.  Those who see us as a utopia on the hill.  All those people just saw us elect a monster.  They all know what he is.  Now, our only hope is that he isn’t as bad as we think he will be.

Make America Reich Again

I’m sure there will be rage and anger in the future, but for now, it’s just depression.  Sadness.  Shame.  We shit this bed, and now it’s time for us to lie in it.

Decline of Western Civilization

We are just days away from the election.  I, once again, am stressing the importance of voting.  Some areas have early voting, you should have plans in place for voting next Tuesday or otherwise.

This post is not about any particular candidate, but rather the political climate that surrounds us.  It’s no secret that we have two drastically different candidates, and they both have their share of problems.  Again, I’m not here to tell you who to vote for.  This late in the cycle, I think most people already know who they are voting for.

Our world has become increasingly divisive.  Everything has become politicized.  Words like “libtard” are used on a regular basis for those who disagree with others.  Both sides are guilty of pushing towards this climate of extreme polarization.  Sadly, no matter what is the outcome of this election, this climate is only showing signs of getting worse.

Compromise used to be the foundation of our government, majority may rule but with respect to the minority.  Now, compromise is the dirty word that no one uses.  Compromise and understanding now exist in that middle ground which has become a No-Man’s Land where none shall enter unless they face political death.  Even before the election has been finished, members of Congress are already saying they will continue to not do their jobs and simply obstruct everything that is put forth should a Democrat win the Presidency.  Supreme Court will continue to be vacant.

It boggles my mind that this is the world we live in now, and that this has become acceptable.  Apparently, this is the world we want to live in now, because we are all guilty of creating it.  No matter who wins next week, it seems that things will only continue to get worse until our country grinds to a halt, stagnates, and dies.

Sorry to be such a downer, but this election cycle has been utterly depressing from a variety of angles, and the light at the end of the tunnel is a train bearing down on us.