New York Comic Con: Of Friendship And Becoming Who You Are

There’s a quote from the final season of Sex And The City that I often come back to. Carrie is sitting with her friends, having a final Cosmopolitan before leaving to move to Paris with The Russian, and she says simply and with quiet emotions, “Today, I had a thought, what if I’d never met you?”

Six years ago, I had a work buddy who talked  me into going to New York Comic Con, and Sunday night I sat in a food court in Koreatown, eating condensed milk ice cream laughing and planning another adventure with an incredible group of people, and I realized how lucky I was to find Aless, and by extension, Jess, Lora, Melvin, and Alex.

“What if I’d never met you?” I thought to myself as Lora, excitedly rattled off group cosplay ideas and chatted about road trips and Melvin suggested animes I should watch and Aless picked the wilted leaves off her Poison Ivy corset and Kal-El lead us all in a song he’d learned at school.

I’ve had a hundred  moments like that over the past few years, knowing these people, who have taught me to be open about the things I love, to not apologize for it. I always feel full after I’ve hung out with them. (And not just because we’ve usually eaten a bunch of really good Asian food.) And to explain, this was a new feeling for me, or at least, one I hadn’t had in a while, when I started hanging with this group.

Anyway, I’d wanted to write a newsy, silly snarky write up of New York Comic Con (CROWDED! Costumes! Zach Levi made me cry!) but I couldn’t help just feeling grateful to have these people.

Pacific Rim, Flashpoints, And Doing The Work

Because the Pacific Rim sequel is coming soon, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. There are certain moments that our lives turn on, when floodgates open, and while you don’t see it at the time, you look back and go, yeah, that was when it happened.

The summer of 2013 was full of those moments for me. I attribute a lot of that to Aless (no but like really) but also to my unconventional schedule at the time and a dissatisfaction at seeing friends (and former friends) excel at the things they wanted to do while I tread water. It was the first official movie season, when I started reading comics and when I realized that if I was going to be “The Fangirl” titular to this blog, I had a lot of work to do, broadening my horizons and being able to speak knowledgeably about nerd topics.

Pacific Rim was a huge wakeup call on that front.

I walked out of Pacific Rim thinking, “I’ve never seen anything like that before.” I loved that movie. Everything about it, with it’s giant robots, and it’s cool looking monsters, and it’s Charlies, both Day and Hunnam, and it’s dumb character names (WTF kind of name is “Stacker Pentecost?”).

Then I took to the internet. Most of the places I hung out virtually loved the movie.  (Duh) But they had seen things like that before. In Anime, and Japanese monster movies and even less mainstream Western comics.

Of course they had, because these internet nerds hadn’t spend the first 26 years of their life going, “Oh but I’m not that kind of nerd. I don’t got to comic con or anything, I just like superhero movies…and Star Wars…and YA Paranormal Romance…and Joss Whedon’s entire ouevre… and The Lord Of The Rings…and Harry Potter…and Doctor Who…and pretty much any of the kind of stuff you’re talking about that has casually crossed my path. But I’d never look for it or seek it out, because I’m actually a normal. I like sports and I wear pearls and I watch Friends reruns and chick flicks.” This was the first year that “I AM MORE THAN ONE THING” clicked into full view as my driving philosophy. The part of me that wanted to go to comic con, and obsess about The Avengers was not quite yet peacefully coexisting with the part that loves the Yankees and wants a country club wedding, but it was getting there. (Bridging the gap is the part that studied Literature in college and sees lots of Broadway shows, if you were wondering.)

Pacific Rim and talking about it taught me that I needed to do the work, I’d made a good start, but I need to study if I was going to get good at this. So you guys can be damn sure that if it weren’t for that movie, I never would have recapped Sailor Moon or watched The X-Files, I wouldn’t have read The Dark Tower or finally given Star Trek: The Next Generation a shot. I’d never have absorbed into the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend Of Korra.

So much of who I am came out of that summer and the stuff I took in during that time, and I’ve tried since to stop writing things off as “not my thing,” before experiencing them. Which is why in addition to The Epics Project, I’m reading The Dune Chronicles, and opening my world up to more anime (OMG Inuyasha has eaten my life!) and I’m going try, God help me, to jump back into super hero comics. (It’s so expensive and time consuming though…) Cosplay’s back in my life in a big way this year. My next big bridge is going to be horror. I don’t think I’ll ever be into super bloody torture porn type stuff, but I’m going to open my world to more psychological and supernatural horror movies, since I’ve genuinely liked the stuff I have encountered. Also, I’m going to watch all the Star Trek. Finish TNG, get into Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise, and then click in for Discovery. 

Time To Get Personal: Let’s Talk About 2017

I feel like 2017 needs to be subtitles, “the year I undid a bunch of work I’d done the year before.”

But that isn’t totally fair because I had some pretty big wins. But I want to start with the not so great stuff.

My day job fell apart, which lead to things here sort of falling apart too. This is because it was taking every scrap of my will and sanity to keep from falling off a cliff into the toxic sludge of that place. And just when I thought it was just me, I was quickly validated by several other coworkers. (One of whom took extended medical leave just to tend to the mental health issues brought on by the stress of this place. Seriously, it was nightmare) In the end, it turned out they were getting ready to sell the company and the stress and tension of that was trickling down to everyone.

Because of that stress I stopped dieting, I stopped running and I drank wayyy too much. So a lot of the progress I’d made in 2016 and the first half of 2017 went down the tubes. My weight is up, my habits are bad, I’m gonna do my best to repair that damage now, but oof, it’s been rough.

In addition to that, Mary moved to Colorado. This is awesome for her. I’m so so proud of my little sister, but I miss her all the time, and I never realized how much I rely on her for just like, helping me keep my life in perspective. And I decided not to do a show, so for the first time since I was fourteen I wasn’t in a theater all summer. Both of these things would be fine on their own, but in addition to the job stress and put together, it left me feeling unmoored.

Luckily, I recognized what was going on and began a job search in earnest in September and by Thanksgiving I was someplace new, which is lower stress, higher pay, and most of all, my boss does not appear to be a psychopath who calls me stupid when I ask questions and then when I try to figure things out on my own yells at me for doing things wrong. (It was really really bad, you guys).  I also knew enough to get into therapy, and practice basic self care, but it was really really hard.

So, aside from that, let’s talk about the good things:

I ran my half marathon! And I’ve decided to train for a full. (I haven’t chosen yet, it may be Disney, or I may do another destination city…) This will be a tremendous commitment, but I’m ready for it!

I moved out of my parents’ place and into my own. I love my apartment, and frankly, during the really rough moments with work, it was really great to be able to go home to a place that was mine and sit quietly, or cry, or huddle up and watch Gossip Girl without worrying how this would effect my family. Or call in for a mental health day without it also causing my mom to spiral into anxiety. We feed each other’s dysfunction that way. This move has been GREAT for our relationship.

I kept my resolution to be more social (AND HOW). Even if my weekends were sometimes more solitary than I’d originally planned, I did something with friends pretty much every week this year. MAJOR Shout outs to Katie, Aless and Crystan, but not forgetting Juli and Chrissy, for whom lack of proximity forces less interaction. I should note that getting in the habit of being social also helped my mental health A LOT. When on any given evening Aless will text and say, “I’m coming to your place tonight” I’ve gotta keep the place clean, or Crystan pointing out that we have tickets for something means that regular bathing is a necessity. And, I really missed Katie. Adulthood makes maintaining friendships from when you were younger hard, but as our friendship prepares for it’s Sweet 16 (We’ve now been friends for over 50% of our lives. It’s terrifying. We’re old.) I’m so glad we’ve managed to spend a bunch of time together. And a bonus of all of our hanging out, I discovered how much I love $9 wine, and as I understand it, she discovered a love of Jarlsberg. HUZZAH!

And, I’m keeping this very vague…I liked liked someone for the first time in a while, and they liked me back. We’re still not sure where it’s going, but it’s good, and even if it’s just friendship, I’m glad my depression didn’t stamp out that part of myself.

So, 2018 personal resolutions:

Start running again. 4 days a week. No excuses.

NO DRINKING ON WEEKNIGHTS AT MY HOUSE. Period. End of sentence. If I’m in my apartment, and I have work the next day, NYET. Even when out, limited to 1 glass of wine.

Seriously cook once a week. Crock Pot dumps and “reheat type” cooking more often, but my Uncles gave me a cook book for Christmas and I want to experiment with my kitchen a bit.

Take dating seriously. Seriously. This means apps and websites and speed dating and all kinds of nightmares that I hate, but with my mental health in check and no more “I live with my parents” as an excuse, I want to get into this. Having gotten into the habit of being more social last year, I think this is a good extension of that.

Merry Dapper Day: 11/18/2017 – Dapper And Curious

I’ve made my thoughts on being on hand for rope drop extremely clear. I think it’s an important way to remove a lot of stress from a day in Disney park day. Of course, sometimes, life doesn’t care about your plans and ideas about theme park touring.

At the sort of last minute, this trip, Disney changed Magic Kingdom’s opening from 9 AM to 8 AM. To compensate, Juli and I got up SUPER early, and were at the turnstiles at 6:50 (YES REALLY). Magic Bands didn’t start scanning until 7:20 and Main Street didn’t open until 7:50.

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Finally Inside!

Is this weird? You BETCHA. Main Street usually opens about an hour before park time, not 10 minutes. Regardless, we got a lot done. I purchased a lovely dress at the Emporium, that doubled as a ticket to a meet and greet with Ashley Eckstein and Ashley Taylor of Her Universe. My mania to do this was kind of unfounded, because unlike at Comic Con, not many people at Magic Kingdom, give a rat’s ass about Ashley. (Which is unfortunate. Because Ashley Eckstein, and now Ashley Taylor are incredible women who are doing awesome stuff for women in fandom. They were very nice to me too!)

Once we were permitted in, Juli and I walked over to the tea cups, took some pictures with Alice, (to go with our Cheshire Cat and White Rabbit ‘bounds) and then rode said tea cups, whileJuli took pictures. We were still waiting on Dom, because you know, he didn’t want to wake up at 5:30 AM (amateur!) which lead to a certain amount of just wandering and taking things in, although at 9, I had the meet and greet.

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While I waited on line to meet the Ashleys, I thought a lot about this blog, fandom and what this all means to me. I was about a year into my commitment to doing the fangirl thing for real when I found Her Universe, and it really changed a lot for me. It was another two years before I opened my heart to the Star Wars extended universe stuff, which brought Ahsoka to me. (#AhsokaLives!) What meant the world to me, was that Ashley remembered me. Her work and designs have created such an incredible space for women in fandom, allowing us to express our love of media while still being girls, coming to it on our own terms, rather than those laid out for us.

After that, we all managed to meet up and started using our fastpasses, and just going on rides.

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All Together!

Also, taking lots of pictures. At 10:30 we came up with a GREAT IDEA to go over to Via Nappoli for lunch. (Hint, this wound up NOT being a great idea. We didn’t get there until Monday…there was a bunch of reservation drama too.) In the end, we wound up hitting a few rides, and then going over to The Wave at the Contemporary for lunch. After that, it was back over to the park, where we did a meet up with some folks for a photo op.

I mentioned this in April, but it bears repeating. I’ve really enjoyed Dapper Day and my general dive into Disney Park fandom this past year, but meet up wise, I’ve been underwhelmed, and my comic com experiences have spoiled me. NO ONE talks to each other outside of their groups at these meet ups, and it’s a huge ass bummer to me.

Post meet up, we rode the train, which I haven’t done since I was a kid, and then got some Dole Whips and headed to the enchanted Tiki Room. After exiting the Tiki Room, we got caught up in the Frontier Land Hoe-Down, which was amazing. Juli and I were pulled in to dance with Clarabelle and Horace, and neither of us could stop smiling for quite a while. We then road the River Boat (again, something I haven’t done since I was a kid. It’s way more fun having written over a hundred pages on Mark Twain!)

We then had a Peter Pan fast pass, and then picked up a Small World one. While on line for Small World, we discussed dinner plans and wound up deciding on going back to Pop and eating at the food court, which was kind of perfect. I had the fried chicken, and a giant ass Corona.

Juli and I both decided it was time to de-dapper, as we headed back to the park for the fireworks. We got an OK spot, and even made some friends as we waited.

Happily Ever After is a technological marvel, with a delightful soundtrack and a few really stellar sections. I’ll never love any framing quite as much as I love Wishes, nor will any likely make me as emotional, but it’s a truly terrific show. We’d already decided not to stay for closing, but I suggested we ride something rather than get stuck in the crush. We landed on reriding Pirates, which is always a favorite, although, as you can tell from the below picture, we were less than engaged.

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Juli isn’t yet literally asleep, though she assures me that she did at one point.

So then it was back to the resort and time for our longest sleep of the trip…and the next day…well, we’ll get to that!

Back to The Con: New York Comic Con 2016

I haven’t gotten to watch Once Upon A Time yet, so I definitely couldn’t write a recap, so I’m going to talk about New York Comic Con instead!

GET ON BOARD!

Anyway, as I walked into the Javits Center on Thursday, I got a little nervous. Not for any really reason. My costume was great, (I’d already gotten some compliments on line.) I knew I wasn’t going to any panels that day, and I know my way around that building without much trouble.

But, I’ve grown accustomed to smaller cons, with one show floor and a few panel rooms. And NYCC is big, it’s sprawling and crowded and loud and so much fun, but just massive. So I started slow, with a lap around once of my top 10 happiest places, The Artist’s Alley at New York Comic Con.

Most cons I’ve gone to have an artist’s alley, usually one lane of the show floor, dedicated to the work of comic book artists, where they can sell their own books, sketches, and more often than not, prints of their fan art. But NYCC dedicates an entire building to artist’s alley and it’s just phenomenal. After that I was fortified and I did my shopping and wandering, went to a DC Meetup, and enjoyed my day.

That night Aless and grabbed dinner, went back to my hotel and watched The Dark Knight and drank wine, which is frankly the best night I’ve had in a while. (And I’ve had some good ones lately!)

Kristi came late on Thursday and Friday morning, decked out in our Star Wars best, we walked to The Javits, waiting in line for two hours, and began our day. I’d warned Kristi about the general overwhelming feeling I’d had, but she took it way more in stride than I did, which helped calm me down. We walked and shopped for most of the day, but did manage to hit both the Vertigo comics panel (where Kristi learned of the magic that is Scott Snyder’s love for comic books.) and the Wonder Woman 75th Anniversary panel, (where we all learned of the magic that is Greg Rucka’s love for Wonder Woman.)

We did some meeting up with the wonderful Lora & Melvin (follow Lora’s Tumblr, y’all! She’s the greatest!)

Kristi and I then went to dinner and hit up Bowlmor lanes for the Sonic Boombox after party, which got a little crazy but was overall fun.

I insisted on an early wake up on Saturday because A) I was NOT waiting outside for 2 hours again, and B) I really wanted to see the Iron Fist panel, so I knew we needed to get checked in for that. We did get in. The rest of the day was fun, we saw the panel for The Great Wall, which looks really interesting, if a little bit odd. (So much focus on Matt Damon, when it seems like the movie isn’t actually about him at all? But whatever, I got to be in a room with a man who I’ve had a crush on since I was 11, so that was pretty cool.) More wandering, more friend meet ups. (Aless wound up working at the con, this is not my story to tell, but it’s riveting!)

Anyway, the most important part, Netflix Present’s Marvel’s Iron Fist, or whatever the unwieldy title of that panel was. Which in reality was, “Let’s talk about Luke Cage for 10 minutes, Iron Fist for like 15, The Punisher for a bit and then BURN THIS CONVENTION TO THE GROUND WITH NEWS ABOUT THE DEFENDERS.”

OK, in reality, I was less excited about Iron Fist than I’ve been about the other Marvel Netflix shows, but now I am very excited about it. The action looks great, Finn Jones’s energy is wonderful, unlike Charlie Cox’s brooding or Kristen Ritter’s saracasm or Mike Colter’s stoicism, Jones is like a spring. Tightly wound, and bouncy. I think it’s going to be great. AND HOLY CRAP THE FIGHTS. We saw two Danny Rand fights and one Colleen Wing fights. All were spectacular. All aboard for March 17. (I will not be watching until the 18th. St. Patrick’s day is not for binging…well, not for binging on television shows.)

But seeing the whole Defenders cast on stage, that made my heart leap. A few things. Charlie Cox is a tiny, adorable man, and Kristen Ritter and Mike Coulter are giants. Finn Jones appears to be normal sized. Also, I do wonder how these four will get together. I mean, if I’m recalling correctly they’re not in the best shape. (I do need to rewatch the shows at a reasonable pace I think…) Matt is currently friendless in Hell’s Kitchen with The Hand about to resurrect his girlfriend to be the ultimate weapon of destruction, Luke is on his way to prison, and Jessica…is actually in OK shape, I mean, for Jessica. She got a new door, and she beat Kilgrave. So, I guess she has it together. Again, for Jessica.

BUT HOW ARE THEY GOING TO DEFEAT SIGOURNEY WEAVER???

Yeah, it’s kind of impossible to describe how it felt when they announced and brought Sigourney Weaver out on stage. People literally began chanting “Holy Shit.” I’m sure there were tears. (I did not cry, as it was not Star Wars related, and we all know that it’s only Star Wars marketing materials that make me cry. Marvel doesn’t quite do it.) And then that was it. They sent us home.

Sunday was a bit calmer. Kristi went home. I went to the Women of Marvel Panel and the Sailor Moon Panel, again, I saw friends, shopped a bit and came home.

I’m still processing this experience, still getting my pictures together and really riding high. Whenever I go to a Con, and whenever I see the group of friends I saw this weekend I’m reminded of a few years ago when I first met them and realized that I needed to make some changes in my social life. I realized it was much better to only see my friends sometimes and genuinely feel good about those relationships, than to have something to do every weekend and be miserable. I only hang out with Lora, Melvin, Jessica and Alex a couple of times a year, but it’s always fun, it’s always interesting and I always feel good, if tired at the end of it. This extended into the way I socialize by making sure I spend time with names any readers are no doubt familiar with by now. Proximity and constant contact are no longer necessary to my friendships, just that the time we do get to be together is quality. So I want to thank all those people for that.

I also have some other stuff going on in life right now, that if it works out will probably lead to a cut back here. (It’s good stuff…really good, I promise!)

 

Time To Get Personal: On Girly-ness

The inception of this post was going to be talking about the podcasts that I’ve been listening to, and why I like them, why other people should check them out, and that sort of thing.

Then I listened to Less Than Live With Kate Or Die, Kate Lethe’s amazing podcast about comics and feminism and funny things, and I realized that:

  1. I listen to a lot of podcasts that are just dudes talking about comedy
  2. I don’t know when I became that person.

So I actively started seeking out podcasts that were hosted by women, and of course stuck with Kate, started listening to Call Chelsea Peretti, and reaffirmed my love for Alison Rosen is Your New Best Friend. But the main thing that I’m loving about Kate’s podcast, twitter and tumblr is that I’m starting to find more people who are into the things that I’m into, and are women and enjoy them as women.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m really, really, girly. And it’s for that reason that I kind of kept my mouth shut up my love of geek culture for a long time. Because even though I knew other girls that were into those things, (One of my college roommates, Beth, especially.) those kick ass awesome women weren’t so much into like shopping, and shoes, and glitter. So I convinced myself that these were two aspects of my personality that just didn’t belong together.

There was Reenie who liked to be girly, and Reenie who like superheroes, and Star Wars, never the twain shall meet.

Then Doctor Who came into my life and I realized, maybe not everything has to be separated, because women love this show, and they love it the way I watched women love One Tree Hill or Gossip Girl. But still, it took another two years for me to realize that these girls and women are out there in every fandom I’m into!

And while yes, the fabulous ladies on the internet I’ve been tracking lately are a part of it, there are also amazing women in my life, who over the past two years or so, I’ve realized fangirl hard on various things.

Aless, obviously. But I’ve talked about that. You guys know our origin story. But, Lisa, one of my best friends from my second senior year of college, another Whovian, but also super into Marvel stuff. Joanna, one of the TomFools, is a massive Star Wars fangirl. My sister, Mary, is obviously my foremost authority on all things Coheed & Cambria and I defy anyone to go toe to toe with her when it comes to Harry Potter. My friend Sumona, who you have to tap if you want to know about comedy or YA Literature. Nancy Sue, there for all things Veronica Mars, and Katherine for TV, just TV in general. Christine, my cousin’s wife for A Song of Ice And Fire. I could keep going.

This isn’t to dismiss the other women in my life, the more, for lack of a better term, Tom-Boyishish ones who also love these kinds of things. Chrissy, Beth as I mentioned before, Jen. I love nerding out with these women, I love living life with these women, but these were also the women who looked at me and rolled their eyes as I staggered out in my way too high heels, or looked at me blankly when I discussed Anna Wintour’s influence on my life. (Massive, hugely massive!)

So I’m really happy that I’ve found my niche here. I’ll wear my Her Universe dresses and talk about shipping and keep campaigning for Black Widow, Captain Marvel & Wonder Woman. I’m going to keep watching Sailor Moon and sing the praises of Gail Simone! And I’m going to hug the women in my life. I’m going to love them for the ways they’re the same as me and different than me, and for accepting who I am.

So, that’s what I’m feeling at the moment.

Time To Get Personal: Careful The Things You Say

Into The Woods

One of the things that was nice about not having a lot of comics to read last week, aside from it giving me a chance to get through two volumes of Sailor Moon manga, is that I got to do some theatre work and thinking.

Theatre is my first love, which is why I spell it with that pretentious re ending, despite that I’m not even slightly British. Aside from the fact that I helped build the set for the production of Little Shop Of Horrors that I’m producing, which was something I hadn’t done in a while and reminded me of all the stuff I like about being involved in this art form, I went to go see a production of Into The Woods at the theatre company I worked with all through high school and most of college.

Couple this with the release of the trailer for Into The Woods, and I was wistfully thinking about that show, it’s music and the lessons it imparts.

You’re all going to have to put up with me talking about Into The Woods a lot for the next few months. As more details about the film leak out I’m going to start whipping up into a bigger and bigger frenzy about this.

Of course the trailer was fabulous. I was talking about it with people all weekend. (Mostly because the people I was with this weekend hadn’t seen Guardians yet and according to my friend Greg I have “spoiler face” so I wasn’t allowed to talk about that.) The orchestral version of “Stay With Me,” was absolutely perfect. It looks dark and creepy and really, really cool.

But Into The Woods is such a cool show for a lot of reasons, but the second act is probably one of the most exceptionally good in the history of musical theatre. I remember the first time that I saw the show, a high school production when I was in middle school. I was blown away, I cried, I fell in love. When I was in it in college as Jack’s Mother, it was a dream come true.

I love this show and it’s message of being careful what you wish for. I love it’s strange universe where fairytales and archetypes are also just everyday people. I love it’s flawed heroes and of course it’s beautiful music.

And I’m trying to keep it’s core lesson in my heart as I try to move forward with my life. Actions matter, there are consequences. Wishes matter, thoughts mater, words matter. I’ve mentioned before that I’m trying to cleanse my life of a lot of negativity lately, and meditating on Into The Woods has reaffirmed this desire in me. I’ve been whining a lot lately, and then I had this wonderful weekend, starting with Thursday, spending the evening with Aless, peaking with a great set build and a night sitting by the fire with my friend Lauren making “super s’mores,” and ending with a night out on Monday with some new and old friends and realizing how wonderful my life and the people in it are.

One of the other main themes of Into The Woods is “No One Is Alone” which also works for what I’m thinking about. My life, like everyone’s doesn’t exist in a vacuum, “you move just a finger, say the slightest word,” it will change things, effect people. I can do that, anyone can do that, for good or for ill. So try to do it for good. But also remember that “witches can be right, giants can be good…no one acts alone.” Everyone matters, you, I, everyone is the most important person in someone’s life at any given moment.

I’m going to try to carry that with me as I go forward through the world.

Because in the end, “everything you learn there will help when you return there.”

I wish.

Time To Get Personal: On Me

I’ve decided I’m going to do these every once in a while, where I write about something “real,” and “illuminate the dark places” as my non fiction writing professor, Joseph Kraus would put it. (Hey Professor Kraus! Remember how you used to tell me that I needed to find my voice? I found it! 300 whole posts of it!)

This past week was crazy, filled with three job offers (2 part time, 1 full, took the full) a decision to go to a comic convention by myself or attend a concert with my family, (picked the concert) and a decision to reread Harry Potter (Yes, nearly two years later, I’ll probably finally write about Harry Potter and Potter fandom in a significant way.)

But Saturday, I was laying out on the wicker loveseat on our back porch, reading Justice League: Trinity War, and I realized that there is becoming less of a gap between who I am and who I want to be. Maybe it’s a maturity thing, but I suddenly realized that being the girl sitting reading a comic book in a sundress, listening to Evita isn’t a mess of contradictions, it’s just who I am.

Yes, I would prefer that that girl was two dress sizes smaller, didn’t still have acne in her late twenties, and could comfortably refer to herself as a woman, but generally speaking, I like who I am right now. I’ve struck a balance with my family at long last, by being (for the most part) open with them about who I am and what I want, which in the past two years has changed significantly. I’ve excised many of the more toxic relationships and patterns I’ve developed since college from my life. I’m still working on some. My propensity to get too drunk and throw up and cry still rears it’s ugly head biannually, but that used to happen monthly, so progress! I’m eating better, getting out of the house more, and going to church again.

This last one is big. One of the first things that goes for me when I start to feel disconnected is my connection to my faith. I love my religion, which, as I’ve said many times has been a haven of love for me my entire life. “Catholic Guilt” is a foreign concept to me, because I was taught my whole life that God, through his son Jesus loved me more than I could comprehend. But unlike most people, who go to religion when things are bad, I don’t. When I’m feeling out of sorts, sometimes, yeah, I can find prayer and community helpful, but usually, I get frustrated because I’m not getting what I usually do out of it. So, coming back to church again, was for me, a huge deal and a liberating one, because having that community around me always feels better.

I’ve developed strong friendships and gotten better at that thing that I’ve had trouble with for a while, which is taking the initiative. If I want to see a friend, it’s my job to get in touch with them and make plans, not theirs. Or if I want to talk to my friends who aren’t nearby, I can just pick up the phone and do it.

And yeah, I’m going to be the girl who wears a little dress and kitten heels to a dive bar and deals with the weird looks, just as I will be the girl who will be having an impassioned conversation about the death (and resurrection, I hope) of Damian Wayne (still in the dress and shoes, btw) with a guy she just met who made the mistake of commenting on her friends’s Batman tee shirt while she was there. Said friend and I were discussing Batman & Robin: Reborn, because I will literally talk about that with anyone, whether they’ve read it or care. Another thing I’ve gotten better about, telling when guys in bars are actually interested in my opinion about Dick Grayson’s tenure as Batman or if they’re just trying to hit on me. This guy was both, and it didn’t really work for him. Though I never tire of the wowed look on people’s faces when the preppy girl says, “Sorry, I only recently re read incorporated, so Damian’s death is feeling a little fresh at the moment.”

Because I’ve come to accept that this is who I am, and the world is mostly OK with it too, but they still don’t expect it. And that gets pretty great.

 

Time To Get Personal: On Family

I rarely write about really personal things here, but I was fresh out of commentary for this week, due mostly to the fact that I had this cold kicking my ass all week and was mostly sleeping and consuming pop culture comfort food. (So much Veronica Mars, Pride & Prejudice and also Saving Mr. Banks again.) So, instead I’m going to talk about my family.

I’ve talked in bits and pieces about my immediate family, namely, my brother, my sister and my sister’s boyfriend (who, not to freak him out or anything, but is basically just a part of our family at this point.) and I’ve named dropped some of my cousins, mainly Tommy, Bobby and Jake, who grew up a half hour from me and are the little brothers that my sister and I always begged my mom for. (In the end this was wayyy better, when we get sick of the three of them, we can kick them out or leave. You can’t do that with your real siblings.) But here’s the truth of the matter. My mom is one of five kids and my dad is one of six. With the exception of my Uncle Mark and his fiance Richard, all of those people have multiple children. Three of my cousins are now married, two of them have kids. A couple more of them are in serious relationships. My family continues to grow and it can be overwhelming and is always completely amazing.

I had a really long conversation with my cousin in law, Christine on Saturday about my this blog and my writing. My cousin Trip, her husband, and she have been infinitely supportive of what I’m trying to do here. Trip has also been pushing me to write about our family for a very long time. But here’s the thing, when you have a big family, there are a lot of personalities and situations to navigate. A couple of my cousins want to work in politics. I’d never want to torpedo their dreams because I made a stupid joke about the time we drank too much wine on Thanksgiving and planned our double wedding to Quinn and Puck, to pick an example of something that absolutely did not happen at all. Others might be more sensitive and not understand that what I mean as good natured teasing of their life choices that are different than my own, doesn’t mean I’m condemning those choices. If I talk about how moving in with Mark and Richard after college basically saved my life, with my other Aunts and Uncles think that I don’t appreciate their continued support?

There’s also this strange line between my father’s side of the family and my mother’s. I nominally closer to my mother’s side. I know more about their day to day lives, we have these weird wild weekends where we all get together and drink too much and laugh and play games and watch movies and someone winds up crying by Saturday night and it’s all forgotten by Sunday morning. But I have a lot more in common with my dad’s side, and since we’re all pretty concentrated in the tri-state area, our interactions are usually holidays (or the day after holidays, which is kind of this weird tradition that we have.) But I’ll talk theatre with my cousin Kelly for hours, Disney with my cousin in law Kristi, and we eat too much and laugh at weird jokes and play with the dogs, and everyone wears themselves out and we’re in bed by 10. Or a bunch of us will get together for dinner in New York City, or I’ll go on an impromptu road trip with my Aunt Donna and her twin daughters to Baltimore to visit my great Aunt. It’s always a lot more organized but no less fulfilling.

There isn’t a particular point that I wanted to make here, just you know, ranting and I guess that families are complicated and there are a lot of feelings and personalities involved.

But I guess this is my way of saying, yeah, I’m going to get to work on that book, the one about my family that I’ve been threatening to write since college. We’ll see how it goes.