If Vision is the Only Validation, Then Most of My Life Isn’t Real

Personal Things

It’s been an eventful couple of weeks for me, my whole life has kind of changed, which is good because to be quite honest everything has SUCKED since moving to Georgia. When I last posted, I hadn’t started my job at Pottery Barn yet. Well, I’m happy to say I’ve been working there for about two weeks now and I really enjoy it. It’s a wonderful job. I was incredibly nervous for my first couple of days, but I got the hang of retail quite easily. There’s a lot to know about the store, and you need to be prepared to answer people’s questions, but luckily we all have headsets and no one is opposed to me asking questions. Altogether, it’s been a very cool job so far, I work evenings and I go in in the afternoon, so I deal with a good bit of customers for the first few hours, and the last few hours I mostly spend doing odd tasks for the managers or whoever needs my help, restocking stuff, and dusting/cleaning a bit.

Since my position is seasonal, I’m trying to go above and beyond if I can, in the hopes of being kept on after the holidays. One of the ladies I work with is really nice to me and is always giving me jobs to do and answering questions for me, and she used to be a manager and she asked me the other day what my intentions were after January, and when I told her that I wanted to stay on with the company she said she’d already talked to them about keeping me on, which is awesome. This is the only job I’ve ever had that I’ve really enjoyed going to, and I feel like I’m doing very well so far. On Tuesday I set a couple of displays on my own, and got some compliments from my manager which was a great feeling. So basically, things are going really well on the job front.

I also finally, after 3 years of driving around with a learner’s permit, got my driver’s license. The DMV in town is one of those with a huge parking lot in the back, and the first section was all about parking, at which I did terrible and knocked over a record amount of traffic cones. However, I did perfect on the actual driving-around-on-the-road portion of my test, and now I’ve been driving myself to and from work every day for the last week or so.

Oh, did I also mention that I’m driving to and from work in my own vehicle? My stepfather basically gave me this truck he’s had for a while, it’s now in my name and I’m insured, and I got tags for the vehicle and everything. So, between my own vehicle, my own insurance, my own license, and my own job, I’m feeling really grown up. Normally I would freak out and shrink and be afraid of all these changes, but it’s really not scaring me all that much. I’ve had some moments, like when I had my first midnight Walmart run all on my own the other night, and once I got to the stoplight at the nearly abandoned four-way stop I got so nervous that I felt like I was having an anxiety attack, but it wasn’t like my normal anxiety attacks, it was ACTUAL fear and anxiety, and once I got through the light it was pretty much alleviated.

In fact, that’s the way everything’s been going lately. Since I started having these issues with panic attacks, I find myself in everyday situations that I can’t handle, and ruin everything for myself with my complete lack of self-confidence, but this whole experience with driving and working and doing things for myself reminds me a lot of when I was a kid in elementary school: I was in behaviorally challenged classes because I had some issues, and they would set me up on a system where certain behaviors bring about certain rewards, and when I did well I would be so proud of myself and I’d actually experience positive change. I guess I’ve just gotten so used to nothing ever happening in my life, as a result of my own lack of faith in myself and refusal to really try, that I’m not used to the feeling of ACCOMPLISHING things.

I even found myself being annoyed at the other seasonal/temporary employees, because I’ve heard at least two of them complaining about the job: “There’s nothing to DO… This is so BORING… I still have another THREE HOURS…” I honestly haven’t felt that way. I like it when it’s quiet and I’ve even become comfortable when it’s busy, and I usually find something to do to make myself useful, and when there’s not much going on, I don’t really have a problem with wandering around, straightening shelves and looking busy. Underneath all of my reticence, I do actually have a really good work ethic, I do want to be an asset to the store. If I keep trying to go above and beyond, or at very least being helpful, I feel like I’ll gain the manager’s and my co-workers’ respect, and definitely be able to stay on after the holidays.

So tomorrow is Black Friday, a.k.a. the day after Thanksgiving, a.k.a. the biggest shopping day of the year. Luckily I’m a closer, so I’m coming in at 2:00 in the afternoon and staying until we close the store for the night at 10:30PM. I’m told it’s pretty crazy, as I would expect it to be, but at least I’m not working the Midnight Madness shift, and one of the manager’s mentioned that we shouldn’t have lines around the store like we did last year because so many other stores are having Black Friday sales as well. We’ll see. I actually was dreading this day when I was first hired, but I’m honestly not too intimidated by it now.

Breaks/lunches are going to be a little different tomorrow, we all have to bring a dish of some sort to work, I’m going to try deviled eggs, since I’ve made those before and they’re not too difficult, and they’re Thanksgiving-y. Altogether, things are getting better for me. I still haven’t finished submitting all the information I need to submit to the college I’m planning on going to (which by the way, I found out is NOT a community college whatsoever, it’s a 4-year military school, but I still want to go, and I’m even toying with the idea of taking out student loans if I have to), but it’s going to happen.

My “romantic” (read: desperate sexual) experiences leading up to moving to Georgia and since being here have been, to quote Grace Adler: “a revolving door of loser after loser.” I’m actually really bothered by the idea that some of the guys I’ve had bad experiences with (one of whom got so attached to me that he was convinced he was in love with me and became suicidal when I broke it off with him before it even began) might be reading this blog. It honestly disturbs me a little bit.

I’ve always been very compassionate, but really, the last few guys I’ve been with have been losers. They’re human beings, and they’re not worthless, but they’re not people that are going to enhance me in any way, and I’m tired of handing myself over to people I’m completely not attracted to and who are pathetic, emotional messes. I need a good guy in my life with some sense of responsibility who has himself together and can show me some real, functional love. I’ve seen myself in some of the guys I’ve been with in Georgia, and it was fucking scary. I’m done dating losers and people I’m not attracted to, giving myself up to people and feeling unclean and hating myself afterward. It’s not that these guys I’ve been don’t have emotions that matter, but it’s just not my responsibility to be there for everyone and to handle every person’s shit. I’ve made some really, really shitty decisions about my life since I turned 18: in the last 3 years I’ve had sex with 10 people, and only one of those people did I really care about, and only a couple of those experiences were actually PLEASURABLE, much less meaningful.

I’m ready to get some good things going in my life. I’m ready to have the things I want and have friends and have a fucking LIFE. I’m done dreaming, I’m taking action now. I’ve started, and I’m not going back. Being a kid isn’t worth it, I much prefer being an adult.

Entertainment Things

Finally, Lady Gaga is giving us a better album cover for Born This Way. It’s the cover of a 3-disc compilation called Born This Way: The Collection, which compiles the 17-track version of Born This Way, a DVD of HBO’s The Monster Ball, and a new remix EP called Born This Way: The Remix, which features remixes of singles as well as album tracks. I will probably buy this, because this is the first time The Monster Ball is being officially released, but the thing that makes me the happiest is that I can finally get rid of that second disc of remixes from my deluxe edition of Born This Way, and more importantly, I can get rid of that awful motorcycle cover. I’ve always said that the photo on the back of the booklet, of Gaga in the gooey sort of afterbirth dress, should be the album cover, and now sure enough she’s giving us an even more fabulous gooey photo. I’m going to be honest, if this had been the cover of the album, I probably would have liked it more. Presentation is important; Lady Gaga of all people should know that. So here’s the cover! Change your iTunes album artwork with pride.

The only other entertainment news I have is that I have discovered Sam Sparro, who is known for his 2008 single Black and Gold, which has been covered by Adele, Ellie Goulding, and Katy Perry, but none of them compare to his original. Sam is a sexy Australian gay boy endowed with a set of vocal chords that make panties and undies alike drop, whose swag is turned up to the max and who is extremely sexy to boot; he’s a really talented singer and producer, and I highly suggest checking him out. Here’s a picture of mister hotness to persuade you.

Day-um.

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And The Only Solution Was To Stand And Fight

Me Stuff

There have been some developments in my life lately, some of which I’ve already talked about, the most pressing matter being that I quit the job I did have at Five Guys Burgers and Fries because, well, I hated it, and I couldn’t bare another moment of it. Well to be honest I probably would have eventually gotten used to it, but it was an awful feeling, and I couldn’t think about anything other than how much I hated the job, and maybe I psyched myself out, but whatever, it’s time to move on. I have another job now at Pottery Barn (retail? Heck yes), and while I’m nervous I’m also excited about this job, because I think I’ll enjoy it and I don’t have to flip burgers and come home covered in acne and smelling like potatoes; and I’m probably going to be doing mostly stocking, which would be great, it’s just the kind of repetitive job that doesn’t deal with people that I think I might enjoy.

Also I’ve been trying to meditate, or at least to calm down a little. I found these podcasts on iTunes for meditation and I go to sleep listening to them, not every night but when I do it helps a lot to calm me down. I think the most helpful thing I’ve found is that when you’re angry or you’re afraid or you’re panicking, the best thing to do is to embrace that emotion, to feel it fully and accept it, and it flows right through you and you’re left with peace. I found a video on YouTube earlier this year where someone said something similar about overcoming panic attacks, to embrace the fear, to give it love, and it no longer has power over you and you’re free from it and the anxiety leaves. It’s a very helpful philosophy, and I hope that if I need a way to calm down I can remember this and use it.

Really, I feel like I’m on the edge of being an adult, and I’m so happy about that, I just hate being near my family. I don’t feel like I can do anything when I’m around my mother, I don’t want to be here, but I need to be here because I’m provided for, even at the expense of some intense emotional issues, and to make things better I’m starting college in January. It’s this place called North Georgia College, it’s not specifically a military school but it seems very military-oriented. It is, however, a community college, so I’m sure that there’s a bit of everything (I, as you can perhaps tell, am not a military person). But the best part is that they offer student-housing, and I think I read something that said living in the dormitories is $200 a month, which I could easily pay if I save the money I make from this (possibly temporary/seasonal) job at Pottery Barn. Then, I’ll be out of my family’s house, living on my own but still closeby everyone, I have a truck here that belongs to my stepfather that I’m free to use (in fact, he may have even already given it to me), and once I get my license I should already have a lot of things in place for myself.

So, my goal for January is this: to have my license, to be driving regularly, to be doing well at my job, have money saved, and begin college living in student housing. I know this is odd, but living in a student dorm is literally one of my dreams. Like, along with being a famous musician and traveling the world and finding love, I want to live in a dorm and have college friends, and do college things, and go to parties, and not go to parties, and go to people’s rooms and fall asleep in people’s beds and have boyfriends and break up with them and play pianos in big auditoriums. It’s something I desperately yearn for, and unlike being a musician, it can’t wait forever, because I’m getting older. I’m 21 now and I’ve barely done anything close to growing up. I need college, on many levels. I need to have friendship and happiness and laughter in my life.

This whole Georgia thing has been a big clusterfuck shitfest ever since I got here. First there was the whole long-distance phone-flirting thing with Chris, then came the possible relationship that Jeremy that completely sunk when I found out I wasn’t attracted to him whatsoever, then dealing with his obsessive depression over me, the awful job at Five Guys, the multiple threats that I was going to be kicked out in the middle of nowhere Georgia, and then more recently I got involved with someone else who I knew from the beginning was a bad idea, had an uncomfortable experience and hurt his feelings, I mean really this whole fucking move has been terrible, and my life has been flipped upside-down, which is hard to do when I barely had a life to begin with. I live outside in a camper on an uncomfortable piece of foam stretched over a table that serves as a well-enough bed, I’m trapped in this house most of the time, I’m fighting to keep my agoraphobia from coming back, my vision seems to just be getting worse and worse so that I can barely see anything, it’s just a whole fuck of a lot to deal with.

But I’m going to do this job at Pottery Barn, it was what I wanted and I got it, seasonal or not. I have to get away from this family, I have to make friends, I have to play music and I have to do all the things I want to. The time for waiting is over. I’ve spent the time since I was 13 years old dreaming of life being different, and now I’m going to make it different, if it’s hard, I’ll just get stronger until it isn’t hard anymore.

Entertainment Stuff

Yesterday I started a new novel, The Host by Stephenie Meyer. I know, I know, please hold all comments ’till the end. I’ve read the Twilight series. Yes, it is true. I read them all before the first film ever went to theaters when I was in 12th grade. It was an okay series. Since the series blew up and became a massive fandom, a lot of people have made some pretty valid points about Stephenie Meyer’s writing style, but altogether, there are much worse author’s in the world, and I’ve always thought that she seems like a nice person in interviews, even if Twilight is just the teensiest bit fucked up. The Host does share some similarities with Twilight, but it’s a different story altogether, and it’s pretty immersive. The obvious similarities are the main character, a teenage, dark-haired female, falling madly in love at first sight with an overly masculine, musclebound hunk. However, their quick attachment to one another is somewhat more believable because The Host is set on a post-apocalyptic Earth in the western part of the US where 5 billion of the world’s human beings have been wiped out and their bodies possessed by alien parasites, as opposed to a rogue clan of moralized vampires going to high school in a rainy town in Washington. Also, the main protagonist, Melanie, is a thousand times better of a character than Bella. Melanie is driven, powerful and fearless, fighting to keep her younger brother alive, where Bella is an angsty, self-loathing pushover. The love story is also much more romantic, two people living in hiding, fearing death at any moment, as opposed to (ahem, let me equip my droning, robotic monotone and narrow my eyes) “Oh, Edward… you are… so… beautiful…” (yawn), “And I… cannot… stop loving…um… you… Please… I want you to have angry rough vampire sex with me… and please also stalk me… and watch me sleep at night…”

The story isn’t told from Melanie’s perspective entirely, because our main protagonist is an alien named Wanderer who has been placed inside Melanie’s body, but Melanie’s consciousness has not faded, and Wanderer is left sharing Melanie’s feelings of longing for Jared, along with her own feelings of inadequacy and weakness for not being able to control her host body. So far, all of Melanie’s story is told through dreams and flashbacks. As was the case with her previous series, Meyer does have a tendency to get a bit giddy with her descriptions of rippling pectorals and squared-off jawlines (seriously, what the HELL is this woman’s obsession with JAWS?), but so far The Host has been a far more rewarding read than Twilight.

And in other entertainment news, Florence + the Machine’s second album, Ceremonials, was released a few days ago. Due to a combination of me having no money and no patience, I went ahead and downloaded the leaked copy of the album a day before it’s release date, but I still intend to buy it when I get the chance. I haven’t heard the album in it’s entirety, I did however have a fantastic time listening to the studio version of Bedroom Hymns, the song I was most looking forward to. Both Bedroom Hymns and another song, Strangeness & Charm, which was our first glimpse into the new album (Florence performed the song live at the Hammersmith Apollo for Between Two Lungs, the UK re-release of her debut album, and many times on tour afterward) are featured on the second disc as B-Sides, but that doesn’t inply that they’re lesser quality songs.

In fact, I haven’t really been brave enough to listen to most of the album yet, because of the sheer LENGTH of the thing. Every single song is between four minutes long and five-and-a-half minutes long. The other thing about this album is that all the songs are very similar, they use the same instruments: harp, chamber choirs, tamberine, strings; however the interesting thing is that this doesn’t hurt the album. Usually when songs all blend together it makes for a bland, uninteresting album, but Florence is unbelievable as always and even though most of the songs are grand explosions of sound, using the same giant choirs and dramatic electronic effects, the songs still keep their own unique personalities. She’s still just as talented as she always was, and this album is a full, lush work of art, but it is very intimidating. Imagine if every song on Lungs were Cosmic Love, or a 5 minute long version of Drumming Song. It’d be grand and incredible, but a lot to take in all at once.

One reviewer said of the album, “Ceremonials suffers from a repetitiveness that’s akin to looking at a skyline filled with 100-story behemoths lined-up one after the other, blocking out everything but their own size.” I definitely see his point, but I’m not going to criticize Florence, this album is a triumph of creativity and sheer epicness, at least from what I’ve heard of it so far.

Surprise! Dream Stuff

Oh yeah, I also had a dream about Florence last night. This is actually the second time I’ve dreamt about her, the first time I was on a family camping trip and just ran into her at a campground. I remember that when I woke up I was really mad because I didn’t ask her why Swimming was never included on Lungs. In this dream, she and Tori Amos were performing, together, in a store in the mall that was a sort of combination of Hot Topic and a restaurant. Afterward I was sitting down and caught sight of Florence on a nearby couch, and we moved to a booth and started talking together, and I remembered this time to ask her why Swimming was never included on Lungs. She got sort of fidgety and kept saying, “Ummmm…” and couldn’t seem to come up with a good reason, but basically I got the impression that she felt that Swimming felt like a B-Side, and when I said this she agreed. Swimming is fucking awesome, by the way, so don’t blame me for what dream-Florence says to me. Interestingly after I woke up and went back to sleep, I had another dream about Tori, except that instead of it being modern-day Tori like in my previous dream, it was 1992 Little Earthquakes-era Tori (score!), and I was seeing things through her perspective, and she was doing an interview walking around on a sidewalk (in what felt to me a lot like a strip-mall across the street from where I used to live in South Carolina, where I once applied for a job at a sandwich ship) talking about being a musician and being famous, and she said that a store offered to tile her floor for free if she became a member of their store.

Oh! and one more thing, I’ve been listening to the Dresden Dolls lately. That’s not entirely news since I’ve mentioned Amanda Palmer in the last few blog posts, but if you want to get into this band I seriously suggest starting at the beginning: the first Dresden Dolls album is really a fun experience from beginning to end, I’ve listened to most of it, and it all flows very well together. I’ve heard bits and pieces from all of their other albums, I like the opening track, Sex Changes, from their second album. Amanda’s newer work seems to involve a lot of ukelele and sillyness, and while that’s all well and good, it seems like she’s stopped doing full-on studio albums for a while, since about three quarters of her second solo album, Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under, are live recordings, and the follow up album in 2013, Amanda Palmer Goes Into The Bush, probably will be as well. But, people are allowed to make music however they want to, and her talent hasn’t stopped shining through on any of her projects.

Moving On and Moving Forward

I have a lot of news! Firstly, I have moved further South. Yeah, it wasn’t my favorite course of action either, but as I’m back living with my family, and my family decided to move to Georgia, I really had no choice but to come along. I was a little bitter about it at first, but I’ve adjusted fairly quickly, and after all, I have always dreamt of getting out of North Carolina. Granted, I didn’t want to go deeper into the deep South, but Georgia’s a beautiful state and luckily we seem to be very near civilization. The redneckery does seem to be at the level I expected, but luckily I don’t actually know, nor plan on knowing, the people up the street who have four flags draped over their front porch (all various forms of American and Confederate, as is to be expected), or indeed our rowdy drunken neighbors. I am content to while my hours away in my room, which is located in a camper in the backyard.

Yeah, you can probably see why I was not too into this move at first, but to my surprise, the RV is quite cozy, and I can listen to music, watch movies, or really do anything, as loud as I want, any time of the day or night. It is quite like having my own place. In a rebellious-son-in-the-back-yard kind of way. And I keep the dog outside with me at night, so at to protect me from unmentionables like wayward confederates and, of course, the various creatures of the night.In exciting musical news, Florence + the Machine have FINALLY released information about the upcoming album, and we’ve been treated to a beautiful new single, What the Water Gave Me. This song, along with Bedroom Hymns, has been floating around YouTube for a bit with recordings of live performances, but here we have the real thing: complete with Florence’s customary vocal acrobatics, choirs, harps, and strings. Due to a combination of not having my own computer with which to keep a music library organized (you have NO idea how badly I want my iTunes back) and not having a debit card on file, I have not yet been able to buy the single, but it will happen.

And now we get to the even bigger news I touched on, the new album!  Florence’s second album is either still as of yet untitled or the title simply has not been revealed, nor has the cover art, but the release date however, has been confirmed as November 7, and the new album is available for pre-order in Florence’s official store. Also, to my elation, there’s a two disc DIGIPAK (squeal!!) deluxe edition, featuring a second disc with B-Sides, remixes, and previously unreleased material, and as a bonus for ordering from the official store, a poster! I cannot properly convey how excited I am about all of these things.

As it turns out, Autumn 2011 is a good season for music, because in addition to Florence’s new album, we’re going to be treated to new albums from some other great artists as well: Evanescence returns from a SIX YEAR hiatus to release a self-titled third album. Amy Lee came out of marital seclusion after spending years putting together this new album, and the band’s lead single, What You Want, shows a growth in style that feels like Evanescence. It’s not like they’ve gone and become We Are The Fallen or anything.

Tori Amos is releasing a new concept album called Night of Hunters, which is said to bear resemblance in many aspects to her third album, Boys For Pele, that dark masterpeice that I consider the cornerstone of her musical career. Tori has even treated us to a track-by-track narration of the story told by the songs that is, as is to be expected, something like a hallucinogen trip. The legendary Bjork comes out of hiding as well to release an album, Biophilia, that is being released in both standard album format and as a series of interactive applications. I’m even hearing tale of a new Kelly Clarkson album. There’s a lot of good music to look forward to, and all within the next few months!

The Magic of Fantasy, and the Magic of Nature

Hello, trading card game theme deck. It's been a long time.

I have released my inner dork, and it is elated to be let back out into the world. That’s right, I’ve started playing Magic: The Gathering. A little brief history: when I was around, we’ll say, ten years old, one of my cousins lived with us, and though he was about ten years older than me, he was still my main playmate. He came home one day with a two-player starter set of a card game called Magic: The Gathering.

We sat down at the table and each played through our first game using the precounstructed decks and play guides. I may flatter myself that I was a little quicker to pick up on this game than most ten-year olds, I had a knack for games of all kinds, and I could hold my own fairly well against someone twice my age. My cousin usually won, but still, I had a pretty good grasp of the gameplay.

So it became our tradition that we played Magic constantly, buying new cards to add to our decks, and eventually roped the neighbor into playing with us. There’s actually a picture of the three of us playing Magic at the kitchen table somewhere, I’ll find it and post it above when I can get it scanned. I had the time of my life with this game, it was honestly just so much fun, and I have a lot of fond memories attached to these cards.

So, a few days ago, my boyfriend’s mother sent him an envelope containing his entire collection of cards from a game called Redemption. Redemption is kind of the Christian-themed alternative to Magic: The Gathering or Yu-Gi-Oh, it’s a battle card game with cards based on Christian images and themes, many of them being focused on apocolyptic clashes between angels. I wanted to like this game, and enjoy it, but honestly I just couldn’t, I respect my boyfriend’s fond memories with the game, and I have no problem with them in that sense, anything that he loves I love by default, but these cards are sometimes so over the top. Apart from the object of the game being to save “Lost Soul” cards and “convert” the dark forces, there are two types of cards: good and evil, and each player comes equipped with both, but in the end, only good can triumph. The game isn’t about fighting evil, it’s about who can save all of the Lost Souls first, while the other player attempts to thwart their attempts with their evil cards.

Indoctrination at it’s finest, huh?

I just can’t buy into it. It’s such an obvious brainwashing scheme, and my distate for the Christian organization was not exactly lessened by this game. I get the concept, I think that to a degree it’s acceptable, but to be honest, dogma is never benefitial to anyone, it doesn’t bring people together, it only seperates people. The idea that peace and love can triumph over hatred and war is the important message, and you really can’t get that from a game that basically teaches the players (some of which have to be young and impressionable enough to take some religious direction from it) that acceptance is uneccessary, and that they, like their religious organization, should be at war with all things they misunderstand or dislike.

Oh yes, and the rules of the game are insane. Clearly it was not made by Wizards of the Coast, if for no other reason than that the game is very hard to play if you’ve never experienced it before, and the game puts such great effort into avoiding what they’re really just dancing around anyway: fighting, that it doesn’t convincingly play as the type of game that it is.

I think the angels in Magic are much more fun.

However, my spark for card games was ignited by this, and of course the big three occured to me: Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Magic: The Gathering. My boyfriend was pretty dissapointed that I wasn’t very excited about Redemption, and though I was willing to play it, all we had were cards, and little idea of how the game was played, and downloaded a PDF of the lengthy rulebook didn’t shed much light on exactly how things needed to be set up. I remembered that I had at one point got my hands on a Magic: The Gathering two-player starter set (not the one from when I was ten), that had a CD-rom with it, with a video explaining how the game was played and an interactive tutorial. I actually found the introduction video on YouTube and we watched it; we were both very excited, and ordered two two-player starter decks, one from the first edition of cards (the very same deck my cousin had brought home ten years ago), and another starter set from the seventh edition.

Our seventh edition starter set came in first, and we followed along with the play guides and played our first game, had a lot of fun, and the next day our first edition starter set came in, and along with that we grabbed, from the newest released edition, a theme deck, which contained a booster pack, and two more boosters. So altogether we now have one 2-player starter set, containing about 75 cards, another which contains about 80 cards, a theme deck containing 60 cards, and three booster packs, each containing 15 cards.

We came to the sudden realization that though we could share in one anothers cards, it would be far more interesting to decide what belonged to each of us respectively, and so we traded a bit, and today I spent about an hour or more sorting through cards and trying to give us both an equal amount of what we need to start any kind of deck that we want, so we’ll both have a good foundation to build on.

I’m sure this is incredibly boring, but just stick with me.

I'm still trying to find something good enough to trade for this one

So, after dueling to our hearts content, I have divvied up our cards in such a way that I feel is a good starting place for us both to buy our own decks, boosters, etc. and trade between ourselves. I put a lot of work into doing this, and I just needed to explain it all!

Now that we’ve covered that, and if you’re not a card game person, you’re probably exceedingly bored, we can move on to my life, because that’s always such an interesting topic that I’m sure you love reading about.

I’m having a very good day today. I’m honestly feeling very positive, and in no small part to those around me who have been supporting me and giving me encouragement. Today is a day where I honestly feel like standing on my own two feet is not such an impossible thing to do after all. I thank all of my friends for being there for me and especially my boyfriend for cuddling me into submission and helping me to have a very fun weekend by being a dork with me.

Autumn is coming! I have been waxing poetic for a couple of weeks about the approach of Autumn, and I have to say I’m probably more excited for it than I have been in a while, although I can’t prove that. It’s just been such a negative couple of months for me, not in every way, but when it comes to myself, I have been really struggling to get a handle on my life and some kind of grip on my own inner strength. The oppressive heat of summer, which makes me feel at times in a constant dizzyness and faint, has not helped matters much. I will be glad when I walk outside and be awakened by the cold temperature, alert and observant, rather than weak, sleepy and lightheaded.

I’m actually fortunate enough to live in a house where we have an inground pool in the back yard. Did you know that in the summer, the pool heats up with the air? That kind of kills the point, don’t you think?

I can feel, not so much in the temperature but the spirit of the air, as it were, the approach of Autumn. We live in a time where the winter promises comfort and leisure, and all of us who live in this country and have homes are blessed that we don’t live in a time where the winter promises certain death, and where the chill of the wind does not bring with it the same promise of sickness as it once did for our ancestors. I love and appreciate the Earth, but if there’s ever a time that I’m glad not to live in an age or in a community that exists entirely outdoors, it’s this time of year.

Not to be misleading, however, because Winter has always been my favorite season. Honestly it’s probably a toss-up between Autumn and Winter, and Spring is indescribable upon it’s advent, but I’ve always found the winter to be a quiet, peaceful, mysterious, spiritual time. No wonder most of the world’s saviors have been said to be born on December 25.

I will be very happy when I can sit outside, in the cool breeze of Autumn, reading a book, surrounded by the quietly falling yellow leaves of Autumn, and breathe in air that is so fresh and cool, so full of life, as to be like nothing I have tasted in the air of the Summer. Humidity dies away, making room for the cool hand of Autumn, brushing us not with the cruel and mighty power of the frigid winter, but the comforting and cautionary breeze of the fall.