Finding Validation in Fictional Characters

Editor’s Note: This entry was started in June 2017.

Picture this:

I am eight years old. I really, really want a Batgirl action figure because the new Batman movie has just come out and I like her better than Robin or Batman (funnily enough as an adult I have never been able to make it through the movie without laughing). I beg my mom for months that I want a Batgirl Action figure, with her red mesh outfit, blonde hair and sleek leather mask over her face (also I probably had a thing for Alicia Silverstone but I digress).

Imagine my disappointment as I unwrap a Batman action figure instead. Not that Batman is bad! Not at all. I love Batman (still do). I look over at my mom, and she tells me she looked everywhere (this was before Amazon, of course) but she couldn’t find any Batgirl toys.

Years later, I discovered it was because no one (ie boys) wanted Batgirl action figures. And the one barbie-esque doll my mom found was not an action figure, which was what I wanted.

Then, at 13,  I rediscover my love of X-Men. I scour the internet for photos of Jubilee, my favorite character, and all I find are sexual pictures that caused some intense confusion (but that’s another story).

Fast forward to 10-ish years later, and I awake to the news that the new Doctor is going to be a woman. And of course, there’s the usual backlash from the cis-gender white heterosexual fan base, but I digress.

I may not be the eight year old girl that wanted a Batgirl action figure, or the one who was in love with Jubilee at 13, but there, in the darkest part of my soul, I have a little hope. I can show my child the new doctor, and they may not have to struggle like I did to find characters to find validation with.

I hope so.

…She  coulda been ginger, at least.

Advertisements

I Collect Things.

Hey Christian, you have four million other things you could be doing but let’s blog about something stupid! Ok I don’t think it’s stupid. But it might seem like it. Anyway! Enjoy.

I check the bottom of the hoof for a number, and then copy it down carefully into my notebook. As I put the figure aside and begin to record information for the next one, I look up at my wife in realization.

“Is… is this what collectors do? Like, look this stuff up and write it down and actually care?”

She chuckles and nods. “Yep.”

“Oh.” I look down at the notebook in my lap, the name of each figure, the set they are from, the year they were released and any other pertinent information scribbled down in purple ink.

Since I was a kid, I have had numerous collections. Rocks, bottle caps, coins, stuffed animals, manga/comics – you name it, I’ve collected it.

However, I have never really understood the need to be so precise about it. I never understood my former housemate who had containers upon containers of coins with the year, where she found it and what the proposed value of the lot was scrawled on the side – why when at one point, desperate for rent, she went to several coin stores to try and sell them only to have them turned away.

My aunt bought us kids the quarter albums when the state quarters first came out. I tried collecting them, but years later as a starving college student in dire need of food, I dug them out of the box in my closet and used them to buy peanut butter.

I collected the figures originally because I’m a casual My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fan. If you don’t know what that show is, you might be living under a rock. Or you just don’t care, which is fine.

Anyway, I’ve had the figures for quite some time, and finally, this weekend, I decided I was going to try the whole deal: looking them up, writing their information down, maybe even finding out if they were worth something. It couldn’t hurt, right?

I get it now.

There’s something about finding that information. It’s like a treasure hunt, and when you study the minute details, it makes the object you’re collecting really stand out.

For example:

https://goo.gl/photos/6aqRfiv1baKHnFxH9

This is an original figure, released in Wave #1 in 2010. The character is named Rarity, who is one of the six main characters of the show (the fandom term for them is The Mane Six). She is considered one of the more highly desirable figures, as she is often not found right away. I was surprised to learn her value is anywhere from $10 – $15.

Then, to give you an idea of different styles and the like:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/410audUzQNyGtb5X2

https://photos.app.goo.gl/mnXky0DzEQ0veb2s2

https://photos.app.goo.gl/cgX8J1A12eOGKxzJ2

https://photos.app.goo.gl/1DWy0mOmXtnrBT1I3

Neon and Glitter styles, of each of the Mane Six that I have. It’s interesting to note that really only the main characters have edition numbers.

If you want to see the whole collection (so far), here’s the link to the album of my complete collection:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/HUsk9eegOo4hjnQt1

I haven’t purchased any new ones in at least a year… but maybe it’s time to add to the collection.

A Quick Update on Everything

Sheesh. Hi guys – the last couple of weeks have been a little crazy!

Let me explain – no wait, let me sum up:

  • Went to Battlemoor VIII. Freaking awesome. Made some monies there, had a blast. Entry regarding it on my SCA blog.
  • Got a job working as a recruiter for Legal Shield and Identity Theft Programs Salespeople.
  • My Patreon Page got an over-haul. http://www.patreon.com/halflingbardentertainment
  • Opened the etsy version of my store. http://www.etsy.com/bluebonnetemporium
  • I am in my first burlesque show on September 30th.
  • Annnnd I dunno what else.

I have two entries in the works here I hope to get posted soon!

Trying to eat better, An Repeated Exercise in Futility (only this time I’ll win)

I have a strange love affair with food.

Throughout my life and even into my mid 20s (before hormone treatment started) I had one of those metabolisms. You know the one I mean. I could eat mostly anything I wanted and wouldn’t gain a single pound. Of course, being on various medications on and off since 1st grade, my weight often fluctuated.

Couple this with coming from German, Italian and Irish roots: we feed people we love, we make TONS of food and it’s not always the healthiest (for example a big ol’ pot of pasta and meatballs, potato dumplings, schnitzel).

Then the third and most annoying part of it: I am essentially a hormonal teenage boy going through puberty. This means I wanna eat ALL. THE THINGS. I am not kidding – I have demolished more food in the almost 2 years (!!!) I have been on testosterone probably than I have in my entire life.

When I last went to my new PCP and she had me do some blood work, my blood sugars came back super high. Pre-Diabetic high as I understand it. Diabetes is on both sides, with my paternal grandfather dying from complications with that and heart disease before my parents even got together (Dad was in college).

Since then I have cut out soda almost entirely (I still have a diet Pepsi every now and then, and when we go out I get a soda), read the labels on all the foods regarding sugars, and am generally trying to make better food choices.

Lemme tell you though: when one of you is self-employed and the other is in the midst of job searching, AND you only get $187 in food stamps/SNAP benefits a month, this eating right thing gets tricky. Especially when a thing of carrots is one price but the thing of Cheetos is four for five… see where I am going with this?

The other night, I had an epiphany of sorts. I have tried paleo, I’ve tried keto, and lo-carb – every damn time it leads to me being more hungry and more grumpy than I was before (trust me you do not wanna see me when I get hangry). Add this to me wanting to snack on more junk food to feel full, and well…

But what if instead of cutting things out, I tried things in moderation?

I went and read the label on the triscuits box. One serving of crackers is 6 crackers, according to said label. So if I figure this correctly, six crackers twice a day is not as bad as eating the whole damn box in one sitting.

Also only putting Easy Cheese on them sometimes (so bad but so tasty) but I digress.

Ok, so if that makes sense, then let’s go read the serving size for one of my other favorite snacks, olives. Huh, quarter cup of them? Makes even more sense. Portion those out so I am not eating the whole jar in one go.

And pop tarts? Only one pack of those a day and only in the afternoon. Eventually I plan to purchase the organic ones which also taste freaking delicious.

This of course leads to what happens with main meals? We don’t have a scale, buuuut once again our trusty labels and the internet comes to the rescue. All I have to do is figure the serving size for one person, make four to six servings – that feeds Beth, me and we have leftovers for the next day when neither of us wants to cook.

This led to another observation – trying different cooking methods for different things: steaming, frying, boiling, raw, etc, etc can make a serving of boring old tuna turn into something tasty and healthy-ish!

Add more vegetables, more organic and free-range options and voila! A diet that I can work with and finally makes sense for me.

Now of course, you gotta have cheat days. And with an event coming up and me being on a meal plan, I will probably fall off the wagon a bit. However! as long as I keep my portions in mind and try to not eat too much of a bad thing, even then I can make it work.

Finally, I think I will win this battle. I hope so, at least.

I wrote a poem that made me cry.

Here it is.

Yellowstone

To most people its just a destination

something to mark off of their bucket list or sight seeing itinerary.

To me and that select group

it’s a second home.

There are nights where I wish I could walk out the door

and be surrounded by trees

Hear the quiet rumble of the grand loop as I walk down the maintenance road

and then follow the trail to the employee fire ring.

I used to lay on my back on the smokers table

and watch the night sky float by me.

I spent two summers there

but the first will always stick with me the longest.

That second one has some parts of my past I am still coming to terms with.

Have you ever stood not 10 feet away from a bison?

Or smelled the sulfur in the air on the road to Lake?

Have you hiked into the back country

and found a quiet lake to sit beside and read?

There is something in the air there

that’s magical and pure

and real.

I long for that simple life

and feel the call of it in my bones.

Someday I’ll be back.

Someday I will show my child the trails I walked

the sights I saw

that waterfall tumbling down the rocks in its gray-blue-green glory.

I only hope that in their own way

they understand the quiet way I gaze across the canyon

remembering that summer so, so long ago

when Zac, Moe, Trace, Brett and I

stood on the overlook

and couldn’t speak.

Not Too Bad Around Here

Here I am, sitting here at the computer listening to a podcast while drinking my now cold coffee and wondering what the hell I have done to end up in a place like this.

To be fair, I am pretty content.

I am excited about running my own business, even if I am just getting started and can’t afford to own my domain just yet so I can post stuff to sell (working on it – slowly).

Beth has a job working for a friend’s massage business, and that’s helping keep our heads above the water. This also means we can afford things like toilet paper, and underwear and gas.

After a long and intense situation with Income Support, we have our food stamps and insurance, which means we can eat, and we can afford medication (at least for now until Cheeto Head possibly screws it all up).

My sister came to visit two weeks ago and we had a grand old time – we even filmed some YouTube videos for her channel and mine, which I am in the process of working on.

I decided to be a masochist, and on top of blogging and YouTube decided to try my hand at podcasts, which I have loving dubbed “The Bitter English Major”. It’s going to be about books and writing and everything that goes with it. I need to invest in a nicer microphone, but that should be up and running soon. Once I try not to explode.

And I have a new book in the works. A themed poetry collection. I hope people like it.

On the other hand, I have been really struggling with depression, anxiety and dysphoria recently. Beth and I have had a few rough patches, though its nothing we haven’t been able to work through.

Also I have been having trouble with joint pain. Yesterday it was so bad I spent most of the day on the couch, unable to do much but watch TV and sleep. I am going to be contacting my new doctor this week to see if I can get in for a follow-up and maybe find out what’s wrong with me. At the moment the Ibuprofen is wearing off and I feel kinda awful.

But I’m still trucking along. As my buddy Cameron says, “If I’m bitchin’ I’m breathing.”

Thanks for reading today y’all. I appreciate it. If you like what you see, drop a comment, and if you’re so inclined, drop me a donation. You’ll notice I got a new button, and it’s awesome.