Books · Fantasy · Favorites · Life

I’m a Geek! (And It’s Okay!)

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Last weekend Boyfriend and I were walking out of Gamestop, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild clutched happily in my hands, and he jokingly asked when I became such a geek. I brushed off the question, only for it to resurface in my brain later on. When did I become a geek? I wondered, feeling like it was almost a trick question.

In truth, I’ve always been a bit of a geek. For the greater part of my adult life, however, I’ve felt like I had to hide it. When I was a kid I owned a Sega, Playstation, and a Game Boy. One of my best friends was super into video games (and Hanson). I fondly remember sleeping over her house and staying up half the night to play Crash Bandicoot, while Mmm Bop played in the background. I’ve been a book nerd ever since I was old enough to read. My obsession with Harry Potter began when the first book came out, when I was around 11 years old. Those things alone were reason enough to make me feel like a geek. But this didn’t necessarily feel like a good thing. Twenty years ago, people typically used terms like “geek” and “nerd” in a negative way. Geeks were uncool, unattractive, and were supposedly destined to live in their parents’ basements well into their 30s.

I didn’t want that to be me.

As I grew older, I constantly felt like I needed to tone down my geeky side. In my twenties I started hanging around people who made me feel like that side of me was childish and undesirable, so I held back. If I saw a cool Harry Potter shirt for sale, I would look at it and think “I wish I could get away with wearing that,” then quickly dismiss the idea. Those types of things were meant for other people – younger people and people who went to fantasy cons, not for wearing in every day life.

Fast forward to now. We’re halfway through 2019 and I’m approaching 31 years old. I’m currently wearing a jacket with a tiny TARDIS pin on it. There’s another pin on my bag that says “Book Nerd,” which I purchased at BookCon a few weeks ago. There is representation of the fandoms I belong to all over the house. I talk about the books I love and other “geeky” topics on my blog frequently. I plan on attending HeroesCon this weekend.

So, what’s changed? you ask.

A small part of it is the fact that nerd culture and being part of particular fandoms is becoming more mainstream. There are comic and fantasy conventions all over the country, nerd makeup brands, Instagram pages dedicated to cosplay, shows like the Big Bang Theory, etc. Being a geek no longer has the same shameful connotation that it had twenty years ago. Not only is it acceptable now, but in a lot of ways, it’s cool. I don’t deny any of this, but at the same time, it’s not the only reason that I’ve decided to stop hiding my inner geek away from the rest of the world.

Ironically, despite all my griping about turning thirty, I’ve learned quite a bit about myself this past year. I’ve started focusing more on the things that make me happy and letting go of the ones that don’t. I’ve stopped trying to hang around people who make me feel like I need to change or hide who I really am and started spending more time around people who encourage me to be myself. I’ve stopped caring what people think of my pop culture shirts and anime pins. If they don’t like it or want to judge me for it that’s their problem, not mine. Finally letting go, not worrying as much, and just letting my inner geek out in all it’s glory has been a huge breath of fresh air. One that I didn’t realize I needed.

For anyone else out there feeling like they need to hide the things they enjoy: Let it out. Let your geek flag fly.

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Books · food · Life · travel

New York/BookCon 2019 Weekend (part 2)

Earlier in the week I told you all about the amazing time I had at BookCon this year, but I didn’t get to tell you about the rest of my fabulous weekend in New York. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. I love New York City – the sights, the sounds, the people, the endless amount of things to see and do, and (most of all) THE FOOD. I could have easily spent the rest of my week there and still wouldn’t have been ready to come home.

I arrived Friday morning and made a beeline for Chelsea Market, which, in my humble opinion, is one of the best food/shopping halls in the country. While I was there I downed a huge bowl of delicious, thick hand-pulled noodles with cumin-lamb sauce, immediately followed by a black-and-white cookie (a childhood favorite of mine). Definitely not a bad start to my trip.

After checking onto my AirBnb I spent several hours wandering the streets of the city, hitting up old favorites and new places that I wanted to check out. One of my favorites was a bookstore called Kinokuniya. The bottom floor was filled with nothing but books in Japanese and a huge selection of stationary and Asian-themed gifts. The second floor was packed with English books of every genre, including tons of Japan-focused books (the cookbook section was amazing!). The top floor was packed with nothing but English and Japanese language manga, graphic novels, and anime. If there weren’t a dozen other places I wanted to visit, I would have easily spent half of my day in that store.

That night I ate Japanese curry and paid a visit to one of my favorite bakeries, Bibble & Sip, where I got a white chocolate-matcha cream puff, plus Totoro and Lucky Alpaca macarons.

BookCon took up most of my days on Saturday and Sunday. When I wasn’t hanging out with all the other book nerds, I was eating more delicious food and simply enjoying my surroundings. By the time Monday morning rolled around I was tired from all the walking and adventures, but it was worth every minute (and calorie). 🙂

Books · Life · travel

BookCon 2019 Weekend!

 

This past weekend was an amazing one. Not only did I get to spend some time in one of my favorite cities in the world (New York), but I got to attend BookCon for the second year in a row. 🙂 I got tickets for both Saturday and Sunday this year and I’m sooo glad I did because there was too many fun things to do to be able to squeeze it all into one day.

I attended 5-6 panels over the weekend, featuring both super popular and lesser known authors. I saw V.E. Schwab (again), Cassandra Clare, Renee Ahdieh, Stephanie Garber, Mason Deaver…to name a few. For me, the panels are one of the best parts of BookCon because of all the inspiration and ideas it gives me for my own writing. I spent hours wandering the floor, checking out (and buying) tons of amazing books, graphic novels, book-themed apparel and accessories, games, etc. I skipped the autographing this year. There were too many panels I wanted to attend that I couldn’t figure out how to fit them in. Check out some of the haul I brought home:

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One of my favorite things about BookCon is the amazing peopleI have honestly never felt more like I was among “my people” than I have at BookCon the past two years. Everywhere you look, you’re surrounded by people who truly love reading and are not afraid to show it. Regardless of what category you put yourself under (if any), you’ll find it represented there – nerds, female, male, LGBTQ, black, white, people with hair in every shade of the rainbow, cosplayers, writers, gamers, etc. It’s such a beautiful and wonderful group of people and I am always so proud to be among them.

I already can’t wait to go back next year. ❤

(More about the rest of my trip coming soon!)

Life

Mixing It Up

I’ve noticed recently how much my tastes have changed over the past year. My food preferences are slightly different – I’m suddenly crazy about certain flavors that I was indifferent to previously. (Hello mint chip ice cream, where have you been my whole life?) Now that I’m moving past the minor crisis I had over what I’m supposed to wear now that I’m thirty, I find my personal tastes in clothing/jewelry shifting, also. I suppose it’s normal to reinvent yourself from time to time. I mean, if you look at your own life, would you say that you like the exact same things that you liked 10 years ago? I’m guessing the answer is no.

Since I’ve been mixing things up a bit, I thought it might be fun to talk about some of the things I’m into lately.

Tea – I started drinking green tea last year and fell in love with matcha a few months ago. Now, I’m drinking it all the time and actively seeking out tea-flavored things. Check out these Earl Grey and chocolate “oreos” I made over the weekend.

Anime/Manga – Not too long ago I discovered the world of Studio Ghibli and I’ve been exploring the world of anime/manga ever since.

Pins – I’ve been adding all kinds of cute/crazy pins to my outfits lately. Here are a couple of my newest acquisitions.

Podcasts – I listen to mostly food podcasts, but there are a few others that I really enjoy, as well. At the moment my favorites are the Spilled Milk podcast, Abroad in Japan podcast, and Mugglecast.

And, last but not least…the fact that BookCon is in less than 2 weeks!!! 🙂

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Life · mental health

Humiliation, Table for One

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I woke up today feeling better than I have in several weeks. The sun is shining, both outside my window and is beginning to peek out of the dark corner of my brain where it has been dormant as of late. I’m thinking more clearly and can actually focus again. Even writing this post, I notice that the words are flowing more freely from my brain to the keyboard, which sounds like an obvious thing that would happen, right? I hate to admit it, but something even as simple as that has been a virtually impossible task during my brain-induced fog.

So, what is the reason for my sudden change of mood? Honestly, I have no idea. Considering the events of this past weekend, I was beginning to think that I would never be anything other than a sad sack of crap ever again.

I mentioned previously that I have been feeling super lonely lately. To combat those feelings, I tried to force myself out of my comfort zone a little and *gasp* make some new friends. (Oh, the horror!) There’s a Facebook group that I’m a part of for women who love to travel. The group consists of women all over the world and is a great resource for getting new travel tips/ideas. Periodically, they have in-person meetups, like the one they scheduled in Charlotte this past weekend. When I learned of the event a few months ago I had been excited to get to sit down with some of my fellow travelers and swap stories. If I was lucky, I might even make a few new friends in the process. It all sounded good, in theory, but I feel like I should have known better. By the time Saturday rolled around I was feeling pretty negative about the whole situation. (Thanks, anxiety! Love you.) I got up, got dressed, and drove over to the coffee shop where the meetup was, determined to stick it to my anxiety. I went inside, ordered a cup of coffee and sat down at an empty table. But that was about as much victory as I was going to get that day.

I sat at the table for 10-15 minutes, wondering how I was supposed to know who I was supposed to be meeting. It should have been easy to tell, right? A table full of women. I swear, it was like the universe started laughing at me at that very moment. Practically every person seated in the place was female. I sat there a little while longer, trying to gather up the courage to go from table to table, hoping to find my party. I glanced at my phone, hoping the group had put out a  message about where to meet them, but all I had was a message from Boyfriend saying “You got this!”

But I didn’t have it. That was actually when I completely lost my shit and started to tear up. My social anxiety seized hold of me at that very moment and sent me into full panic-mode, prompting me to abandon my coffee and the whole endeavor and run back to my car crying.

Needless to say, I didn’t feel too great about myself after that. Even though nobody from the group witnessed my embarrassing display (at least I hope they didn’t), I felt humiliated and defeated anyway. Perhaps humiliation looks good on me, because, for whatever reason, I’m feeling more like my old self today. The fact that I can even write this post and get a small chuckle out of it says a lot.

Maybe next time I’ll just drink my coffee at home.

 

food · Life · mental health

Ice Cream Blues

I realized today that it’s been some time since I last posted anything. I’m not sure if my last few posts even count, as most of them weren’t book-related or terribly interesting. I’ve been in a bit of funk for weeks now – not super depressed, but just depressed enough that I don’t have much desire to do things I normally enjoy. I’ve been reading, but it’s taking me forever to finish the books that I start. I keep telling myself that I should try to blog or write, but my stupid brain always leads me back to the same question each time: “Why bother?” (Hello, Negative Nancy, so nice for you to stop by and visit a while.) I’ve been feeling quite lonely lately, as well. The people I used to be close to have all moved away and the few friends I still have here I am not particularly close with, or they just never seem to have time for me. While I normally prefer to do things on my own for the most part, lately I keep finding myself wishing I had some other people to do things with, even if it’s only on occasion. This past weekend I took a short trip by myself. I did my best to enjoy myself and did all my usual activities – exploring, checking out the local bookstores, and eating lots of yummy things – but the whole time I kept feeling like something was missing, like I would have really enjoyed having a travel buddy with me for once.

On top of all that I managed to injure myself over the weekend. I’m not sure whether it’s a stress fracture, a sprain, or what (I’ll be going to the doctor tomorrow), but I managed to mess up my foot from all the walking I did on my trip. Having to lay around all week with my foot elevated and shooting pain whenever I try to walk really hasn’t been doing much to brighten my spirits, believe it or not.

I don’t have a happy note to end this on. I just wanted you guys to know that I’m hanging in there and that I’m still here. I thought about writing this post earlier in the week, but even that felt like too much effort, especially considering the entire time my brain has been trolling me and telling me that nobody wants to hear about my problems anyway. *sigh*

Thank you, as always, for being here. I appreciate you all. ❤

(Since I don’t have any book-related things to talk about, I offer you this delicious picture of some taiyaki ice cream. Because ice cream helps make everything better.)

Life · mental health

Wtf Am I Supposed to Wear? (And Other Things That Keep Me Up at Night)

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Perhaps it’s due to all the excess stress at work recently, but I’ve been having difficulty sleeping, despite the fact that I’ve been crawling into bed by 9:00 every evening. Early this morning, at the wee hours of 4:30, I was wide awake again. I gave up a few hours later, once Merlin decided that those lumps underneath the covers (aka my feet) were deadly enemies that must be destroyed. Truthfully, I was somewhat grateful for the excuse to get out of bed, having exhausted my mind with a major issue that has been haunting me lately…

What the fuck am I supposed to wear now that I’m 30?

You can roll your eyes at me if you want (I know I probably would if I was reading this), but this is a legit concern that has been bothering me lately, along with a few other key 30-something related issues. Remember last year, when I was panicking and having a major existential crisis over turning thirty? I look back at it and chuckle a little bit, because it really was no big deal. I’m still me, chugging along, trying to figure out who I am and what the hell I’m doing with my life. (I’m beginning to suspect that I will continue to feel that way on and off throughout my life and that it has nothing to do with my age.) Nothing major happened. Well, except one thing. Despite the fact that my eating habits have remained the same and I exercise regularly, I’ve noticed some small, but noticeable changes in my body. My metabolism has slowed and I’ve gained a few pounds. Only a few pounds. No big deal, right? But that’s where you’re wrong. Considering my 20 year battle with body image and eating issues, I didn’t handle this particularly well at first. I admit that I almost relapsed, due to that stupid little voice in the back of my brain that likes to troll me and tell me that my weight and appearance are important and are tied to my worth as a human being. Fortunately, I’ve had some time to adjust to my new 30-year old body and was able to pull myself off the edge of another downward spiral. Phew.

But, there’s still one problem.

I’ve noticed recently that some of my clothing is a little snugger that it used to be. It makes sense, as much as I want to rebel against it. As someone who detests shopping for clothing, I’ve put off fixing my wardrobe for as long as possible. I’ve reached a point, however, where I’ve grown tired of trying to squeeze my slightly larger hips and ass into jeans that were skintight to begin with, so I’ve had to begin shopping for new clothes. *Cue second crisis*

During a recent excursion to Hell, I mean, the mall, I all but had a complete mental meltdown. There really is no better place for it, after all, with all those bright lights and hundreds of staring, obnoxious sales people. (Just picture it: Me lying on the floor of the mall, sobbing and pulling her hair out as a kiosk saleslady runs over and attempts to spray me with free perfume samples.) Even my failed attempts to shop online have led to the same frustrating, confusing conclusion that I don’t know how I’m supposed to dress anymore.

Body changes aside, I’m not the same person that I was in my twenties. I’m successful at my job and work in a professional office setting. I don’t go out as much as I used to anymore. When we do go out we hang out as more relaxed, casual places, rather than loud, stuffy bars and clubs. I actually care about being comfortable now. Suddenly, all the tight, short dresses and high heels in my closet feel completely out of place in my life. When I’m not at work, I typically wear jeans or yoga pants with something comfortable on top. I wear flat boots and converse sneakers. I’ve started wearing my glasses all the time. But what am I supposed to wear to work? What about when I’m going out? My jeans, nerdy t-shirts, and cardigans are fine for when I’m hanging out at the bookstore or coffee shop, but what about the rest of the time? I’ve been struggling for years to figure out how I’m supposed to dress in the semi-professional/business casual environment at work that still allows me to express who I am. But, honestly, I’m not even sure what I’m trying to express anymore. Places like Ann Taylor and Banana Republic are too old for me. Forever 21 is too young. So where am I supposed to buy my clothes? Why is there no store for people like me? They can call it “Leggings & Lace” or “Mid-Life Moxie.” “Wine and WTF is On My Shirt?” Even if they had these stores, I still probably wouldn’t know how to dress myself, considering I’ve never been particularly good at these things.

Not long ago I got brave and added purple streaks to my hair. It’s on the underside and there are few of them. You can hardly even see them unless my hair is up and there is good lighting. Still, I know they’re there and I like them. I like my slightly funky, rebellious hair, even if nobody else realizes it exists. (Especially Boyfriend, who is colorblind.) Is it okay for me to have purple-streaked hair now that I’m thirty? I don’t know. Do my nerdy tees and converse sneakers make me look like I’m trying to be younger than I am? Again, I don’t know. How do I figure out the balance between being comfortable, but still looking professional enough for work? I DON’T KNOW. All I know is that I have a closet full of clothing meant for my 20-something year old self that don’t feel like “me” anymore.

I’m going shopping again this afternoon. Wish me luck.