Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Quick(ish) sketch -Vilkas or Farkas?

It's been awhile since I've drawn anything more than a few very quick pen sketches. Tonight I broke out some colored pencils and did this to start getting the feel for shading again. I can't decide if this is Farkas or Vilkas from Skyrim (they're twins, but different enough to notice). I'm leaning toward Vilkas, but it's a bit too soft to be him, yet, while too rough to be Farkas. And anyway, this is a bad representation of it. My iPad takes horrible photos. Forgive me.

Still, it's nice to get back to drawing, even with quick, maybe-to-be-finished-maybe-not stuff.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Night of the Jumping Rope of Calf-Death

I bought a jump rope yesterday.

You might think this to be a statement of innocent, memory-lane-induced nostalgia, and this is understandable. After all, until tonight, I hadn't jumped-rope in easily 20 years. And while I admit that, yes, seeing the exact same blue, white, and red beaded jump ropes I used as a kid on made my heart flutter and my face nearly split in half with a toothy - yes, nostalgic - grin, my true purpose is health.

I've been needing to lose weight and get back into good shape for quite some time now. I haven't been trying nearly as long as the need has existed, of course. However, with my not-so recent heart problems and pure discomfort at my own body shape, I have recently become much more serious about it, and active. I am walking almost every week day after work, and eating better (though that could use some work, too). Not long ago, I read about the healthy, fitness-related benefits of jumping-rope, as they pertain to cardiovascular health (!) and the working of most of the body's muscles while jumping. Supposedly (I'm trying not to be too skeptical), jumping-rope for fifteen minutes burns the same number of calories as jogging five miles.

I'm all for getting similar results faster and - I thought - easier.

And so tonight I jumped-rope, my 31-year-old-body trying desperately to mimick the remembered ease, speed, and grace of my six-, seven-, or even eight-year-old jump-rope princess' moves. I'm lucky I didn't trip myself and fall on my face, rip my largely unused upper calf-muscles (a serious danger), whip myself in the face, or just pass out outright. It was only two sets of fifteen jumps and two sets of forty-five jumps, each set separated by recommended fifteen-second, wheezy, doubled-over breaks.

To say 31-Year-Old-Me is humbled - nay, licking her wounds - is a slight understatement. That rope owned me, that skinny bitch.

Six-Year-Old-Me facepalmed with heavy sighs and rolling eyes, attempting not to giggle and probably wishing she could take the rope and show me how it was done. 31YOM (hey, that's easier to type!) bows deeply, acknowledging her young Jumping Sensei's mastery.

Now I sit alternately relaxed(ish) and stretching my calves, which while not terribly painful yet, hold a deep and lengthening promise of achiness and awkward, wobbly, not-quite-walking-correctly movements tomorrow. The Skinny Bitch lies draped across the foot of the bed, all black and sleek and sexy, and I swear if a rope could grin maliciously, this one is leering at me. 

31YOM and 6YOM accept the challenge: "Bring it, you lanky, plastic hussy!" And so tomorrow brings Round Two.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Being an Artsy-Fartsy MBA

Over the past couple weeks I've been seriously looking into the art school option versus continuing with my MBA. I still have some (fairly critical) research to do before deciding, but it's looking more and more like I will be continuing the MBA and learning what I need about computer animation on my own. If any actual classes turn out to be necessary, I will attempt to take them at one of the junior colleges in my area.

After speaking with several people about computer animation (or any kind of art, really) for game design and movie magic, I've come across a fairly commonly shared idea: art school is not necessary. in keeping with the logic of the idea of applying for an art-related job, it seems many of the companies I'd be interested place far more importance on portfolios than on degrees. This makes sense; a degree simply assures that you passed classes, but says nothing of skill or talent. The portfolio shows what you can do. Apparently, some companies (such as Blizzard) have actually specified that to interested artists, saying a degree is nice, but truly not necessary; they base their hiring decisions on portfolios, and if a person has outstanding skill with no schooling, that's fine.

This is good. However, it does present a couple of problems.

1. I know absolutely nothing about computer animation or any other game design and movie magic elements. I took one basic Flash class years ago while working on my graphic design degree. To say it was sub-par is laughable. Thus, learning to animate, learning what programs are used in the industry, etc., will be left to online tutorials and any JC classes I feel would make up for a lack of tutorials.

2. Hard as it may be to believe, I don't know the first thing about putting together a portfolio. While obtaining my graphic design degree, I was told not to just throw a bunch of artwork together in a folder and call it done ... and that was the be-all and end-all of portfolio advice: what not to do, in very generalized terms. So, what do I do? How many pieces of artwork do I show? Do I stick with a theme, or go over all the styles and subjects I'm skilled with? Do I show only traditional art, only digital art, or a combination thereof? Should I create an online portfolio, and if so, how fancy or plain should that be? I know so little.

Between researching these things, I am also researching game and movie studios and artists. I plan on contacting as many people actually working in the industry, doing what I want to do, as possible, to find out how they got in and what is generally sought in new artists. If it turns out that self-learning and a good portfolio really is the way to go, I'll be doing that while working on the MBA, albeit slowly. Then, even if I end up never managing anyone (oh, please, oh, please), at least I'll have a bit more business knowledge for selling my own art on the side, and all have a nice fancy degree to put up on the wall, just to show I did it. Even if I'm the only one to ever see it.

Six-Year-Old-Me is impatient. She wants me to just throw a bunch of artwork together in a folder and walk right in to Lucas Arts, Bethesda, Blizzard, Pixar, or any number of others and just wow them. She's cute, but 31-Year-Old-Me is cautious.

This caution led me to seek the advice of one of the few people in the world whose advice I will take without hesitation every time. Bob Billingsley is a co-worker, but more importantly, he's my adopted-Grandpa/Buddha/mentor. Few people I've met in life have the open-minded, balanced, learning-from-all-walks-of-life views that he does. A columnist at the paper I work for, his wise life lessons often combine the teachings of Native Americans, Buddhism, Christianity, Atheism, and plain old' common sense. It's charming and always makes damn good sense.

After explaining my dilemma, I listened as Bob told me to go for it. With his usual empathy and sensibility, he told me that there are many "yes, but ..." responses to the question, "Should I drop out of business school and go back to art school?" However, he says, while these are good things to listen to and consider, I should not let them hold me back or make my decision for me. He thinks that I really should have been doing something more creative than my current job all along, and that while starting over with a new career direction is risky, it's a risk I need to take. He believes that I can make it work.

He then hugged me and said "Uncle Bob loves you, and you need to do this," and sent me on my way, reminding me that when I was ready for my first-ever art show, he'd be there. And Six-Year-Old-Me and 31-Year-Old-Me both grinned, and when I went to the Art Institute's open house the next morning, it was with a renewed sense of excitement. I doubt I'll be attending AI for a full degree, but its another option for any individual classes I might want to take, and viewing the presentation make that old, much-missed sketching itch start up again. 

It's time to draw again, and paint.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Should I stay or should I go?

Since my last post I have successfully stopped Paxil (no negative withdrawal stuff whatsoever), completed one more MBA class and kept my 4.0 (by a hair's breadth, again), cut my hair super short, and discovered that I am right smack dab in the middle of an apparent mid-life (one-third-life?) crisis.

See, I decided way back in 2007 that I should return to college to further my education, get a nice bachelor degree, and basically increase my chances of some day landing a nice prosh job that I like and that pays me much better than my current paycheck. And it was a damn good idea, too ... at the time.

At the time, all the jobs I was interested in wanted either a bachelor's degree in whatever, or x years experience. Lacking experience, I went for the degree. After slowing down my schedule and several breaks (avoiding burnout, moving, medical scares), I graduated summa cum laude in 2010 with a 3.96 GPA. And it meant diddly squat, because now all those same jobs I'd been interested in before want both the bachelors and the experience. I was still lacking, and no matter what job I applied for  — be it some lofty title or glorified secretary — I never even got an interview, just the automated, "Don't call us, we'll call you," and no call.

So I thought a master's degree might make up for the lack of experience (not that many people have a master's degree, it turns out, so it's impressive), and went back to school again. I'm now exactly half way through my MBA, and I really, really, really don't want to continue any further.

This is not due to a lack of ambition. It's due to a lack of prior research on my part concerning MBA graduates' general responsibilities and expectations in the workplace. See, I thought an MBA (in marketing) would simply mean I'd end up smarter about marketing than someone with only a BBA. I didn't know it would be grooming me for, and that potential employers would be hiring for, management positions.

You might ask, "Well, you're going for your master's degree in business administration, dear; what did you expect?"

And you'd be right to ask it. Looking back, all I can fathom is that I figured since the BBA wouldn't be getting me into a management position right away (especially with no experience) bumping it up to a master's wouldn't, either; it would just give me more knowledge. And it has. This degree work, and my professors, have given me the knowledge that although I'll still need some training first, I will be expected to manage others as an MBA grad. Not hoped for. Not encouraged. Expected.

I. Do. Not. Want. To. Manage. Others.

Why? Because I hate people. Because people, in general, are stupid — and no, paychecks and/or threat of losing jobs do not make people attempt to be smarter and/or more responsible. Mostly. So says my experience both in the working world and with group projects in school. I'm a great group leader, apparently, but as tired as the saying is, it's true: You can lead the horse to water, but even in attempting to drown the damned thing, you cannot make it drink.

I do not want to be responsible for, running after, tracking down, encouraging, cajoling, begging, threatening, holding-the-hands-of, and ultimately doing the work for, stupid, irresponsible people who most likely won't pay for their fuck ups in any way that actually means anything to them.

I am not a people person. To be a good leader (not just a manager), you have to be a people person, or at least be damned good at faking it. I'm as good at faking liking stupid people as I am at building rockets. I have almost endless patience with people who don't understand something but are genuinely trying, but those who really don't give a shit make me want to grind their faces off on the nearest patch of rough asphalt ... not talk with them about motivation and encourage them to try harder next time because we're all depending on them.

So, I'm halfway through something that is setting me up for the last thing in the world I want to do, and what keeps haunting me is all the could-have-beens.

I'm only 31, but if I'd stuck with my high school interest in astronomy (in any science, really), I'd be a scientist now. Right now. As I write this, as you read this, I'd be looking forward to my next day of fun, science-y, nerdy awesomeness. I'd be an astronaut, or astrophysicist, or marine biologist, or forestry biologist, or mad scientist in the typical blowing-up-chemistry-labs-while-reanimating-twitching-flesh manner.

I'd be doing something that matters.

Or, if I'd just had the guts to continue my pursuit of making my artwork work for me, I could have been the one designing the dragons of Skyrim. Or the orcs, or the elves, or the different guild styles, or the weapons, or the landscapes, or ... Or,  I could be working in movie magic. I could have been the one doing the artistic details and backgrounds in the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit movies. I could have worked on the aliens in Prometheus. Or the frost giants in Thor. Or, or, or.

About a year ago, I typed up the obituary for a man not much older than myself who had worked for Blizzard. He was an artist, like me. One year at Comic Con, he walked up to the Blizzard booth, opened his portfolio, and was hired on the spot. He designed many things for the, but his weapons were his legacy.

That could have been me. How many years of Comic Con have I not walked up to a booth and shown my portfolio in the wild hope that just exactly that would happen, to me? How many years of "Oh, yeah, like that would ever happen,"? How many years could I have been doing something I love? How many years have I lost?

And the thought that keeps coming back to me, sneering, laughing, digging in dagger-deep, is, "Why the hell did I go back to school for business degrees?!? Why didn't I follow my dreams? It worked for that guy. It worked for everyone currently designing video games and movie magic."

And then there's the quieter, unsure, terrifying and exciting though that follows it: "Well. It's not too late, you know. You are only 31."

That thought, combined with my best friend's encouragement (she was an admissions rep at a state university for years) has me doing some serious soul-searching ... and art school researching. Mad as it may be, financially crazy as it might be, I'm becoming more and more serious about dropping out of the MBA pursuit and starting over completely with an art degree in computer animation.

My friend has me sold on the idea of finding an art school with great financial aid and somehow getting enough scholarships and grants to not only pay for school, but pay for me to do only school, and not worry about working, too. That's a lot of money. And it's a really big if.

But, if I could make that happen ... Five years from now, maybe less, I could be living a completely different life, enjoying my work, happy. In debt up to my ears, but in debt and happy.

That happiness thing, it makes all the difference. At this rate, with the BBA and MBA, I'm already looking at lots of debt for a long time. And the MBA may land me a job that would make that debt considerably easier. But I wouldn't be happy. I wouldn't be enjoying life. I'd be stressed out, angry, irritable, joyless, depressed, dead inside. What the fuck is the point of that?

So, I'm withdrawing, again, and I'm going to give artwork another chance. If I'm lucky, if I can find a school and the right financial aid, I won't be returning to finish the MBA. And, despite my heart-wracking attempts to do well so far and the resulting 4.0, I think I can walk away without a hitch. I've still got the BBA, summa cum laude, as backup if the art dream fails.

I think it's time to find a way to make it succeed.

Six-Year-Old-Me agrees, and is dragging out the finger paints.

Friday, April 20, 2012

What did you say?

After some back and forth with the doctor's office, I have been given the official "OK" to stop Paxil. This is good, although honestly I'd have stopped it without that approval. "It's my body," and all that.

What's not so terribly great is that my doctor says there's really no "one best way" to stop the drug, and that most people experience withdrawals from Paxil to some extent. So, I should just start weaning myself off it by reducing the dosage as fast or slow as seems to work for me. No recommendations. Just, "Call if you have problems or questions."

I like my nurse practitioner a lot more than I like my doctor.

Now, a bit of research on potential withdrawal symptoms has me a little ... worried. Yeah. I know. I'm supposed to be trying not to worry so much, and I am trying. But, well ... I don't really want to experience loss of balance, sleep disturbances, "brain swooshes" (not my term but apparently an accurate one), and oh yeah — auditory hallucinations.

I could probably handle everything but that last bit. I don't want to hear things that aren't there, just like I don't want to see things that aren't there. There is a good reason I never took up the junkie/tweaker lifestyle. My imagination is flamboyant enough on it's own; I think I'd pee myself if I actually saw or heard some of the beasties I think up and draw.

Six-Year-Old-Me remembers some of her wilder imaginings and agrees. I've always been on the slightly morbid side of things. Not that I don't like nice things like unicorns and bunnies and teddy bears and such. I just prefer my unicorns to be the black Night Mares, or my own version of the Corrupted Night Mares (see below). And OK, yeah, bunnies and teddy bears are pushing it. Point: I like dark things. I like light things too, so long as there's some sort of dark twist to them.

And really, I don't want to see or hear this, ever:

    "Night Mare Carnivale" © C. Vandever, 2006

... or this:
    "Night Mare Quick Sketch" © C. Vandever, 2011

Yes, I drew both of those, and yes, Six-Year-Old-Me approves (I used to be enthralled by the covers on horror movies at the movie store, even with the latest beloved Benji movie tucked under one arm). See what I mean? Can you just imagine the slobbery, wheezy, scratchy, hyperventilating breathing of one of those lovies sneaking up behind you, all horsey and brimstone-y and undead?

I can. I don't want to hear that. I think that would freaking paralyze me.

Now, what I don't know is if these auditory hallucinations are that type of sound, or voices, or if it's just weird buzzing/tones. Either way, I'm not interested. Voices would be freaky, too, and weird buzzing and tones that are random and the source of which eludes me drives me batshit. So, paranoid or merely annoyed, I'd still be unhappy.

But that's a possibility I have to accept. My own doctor claims nearly everyone getting off Paxil experiences some form of withdrawal. But in my research some other "medical expert" claimed that only about 20% of people experience withdrawals. Being ever the realist, I'll hope the latter is correct, but prepare for the former.

With no actual guide for getting off this stuff, I just have to figure it out on my own. I am tempted to make a darkly sarcastic remark about the medical system and usefulness, but I'll refrain. So, how do I do this? I have an idea ...

When I started the drug, I was instructed to begin at 10 mg for the first week, then alternate between 20 and 10 mg for the second week, and then just go right on to 20 mg, my current daily dose. Since the drug had to build up in my system before "kicking in," I'm guessing it won't be as simple as just reversing that to get off it. Here's my five-week plan for dosing down:

Week One (starting tonight): Alternate 20/10 mg
Week Two: 10 mg
Week Three: Alternate 10/5 mg
Week Four: 5 mg
Week Five: Alternate 5/0 mg

Week Six, toward the end of May, should be when I'm done ... if all goes well. If it doesn't, I'll stick with the same dosage steps, but double the time for each to two weeks. So I am (perhaps naively) hoping to be Paxil-free by the end of June at the latest.

Six-Year-Old-Me thinks it's a good plan. 30-Year-Old-Me tries not to think too hard about six-year-olds not being optimal at medical advice. 30-Year-Old-Me remembers just how often I fell and got scraped up, and felt no need for cleaning up the blood and dirt. And band-aids? Pshaw. They're for sissies.

So tonight I'm cutting my dose in half. Wish me luck. Heck, at this point I'd settle for non-audible strange dreams, so wish me those, too. And yes, I promise to blog updates on my progress, especially with any drawings of invisible things that creep up and say "Hello."

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Yeesh. Did three months fly by just like that? Apparently.

Well, not just like that. I finished that accounting class and despite my desperate fears, I still have a 4.0. Granted, I withdrew immediately after the class ended to take a break, because anxiety and stress were making my heart palpitations return despite the beta blocker I'm on, which usually keeps things pretty normal. I will be returning to classes in July, and for some silly reason I had thought that between the end of that class and July, I'd somehow "get things in order," and not be stressed anymore. Or at least not as badly.

Six Year Old Me rollls her eyes at that and chuckles, wiser than her six years ... Hell, wiser than my 30.

I started taking Paxil for anxiety. Yes, I'll admit the Big Bad Dark Thing: I live with depression, and between that and the amount of stress I've been dealing with over the last three or four years, I've developed a bit of anxiety. Well. Maybe more than a bit. About a year ago I came to a hard decision that despite not liking the idea of putting man-made drugs into my system to alter my mood, I didn't want to be depressed anymore. So I asked my doctor to prescribe an antidepressant.

It worked, but I began having what later turned out to be entirely unrelated heart palpitations, which scared me, so I got off that antidepressant and tried another one. That one worked even better, to the point that I could feel it "kick in" during particularly stressful situations and make me nicely distant and calm.

Guess what? Driving is a really big stressor for me. I can't help it. I just can't seem to get used to the idea of jaw-droppingly bad drivers nearly killing me on an almost daily basis. This meant that this second drug would kick in while driving and calm me down. It was nice at first, even welcome, but then it became more random, and stronger.

Then one night, driving home from a show with Matt (have I introduced Matt? I will), I felt very little stress, but suddenly that nice comforting distance kicked in ... a lot. I felt as if I were not actually driving, but rather sitting in my own head watching my body go through the motions. I kept asking Matt, who has been in several auto accidents and who is generally paranoid when anyone but he or I drives, if I was driving ok. He said I was doing fine, but oh boy, did I not feel fine. I wondered, "If something happens and I have to react quickly, will I be able to? Will I react correctly, or make the situation worse? ... Will I react at all, or will I simply watch the accident happen, distanced and calm in the knowledge that 'This is really going to hurt?'"

I eventually pulled off the road and made Matt drive the rest of the way home. The next day I called my doctor and axed that antidepressant as well, and decided not to try for a third time. I'd just deal with the depression, just as I'd been doing for years. It wasn't worth dying over.

Those heart palpitations that I'd thought were caused by the first antidepressant returned several months later and proceeded to worsen. Since heart problems run in my family (my grandfather would still be alive otherwise), I thought it prudent to get it checked out. After a scary time of EKGs, echocardiograms and stress tests, it turns out my heart is fine. It's in pretty darn good shape, actually, and so is the rest of me, according to blood results. Unless I become morbidly obese, I will never have cholesterol problems. Good to know.

Apparently, although some arrhythmia (the palpitations) is caused by bad stuff and means bad things, some of it is like a natural cowlick in your hair: no reason to be there and aside from being annoying, not harming anything. That's what I've got. My heart has simply decided it doesn't want to beat normally all the time. Apparently, normal is boring. How fashionable.

However, this same kind of arrhythmia can be brought on or made worse by stress. This is also the case with me, as my palpitations would be worse on those days and in those situations that my stress levels were higher. So now I'm on this nice little beta blocker that keeps my heart rate regular and a little slower than normal. (Note: the very first night I took the beta blocker I hated it and was totally freaked out by the distanced, hazy feeling combined with the odd sensation of two me's in one body, one slightly foreshortened and "floatier" than the regular one. The greasy feeling sucked too. Day two was much better, so I stuck it out an am glad I did.)

A few months ago, approximately one year after stopping the second antidepressant, my stress level became so high that I had a minor breakdown. I say minor, but really, it was fucking scary. I was crying, cringing, wringing my hands, absolutley desperate for some solution, some end, to the problems I'm facing, and nearly hyperventilating. And I couldn't stop it, and part of me was OK with that.

That scared me more, and part of me was OK with that, too, which of course scared me more.

I say it was minor only because although I couldn't seem to control myself for a little bit there, I managed not to break anything, hurt myself, or end it all. And no, I'm not trying to make light of the situation or of the tragedy of suicide, just stating the truth. It scared the shit out of me and I don't ever want to feel anything like it again.

The next day, I called my doctor again. Now I'm on Paxil.

With recent developments, now I want off Paxil.

See, both Paxil and the beta blocker I'm on make me sleepy. I was prepared for this, and so I take both pills at night, shortly before bed. The awesomess? I now sleep better than I remember having ever slept in my life. Literally. I have always had problems falling asleep and then staying asleep. I can't remember having slept easily or well even as a small child, as far back as my memories go.

Now, I am routinely dead to the world at night, quickly, and stay that way unless something intervenes to wake me.

And therein lies the problem. I have a finicky body. My body likes to have to pee a lot at night, even if I haven't had much liquid before bed. My ears are attempting to qualify as super-human, hearing even low-volume noises easily, and my brain, being over active always, is unable to ignore what my ears hear. Ear plugs and a fan are necessities for me to sleep, and I can still usually hold up my end of a conversation while the plugs are in. Yeah. Super-human.

My body severely disliskes heat, but my blood is apparently part lava. I get really hot really easily. This wakes me up. My orange tabby cat, Goblin, likes to (see: insists on) sleeping on my legs at night, whether I need a personal heater or not. This leads to hours-long battles between me kicking him off the bed and him peeking up slyly over the side of the bed and watching until my breathing evens out with sleep, then jumping back up and making himself comfortable on my legs again. Matt, who usually stays up later than me, has witnessed this stealthy move many times.

Nights like these, despite the beta blocker and Paxil, while my sleep is great when I'm actually sleeping, I don't sleep well due to being woken again and again. This results in my being extremely sleepy the next day, and I mean more than just coffee can fix. I end up groggy, moving and working slower than usual (bad, very very bad), and making considerably more mistakes than normal (I usually don't make mistakes, period, after a learning curve).

At first I thought it was an acceptable trade-off: mostly fantastic sleep, resulting in feeling awesome the next day (and relaxed), in exchange for the occasional groggy zombie day.

At first, the zombie days weren't so bad.

Now, not only has the zombie-like state intensified drastically, it's happening more and more as the weather begins to warm up and nights are not so nice and cold anymore. Caffeine now not only does not help to break through the fog as it did at first, it actually makes me feel sick and shaky. So I'm a nauseous, weak, shaky zombie who can't keep up and do simple things correctly (not horror movie material, certainly).

The last two weeks have been particularly Hellish, and I've decided it's no longer an acceptable trade-off, because now I'm trading in my functionality and efficiency for no guarantee of good sleep. So, enough. Although I never want to deal with another break down, and I'm really fucking sick of being depressed, I'd rather risk depression and anxiety again than lose what makes me human.

So I called the doctor's office again tonight and left a message asking how to wean myself off the Paxil. I know it's not something to quit cold turkey, and it can apparently have some pretty nasty withdrawal side effects. I'm not particularly happy about that, so I'll take it as slow as needed to avoid further unpleasantness, and just warn the people around me about my zombie-like state. My boss knows what's going on and supports my efforts not only to live happier, but to realize when the happy pills aren't working, and stop taking them.

Matt supports me in everything, always. I love that man.

30-Year-Old-Me doesn't know what comes next in this chain of events. She's scared that without something to dampen the stress, she will have another break down ... Or worse, a heart attack or stroke (both run in the family, after all). 30-Year-Old-Me doesn't know what to do after getting off Paxil and being left to reality again.

Six-Year-Old-Me wants to say it will all be OK, and that I'm stronger than I think I am. It was easier to believe that when I hadn't broken down yet. Now, I'm uneasy, and looking for more natural and productive, active and healthy ways to de-stress. I want to take up yoga or tai chi (I tried tai chi before and it was awesome), but can't afford the classes. I want to start walking everyday, but there is nowhere safe to do so that does not require driving more than 10 miles to get to, and gas isn't exactly cheap. I want to exercise, but can't afford a gym membership and there is no room at home for it.

I want ... but.

I'm tired of the "but." I want to turn my life around, get healthier and in shape, be happy again. So, damnit, I'm going to.

Along with getting off Paxil, I'm going to be stopping birth control (because my depression started right around the same time I started that whole regimen, as I was cautioned could happen). I'm going to eat more things that help to slow the effects of arthritis, and more things that help support my brain and heart. I'm going to try to avoid taking pain killers when my arthritis kicks in (nothing new there, as I've always preferred to try to ease the pain with heat wraps before resorting to pain pills, and it usually works). I'm going to be more cautious of any medications prescribed me, such as antibitotics, and do my own research on potential side effects that aren't typically talked about, and how to avoid them.

And I'm not ever taking any mood-altering drugs again. If I'm depressed, I'll get over it. If I'm stressed, I'll take a long, hot shower and a nap. I still want to believe that I'm stronger than I think, and I'm out to prove it, and break-downs be damned. Six-Year-Old-Me hasn't been as much of a guide lately as she used to be, and I want her back. I want my childhood joy and confidence back.

I want me back.

So I'm going off to find me again. ("If I should return before I get back ..." and all that, wink, wink, nudge, nudge, knowwhatImean?) Seriously, though. It's beyond time to wake up; no more sleeping in.

Six-Year-Old-Me smiles. She always smiles. I should learn that trick.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


30-Year-Old-Me and Six-Year-Old-Me agree: Skyrim is Teh Awesome. I really should have been born into that world, not this one.

I live vicariously through my Dragonborn werewolf Imperial, because she is far more badass than I could ever hope to be.