Saturday, October 14, 2017

Parks and Recreation Supplemental Post: Ann Perkins

Via Gifrific
I'm going to start with Ann Perkins here because, well ... in my life and circle of friends, I am Ann. At first, I resented this because I'm not really the straight man kind of character that Ms. Perkins is - seriously, just ask my friends - but as I reexamined the character, I had that mindblowing realization that a big part of the reason I initially had issues with her was because I identified strongly with her series arc.

In which I decide to overload myself ...

Via Popkey
Well, I cannot stay not busy to save my life, apparently. Last month, I did another challenge - and I, if I do say so myself, was very pleased with the results and even finished on time! - at the same time I was working 50 - 60 hours at two jobs, and this month is going to be spent prepping for what is coming next month: NaNoWriMo, or for you laypeople, National Novel Writing Month. Well, that and doing supplemental character posts for my Parks and Rec challenge (which, shit, I really need to start doing those), moving into a new apartment (omg finally*), working, setting up and attending meetings for a paper my friend and I will be starting next year, collecting pieces for my Halloween costume**, getting CPR, ACE Fitness, and pharmacy technician certified, painting a new watercolor/mixed media series, and reworking my pilot script, so yeah, it's going to be a little crazy.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 30: How Parks and Recreation Inspires Me

Via NBC
Parks and Recreation will hold a special place in my heart for the rest of my life. It has such a dedication to its persistent sunny optimism that it will always bring a smile to my face, even on my worst days. I'll will perpetually do the math to see what percentage Ann Perkins I am in direct to relation as to how much my best friend is Leslie, and I'll forever try to find my real-world Donna.

Friday, September 29, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 29: Favorite Tom Moment

Via Odyssey
Tom Haverford is probably the character that changes the most over the course of seven seasons of Parks and Recreation. I mean, he's still obsessed with being a ... baller? Can I say that without sounding tremendously white? I don't think I can. Anyway, as I'll get into on my Tom supplemental post (that's coming next month, in case you were wondering), he starts off as this incredibly bored government worker, which ... yeah, I get that*, but he turns into this motivated guy that, although he does fail several times, he just keeps going, like a metrosexual human version of the Dory song from Finding Nemo. Honestly, despite people fawning over him during the first couple of seasons, I was more annoyed by him, in an Ann-like fashion**, but once he got the opportunity to use his gifts, I was sold. And it doesn't hurt that I adore Aziz Ansari.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 28: Favorite Donna Moment

Via Reelsistas
I truly do love Donna with every fiber of my being. She's smart, complex, talented, confident, and beautiful, and she steals any scene she's in. I mean, look at that on point lip she's got going on in the above pic; how could she not? Sadly, there aren't many gifs of my two favorite moments - no, I could not narrow it down - but I do have screenshots!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 27: Favorite Ann Moment

Via Head over Feels
Normally, pregnancy storylines bore me because we know all the moments that are going to be touched on:
  • Finding out the sex of the baby
  • Random crying because hormones
  • How life will change once the baby comes
  • Names
  • I'm getting fat. Will you still like me? 
Feel free to add as many other milestones you can think of to that list, which is obviously not exhaustive. It's a big reason that I was appreciative of the time jump in Parks and Rec's Season 7; the triplets are now toddlers and only minor parts of the show, so we could still focus on the major characters.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 26: Favorite Andy Moment

Via Thought Catalog
There are so many great Andy Dwyer moments that, again, it's really hard to choose just one of them. I was going to choose the moment when Andy walks like a chimpanzee while wearing Chris' Vibrams because I still laugh like a loony whenever I see that clip, but then I remembered London.

Monday, September 25, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 25: Favorite Ben Moment

Via Fourth Wall Wyatt
Any time Adam Scott looks into the camera, it brings me joy. The other characters do this, as well, but his incredulous glances are so reminiscent of my own internal reactions to the ridiculous shit that other human beings do that it's impossible not to laugh. Now, you'd think that I would use one of his reactions to whatever antics the other characters are doing as my favorite Ben moment, but you'd be wrong. But it is a type of reaction, only while speaking to the "reality show crew."

Sunday, September 24, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 24: Favorite Chris Moment

Via Not a Federalist
Ah, Chris Traeger, the most perfectly-shaped man in the world who hopes to live to 150 ...

Rob Lowe does such a good job playing a perpetually chipper character, but when he's not at his best, omg I think I love him more. Which is why this is my favorite Chris moment:

Saturday, September 23, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 23: Favorite Leslie Moment

Via Geek Girl Con
In a similar manner to Chris Traeger, Leslie Knope is so much more relatable when she is not necessarily on her A-game, and luckily, we get to see that side of her more often than we do with Chris. I mean, she is the main character, after all.

Friday, September 22, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 22: Favorite Ron Moment

Via Entertainment Weekly
God, this may be even harder than April! Almost every nugget of Nick Offerman is a shining diamond (I say this not knowing of any nugget that is not a shining diamond, but I know that all humans are flawed), and I am having such a hard time narrowing it down to one.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 21: Favorite Garry Moment

Via Bustle
It would be easy to just pick one of the many times Garry fucks up throughout the show because I feel like Parks and Rec could have just as easily been the "Garry Fucks Up" documentary series, but none of these are my favorites. Plus, it doesn't fit with my theme of STOP BEING A DICK TO GARRY that I've been dedicated to for the past 21 days, so instead, my favorite moment is probably one of the sweetest interactions over seven seasons.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 20: Favorite April Moment

Via Huffington Post
This was actually the hardest one to pin down because April has insane things to say that seem to out-insane the last insane remark. And my favorite tends to fluctuate, depending on the day, so it was a little bit like Sophie's Choice, but with less emotional stakes obviously.

It was a toss-up between the two following moments, so I'm going to go ahead and declare a tie for my two favorite April Ludgate moments:

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 19: Parks and Recreation's Relevance

Via Odyssey
For me, Parks and Rec is definitely an escape: people working together to make positive change in their town, despite the town's lack of enthusiasm and occasional outright hatred of such change. If you look at the tone of the show, even way back in the first season, the writers were inspired by the idea of hope that Obama preached during his two terms as the president of the United States. Agree with him on his politics or not, you cannot deny that he did inspire this in a lot of people.

Monday, September 18, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 18: Something That Didn't Happen I Wish Did

I think this is the hardest challenge question yet, actually. It's not that I can't see the flaws of this show, of which there are many, but I have a difficult time altering someone else's vision, especially one as focused as the creators of Parks and Rec was. However, I was able to narrow it down to one thing that always rubbed me the wrong way.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 17: Something That Happened I Wish Didn't

Via Plated
I understand that art is constantly evolving, and I can appreciate when an artist wants to part with their work to either try new things or simply take a break. That doesn't mean I have to like it. When I found out that Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe were leaving Parks and Rec, I was devastated ... well, as much as you can be about a fictional thing, I suppose. The cornerstone relationship on the show was between Leslie and Ann, and I could not imagine how things could continue without that there.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 16: Least Favorite Recurring Character

This is gonna be short and sweet; I think I'm coming down with something, and this is actually a pretty easy entry.
Via Giphy
I know he's supposed to be a hated character, but I feel like there's nothing really that interesting about Dennis Feinstein. At least Jeremy Jamm's behavior is rooted in a deep-seated self-loathing, and while I can't stand him, either, at least I don't skip through his scenes. And this is coming from someone who actually really likes the actor.

Oh, well. No show is absolutely perfect.


Friday, September 15, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 15: Favorite Recurring Character

Well, I already gave myself away earlier this week, so ... without further ado, Craig Fucking Middlebrooks.
Via Giphy
I loved Craig the minute he walked into my life, and I now follow Billy Eichner on practically anything he does because he is hilarious. Seriously, if you haven't watched Hulu's Difficult People, you need to. STAT.

Anyway, Craig doesn't come on the show until the third episode of the sixth season as Donna's counterpart in the Eagleton parks department, and it is a beautifully explosive entry into the annals of Parks and Rec history. He rants about her name being perfect, and then says this:
"I wanted to be a Spanish man named Terrence, but that didn't happen."
Now, I haven't met anyone like Craig in real life, but damn if I don't want to. I feel like he and I could just sit around telling each other about ourselves because we have no filter and we are both super animated communicators. I use my hands a lot and, when I get excited, I tend to squeak and bounce. Our conversations would be very loud, methinks, but entertaining for all involved.

As the series progresses into its final season, Craig just keeps getting better and better. He becomes the sommelier at Tom's Bistro, he ends up taking over Ron's job when Ron goes private sector, his spirit dog is discovered, he inadvertently helps Andy invent Johnny Karate, and he introduces the greatest possible list of reasons why being alive is amazing, such as the following:
  • watermelon martinis
  • exposed brick
  • Keri Russell's hair
  • tomato plants
  • unlikely animal friend pairings
Via Reddit
Honestly, one of the best parts about Craig is that he embraces his personality. He is aware he is intense and passionate, and he takes others' responses to him in stride. Like when the group chooses an angry looking chihuahua as his "spirit dog," he initially resists it but quickly changes his tune within a second, realizing that, yeah, that dog is his essence. He's also very clear about what he wants out of life: when Tom goes in search of a wine specialist for his new restaurant, Craig fights like hell to prove to Tom that he has what it takes to do the job and do it well. Naturally, he'll have to tone it down for actual dealing with the public, but he wins Tom over with his dedication and true talent for wine tasting.
Via Keysmash
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention Typhoon, the one, true love of Craig Middlebrooks. Considering the main cast is primarily white, I thought Typhoon was going to be a one-time character - as Ron's replacement hairstylist after his regular one died - and was pleasantly surprised that he married Craig and made an appearance in the finale (older but definitely still fabulous and and in love with his husband). There was a gay penguin wedding in the second season, and Chris was not at all bothered by being hit on by men, so it's not like queerness was something that the show steered clear from, but it was so nice to see that this wasn't treated any differently than other characters getting together. And they are absolutely perfect for each other, and no one can tell me any different.

So, to summarize, Craig is amazing and completely revitalized the show for me, and I am now going to go watch Difficult People and possibly Billy on the Street. Either way, I'm going to have a hellagood time.

Runners Up: Ken Hotate because he is A Boss.
Via The Whovian from Whoville
Jennifer Barkley because how can you not love what Kathryn Hahn did with her?
Via Parks and Rec Tumblr
Via Parks and Rec Tumblr
And of course, Joan Callamezzo. That requires no explanation.
Via Brightest Young Things


* I have a friend who is very similarly flamboyant like Craig and yet is as hetero as they come. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 14: Least Favorite Episode

This is going to be quick and easy because there is only one episode that I do not like to watch, which for me is whaaaaaaaa? I skip over it every time, and I'm not even going to hide it under a jump.
Via Parks and Rec Gets Waffled
Season Two's "Sister City" is just not enjoyable for me, which apparently is a minority opinion. I'm okay with that, but I really would like someone to explain what makes this episode a favorite of theirs. I didn't mind Fred Armisen, although I'm not his biggest fan (I'm sorry, I just don't like Portlandia), but everyone just seems to be phoning it in in this episode.

Except for Donna. Who rules everything.

And fin.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 13: Favorite Episode

There is so much I love about Season Six's finale, "Moving Up," that it's actually harder to list them all than it was to pick it as my favorite episode. I'm sitting here at my desk and can (channeling my inner Chris Traeger) literally come up with no words to explain why this is my favorite episode. From the Michelle Obama cameo to all of the Unity Concert bands - hi there, Wilco! - I just ... it's so amazing that it almost has me forget that Ann and Chris aren't there*.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 12: Favorite Season Seven Episode

Via Wikipedia
It's always really sad to see a show you love go off the air, and when I found out that Parks and Rec would be ending after seven seasons, I went through mad withdrawal, even before it ended. I frantically watched all of my favorite episodes and both eagerly and cautiously waited as the countdown began. I love how they skipped ahead three years; it really did revitalize the show after Chris and Ann departed, leaving a lot of unanswered questions to be revealed over the course of the season.

Monday, September 11, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 11: Favorite Season Six Episode

Via Action Chick Flick
Wow, this challenge is really just speeding through, like this entire year. How is it already September?? I guess time really flies when the country is a giant shit hole? Honestly, I think that's why Parks and Recreation constantly draws me in: the people in the show are genuinely good people who want to do good things and work tirelessly to make sure that those good things actually happen. And Season Six continues this, even as Leslie is recalled from office. Unfortunately, Six also includes the departure of Ann and Chris, changing the entire dynamic of the show, but I don't want to dwell on that. Because it's Favorite Episode Day!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 10: Favorite Season Five Episode

Yayyyyy, Season Five! Or as this challenge has noted, my favorite season!
Via Her Campus
Leslie has won the election and has already started pissing people off with her bills and political stances, Tom's Rent-A-Swag is booming, Ron and Diane are officially a thing, Leslie and Ben get married ... gah, SO. MUCH. happens this season, and I love it like I will probably love my own children. But my favorite episode?

Saturday, September 9, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 9: Favorite Season Four Episode

Back on Day 4, I did say that this season didn't get that coveted spot of favorite because the Ben and Leslie relationship thing took way too long to resolve, and I stand by that assertion. I mean, it took nearly half the season for them to say, "Fuck this, we want to be together," and while it was incredibly sweet to hear Ben declare his love for Leslie as he was resigning, I was more or less feeling like "ugh, finally" as opposed to, "OMG YAYYY." I'm not sure if that's what the writers were going for, but here we are.

Friday, September 8, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 8: Favorite Season Three Episode

Season Three! Yayyyy! I love this season so much. It's the beginning of Leslie and Ben's relationship, Mark is gone, Ann is going through her dating-as-many-men-as-possible phase, April and Andy finally get together, the Harvest Festival happens ... I forgot exactly how much happens in this season and how much it had changed from its original The Office-like* format, especially with Leslie deciding to run for city council, Tom leaving his government job to become an entrepreneur, and Ann taking a position at city hall.
Via Getty Images
And while every episode is absolutely excellent, there is only one that will reign supreme: "The Fight."

Thursday, September 7, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation, Challenge Day 7: Favorite Season Two Episode

Once I got past the first season, as rocky as it was, the good episodes just kept coming. Seriously. I had such a hard time really pinpointing which ones really stood out as my favorite, but ultimately, I had to pick "Practice Date."
Via Pinterest

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 6: Favorite Season One Episode

Via Wikipedia
As you well know from yesterday's challenge, Season One is both my least favorite and the weakest season of them all, although that doesn't keep me from going back and watching how it all began. I won't rehash what I said yesterday, so let's just jump right in.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 5: Least Favorite Season

This one is kind of a no brainer: season one was trying to get its footing and failed on so many levels. Now, I've never actually seen any episode of The Office (either the US or British version*), so I'm not certain how accurate the comparison between the first six episodes of Parks and Rec is, but based on the fact the US version was produced by the same people, I can safely assume that they're pretty similar.

Probably?

Monday, September 4, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 4: Favorite Season

Via Narwhal Nation
Happy Labor Day, everybody!! I'm actually about to head into work, but I wanted to make sure that I posted this prior to a fairly long day of laboring.

It was actually pretty difficult narrowing this down to just one season; they all had their charms, great moments, and engrossing storylines, as well as their low points (lookin' at you, tomorrow's challenge). But one really stood out to me as my absolute favorite.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 3: Favorite Male Main Character

Since I'm all equal opportunity here, I'm going with the same approach to today's challenge as I did yesterday, because the male friendships are just as caring, nuanced, and important to the show as the female ones. Again, I have to shout out to the writers here because the ball could have been totally dropped at any point -  especially in the episode where the whole gang goes hunting (and Tom shoots Ron in the back of the head) - turning into a Friends thing, where the male stereotypes just go flying.

God, I am really dreading going back and finishing up that Friends challenge now.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 2: Favorite Female Main Character

THIS IS SO HARD. WHY DID I CHOOSE THIS FOR DAY 2??? BECAUSE I'M A GLUTTON FOR PUNISHMENT APPARENTLY.

I really feel like I just had a Leslie Knope moment right there, and I wasn't even speaking in hyperbole. I really feel this conflicted. There are moments for every single woman on Parks and Rec where they are my favorite, and there are just so many of those moments throughout the series and now I'm just feeling irritated.
Via Giphy
I guess I have to make a choice then. Grumble grumble.

Friday, September 1, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 1: How I Was Introduced to Parks and Recreation

I'm one of those people who never gets into anything right at the onset, at least in terms of media, which I guess is like a lot of other people, but whatever. Like with Game of Thrones, I'm currently catching up on Season 3 and watching the new Season 7 episodes; it's confusing because I'm still learning who people are and why I should care about them but also relieving because I know that Samwell Tarly and Gilly aren't dead (I'm sorry, I love them so much). Wait, what was I writing about. Oh, right - Parks and Rec.
Via Odyssey

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge

Damn. It's been ... like ... six months since I posted anything? And shit, I'm still behind on like two challenges? Whoops. I mean, a lot has happened over the past year, and the past six months have been absolutely insane. But that's no excuse! And to bring in the school year, I guess (???), I'm starting off with a challenge!

Via Bustle
That has got be my favorite promotional image for this show ever. Or maybe any show ever. But anyway, I absolutely adore Parks and Recreation. It's probably unhealthy, if I were to be completely honest about it, and I had a hard time handling it when the show ended. Oh, my god, did I bawl at the series finale - like a damn baby.

What drew me to this show was the earnest, kind, dedicated characters (yes, even Tom) that populated the cast and the incredibly positive message it sent out every week: things may look grim but, dammit, surround yourself with good people and push through and you'll see the light. It is in all of us, even if we live in a world that beats us down daily, but we can't just sit and hope that things will get better. We have to do things. Use that fucking light.

Ahem. Sorry. Soapbox moment.

But anyway, here's what I'll be working on in September!

Day 1: How I Was Introduced to Parks and Recreation
Day 2: Favorite Female Main Character
Day 3: Favorite Male Main Character
Day 4: Favorite Season
Day 5: Least Favorite Season
Day 6: Favorite Season One Episode
Day 7: Favorite Season Two Episode
Day 8: Favorite Season Three Episode
Day 9: Favorite Season Four Episode
Day 10: Favorite Season Five Episode
Day 11: Favorite Season Six Episode
Day 12: Favorite Season Seven Episode
Day 13: Favorite Episode
Day 14: Least Favorite Episode
Day 15: Favorite Recurring Character
Day 16: Least Favorite Recurring Character
Day 17: Something That Happened I Wish Didn't
Day 18: Something That Didn't Happen I Wish Did
Day 19: Parks and Recreation's Relevance
Day 20: Favorite Ann Moment
Day 21: Favorite Andy Moment
Day 22: Favorite April Moment
Day 23: Favorite Ben Moment
Day 24: Favorite Chris Moment
Day 25: Favorite Donna Moment
Day 26: Favorite Jerry Moment
Day 27: Favorite Leslie Moment
Day 28: Favorite Ron Moment
Day 29: Favorite Tom Moment
Day 30: How Parks and Recreation Inspires Me

Saturday, February 25, 2017

28 Day Friends Challenge, Day 23: Least Favorite Couple

I know, I know, you assumed Ross and Rachel would be the winner here, but to be honest, while they are pretty terrible, they aren't anywhere close to being the worst. This was almost a tie, because Ross and Janice was pretty terrible, but the difference between them and who my final choice ended up being, though, is that the relationship was purposefully awful, an example of how fucked up Ross was after his divorce from Emily. Thankfully, it only lasted a single episode, unlike my actual least favorite couple.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

28 Day Friends Challenge, Day 19: Favorite Season Ten Episode

You know, last challenge made me think that today's choice was gonna be hard because Season Ten was such a crap bag, but upon rewatch, I was surprised at the one episode I would have assumed would be my favorite because, well ... you'll see.

28 Day Friends Challenge, Day 18: Favorite Season Nine Episode

And now we're getting into my two least favorite seasons, so this is gonna be a bit of a tough one. It's not that there weren't quality episodes (as a matter of fact, the one I chose for this season's favorite is one of those), it's just that they were so few and far between that it's easy to forget that either Nine or Ten had any good episodes. For tomorrow's challenge, I definitely had to scrounge.

28 Day Friends Challenge, Day 17: Favorite Season Eight Episode

Remember how on Day 13, I said that I was competitive? Well, that has not changed since then, and that should make my favorite episode from Season Eight fairly obvious, so I'm not even going to hide the picture behind the cut! You are welcome!
Via Geek in Heels
While Rachel's baby shower has its humorous moments, mainly stemming from Monica forgetting to invite Rachel's mom (played wonderfully by Marlo Thomas), the best part is the men's storyline.

28 Day Friends Challenge, Day 16: Favorite Season Seven Episode

The cracks were beginning to show in Season Six, but they were definitely a major problem in Season Seven. The episodes weren't bad just yet, but they were just so mediocre that it's hard to remember them specifically. I actually had to go back and rewatch the entire season to see which one was my favorite. And I kinda just settled on one, which is kinda sad, but I needed to complete this challenge, so here we go.

28 Day Friends Challenge, Day 15: Favorite Season Six Episode

See, I am trying to catch up! My goal is to have all of these posts completely finished by the end of the month, and by gum, I'm gonna do it.

I feel like the Thanksgiving episodes of Friends were always some of the best. The first season's anti-Thanksgiving kind of set the bar high, but generally, they improved with each season. And Season Six did not disappoint even remotely; it may even be a contender for my favorite episode of the entire series. I mean, it's not, obviously. You'll have to wait for Day 20 to see what that is.

28 Day Friends Challenge, Day 14: Favorite Season Five Episode

By the time the fifth season comes around, any excuse to watch Ross humiliate himself is enough for me to sit down with a bag of freshly popped popcorn. When he sabotaged flirting with the pizza delivery woman Caitlin in "The One Where Ross Can't Flirt," I guffawed as he started babbling about the smell that's added to gas because 1) who hasn't flirted awkwardly and 2) it's Ross making an ass out of himself.

28 Day Friends Challenge, Day 13: Favorite Season Four Episode

I am a naturally competitive person. Today, actually, I got into a kind-of argument with The Boy about whether or not corn was really considered a vegetable, and while he couldn't care less if he was right, I was very passionate about my correctness*. It's a curse in more ways than one, but it keeps my life interesting.

Monday, February 20, 2017

This post was supposed to be something entirely different.

This post was supposed to be a happy message, one that I'd been keeping to myself before springing it on you guys with barely contained enthusiasm.

This was supposed to be a pregnancy announcement.

My due date was 9/20/2017, although it was probably closer to the beginning of October. Against all advice, I'd already decided on names. We told both of our families. I told my employer. My god, we were both so excited. It wasn't planned, of course, but that didn't dilute any part of our happiness. I was going to be a mother.

But this Monday, my body decided that it wasn't going to happen. After a whole night of severe bleeding and cramping, I spent nearly all day on Tuesday in the ER, barely able to walk because of the pain. The blood test verified that my hcg levels had decreased dramatically, and any hope I'd held onto that this was just a warning to take it easier was lost. The next day, I took another sick day and slept as often as I could in between the cramps and trips to the bathroom to change out bloody pads. And oh, did I cry.

I know that miscarriage is common - at least one in four pregnancies end that way - but that doesn't make it any easier. My OBGYN was empathetic and kind, letting me know that there was nothing I did wrong and there was nothing I could have done, but I had grown so attached to the little thing inside my uterus. Only four days prior, I had seen it in an ultrasound; it looked like a little deformed seahorse, and I'd cried looking at it. That was my little deformed seahorse.

I'm feeling somewhat better today, a bit closer to emotionally normal, although my doctor told me my body wouldn't be back to itself for a few months. I'm still exhausted, and every now and then, I have a mood swing. Like yesterday, I bawled because UPS sent back my package after trying to deliver my A&P I lab kit while I was at work (seriously??), and the day before, I was ridiculously confident that I could do one of my marathon walks but only made it down the block before wanting to crawl back into bed for seventeen hours. In some ways, I'm ... glad isn't the word, but it's all I can think of right now, because I'm going back to school full-time in the fall (nursing school or bust, y'all) and I took a job that does not provide insurance so the pregnancy would be considered a pre-existing condition, making it difficult to find affordable health insurance options. That doesn't change the sadness I feel right now, and I suppose only time will help with that. And maybe someday in the near future, I'll carry a baby to term, welcoming it with open arms.

But for now? I'm going to focus on me. That's all I really can do.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

28 Day Friends Challenge, Day 12: Favorite Season Three Episode

Ah, Season Three, where the writers got over freshman awkwardness and tweaked their skills into creating some of the more memorable episodes of the early seasons. They had a bigger budget (as evidenced by better sets, more expensive wardrobes, and famous guest stars, just to name a few things), and the success of the show brings more of that, getting more extravagant as it progressed. But it really is at its best when the six main characters are showcased by themselves in a familiar location.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

28 Day Friends Challenge, Day 11: Favorite Season Two Episode

Like I've said before, Season Two is when the show really figured out what it was doing. Season One was an experiment, introducing the audience to six flawed people trying to navigate the waters of adulthood. It's not the best season, by far, but I can honestly say that I can watch the whole season without skipping an episode, so that makes it solid in my book.

What I consider the best out of the bunch, though, shouldn't come as a surprise, since I'm pretty sure most people agree with me. Even though I've never really understood why Ross and Rachel ever got together - and honestly, her dumping him because of the infamous list was one of the dumbest things I've ever seen - "The One with the Prom Video" gave me kind of a reason to believe it made sense.

Friday, February 10, 2017

28 Day Friends Challenge, Day 10: Favorite Season One Episode

Yay, it's my favorite part of this challenge! Starting from the beginning (singsongy a very good place to staarrrrt), we get to meet the gang and their various issues, ranging from job woes to antagonistic relationships, and I really do feel like, at least at this point, the writers really knew how to create relatable characters. The pilot wasn't the best I've ever seen (that would have to go to Orphan Black, which kept me at the edge of my seat nearly the whole time), but it established pretty much all we had to know. Of course, we don't really get to the "classic" episodes until later, but what really hooked me on the show was "The One with George Stephanopoulos."

Thursday, February 9, 2017

28 Day Friends Challenge, Day 9: Least Favorite Season

I think this should just go without saying, but I made this challenge list, so I guess I have to answer it. Season 10 is by far the worst season, and that's saying something, especially considering the dismal nature of Season 9. Like I said yesterday, I'll describe more of why it's my least favorite season on Day 19 (my favorite episode of this season), but as a teaser, I'll just say this:

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

28 Day Friends Challenge, Day 8: Favorite Season

Of course there's a tie* on this one. I'm not going to go too in depth with this post because I'll discuss each season more when I get to my favorite episode of each, but here you go:

Season Five: I absolutely love the beginning of Monica and Chandler's relationship, and even though Ross starts to deteriorate here, he's not completely unbearable just yet.
Season Eight: I think this is probably the most character development we get for Rachel for the latter half of the series, and the show is just so consistently funny during this season.

* Honorable Mention: Season 2. I think this is where the show really hit its stride.


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

28 Day Friends Challenge, Day 7: Least Favorite Guest Star

First of all, Happy 29th birthday, Mommy! You inspire me in so many ways, and I hope your day is as awesome as you are! I love you!

Now, onto the challenge.

I think that the two-parter in Season Two was pretty much universally panned because of too many guest stars, just kind of showing off that, "Hey, look how popular we are!" to everyone, and I can't necessarily disagree. It was probably one of the weaker episodes for many reasons, and while Julia Roberts' performance was a bit over-the-top, the other major guest star was just ... awful.

Monday, February 6, 2017

28 Day Friends Challenge, Day 6: Favorite Guest Star

There were some pretty amazing guest stars on Friends (and some pretty terrible ones, too), and it is difficult to narrow it down to just one. Normally, I'd make this a tie because, hey, it's my blog and therefore only my rules apply, but this time, I'm actually going to make a choice*.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

28 Day Friends Challenge, Day 5: Least Favorite Male Main Character

This was actually hard because at various points in the series, I either love or hate all three of the main dudes. Overall, though, I have to say Ross, but like with Rachel, I feel like this was the writers' faults. I already touched on this back on Day 3, but it's like suddenly, Ross, the caring father and actually pretty decent boyfriend, turned into a neurotic mess that somehow managed to keep relationships with his closest friends, despite what seemed to be him sabotaging everything around him. I guess that's the problem with comedies, unless we're talking It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, where all the characters are absolutely terrible. You're not supposed to empathize with those characters; you just enjoy how awful and self-centered they are. But for some reason, I'm supposed to feel for Ross' plight. Nope. Not gonna happen.

Like I have already said, I am going through a divorce, and yes, a lot of the emotional abuse I dealt with has clouded my perceptions. I destroyed a possible romance through my actions (although I discovered another in the process), and many of my friends nearly abandoned me because of it. I do not blame them in the least; I was irresponsible and callous and self-destructive. But I'm not Ross. I apologized, got into therapy, etc., and while my life isn't perfect, I've found new direction and love and acceptance. It can be fucking done. But I don't think the writers wanted to actually solve anything or have Ross grow as a person, which I find reprehensible. He doesn't even have to suffer the consequences! Ugh.

Okay, I have to stop now because it's late and I really don't want to go on some rant about a character I can't really stand. So good night, everybody!


Saturday, February 4, 2017

28 Day Friends Challenge, Day 4: Least Favorite Female Character

You know that episode I mentioned yesterday where Chandler was like, "Hey, you're passionate, and I love that about you?" It's that episode that I realized I really didn't like Rachel all that much.
Via Huffington Post

Friday, February 3, 2017

28 Day Friends Challenge, Day 3: Favorite Male Main Character

This one is a bit harder for me to do than with Phoebe because she was so consistently awesome, and the guys change so much through the series that it's difficult to pick the one I like the whole time. So I'm going to go ahead and pick two, splitting the series in half.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

28 Day Friends Challenge, Day 2: Favorite Female Main Character

This should not really come as a surprise to anyone who knows me, even in a very superficial sense, because it's probably always one of the first things I say to you upon meeting me: I love Phoebe Buffay.
Via Her Campus

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

28 Day Friends Challenge, Day 1: How I Was Introduced to Friends

Via The Odyssey Online
I was only 9 or 10 when Friends first came on the air, and honestly, I wasn't really allowed to watch it. Well, that I'm not 100% sure of because I never asked, but based on the fact that everyone was having lots of premarital sex, starting with the first episode, I'm fairly certain that I would have received a resounding NO from the parental units. I watched my Doug and Double Dare and Clarissa Explains It All and Legends of the Hidden Temple like any kid in the early 90s did, and nobody really talked about it at school, so it wasn't like I was missing anything. I can't say that I wish I had been introduced to the show when I was that young because, honestly, I probably would have gotten bored with it. I can just imagine myself saying, "They're just sitting around at a coffee place and talking. And there are no dragons? Or obstacle courses? What is even the point?"

Ah, youth.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

28 Day Friends Challenge

Via Youth Connect
Ohhhhh, Friends. How I love thee. It's my comfort food, my brain candy, my happy place. When I've gone through hard times, I've popped in one of the many DVDs in my collection and brought myself back to nominal. Monica recovering from her breakup with Richard was on repeat after my own breakup with my longest relationship (up until Three), followed shortly by Chandler and Monica getting together because I simply had to see someone go through a very dark emotional time, only to end up happy in the end. It's not very realistic, especially in terms of Real Life in New York City, but I am fully aware of that as I'm watching. Fantasy has been one of my favorite genres of all time, and I don't think that Friends is any less fantasy than Lord of the Rings.

Friends isn't necessarily a show I use as a lot of inspiration for my own writing, for various reasons*, but I think having something that is just mindless enough that it clears my head so I can get back on the writing horse is just as important. While Three doesn't really enjoy watching the show as much as I do, I think I've gotten him to at least appreciate the kind of release it gives me.

Anyway, here's what's going to grace your screens next month!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

I am a huge animal lover, which shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has read any of my Life with Pets* one-act plays. I mean, come on, at one point, I lived with nine cats and a dog, so if I didn't love them, that would have been the most miserable time in my life. Instead, it was awesome. I had six kittens running for me when I got home from work, a bouncing bulldog, and three adult cats who had various levels of excitement at my presence. There was also a flea-ridden, smelly pit bull that would frequently escape her chains and come visit me because I'd give her the affection she sorely missed. Before that, I kind of adopted a sweet ginger cat that hung around my rented house, and before that, I saved an abused kitten from a guy who never really wanted a cat, anyway. My parents raised me around dogs, and I took riding lessons and fell in love with a horse who was too big for my small frame. I couldn't imagine my life without them.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

To See the Future, You Have to Deal with the Past That Scares You

Planet Earth is slowing down
Overseas, underground
Wherever you look around
Lord, take me by the hand
Lead me through these desert sands
To the shores of a promised land

Well, it is now officially 2017. I am truly looking forward to the next 365 days, even if - as I said on Facebook - I know there's a lot of fear going around due to the new presidency, among other things. There is very little that I can do for the world as a whole, but as The The says, "If you can't change the world, change yourself."

Three actually introduced me to that song, so hearing it now brings a lot of bittersweet emotions to the surface, but for me, that's what makes it so important. I can't listen to it without remembering where I've gone since I first heard it. We had been married for a few months at that point, and things were still in that honeymoon phase; it was inspirational then because it meant so much to him, because he said it represented how he viewed the world. But now, I've taken it and made it my own mantra. Well, my main one is still, "Do what you're here to do and don't be an asshole," but it's my second mantra.

You make me start
When you look into my heart
And see me for who I really am

As I said in my last post, we are getting divorced this year. That is putting a lot of the past six years into perspective. The de-evolution of my personality, my goals, my loves, is coming into sharp focus, and I realize how far I've deviated from what I'm here to do. I have a much clearer view on who and what I am: I'm a writer, an artist, an optimist, a pacifist, a pansexual, a free spirit. But I am also damaged. I used to think it was irreparable, but as time has passed, I've realized that, while my scars will never go away, they'll just be reminders. I may still doubt myself and others, but I won't let them discourage me.

I didn't care if the sun didn't shine
And the rain didn't fall from the sky
I just cared about myself
From this world to the next
And from the next back to this
By our actions, we are bound
We're running out of love
Running out of hate
Running out of space
For the human race
Planet Earth is slowing down

Part of living with a narcissist is that you become kind of narcissistic yourself, especially when you are separated from others. My experience was coupled with verbal and emotional abuse, so the narcissism is a form of protection. I would say and do things that would keep myself free from being yelled at or accused of nefarious deeds like having emotions or opinions or desires that make the other person feel bad. I spent a lot of time questioning my motives for nearly every aspect of wanting to be alive, which is a very weird place to be. It wasn't until Three had his mental breakdown in October 2015 that I finally started to realize things.

It took a while. It's like having blinders taken off; you know they're gone, but you've spent so much time with them on that it's difficult having that expanded vision. So I didn't get the idea to leave the situation until several months later in February 2016. I remembered it was a Thursday, and Three and I had just had a major explosive fight. We're talking him slamming the front door hard and storming down the road with no destination and me sobbing, curled up in a ball on the floor. When he came back, he apologized, like he always did, and we began to actually talk. However, his defenses came up again, and he uttered the words that, to this day, still ring in my ears: "Every time we've ever taken your lead, you've ruined my life."

My first reaction was to begin crying and defend myself. He began yelling again, and suddenly, something snapped. No. We had never taken my lead throughout my entire marriage. He had made decisions, and I had just followed him, like a dutiful wife. The last move we'd just made - from Louisville, where I'd begun to build a life, to Columbia, where I knew no one and had no job prospects - was one that I'd had no part in choosing. He came home from work one day and said, "Hey, we're moving to South Carolina."

So I laid it out for him: I had given him a blank slate when he revealed to me that he had been lying to me about everything for five years, and he was required to give me the same. I had made mistakes in our marriage, and I was done apologizing for them time and time again, only to have them thrown back in my face months, even years, later. I was also done paying for the way his previous partners had treated him; I wasn't Julie or Elizabeth, or even his father, so he needed to stop treating me like I was. He agreed that I did deserve at least that much, and I thought that we were on the right path.

The next day, however, he came home from work, a look on his face that made me wonder if he'd been thinking and wanted to yell at me more. I was prepared for another verbal fisticuffs, only I wasn't afraid any longer. But instead, I saw tears in his eyes, and he told me he couldn't give me the slate I needed. It wasn't that he didn't want to; it's just that his brain was wired so he wouldn't be able to, that the past would always be at the front of his memory. I told him then that I was leaving, and the next day at work, I called my district manager and asked for a transfer to Louisville.

I'm in love with the planet that I'm standing on
I can't stop
I can't stop thinking of
All the people I've ever loved
All the people I have lost
All the people I'll never know
All the feeling I've never shown

My DM let me know the following week that the transfer was in the works, and by the end of March, it was approved. Three spent a lot of his time alone, occasionally throwing shade my way, and honestly, we were looking at it as a trial separation. Divorce wasn't even my vocabulary at the time, although the truth is, I knew we were headed in that direction. Hindsight really is 20/20. I bought a car - Athena, the 2012 Chevy Cruze - and packed it full of whatever I could carry on April 27th. My friends came down with me a few months later to pick up more, and that was the last time I saw Three in person. For months, I missed him, cried myself to sleep, and didn't allow myself to accurately look at our relationship, even if all I could remember was the bad.

Eventually, I knew I wanted a divorce*, which sent me into meltdown mode, but I didn't want to look inside. It was too frightening, painful. You can only blame someone else for so long.

The world's too big
And life's too short
To be alone
To be alone

I started dating again once I'd decided that it was over. It was way too soon, and honestly, I wish I hadn't. There wasn't any way that I was ready. I had so much baggage and so many phobias and too little understanding of where they came from that all that could really come of it was hurt. But I hated being alone. I craved someone who understood me and what I went through, someone that would let me cry on their shoulder and tell me I was still worthy of love.

Ultimately, this is what led me to therapy. It's a long story, one that I may or may not tell here**, but suffice to say, I sabotaged a fledgling relationship because I felt like he was behaving like Three. He wasn't - not really - but my brain wasn't listening to anything other than former patterns. And if that doesn't sound like something you read above, you're not paying attention. I hurt my friend badly because I couldn't leave the past behind; I was making him pay for the way Three had treated me.

I texted my friend that I didn't want to be alive any longer. I called my sister and mother, bawling uncontrollably, looking for some type of solace from the deep pain that was living in my veins, and the next day, I called the suicide hotline while I was at work. I even considered checking myself into some mental hospital. Despite me living in a town where I had a great group of friends, I felt completely alone like I did when Three suffered his mental break. Maybe it's because it was my actions that had caused my own fall? Or maybe because I realized how far I'd let Three's manipulation go? Maybe I felt like I wasn't worthy of the love I sought? I still can't really explain it.

My mother drove up from Nashville to stay with me for a few days, for which I am eternally grateful, and I started to feel emotions other than total despair again. I actually laughed a few times, especially when Mom purposefully pissed me off so I'd show some emotion. My sister and friends checked on me daily, and I realized that, despite what my mind was telling me, I was cherished.

That is what started my healing process.

If you can't change the world, change yourself.
If you can't change the world, change yourself. 

I started therapy shortly afterward, and I cannot express how much that has helped. Just having someone to talk to is such an amazing thing, but when it comes in a package that doesn't judge you and doesn't let you be too hard on yourself? It's perfect. I still have a very long way to go before I'm well, and like I said above, there are scars that aren't going to fade. I've accepted that to some degree, but that just means I have more to work on. And that's a very exciting prospect.

And if you can't change yourself, change your world.

Lyrics to "Lonely Planet" by The The


* I am still very upset about what caused me to come to this conclusion, and that will definitely be the subject of a future post.
** This is probably going to be a storyline for my web series. What? Writing is how I process things.
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