A third journal of personal musings
My life always continues to change and it only stands to reason that with each change, there should be a journal dedicated to it.
|Is there such a thing as “unbiased reporting?” (Consider not just journalism, but storytelling - is it possible to tell a story without bias?)
Hmm, so I'm going to focus on storytelling, just because I feel like that's a very interesting avenue to take and think about (and because I feel like when it comes to journalism, the answer is yes, but it depends on where and most of the time what we consume as news is really just opinion pieces half the time, at least when it comes to mostly anything on TV).
I would have to say that yes, I do feel so, but I think it often depends because sometimes the story is based on bias. I'll use Stephen King as an example only because it was when I was older that I realized as a person, when it came to politics, that he was left leaning, which had surprised me. As someone who is from a small town (incredibly small town), I was enamored with how he wrote about them and the people who inhabit them, because it felt so real. Like, the real kind of small town, not the rosy tinted glasses view that a lot of people like to think it is (and often how small towns want to be portrayed!). I enjoyed the drama, the white-trashy glaze, the dirty and grimy film that he used, but in a good way? (Maybe this is answering a question in a way I wasn't expecting!) It felt like a realistic portrayal to me, without feeling like he was shitting on them. There was covering the very overly patriotic people, the "I hate government" folks, living in trailer parks, then there's the older folks, the "we know everybody" folks, those who talk in a heavy accent (I've always kinda felt the more country you are, regardless of where you are from, have more of an area-based accent than those who live in city/suburban areas), etc.
And why I say that it is possible for him to create that place and the people in it in a nearly non-bias way, there will be ways in which things are said or done in a way that might use that bias to construe whatever.
I'm sure there are probably much better examples. I wish I could think of more off of the top of my head.
Most, obviously, bias in storytelling to set the atmosphere for whatever they're trying to portray or to set the plot. So I don't mind it, for the most part. There are times when it's put on a little thick and whether I am pro or anti-bias, it's not what I want. So ones with a lack of bias or similar is something that I'd like, obviously if done well. Sometimes, I could imagine, might come up a little dry otherwise. Come across as an essay or book report.
Now I am going to be thinking of some stories with lack of bias. Maybe I'll come back to this and add or just create another entry and finish talking about it.
|Tell us about someone you find inspirational.
My mother. It's been seven years since I've seen her beautiful face or heard her voice, but she's always been someone that I've always been inspired by. She went through a lot of stuff in her life and never once did she let us know it. Never did she allow bills to lapse or have us wonder if there would ever be food on the table. We didn't have a lot of money, for the most part, growing up, but she always made sure that our birthdays were special in small ways or that we had things for Christmas (Easter, Valentine's day, etc). We always felt loved.
One of my favorite memories of her was shortly after we lost our house and we were staying with friends for a bit until we found an apartment to move into. I was going to turn 9 and my parents had basically no money whatsoever. My mom hadn't found a job yet and my dad had a job working with the husband of the couple we were staying with. Anyway, my mom had played a lotto game and she won $68 and she could've used it for any number of things for herself, instead she used it for my birthday. It's one of those memories that if I think on it long enough it still brings tears to my eyes.
She was one of the strongest people I've ever known and I strive to be like her in that way. She had an iron core that surrounded the softest heart.
|What could you give a 40-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?
Oh but Bernie, you could talk about yourself? Oh? Really? Very presumptuous of you to think I'd even remember what my name is or when my birthday is when I'm standing in front of a room in front of people.
I was an absolute mess when I was in school. Especially in high school. College helped make me a bit better, because, since I majored in graphic design, I had to stand in front of my class and explain why I did what I did with my work and have people comment on it and ask me questions. BUT I realized within the first year of being at my current job, applying for a position I knew I wouldn't get but did it because it would give me experience with their interview process and to kinda show that I gave a shit, even though I'd been there like six months or so, and I even studied and went into that interview prepared. I still went brain dead and I felt like garbage the whole rest of the day because of it.
|Describe a missed opportunity you encountered, and how things might have been different if you hadn't missed it.
I'll go with the thing that immediately flashed into my mind when I read this prompt and it's an oldie, circa 2007.
I graduated college with a BFA in graphic design (a focus on web design). I had debated on whether or not I wanted to get a masters degree and I decided against it because I was completely and utterly burned out.
Fast forward to the year of our lord 2020 and I'm working at Costco and not using my degree, at all. I tried a few times and neither time did it work out. Granted, I lived in a very rural part of NY and when I graduated in 2007, we had hit a big recession and suddenly you needed all of the years of experience. Plus, I had learned just design. I hadn't learned code (another opportunity I didn't realized I'd missed until a few years later). When I tried looking for jobs I needed to know both. A lot of companies were downsizing and they wanted people to do more. Plus, looking at it from now, it makes a lot of sense for that in general. Especially with the way the Internet is now.
I kind of regret it now. The Internet was really new and to be fair, was a lot easier then. Now, it's so much different and a lot more complex. I'd have to start pretty much all over if I wanted to do it now. I still do, but it's incredibly hard right now for me to fit it in. I still want to keep it on the back burner, but I will always think of that decision I could've made in 2007. I mean, it would've also been a lot more money I would've had to take out. More money to owe that I don't know if I will ever actually pay off, but it might've given me an actual avenue to having a job in something I wanted to do.
Also I would like to add that Costco isn't an awful place to work. I get paid pretty decent with a really good insurance plan. It's just...well, it's still just retail, doing something anyone could do.
But I like to think (and it's entirely possible that I could've done my masters degree and gotten nowhere also) that I'd be at least decently successful in a web design job. Though I won't lie thinking these last couple of months that I'm lucky I do work for Costco and that I have my job right now. I mean, I could technically be in quarantine, working from home, but I could also have lost my job because of what's going on right now too.
So who knows?
All I know is it's always something that festers in the back of my mind and comes bubbling to the front whenever I'm feeling down.
|We all know the mood-ring fad of the 70’s only predicted body temperature and not necessarily mood, but what if people could actually see your emotions, like an aura of color surrounding you. Would you try to mask it, display it proudly, or something in between?
Well, I'd probably say in real life that I'm a something in between. I have RBF, which just makes people presume that I'm upset, so I try to offset it by being smiley and shit a lot. Which is okay, but man do I just want to just have my face. Which is probably the one plus about having to wear masks at work. I don't have to smile and no one asks if I'm okay or if something happened or am I upset. Saying that, sometimes my face reacts when I deal with idiots. Like it just kinda happens before I can adjust and keep face. A lot of times also, I just let people think my RBF means something other than it being my face. So, yknow, whatever. hahaha
If I had the actual abilities though, I'd probably try to mask it. I like keeping my feelings close to the chest, which I mostly have control over in general. Except when I get upset or really annoyed, which is when my facial reactions with idiots usually happens.
I am very much like my mother, who by the way, one of the sweetest and most caring women ever, but other than being loving and sweet, she didn't really show off how she felt if something bothered her. We were incredibly close and could talk about things, but even then, she kept a lot of things from me and I can't really blame her, considering. If she had half the anxiety I feel most of the time, I really don't blame her. But like I said, I'm like her and it's hard for me to be emotional in general or talk about things that give me my anxiety. Mostly I feel like people wouldn't care if I tried to talk about it, but that's a whole nother blog entry for another day.
I wish I wanted to display it proudly, just because I wish I was more like my dad who did NOT give a single fuck, but I'm not and it would bother me too much that people knew how I felt.
Instead, just giving me a magical emotional shield or just the ability to create facial masks of someone who doesn't have RBF when their face is at ease and there ya go. So if anyone has one of those, my birthday is in September!
|Write a letter to your parents from before your birth. Give them advice about how to raise you and give them a heads up about anything they might struggle with when you come into their lives.
Dear Mom & Dad,
This is going to be a little weird, considering I'm not born yet and I know how excited you are that I'm coming. Two years of trying, finding out the cause, and being successful at creating...me. You're going to be lucky, because I'm a pretty easy going kid. You'll get spoiled with me when number two comes along in a few years. Therefore, my letter to you will be pretty easy as well.
Mom, you'll understand me on a level that most won't, because we will share that shyness and that awkwardness. That will come later of course. As a little kid, I'll be a bit more outgoing. Let me reach for the stars with my imagination. It will be exploding. Even as a little kid, I will like to create stories. Picture ones at first. Dad, I hope you won't mind I'll be using a lot of your notepads, the ones without the lines for these stories. I'll probably annoy you to death with the stories, each one being wildly different than the last one, even though it's the same pictures.
Dad, answer all my questions. I'll be curious and want to know things. I'll be up your butt for the first decade of my life, almost. Be patient with me. I know sometimes it isn't one of your strengths, but I won't be a bother, I promise!
There's going to be a really tough stretch for you guys and I wish I could say life gets better for you even after. I wish I could tell you to get out of the arcade business earlier than you did and to stay away from certain people. Do the trailer park idea. I wish that was possible for me to do, because your life would be (I'd hope at least) a lot less depressing for you. The way life goes anyway, is you will lose everything. Including the house you helped blossom, your dream home. Dad will go into a severe depression, taking the blame for everything and questioning himself for probably the rest of his life. Mom, you will have two jobs, one more stressful than the other and both pay pretty poorly, but you'll still make sure the bills are paid and we will have Christmases. We won't have extras, but we will never go without and we will be happy. We will live in a shitty apartment for eight years before getting our own home. It isn't exactly what we want and there will be problems with it, but it will be ours.
There's a lot of other things. Your youngest will give you problems and push you both to your emotional and mental limits.
I tell you these things not because I will be difficult, but because you both will feel guilt and depression over those things and I want to tell you that I will be fine. Maybe put a little extra attention on the younger one, she will need it more than I will. I will learn a lot of things from it. I will miss our house. I'll wish for things I know I will never get and be jealous of people who have more than we do. But that's natural, right? And even though I'll have those feelings, I will never hold them against you. You guys will create a dingus daughter who will have struggles and challenges of her own that are mostly out of her control, but she will be strong and smart thanks to you.
Oh and before I forget, books. Just buy me a lot of books. Start early. I have an addiction that gets out of control.
I love you guys. I know I'm not here yet and it will be quite awhile before I will be able to really appreciate everything, but thank you for everything you give me. Not just materialistically, but well you know, the life lessons. Thanks for those. And the stories and memories. I'll cherish them more than you could probably ever imagine.
your future daughter that you will name Ashley Nicole
P.S. Mom, I hope you know that with that name I'll be the eighth Ashley in the nursery, so...yknow...if you want to maybe change it to something else I wouldn't entirely object.
|Prompt: Do you like being alone or do you like being around people?
Mostly alone, but I do like being around people I enjoy. I will have a good time, but it drains me. I am such a hermit and it doesn't help that Mathew is one as well, so unless it's us going out together, we often stay in. There are times where I'll go and visit a friend or obviously when I go back to NY and I visit and see family. Family I will exclude from this, I mean they are people, but it's different and I can't even explain to you how it is. Maybe in the same way I am with Mathew. Not that it isn't nice when I'm off during the week and he's off at work and I get the place to myself. Maybe because I have that, it balances it out? I don't know. I don't see my family a whole lot, pretty much the same when I lived in NY. Most of my family lived a couple of hours away, so usually holidays and birthdays caused us to get together.
Anyway, I've always been a hermit with a small circle of friends, most of which didn't connect or circle around to the same people. How I was in high school too. I never belonged to a specific group or clique of people. I always wished to have a best friend. I've had some close friends, some that I've shared things with, but never someone I could share everything with. My mom was probably the closest thing to a best friend I've ever had. We were so similar in personality that I never had to explain myself or my reasonings because she understood. We're both incredibly shy, awkward, and hate being around people with those small few exceptions and family of course.
My dad was the complete and utter opposite. He talked to people he didn't know, in the store, for hours. Thankfully, when I turned twelve, I got to stay home when he went out to shop. My younger sister loved it and went with him. So at an early age, I got to experience being alone and I was always pretty mature for my age, so my parents let me be home. I knew how to feed myself (sandwiches and grilled cheese! or leftovers always) and I wasn't an idiot with the phone or letting people in.
For me, it was and continues to be peaceful. Sometimes people can overwhelm me and it doesn't help that I have to "people" for my job and that's 40 hours a week. I get tired just from dealing with people and even more recently with the whole Covid-19 and people losing their minds. So it's even more precious to me now, when I'm home and have the ability to unwind and relax.
And it's conflicting for me too because when I enjoy hanging out with people, I love being out and with them and always wonder why I am the way I am. And yet every time someone wants to, my brain tries to find ways to wiggle out of it or make excuses. Not always, but sometimes. Sometimes it's not at first, but when the day comes. It's incredibly frustrating sometimes and often annoying. Some days I wish I had no friends and other days I wish I had more.
My brain is often an idiot.
|Prompt: “Real beauty is in the fragility of your petals. A rose that never wilts isn’t a rose at all.”
About roses or people, do you agree?
I think there is a lot of dedication for people to look or be a certain way. There is a societal being that says so. No one wants to deal with being real in any sort of context. Even now, in the year of our lord 2020 (Even though I do this in a sarcastic manner, 2020 is making me feel like this is in incredibly poor taste), there is still a struggle to deal with both physical and mental realities. Both women and men feel like there are standards you have to live up to. I'm still learning to lean away from them.
When I was in high school I flipped both birds to societal perfections because I knew I didn't come up to muster on them. I've never been a dainty female mentally or physically and for a long time I resented myself for it. I can't even sneeze like what a female is supposed to sneeze like. I was terrified of being myself and thinking no guy in their right mind would find me attractive. I've been with my guy for sixteen and a half years and he loves me for exactly who and what I am. I wake up with my messed up sea witch looking hair and frumpy way and he tells me to my face that I'm beautiful and my hair is cute. With a straight face.
Mental health, I think especially now even though we've made strides, we're still so far away from what even constitutes as a healthy mental health system in our country. And even if hell froze over and we had a 100% perfect system tomorrow when we all woke up, how many people would use it? Especially men? For as finicky and difficult as it is for women to understand that we aren't just emotionally weak and have actual problems and that we need to figure out what they are, men just suppress them so deeply as to think they can't even show emotion during a movie or at an event in their life because that's just not how it is. There is such a structural disbelief in mental health that most people chalk up to being weak or stupid or an excuse for something, that no one wants to take any of it seriously.
I feel like that's the same way as how we approach the physical aspects of ourselves or how some see others. I am 100% towards doing things because they make you happy. Sometimes they aren't what I think look good on someone and I catch myself and tell myself that they aren't doing it for me or anyone else and that if they're happy and confident with it, then that's what matters. And it is. I hate seeing people judged because they don't fall within a narrow view of what's acceptable of what beauty is. People lose their shit over a man wearing a bun. Well, I have long hair and it drives me crazy. Could I have totally short hair and save myself the misery? Yes, but I don't want to. So if a guy didn't want to deal with his hair or it's hot out and he wants to toss it up, who cares?
We have to come to a point as a society where we care about the people and choose the people over anything else. Where the mental stability of us as a whole is important. We can't realistically move forward if we can't a) believe in the science that proves that there are things that can't just be swept under the rug or tossed into a folder of "just being emotional" or "needs to be stoic above all else" and b) believe that coming to terms with those things and finding a way to deal with or eradicate those issues.
Mostly importantly, if we aren't being real that we aren't. We can't live our lives the way we should or that we could by not admitting to ourselves who and what we are. And being accepting of what we find. I say that not just with ourselves, but also in others as well. That whole "Judge not, lest ye be judged." is something I carry with me and I think everyone should follow the same.
|I've recently gotten to thinking of how long I've been at this site. Officially, it will be TWENTY years come the end of August. TWENTY. How did I get old enough to say I've been somewhere on the Internet for TWENTY years? Yet, here we are. Though, if we want to get technical I've been with this site longer than this site was technically around. Doesn't make much sense, does it? Well, let me see if I can explain.
So, originally, this site was called Stories.Com. I found this site just by googling stories or writing into the search box. It was part of like a cluster of sites. Not necessarily like a web ring, but if you went to the "mother site" it would list Stories.Com, along with some others. (I feel like maybe my age is showing here)
Anyway, Stories.Com was originally just interactive stories. You didn't have to have an account, so you didn't really have a way to "own" anything, except just knowing that it was yours. I had a story on there that was one of the most popular stories. It was about a haunted house and that's really all I remember about it now. I don't know why I didn't transfer it over. I wish I had kept it, even if it was just for posterity's sake.
I was there probably close to two years before SM and SMs took it over and made it into what it is now.
I've always considered it my home. A lot of those for whom I've considered family aren't very active on here anymore or have stopped visiting altogether (some of these people though I've stayed connected with on social media, so I can still say hi to them whenever I'd like. ), but I still feel happy here. I decided to use my stepping away from social media as an excuse to just be more active here and another excuse to get back into writing, no matter how little I am able to do so. All so I can take a break from what's going on outside. I don't like to throw around descriptor words on who I am or what I am, so saying that I am an empath feels bizarre to me, but I am incredibly empathetic. Almost to a point where it's very overwhelming. It has been building to a point where I just...can't take it anymore. So I'm taking a break from everything. I can't get anxious and overwhelmed to the point of tears if I don't know what stupid people are saying, now can I?
I've had to cut back on reading Covid-19 articles, because my anxiety has flown up through the roof. It's been the same with the BLM and George Floyd stuff going on now, only with social media and seeing people say the most ignorant things. I know that I am empathetic to basically a fault, but to see people who have none at all just hurts my soul. Especially when it's just human beings wanting to be treated like human beings and somehow white people have to make it all about them. Or just wanting to care enough to not be considered racist.
So, here I am. In my happy place, where I can focus on my mental health and writing for awhile.