Monday, December 21, 2015

Hermione Granger and the Social Justice Warriors

I tried to be nice and respectful when discussing this with people over the internet.  There was a very small few I was able to do that because they were also nice and respectful.  Then, there were those who can't accept someone has a different opinion.

The topic is the actress cast to play Hermione in Rowling's great new London play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is black.  Rowling has "enthusiastically" accepted the decision.

I am a canon purist.  That means Hermione should have been more bushier in the movies with buck teeth until she gets Madam Pomfrey to fix them.  Ron should have been tall with a big nose, big hands, and big feet.  His twin brothers should have been shorter.

I know that in casting things don't always work out the way you want them to.  They say they didn't know James and Oliver Phelps would grow to be taller than Rupert Grint.  It kind of looked like they might be from the first movie, but I'm no expert so I'll give them that.  The Hermione thing, the Harry's hair not being messy enough, Ron's nose and all that, it's because they want Hollywood beauty to attract more viewers.  Beautiful trio and all that.

A canon purist is also someone who believes everything in canon is true and doesn't leave things out.  If the author says something then it is canon UNLESS it contradicts what is in the printed work.

I don't owe anyone an explanation as to why I feel the way I do.  I don't have to defend myself saying that I like such and such or have such and such.  It doesn't matter.  I don't have to prove myself to anyone.  I could just shut up and let the liberal Social Justice Warriors think they're superior to everyone else and we're just a bunch of racist hicks.

Whatever I say they're going to think that anyway.

With my degree in English I have read and studied literary criticism.  Literary criticsm isn't reading book reviews to see what critics say.  It's about how you interpret literature.  It shapes how I interpret stories.

The Social Justice Warriors climb on their high horse and praise this day as a great time to be alive.  Little black girls can now dream of being Hermione.  Everything is right with the world.  We're all equal.  Long live social justice.  Praise.  Praise. Praise.

Even Rowling has jumped on the bandwagon.  I'm pretty sure she probably regrets not actually describing Hermione as a black person.  Heck, she's probably jealous she didn't come up with the idea herself.  Rowling is a Social Justice Warrior and she's not quiet about it.

If this isn't about race and it is about interpretation, as some people have told me, then those little black girls have always had the ability to dream to be Hermione.  They didn't need a black actress to give them that possibility.  They are in fact making the statement that we can't dream about something until we actually see it happen.  No dreaming about becoming president for girls.  Don't dream the impossible.  It hasn't happened so you cannot have that dream.

Some have jumped up and shouted that Hermione was black in the books because in Prisoner of Azkaban she was described as having black skin.  No.  She was described as coming back from vacation with a tan.  They scream that as evidence for race but throw out the part where Hermione is described as having a white face.  No, that's referring to her being scared.  That's evidence against them so it gets thrown out.

When I heard about the actress, actually the entire trio, cast I thought it was weird, but didn't really care.  Then I read the tweets and the Facebook comments.  These Social Justice Warriors could not be more demeaning and rude.  Their claim is they are inclusive and allow anyone to have their own interpretation.

Only if you agree with them.

Only if your interpretation is the same as theirs.

Let's go back to how I interpret things, literary criticism.  It also harkens back to something I've come across about being a better writer.  If it's not mentioned we should believe it's not there.  Ron is never mentioned as owning a dog name Scruffy so we should not think he has one in the story.

Some characters' race is mentioned in the story either through the color of their skin or the name they are given.  We are to believe Cho Chang is Asian because of her name.  Dean Thomas and Lee Jordan are both described as dark skinned boys.  JK Rowling is not one to shy away from telling it like it is so if she intended to make Hermione anything but white she would have told us on the page in some form or fashion.  Because she did not tell us, because she did not say Hermione was this or that, because Hermione lives in England, because the majority of the characters are white, because JK Rowling is white, it is not a stretch to believe Hermione is white.  It would be a stretch to imagine her as anything else.  If Hermione had been dark skinned in the books why was she not described as such when Dean Thomas, Lee Jordan, and the Gryffindor Quidditch player Angelina Johnson, were?  Rowling wasn't afraid to describe them that way.

JK Rowling is not afraid of letting her Social Justice Warrior-ism shine through.  She made Dumbledore gay.  People argue he is and was not mentioned in the books.  You can read the story and see how it can be interpretated that way, his relationship with Grindelwald and all that.  It doesn't change things when we're told Dumbledore is gay.  They don't hire different actors.  He doesn't become a different person.  He was always gay.  We just didn't know that.

I don't like retconning.  I saw a tweet earlier that called this retconning.  I've never been a fan of retconning.  It's trying to fit a square character in a round hole.    Characters have minds of their own.  They don't always go where we want them to. In Degrassi, they retcon birthdays all the time to keep actors there longer (the character was supposed to graduate in 2012 but now she's young enough she can graduate in 2014).  It bugs me because it changes the history we've been shown.  It feels like it makes things useless.  The character we know today may not be the character we know tomorrow.  Don't get too attached.  What I say now isn't going to be relative later.  It also reeks of lazy writing.  We've written ourselves into a corner with this character and the only way to get out is to change something from the past.

I believe Hermione Granger was intended to be white.  Had she been anything else there would be some marker letting us know, be it through name or color of skin or anything.  Why?  Because this was done for other characters.

I have no problem with any of the three main characters being black or Asian or Mexican or Colombian or Canadian or Swedish or Lithuanian or Egyptian or biracial or anything, if they were that way from the beginning.  I do think JK Rowling has a major issue with them being anything but purebred Brits.  I got that feeling from how she attacked that the cast be only British.  "No damn Americans!" (my paraphrase).  I do like sticking to the source.  Since they're British get British actors and not Americans (or any other non UK country) with British accents.

According to Social Justice Warriors, not allowing Hermione to be anything but what she has been from the beginning, which is white, is racist.  We're not being inclusive.  We're interpreting wrong.  We're just wrong period.

This has nothing to do with what color is being discussed.  Had they decided to cast a white guy as Dean Thomas I wouldn't like it either.  It's not right.  It's not true to the source.  He was described as being dark skinned so he is dark skinned.  Maybe they decide to make him Hispanic (how can he be Hispanic if his last name's Thomas?  The same way you can be white and have the last name Garcia).  That's dark skin.  I'll take it.  But, white?  No.  That's not dark skin.

By the way, some Hispanics are white.  My college roommate and her dad were perfect examples of this.

Most of the time since I've been introduced to JK Rowling as the author of Harry Potter she has rubbed me the wrong way with her social justice ways.  She has these thinly veiled attacks at conservatives and Christians (she was raised Christian but has had problems with the church, she says) and people who do not think exactly like her.  And these Social Justice Warriors now pop up defending this move because it's the right thing politically.  To make the world a better place Hermione has to be black.  It's the right thing to do.

Someone came up with the idea to make Hermione black in this play.  With the way the world is splitting apart right now it feels like a big social justice move.  It wasn't done because this person truly interpreted and always saw Hermione as black.  It was done because it would be controversial.  Someone wants to get some big credit for making Hermione a different race. Maybe I'm wrong.  The world we live in today that idea cannot be dismissed, unfortunately.

After discussing this today on the internet the problem I have is not with Hermione's race or whether it is in the books or not. It is with the Social Justice Warriors who act like this is some victory in some fight they've been having (with whom? I don't know).  It  is with the Social Justice Warriors who cry inclusiveness but do not practice what they preach.  It is with the Social Justice Warriors who simply cannot live if someone has a different opinion.  JK Rowling jumps on the bandwagon because she is a Social Justice Warrior.  It'll make her look good.  It'll make her look "inclusive."

If you are going to claim you're inclusive you might want to learn the actual definition of the word.  Actions speak louder than words.

I'm tired of being told I'm wrong simply because I have a different opinion. I'm tired of having to defend myself because I don't think like a liberal, because I am traditional, because I am conservative.  I'm tired of not feeling accepted or included because I'm not them.  They scream being inclusive and then exclude me.  Hypocrites?  You be the judge.

The same person who told me any interpretation of Hermione is allowed also told me since there was no actual mention of her being white my interpretation is wrong. Hypocrite? You be the judge.

It pisses me off to be inclusive means excluding those you do not agree with.  That's not a very Christian thing to say.  I know.  I'm sorry.  But, it makes me angry that the so-called inclusive people exclude me.

What the heck, I'm sorry I was born white.

P.S. I've already had a bad reaction to the play when I heard it was going to be in two parts.  You can watch the two parts in the same day or not.  That, to me, sounds odd, and a way to get more money out of us,  not that I'll be seeing the play live since I do not live in or near England.  This is just more stuff to throw at us.  Let's make Hermione a completely different race than she was in the books.  I know with plays they can go on and multiple people will be cast, some of a different skin color than the one before, like how maybe one day they'll cast a black person as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde (that actually might be weird because she's not blonde, okay, bad example).  This just has Social Justice Warrior stamped on the front page and every other page inside.

P.P.S. Some people find it sacrilege to disagree with Rowling.  Well, too darn bad.

Monday, November 2, 2015

I haven't written in a while and this thought came to my mind so I thought I'd write about it.

I love to read.  That's an understatement.  I'm not like my college friend who could read a book in a day.  I don't carry a book around so I can read it while waiting in line.  But, I do read an awful lot.  I read in the morning.  I read at night.  I read while doing stuff on the computer (a lot of times you have to wait for things to load or download or upload or whatever so reading passes the time).  I read in the car (sometimes since I also love to listen to music).  I don't carry a physical book around but thanks to modern technology, I carry around my phone with the Kindle (and many other book) apps.

One of my favorite memories is getting a trophy at 6th Grade Honors Day for reading more books than anyone in the 6th grade.  We didn't have that the year before.  We didn't have that the year after.  I don't know what made that year special.

I can't remember if it was every day or once a week, but we had special time to read in class for something like thirty minutes to an hour.  Every quarter we had to read a certain amount of books for a grade.  100 pages equaled one book.  Every month the one student from each class who read the most that month got a coupon for a free Subway Kid's meal.  This was 1993 before Subway was good so I didn't care about the coupon.  I don't think I used a single one.

Every month but one I read the most books out of my class.  I remember that month.  I have a great memory but I can still be scatterbrained about things.  That month I was scatterbrained about turning in my reading worksheets (we had to fill out a worksheet after every book we read) so I remember not turning in all my worksheets that month.  I also think the girl who was tabulating the reading total cheated because she just so happened to be the winner that month. It doesn't matter.

Sitting in alphabetical order in the A-B Honor Roll line at Honors Day, I kind of spaced out when an old teacher turned administrative assistant started talking about something.  She said this person read more than 100 books (that would have been over 10,000 pages).  I didn't even know this award was being given out, so I was really surprised when she called my name, especially considering I was only half-listening anyway.

I don't usually get special awards like that.  I'd get the A-B Honor Roll certificates (starting last quarter of 4th grade, math was always my downfall), citizenship awards given out in elementary school and one year I got a perfect attendance award (another year my school gave awards to anyone who missed less than 5 days, got one for that, too), but the "Surprise, you did something cool" awards never really came my way.  I wasn't athletic so I didn't win athletic awards.  I usually kept to my self so I didn't get awards for helping out or anything like that.  I didn't even win awards in band.  I was a little miffed because the kid who did win the John Philip Sousa Award my senior year had gotten in a verbal fight with the band director that year and thus, his attitude did not deserve him the award (there was only a handful of seniors in marching band so not much competition). I'm a good flute/piccolo player, but not award-winning (unlike my brother on the tuba who did win the Sousa Award and our band director was practically in love with).

Anyway, I don't usually get special attention for the things I do.  That was a unique time for me.  I have a trophy for taking piano lessons through the school board one year (what good that did since I still can't play hands together).  I have trophies for participating in soccer and basketball.  But, my favorite trophy is the reading trophy because I won it. No one else got one.  I read more books than anyone in my grade.

With the advent of the internet and, of course, more responsibility as I grow older, I don't read as many books as I did back then.  Goodreads, where I keep tabs on what I read, counts one book as one book regardless of page number so a 300 page book counts as one where as in 6th grade that would have been three.  I don't know, maybe I read as much as I did then just in a different capacity.  I read books but I also read blogs, online articles, posts, and emails.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Social Anxiety and Sunday School

I'm finally listening to this Blake Shelton album (Bringing Back the Sunshine) I downloaded off Google Play.  I'm lukewarm about Blake Shelton and lukewarm about country music.  It was free on Google Play so I said why not.  If I didn't like it I could delete it.  No skin off my nose.  So far, it's good.  But, you know how country songs go...

They get you feeling all feely and everything and boy is this album sure doing that.

This post is becoming a victim of my social anxiety.  There is something I want to talk about but I've deleted paragraph after paragraph because I don't know how to say it on here.  It is easier for me to say things/write things over the internet but I still can't 100% let my thoughts flow here.  I still get socially anxious.  I want to talk about this thing but I just can't.

This thing I want to talk about is big.  To me.  But it is also extremely nutty.  If I talk about this it'll make me sound like I'm deranged and need to be committed.  Well, maybe it's not that bad, but because I think anything close to that I just can't talk or write about it.

But, I want to.  I'm fighting an inner conflict with myself.  Ugh!  I wish I could just type it, post it, and be done with it.  No one reads this blog anyway so I would have nothing to worry about.

Well, I'll talk about something I can talk about.

Which is?

Social Anxiety
I feel, no I know my social anxiety is holding me back.  There is a lot more I'm able to do thanks to my medication, but I still suffer.  I feel bad when I talk to friends and I realize how goofy I probably look.  I'm not able to look them directly in the eyes.  I know they have to notice it.  I want them to know that it's because I have social anxiety.  I want to blurt out "I'm weird because I have social anxiety," but as you know, I just can't.  I'm talking to a friend last night at orchestra practice and I'm so nervous.  I've known her for something like six years.  We've talked before.  I don't get too personal because social anxiety but I think that for knowing someone for that long we're good.  We're talking and I want to be completely honest with her, but I can't.  I know she won't judge me.  The rational part of my brain knows that.  But then the irrational, the social anxiety part of my brain speaks up.  It speaks louder.  It always does.  I don't lie.  I don't try to be someone I'm not.  I'm just very quiet about what I am.

Am I ashamed of what I am?  Yes.  I'm not ashamed that I have social anxiety.  That makes me feel less embarrassed about things I do.  I just think it's because I have social anxiety.  I haven't verbally expressed to my friends and all that I have it, but I hope from my interactions they have been able to determine that I have it, so my actions can be explained.  I do want them to think I act a certain way because I have social anxiety or maybe they think I have Asperger's.

I don't completely think I do, but I feel like maybe I'm hanging off the spectrum, like maybe social anxiety is related to it.  I'm not like the stereotypical person with Asperger's,but many of the traits, I think I have. I don't want to be like I'm self-diagnosing myself because it's popular or whatever.  I don't think I have Asperger's.  I've watched documentaries and read books.  I don't really fit with the typical Asperger.  I'm more aware than they are, if you know what I mean.  But, I do think I have some of the traits.  Obviously, I do have problem with social skills.  That's the whole social anxiety thing.  I'm very well aware of it, though, and I'm not quite sure that a true Aspie is.  What I mean by being well aware of it is I know when I'm going through a situation that is being affected by it.  It's not something I find out after the fact.  I know as I'm going through it that I'm going through it.  I wish that could help me get over it, but it won't.  Being aware doesn't mean I can change it.

I do other things, like have rituals I can't alter.  I get ready in the morning in a certain way (so does everybody and that's so we don't forget to do anything).  I eat my food in a certain way, a certain pattern. I'm OCD (not like I have to touch a doorknob three times before leaving a room, but I am obsessive and compulsive about the things I do).  I follow routines all throughout my day.  I do certain things at certain times of the day because that's my routine.  I know the world won't end if I don't do it, but I don't feel productive if I skip over something.

The odd repetitive movements.  I don't think I really do that. I don't do things like wring my hands or anything.  I don't really have repetitive movements, I don't think.  I notice when I stand I do rock back and forth (especially if music is playing) but that comes off as more of a nervous tic.

We've been through the communication difficulties.  I have worked really hard to look people in the eyes (sometimes I look them in the mouth) when they're talking, but it's next to impossible to do that when I'm talking.  I can almost sort of do it with my family members.  I want to say I am literal, but I know that I am probably 95% sarcastic so that's not true. I know when someone's joking and yet, nudge, nudge, nudge.  Am I trying to make this fit into the Asperger mold?  I'm trying not to.  I'm trying to see how not Asperger it is.  I do have problems with communication.  I do have problems knowing whether someone is referring to me and the tone of their voice.  Are they being mean?  Are they hurt?  Or are they happy?  Are they okay?  In relation to me?  But, is that communication or overthinking and my self-confidence being shot to heck?

The big thing is obsessiveness.  You know me, you know I get obsessed.  I can't just like something.  I have to LOVE it and spend all my time with it.  Harry Potter.  I was huge into it.  I didn't dress up and go to conventions or midnight book premieres.  I did go to midnight openings of a few of the movies, but I certainly did not dress up.  Between OOTP and the release of the last movie I spent most of my free time in HP web forums (so much I was appointed a Gallery Guru of The Leaky Cauldron).  I was a geek, I'll admit that.  Baseball.  I love baseball.  I love the Atlanta Braves.  My medicine has calmed me down so much.  Oh my gosh.  I used to be nuts.  I mean nuts.  Winning meant everything.  Losing was not an option.  Something bad happened I got mad.  I had to watch all games.  I couldn't miss one.  If I had to go out I had to be able to listen on the radio.  I spent time on Atlanta Braves web forums as well.  I know the obsession started my sophomore year of college.  I've always been a fan, but I wasn't obsessed until then.  My roommate never showed up, so for two weeks I was alone in my dorm (then I got the world's crappiest roommate who left after a week so another week I was alone).  I was talking to my dad on the phone and he asked if I was watching the game.  I turned to the game and the rest is history.  I was alone in my dorm room so I didn't have anyone else to worry about in terms of what we're watching on  TV.  I got a computer for my room that year so I joined forums to talk about my new obsession.  If I'd had a roommate those two weeks I probably would not have gained that obsessiveness.  I would still care.  I've always cared.  I remember always checking the paper for the standings every summer and thinking "It's just April.  We're always down now and end up #1 in the end."  That was true until 2005, but I digress.  It's not so much that I'm obsessed with the internet, but that I'm obsessed with my obsession that I need an outlet and the internet is my outlet (and I am sure my family and friends are extremely thankful that I am not pouring my obsessions on them!).  Hey, I think I'm obsessing over this post!

(Related note: my medicine has calmed me down so much sports related.  I used to yell loudly and harshly at umpires and refs on TV.  I don't do that anymore.  Their actions don't make me want to strangle them and put them in jail.  I can go without watching a baseball game on TV.  The world is not going to end if I'm not watching or listening to the Braves game (it helps that we have smart phones with the capability of keeping up with sports scores) and it has nothing to do with them sucking butt this season.  I ruined plans once because of this.  We had gotten our first HD TV and even though we didn't have HD cable I was excited to watch the Braves on and HD TV for the first time.  My dad came up with the idea that we all as a family go to the movies together.  That's fun and I wish we had done that.  We rarely do that (we're a close family but including my mom and dad we don't go to the movies much).  But, I got mad, because we had discussed watching the baseball game.  That's what we're doing.  Nobody could talk to me rationally.  I wouldn't listen.  I got angry and needless to say, we didn't go to the movies that day.  I can be rational now.  There's always tomorrow.  We're not guaranteed tomorrow, but there is a game scheduled tomorrow, so if I miss today there's tomorrow.  My medicine has helped me to think rationally).

I'm not clumsy or awkward.  I'm not an athlete.  My brother and sister are great athletes. Me?  No.  I tried soccer twice.  I tried basketball twice.  I tried gymnastics thrice (one of my failings there is my fear of heights--no doing cartwheels on the balance beam or much on the uneven bars).  I tried dance twice.  I'm not good at any of it.  I did not try baseball (well, softball, I'm a girl) because I'm afraid of the ball being thrown at my face.  You could call that being awkward especially when I have talented siblings.  But, I'm not clumsy.  I don't trip over my feet.  I'm an excellent marching band member. I never fell down there.

Skilled or talented in one area?  I like to write, but I don't think I'm exceptionally talented in that area.  Maybe it's my lack of self-confidence that makes me think this.  I am good at the flute and piccolo but I don't think I'm exceptionally talented, either.  I'm no better than the average person.  I'm definitely not good enough to be first chair anywhere.  But, I do think I'm good enough to not be last chair.  In church I'm in the middle.  We have six flautists so I'm not directly in the middle anymore, but I was when we had five (we don't audition or try out for chairs but I do sit third chair).  I float between first and second parts.  I am the only piccolo player and I love it. I wish we played more piccolo stuff.  In high school almost everything had a piccolo part.  Church music not so much, but lately we have been playing more pieces with piccolo parts (Christmas time really gets it).

Maybe my one area of true skill is grammar.  I will add it to my obsessiveness since I'm kind of obsessed with it (but I don't drive people crazy--I am a member of the Grammar Police but I'm not always on duty).

There are other things like how we're sensitive to sound.  It doesn't mean things are extra loud to us.  We're just sensitive.  I can hear the small sounds, like when the cable is off but the TV is still on.  It makes this tiny humming noise I can hear but no one else seems to.  Small noises become the most annoying to me.  I am trying really hard to grit my teeth and bear it.  Is it something to get mad over? Maybe it's the medicine coursing through my veins.

I look at this and I look at people who actually have been diagnosed with Asperger's (my psychiatrist won't diagnose me with it) and I don't feel I fit in with them.  I feel on this spectrum I'm hanging off the edge.  I'm there, but I'm not there.  I feel maybe that's where social anxiety places itself.  It's related but it's not it.

Totally off-track but that was fun to write about.  We're talking about what I am ashamed of now.

It's not the social anxiety/Asperger's thing.  It's the other part of my life.  I don't have a job outside my house.  This is related to social anxiety.  Would I like a job outside my house?  Maybe. I'm not lazy.  It's not that I don't want responsibilities.  It's not like I want to stay home and do nothing all day. If I have responsibilities, places to be, things to do, people to see, I will do them.  I'm not afraid of having a full calendar and having things to do.  If I had a job that I had to go to everyday I would.  I would be responsible and everything.  It's not that.  I do think people might think I'm lazy, which leads to the embarrassment.  I have tried, but not hard enough, to do work on the internet.  I am trying with the freelance editing (proofreading and editing I do like that and if you need someone to do some proofreading or editing for you contact me, please!), but not very hard.  I'm not making a whole lot of money right now.  Some.  I make some.  I am able to pay my bills every month (and since I live with my parents they're obviously not that much but I contribute).

Why don't I have a real out of the house job?  I ask myself that all the time.  I am afraid of interviews but it's not that.  I'm afraid to voice what I really want to do.  What do I want to do?  I don't know.  What do I like to do?  I don't know.  I do know what I like to do.  I like to read.  I like to write.  I like to play my flute.  I like to play my piccolo.  I like proofreading.  I like that more than the other side of editing.  Saying that stuff out loud is the hard part.  I don't know why.  It doesn't sound like something that should be.  It's not like any of this is embarrassing.  It's not.  I'm not embarrassed by any of that.  It's like I'm keeping the inside on the inside.  I got to get a real job or find a way to make freelance editing more of a real job for me.  I can't live this way forever. I'm not a lazy bum.  I want to support myself.

I do think people think I'm a deadbeat because I still live with my parents.  There is a part of me that wants to move out.  The annoying things that annoy me won't be there to annoy me.  But, I'll be alone.  Because of social anxiety I am not good at making friends and I am afraid if I move out I will be all alone.  I had friends in college but I wasn't always with them.  There were times, a lot of times, when I was alone because I don't know how to just jump into a social situation and declare "Here I am."  I have to be invited.  That's not how it goes in college.  In college people don't invite you.  You just show up.  You don't know how hard it is for me to just do that.  Life on my own I fear would be like that.  I'll be alone.  Yes, I do like being alone.  Like right now I'm alone in my room writing this blog and it's heaven.  But, I don't always want to be alone.  I don't want to sit in my apartment night after night watching TV and eating dinner alone.  I want to hang out with friends and family.  I want to go out to eat with people, go to the movies with people, go shopping with people, heck, just talk to a person sometimes.  I don't want to do that all the time, but sometimes.  I want that option. I fear if I do live on my own I won't have that option.

If I move out I'll also have to do everything on my own.  I don't want you to think I'm 33 and can't do anything.  I can do things.  I'm not some helpless little girl.  I'm not talking about making dinner, doing the laundry, doing the dishes, blah, blah, blah.  I can do all that.  Well, when it comes cooking I can cook for one.  But, you have to do other things like actually talk to people.  When a problem arises you have to call someone.  Something in the apartment breaks, call the super.  Cable problems?  Call the cable company.  Stuff like that.  I have a phone phobia so I use the phone part of my phone as little as possible (when I cancelled a SiriusXM radio a few months ago that was a big achievement for me since you can only do that via the phone).  In college when something broke (like our bathroom pocket door getting stuck) my roommate called.  This is something I need to get over.  I can't live life not being able to do this. I get it.  But, it still scares me and is a hindrance to me moving out.

(Small thing but if I live on my own I have to kill my own bugs.  EEK!)

That's what I'm ashamed of.  It's not social anxiety but things that social anxiety causes.  But, you probably forgot I was even talking about what I'm ashamed of since I went on a very wild tangent.  That's how my brain works.

Sunday School
Another problem I want to discuss is Sunday School.  I am currently in the Singles Life I class which is for singles out of college and under 30.  I'm 33.  I should really be in Singles Life II.  Switching classes is really hard for me.  It's not just one day I go to Singles Life II and am good.  I'm in the orchestra so I would be coming into class halfway through (we have two services and since I play in both I miss the the first thirty minutes of Sunday School).  If I did switch I would be walking into my new class in the middle of it.  Now, we have had combined classes before so they and the teacher (who knows my name even though I don't think I've ever told him) would know why I'm "late" but first time and everything.  Social Anxiety. He knows I'm in the orchestra so he would definitely know why I'm late.   To switch I think I would have to talk to both my current teacher and the SLII teacher.  They're both great.  But, talking to people much less teachers (even church teachers who aren't school teachers) is nerve wracking.

I do want to make the move.  It's just hard.  I can't express how hard it is for me, how it feels.  You can't know until you experience it.

Coming up next month we are doing our volunteer project to beautify our city.  The two singles classes will be combining to do our work.  I see this as an opportunity to get to know the members of the SLII class and to talk to both teachers.  That requires me to go and be social.

I want to be social.  It's not that I don't want to be.  I want to be social.  I want to hang out with these people.  I do.  I really do.  I really need to step over that line.  I need to get out of  my comfort zone.  Social anxiety magnifies every problem a million times.  It's so much easier to just stay holed up in my room where I don't have to interact with anyone.  It's not healthy.  It's also not what I want.  I like sitting here, working on my computer, interacting with  people over social media rather than face-to-face or over the phone.  It's easy.  But, I do want to hang out with friends.  I do want to hang out with real people.  I do want to have a life outside my room, outside my house, outside my computer.  I want to live.

If you pray, pray for me.  Pray that I am able to participate in this activity next month.  Pray that I am able to move up to the SLII class.  Pray that I am able to be social and be happy.  I need that.

PLEASE DON'T LET THIS SCARE YOU AWAY!  I'm a great person.  My medicine works wonders.  I'm not some doped up girl (woman).  I'm fine.  I'm healthy.  I'm much better.  If I get comfortable with you I can be a great person (ask the people who know me).

This was a really long post, but I had fun writing it so that's what you're getting.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Social Anxiety/Direction For This Blog

This blog has been very scattered.  I tried making it a book review blog.  Then, I thought I could write about my writing while adding in some Christian music videos.  I think I've finally found the answer.  Well, I hope I've found the answer.  I want to talk about my social anxiety, at least for a while.

What is social anxiety?  It is a fear of social interactions.  It's more than that but in the end that is what it boils down to.  Social anxiety is a crippling phobia that affects every aspect of my life.  There is hardly anything I do that social anxiety doesn't ruin.  It's very overpowering.

How does social anxiety affect me?  Like I said in the above paragraph it's very overpowering.  It controls my thoughts and actions.  It lives in my head and won't let go.  Talking to people is the hardest thing.  I want to talk to people.  I want to be social.  But, the actual talking part is very hard.  Sometimes it's impossible.

Social situations are really hard.  This does not mean I have agoraphobia.  Agoraphobia is a fear of the world.  It's a fear of places and situations.  Social interactions scare the crap out of me but that doesn't mean I don't want to go out into the world.  I want to be a part of the world (as I say this I think about how God says we aren't to be of the world, but you know what I mean).  I want to have friends.  I don't want to be a hermit holed in my house never to come out.

The plans I have for this blog are to delve into what makes my social anxiety tick.  Why do I have it?  That I really don't know if I'll be able to answer.  I'll write about situations where it plays itself out.  I hope to discover something, maybe to unlock the key to overcoming it.  I don't think I'll ever be able to cure it, but maybe one day I'll be able to grow and not have to take my medicine anymore.

Yeah, I take medicine for social anxiety.  I have to or I may not be able to function in the world.  I don't know how well it helps honestly, because I still am socially anxious and very, very aware of everything in social situations, but I do find that I am able to do more.  I play the flute and piccolo in the orchestra at my church.  I've been playing the piccolo since high school so I am good at it, I think.  Before I started taking my meds I was really nervous about playing it in the orchestra.  For some reason to me it didn't sound very reverent.  Plus, I was really nervous about mistakes.  I play the piccolo.  I want to be the piccolo player of the orchestra so I should be able to play it well.  I use playing the piccolo as a judgement on my medication.  After I started taking it I gained confidence on my piccolo playing.  I'm still nervous but that just goes with the territory of playing an instrument.  I tell myself other instruments, like the trumpets, don't sound good when we start new music.  They're learning it just as we all are.  That's the same for me.  If I don't sound good in the beginning that's okay.  I'll practice to get to the sounding better part.  I also tell myself that it's written in the music so I should not be afraid to play it.  There's a reason the notes are there and that's because the arranger and/or composer thought it sounded good.  If he (and most if not all are men) put it there, I should play it.  There are a few pieces I have taken the piccolo out because it doesn't sound right even though someone thought it did and wrote it into the music.

Those thoughts I often wonder if they are because of my medicine or because I have matured.  Maybe I have matured because of my medicine.  I don't want to take medicine forever. I hate taking medicine.

To end this post I'll leave you with something on Twitter yesterday that is very fitting and gave me the idea to focus on social anxiety in my blog.  It was a retweet from a friend who retweeted from a friend who retweeted or copied it from davestriderinthighhighs. It seems that could be a tumblr account due to using more than 140 characters.  I don't know who to give credit to on this, but that's how I came about it.  Looking at the picture, it says Source: stan-the-man-marsh so maybe that's where it originated.  I don't know.

My next post may very well be explaining what that means to me.  I haven't thought about it yet.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday Video: "Jesus Messiah" by Chris Tomlin, "Who I Am Hates Who I've Been" by Relient K, "Blessings" by Laura Story

I'm back and this is back!  I am sorry for abandoning this blog for a while (I think it might have been about a month or less).  Here I am bringing you another Sunday video.  Since I missed it for a while I am giving you three videos.

"Jesus Messiah" Chris Tomlin
Chris Tomlin released his first album in 1995, although it was not until 2001 the first national release of his solo work.  The song "Jesus Messiah" was released in 2008 on the album Hello Love.  

"Who I Am Hates Who I've Been" Relient K
Relient K named themselves after band member Matt Hoopes's car Plymouth Reliant K.  They changed the spelling to Relient to avoid trademark infringement.  The song "Who I Am Hates Who I've Been" was released in 2004 on the album Mmhmm.  The video has actually appeared on MTV's TRL!

"Blessings" Laura Story
Laura Story is originally from near where I live in South Carolina.  She is currently an associate worship leader at Perimeter Church in Atlanta, Ga .  "Blessings" was released in 2011 on the album Blessings.  This is her fourth album, but the first one to bring her national attention.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sunday Video: On My Knees by Jaci Velasquez

The official video which unfortunately is not shareable:

Mixing it up a bit by presenting a female singer.  I love Jaci Velasquez.  All her songs are amazing.  I could have picked any one of them, but I chose this one.  She's so young in this video!  Isn't she cute with her freckles?  My cousin introduced me to her work with her self titled album back in the 90s and I'm still a fan.  Such a powerful song.  Beautiful.

The album, Heavenly Place, containing this song was released in 1996.  It was her major label album debut.  Almost 20 years ago!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Sunday Video: Because He Lives by Michael Tait ft. George Beverly Shea

Happy Easter!  I had something different planned for today, but when I came across this video I knew I had to post it.

(this is not the original video I wanted to share; that one disabled embedding, but it's the same song.  I don't get some of the images like Morgan Freeman, but forget that and just listen to the music).

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
Matthew 28:5-7 NIV

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday Video: Sunday by Tree63

We all know Tree63 as the band that sings "Blessed Be Your Name" but I'm bringing you another song done by them titled "Sunday."  I had debated with myself on whether to post this on Easter or not and as you can see I chose the week before.  After making this decision I found a tweet about Tree63's Kickstarter campaign.  They're independent now so they needed some help getting their next album off the ground.  I donated because I like Tree63 and I saw this as a sign.  They haven't put out any music in seven years and right when I decide to share a video of their music on my blog this happens?

This is not their official music video.  I don't think they have one.  It's just a quirky one I found on Youtube that I happen to like.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday Video: We Believe by Newsboys

In honor of the premiere of the movie Do You Believe? today's video is the wonderfully awesome song by the Newsboys "We Believe."

I love the Newsboys.  I loved them with Peter Furler and now with Michael Tate, former member of dc Talk.  They were great with Furler as lead singer, but they're something else with Tate.  Right now, they're on fire.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

RSV and Daycare

Two weeks ago my three month old niece was in the hospital suffering from RSV.

RSV is short for Respiratory Syncytial Virus.  It affects the lungs and breathing passages.  My niece was struggling to breathe so she had to be taken to the hospital.  Little did anyone know she would be there until the end of the week.  Just think about a little three month old with an IV in her arm and a tube up her nose.  A board was put on her arm to keep the IV in place.  She'd raise her arm and it would just irritate her.  She finally learned how to grab the tube and pull it out of her nose.

Anyway, this post isn't about sympathy for my niece (but you can feel sympathetic if you want, totally allowed).  My niece got sick at daycare.  Daycare is a good place to get sick.  Yeah, you're going to get the common cold, blah, blah, blah.  You expect that.  Whatever.  You don't want it, but being with other children every day it's going to happen.  What you don't expect is this.

There is only one person to blame in the entire daycare for this.  The daycare workers informed parents a case of RSV was going through the daycare and one woman was flippant about it saying her son already went through that a few weeks ago.

Her son already went through it a few weeks ago.

She still took him to daycare.

He went to daycare while he was sick.  With RSV.

He's the one who gave it to not just my niece but other babies.  I don't know anything about the other babies, but my niece had to go to the hospital.  The next week my mom babysat her instead of sending her to daycare so she could get better.

Asthma runs in my family (or should I say doesn't run, haha, roll eyes).  My mom has it and my brother, the baby's father, has it.  Could my niece have it?  Possibly.  Could it have been exacerbated by RSV?  Possibly. I don't know.  I'm not a doctor.  I have a degree in English.  We don't study how those things work.

This lady put my niece in danger and not just my niece but other babies as well.  It was for her selfish gain so she could keep her child in daycare while she went to work.  It affects her baby as well.  The baby should be at home where he can get the proper attention and rest to get better.  It hurts him, too, but I'm guessing she doesn't realize that.

I get the argument that maybe she can't miss work or whatever, but this isn't just the common cold.  This is RSV.  How to prevent RSV?  Aside from washing hands and such, keep children who are suffering from it away from other children.  Do not socialize when you are sick!  Common sense, people!

The ones getting sick this time were babies.  Babies have weaker immune systems.  They don't handle illnesses the way older people do.  They need more care and attention.

If your child is sick DO NOT TAKE THEM TO DAYCARE!  Stay home with him or her.  Get a baby-sitter.  Ask a relative or a neighbor to watch the child.  Don't put other people at risk because you won't miss a day of work.  Don't put your child at risk by not keeping him or her at home to get better.  Yes, one of the best recipes for treating an illness is to stay home and rest.  Why don't people get that?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunday Video: Best Kept Secret by Skillet

An awesome band that I got to see in concert in I think it was 2001 (not a big concert goer so this is a big thing).  This song is from 2000 and it's one of their best songs.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Ten Sites to Make Money Doing Online Tasks

1.    Swagbucks: 
Earn virtual currency for Paypal money or gift cards by performing tasks, watching video, shopping, searching, and playing games.  Periodically Swagbucks will release a code which can be redeemed for a small amount of Swagbucks.  Every few months they run contests where teams work together to win extra Swagbucks.  The user will receive a bonus for reaching certain goals each day.  More bonuses are rewarded for reaching goals in 7 consecutive days, 14 consecutive days, 21 consecutive days, and the entire month.  This is my favorite site to use.  They have apps to watch videos to earn money passively.  The videos will run on their own and you can do other things like visiting the actual website to do the surveys and such.

2.       Gifthulk: 

Taking surveys, watching video, and performing tasks can earn virtual coins called Hulk Coins.  Hulk Coins can be used for cash in the form of Paypal transfers or bitcoin and gift cards.  The site awards users for their activity in the form of discounts on the rewards and more tokens for "Guess the Card", a game in which one can win coins by correctly guessing the number and/or suite of a card.  If the user reaches a specified amount every day they receive a bonus and if they do this five to seven times in one week they receive extra bonuses.

3.       Google Opinion Rewards: 

For Android users only.  This one's not going to help you pay the bills, but by answering surveys sent periodically to your Android device you can make money to spend at the Google Play Store.  There you can buy digital items like books, music, movies, TV shows, and apps.  I've been able to purchase movies and apps.  Overall I'm pleased with it.  I do wish the surveys would come more often, but hey, it's free, so I'm not complaining.  I'm also not complaining because even though you might only get 10 cents the surveys are not very long or labor intensive.

4-5.   Sendearnings & Inboxdollars:
I find these two sites to be clones of each other.  Many of the emails I get from one site I get the same from the other.  Like other sites you can take surveys,   watch videos, and perform tasks.  You also can get credit for opening emails.  You will get sent         emails to your inbox.  Open the email, click on the link, and you get two cents.  While that’s not          a lot, it’s more than you get for opening other emails.  You can play games here but I think to              actually get credit you have to deposit money.  I’m not willing to do that nor am I allowed by              state to participate in gambling websites like that so it won’t even let me do that. 
6.       Toluna:
An interactive site where one can take surveys, answer user generated questions, or polls for points.  Points can be redeemed for gift cards.  It’s like the other sites but more interactive.  You don’t just qualify for surveys.  You can take polls and such to earn small amounts of points. They are small amounts, but that’s better than zero when you don’t qualify for a survey.

7.       Opinionsquare:
Take surveys for rewards.  Every failed survey results in a token to play either a scratch-off game or a slot game with the lowest prize being 25 coins.  Coins are redeemed for gift cards or prizes like books, games, and music.

8.       Mpoints: 

Play games on your smart phone or tablet for gift cards.  Many apps are connected to mPoints.  These are fun games like Family Feud & Friends, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Hangman, and Word Search.  Some of the non-game apps connected are the Crackle app, get mPoints for watching TV   and movies, and, get mPoints for looking up words.  One is most likely going to play games on their portable device.  Why not get rewarded for it?

9.       Mechanical Turk: 
Do tasks for money.  This is real money one can transfer to their Amazon account and either spend it on Amazon or transfer to their bank account.  These are small tasks like taking surveys, data entry, audio translation, search, and other simple tasks people will post on the site as a turk.

10.   Perk:
They call themselves the most popular mobile reward earning site.  Download apps to earn Perk Points and Perk Tokens.  Perk Points are used to purchase gift cards and Perk Tokens are used to enter sweepstakes.  Among the apps one can download are TV, Trivia, Mahjong, and Search.  One can also go to their website to take surveys and perform online tasks.

On average one cannot make a living off these sites but can earn cash and gift cards to supplement and provide spending money.  If you find at the end of the month you've just barely paid your bills but you have nothing left over for luxuries or you want to save for a vacation, I recommend using sites like these.  If you're a kid over the age of 13 and your parents won't pay for a Netflix account you can make average of about $9 a month doing surveys and other minimal tasks and voila, you have Netflix (don't do this if your parents do not want you to have an account).  It can work for other subscription based internet sites like or Amazon Prime.  A lot of the users like to save their money for Christmas.  Maybe you're in college and don't have time for a part-time job but desperately need party money.  These aren't places where you can get $10 to spend tonight, but if you do your time everyday you can have money waiting for you.  Your best friend's birthday is next month and you have no money to get her a gift.  Spend some time at one, a few, or all of these sites and earn gift cards you can use to purchase her a gift or if you're lazy enough (or she's too picky) give her the gift card.  Maybe you're like me and addicted to books.  I use some of the money I make on these sites to feed my addiction.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sunday Video: "More of You" by Colton Dixon

I don't really watch American Idol anymore, but I did use to watch it regularly.  I think the last great contestant I really enjoyed was Colton Dixon.  He was an amazing rocker.  It killed me when he did "Everything" by Lifehouse (which is one of my favorite Lifehouse songs).  But, that song got him eliminated!  When he sang his swan song, he turned the lyrics to God (I do believe that the song already has Christian undertones).  My mom and I shared a look, like wow.  It's one thing to be Christian, but on a national stage like American Idol it's another to come out and sing Christian.  He did that.  He didn't win the show, but he proved himself.  Now, he has a career in Christian rock and I'm loving it.

And since I can I present you Colton Dixon's "Everything" performance on AI and his final performance after being eliminated.

(BTW, he has nothing to apologize for.  That was a beautiful rendition of the song).

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Writing Update

I got a job last week writing posts for Postboredom Productions.  According to the contract I will write 1-2 posts per week.  So far I have written two posts.  It's a very small job but it's a start.  Everyone has to start at the bottom.  I'm currently watching Freaks and Geeks on Netflix and look at the actors who started at the bottom there.  I mean, this is a show that lasted only one season, 18 episodes.  But, it was a beginning (maybe not THE beginning) for James Franco, Jason Segel, and Seth Rogen (according to IMDB it was Seth's very first on screen role).  We all need beginnings.  Everyone has to start somewhere.  No one gets to start in the middle or at the end.

Other writing news: Thanks to my Harry Potter fanfic, Aftermath, I got an invitation to a fanfic site called Inkitt.  Apparently, it's a site you can only join via invitation, so that's cool.  I have joined under my name blue4t and am in the process of adding my stories if you want to check them out there.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sunday Video: "Lighthouse" by Audio Adrenaline

I chose this song because it is one of my top favorites.  This week in my devotional one of the prayers was to be the light for others.  Anytime when someone mentions the light (or lighthouse) when it comes to Christianity, this song automatically pops in my head.  I don't think the song actually pertains to the prayer as the lighthouse the singer is referring to is God and the light the prayer refers to is us.  However, this is a very powerful song I think everyone should hear.

The song is from their album Some Kind of Zombie released in 1997 making it almost 18 years old!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I Am Lost

I am lost.

I have God.  I have Jesus.  But, maybe I'm not listening.  I feel He's leading me to be a writer.  I prayed and then Stumble Uponed a website about freelance writing.  I do feel God is telling me I do need to be a writer.  I need to write.  I love to write.

You can't just jump into being a freelance writer.  No experience and you aren't going to get the jobs.  No jobs and you can't get experience.  I can't get anything because I have no experience and I can't get experience because I can't get anything.

It's only been a week.  I need to be patient.  I get that.  Honestly, I'm just lost.  I don't know what I'm qualified for.  I don't know where I belong really.  I'm a newbie in this world.

Eventually, I want to have a book published.  I've started preliminary work on a piece of middle grade fiction.  But, until then (I have a feeling it's going to be a long time til then) I need to find other ways to make money.  I can write and I can edit.  But, again, sounding like a broken record, since I've only ever done any of that professionally one time and have nothing to give as an example for it, I've got nothing.


And I feel I'm going to go nowhere.

I cannot despair.  I can't let this get me down.  I have to persevere.  That's the hard part.  I have to work through the hard times to get to the good times.  I have to keep at it.  Keep sending in those applications.  Keep finding places that need writers and/or editors.  Write my own stuff.  Build a portfolio.  Build me.

I don't know what's going to come of this.  I don't exactly have all the time in the world to find out.

I do know God is here to help me.  I stressed out pretty harshly on Sunday but sitting in church I talked to God and He took the burden off my shoulders.  It was like night and day the way I felt before and after church.  I may not have all the time in the world, but I do have some time.

Writing is my dream.  Dreams take time.  Dreams take work.  It's not just going to happen tomorrow.  I have to climb the mountain.  Like they say, Rome wasn't built in a day.  Overnight successes don't just happen.

So, I put myself out here.  I let you see me.  I bare my soul.

I can't just sit here and dream.  I have to do.  Finally, I am doing.

I just hope it's good enough.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunday Video: Jesus Freak by DC Talk

The song that introduced me to Christian contemporary/rock/radio, everything that wasn't just hymns and gospel.  There was this whole world out there I didn't know existed and it's huge!  I can't believe it's been almost 20 years since it's release.

Every Sunday I will be posting a Christian music video.  If you have a video you'd like me to post contact either through this blog through my email.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Little Girl

I'm working on my next big project.  Right now I'm not really sure what that is.  I know it's with a character, a girl who has no friends.  There's more to it that I don't want to say until the first story comes out, but I think it's good.  I'm thinking it's going to be maybe middle grades oriented or something.  We'll see.  I don't have a plot but I have a character and I'm working with her to see what stories come up.  It's a starting point and I need that.  I haven't had anything in a while.  I was waiting for my muse to hit, for inspiration, and it wasn't going to.  It was waiting for me.  I need to take charge and do something.  So, I'm doing something with this little girl.

The little girl has no name yet.  I hope she tells it to me soon.  I want to be able to fall in love with her so I can spend time daydreaming and imagining.  That's where my best ideas come from.  I think that's one thing that's really hindered me in my fiction writing lately.  I haven't had anything to fall in love with so my creative wheels haven't been spending.  I hope this little girl gets them spinning.

Wish me luck for I hope to do great things with her.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Starting Over

I'm starting over.

I started this blog with no intentions and then it quickly became a book review blog.  Fun at first, it became a hassle.  I hated finishing books because I had to write reviews.  Review writing became a chore.  I love to write and I love to read but I don't like to write about what I've just read, I guess.  I don't know.

What I do know is I love to write and so I'm restarting this blog with the intentions of writing.  I'll write my thoughts.  I'll write about writing.  I'll write.  I like to write.  I do like to write.  Have I said that enough?  I'm not sure.  I like to write.

I have also decided I want to get into freelancing.  I have no experience so it's going to be hard to get into the business, but we all have to start somewhere.  Actually, I do have a little bit of experience.  A few years ago I edited a manual for my uncle's XtreamService program. I didn't write the manual.  I just edited.  It needed a lot of work.  Editing that manual made me realize what I take for granted.  Grammar is my thing.  It comes easy to me.  I'm not perfect so I will make mistakes, of course.  The average person is not so great at grammar.  The writer of that manual often could not construct a complete sentence and I don't think she knew.  Because I'm good at it, I think others are, too.  Others are, but not everyone.

Since I'm just starting out I don't know what to do, but I have been searching the internet.  I've got to look for jobs.  I signed up on odesk, but I feel like with no experience that's not going to get me very far in the beginning.  I have to start.  I can't be afraid.  I know it's going to be slow going but I have to perservere.  I can only do it if I do it.

What kind of freelancing do I want to do?  Almost anything that has to do with writing.  I'll write, I'll edit, I'll proofread, I'll review--well, within its limits.  We'll see how that goes.  I hope that I am able to provide people with the services they need as well as be able to make some money.

Here I go into the world.  I present myself to you.  If you need an editor, a proofreader, a writer, a beta reader, almost anything related to writing then don't hesitate to contact me.  I'm new, but that doesn't mean I don't know what I'm doing. It just means I haven't done much to pad my resume.  I need that beginning.  I need those first jobs to get me going.  You can contact me via email at  We can discuss rates when we talk.

I hope to be having fun with you.