What if You Had One Week to Live? I did.

I don’t like the phrases “live like there’s no tomorrow”, “live like you’re dying,” or “what if you had one week to live?”

This is a very matter of fact depiction that I wrote while I couldn’t sleep. It’s purely to request you to think deeper about the previously mentioned phrases, and not a current mental or physical state. Rather, a perspective from an insider. Be warned, It’s long, riddled with errors, and the context also changes frequently, my grammar fanatics.

This is coming from someone who (several years ago now) truly believed that their life was coming to a near end due to health related issues.

None of my doctors were optimistic about my chances for survival, and I believed them.

The problem with believing that’s there’s no tomorrow is that we fail to take into account that there are consequences for our actions. We perpetually minimize things that have a major impact on us long-term, and don’t take into account the repercussions that will arise from rash indiscretions.

Sure, I understand what the concepts are trying to portray. “Seize the Day.” I understand that the message is supposed to be, “Tell people you love them, take chances, follow your dreams, spend time with your kids, etc.” However, when you believe you’re dying or that there’s no tomorrow (or at best very few of them), those are not the actions that I found myself making.

What I found during that time was that most people I interacted with had little concept of what it actually felt like to live this way. I lived in the parallel universe that no one seemingly made sense to me, and I beyond baffled everyone I came in contact with. Consequences didn’t matter to me anymore, because I wouldn’t have to live through them.

So, in that aspect I’ll give you a brief summary of what it was like for me to live as a person who was dying and the thought of no tomorrow.

Romance

I didn’t date seriously. A lot, but not seriously. I wouldn’t let anyone get close to me. I avoided new legitimate relationships. After all, how do you answer the question: “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” How could you seriously allow someone to become emotionally attached to you knowing there’s nothing in store for them but heart ache?

Friendships

I like to think that I was just unlucky with picking my friends, and that most humans don’t interact this way. However, if you are ill long-term you will more than likely lose most of your friends. (At least in my experience). You slowly start declining more and more invitations for social activities. You cease to invite people over/out. You fade away. You need more and give less. And to be completely honest you’re boring and depressing, which most people don’t tend to seek out. You get questions like: “How’s it going?” You either lie – “great!” Or you tell the truth “well, I can’t get in and out of the tub anymore. It’s too hard for my to stand long enough to shower, so I’m using a lot more baby wipes” or “I’ve lost 12 pounds this week, because I can’t keep food down.” You begin let go of people that you care about.

Work

If you’re even still healthy enough to work. I was unfortunately not in a financial situation to be able to take off work. I was a single adult who still had too many bills to pay (plus new ones with all of the medical expenses). I no longer tried to improve my quality of workmanship. I couldn’t afford to put any further energy in increasing my skill set. It took all I had just to get out of bed each day. Impressing people no longer mattered. I had to be driven to work, because I became too weak to drive myself. My quality of work rapidly declined. What was the point?

Health and Wellness

Many of the health trends are due to us wanting to live long and healthy lives. If you know you’re dying, then why not? I was sleeping on average 18-20 hours per day. You’re too sick to want to expend the energy on exercising (in fact walking across the room, is enough to make you need to take a nap). I couldn’t stand long enough to cook anything, which I had loved cooking and baking. My diet became a menagerie of fast food, delivery, high sugar and caffeine (for energy), alcohol for the pain. **Alcohol was a major contraindication for my medicines, but what was it going to do? Kill me?. I had also tried approx 10 different pain medications for my severe pain, most of which caused horrible reactions. (Rashes, edema, panic attacks, etc) Tylenol even put me in the ER** (If you know me now, my diet is very strict and I still get teased for not consuming alcohol.)

Finances

So, what happens when your lease is up when you know you won’t live another year? If you don’t renew what about your stuff? Should you put it in a storage unit? Money was way too thin to justify it anyway. I gave away almost all my furniture, clothing, and home goods. I was too sick to move it, and what did I need it for anyway?

I didn’t file my taxes. Come rob my grave, IRS. I stopped paying a lot of my bills. Were my student loan companies going to come repo my diploma? I was already choosing between medicine and food. One prescription was $1000/mo. Obviously any kind of saving was out of the question.

Healthcare

I didn’t go to the dentist, the eye doctor, my OBGYN, regular doctor for check-ups, etc. why? Anything seriously wrong with any of those departments would take years to manifest, and I had months at best.

What I can say positively is that I suffered from depression prior to these events, and I can also say that it honestly cured it. I have previously tried to recount these concepts for people who claim I was just depressed and had given up. Quite the opposite. It cured my depression and I fought every day to see the next one. I just had to pick my battles, and I found I could fight fewer and fewer as my health declined.

Why anyone would want to live like they were dying is beyond me. It only proves that the ones who state these ideas have no concept of what it’s really like. My overall trend was “what’s the point?” Especially while I was already spread so thin on just trying to survive one more minute.

Advice

What I believe is that we should live as if we have our whole lives ahead of us. We should act and build now. So that we can have as long as possible to reap what we’ve sown. Build something beautiful that you can love and share with others. Save money. Travel. Splurge on loved ones. Put your toes in the sand (even if you don’t like the beach – get an umbrella). Go camping (even if you don’t like bugs – get a cabin). Go to a foreign speaking country, and feel what it’s like to be an outsider. Do things that scare you (parasailing… Absolutely terrified me!) Try things you don’t think you’re capable of. Don’t stay where you’re not appreciated. Give up when you can’t make a difference, so that you can find where you do. Avoid debt as much as possible. Support people’s passions. Help those during their trying times. Most of all never live like you’re dying, because there’s always a point.

Defending Disney Part Two: The Little Mermaid

defendingdisney

Author’s Note

I need to say a few things about Defending Disney Part One: I personally don’t think it was my best piece of work. Not after reading comments (because, come on, not all of them were negative to begin with), but pretty much since I pressed ‘submit for review’ I was on the fence about it. It wasn’t researched very well and the arguments weren’t very good. I’m glad that some of you lovely ladies seemed to have liked it, but I do feel the need to say that the article was written quite some time ago, and my feelings towards a majority of those Disney princesses have changed. In short, I’m starting to agree with the ‘offenders’ these days, but that doesn’t mean I’m letting negative views ruin my fun when watching the movies. Every story does have a basic moral to it that the intended audience can grasp fairly easily (ex. Beauty and the Beast- don’t judge someone based on their appearance). And honestly, I work with a multitude of children day and night and watch them grow up as the years go on: none of them seemed to be all that ruined by the ‘subtext’ of any Walt Disney film to begin with.

Someone did mention that Disney didn’t even come up with these stories to begin with, that they just took folk tales and books and turned them into 90 minute movies, which is certainly something to take into consideration when forming an opinion. It is also important to remember that Disney didn’t go word-for-word on said fairytales, and the way they portray the story differs from the way that the original author intended it to be.

All of that being said, there is one princess I will probably defend to the death, because this movie alone definitely taught me things that make me who I am today. What I learned when I was five, what I learned re-watching it at seventeen, and all the years in between, all components of the person I call ‘me’. So without further rambling, I give you the actual article:

ariel31

Defending Ariel

” Why is Ariel on your list of inspiration people? She was stubborn, irresponsible, selfish, and put her entire kingdom in danger. Not to mention she basically gave up her ability to speak and voice an option for a boy.”

These are all very valid points. However, I feel like all of these things really do tie into a positive manner that we can all relate to. (This point I will discuss later)

Now, obviously this post was brought up after I received inquires about my new red tresses, but I’ve been meaning to defend Ariel as a role model for quite some time. One thing you absolutely have to understand was she was always my favorite disney princess, since I was old enough to comprehend what a princess was. Literally, I stood in front of the tv, and when she moved her hand, I moved my hand. When she sang, I sang. On cue. Every day. So these points I’m about to make are clearly biased to an extreme extent. Then again, all we’re really talking about is whether or not she’s a good role model, a concept which is based on opinion alone, and all opinions are biased. I’m not going to get into the logistics of it.

The predominant reason I find Ariel to be just an outstanding person that she has a dream and she goes for it. She doesn’t dilly dally, she doesn’t ‘go with the flow” and wait to see what happens, she doesn’t wait for the opportunity to come to her. She sees something that she wants, and she goes out to get it. It doesn’t matter if we, the audience, think her dream is stupid, if Sebastian and her father is consistently trying to deter her, she goes for it. And she not only did she have to go out way out of her comfort zone (have you seen Ursula’s Cove? SKETCHY), but she also had to break boundaries and take a huge risk  in order to achieve what she had set out to do.

And I feel like that’s something a lot of us don’t do. We want to be risky, but we also don’t want to get hurt. We want to take the chance, but we don’t want to face the consequence if things don’t turn our way. We want to break boundaries, but it’s hard with everyone bringing us down. So we wind up complacent and stagnant and waiting for an opportunity. Ariel didn’t do that, she made the opportunity for herself, she took the chance, and she faced the consequences when things didn’t turn out the way she had planned.

Another small thing I really love about Ariel is her pursuit of knowledge and understanding of a culture that is different from her own, that contradicts her father’s beliefs and what he had taught her. I feel like this is, on a small scale, a demonstration that she does have a mind of her own and will not settle for hearsay before forming an opinion.

Lastly, and this is the part that I had mentioned in the beginning, she may very well have been stubborn. She very well may have bee irresponsible and selfish. And her actions very well may have put her entire kingdom into danger. This is clearly extreme Disney dramatization, because what’s a plot without a little conflict? And while all of these things appear to be negative, they have only taught me one thing: It’s okay to make mistakes and it’s okay to have flaws. When we’re young, we idealize these princesses and when we get older we become cynical and point out their flaws because they’re not as perfect as we thought they were. And then we stop liking them because they’re people too (in a sense).

We do this with real life people all the time. We make friends, we find about about a few seedy things they may have said and done, and then we’re not as close to them, or we’re slightly off put. So it really doesn’t come as a surprise to me that we do this with fictional characters as well. But the point being that Ariel had some flaws and made some poor choices, big whoop.

And while giving up her voice for a pair of leg is very well indeed one of those poor choices, I think it paints a pretty realistic picture. You have to sacrifice things to get what you want. However, when I was just a little girl, who was being ‘ruined’ with all this ‘disney subtext’ by being told by this movie my opinion doesn’t matter,  I always thought that the reasoning behind Ariel sacrificing her voice was not to illustrate that she has nothing of importance to say, but that actions speak louder then words and talk is cheap, so Ariel was unable to win him with words and talk her way into Eric’s heart, rather she had to show him that she was something special. An when I was seventeen, watching it yet again, I noticed that the movie’s villian was the one who openly endorsed the idea that ladies should be seen and not heard, and we’re not supposed to agree with the movie’s villian. 
And if he was smart enough to see how fantastic she is, awesome. If he didn’t, then she probably wouldn’t want to be with him in the long run anyway. Who wants to be with someone that doesn’t notice how amazing you are? Exactly.

Granted, if she doesn’t get him to fall in love with here in a mere three days she turns to some shrub in Ursula’s cove, but the chances of some little girl being in that situation is slim, said little girl will have a choice a to whether or not to pursue a relationship with someone that won’t possibly end in her turning into a sea plant or whatever.

And Eric didn’t fall in love with her at first. He fell in love with her voice. Hence he was easily tricked and put under a spell by Ursula/Vanessa, because he was too busy trying to find the girl with the girl with the voice instead of realizing what a prize he had right in front of him.

I would hope that we are at a stage in life where we have an understanding of things that should and shouldn’t be given up in that circumstance and don’t make life descisions based directly from the plot of Disney’s  Little Mermaid, but I do think there are quite a few wonderful things that she can teach girls of all generations.

Are Blogs Dead? Who Cares, Here’s Magical Girl Nicki Minaj!

I suspect it’d have a bit more color in it’s face if I’d update at least one time a week.

You know how it is.

I started a new project recently since I arrived home from our beach vacation and I’m so excited to tell you!

I’ve decided to do Magical Girls pins which are honoring to actual female idols but in my own kawaii style (similar to my lucky cryptokitty pin!). They are each inspired by a real life magical girl whom exists in our culture and inspires others with music, fashion, charitable giving, love and mega heart beat motivation. She is not only a magical girl with super special powers but she is here to inspire you to be yourself and never give up.

These are ladies who are stars and have inspired me in a great way.

I also welcome suggestions and have received quite a few. So to be honest the list of future idols is LONG, but, if you suggest the next girl you’ll win a free pin of her. So get to suggesting, darling, and maybe you’ll be on the same page and win!

Our first Magical Girl is… Nicki Minaj. So please say hello to Magical Girl Nicki!

How can you get your own? Well you preorder her here, at my shop! Once there are 15 preorders she will be made and all 15 supporters will receive a surprise gift and their pin. And lots of love and virtual hugs from me. And a big discount for a future order in case you might have your eyes on some other goodies!

What is a Zine? And Why is it Not Called a Booklet or Magazine?

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This little collage article is especially for my HUSBAND and my DAUGHTER (7) who continually question why I say “zine” instead of “book” or “magazine.”
I’ve tried repeatedly to explain it to them (but maybe I need your help?).
They of course seem to have been born BEFORE and AFTER the girl “grrl” zine boom that I was so affected by.
They don’t seem to like the word.
They act as though I made the word up.
I didn’t.
We both know that.

A Brief Definition of Each

  • BOOK – a written or printed work consisting of pages glued or sewn together along one side and bound in covers. The Old English word originally meant any written document.
  • MAGAZINE – a periodical publication containing articles and illustrations, typically covering a particular subject or area of interest.
  • PAMPHLET – a small booklet or leaflet containing information or arguments about a single subject.
  • ZINE – most commonly a small-circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images, usually reproduced via photocopier. Usually zines are the product of a single person, or of a very small group.

Could these words be interchangeable?
Sure.
I can buy a chicken by searching for chickens on Craigslist.
However if I want to buy a rooster specifically, I will have a hell of a time finding one by searching “chicken.”
So while you might say a zine is a type of book or magazine, it is categorized as a zine.
A word I did not make up to be cute.
To be fair, I make up a lot of words.
Generally speaking, these words are used to communicate my aesthetic appreciation for our animals.
So yes, they could also be referred to as forms of baby talk.
(I’m sure you understand.)

As Issuu says:

Let’s start off by defining magazines. Magazines are a print or digital periodical publication featuring a collection of content. Typically, magazines tend to have one specific focus across all of their issues –– fashion magazines focus centrally on fashion, food magazines on food, etc. Magazines have been around since the 1600s and have taken many forms: free or paid; weekly, monthly or quarterly; digital or print.

So if “zine” is short for “magazine,” are they in fact just shorter magazines? Upon first glance, one would likely say yes. But there is much more — and much less — that defines a zine.

Historically, zines have been self-published as pamphlets or leaflets as early as the 1700s. They were circulated independently by socially-marginalized groups to give voice to their opinions and beliefs. Over time this developed into an array of other topics, with the first “boom” of zines starting in the 1930s. Known as “fanzines” and “perzines,” these were started by fans of science fiction magazines who self-published zines about both science fiction and the connected fandoms behind them.

Zines boomed again in the 1970s during the rise of punk subculture, and by the 1980s the concept of zines as an art form emerged. This was heightened by “Factsheet Five,” a publication that reviewed any zine sent to it, which created a network of “zinesters.” In the 1990s came “girl zines,” originating from the riot grrrl movement. These have carried over prominently into present day zine culture.

Zines boomed again in the 1970s during the rise of punk subculture, and by the 1980s the concept of zines as an art form emerged. This was heightened by “Factsheet Five,” a publication that reviewed any zine sent to it, which created a network of “zinesters.” In the 1990s came “girl zines,” originating from the riot grrrl movement. These have carried over prominently into present day zine culture.

The New York Times explains why the internet didn’t kill zines:

Millions, maybe hundreds of millions, of posts are published to social-media sites each day. And yet somehow, it can feel impossible to engage with new ideas, even as our compulsive inability to stop scrolling exposes us to an unending stream of new content. Yes, you can catch tweetstorms on Twitter, watch someone’s life unfold on Instagram, do deep dives into hashtags on Tumblr or watch video diaries on YouTube that explore diverse perspectives, but the clutter of everything else happening at the same time online can make it difficult to really digest and absorb the perspective being offered.

Which might be part of the reason zines never disappeared — and are even available in abundance in 2017.

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New Zines / First Perzine in the Shop

You might remember a past zine post I did called I love ZINES in 2015 where I explained buying, browsing and creating zines. Well, I’ve finally made some new zines for the Miseducated Etsy shop and NO, I still have not uploaded the video I promised! Soon.

What is a zine?

A zine is most commonly a small-circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images, usually reproduced via photocopier. Usually zines are the product of a person, or of a very small group.

Ichigo Leaf

“I never thought about a little zine tri-fold newsletter until my new friend, a recent swap partner, sent me hers. I LOVED it and I loved the format of using such a (usually) boring business template as a zine. I love reading hers. So first off I’d love to say a big *Thank you!* to Zinedra.”

Over Booked

Over Booked — My second printed micro zine. I am in a zine community and we were all asked to create a literary zine so this one mentions my favorite types of books and why.

I started by drawing the front illustration and then it was off from there! This is both typed and handwritten, full color! Similar to 5 Reasons I Love You (my first micro zine!).