happier now

I realized a couple days ago that I don’t actually remember the last time I had an out-of-control crying episode. That changed literally half an hour later when I found out that someone I care about has a possible new girlfriend, and that combined with other wildlife getting engaged screwed with my emotions enough that I didn’t sleep, but… for the most part, I’m doing SO MUCH BETTER than I was a couple months ago.

Changing departments at work helped a lot. Getting the hell away from a manager who in hindsight was probably psychologically abusive helped a LOT. I don’t have to spend half my waking hours wanting to scream that compared to what I grew up around, compared to what I was expected to learn as survival tactics, that behavior is NOTHING. I’d seen it all before from people much more talented and practiced in the art of breaking souls, but that one hit a lot harder than I realized until after it was over.

And I’m back in school now. Idk if I mentioned that here. I’m going for some kind of lab tech certificate, exact details to be worked out in a couple weeks once summer/fall registrations open up but ideally I’m going for phlebotomy tech. It’s a one-year program, and once I get that I’m gonna try to get a job at one of the hospitals in Cinci and see what blossoms from there.

My bad-brain days are almost nonexistent.

I’m so much more confident now. Even with the above boy trouble, I’ve got my self-destructive tendencies on a leash. It’s not my fault that the human personification of everything I value and want isn’t attracted to me. Sometimes that just happens. Nothing that can be done about it. I’m okay with my body as it is, and while I’m passive-aggressively trying to lose a little weight (aka continuing my cycle of eating what I want and hoping that balances out), I’m okay if I stay where I am right now.

Honestly, the whole “I don’t hate my body anymore” thing should be its own post because that’s a separate rabbit trail of beautiful crazy.

For a while I thought all of this was a manic episode and it was gonna come crashing around me. I haven’t totally ruled out that option, but as the past few months have gone by and things have evolved so beautifully, I’m leaning against it. This is real.

This is real.

I have my shit together, and I’m doing better than I ever dreamed, and it’s only gonna get better.


resolve not to resolve

I’ve decided not to do big goals for 2018.

Okay, fine, I have my cosplay goals because those are measurable. But those do not count because, unless something very strange and unexpected happens, they won’t change who I am as a person. Having an outlet like that is great for me, but it’s not gonna spin my entire world in a new direction.

But beyond that, this year I am open to possibility.

I want to continue this wild process of getting my shit together and becoming more confident, but I don’t know what form that will take. I don’t know that I want to know.

We’ll see what happens. The most beautiful things blossom where you don’t think to look for them. I know this will be another year of change for me, but only time will tell in what ways.

I am ready.

keep getting back up (or, 2017 in review)

I did exactly none of what I’d planned on for this year, and yet I did well.

Apparently I made two separate lists of goals for 2017, and the first one did not work out. I’ve been threatening those posts since I started blogging, EHouse is now only one of a bunch of different things I wanna do with my life, I failed spectacularly at new connections (though I did do way better than expected at maintaining and nurturing old ones), my writing was hit-or-miss, and I still worry about everything (but am learning to use my anxiety). Zero out of five.

List two fared better. Novel is still not done (as usual stay tuned for updates), but I did – at the end of November – get a paid publication of, in my opinion, one of the best pieces I’ve ever written. Online dating ended up not being worth the hassle, but I learned a few unexpected things about myself that I hope to figure out how to use going forward. I ended up going to six cons, almost got in an altercation with protestors in frack-nowhere Kentucky (thank you drunk pirates for picking that fight before I could), had a couple minor panics because my big costume for the year involved a sleeveless top, and overall got a lot better at cosplaying and channeling characters and having a really good time. Those all feel like wins, so… three out of three.

But me being me, and me having documented my life all over the internet for the last couple years, I should’ve known that all the beautiful stuff was gonna be unexpected.

I got a lot better at turning my experiences into fiction. Actual memoirs are still a decade away (though I do have vague plans for a book of comedic essays about working retail), but fictionalized versions – especially expressed through characters who aren’t mine – helped me see things for what they were.

I had some lessons in who stays and who leaves. Wasn’t expecting either of those situations to turn out like they did, but this year as opposed to last year, I’m down a clone and up a… hell if I know what that person is, but one relationship in particular improved in unexpected ways this year.

I changed job positions twice, the first time because I was convenient and the second because I got brave.

I got two new tattoos (the newer one should be a post in like a week because holy shit do I have feelings about it).

I didn’t fall in love. And yet I kinda did, but in a weird blossomy I-would-and-will-wait-ten-years-if-that’s-what-it-takes kinda way. Non-creepy variant (for the most part, and better as the year progressed). Absolutely working on that situation and learning to make the most of it, but I haven’t given up hope.

I got a couple opportunities to fully live my beliefs, and I did not screw up. One in particular changed a lot of perceptions about me once I let it get traced back to me. (And also provided a weird bonding moment between myself and a close friend, because for once “I’m gonna wring his neck” was actually a SANE response to a situation and I was NOT overreacting!!)

I learned to embrace clichés a little more. There’ll be more about that if/when one of the current primary writing projects ever gets anywhere, but… sometimes, as much as you wanna be a pretentious asshole, sometimes it’s cute to write about two middle-aged people falling in love while herding around a dozen malcontent teenagers. (And yes, I should’ve learned this a couple years ago while writing very similar fanfic, but it’s even more fun when the characters are MINE and I get to do stuff that I like.)

I went off meds again because the side effects got bad again, and I think this time I might be off ’em for good. I made progress on control and rescuing myself instead of inflicting my episodes on other people, and I am SO FRICKING PROUD of where I am mentally now as opposed to last year.

So, overall, 2017 was a good year for me. Bit unpredictable, but I can see a lot of progress made all around. Well done me.

an actually-not-terrible Christmas playlist

In no particular order, and with even more colorful commentary. And YouTube links because I realize most of these are… eclectic.

The Killers – “Joseph, Better You Than Me”

The Killers have been putting out a “quirky” Christmas song every year since 2005, so if you want unusual, that’s a starting point. This particular song is my favorite because of the perspective and because… well, you’ll have to listen to it, but it’s one of those things that wouldn’t have worked if anyone else had tried to do it. Just sayin’.

Pentatonix – “Carol of the Bells”

Look, as an alto this was one of my least favorite songs because the traditional alto part is basically “stand there and look pretty”, but… it’s still a beautiful song. I can’t think of any bad versions, so y’all get this one because it was the first one that came up on my itunes that had human voices. You’re welcome.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra – “Wizards In Winter”

The song that birthed the synchronized-lights craze (as far as I’m aware). And with good reason. TSO is another act that can do no wrong in their additions to the Christmas canon, but this is the one that gave a brand-new outlet to the Clark Griswold wannabes of the world.

My Chemical Romance – “All I Want For Christmas Is You”

I have to include this cover because… it’s not good. At all. MCR was a fascinating band because Gerard Way is a creative genius who does not do things halfway. This particular cover of an overdone “modern classic” – and now I’m really curious how this even HAPPENED – has none of that brilliance. It is, however, interestingly terrible and still better than the original, so…

Katy Perry – “White Christmas”

Another one where I’d really like the origin story. Feel how you want about her, but this is a good addition to any compilation of festive background noise.

Kelly Clarkson – “Just For Now”

I’m not sure who decided this was a holiday song, or why (other than that it’s about family members who shouldn’t be in the same room). The original version, performed by Imogen Heap, is haunting and creepy-wonderful. Kelly Clarkson’s cover is… bigger. A lot bigger. In the best, most over-the-top way. And yet still sounds, if you’re not listening closely, like it just might be about happier things.

Straight No Chaser – “The 12 Days of Christmas”

What?? Something that would appear on a nicer person’s playlist?? Yeah, this is an exception because it’s that good. Look up various versions online – having at least originated as a college ensemble, their lineup has changed over the years – and prepare to be entertained.

Barenaked Ladies – “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”

The most well-known modern version of that song, so… again something you’ve probably heard before, but again good.

Eartha Kitt – “Santa Baby”

I mentioned in my last post that I think the original is the only good version of this song. I’m mentioning it here because the above link is video of her performing it. Definitely worth watching.

Vanessa Carlton – “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

Let me put it this way – there are no brass instruments or overkill drums involved in this version. It’s delicate and not at all the normal rendition, and that’s the beauty.

make it stop, make it stop, make it stop

Okay y’all, time for the first in a series of list posts. The usual content on Littlest Lioness (aka random musings about the utter insanity that is my love life) is gonna go on hold for a while. In its place, well… today, I present to you a horror story from having worked retail for several holiday seasons.

Christmas music is inherently annoying. Freaking FIGHT ME if you think otherwise. But not all annoyances are created equal, and in honor of that I’m doing a set of two posts. The second one, which will go up in a couple days, will be my own personal holiday playlist of lesser-known covers and eclectic awesomeness. THIS ONE, however, is the opposite. This is my hell-no list of songs that need to not be played in public places during the season, and it’s extremely biased but whatev. I have FEELINGS.

So, without further adieu, the list:

the entirety of Zooey Deschanel’s Christmas album

I just… no. Her voice is annoying and gets on my nerves. And if you have to have that on your playlist, just one or two songs will do. Not the entire album. Or… nevermind, I just checked itunes and there are actually TWO albums (and I don’t intend to rec any of her stuff, but the cover of “Meli Kalikimaka” is every bit as horrific as one would expect so um yeah). No. Not good. Go back to your corner with your tennis-ball eyes and your ukelele.

any version of “Santa Baby” apart from the original.

This one gets a disclaimer because, well, the original version is iconic. Eartha Kitt was a badass (and sidenote, can we get a bait-movie biopic of her starring Thandie Newton?? please??), and for having been originally recorded by a black woman in the early 1950s, that song is ambitious. So her version, with her impeccable diction, can stay. The hundred or so other versions?? Not so classic. Exactly how many festive odes to sexual manipulation do we really need?!

Bruce Springsteen’s rendition of “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town”

Can we please not?? I try to have respect for icons who’ve earned their status, and from what I’m aware (please tell me if I’m wrong), the Boss’s decades-long career is worthy. And that particular cover isn’t even that bad. The problem here is frequency. Because it’s musically interesting while still harmless and classic, that song gets played to hell and back in about every store I’ve ever been in between mid-November and Christmas. The occasional hearing, I can tolerate. Once an hour? Nah.

any rendition of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” performed by an adult male

Creepy at best. Do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars. Even worse with a country accent, but still a bad idea without one.

“Run Run Rudolph”

This one gets points when used in movies (or as background noise when my mom and grandma and I ran through three stores in search of a cologne my dad wanted that WE DID NOT FIND – yeah, that actually happened), but I’m not sure what the point is. Or if there even is one. I’ll tolerate Kelly Clarkson’s version because it sounds like genuine FUN and she seems like one of the only current pop stars who genuinely wanted to do a holiday album, but in general this one’s just an obnoxious earworm.

“I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas”

Speaking of earworms… dude, I live in Cincinnati, #teamfiona for life, but still. There is no exception version of this song. The version by A Great Big World is gonna be stuck in my head until February. Go awaaaay.

approximately thirty covers of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” on the same playlist

No. Just no. It’s not even the content of the song that bugs me (that viral tumblr post explaining cultural context and how it was actually pretty progressive for when it was originally written has solved that problem). It’s the fact that everyone and their freaking cat has done a version of it, and there’s not a lot that can be done to make any particular cover different, and familiarity breeds contempt.

“Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow”

Again, this is a local-girl thing. Do not remind me that everyone in my geographical region is about to forget how to freaking drive for three months, and don’t sound so damn cheerful about it either!!!

hopeless romantic

At times, I’m pretty sure this blog is just an archive of people I’ve loved and mistakes I learned from. That’s not intentional, I don’t think. More… idk.

Official explanation – therapy costs money I don’t have. Blogging is free and cathartic and occasionally gives people the opportunity to see how much they mean to me without any awkward convos and therefore fills the void perfectly.

Other official explanation – I draw from my life for my writing and my cosplaying, and I can’t recycle anything I haven’t analyzed to hell and back.

I’ve been thinking about connections and the cyclical nature of them for the last couple days, ever since I re-found someone I genuinely thought was dead. That one, I haven’t written about before because it happened at a very strange time in my life and… well, turns out he’s not dead and that door is open again.

And yes, I know my life just turned into a bad fanfic plot. AGAIN. Because if there’s one predictable thing in my existence, it’s that any romantic disaster I have tends to play like a romcom they would’ve made ten years ago.

(Sidenote – do they even MAKE big fun romcoms anymore?? I’m pretty sure they don’t, and that’s so darn annoying. I like explosions and superheroes as much as the next girl, but I also wanna watch two pretty people fall in love without the background noise of secret identities or terminal cancer.)

Seriously. I’ve been freaking out about this for three whole days ’cause wow, that was NOT the plotline I thought was gonna recur. Ooohboy.

I’m such a GIRL sometimes.

But yeah. For those of you who are wondering if I do literally anything other than pine after bad ideas and then brood about them for years after the dust settles… okay, yeah, that’s a huge part of my life. But I’m trying to turn that into something super-awesome and bigger than myself. So screw it.

(Also, this blog is gonna be WAY more fun for my future tinies to find than a journal.)

seven years

According to the “on this day” function on FB (which is so strangely addictive if only as an archive of my questionable fashion choices and that one year I tried to communicate almost exclusively in song lyrics), tomorrow marks seven years since an unexpectedly life-changing event.

I write about the person I refer to on here as Vulcan a lot because that whole mess was one of the turning points in my life. It made me realize a lot of things that wouldn’t have become apparent otherwise a bit earlier than might’ve been ideal, and my entire life changed because of that one moment seven years ago.

Okay, fine, that story spanned over the course of a year and a half. Maybe two and a half if you count the ACTUAL first time I met that boy, but I don’t because the person I wanted to chewtoy and the person who showed me unexpected kindness and caused a lot of unexpected problems… were quite different, honestly. But like all great almost-love-stories, this one had a beginning point, and this one occurred on a cold November Saturday when a boy I’d met exactly once before – and at the time, REALLY did not like based on that previous experience – suggested that I might want to do a content warning at the beginning of my interp.

Look, there were a lot of shitty experiences that came along with being midrange-conservative-Christian homeschooled through high school, but speech tournaments were not one of them. That’s the one part of my adolescence I can look back on and say was solidly GOOD. Maybe in part because the structure of the beast required a level of human decency a lot of us weren’t otherwise capable of, and the dress codes and strict scheduling prevented a lot of the behavior that otherwise went down when more than half a dozen homeschooled teenage girls were in the same space for more than ten minutes, but… whatever the causes, that activity WORKED for me. It got me out of the house and around other human beings, it gave me a valid excuse to cause a little lowkey drama without fallout (pretty sure a few moms reconsidered whether sheltering was such a good thing after watching my senior-year interp)… total win.

But again, back to that one unexpected turning point.

How the hell an 18-year-old male who’d grown up in that culture had ANY concept about content warnings, I will never know. There were a lot of questions I didn’t ask back then, when it mattered, ’cause I was too busy trying to get him to LIKE me. Or, well, assuming he did but also kinda wondering why he didn’t do anything about it. (There are still a lot of unasked questions, but people change and I’ve stopped actively wondering.)

And then a couple months later, another moment my brain goes back to when I need some kind of validation. Different competition, not a particularly good weekend for me ’cause I’d read a book over the holidays that had really screwed me up. Perfect timing on the part of one of two genuine friends I had among the three hundred or so of us… led to a near-death experience and what I realized a couple years later was my first-ever panic attack. And again, Vulcan was inhumanly chill. Calmed me down, made sure I was okay, and made sure I got safely inside before frostbite fully got through my floral fishnets. Again, no reason why someone with those origins and those brackets should’ve been THAT GOOD, and yet.

I’m realizing, as I write this, that all the people I’ve seriously fallen in love with have had that effect on me. They’ve been people who, with their very presence, can either make me melt or make me contemplate how they’d look spread out on the hood of my car. (Or both at once.) It’s pretty freaking rare that people can do that to me, but it has aftershocks that last for years. Pretty undying loyalty, for one thing.

It’s been… guh, I wanna say five years since I physically crossed paths with Vulcan. Dunno if I ever will again, or how awkward that would be. We’re still friends and occasionally talk about random stuff (I’ve accepted that one of my life’s purposes is to make sure that boy listens to decent music once in a while, and that’s a good conversation starter). My tendency to hang onto former crushes is a little weird – when I was talking to one of my female friends a couple weeks ago, I realized that like half the people I trust // go to in a crisis are guys I once thought I was gonna marry – but it works.

I mean, if nothing else… if someone ever seriously screws me over, they could end up facing down an Avengers worth of my sort-of-almost-exes. That’s pretty darn awesome.