Dear Fat, Skinny, Fit, Healthy, and Chubby People…

I know I’m writing this a little late, but the Internet recently went a little mad over Youtube personality Nicole Arbour’s video Dear Fat People.

I’ve been wanting to write about this topic for a while, and now I have the perfect excuse. Hopefully I can pull this off with more finesse.

I have some pretty strong feelings about this fat vs. skinny nonsense. I’m not talking about fitness yet — I’ll get to that later. Right now, I’m talking about the fat people who body shame skinny people, and the skinny people who body shame fat people, and the ridiculous obsession with being skinny.

Okay, look.

In the first place, body shaming is not a helpful thing. It doesn’t get anyone anywhere, and it doesn’t motivate anyone to be healthy. Stop telling skinny girls to eat a sandwich, and stop calling fat girls whales. All right? I used to be unhealthy and fat. Then, I starved myself, and I became unhealthy and skinny. At one point in junior high, I was eating 800 calories a day. I went from double-digit pants sizes to a size 8, and I was ecstatic. But all my friends and family were worried about my health. When I was a freshman in high school at a 4th of July picnic with my friends, they kept an eye on me and pretty much hassled me about not eating any food. At one point, my mom wouldn’t let me leave her sight after eating because she thought I might be bulimic.

If I didn’t have people like that who cared about me, I might be dead right now. Eating 800 calories a day is not okay.

I wasn’t even eating healthy things, either. I didn’t look at vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, or anything like that. When I looked at the nutrition facts, my eyes went straight to calories. As long as it was delicious and I didn’t go over 800, I was happy. That is a shitty way to live.

Starving yourself is not glorious. It will not make you happy. Eat. EAT! Your body needs nutrients!!

Back then, I was obsessed with being skinny, not healthy. If I were motivated to be healthy instead, things would have gone a lot more smoothly for me. It wasn’t until I was 18, a freshman in college, that I began working out and eating right. When you treat your body well, you feel good. I love the way my body feels after a good work out. I’ve cut a lot of junk from my diet, and I’m very keen on fruits and veggies. When I was younger, I was all meat and potatoes, but now? I’m disappointed if I’m eating a meal that does not involve vegetables or fruits in some way (unless it’s pizza. I fucking love pizza. I would eat cheese pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if it wouldn’t kill me). I’m also a vegetarian now. I’ve been so for over a year and don’t plan on ever going back to meat. While I highly recommend it, you don’t necessarily have to cut out all meat to be healthy.

And contrary to popular belief, it is possible to eat well without having to purchase $6 salads. If you do a bit of research, eating well doesn’t have to empty your pockets.

I dance ballroom. I got to Planet Fitness. I buy most of my food from the organic aisle. I FEEL GOOD. And you know what? I look good, too. When I say that, I don’t mean “I look skinny” — I mean I look HEALTHY. I gained a little muscle. My skin, hair, and teeth are all healthy.

Healthy comes in many shapes and sizes. And don’t trust the Body Mass Index (BMI). It doesn’t account for “muscle mass, bone density, overall body composition, and racial and sex differences.”

Right now, I’m about a size 4 or a 6, depending on the clothes and the store because women’s sizes are stupid, but my ass is kind of big. It’s gotten a lot smaller since I started dancing, but it’s not as small as I would like. Sometimes it makes me sad. Sometimes my stomach isn’t as flat as I would want it to be, and I feel fat. But you know what? I get over it pretty quickly, because I’m a god damn dancer. I’m a lean mean dancing machine. My legs are amazing. I even obtained some upper body strength — something I never thought I’d achieve because I used to be such a weakling. (Seriously. I could only lift 40 pounds at one point.) And I’m healthy. I find clothes that look good on me and call it a day.

Whether you’re chubby, skinny, fat, toned, or what-have-you, your body is a well-tuned machine. And you only get one. Be good to it, and it will be good to you.

Do something active that you enjoy. This is for everyone. Moving around is good for the soul. (Real talk: I have depression. And while I have meds for it, I also know that getting up and being active also helps. Sometimes I need a kick in the pants to get up and go, but when I do, I feel worlds better.) Build some muscle, get your blood flowing, do some stretches, lose some fat, build your endurance, or some combination of the above. Try something new! Sports, dance, martial arts, yoga, hitting the gym, Zumba, working out to Youtube videos in the comfort of your own home…. Join a fencing club! If you’re having fun, you’re more likely to stick with it.

Sedentary lifestyles aren’t good for anyone, whether you’re skinny, fat, or anywhere in between. The human body wasn’t made to sit around. Even if you’re watching T.V., do some squats or something during commercials.

And don’t exclude mental wellness! 🙂 What you think about yourself and the way you look at things makes all the difference. First of all, no matter what you look like, don’t ever let anyone make you feel “less than” based purely on your body shape. If you start exercising to lose weight so boys will think you’re pretty, chances are, that motivation is not going to last. Things like that also often lead to unhelpful methods like yo-yo dieting.

BUT.

If you exercise because you fucking want to. Because you want to feel good. Because you want to be healthy. Then it’s more likely to work out. For some people, it makes them feel more confident. I can attest to that. I feel worlds more confident than when I was younger.

Now, at some point, I need to talk about the “thigh gap” phenomenon — might as well insert it here.

Ahem.

WHO. THE FUCK. CARES. whether you have one or not? Girls who are naturally skinny with wide hip bones will have a thigh gap. It’s normal for them. Some skinny girls don’t have one. Not all fit girls have one, either. It is not a deciding factor of beauty. Shaming girls because they do or don’t have one is pretty stupid. And if you don’t have one naturally, you won’t ever have one — not while you’re healthy — and it can only be achieved by starving yourself. And then you’ll be malnourished, and your muscle will waste away.

Also, guys don’t care about thigh gaps — they really don’t. You have one? Cool. You don’t? Cool. Seriously, that is the last thing on any guy’s mind.

No. No. No. NO. NO. NO. NO! See this picture? It’s shaming. This is called shaming.

(Side Note: While searching for images for this, I stumbled upon Thinspo. Oh my god…. That is seriously the scariest shit. If I had seen those images when I was between the ages of 12 and 17? Damn. I would have spiraled down a really, really dark path. Type “thigh gap thinspo” into Google images to see what I mean. Those people are seriously disturbed.)

And, here’s where my unpopular opinion comes in.

I don’t think the fat acceptance movement is wholly a good thing. Loving ourselves is a start, yes. But we already have the media saying, “Skinny is Pretty,” which is not a good thing. From that sprouted the attitude of, “Well why do I have to be skinny to be pretty? Fat’s pretty, too!” And so now we’re back at the beginning of this post.

“Fat girls are pretty. Fuck skinny bitches” versus “Skinny is the beauty standard. Therefore fat = ugly.”

Both sides seriously need to stop that. Like, right now. “Fat acceptance” should be “self-acceptance.” I know that’s what some people mean when they say it, but the phrase “fat-acceptance” insinuates that we should just overlook the health issues that come with it. I feel that for some people, it means to be complicit to the possible harm you’re doing to your body. But look at the plus-sized girl on the cover of Women’s Running magazine. That’s what I would call “self-acceptance.”

Little known fact, some of the same health issues an anorexic body suffers also apply to obese bodies, such as heart problems. We shouldn’t be encouraging people to be skinny or fat. We should be encouraging them to be healthy.

Yes, healthy is pretty, but healthy also keeps your body functioning the way it should.

P.S.

I’m not saying anything new or revolutionary. I just felt like contributing my opinion to the conversation. Anyway, you can’t judge someone’s health by simply looking at them (again, look at the running girl), but you know your own habits. That’s why you should be healthy for you. At the same time, saying, “HEY YOU. BE HEALTHY” alone isn’t going to help. It mostly depends on you. It’s a struggle. But you can do it. You’re worth it. You’re worthy of living an awesome life. But I know it’s hard sometimes.
Especially if you have an eating disorder. You are not alone. I had an eating disorder… If you do, please get help. Whether it’s binging, purging, starving — please. get. help. If you need, call these hotlines.

It took me eleven years to get where I am now, to love and accept myself, and to treat my body the way it deserves to be treated.

You are strong. You can do the thing. ❤

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About Sarah Chrisman’s Victorian Life: A Black Girl’s Perspective

There’s been a lot of buzz lately concerning Sarah Chrisman’s article “I love the Victorian era. So I decided to live in it.”

Some people love it and think it’s charming and fun. Other people are completely peeved  at her for only living the “easy” aspects of Victorian life, leaving out the sexism, racism, classism, consumption, and the general smog and filth. What would happen if she someday needs surgery? What does she do when her period comes? Does she vote???

I agree with both sides. If she and her husband have the money and the means, then let them do it. It makes them happy, it’s not hurting anyone, and it’s kind of cool — even if it is glorified cosplay.

“Black Masquerade Queen Renaissance Victorian Costume.” Okay, yeah. Because those eras are totally the same thing. Not different at all.

I started to wonder what it would be like if I did the same thing. Wouldn’t it be so cool? If I had unlimited funds and means, what era would I bring forth to the present? It wouldn’t necessarily have to be the Victorian era. I could do my own thing. The Renaissance was cool and all, but somehow, I don’t think that would be very possible. Also, I’m black, so having that super ghostly pale skin they so coveted would be a super no-go. And check out these beauty tips from the times:

“Women during the Renaissance Period had an interesting way of applying cosmetics, because they always seemed to have their faces “caked” on with make-up. White lead face paint was very popular among the Renaissance women, because they used it to paint their faces, neck, and cleavage. The lead was mixed with vinegar to conjure up a paste called ceruse. The only downfall was that the white lead made their hair fall out, which explains why Renaissance women had high foreheads and receding hairlines. Even though wide foreheads and receding hairlines may seem weird nowadays, it was considered fashionable during the Renaissance Period. Their eyebrows were usually shaved and replaced with fake ones made of mouse skin anyways. For lips, their form of lipstick was made of cochineal and beeswax. Also for their lips and even for their cheeks, women would wear rouge which was a red powder made of mercury sulphide. To accentuate the eyes, they would use iridescent eye shadow made of a ground mother of pearls.” Source: https://womenhygiene.wordpress.com/the-scoop-all-you-need-to-know-about-the-cleanliness-of-women/

Plus, you know, bloodletting, washing my face with urine, and shitting in wooden boxes don’t exactly appeal to me.

Tudor house toilets…. To make matters worse, these things were rarely emptied and rarely cleaned. Ugh.

Sooooo… Let’s skip ahead. Like, way ahead. What about the ’20s? ’60s?

Well, the ’20s was definitely booming. Blacks and whites could sometimes be seen at the same night clubs. Some Hollywood actors came out as gay. Harlem was jumpin’. But, I can’t really get behind the Prohibition. (I like my wine, damn it.) And even though women could vote, it was mostly only white women who could vote freely in 1920. Until the 1960s, black women faced disenfranchisement and high hurdles to get to the ballot, especially in the South.

All right! So what about the ’60s?

Well, it was definitely a time of change. Free love and protests were ubiquitous, and the Civil Rights movement was in full swing….. But I love ’60s fashion. And oh. My. God. I fucking love Twiggy.

And check out this article about health, happiness, and well-being in the ’60s!

But on a more serious note:

  1. Flying was dangerous, insanely expensive, smoky, and boozy. (Plus, planes wouldn’t have TVs or music. BOOORING.)
  2. Blacks had shorter lifespans than whites.
  3. Black Americans were also far less likely to finish high school, let alone go to college.
  4. Blacks were twice as likely to be unemployed as whites.
  5. We were pretty much still treated like second-class citizens.

But, flying is no longer as hazardous to one’s health as it was in the Golden Age of flying. And if you ask me, and many other African-Americans, we pretty much are still treated like second-class citizens in some aspects of society. If you’ve been following the Black Lives Matter movement, you’d know that a lot of issues we’re facing are setting us back fifty years. Is it 2015 or 1964? Sometimes I can’t tell.

Suddenly I didn’t feel so giddy about the idea of living in a past era anymore. My boyfriend pretty much said it in a nutshell: “Going back in time would only be fun for whites, because they’re the only ones who’s always had it good.”

Alas…

My boyfriend said even if we romanticized the past eras, we’d end up living like middle-class whites of the times, and somehow that seems wrong. It really is sad that the only era I could think to travel to would be the 1960s, because we have to fight for civil rights again. I could buy a house that was build in 1962, have all my clothes made to match fashions of the era, listen to the music and go swing dancing (I do those anyway). But somehow, picking up a Black Lives Matter sign and marching, all while pretending to live like it’s the ’60s would seriously just fuck with my brain. I guess time travel to the past just wasn’t meant for us. Maybe I’m giving this too much thought.

But there’s always tomorrow. I’ve got my smart phone and my Wii U, my ballet flats and leggings. No one’s ever stopped me from voting, and my masters degree sits over my fireplace. Looking forward, I feel optimistic.

And Sarah Chrisman, have fun. ❤

(But seriously, that 60s fashion tho:)

603 601 602 604605 606607 608 609

THE TIME IS NOW

I posted this in my writing blog, but you know what? I’m going to post it here, too, because it’s damn important.

A number of good and/or popular books have gone on to achieve success after a number of rejections from publishers and agents, such as Lord of the Flies, Harry Potter, Gone with the Wind, Carrie, Little Women, Animal Farm, and Dune. 

I’m not comparing my work to those brilliant novels, nor am I saying I’m as good as any of the authors who wrote them.

However, it does offer a glimmer of hope.

I’ve written some terrible things — and after they were rejected, I’d eventually look at them and think, Lol, yeah, they were right. This is complete shit.

But, not this. Not The Adventures and Shenanigans of Bastien Falco. I know this book needs to be in people’s homes and read. This manuscript needs to see the light of day, and after over two years, I’m not giving up on it. I’ve put blood, sweat, and tears into this baby, and I edited the hell out of it. It’s been both praised and torn apart by beta readers and creative writing workshops.

I spent countless hours just world-building and filling my notebook up with notes.

These characters are very dear to me, and I’m not giving up on them. I have a host of unfinished works or works that I never really spent much time on, but whenever I thought about giving up on this novel, I had friends who urged me to keep going. I mean, honest friends. (Believe me, if my writer friends think something is shitty, they will say so. That’s why we’re all good writers.)

So, after so many rejections, I began to wonder. Is it me? Do my queries suck? Does my novel suck? Is this just not the type of fantasy that agents are looking for? Is the fantasy market just that over saturated?

Countless Google searches never fully answered my questions. I revised my queries I don’t know how many times. I stayed up late researching the agents I was querying to, to see what they liked.

But no more.

I’m going to do this myself. So, I looked into Smashwords and CreateSpace. I looked into where to send my novel to get it reviewed. And, I asked an artist friend if she would want to draw the cover art for me. In the past, she charged $30 for each picture. Below are her stunning interpretations of a few of my female characters:

Princess Ayla The Adventures and Shenanigans of Bastien Falco Princess Ayla

Anna the Assassin, and Thief, from The Adventures and Shenanigans of Bastien Falco Anna

Winter Zu from The Adventures and Shenanigans of Bastien Falco Winter

Gorgeous, right? (Check out her work on DeviantArt. Username is JoyeCh0.)

However, most artists charge more for works that contain more than one character, and for works that receive revenue. Understandably so!! So, I asked her how much, and she said for all four of my main characters, it would come up to about $120.

That’s so reasonable, I could cry.

But… I’m also dirt poor. (Seriously, my house is falling apart.)

And I’m a recent graduate with a shitty job situation. Yay.

I’m really struggling and grasping at straws here, guys. I’m also looking to raise $100 for promo costs.

I mean, the internet is a vast place. If I could get one dollar from 220 people, I would be so super set.

I started with friends and family first. I asked my parents also to help me reach out to others. So far, I’ve raised $45.

I’M SO CLOSE I CAN ALMOST TASTE IT.

taste

Look, this is painful, guys. I hate asking for money. But if I don’t get this work out there, I’m going to lose my mind.

Much to my chagrin, I created a GoFundMe, which can be found here.

Any dollar helps, really.

And, I’m giving donors free copies of the book as a thank-you and as proof of what exactly their money has done to.

Thank you in advance. ❤

“That’s Because You’re Black”

So once, when I was in 3rd grade, I was on a bus driving back from a field trip. It was super fun! We’d gone to an archaeological dig, and I’d found some cool fossils. It was great.

Now, this was at a program for gifted students called Horizons. Every Thursday, I was excused from class all day to go to Horizons, and I loved it. I learned Russian, more advanced songs on violin, and all  sorts of cool things. The projects were always awesome. It was kind of program where, if the teacher told you you were going to do a project, you didn’t groan – you jumped for joy.

Group of multi-ethnic kids jumping together

Yep. Just like this.

Back to the story.

We were on the bus, and the radio was on. “Superwoman” by Lil’ Mo came on. (Yep. Year 2001. Feel old yet?) Except for like, two other kids from my school, all the students in my Horizons class were white. But, I mean… that didn’t matter to me. And I really thought it didn’t matter to them, either.

There were these sisters whom I considered my friends, Karen and Rose, and so I sat by them. And Rose said, “Man, I hate this song!”

I said, “Really? I love this song.”

And Rose said. “That’s because you’re black.”

At at moment, it felt like I should have been hurt by her comment, and I was, but I couldn’t quite place my finger on why. Yes, I was black. And yes, Lil’ Mo was black. But that didn’t necessarily mean I would automatically like her music. I just thought “Superwoman” was a cool song.

If you’re unfamiliar, or if you’re up for a dose of nostalgia, here’s the song:

What’s funny is that the black kids would also make fun of me for listening to bands like Green Day and Evanescence.

Isn’t it interesting that no matter what music I listened to, it was always subject to scrutiny?

Don’t get me started on people’s reactions when they heard my favorite Japanese songs, or Celtic metal songs, or 8bit/Chiptune songs.

Ugh. -.-

But you know what? I listen to whatever I want, and I’ve since learned not to give two shits about what people think about it. If I want to listen to Tame Impala, damn it, I will. If I want to listen to enka music, then damn it, I will.

If I want to listen to Gackt, The Tontons, Lamb of God, Ice Cube, Nujabes, Mos Def, Wonder Girls, Polysics, DBSK, THE PILLOWS, THE PIXIES, NOVEMBER’S DOOM, ELUVEITIE, OR THE ROLLING STONES

THEN DAMN IT

I WILL.

And if you don’t like it:

felicia 1 felicia 2 felicia 3 felicia 4

Adventures in Programming, Part 2

Hello again!

Last episode, you read about my failed Mad Lib. But I’m happy to let you all know that I’ve since successfully programmed a simple little Mad Lib in Java. ^__^ The code itself isn’t very elegant, and I’m positive there are 7845683476 better ways that I could have done it, but I coded it the only way I knew how, and it works! If you’re interested, here’s what it is (if not, just scroll past it):

import java.util.Scanner;
public class MadLib

public static void main(String[] args) {
Scanner input = new Scanner(System.in);
String verb;
String noun;
String adjective;
String name;

String pastVerb;
String noun2;
String pastVerb2;
String noun3;
String adjective2;
String noun4;
String verb2;
String adjective3;
String noun5;
String adjective4;
String noun6;
String ingVerb;
String noun7;
String adverb;
String verb3;
String noun8;
String adjective5;
String noun9;

System.out.println(“Firstly, what is your name?”);
name = input.next();
System.out.println(“Hello, ” +name+ “. Welcome to Jazzy’s Mad Lib. First, let’s do a test sentence, shall we?”);
System.out.println(“Please enter a noun!”);
noun = input.next();
System.out.println(“Please enter a verb!”);
verb = input.next();
System.out.println(“Now, enter an adjective.”);
adjective = input.next();
System.out.println(“There once was a “+noun+ ” that could “+ verb+ ” on a ” +adjective+ ” seahorse.”);
System.out.println(“Good! Now, let’s try something a bit more interesting, hm?”);

System.out.println(“Please enter a past verb.”);
pastVerb = input.next();
System.out.println(“Please enter a noun!”);
noun2 = input.next();
System.out.println(“Please enter a past verb!”);
pastVerb2 = input.next();
System.out.println(“Please enter another noun.”);
noun3 = input.next();
System.out.println(“Please enter an adjective!”);
adjective2 = input.next();
System.out.println(“Now, enter a noun!”);
noun4 = input.next();
System.out.println(“And another verb.”);
verb2 = input.next();
System.out.println(“Please enter another adjective.”);
adjective3 = input.next();
System.out.println(“Please enter yet another noun!”);
noun5 = input.next();
System.out.println(“And an adjective.”);
adjective4 = input.next();
System.out.println(“Please enter a noun!”);
noun6 = input.next();
System.out.println(“Now, enter an -ing verb.”);
ingVerb = input.next();
System.out.println(“Almost done, I promise!”);
System.out.println(“Now, please enter a noun!”);
noun7 = input.next();
System.out.println(“And an adverb!”);
adverb = input.next();
System.out.println(“And a verb!”);
verb3 = input.next();
System.out.println(“Yet another noun…”);
noun8 = input.next();
System.out.println(“An adjective…”);
adjective5 = input.next();
System.out.println(“And finally! A noun.”);
noun9 = input.next();

System.out.println(“Here goes!”);
System.out.println(“So one day, I ” +pastVerb+ ” to the ” +noun2+ ” and ” +pastVerb2+ ” a/an ” +noun3+ “. It was pretty “+adjective2+ “. But when I got home, my ” +noun4+ ” decided to ” +verb2+ ” a/an ” +adjective3+ ” “+noun5+ “. Boy, was I ” +adjective4+ “! But that’s fine. Because my ” +noun6+ ” is ” +ingVerb+ ” ” +noun7+ ” for dinner. In the mean time, I’d like to ” +adverb+ ” “+verb3+ ” my ” +noun8+ ” while eating a/an ” +adjective5+ ” ” +noun8+”.”);
}

}

 

So, now that that’s that, I decided to get a little ambitious. Look. Coding isn’t about someone holding your hand and spoon-feeding you solutions. I never expected that in the first place. But, like writing, coding is a very solitary experience – from what I know. Even when my more experienced friends help me, I end up picking apart their code line-for-line, trying to figure out what they did and why it works. And then, I have to me it work for me.

For the most part, you pick a thing to do, and then you do the thing. Sounds simple. Being the nerd I am, I decided I wanted to make a turn-based strategy game and call it Dragon Slayer.

Do it, I said to myself. It’ll be fun, I said.

Ahem.

pls halp

I try not to lean on my programming friends too much. Coding is all about thinking, problem-solving, all that jazz. And I was determined to do this on my own. (I did ask help with one thing in the beginning, tho.) Anyway, I was feeling pretty confident…. until I got to the actual game aspect. I was stumped. Even Google couldn’t help me, probably because I wasn’t always sure what I was looking for. I had wandered into completely unknown territory. None of the tutorials I did prepared me for this.

I pretty much did the same thing I do when I’m frustrated with writers block – sit and stare and fume and contemplated throwing my computer against the wall.

*sigh* Back to the tutorials I go. I guess I was getting ahead of myself. I broke away from the java tutorials, thinking I could figure it all out on my own, but… such is apparently not the case. If you’re interested, here is what I have so far (if not, scroll past it):

import java.util.Scanner;
import java.util.Random;

public class base {
public static void main(String[] args){
Scanner input = new Scanner(System.in);
String name;
String answer = “”;
String sword;
Random dice = new Random();
int number;

System.out.println(“Welcome to Dragon Slayer! What is your name?”);
name=input.next();
System.out.println(“All right, ” +name+ “, do you think you’re brave enough to fight dragons?”);
while (!answer.equals(“yes”)){
answer=input.next().toLowerCase();
if (!answer.equals(“yes”)){
System.out.println(“That wasn’t the answer I was looking for.”);
}
else if (answer.equals(“yes”)){
System.out.println(“That’s what I like to hear! Here is your sword. What will you name it?”);
sword=input.next();
System.out.println(“Well, ” +name+ “, I hope you and ” +sword+ ” are ready for your first adventure.”);
System.out.println(“[[To start, your HP = 10, your Attack is 10, and your Defense = 5.]]”);
System.out.println(“[[You spot a level one dragon in the distance, destroying a small village. ”
+ “Its stats are as follows: HP = 15, Attack = 10, Defense = 5. You must now roll your dice. If it ”
+ “lands on an odd number, you must fight the dragon]]”);
number = 1+dice.nextInt(6);
System.out.println(number);
if (number==1){
System.out.println(“Looks like you’re heading into battle!”);
}
if (number==3){
System.out.println(“Looks like you’re heading into battle!”);
}
if (number==5){
System.out.println(“Looks like you’re heading into battle!”);
}
if (number==2){
System.out.println(“Oh, you barely escaped this one.”);
}
if (number==4){
System.out.println(“Oh, you barely escaped this one.”);
}
if (number==6){
System.out.println(“Oh, you barely escaped this one.”);
}
}
}

}
}

}

 

And so, I’ll continue to chip away at this, bit by bit.

In the mean time, I’m currently:
Waiting to hear back from agents and publishers.
Writing a new horror story.
And reading a space opera anthology.

Also, I just posted an artist showcase!! If you’re curious about my fantasy novel, I commissioned various artists to bring my characters to life. You’ll find it here.

All right, guys. Wish me luck. More and more, I’m starting to learn that programming is 10% coding, 10% reading code, 10% tutorials and hearing others talk about code, and 70% ramming your head into your desk.

Adventures in Japan, Part 3: Stupid gaijin ordered too much rice

Sorry it took so long! I’ve been focusing on too many things are once. But here is a third tale of my adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Of the three weeks my friends and I spent in Japan, we spent the whole first week in wonderful, beautiful Tokyo – my favorite city in the whole wide world. But because so many people there assume you only want to communicate in English, it doesn’t always offer the best opportunities for practicing Japanese.

When they spoke to me in English, and I replied in Japanese, many were impressed and delighted. Some, however, just kind of replied to me in English anyway, which was kind of annoying.

But let me assure you, my good friends. Tokyo isn’t full of English-speakers. There were times when we came across Tokyoites who blushed and insisted that their English was terrible. We couldn’t always understand each other. And, while my Japanese was pretty good, I wasn’t 100% fluent. I could get around, order things, ask questions, have conversations, but there were small gaps in my knowledge…. such as how to say, “I’d like this bowl of rice, but split in four, please.”

Three of my friends and I went out to eat at this restaurant, and our server, however adorable, couldn’t not understand English very well. That was fine with us, because we knew how to order food in Japanese. The problem was, when we asked how big the bowls of rice were, he showed us with his hands that the bowls were pretty huge.

So, we thought, okay cool – we can just split that in four. But see… we couldn’t figure out how to say that in a way that our server could understand.

But he eventually nodded as if knowing what we were talking about, and things were pretty great… until he arrived with our meals and four gargantuan bowls of rice. He was smiling until he saw our collective looks of horror, and so he looked worried, too. When he asked what the matter was, we tried to explain the issue…

Meanwhile, the able next to us had a group of drunk Japanese friends around our age. God, they were cracking up. They must have thought we couldn’t understand them, but we knew they were talking about us. The things they were saying pretty much summed up to lol look at those stupid foreigners, ordered all that rice, hahaha!

Wasting food is a big no-no in Japan. But somehow, we were able to get out of being charged a fee for all the uneaten rice. One of us even drew him a little picture of Batman and wrote him a little thank you. On our way out, he sort of laughed and placed it to his heart saying, “It will be my treasure!”

So, all’s well that ends well, I guess.

(Still wonder what they did with all that rice, tho.)

Adventures in Programming

‘Kay so. This stuff is great. It’s fun. I was put on this Earth to create, and that’s what coding allows me to do….. It’s also “practical.”

Look. I’m a writer and a dancer – there’s nothing “practical” about that. No one’s going to hire me to teach them ballroom or to write them a novel.

I know Japanese and Swedish, but let’s be honest – it’s not Mandarin or Spanish.

I love book-binding for crying out lout.

I am pretty much the queen of all things impractical.

Luckily for me, all I have is time. It’s beautiful. When I’m not writing or reading books, I can learn anything I want about the universe. I can teach myself languages and research things for fun. Lately, I’ve been sticking my nose in various sciences that have always interested me – sciences that I never went into in depth because math is big, huge, scary, hairy monster. I mean, I can do it. But. My attitude was that I’d just rather not. All throughout college – both undergrad and grad – I put my all into foreign language, English, creative writing, art, and dance. That’s my shit. That’s what I do best.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t love and appreciate science. There were so many times when I thought about going into astrophysics, believe it or not. Or, physics in general. I like to know what makes this universe tick.

I’ve also been fascinated by robotics. I spent hours researching and taking notes on robotics and automatons – how they work, what they did, what they do, and what they could do. I’m most interested in A.I. Like this little guy here:

But the thing that got me was computer programming. Coding. There’s so much to learn and so much you can do with it. I learned HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) in a couple hours. I started teaching myself programming about a week ago (about a week ago!!!), and I’ve already made several simple apps using Java. But let me back up a bit.

After I was proud of myself for making super retro webpage designs (like, think early 2000s, late 90s?), I was ready to move on to an actual programming language, one that adds functionality. Like Javascript.

But let me tell you something.

Javascript is not – repeat not – a beginner’s code.

I literally sat at my computer during the tutorial like:

O M G.

W T F  I S  T H I S.

H E L P  M E.

H E L P.

M E.

comp rage

So then. One of my programming friends swooped in to the rescue and was basically like, Yeahhh that’s a bad idea you should start with C++ or Java. (Btw, I learned that Java and Javascript are not the same language.)

Thus began my journey to Java Land! 😀 It was pretty great at first. I downloaded Eclipse and spent hours, days working on tutorials.

Then another programming friend said, Oh hey it’s so cool that you’re coding now I want to be your professor come over so we can build something together.

Yay! A mentor!

The first thing about programming is knowing what you want to build. What do you want to create? I mean, I guess you can start building something without a clear plan in mind… but from what I’ve learned, it’s better to have a plan first. It’s funny because when I write short fiction, I just start writing and go wherever the story takes me. When I write novels, I have a loose outline in mind, but I usually end up deviating from it anyway.

I digress.

So, my friend and I picked a little beginner project for me to work on and for him to help me through.

I thought it would be cute to do a little Mad Libs type of thing. Unfortunately for me, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was using syntaxes I hadn’t even learned yet. And to top it all off, when we thought we finished the program, it was buggy as hell.

AND THEN I LEARNED THE HELLISH NIGHTMARE THAT IS BUGS.

FUCK BUGS.

And that’s the end of Jasmine’s Happy Coding Story Part 1. 😀

Because believe me.

This story will continue. >_____>

Until next time, lovely people!!

Relationships: Flirting and Celeb Crushes

Hello all once again~!

I don’t really talk about things like love, relationships, and romance, and stuff. I don’t know why – I just don’t. I barely write it into my stories. That said, after binge-watching a few Buzzfeed videos (I have a life, I swear. I’ve just been so busy and on-the-go that I thought a little couch-potatoing wouldn’t kill me) I’ve developed a phase known as THE CELEBRITY CRUSH. And look, I love my boyfriend to bits – he’s the love of my life – but god damn, Buzzfeed’s Eugene is everything. I mean. Damn.

JUST LOOK AT HIM

JUST LOOK AT HIM

2

HE’S FUNNY, HE CAN DANCE, AND HE’S STYLISH AS HELL

Can I switch places with her?

Can I switch places with her?

3

Sigh

Yeah, as you can see, I have a problem. (I’m not the only one, though. Look at the comments of literally ANY Youtube video he’s been in. This guy has an army of admirers.) But… it’s quite embarrassing for me to admit because I generally pride myself on abstaining from celebrity crushes. I mean, what’s the point? It’s so silly. It never gets anywhere. I mean, you don’t even know the person! They could be a serious asshole or an idiot or a secret serial killer. On the screen, Eugene may seem like this intelligent stylish, super funny, super hot…….. (I’m sorry, what was I saying?)

But okay, I’ll get serious now. When I’m single, I go a little boy crazy because I can. But when I’m with someone, that someone is the single object of my affection. Ideally, anyway. When I start dating someone, I generally loose interest in looking at other guys. And it’s pretty great. It feels secure. But then, there’s always that one celeb that slips through! In my last serious relationship, I discovered BBC’s Merlin and therefore discovered the perfection that is Bradley James:

c

ab

THIS VERSION OF ARTHUR AND GWEN IS MY OTP.

THIS VERSION OF ARTHUR AND GWEN IS MY OTP.

I had to stop and wonder why I felt like I needed to make his face my wallpaper and fawn over pics of him. Most importantly, I came to the realization that I wasn’t secure enough to handle that idea that maybe someone I’m dating might have these silly crushes as well. My immediate thoughts generally go:

Oh my god he thinks she’s prettier he’d rather have someone who looks like her she’s skinnier than I am I could never look like that if he ever meets her my relationship is over help

I spent so much time Googling this dilemma to see if it was common. Normally, people say, “Yeah, but you’ll never meet them. So it doesn’t matter.”

Yes! Yes, it does matter – in a way. It’s not impossible. Celebrities have dated non-celebs before. It’s not entirely impossible to meet one. What if they do meet and hit it off? So, saying “they’ll never meet” doesn’t make me feel any better whatsoever.

Before I had my anxiety issues under better control, my current boyfriend made the mistake of mentioning his attraction to Asli Omar to me:

a1 a2 a3 a4

Isn’t she positively gorgeous??!! And she’s a lovely singer; she’s the vocalist for one of our favorite bands, The Tontons. But at the time, when I still let my anxiety and depression get the best of me, I automatically assumed that I’d lost, and that she’d won. Rationally, I knew that that wasn’t the truth and that my boyfriend loved me, but… it just made me feel less than. Since then, I’d resolved to continue to pretend celebrities weren’t all that hot and that the Asli Omar incident never happened.

But it’s human, isn’t it, to have a bit of a wandering eye? That’s the only explanation I can think of. It’s very complex to think about. If I saw someone like Eugene out and about, and if situation permitted, I would flirt like hell. (Probably. I’m really shy and would probably talk myself out of it…. But I’d still daydream about flirting with him.) And I would do this knowing quite well that at the end of the day, I’m going to bed with the best bf I could ever ask for. What is this cognitive dissonance?

Do you believe that flirting is disrespectful in a relationship? Some people do. I don’t make a habit out of it. Normally, I just admire from afar. But when I ask myself questions like these, I generally flip it around to see what I would be okay with dealing with.

For example:

What if I saw the bf fawning over pics of Asli Omar or Janelle Monae?

What if I jokingly commented on a Buzzfeed vid: “Eugene = bae.” Would I be okay if the bf did something like that?

What if we were watching a movie, and he just randomly said, “Wow. She is hot.”

Okay, present-me would be a little irked, but I’ve also learned that there’s more than one kind of attractive in the world, and that liking the looks of one person doesn’t cancel out the looks of another. I also know that he loves me and that that’s all that matters. It also helps tremendously that my bf is extremely understanding and compassionate – I mean, he’s a nurse, and he learned a thing or two from mental health courses – so he weathered this rough journey with me… from me being jealous and anxious to me just being a little irked but okay overall.

In fact, I was recently proud of myself for acquiring the guts to ask him if he ever had fantasies. Was I in them? Were other women in them? Stuff like that. Much to my surprise, I wasn’t irked or hurt at all. I guess that shows my progress.

That said, I still have a long way to go. I’m not going to go posting Eugene pics on Man Crush Monday any time soon because if the bf did anything like that on Woman Crush Wednesday, there would probably be some problems.

Or not.

Who knows? Maybe I’d surprise myself and only be a little irked.

SO! Ladies and gents – how do you feel about flirting and celeb crushes? Where do you draw the line? Do you care? Does it bother you like the dickens? Do you go a little overboard?

Let me know! 😉

Where Are the Forks?

A bunch of my friends and I lived in the same apartment building – so our parties were pretty awesome.

For whatever reason I can’t remember, I decided to call it a night around 2 a.m. and walk across the hall back to my own apartment.

Moments later, there was a knock on the door. A couple giggly drunk girls asked where the party host keeps his forks.

I said, “Um. In his kitchen, presumably?”

They looked at me wide-eyed and said, “Oh my god, where are you from?”

“I’m from here.”

They were shocked.

Later, I had to ask someone if “presumably” is that uncommon of a word and if it really is odd that it’s a part of my regular vocabulary.

Like… really?

From a young child, I took the things I learned in English classes to heart. Standard English was the name – to master it was my game. Don’t as me why. Maybe it’s a language thing. I’m the same way when learning/teaching myself foreign languages. Also, I like sounding intelligent and well read. (Correction – I am intelligent and well read. And I like to show that with my speech.) For this reason, I’ve been called things like “white girl” and “oreo.” As if proper English only belongs to white people?

Some people even thought my family was rich based solely on the way I speak.

Alas.

Feeling Pretty White Bread

Since I started college, I’d always pride myself on my diverse group of friends. One night, a bunch of us went out to Ihop. We took a look around and realized that we pretty much look like the United Nations.

Another time, years later, a small group of us was hanging out, engaging in shenanigans. One of our newer friends, a white guy, looked around and said, “Man. You guys make me feel pretty white bread.”

I looked around, and I realized I was the only black friend – black as in, not mixed.

All of my biracial and multiracial friends are beautiful and come from interesting families. Thinking of it that way, it’s kind of hard not to feel like a ho-hum plain Jane.

I mean, take ice cream, for example. I always opt for the most delicious mixes of flavor.

But I have to remember that vanilla and chocolate are still classic flavors.