Yesterday, I spent much of the day laid up in bed because I had thrown my back out doing gardening. Yes, gardening. I love it and it’s fun.
I was feeling kind of crummy and I had read an article about someone who had gone through the same fallout with friends as I had gone three years earlier over a difference of political or sociopolitical opinion. The correlation struck a chord with me and, already in pain from my back and feeling kind of emotionally amped from this other person’s experience, I was like “hell yeah, I’m going to emote about this experience”.
And about halfway into the rambling, I realized this was more a “personal thing” than an actual decent “article” or content for a blog. While a blog is supposed to be personal, there’s also a line. I stopped writing, popped some ibuprofen, put on my big girl panties and did some work around the house that was light enough to not hurt me but needed to get done. Going outside yesterday wasn’t an option anyway because it was kind of cold and windy, which is not ideal for gardening. I threw on some Family Guy (with headphones) and folded laundry with Abby. I bathed all three of my dogs and took a long hot shower sans canine companionship. I read a bit more of my book in bed before dozing off into a restful sleep.
I found that my mood elevated completely after some household “mission accomplishment” and I no longer wanted to write my scathing diatribe about an experience from 3 years ago. I’d learned all the lessons I needed to learn from that experience, it was over, and I had more than moved on so why was I chewing on that fat now? Because I was bored and I had let that fester into something unhealthy and unproductive as I writhed in pain in my bed. The difference this time is that I didn’t post it, I deleted it, and I moved on. Holy shit, she can learn!
Today, I woke up happy and awake, ready to face the day. I dropped Abby off at school and went to a chiropractor about my back instead of bitching about it for days on end. I have been to every specialist in the world about my back with no relief or only temporary relief. I have three different kinds of muscle ointments and muscle relaxers, the latter of which not being productive if I want to ever drive anywhere or take care of my child since it makes me really loopy.
Yesterday, I saw an advertisement for Luther Chiropractor and they were running a special for a 27 dollar visit for 150 dollars worth of work: X-Ray, diagnostic exam, consult, and adjustment. My sister, Leah, had raved about chiropractors for months and I always just viewed them as football players that never made it to the pros so they went to a seminar and became doctors. Yes, most chiropractors are larger males that are able to crack and press people’s spines into shape but they largely know what they’re doing. Messing with people’s spines requires a level of skill – they can paralyze a person for life if they slip something wrong. I did my homework because I didn’t want to end up a para/quadriplegic and they had 5 star ratings across the board and looked generally reputable from everything I saw online. I went in, still slightly skeptical but the office was nice without being overly flashy so you ignore deficiencies in care. The staff was genuinely nice and welcoming. I felt personally at ease. I won’t bore you with the details but I definitely walked out of there without any back pain. It wasn’t a miracle cure – just a good assessment and adjustment to alleviate pain. Mission accomplished. I found that most of the time talking to the doctor was spent conversing about my Deadpool shirt of him riding a unicorn amidst tacos and chimichangas in space.
Moving forward with the rest of my day, I felt even more energized and happy just “talking geek” with someone else. I can talk that stuff with my husband and friends just fine but I always like to get a lot of different perspectives and basically just geek out with as many people as I can. I love sharing my passions, like many. Some people enjoy golf – I enjoy geek shit. Even in the military, I would order comic books through Midtown Comics in New York and keep them safely in my room in a box that turned into 8 boxes. Friends would come by my barracks room and borrow books and bring them back.
I had always assumed that being a writer meant that I had to write about straight news (from my voluntary extra duty/on the job training as a journalist in the Navy while I served as a military police officer) or sociopolitical/opinion stuff. For the latter, I said exactly what I felt and, the most part, it generated a buzz but the response was normally a depressing mix of people who agreed with me but had no real opinions of their own or people who vehemently disagreed with me to the point of insulting my character. I rarely found anyone schooled in civilized discourse that could agree and offer their own perspective or disagree respectfully and bring their own insight without trying to convert me. I wasn’t looking for a fight – I was looking for a discussion.
When I did find civilized discourse minded individuals, I was happy for the experience but the majority were just divisive. It was soul crushing and, coupled with my ectopic pregnancy, sunk me into a deeper sense of “we are totally fucked if this is how we talk to each other”. After the ectopic, I stepped away from the sociopolitical reporting/writing game and away from Twitter. I became reluctant to voice my opinion to friends and family not because I was afraid of people disagreeing with me but because I was just tired of being told I was an idiot, especially by people who supposedly loved and cared about me. It became tiring, tedious and just annoying, especially when I had facts to back up my claims. When I was “ready” to jump back into the game again with a website I was writing for at the time, it wasn’t any better than I had left it…so I largely stayed away from it – it just wasn’t worth it to me anymore. Nothing was being solved but rather it was just about who could be the meanest and yell the loudest.
There are people who are more wizened than I and better able to cope with the pissy internet denizens but I ain’t one of them. I don’t think this makes me weak because I’m still able and glad to voice my opinions, but I pick my battles – to be a political or sociopolitical journalist, you have to take all comers and I don’t want that.
I was afforded the opportunity to interview Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Boyd Holbrook, and James Mangold from the movie Logan because I won a contest with CinemaBlend.com. I had an amazing time and one day, when I’m ready to collect all my thoughts from a totally incredible experience, I’ll probably write about it. It was, besides my wedding day and the birth of my child, the best day of my life. I cannot thank CinemaBlend and Fox enough for it.
From that experience, I got a glimpse and a taste of a world that I desperately wanted to be a part of but had no clue how to get into. Sean O’Connell of CinemaBlend (my “handler” for the contest, as it were) gave me a lot of really great insight and advice as to how the industry of entertainment journalism worked. I interviewed people I admired (especially Hugh Jackman) and I was hooked. It wasn’t about meeting celebrities for me or being a “star fucker” but rather just talking to someone in a really cool job that brought characters I loved to life on the screen.
I have a healthy dose of respect for anyone who can create art, period. I love art. I might not be any good at it myself but I’m able to appreciate it and I’m passionate about it. On top of being really amazing artists, they were also really kick ass people. Sir Patrick Stewart, despite feeling like you’re about to talk to the school principal, is a nice man and involved in a lot of worthwhile pursuits (anti-domestic violence and anti-animal abuse). You really just have to like a guy that is a knighted and professionally trained Shakespearean actor but isn’t above being silly on shows like Family Guy and American Dad, for which he voices characters often. Boyd Holbrook is a relative newcomer but did a fantastic job in Logan as the villain and he’s a fellow Kentuckian. I found while I didn’t know much of his body of work, I could still chat with him about our home state (especially my favorite beverage from there, Ale-8-One) and the Logan movie. James Mangold was throughly interesting and responsible for some of my favorite movies so talking to him and picking his brain was a treat! I actually wasn’t slated to interview them all – just Mr. Jackman – but Sean let me to give me a more well-rounded and fun experience since I was already passionate about journalism anyway. Thanks again, Sean!
Hugh Jackman. Just…wow. See? I still can’t put the experience into words yet. One hell of an individual that is just genuinely kindhearted. I would suggest looking up all the humanitarian work he and his wife do on a daily basis not to look good but because they genuinely want to help people. Mr. Jackman admits that his inspiration to help others largely comes from his wife, Deb, for whom I also have a great deal of respect and admiration. Man, if I could interview her, I’d probably slightly hyperventilate into a paper bag beforehand. She was honored at the United Nations, for God sakes – the woman is a friggin powerhouse of goodwill. Her work with adoption advocacy is near and dear to my heart for obvious reasons (I.e. the ectopic) but also because I have had friends adopt. I love the thought of giving a child a shot at something all children deserve: a loving home. When I think of the term “power couple”, I think of the Jackmans.
I knew when I started this blog, I wanted an outlet for life as a disabled veteran, a mother, an Alaskan/Kentuckian, and a geek. I wanted an outlet to bring light to things I’m passionate about like non-profit organizations. As well, I enjoy writing profiles on people I find interesting and dynamic that might not get any limelight because either they don’t seek it/it never occurred to them or they largely get ignored for the Kardashians of the world, who are famous for being famous. Give me a veteran sitting on a park bench to chat over one of Kris’ offspring any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
Through the blog and just talking to fun people on Twitter who share my love of nerdy stuff, I was involved with a discussion today about Cal Dodd’s appearance on a podcast I enjoy. Cal Dodd, if you don’t know, is the voice of Wolverine from the X-Men Animated Series from the 90s, which was my first exposure to my favorite comic book character. Seeing as how I’m a huge Wolverine fan, I’ve made contact with other awesome Wolverine fans from the contest experience and those people know other people and so on and so forth. Twitter no longer is the erstwhile caustic shit-fest it was for me because I erased the noise, as my momma has always told me to do when I get overwhelmed with so much bullshit. I distanced myself from people who can’t engage in healthy debate without devolving into ad homeniem or just bitchy passive aggressive 120 character messages. I’m not afraid of differing opinions but I refuse to engage with someone who cannot meet me on the verbal battlefield with the same basic respect I afford them. If I come at someone sideways because, hey, I’m human, I have then invited the same back. Fair game, but I try to avoid throwing the first stone, especially when my house is made of glass (like I said, I’m human). One of the great things and, at the same time, the downfall of the internet is that everyone has a voice – but we all need to be more descerning about who we let into our personal “bubble” and what we ourselves say to one another. I’m not referring to us censoring ourselves or our thoughts but maybe standing to be a little kinder and not falling back on calling each other Nazis.
To the more positive aspect of Twitter as it has presented itself to me after draining my own personal swamp, I got a message today from Juwaan Carter from Geek Vibes Nation, a podcast that grew from 200 or so members last year to over 4K today on Facebook alone. On Twitter, they have 20.3K followers, last I checked. Those are pretty impressive numbers, to say the least. He asked if I would be interested in contributing to their weekly radio show about all things geek. He called and we chatted on the phone before he conferenced in Dane and we chatted some more. It was an informal interview to see if we all meshed well together, what was expected of me, what I expected of them, and basically just feeling each other out. I got off the phone, energized, impressed, and ready to go! I felt like I had gotten off the phone not with complete strangers I met on the internet but longtime friends I could easily have a beer with right now if they weren’t on the east coast and it being physically impossible. I’m super pumped for this experience, as I am with my internship with Scott Carty. Both experiences will give me road miles in a career path I want to pursue with everything in me. The passion is and has always been there but now it’s directed more and I have to put in the work. No problem!
It isn’t that entertainment journalism is “easier” (because it’s not) so much as it is more in line with my passions. I could sit and rant about politics every day and it would be like my gimp ass running on a treadmill: I’m getting exercise, sure, but I’m not getting anywhere and I end up sweaty, sore, and wanting to throw up. I view entertainment journalism like I do gardening: it’s good exercise, I’m in the sunshine, I always want to do it/never tire of it, and I get to create based on something I know well but can always learn more about daily. What’s more?I can share it with my daughter without fearing that it’ll warp her innocence and world perspective at the age of six.