Category Archives: Life

Liebster Award Nomination

LiebsterAward1

Well, well, well, it seems I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award! I began this blog back in July of last year, and though it began as an extension of my writing career, it really has taken on a life of its own. I enjoy expressing myself without the structure of fiction, and I enjoy the informal feel (read: ranting).

In any case, it’s fantastic to be recognized for something that I enjoy, so a big THANK YOU to Melis for nominating me for the Liebster Award (whose blog, by the way, is called Infinite Daydreamer, and you should definitely check out here). The award goes to bloggers who have less than 200 followers, and those who are nominated must answer 11 questions as well as nominate 11 other blogs. I’ve nominated some blogs at the end, so if you’re a blogger who’s received a ping back, that’s why :p

So, here we go!

How did you decide on the title of your blog?

The title of my blog was quite simple, really — it’s my name! I thought about using a different title, but none of the ones I thought up would really be applicable to all the projects I have in mind throughout my prospective writing career. So, my name was the simplest, and for me, the easiest to pick because I could then have seamless cohesion between my blog, my published work, and my other social media endeavors.

What is one word that sums up the heart of you blog and why?

Writing! That’s a pretty easy one. Yeah, I realize that I stray off of that topic from time to time as topics such as travel, life, and the struggles of a millennial are spoken about also, but at the end of the day, this blog focuses around writing as a whole, my thoughts on it, and as a central hub for my writing career.

What are your favourite pastimes besides blogging?

Writing fiction. Lol, I see a trend… But wait! I like reading too. I also have a considerable amount of wanderlust, so I love travelling and/or planning my next trip. I’m not really into television or movies, so my pop culture knowledge is embarrassingly low, but I love to learn and debate and meet people, though I can sometimes be a little shy and introverted at first.

What is your favourite aspect of blogging?

My favourite aspect of blogging is the informal feel. When I write fiction, I generally spend a lot of time toiling over the tone and the voice and how something is coming across to the reader. I like that blogging is a little bit more raw. I like that I can say what I want and that a quick copy edit is generally all the editing I have to do. I also like that blogging is more interactive. I get to meet people here who have similar goals and aspirations. Not to mention the other blogs. I love reading what other people have to say.

Which project, recipe, or idea on my blog would you most like to try yourself?

I think this question refers to Melis’ blog, if I’m not mistaken. I like the monthly favourites feature that Melis has on her blog. I think it’s a great way not only to let others know what you’ve been into that month, but I think it acts as a nice retrospective for the blogger. I know for me that specific pieces of music or different books influence my mood and my writing, and those things change often. I think the monthly favourites feature allows for both readers and bloggers to look back and see what they were into last month or even last year.

Where does your blog inspiration come from?

I think a lot of my blog inspiration comes from what I’m doing at any particular time. The blog posts where I talk about writing normally correspond to a particular aspect of the writing process that I’m experiencing at the time — I wrote one about editing when I was editing, I wrote about troubles finding inspiration when I was having trouble finding inspiration.

What is one country you would like to visit and why?

I would love to visit Iceland. I think that I’m pretty well traveled in general, but one place I’m dying to visit is Iceland. I love the Nordic feel, the melancholic nature of winter, the contrast of beauty and somehow, desolation. Also, some of my favourite musicians come from Iceland (Bjork, Olafur Arnalds) and the Nordic countries on the whole. AND if that wasn’t enough, Iceland means sulfur springs and glacier climbing and geysers and the northern lights. Have I convinced you yet?

If you have children, what are their names? If not, what are your favourite boy and girl names?

Hmmm… Odd question. I think it would be hard to name my children because names that come into my head normally already have a personality or a back story attached to them (#writerproblems). However, I like the name Leonardo (Leo for short), and I’ve saved that name for my child in the future. That means no story shall be written about a Leo or will feature a Leo until that child is born. Then, when I get a feel for him, maybe he’ll end up somewhere.

A long-lost relative leaves you a large sum of money. What do you do with it?

First, I give some to friends and family who I know could use it. I would probably invest the rest of it, and if it’s enough to support me, I’d probably stop working a 9-to-5 for a while and travel. The purpose of all of that, of course, would be to write, so honestly, I’d take the money and figure out how much more time it would afford me for writing. I’d focus on my writing career and use the time I spend working a 9-to-5 to develop it.

In your opinion what’s the best blog post you’ve written so far and why?

The best blog post I’ve written so far would have to be How I Stopped Caring and I’m Better Off Not only was it well-received by readers, but it was one of the most genuine blog posts I’ve ever written, and I think that’s what led to its success. I think the post showcases me most transparently, and I think it is the “realest” blog post I’ve done so far. I should do more like that in the future.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

Hmm.. a tough one. I don’t know if the answer is a where or more of a what. I’ll be wherever feels right, whether it’s still here in the Greater Toronto Area or abroad. I will definitely have a more developed writing career. The Black Oracle will be released by then and hopefully the other three manuscripts I have written and/or drafted will be published too. I hope to have an agent and be able to support myself off of my writing. But besides all of those writerly goals, I see myself being happy. I mean, I am very happy now,  but I see myself continuing to be that way, if not even more happy.

Nominations

I don’t have 11 who have less than 200 followers :/ Lol, fail. BUT I do a few and I’ve nominated them below.

Trekking and Travels

The Wandering Neanderthal

Words Ate My Life

I’ve enjoyed these blogs and you should definitely check them out!

5 Reasons Why You Aren’t Accomplishing Your Goals

For me, 2014 was my go with the flow year. I graduated university and used up all the money I saved to go travelling. I ended up landing a job back home before I even finished backpacking. Since then, I’ve been working a 9-to-5 on a contract that keeps extending and extending, and to top it all off, I got a publishing contract for The Black Oracle which will see publication this spring. In fact, 2014 was a pretty good year!

But for 2015, I’m looking to change things up. Going with the flow had gotten me a lot of opportunities last year, but now I want to take charge. I have quite a few goals and for once, a five-year plan (it’s kinda scary, but I’m excited!) But through this process, I’ve had to do some soul-searching and some analysis of my goals. What’s possible? What are my limits? Most importantly: What would stop me from accomplishing my goals?

I’ve listed the top 5 reasons I postulated below.

cry

Sad goal-setter is sad.

You Have No Goals

This seems obvious, yet this is a common pitfall: it’s hard to accomplish a goal when you don’t have any. Further, it’s even harder to accomplish goals that aren’t well-defined. For me, this *normally* equates to goals regarding my health. I’m good at accomplishing word count goals and marketing goals, but when it comes to going to the gym or eating better, I fall flat. Why? Because I don’t create concrete goals in those areas. For example, I’ll say “I’m going to write 6,500 words a week” for a writing goal, but for physical fitness, I’ll say “Yeah, I should head to the gym more”. Do you see the difference?

Hint: The second isn’t a real goal. It’s just a nice idea.

My goal: eat all the food.

My goal: eat all the food.

Your Goals Aren’t Attainable

Never say never, right? But also, don’t bite off more than you can chew. I experience this pitfall sometimes, even with goals that I have quantified and made into something tangible. For example, I wanted to complete a refresher course in German and a beginner course in Icelandic in the second half of 2014. Why didn’t I do those things? I made those goals unattainable. After working a 9-to-5, prepping a novel for publication, creating and executing a marketing plan, sleeping, eating, and commuting, I had very little time to learn two languages.

Thus, they were unattainable. I shot waaayyy too high and I missed my goal, and not just by a little bit.

You Have No Action Plan

Having well-defined and attainable goals are all good and fine, but they mean nothing if you have no plan. This was, in part, the reason why I failed at the German and Icelandic goals I mentioned above. Not only did I not have time to learn those two languages, but I had no plan of how to go about doing it. I should have set aside two hours a week for each language and then slowly but surely worked toward completing the courses. Instead, my work was rather infrequent: I started off strong, say 8 hours a week between the two courses, but after a couple weeks, I had stopped working at them completely.

However, I’ve had an experience with writing lately that has proven to me the effectiveness of an action plan. One of my current goals is to finish the first draft of a Paranormal Young Adult novel (55,000 words) by the time I leave for vacation to the Dominican Republic on February 7th. I’ve determined that if I write 6,500 words per week between now and then, I can reach my goal. And I’m happy to say that my action plan is working: I’m on track to a completed first draft.

You’re a Dreamer, not so much a Doer

I was more of a dreamer when I was younger, even though I’d say I am still a dreamer now. The difference is now that I’m a dreamer and a doer. I dream up the things I’d like to do, and then I do them. You see, that’s the crucial part. Saying that one day, you’d like to write a novel is not going to get you a first draft. Saying you’d like to travel the world one day isn’t going to buy you a plane ticket. You have to do something. But lucky for you (and me), the first steps are often the hardest, and after a while, things start falling into place.

Hey, look! I did it! That's a real giraffe in South Africa!

Hey, look! I did it! That’s a real giraffe in South Africa!

You’re too Insecure

This pitfall is perhaps the most debilitating for goal-setters, and unfortunately, it is something I can’t quite tell you how to fix. Insecurity keeps you from what you want. Fear keeps you from doing the things you want to do. And society doesn’t help: we in the West have set up a system where originality and breaking the norm is frowned upon, and I’m sad to say that that’s spreading around the world.

But only you can stop being insecure. Only you can seize the opportunity life has afforded you. Only you can stand up to nay-sayers and pursue your dreams. Besides, is failure really that bad? If you never fail, how can you bask in the glory of success? Furthermore, you’re guaranteed to fail at something that you never even try.

This blog post is just a walking cliche today, isn’t it…?

But legit, stop being afraid.

4 Ways to Make Life Slow The Heck Down!

We live in a fast-paced society. Hell, we live in a fast-paced world. Things change almost instantaneously. News outlets churn out more stories per hour than the amount of bathroom breaks I take in a day (and I have a small bladder). People talk at a hundred words a minute and so much is going on that speech is hardly concise anyway. And what makes this worse is that we are busier than ever: eating, sleeping, working, groceries, errands, sports, leisure, socializing. And some of us don’t even have kids yet! Besides, even without them, all our free time is sucked into social media and technological mind-clutter. But worst of all, living in a high-paced world and being chronically busy makes time seem to race by. I couldn’t believe it when I looked at the calendar and saw that it was December and 2015 would soon be upon me. And it’s already December 9th!

But I’ve devised a plan. I’m gonna hop off of this high-speed train before it hand-delivers me to old age and I’m gonna work a way to slow things down while I still have the time to do so. Maybe try a few of these out and let me know if they work for you too.

Decrease Time-Wasters

This is my number one problem. I’m an addict. I’m not afraid to admit it. And chances are, you are too! I’m addicted to my phone and my laptop and Netflix and the internet and constantly being preoccupied with SOMETHING! What’s worse, I catch myself doing it. I can feel myself sinking into the chair and opening Facebook or Twitter or Buzzfeed and then endlessly scrolling. Sure, a half-hour here and there to unwind isn’t bad, but my obsession with scrolling has surely accumulated at least a year of time where I could have been doing something productive.

So, vow to stop that. Limit your wasting-time time. Do something that’s exciting and inspiring and maybe even productive. At least you won’t feel like you wasted your time when you look back at what you’ve done with your day.

My current kryptonite...

My current kryptonite…

Stop Multi-Tasking

Multi-Tasking is the cancer of the modern-day, middle class Western citizen. Well, okay, maybe there are others, but it’s one of them. In any case, dividing focus is the best way of losing just that. And what’s happens when we lose focus? We glaze over. Maybe it’s time to be intentional and singular and enjoy the things that we do, instead of just doing eight of them all at one time just to get them over with.

Experience New Things

I’m going to come out and say it: my forty day backpacking trip felt like a lifetime in comparison to the amount of time I’ve been home. I returned a little over five and a half months ago but all that time seems condensed and monotonous. There are periods of time where it seems I have no memories. I was just mindlessly going through the motions. But I think back to the trip and that time seems to stretch out forever. It even felt like an eternity while I was out doing it.

Why? I was doing something new. I was experiencing something out of my normal that was exciting and fun and fresh. Am I suggesting that I leave my home and my job right this second to do it all again somewhere else? Well, it’d be nice, but no. However, maybe there is something to learn from that. Maybe we should strive to do new things in our lives all the time to break up the monotony, whether it’s a new recipe or a new place to visit or a new hobby.

Allow Yourself to be Bored

In fact, I think you should encourage yourself to be bored. Take some time to do nothing. Seriously, absolutely nothing. No distractions. No TV, no computers, no books or phones. Just be for a few moments. Meditate if need be. It doesn’t work for me, but if I can set aside just ten minutes to reflect and absorb, maybe I won’t feeling like I’m half-assing and skimming through life all the time.

Got any methods for slowing life down and being in the moment?

5 Stages of being a 20-Something Halloween Addict

Just a short post today. I’ve got a job transfer and a practically dying car to deal with instead. BUT in case you haven’t realized:

Halloween is tomorrow!

Stage One

You’re walking along your merry little way and you see something odd on the ground before you. Could it be? No, it can’t. It’s much too early. I do declare, you say, I see a fallen leaf, a shade of deep red.

But it’s September! You contest. Winter cannot be coming already! Then another thought overshadows the dread:

Halloween is near.

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Stage Two

The excitement sets in. Think of all the pumpkins you can carve and all the pumpkin flavored things you can consume. You don’t care that pumpkin spiced anything is frowned upon. How can anyone hate something so good?

In fact, you’ll watch a horror movie tonight, just to get you in the mood. And maybe buy a scented candle or two on your way home. The house will smell like a pumpkin pie factory and your roommates won’t like it but it’s almost Halloween!

Well, maybe I like being basic.

Well, maybe I like being basic.

Stage Three

Watch all the Halloween-themed movies and read all the Stephen King books! And when you realize you’ve forgotten a classic like Hocus Pocus or The Nightmare Before Christmas, rejoice that there are still more movies to watch while you carve your pumpkin!

How can I top last year's?

There shall be no topping last year’s. RIP Carved Pumpkin from 2013.

Stage Four

AHHH! Halloween is only a few days away and you haven’t yet thought about what your actual Halloween plans are. And you haven’t visited any haunted houses. And you don’t even have a costume!

I have a Halloween emergency!

Stage Five

Today’s the day, but I’m kinda over Halloween. Maybe it is kind of childish after all. When’s Christmas?

SAID NO ONE EVER!

At least there's enough candy until next year. Or tomorrow.

At least there’s enough candy to last until next year. Or tomorrow.

My Ghost Story: The Yellow Room (Hello, Poppa) by Michael Cristiano

This Halloween, Curiosity Quills authors are spreading the spookiness by sharing their own personal paranormal experiences. Get haunted with these bone-chilling blogs, or post your own! #myghoststory.

Poppa IWe called my maternal grandpa Poppa and he died in 2001 when I was ten years old. His death was sudden: into the hospital one day and then gone the next. No one saw it coming and he was relatively young, just shy of his 67th birthday.

The death was hard on us: my immediate family was devastated, my extended family was devastated, and my Grandma was never quite the same. But even though he had departed from us, he didn’t necessarily go away. Following his death, we began to see signs that he was still around.

The day of his funeral, my father and I sat outside the church just after the service. I was especially upset. Poppa had been my best friend. I would skip school and pretend to be sick just to hang out with him. While I was sitting there, I felt something flutter by my ear. I looked up and saw that a butterfly circled me and my father and then swept across the parking lot to the remainder of my family. It went up to each family member and finally to my Grandma, where it lingered the longest.

A butterfly, you say. I’m supposed to be convinced of your ghost story by a little butterfly? Well, those butterflies didn’t go away, not around my house or the house of my family in the months to follow. They lingered near the windows and around the parked cars, greeting us whenever we went outside.

Other strange things began to happen around my house too. I woke up once in the middle of the night and went to the bathroom. From where my room was, it was easy to see the landing and the stairs. Though it may have been my overactive imagination (I’m a writer, remember?), I saw a shadow at the bottom of the stairs. As I ran from it, as overactive 10-year-olds do, I barricaded myself in my room and turned on my light. I calmed myself and just as I did, I heard a noise: a thud not far away. I looked into the corner of the room where a picture of my Poppa and me usually stood on my desk.  It had fallen over onto the floor.

The photo that fell over in my bedroom. My Poppa and me at my first communion, circa 1998.

The photo that fell over in my bedroom. My Poppa and me at my first communion, circa 1998.

Most creepy of all, my mom and my aunt went to a psychic as a way to get some closure. According to my mom, the psychic guessed that my grandfather had passed before either mentioned it, but she also went on to say something else. I normally don’t believe in psychic abilities, but even this surprised me. The psychic told my mom that my Poppa was still around—in fact, he was in our house.

“He’s in the yellow room,” the psychic said.

“Yellow room?” My mom asked. “We don’t have any room painted that color.”

But apparently we did. The psychic was adamant. My mom went home confused and with a little less closure than she wanted. In any case, she went on with her life, slowly overcoming the loss of her father and returning to normality. One day, my mother sat in the study working on one of her freelance writing projects. She turned on the lamp beside her, the sun setting as she worked well into the evening. When her eye caught sight of the wall behind the computer screen, she put her hand to her mouth.

Though the walls were white, the fabric of the lampshade was a light gold. It illuminated the room and shone on the walls. My mom was sitting in the yellow room.

Years passed and the butterflies went away and sure, I was still running from shadows, but they were largely fueled by raging hormones and high school jitters. One day, I was home alone studying for my grade nine English exam. We had just gotten a dog, a beagle-basset hound cross named Tessie. During my cramming, the dog started barking. She only ever did when someone was at the door but when I went downstairs, there was no one there. Instead, I found her in front of an antique chair in the study that Poppa had given my parents, sitting and barking and wagging her tail.

I turned on the lamp.

Hello, Poppa.

—–

Links to other stories:

J.E. Anckorn

Samantha Dunaway Bryant

Katie Hamstead Teller

This story can also be found on Curiosity Quills’ website here.

30 Things that Cross Your Mind at a Dance Club

1. I’m too early. There’s no one here. But everyone said we were meeting at 10:30. Geez, I look like a loser. There’s not even anyone on the dance floor. Maybe I’ll just get a drink.

2. Yay, friends. More drinks. Wanna drink? Let’s drink. Excellent.

3. “How are you?”

4. I didn’t actually hear anything you just said.

5. Why is everyone just standing around. Did we all come here to stand around or did we come here to dance? No, I’m not going first.

6. Where’s the DJ in this place? I hear music, but I see no one. Oh, there he is.

7. Look at the eager beavers out there on the dance floor. There’s four of them, but look! They’re owning it. Should we go? We should go. Naw, you’re right. Let’s wait.

8. Should I be the one to haul all my friends out there? No one’s moving. Anti-social Andy doesn’t even look like he wants to be here.

9. Ahh, the music’s loud. It’s hurting my ears. How can anyone stand this, let alone enjoy this? I don’t even wanna dance. I knew I should have stayed in tonight.

10. IT’S MY JAM! Dance floor, dance floor, dance floor, dance floor.

11. We’re jumping, we’re jumping, annndd bass drop. Someone just touched my butt.

12. And I just saw private parts. Time to look up. Hands in the air. Look back down. And there it is again. What the hell was that person thinking? Get some underwear!

13. No, don’t try and squeeze through here, buddy. Don’t you see me dancing? Go around the dance floor. Yeah, that’s right.

Sorry, bro. I'm dancing here!

Sorry, bro. I’m dancing here!

14. Random dude dancing near us. Oh, he’s coming closer to Modest Molly. Does she want it? Do I save her? Maybe she can read stares. Do you need help? Do you need help?

15. Oh, there’s the nod. Fancy a dance, Modest Molly?

16. Okay, I’m hot. I need to get off this dancefloor. I think I’ll go outside.

17. God, it’s cold out here.

18. I gotta pee but I know the bathrooms are gonna be disgusting. But I can’t hold it anymore.

19. This bathroom is worse than I thought it would be. I’m not tipping the bathroom attendant.

20. Thank you, bathroom attendant, for the paper towel. I shall bestow upon you 2 full dollars.

21. Hello, bouncer. No, I did not vomit in the stall. Look: shiny, clean. Now, time to walk straight. Wave. Act natural. Right foot, left foot.

22. I just waved at the bouncer. He totally knows I’m drunk.

23. Bartender. Bartender. Make eye contact with me! God, I think he’s avoiding me. Look! I got money in my hand. Yup, there you are.

Wait, those aren't mine...

Wait, those aren’t mine…

24. This drink is totally only vodka and ice. What happened to the 7up?

25. What song is this? Why does everyone know the lyrics except for me?

26. HA! I know this song. That’s right. I’m current too!

27. Where does one put empty cups in this establishment?

28. And Anti-social Andy is gonna be sick. I swear, can we go one time without this happening? I’m getting too old for this shit.

29. Oh, there it is. Thanks, Andy. Yeah, we’re leaving.

30. Do you think the taxi driver will go through the McDonald’s drive-thru?

Why This Job Market is Inspiring

As a millennial, I feel like blaming the economy and job market has become a mantra of sorts for many — myself included. In any conversation I’ve had or blog post I’ve written about the economic struggles lately, the iterations have generally been the same: jobs are scarce for graduates, the pay is crap or nonexistent, things are ridiculously expensive and debt is on the rise. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for young people to be unemployed for a year or more after graduation and worst of all, it appears that millennials were lied to. Call us entitled or spoiled or naive, but I don’t think it was unfair for us to expect the booming economy that our parents and grandparents enjoyed.

We've graduated! Oh, shit...

We’ve graduated! Oh, shit…

All that aside, I’ve begun to feel a different way about our current circumstances as of late. In fact, I have one adjective for the way I’ve been feeling about it: inspired.

I sound like I’m on drugs, don’t I? After all the criticism the job market has faced from young people, the last word we would use to describe our situation is inspiring. But I’d take it a step further: empowering. Behind all the doom and gloom, I’m seriously experiencing a feeling of empowerment.

I explain:

It’s clear that the big employers of yesteryear are no more. Well, they’re still there, but looking for a job with them is not necessarily a thing anymore. Unpaid internship maybe, but let’s not get our hopes up. But in that, maybe there is hope. With our current job market, there are very little expectations for our prospects as job seekers. I mean, yes, there were quite a few not too long ago, but now I’ve watched all of those expectations simply fade away. That ideal job we thought we’d get in our field is now clouded with seemingly insurmountable competition. That extravagant lifestyle we thought we’d enjoy is more and more unattainable. The expectation that we’d walk off of the convocation stage and into a well-paying job is simply a lie.

You know what? Maybe that’s not a bad thing. If there are no expectations, there are no disappointments. Further, if there are no expectations, it’s easier to be pleasantly surprised when an opportunity comes, even if it is in the form of a two-month contract (I’m currently on two-month contract #2, but at least I’m working!)

And I’ve also found contracts to be oddly empowering. Knowing that I’m only at a job for a little while has allowed me a lot of perks that the prospect of permanent employment wouldn’t. For example, if I don’t like something, I know it’s not going to be a forever — in fact, it has an end date! Moreover, if I know I’m only going to be somewhere for a short time, I’m more likely to put myself out there, build relationships, and appreciate what I’m doing. It becomes a very steep learning curve, but working two different jobs in four months has allowed me to develop skills in TWO different occupations.

Finally, and most positively, this job market is empowering because it allows for unprecedented freedom. In my eyes, a lack of stable employment puts me in a limbo of sorts. Something I am doing right now may not be the thing I am doing a couple weeks down the road. I could be doing something different in somewhere completely new. To me, that’s exciting.

It also means that I am not tied down to an occupation or an employer. I no longer find myself having to be loyal to someone like I was when I worked at the same part-time job for 6 years. In those days, I stayed with unhappy situations because I didn’t want to potentially jeopardize future employment. Now, whether on contract or completely unemployed, the loyalty is mutually non-existent and there’s a certain flair for risk-taking. And if there isn’t, there should be.

Why not excuse yourself from societal norms? Why not take that trip around the world? Why not volunteer? Why not explore job options out of your city, state, or even out of your country? Why not invest your time and energy into something you’re passionate about? Why not live with a certain reckless abandon, especially in a time when it seems the economy has recklessly abandoned you?

A view like this may be waiting for you! Go do something for yourself for once!

A view like this may be waiting for you! Go do something for yourself for once!

I’m not saying you should stop your quest to be able support yourself financially and enter something completely stupid like cross-border heroin smuggling, but maybe now is the time to think outside of the box. Maybe you don’t need a 9-to-5. Maybe you should pursue that one thing you’ve always dreamed of. Maybe you should explore alternative lifestyles such as long-term travel, tiny living or freelancing.

Maybe it’s time we as a generation take back some control over our lives and what we choose to do with them. Our biggest mistake moving forward is blaming others for our lack of success in the job market. It’s time we create our own success, even if that means rewriting what we believe being successful is.

We have nothing to lose, right?

No, really.

My Plight With Demons (And Not the Metaphorical Ones)

That time of year is coming again, so bring on the creepiness! First topic: Demonic Possession.

Whoa there, this is not going to be a Satanic post. I’m not going to talk about sacrificing goats or promising your first-born child or selling your soul for whichever power would make your life easier. What I will talk about though is how they scare the crap out of me.

Trust me, they're not always this cute.

Trust me, they’re not always this cute.

So here we go. Gahh, even writing this post gives me the creeps. First of all, I love horror movies. Honestly, I would much rather watch a good horror flick than anything else, and the longer the impact, the better. But demon movies? I’ll watch simply because I can’t resist, but they occupy a special category in my psyche called things-that-make-me-shit-my-pants.

And the ironic part? I’m an atheist, so the fact that they scare me so much seems ridiculous, right? But for me, that just puts the paranormal in a peculiar place in my life. I may not have a religion, but that doesn’t have any baring on ghosts and boogeymen and *gasp* demons.

So after years of being scared of these movies, I wanted to find out why these things scare me so much. Aside from the obvious visual effects, why is it that a demon movie keeps me awake at night? What is it about them that has me terrified to fetch soup from my cold cellar and to sleep in my house alone?

Control. I think it’s all about control.

Let me explain:

For your basic ghost story, the solutions seem simple enough. If I found my house haunted by a vengeful spirit who was treated terribly in life, I would move. If I stumbled upon a cursed doll or video tape or mirror, I would be giving that thing away (for Christmas, if necessary. No take-back-sies). But if I found my body occupied by some supernatural being that caused me to speak in tongues, levitate, and thrash around? Well, I don’t know what I’d do.

But that got me thinking. In the modern day, a person is in a constant struggle to maintain control their life. We find ourselves losing control of what we buy and how we buy it. We find ourselves losing control of what our governments say and do. We find ourselves losing control of our own livelihoods and career aspirations, especially in an economy as rough as this one. In fact, there are times when I’ve found myself feeling like I have little control over my day-to-day life.

And this relates to demonic possession? Well, assuming it could happen (and I don’t really think it could, but let’s pretend), I would have no control of my words, my actions or even my thoughts. I would quite literally be out of control. No one could stop me, except potentially a priest, and even then, I’ve watched enough movies to know that doesn’t always work.

I think demons scare me so much because they would strip away my self-determination — they would take over my body and do what they want with it. And I think this resonates through historic depictions too. In ancient times, demons would possess people and make them do terrible things, or so accounts say.

To me, demons symbolize the ultimate loss of control and that’s terrifying.

Confessions of a 20-Something Millennial

Real talks, everyone. For real.

1. Sometimes, I’ll go for a walk just so I can stop crop-dusting the same unlucky people.

Onto new victims.

On to new victims.

2. “I’ll see what I can do” is my way of saying I don’t want to do what you want me to do.

3. I haven’t bought new razorblades for quite some time. It’s not cuz I’m poor. I’m just lazy.

4. I don’t care if I’m too old for Disney Channel. I just wanna watch That’s So Raven.

5. Sometimes, I just don’t feel like working out. For 8 months at a time.

6. I’ve never seen Pulp Fiction. Or Fight Club. And I’m not sure I want to.

7. Your baby photos on Facebook? A few are nice. Even twenty is fine. A photo every damn day? I get it.

So, maybe your baby is cute and I mean, it did come from your body and all. But seriously, stop.

So, maybe your baby is cute and I mean, it did come from your body and all. But seriously, stop.

8. I don’t want to work a 9-to-5 my whole life. Some call this entitlement. I call it just knowing what I want.

9. My ten minute bathroom break? Yeah, I was playing Candy Crush in the stall.

10. If it weren’t for my Facebook News Feed, I would not be half as caught up on current happenings as I am.

11. I watched Games of Thrones and didn’t like it. The books are better.

12. Money isn’t everything. Seriously, I’ll be happy with just enough to get by. But the lottery? Yeah, okay. I’ll play.

13. Sometimes, I eat fast food more than once a day. And I don’t even feel bad about it.

14. I’ll buy two bottles of wine if they’re on sale. It’s a recession.

15. Sometimes, I pretend to be busy when in reality, I just want to go to bed at 10 o’clock.

Bedtime at 9:30? Count me in!

Bedtime at 9:30? Count me in!

How I Stopped Caring and I’m Better Off

So, here’s the deal. I graduated university in April. I left on a plane ten days after my last exam and travelled to South Africa and Europe for forty days. While I was abroad, I managed to secure a publishing contract after YEARS (legit, like 7 years) and then get a contract for a day job to carry me until I can *hopefully* be able to make my writing my work.

My secret? I stopped caring.

Old Life Philosophy: Micro-manage the crap out of everything and then beat yourself up when things don't go EXACTLY as planned.

Old Life Philosophy: Micro-manage the crap out of everything and then beat yourself up when things don’t go EXACTLY as planned.

Okay, backtrack. I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea. I do care. I cared very much about getting my post-secondary degree. I cared very much about being able to uproot my life for a while and live out of a backpack. I cared and continue to care very much about my writing because ultimately, writing is my art and my child and without it, I’d be completely lost.

What I stopped caring about was all the pressure that I was putting on myself.

Before I completed my university degree, I was in a different place. I had three manuscripts that seemingly no one gave a rat’s ass about. I had the daunting task of trying to find a job in this rough and often hopeless-seeming economy. Worst of all, I had this fear welled so deep inside me that I would never get to live my dream of being a writer. I worried that I would lay on my deathbed decades from now and realize that not only had I not achieved my dream, but I had wasted my whole life with nothing to show for it. I felt hopeless.

And then I boarded a plane and everything changed, almost as soon as I landed in Paris from my first overnight flight. It wasn’t that nothing really mattered anymore because a lot of things did, it was just that I seemed to have developed a distance from everything in my life. Sure, the physical distance was there, but there was also a mental one — an emotional one.

I learned to live in the now. I stopped worrying so much about what I was going to do once I graduated, what would happen when I returned home, and how I would feel if I failed the one thing I so desperately wanted to do. I also realized the immense pressure I had been putting on myself. It was the pressure to succeed for myself and a fear that I would fail and have to live the life that society envisioned for me. I became okay with not having a clear-cut direction for a little while and best of all, I stopped caring.

Drinking in Durban in the daytime? I just don't care!

Drinking in Durban in the daytime? I just don’t care!

I didn’t care that I had no job. I didn’t care that society was trying to convince me that my dream was unable to be achieved. I didn’t care that I had very little money and that I would return home to face an abyss with little more than a grand to my name. I just knew that I loved something so much that I trusted I would find a way to make it work.

And the moment I stopped caring and stressing, things fell into place. I was twenty-five days into my backpacking trip, checking into a hostel in Heidelberg, Germany when I got the email I would be a published author.

So, stop caring.