October London MCM Expo Comic-Con 2014

So, it happened. I finally went to Comic-con! The weeks leading up to it were very odd, I’d be doing something mundane and remember I was going to con and just start squealing. Luckily this was mostly at work and they’re uses to my outbursts over nerdy books coming into the shop so they just assume that’s why I’m making weird noises.

And of course, the best part was that I got to go with my newest and officially agreed upon best friend (friendship bracelets and in jokes going on and everything). So for a week at Oxfam our co-workers had to put up with of glee and arm flailing, or at least more than usual.

So, Friday morning and I’m lugging a suitcase of cosplay stuff for Saturday to my friend’s house, I arrive and I put my suitcase away and there’s a silence before I quietly say “we’re going to comic-con” and he says “yes, yes we are.” More silence. Then the giggling and “eeeee”-ing starts (from me that is, he just laughs at me making noises).

Fast forward an hour and it’s time to go. I’m still asking if this is really happening because 3 months ago when this person I’d just met said they’d be happy for me to join them in going to con I didn’t think it’d really happen. Once we get into London, we start seeing cosplayers and I’m already going “ooohh look!” and being in awe of other humans who love the things I do. We finally get there and it’s time to queue for our wristbands, infront of me is a guy with a Geodude head and a sign saying “A wild geodude appeared” and that’s it, happiness and excitement galore. I’m in nerd heaven and it’s perfect. Maid deadpool, a dead raccoon furry and a guy in an Iron Man suit walk past me and damn, it’s awesome.

We finally get our wristbands and the gasping starts as I try and go every single direction at once. Peter calmly tries to suggest which places we should go to first and I’m just jumping around nodding. That’s when I spot…the alpacas. The giant fluffy brightly coloured alpacas, hundreds of them, everywhere and I’m shouting “eeeee, oh my god, look at them!! Look, that one’s a pirate, eeee oh my god, that one has a hat!” and at this point, it’s all I can see. Until I noticed something else…

Some of these people are wearing Pikachu hats. “PETER, WHERE ARE THESE PEOPLE GETTING PIKACHU HATS?! I NEED ONE, WE MUST FIND THEM.” “Probably the Pokemon stand…” “I need one. Now. Right now.”

Pikachuhats

I got my hat. AND free Pokemon cards then 2 giant Pikachus appear and I’m gasping and squealing again. (This is the day I lost my voice).

pikachus

It took me a while to make myself get the picture but I knew if I didn’t I would regret it and so anxiety was beaten by Pikachu that day. After that, things calmed a bit, we got some frozen yoghurt and had a relax after all the excitement. The rest of the day was spent seeking out retro games (for him) and my little pony everything (for me) safe to say both of those tasks were fulfilling and produced great results. We stayed until closing and had a nice night wander through London to cool off from the heat of the con and everything was right in the world.

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Saturday was a completely different experiences, the amount of people and especially the amount of cosplayers was at least double. And I was Princess Bubblegum from Adventure time! I started off nervous about asking people if I could have pictures with them but after a while I got into the swing of asking Finn’s and Fionna’s for a picture. I even had people come up to me and say “Princess Bubblegum, can I have a picture?” which was really crazy.

We decided to use Saturday to explore the artist area and while there were so many people, I really loved the work and found some beautiful pieces that I loved so much to buy. We stopped half way and has an amazing Japanese lunch of Pumpkin Karroke and noodles.

Japanese

It was nice that we both have different tastes in art so it meant I stopped to look at stalls I might not usually look at on my own and vice versa. Oh and Peter got drawn as a Sloth.

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We finished looking at all the artists stalls and took a breather outside to chill out and look at the amazing cosplayers did one last round of the con for any last purchases and then ventured back out to take pictures of the most amazing cosplayers we could find. Overall, it was an amazing experience and it definitely won’t be the last. Oh, and I got my Alpaca 😀 😀

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The Walking Dead Season 5! (There will be spoilers)

I was really excited for the return of The Walking Dead and my expectations were met and over taken. The episode started off brutal with no slow ease into the new season which was perfection. For such a show, the shock was a true representation of the situation faced. The dead are walking the earth and the world is in utter chaos. So what better way to start a new season than with fierce horror and savagery.

Of course it isn’t all about that. The Walking dead is about survival and the people who have come to rely on each other for that survival. The relationships are intense and conflicting, no one can fully trust but they have no choice. The love is strong and the only thing keeping most of the people sane (or at least as sane as can be).

I can’t deny my favourite moment was Carol’s return if not just for Daryl’s reaction. He’s always played the tough guy but was the first one to break down upon seeing Carol. While there has always been romantic connotations, the fact that there was no kiss made me happier with the reunion. It shows a deep relationship and dependence that doesn’t need to be romantic to be important.

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My second favourite moment though was undeniably when a walker had a man’s face for dinner, the effects were beautiful 80’s “The Evil Dead”-esque and really made it for me. It’s great to see some of the best effects and blood work still being used. I’d say the first episode of season 5 has definitely been one of the best of the show so far but now Terminus has been left behind so quickly I’m not so sure what else they can pull out of the bag, especially with such a strong start. Either way I’m excited to see how things develop and hope it carries on how it has begun.

Crashing

There are points when things start going so well and you wonder whether you may have conquered that big ol’ “mental illness”. For me that lasted for about 2 months which is a record, I didn’t have any breakdowns, outbursts and generally I felt positive. Then like a tsunami, the bad things started rolling in and once again my anxieties, my fears and all my stresses crash through me.

And I know, I’m not better. It’s still there.

And I start to rebuild.

Dreams do come true

Okay maybe that’s a little melodramatic of a title but I’m finally going to Comic-Con and I’m incredibly excited. I’ve wanted to go since I found out about it’s existence but never really had the money or people to go with. But this year, it’s happening! I may have also cried a little bit when my friend offered to take me and as an experienced comic-con goer It’ll be a tailored experience based on their likes and knowledge of my likes. 

Not forgetting the best part…Cosplay!

While I did cosplay Chell for EuroGamer 2 years ago, there weren’t many other cosplayers and I felt a little silly and out of place, but this year, I’ll be one of hundreds and I can just feel the excitement as I think about it. So, I have decided that for my first proper cosplay I am going to be Princess Bubblegum from Adventure time! Pink, sparkles, girly, fun, and here’s what it’s going to look like:

princess bubblegum collage

With a homemade crown and added purple details, I’m hoping it’s going to be everything I’d hoped it would be. And a day I’ll remember forever. Roll on October!

An Inner Revolution

I felt I needed to write something about my experience at my new volunteer job.

I have been working at my local Oxfam book shop for 2 months now. And it has been a roller coaster and a half. You’d think it’d be the quietest job on earth but the drama, oh the drama. I already feel like I’ve made at least one friend for life and even an enemy!

I’ve managed to find a new confidence which has been brought out by the confidence of others. This week alone I was told by 3 people that I exude confidence and to me that was a huge shock so I laughed and simply told them It probably seems that way because I’m around people that make me happy. On the days my friends aren’t there I’m a quiet force who quietly gets on with tasks and then goes home at the end of the day feeling a little deflated.

While my work productivity has been lifted by the work of others and good company I do worry that I’m not able to find that confidence on my own. I have made one friend in particular who I have become attached to for the simple reason that they bring out my confidence and make me feel at ease around every one else, but on the days they aren’t there, that’s when I seem to fade away. I don’t want to have such a dependence on another person because they aren’t always going to be there but in the meantime I feel it’s a learning curve to see how they manage it. I worry that I need them there to be good at what I’m doing, but even before they were on the scene I was being applauded for my quick learning and ability to work efficiently.

It’s a feeling of not being able to believe that I am able even when the evidence is there and just believing it’s due to another person. I’ve discovered the power of other people and how the mood can be affected just by one friend. Things have gone from me struggling to manage 4 hour shifts to not even feeling the effects after an 11 hour shift  (which was supposed to be 8) and the time flying by and still having a smile on my face. I haven’t had community in a while and have sorely needed it. Feeling like I belong and I have a place.

My inner revolution is starting, I’m learning that other people believe in me and see me in such a different light compared to how I view myself. This is a revolution of thoughts and feelings, a revolution against all the life long lessons that my own mind and experiences have wrongly taught me. 

Why make things worse?

Anger is the hardest emotion for me to experience. My technique is to never experience it until it burst out into self infliction. It may sound crazy but I need to learn to get angry at others directly because my fear of conflict and not being liked simply means that I suffer in silence until I can’t bear it anymore, at which point I’ll punish myself so I don’t inflict anything upon the person I’m angry towards.

It’s not a good technique, it actually gives more chance of losing that person because of my passive aggression and ultimately immature tantrum. After a while my indirect tactics are ignored and I end up more alone than ever.

While my mental health has improved tenfold, anger is the one thing I haven’t been able to learn how to control in a helpful way. Many people would say they’ve never seen me angry because it’s something that’s done privately and destructively. I throw things, I punch the wall, I cry, I slam doors, I feel like a child, I revert back to that childlike inability to control or understand what’s happening inside my own head.

Luckily is does release everything and afterwards I am able to think more clearly, feeling stupid and confused at what just happened and actually not really caring much about the issue that caused the outburst. I often end up thinking about sad things that have happened to me and then crying until I can’t cry anymore, realising that maybe these events are the reason for my negative and out of proportion reactions.

A tidy home.

I change my blog’s look often. I change it depending on how I’m feeling and I’m really enjoying this design. It’s more personal and I think it actually looks like a blog compared to past layouts. It’s open and organised and I’d like to think that comes along with some changes I’ve been making. 

I’m not a very tidy person. I’m happy to leave things and say I’ll do it tomorrow, always resulting in weeks and weeks of piled up mess then getting upset that the house is a state. 

After an argument and lots of crying at how about how I can’t bear the mess anymore, I forced myself to start tidying. Not once a week but immediately after it’s made. I’ve found that the load ends up being tiny, instead of one large task, I have a few smalls one a day and for once I’m actually busy in my day. I have more to do and it’s something that’s actually worthwhile. They say your home says something about how you feel about yourself. And it is hard when I feel rough but then having mess around me only makes me feel worse. I’ve found that my mood has been higher living in a more tidy home and I feel better about myself that I’m keeping a cleaner home too.

If only our place had more storage! That’s my one adversary, too much stuff for too little space and I’m always selling and throwing things away. I guess that’s just something to be put up with until one day we have a more spacious home.All I know is that I can surprise myself. I’ve never lasted this long with cleaning up, after a week I usually give up and everything goes back to “normal” but for some reason I’ve kept it up. Maybe I’m finding more reason to feel better. 

The change.

EDIT: I just realised that “the change” is what people call menopause. Woops 😉 I am not going through menopause at 22!

Well, I haven’t written in 2 months! (it seems so much longer). And I felt prompted to write this after seeing that Quorn are trying to make more vegan products. It made me quite excited and while people can be put off by vegetarians and vegans because they feel preached too, that’s not what I’m here to do. Of course, it’d be nice if more people ate less meat but I prefer to show that through enjoying my lifestyle instead of demonizing others.

I became vegetarian when I was 12. A friend of my cousin who was vegan has come back from leafleting and showed me information on animal testing and factory farming. After reading through them I was distraught at the thought of animals being caused pain for my gain. I cooked for myself at 12 but lived mainly off of ready meals because I had never really been taught how to cook but I had to eat. I told my parents I didn’t want to eat meat anymore and that was fine, no problem. After a while I realised that doing this on my own at 12 was going to be really hard, almost impossible, with my parents eating meat everyday and no one else in my family being vegetarian. So I brought chicken back into my different, simply because it meant I could eat more meals and it was my favourite. After a while I just gave up. I was a kid trying to change my lifestyle while living in a home with a lifestyle of the opposite. I started eating meat again if only so I could actually continue to eat.

Jump to January 2012. A vegetarian friend posted something about factory farming on Facebook, I remembered going vegetarian when I was younger and asked myself why I hadn’t done it again sooner. I’d be married almost a year and moved out 6 months before. Why didn’t I even think about it? The only reason I’d gone back was due to practicality and now I was an adult and able to cook more things and had my own money to buy alternative products. So in a split second, I did it. I said to my husband, “I don’t want to eat meat anymore” and that was it.

I’ve never really been very good at keeping at something, when it gets hard I crumble but this is the one thing I have truly kept going no matter how I’ve felt. Even if I told myself “what’s the point?” In 2 and a half years, I haven’t once intentionally eaten anything that contains the body parts of an animal. At first I was hardcore, advocating, protesting and after a while I allowed things to settle into a normal life rhythm. I often gets obsessed with something and after the come down, I lose interest but I learnt to include these things in my life without it overtaking everything else (a big deal!). While my husband still eats meat, if I ever feel like giving up he will always talk me out of it. Despite how he feels about meat he supports my choices and doesn’t let me give up on them which was something I didn’t really have back home. If I wanted to quit I was just told to quit.

I even spent some time learning vegan recipes and cutting out almost all animal products, the only problem there is that my husband eats all animal products and we can’t afford to buy two sets of shopping. I had never felt the need to force him into veganism. As a fussy eater, he would starve on a vegan diet. I have however decreased his meat consumption, he would have meat for most meals, now he has it two or three times a week which is what is supposed to be the healthy amount anyway. He likes some vegetarian products so it helps to be able to cook the same thing for both of us and when all else fails there’s always pasta! 😉

I feel happier in myself being vegetarian. While being vegan would of course be a happier option for living beings alike, it’s a case of situation, finance and health that hold me back. While it can make going to restaurants a bit of a pain, I’m happy knowing I’m not eating anything that has died for me to consume. Owning pets for me is more rewarding because I can appreciate their lives more without seeing the term “animal” as derogatory. The thought of eating meat for me isn’t something pleasant. When I see it in front of me and think it smells good, I think of how if I met that animal, I would most likely bond with it and appreciate it as a life like any human. And at that point, I know I can’t eat it. I don’t want anyone or anything to die for me when it’s not necessary and to know that no one does, makes me feel happy.

What is love? (Baby don’t hurt me…)

They say you can’t love another until you learn to love yourself. In a way I think that’s true because low self esteem often means that love hasn’t been a familiar concept throughout their life. If you grow up seeing love around you then you are able to better understand it and are able to actually know what is love is and what isn’t. Children have the belief that their parents are infallible and will justify all they do as loving because they are the caregiver. It’s a natural instinct. Growing up, questioning certain actions can be hard and so the idea of love becomes distorted. Is love really what was around me or did I simply believe it was love because that was what I was supposed to think. 

I believe that the part of BPD that makes relationships hard is the fact that love has been so twisted that we’re never quite sure what’s love, what is sheer desperation and what may actually be abuse. Children are sponges, absorbing everything, good and bad and a confused child will always become a confused adult.

While I do love my husband, I believe that our ways of loving and what we feel is love are very different. We have both experienced love in different ways through our families in our early years and we build on that. Now that we are away from that we’re able to try and figure out together what love means and work on concepts that we may have wrongly picked up. Luckily for me, he has no trouble with seeing love as a positive thing whereas at times, the word love can strike fear into my heart. 

I’ve learnt that love means opening up and giving your whole self to another person which frankly, is the most terrify thing I can imagine. It’s a vulnerable place, being totally open. And with an identity crisis and low self esteem you can’t even open up to yourself let alone another human being. 

I may be only able to give so much but I can’t give what I don’t even know I have. More often than not, he will know more than I ever have to say out loud. 

So while my love may not be conventional, it is what I am able to give and what I am able to understand. Maybe one day I’ll get there, I’ll think “this is a new kind of love, a better kind of love” because hell sometimes the love my husband shows me can be scary because he’s so besotted and I just don’t understand how he does it. 

I guess the first step will be to learn to like myself. When I can finally open up to myself then maybe I’ll try moving onto the love stage.Then, I might just be able to remove the fear of falling madly, deeply without worrying that it might kill me.

Regarding my Mental Health and Art- Guest post by Mike

I feel like that at some point I was a separate entity to my mental illness and I find it impossible to figure out where the two merged into just mental illness. Picasso said something about art being like a diary, and I look at my art work over the last ten years and I can see where my BPD and OCD have pushed out the creativity and the obsession has taken over, documentation of various breakdowns and hallucination and the huge gaps where I haven’t made any work because I’ve been too depressed.

The thing about art is that it is incredibly cathartic but it can become a problem. For my university degree I wrote a thesis on exposure and response prevention therapy and a tenuous link to art and in conjunction with this I produced over 400 bird paintings. Just to be clear, 400 bird paintings is a ridiculous amount of paintings to produce. They still clog boxes and boxes in my old room in my parent’s house. It really seemed like a good idea at the time and I guess it proved a point, the point that art is a true reflection of the person’s personality. But what if that person has a personality disorder I ask myself. Well that’s why I haven’t painted properly for months. Painting rejects me. I feel rejected by it. It triggers self-harm when it goes wrong and “wrong” means ‘not exactly as my brain imagines the final image’. When I can’t paint, I write too. Which I was about to say is rubbish. That’s because writing rejects me. I try to create a finished product every time, which isn’t possible and isn’t how writing works. I want it done quickly because I am addicted to the sense of achievement, but like all addictions the sense of achievement is such a fleeting high that it is gone again moments later. So I buy more art materials. Until I have no money. Like a drug I want more and more until I have a pile of fucking materials and no inspiration. Inspiration in this sense is motivation to get to the illusive sense of achievement. The emptiness is always difficult to fill. I guess that is my point.

The problem with creating is that it takes time and patience. And patience is something that is missing in me these days. I don’t know if it is medication related or BPD, but the lack of patience is so hard to bypass. My patience has lessened and lessened to the point that in my initial mark making on a painting I already feel determined that it is a failure. Is it possible to be determined to fail? Of course it is. Even when you are desperate to move forward and produce something, like breathing with a rotten lung, you can’t seem to get to the place you need. Even writing this post I am determined that it will be terrible, just like the paintings I can’t seem to be happy with, like the books of poetry and novels I don’t finish, just like the relationships with all aspects of my work that are full of rejection and that emotional void.