On Cicadas and Such…

Living in Kansas has brought a whole new level of appreciation, as well as terror, of nature to me.  I moved around a lot as a kid, but I spent the gist of my childhood in Chicago.  A vivid, loquacious, liberal, artistic atmosphere and a limited degree of the great outdoors is pretty much the polar opposite of where I am now.  There is art in the gentleness of Kansas.  There is a sense of family that is different from Chicago’s.  People lean far more right than I find myself, but they smile a lot more, too. And the nature is everywhere.

As are the bugs.  This year, along with the normal annual green cicadas, these black-and-orange Satan snots have shown up – magicicadas.  They are the white noise to our humid, Kansas nights sitting on the porch.  They are the playlist to our barbecue.  They are the concerts while were fishing, from far away.

Up close, they are deafening scream machines that nightmares are made of. Their slow, stationary abduction of trees, sidewalks, streets, lakes, rivers, and houses makes them unavoidable and dead still until you step too close.  Then, they fire up their horrible clicking and spread their long, rapidly buzzing doom propellers before dive bombing you.  More often than not in your face.  A good four inches of prickly, hard, kamikaze bug in anyone’s face begets an adverse reaction.  And it is not uncommon to catch somebody leap into full psycho-ninja mode even in the middle of downtown when a cicada catches them unawares.

Like june bugs, cicadas are one of the few things on this green earth that can make me scream like I’m being viciously stabbed and flail accordingly.  My dad used to have a nasty habit of hiding big bugs like crickets, cicadas, and june bugs in his hands and tell me he had a present.  He would smile warmly and kneel down to hand me my gift, only to drop a live, epileptic monstrosity into my hands.  Then, he’d watch me shake and swat and run away in terror with a hearty laugh.

So, one summer, when it was pouring incessantly, much like this year’s unyielding deluge, I found myself at a gas station in the middle of the night.  I had just gotten off of work and had the long drive two towns away before I would sink into my pillow’s sweet embrace.  The ground was a rushing river, the thunder was rolling belligerently, and the rain was that Forest Gump kind.  I began to pump my gas and wipe my weary eye when I heard it.  That shrill, rapid clicking.

It was close.  Very close.

I looked over to my left and saw those big, black eyes peering at me from the pin pad on the pump.  I shivered and looked slowly back to my hands on the nozzle.  After all, I knew the cicadas weren’t actually harmful.  The only harm comes from hurting yourself in the freak out.  And, generally, if you behave slowly, so do they.  When I avoid sudden reactions, I notice they are significantly less apt to get their sharp little limbs near me. So I continued on, only to be interrupted by that awful chirp, again.

I looked back to insure my company wasn’t in assault formation.  But, he remained still and unassuming, leave for his buzzing.  His chilling, harsh cry.  His…desperate, stranded cries.

What if he’s asking for help?’ I asked myself.  Then I rolled my eyes and looked away.  Of course this bug wasn’t trying to reach out to me.  And even if it was, this was the stuff of evolution.  That’s why there’s so many of them.  Birds, rain, windshields – there are so many of them because they need to survive the inordinate amount of things that can destroy their ugly little mugs.

‘Good riddens,’ I found myself reasoning as I placed the nozzle back into it’s holster.  But, as I walked around the opposite side of my car to get back in –  my feet soaked through my shoes – I hesitated.  It was just a bug.  There were plenty more of them and it was his own damn fault for stranding himself there.  But I had the power to help him, this Goliath among his kind.  I knew I didn’t have to help.  I would not mull on it long if I just drove away.

But this is why I am weird.  I was literally emotionally split about one of hundreds of thousands of demon bugs that, on another day, I would have probably happily watched splatter across my windshield or be devoured by one of the dogs.  And so, I took a deep breath, swallowed my sheer terror, and decided to extend the olive branch.

I crept over to the stationary bug, his giant black eyes ominously empty despite the sheer amount of life he had for an insect.  Then, i cautiously extended my finger to the pin pad.  Slow enough not to incur his wrath, but with enough speed as to not change my mind when my wits finally caught up with me.  He scuttled back a step or two up the keys, away from my finger.  I closed my eyes and flinched, ready for him to launch into my face.  Instead, I felt those poking little legs grasp onto my skin and scurry up my hand just enough to be free of the pump.  I gasped and looked down at my adversary snugly strapped to my finger like the small limb of a tree.

“I swear, if you try anything while I am driving, I will kill you, myself,” I promised him.  Then, I opened my passenger door and slowly lowered my hand to the seat cushion.  It took him a few moments to decide he liked the chair better than my hand.  But I was fine with waiting on a slow, calm cicada over spastic flapping, buzzing, and flying, one any day.

Then, I closed the door softly and got into the car on my side.  I gently buckled myself in and turned on the car before I even considered closing my door.  I flipped on the lights and the wipers all while staring down the large, painted creature calmly resting not two feet away.  It could decide to fly at me while I was driving.  In the rain.  I could freak out, veer off the road, and end up in a ditch.  This could have been an awful decision.

But that just meant I could not freak out.  I had no option but to remain calm and face my fear of cicadas if my temporary ally decided to break our alliance in the weather.  I had no choice but to truly acknowledge that there was very little this horrendous creature could do to hurt me and both of our safeties depended on my ability to keep calm and drive on.

So I did.  For forty miles in the torrential rain, in the dark, I sat side-by-side with one of the creepiest things that mother nature has come up with, short of dobsonflies.  For awhile, I even got comfortable.  I almost forgot he was there.  Only to be quickly reminded by a rude, startling chirp from him.  But he remained totally still.

When I got into my home town, I found the nearest, dry shoulder to pull off into with some trees.  Then, I carefully went in to scoop up the cicada.  By now, it did not surprise me when he softly pried at my fingers before climbing on with no protest.

“Don’t ever say I didn’t do anything for you,” I muttered to him begrudgingly. I opened my door tenderly and walked him out to a small tree.  Then, I lifted him to his new home and sighed with relief as I felt his sharp legs leave me for a more desirable location.

I’d like to think he told his future girlfriend about his alien abduction and relocation very passionately.  And that all the other cicadas rolled their eyes and muttered things about him needing a foil hat under their breath.

After that, I have been significantly less alarmed by cicadas.  One has not made me scream bloody murder, since.  And even when they dart for my face or jump up at me in the humid summer winds, I merely halt.  I shut down and breath.  Just the other day while fishing, I had a butterfly on one arm and a cicada on the other, using my still body as refuge from the wind.  While I could have certainly done without the latter bugs climbing along my arm, I could not help but smile.  After all, one bug may have been delicate and gentle, the other a repulsive tank, but they were both insects.  They were both the same.  Mutually harmless and beautiful in their own, weird ways.  Why should I welcome the butterfly and not the cicada?  To do so would be utterly superficial.  And that is one of my biggest mottoes in life: never judge a book by it’s cover or invest too much into outer beauty.

I think life is a lot like this.  Our anxieties and apprehensions about enduring the hard work it takes to get what we want often keep us from trying.  Like blubbering, terrified children, many of us would much rather freak out about the trials in life than confront the fact they really are harmless.  And that little bit of pain, effort, heartache, or loneliness you may have to endure to make a healthy decision for yourself is nothing compared to the freedom you feel after confronting your obstacles and conquering them.  I am no longer bound by my fear of large, Kansas hell bugs.  They do not ruin my day or race my heart.  They do not cause me to avoid fishing, archery, camping or the like.  And when they come around, I even find myself fascinated by what species they are and how they survive the great outdoors.

Likewise, I am also no longer afraid to be alone.  I no longer fear solitude or independence.  I don’t shy away from the fact that I am facing years of schooling, dedication, and diligence to get where I want to be in life.  I don’t fret over the sacrifices that means in my youth.  These are all fears that I have slowly overcome by doing none other than facing them.

And I feel so free.

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Din and More to Come

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A friend of mine got me the hyrule historia for Christmas, so I decided to start drawing some of my favorite renditions of the Triforce from my childhood.  This is a doodle of Din from the Oracle of Seasons. If you’ve never had the chance to play it or its sister game and you are a LoZ fan,  download an emulator and get to it. I loved the titles.   It has the classic Zelda style dungeon/puzzle solving, all kinds of easter eggs and extras for your exploration, and you even have the option of summoning a giant kangaroo, a flying fat cat, or a dinosaur to navigate the terrain. In Oracle of Seasons, you use the rod of seasons to change the seasons and thus unlock new oaths. Making it winter freezes ponds, fall opens certain hidden areas in trees, spring grows long vines and certain berries, etc.  As always,  you have to save a damsel in distress (Din in seasons, Nayru in Ages) but this time from unique villains and with a few exclusive tools.   In Oracle if Ages, you utilize the harp of ages to go back and forth in time, unlocking various doors for yourself in the past or present.  This one was actually my favorite of the two,  but I’ve always wanted to see Din different colors.  I hated the pink in oracle of seasons.

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Coming soon…

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Sexist Peeves

So I was browsing through this gallery of “insane Nintendo tattoos”, thinking to myself ‘oh, this should be good’. But the blogger who composed the album had mostly negative things to say about each tattoo,  criticizing the quality of the artwork,  the person’s choice of characters or other nostslgia, etc.  I found this rather off-putting.  Why share a gallery of cool things and then criticize it in the same breath?  But what I found particularly off-putting, if not sexist, was that each time a female was depicted with a tattoo, all the blogger had to offer was ‘this is a girl. A girl. Wow’, or ‘you go girl, all the guys are swooning’, or even body shaming and nitpicking these female’s curves.

To this, all I could do was feel a little more and more discontent.  The blogger was so ignorantly fascinated with the fact that video game fans could, in fact, simultaneously be female.  He/she seemed to think girls who play video games do so in order to make men ‘swoon’ (let alone seek some sort of validation from men for their hobby). 

I’m not going to lie.  That gets me. It makes me red in the ears when people presume enjoying video games is a masculine hobby.  I hate when customers come in to work and blatantly ask if I “actually play games, or just work here”. Like it is so inconceivable or drastic for my inferior female brain to comprehend using two analog sticks at once. Or one must have testicles to enjoy immersive compositions of code that result in an imaginative, beautiful, and fascinating form of escapism.  I can read a book, but it’s beyond my genitalia to play an interactive tv show?

Women can play video games.  They have been for a long time.  This is nothing fascinating.  They are not unicorns.  Nor are they weird for enjoying video games over any other outlet.  For those of you still in the dark ages about this particular gem of knowledge,  do us all a favor and just keep your mouth shut.  I want to to punch you when I hear the condescending or patronizing tone in your voice.  I don’t want you to be awed because a GIRL has a better score than you.  I don’t want you to be amazed SHE can keep up.   And I couldn’t care less if you are “proud” of me for playing whatever I play well because you expected less of me – you know,  because I’m female.  I want you to be awed that ANY ONE PERSON could beat you as badly as I did. Or amazed by my awesome use of cover, puzzle-solving, or knack for finding epic, rare items.  Would you go up to a black person with a nice car and say “Wow! Do you actually own this car or is it just a rental?” Or to an Arab on a plane with “Man, it’s really cool to meet one of you guys that doesn’t bomb the place”. 

No. Dear god, no!  Why?  Because it’s ignorant,  offensive, and often hazardous to your health.  Granted,  being fascinated a girl can play video games is not as extreme. But it gets old quick and is equally as ignorant.  Just think before you speak.  Times, they are a’changin’.  We can play video games,  use tools, and even vote now, too!

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Hobby Lobby

Okay, pet peeve:
You all know I’m a flaming liberal, democrat all about equality and women’s rights and that jazz. If you didn’t…yay, you’ve learned something new.

HOBBY LOBBY is a wonderful employer and in absolutely no way impeding on women’s rights or copping out of abiding law with the ruse of religion. FIRST of all, David Green has founded his business on the principle that all of his fortune is thanks to God from the get go. Whether or not you believe in a divine being, admitting (and respecting) the fact that he very adamantly does, always has, and attributes his success to the big guy is undeniable.
I understand the supreme court’s decision opens a lot of doors for people improperly abusing this case to elude the federal law. Considering the amount of time, effort, and financial resources hobby lobby sacrificed to fight this case, it is very unlikely other falsely established or otherwise abusive attempts to follow in their footsteps will be able to justify or support their battle.
SECONDLY, hobby lobby has no qualm with women’s rights and fully supports it’s female associates in their pursuit of birth control. They have been paying for and will continue to pay for 17 of 20 approved birth control methods by the FDA. This includes the birth control pill. Methods of birth control that prevent the need for the few methods they do not want to pay for. I’m not going to get into a pro life or pro choice argument, but the only bc hobby lobby does not support is POST conception means of birth control – any pill, chemical, our physical means of expelling an already fertilized egg.
THIRDLY, for a retailer especially, hobby lobby pays it’s employees very well and takes very good care of their needs. They are an equal opportunity employer. They don’t care if you’re male, female, trans, gay, asexual, christian, jewish, or purple with green polka dots. As long as you have a good work ethic and customer service skills, you’re more than welcome. That being said, considering the phenomenal pay chasm between hobby lobby and other retailers, should a female employee on their health insurance choose not to take advantage of the ample bc methods hobby lobby is willing to pay for, they will have a far more feasible time affording alternative, post conception methods compared to other women in a similar job/career situation.

So please. Stop ranting about things you know nothing about or did not take the personal time to research, pointing fingers at hobby lobby, or expressing your discontent for the discontent of all of the “oppressed female hobby lobby associates”. Even when I worked there, I fully supported their cause with birth control rights are one of my strongest personal beliefs.

End rant.

Heart Breaker

There is no formula to love.  It has infinite facets with a color and texture equally as elusive.  No one teaches you how to love or how to subsequently hurt when the time comes.  All the lessons on morality and integrity do not hold a candle to the force that rests between your ribs flourishing between you and that certain someone.

But when you find it,  you know it.  There is nothing like it. We are insignificant specs in the grand scheme of things.  But when you find love, true, mutual, undiluted love, time itself bows to you.

My whole life, platonically and romantically, has been a series of deep integration followed by imminent, brutal severances.  I’ve never been able to maintain friends long.  I’ve never been good at keeping contact with people, in spite of how often they’re on my mind.  Every romance I’ve had,  I invested so much of myself into being the prefect lover for my partner,  forgetting my needs, passions,  and friends in the process.  All the while knowing deep down that it would not last and I always had the upper hand.  And,  inevitably,  I’ve always had to break it off.

The most recent break up was a hard one.  Three wonderful years with a prefect gentleman.  Loyal, strong, wise, patient, and colorful.  He introduced me to a lot of things to love and his ghost haunts me around every corner.  My archery,  my guns,  every time I cast a reel, check my oil, pass certain places,  wear certain things.  Everytime I stray a little too far from the city lights or skip past a country song on the radio.  We’ve all been there.  I wanted to be his everything.  The mother to his children and loving arms to come home to after a hard day.  But in the end, I knew it wasn’t love and my insecurities wrought a gruesome end.  I’m sure he wishes he never met me or thinks it a waste.  I cherished our time,  but I feel like a parasite on his already plagued love life.  Not because I treated him poorly,  but because I gave him love.  I gave him no choice but to love – worked him up long after he gave up on such a thing.  And once he was confident and happy,  I took it away.

And even as my wound is still festering, I think I have found the real thing.  Someone I talk all night with.  Someone I tell everything – a very foreign concept for a chameleon like myself.  Someone I think about incessantly and can share my passions with ardently.  There’s no fear between us,  no secrecy,  no fooling ourselves with facades or formalities.  We’ve been friends for a long time, and best friends at that.

I’m fucking terrified. With a track record of building up and breaking down like mine,  I know I don’t deserve something like I’ve found.  And I’m so afraid to hurt anyone else.  Everything I touch seems to turn to rot.

Broken Facade

Intrepid skies have little room for broken, writhing wings
So this sordid soil keeps me now with the other evil things
Restless worries churn when the innocent world sleeps
Another sour soul sinfully sowed the rot it rightly reaps
Better hearts keep spinning – the putrid just petrify.
But the virtuous offer kind smiles in ascension to the sky
Integrity is a hard pill to swallow but I cannot envy much
Good intentions aside, I burn everything I touch.

An immortal battle marches, too hapless to ever win
Each charred soldier’s ghost fuels a monster deep within.
Inside this cage I forged, my hands slip between the bars
Reaching for that sanguine solace dancing with the stars.

My footing falters reluctantly against this tattered path
The high road is long behind me, whispering its wrath
Severed by blazing bridges who callously spit and goad
So forward I must trudge, though my broken back is bowed.
A misnomer, a ruse, a smile sopping with septic guile
Every warm embrace I seduce only numbs me for awhile
Before the burning Balrog behind brown eyes bellows his upheaval
Lashing at the welted dreamers who looked right past my evil.

Inside this cage I forged, my hands slip between the bars
Reaching for that sanguine solace dancing with the stars.
Even in decay, my selfish dreams persist to grow
The judge was wise to sentence me where good things cannot go.

By: ETD

To cover all of the triumph and tragedy that has taken place in the last nine months would be long-winded and boring.  And the detail would probably mar what little dignity I have left.  I’ve had one of those life changing experiences.  The bright-eyed girl that stepped into campus five years ago has strayed a long way.

Back then I was not naive.  Bubbly, yes.  But if there’s one thing I’ve never been, it’s naive.  I knew about sex by a very young age.  I’ve always been pretty responsible about my partners and open about my kinks.  The drugs come pretty easily no matter where you’re at,  but in this particular corner of the world, they’re literally one of the five things to do to entertain yourself.  And with an influence like my mom,  there was no missing out on good rock’n’roll, either.

But I had faith.  Not a religious sort faith or a spiritual assertion, but the kind of faith every dreamer has when boldly stepping into a new chapter of life.  Even if things did not work out how I planned,  I was so sure that in the end, I would study abroad in Scotland, make some lifelong friends, graduate knowing full well where I wanted to go, and no matter what,  be a good person.

Thus far, I’ve failed all of those goals.  I should have graduated last year.  Studying abroad is no longer an option.  True to form, I can never let a bridge stand too long before my serial arsen habits kick in.  And one of the few moral pillars I devoutly stood by has not just fallen, it disintegrated right before my eyes.   I am not the person I hoped to be and, at this point,  I feel a complete stranger to the girl who once looked back at me in the mirror.

For far too long I’ve been fucking off and hoping that life would kind of just straighten itself out.  Now I’ve plum lost the path and I have a lot of deforesting to do before I can even find a road,  again.  Self destruction has been a way of life for so long and benevolent behaviors are a distant memory.  But I’ve officially crossed the line and I am not okay with the poison I have become.  I’ve lost a lot of friends,  a potential husband,  and any sort of merit when it comes to dignity.

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Starting June 3rd, I’m going back to school full time to be a graphic artist.  From this point forward,  I am going to be honest,  open,  and a respectable influence in my life and that of those around me.  It’s never too late to do better.  Back in February, in the midst of all this emotional turmoil,  I wrote this Constitution.  I’ve been sticking to it for the most part,  leave for the ‘no boys’ and no. 9.  I think it’s better for both of us I don’t stick to that one.  He loves me more than I can imagine or deserve and I have done nothing but hurt him.  He deserves a better woman and I deserve the peace of burying that pain once and for all.

I’ve cut a lot of influences out of my life, again.  I really hope for this to be the last time.  These people who are heavy on my mind weren’t bad people,  but we’re at different places in our lives.  I set up an unrealistic standard of how much I was willing to sacrifice as a friend.  I lost Joe for it.  I lost so much money getting wasted four nights a week.  And I lost myself.  From now on the people I let get close need to earn their way there,  and likewise I need to stop pleasing everyone to satiate my insecurities.

The silver lining I take from this is that finally,  in reaching my breaking point,  do I know more than ever what I want and how much I want it.  School is something I’ve always exoected out of myself and always lacked the effort.   My lecherous life has driven me back on course to accomplishing something I’m proud of.  Moreover, I now assess the people I give a damn about very thoroughly.  ‘ No’ is becoming a prominent,  powerful word for me – boundaries are being set.  And,  while our timing is anything but good,  I have someone right by my side who I can trust and genuinely confide in without fear.  Someone who has reminded me there is still that breath-taking,  magical kind of infatuation out there.  I still think I’m a far cry from ready to love.  But he has proven time and time again he is genuinely ready to wait for me.

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