Confessions of an Independent Nerd

Like always… It’s been a while.

Mostly because I didn’t know what to write about. And I’ve been so focused on my cosplay builds and my fan fic series that I just never stopped to blog.

But I am now.

So here we go.

I’ve never been one to ask for help. But the past few months, I’ve needed A LOT of it. Emotional support, financial support, help getting in and out of the bath tub (asking sisters for help does not count) and asking for advice. I’ve been so horribly independent since I was little that now asking for help almost feels like I’m failing. Money has always been something my family struggled with and I’ve always been so good at managing what I have, paying all my bills and budgeting for hobbies–like cosplay.

This month however, I just can’t seem to get a break. Between paying for impromptu doctor visits, insurance, and other living expenses I found myself berating myself for not being more responsible. And now I’m flaring more than normal, which is scary because that means my medications aren’t working any more. It’s bad enough I had to give dance and all my other active hobbies. Now my ability to work is being threatened. I moved to get out from under my family. They’ve helped me so much in the past, without me asking for it and I told myself I needed to do this on my own. But my financial status is stressing Anita out now as well. And it’s not fair to her.

It all comes down to my day job. I love where I work and what I do. And since I’m used to working 2-3 jobs I just assumed I’d find a side job to work around my schedule. But that has not been the case. And I’m now forced to make the decision to either leave, or cut my hours and take a second job that may be too physically demanding. I don’t make much off my cosplay stuff right now. I don’t  have the follower base to be a brand ambassador just yet. I don’t even have a proper web cam to stream for twitch properly. If I take a second job that will take away the time I spend gaming and costuming. I’ll be too tired to commit time to my passion. And for my health reasons I can’t skimp on what little sleep I do get.

Suddenly, my life goals and dreams are crumbling right  before my eyes. Hopes of making it to Phoenix Comic Con and the Star Trek convention are fading. Those were marketing opportunities–not going could be just as harmful as risking it all and going. If I stop cosplaying and gaming all together I’ll be miserable.

What. Was. I. Going. To. Do?

First off. I need to speak to my boss. With it being a holiday weekend, that can’t happen till Monday. Then I need to reschedule appointments. Search the job market. Talk to my doctor on the phone about treatment options. It’s going to work out. I told myself

I found several job postings for over night sedentary opportunities. Full time jobs that I qualify for should I decide to leave my current position all together. I’m still a barista at heart, so there’s always a Starbucks hiring. I have options. I just don’t want to change my primary work schedule. But, I have to learn to stick up for myself more. It’s one thing to defend a friend or walk away when you know something isn’t right for you. But to leave a place your happy with or even ask for fewer hours or different shifts… I feel like I’d be a disappointment.

Yes, yes. That’s my anxiety talking. But that doesn’t make it any easier to make a decision.

My dad told me I hadn’t been ready to move out. And maybe he was right. But I had to take that first step. I knew it was going to be hard. I just hadn’t been expecting to feel like such a failure. I’m not just failing my employer, I’m failing my roommate. My person. I talk to her about everything and now I feel like she low key resents me for not being more responsible.

My fatal flaw: I’m too fucking loyal.

This company raised me. They taught me what it meant to be a good worker. They introduced me to the corporate world. Sure, I’m in retail. But I spend a good three months at their corporate office in my home town getting them caught up on paper work. I learned so much about what it meant to run a company. How even the little positions matter and how important it was to be committed to a cause. How can I just up and quit?

I know what your thinking: Kat, ask for a raise. Or Kat, ask for a promotion! But that’s not how this company works. Getting promoted means getting my own store. And as much as I love this company, I have no intentions of being in retail forever. I’m not even qualified to be assistant manager. That requires a completely different set of skills that I just don’t have. I’m the community outreach director. I run our stores social media page. I go out and talk to new foster agencies, coordinate events, keep customers informed. I close the store as well most nights too as I am the on duty manager when my boss isn’t there. But the only opportunity for advancement is back at the corporate office and Scottsdale is just not where I wanna be right now. Maybe one day. But not right now. I’m happy here, in DFW.

So. You see my dilemma?

Things will work out. I’m not anything if not optimistic. I’m that person who will have her cake and eat it too, if its the last thing I do.

I’ll try and keep you all updated on my progress. I still plan on uploading WIP’s and walk troughs for my current projects. Once I get my RA back under control I’m sure I’ll deal with all of this in a professional, adult, graceful manner. For now, I’m binge eating chips-ahoy cookies and watching Fairy Tail [again] so that I might have an excuse to be a blubbery mess.

See you guys at Dallas Fan Expo next weekend!!!

Who’s going?

OXOXO

Kat

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Things Will Get Better, They Always Do

I’m not going to lie, this week has been hard. I wasn’t expecting finally moving out to be easy, and I’m writing this as a testament to myself. Things will get better, in fact they already have. And I’m thoroughly convinced that the small breakdown I had on Wednesday was a result of poor sleep, stress and an overload of anxiety. Aside for normal human anxieties such as work, money, social life things, I have other anxieties. Insurance, medical bills, doctors, new symptoms.

When I was sixteen, I had a short but severe scare thanks to a rare strand of meningitis. I’m fairy certain I’ve spoke about it before, but it was that week at church camp that changed my entire life. Since then, I’ve been lethargic, randomly depressed, had limited mobility and horrible tummy issues. Recently I’ve begun to feel that way again and it’s started impacting my cosplays. I’m too tired to think so there’s no way in hell that I could concentrate on sewing or crafting, I’d sew a finger or botch a breastplate, better not to risk it. I’ve had severe headaches, not migraines, but pressure headaches that form at the base of my neck and make it hard to move my head. Just like when I was fifteen. Some things happened in my familial life, and my insurance is liable to be dropped–no big, I can get insurance no prob–but seeing as I just moved and my doctors are three hours away now, I feel a bit stranded.

There’s no confirmation I’ll loose insurance, but I’m worried out it mostly because my medication is very expensive and policies with pharmaceutical coverage are hella expensive. I’m 24 so I can’t rely on my parents to help me find a policy and because of the whole chronic illness thing, young adult policies don’t offer enough coverage. So, lots of things to consider so I’ve been trying to cope with these new symptoms on my own. My coworkers don’t really understand, so it makes it hard at work when I don’t feel well. Nothing new really, but I have been looking for other work that is easier on me mentally, not just physically.

I want so much to spend my free time doing make up tests and ribbon piping blazers for Japanese school girl looks. I have photographers wanting to work together, hot props on the way and opportunities for paid twitch sponsorship. And what do I do with my free time? Replay Mass Effect and binge watch old television. Seriously, this very moment I’m writing to you from my battle/workstation and I’m watching Castle on my second screen.

I have plans for these fun original make up looks inspired my my coveted dream wardrobe, but here I am: Saturday morning–instead of sleeping in or working on cosplay, I started at season one, episode one. I wrote a book, I should be editing, looking for agents, drawing cosplay designs, ANYTHING. But no, my fragile psyche only wants to binge watch and ignore my problems. They’re not really problems, but seeing as I’m ignoring them–that is a problem.

I’ve got a ton of fun things planned in the next few weeks, so I’m hoping I feel better  by then. I look forward to sharing all those fun things with you guys! Thanks to tea and my wonderful roomie, I should be back to my old self in no time. Have no fear, I don’t plan to stop writing or stop cosplaying, it just may take me some time to get back to work. Still adjusting to my work schedule and the people there. It’s the same company, but each location is run so differently I feel like I’m doing everything wrong. But that’s probably just my anxiety talking. Blogging about these things not only helps me cope, but it also brings awareness to these things. I can’t tell you how many times people tell me how much the appreciate me talking about my illnesses.

So many people don’t know about Chronic Illness, and so many others know about them, but don’t know about them. They don’t see how it affects the people who suffer, how hard every day life is. I’m lucky to be where I am in my illness journey, relatively healthy, active, able to work and symptoms manages pretty well. Others struggle more than me, roommate included. But I want other’s to know there’s a light some where down their tunnel of life. Somewhere, even if it’s not total relief–someone somewhere understands. That person is me.

Feel free to comment, email me, or even message me on social media. My accounts are listed somewhere on here LOL. I’m seriously thinking about dedicating a day each month to send out encouraging messages to those who need it. If you’d like one, let me know. Things to make me smile, and also those who need some love and encouragement.

I love you guys, so very much.

OXOXO

Kat

Two Spoonies Make A Move

As you guys know, I’ve been trying to move for quite some time. Every teen dreams of going off to the big city, getting away from family to have the freedom to do whatever it is they wish.

Well, I did just that. Only I’m a little late. I just turned 24 and I finally moved out of my dad’s place. I had been fully prepared to do so right out of college, but that’s when I fell ill. My dad being a medic and knowing more about my disease than I did, it wasn’t practical to move off before I had a handle on it. Now that I’m ten times healthier than I was a year ago, Anita and I finally did the thing.

The first two weeks were a struggle. Our bodies were tired and sore. We didn’t have our dishes or comfort nerd accents. She and I both work five days a week, sometimes I work seven. That seven day workweek sent me into a horrible all illness flare, Anita hurt her back bringing a chair up the stairs then Texas got a random hard freeze. We were living off of paper plates and mattresses on the floor. Not that we were complaining, we both were (and still are) completely elated. Anita and I now have our gaming stations set up, we have a tea pot, bean bags and a beautiful Christmas light covered shelf for all things nerdy. Also, we have wifi and you know what they say: Home is where the WIFI is.

The move its self wasn’t very eventful. My job expected me to start within a week of getting the apartment. My birthday was that weekend and I already had plans, plus I do not own a truck. After the initial freak out about how I was going to get my stuff to our new apartment two and half hours from my previous one, the excitement set in. I was finally moving. I needed to pack. I needed things. I needed to find photographers, fabric stores, a new desk. I also had to give a one week notice to my barista job. Yeah, you said it. CRAP.

But my amazing friends came to the rescue. My manager sent in for a transfer in case I wanted a second job. My sister helped me pack up all my costumes and a coworker offered to help me move, his truck was tiny but it was bigger than my hatchback. He came and loaded my mattresses, shelving, TV and filing cabinets. I transported all my cosplay things and clothes (because I have priorities). And we set off. Anita met us there, we unloaded. I unpacked then we all went for Ramen.

The allure of a city I once despised held so many new opportunities for me. Cosplay events, better materials, photographers, cons, you name it! I’ve always been a city girl. Born in a small town, moved to Phoenix, then dragged back to Texas as anger tore my little family apart. I crave excitement, hoards of people to get lost in, shopping centers, the sound of planes landing and taking off overhead, and the constant white noise of tires on the freeway. Not to mention the endless comic events, nerd gatherings and women only bar crawls. (Hey, I’m adult, don’t judge me.)

Anita and I are bound to struggle, in fact I’m struggling now. The first few months are bound to be some of the hardest months of our lives as we budget, meet new people and argue with apartment staff.  My new job started me in the middle of a pay period and as payment due dates creep up, I know I can’t cover them all. But I have faith I will work everything out. I’ve got my hands in so many little paying gigs, I can’t let the stress get to me. I have an amazing support system back home and even here. Anita’s family has been beyond helpful. Especially when it comes to laundry day. (We’re still looking for a washer/dryer unit)

That’s enough rambling for now. I’ll check back in soon with a few cosplay updates. I’m finally ribbon piping my blazer for Human Carla! Also, I’m redoing my DA costume. With a sewing machine this time, it shouldn’t take me as long as the first one did. Fingers crossed!

As always,

OXOXO

Kat

The Flare Up Blues

So, I’ve been absent–but I’ve always been spotty about blogging. Seriously, I’m the worst blogger ever. And I own it. 

But it’s been different lately, and not in a good way. For a while I was happy, in a good mood, not in too much pain, I even went back to work! But I’ve been having this month long flare and it just keeps getting worse. I don’t sleep, I can’t eat, I can’t even game. I’ve been at work sitting in pain or at home lying in pain. 

I’m not one to complain but I’m scared and confused. First off, I don’t know when I should call a doctor, I don’t even know which doctor to go to! Internist? Rheumatologist? Physical Therapist? Neurologist? I have so many and I don’t even know if they can help me.  I’ve been dying to go back on infusions but I don’t wanna be dependent on them. I’ve been exircising, walking, stretching, going to pool therapy and water aerobics (in moderation of course) but it’s not getting any better. We even doubled all my meds and nothing. If anything it’s worse. 

I’m still in a good mood of course, that’s in my nature when I’m around friends and family but I’m tired.

I’m well aware this is common and a million Spoonie’s every where deal with this… but it’s fucking hard! I’ve put a hold on everything for now because I just can’t do it. I still have to work so it’s gonna be a long couple of weeks. Plus with the hurricane bringing rain in I doubt I’ll have any relief. Had to have help getting dressed this morning. It’s a big kick in the but when you have trouble doing even the littlest things. 

I’ll be ok. I’m always ok. I always have a smile and I’ll never give up. Just promise me you’ll never give up, ok? Well fight for us together. (That was totally a Skillet quote.) 

I love you all 

OXOXO 

Kat 

In a Cookie Cutter World, I’d be a Macaroon…

So. Queenie and I attempted to make macaroons…again. This time it actually worked out (if you over look the fact our macaroons weren’t the color they were supposed to be).

Ever since I spent time in London I have been dying to learn to make macaroons for myself because I live in the middle of no-where and trying to find good non-frozen macaroons in East Texas is like trying to find a rock star at a rodeo. It’s possible, but highly unlikely. I love, love, love macaroons. They’re not just a cookie; their colorful pieces of art–not just a cookie being extra. Each macaroon seems to have it’s own personality and flavor! I tried so many in London, I’m pretty sure I had macaroons almost every day I was there!

Living in Phoenix, I could order them from the bakery down the road from my villa, but out here, most people don’t even know what a macaroon is. And I say most because the bakers in my area know what they are but don’t know how to bake them. And even if they did, they still wouldn’t because no one around here eats them. But in Dallas I hear there’s a bakery that makes them from scratch, by hand everyday and the left overs get taken to the shelters and food kitchens. It may be just a rumor, but I intend to investigate every tea room and bakery I can find regardless.

As for baking them myself….

Our first attempt at French Macaroons ended with a kitchen covered in almond flower, a batch of hopeless crumbling cookie feet and two very sad small town, rookie bakers. This time, however we did our research, bought better ingredients and learned from our mistakes.

I knew the basics, like what it meant to have egg whites hold a peak and what the feet needed to look like. But I didn’t know what to do when the feet stuck to the wax paper, or that you’re supposed to drop the cookie sheet so the air bubbles move to the top. There’s all of these baking secrets that no one tells you so when your faced with the traumatizing issue of your beautiful double chocolate macaroon feet sticking to the wax paper you frantically toss them in the freezer hoping they’ll magically pop off like their supposed to.

Reality check: I have never gotten anything to not stick to the cookie sheet, wax paper or glass dish. Fortunately, this is the 21st century and we have google.

I’ll link the recipe we followed down below with the pictures I took of our adventure.

This time we opted for Italian Macaroons and not French Macaroons because the recipe was said to be fool proof. I read so many cooking/baking blogs that said it took them years to perfect the French Method. Well, I don’t have years. Anita and I move in less than a month and I need to have the macaroon recipe perfected for our Sunday Brunch/High tea dates out on the balcony.

We have it all planned out, I even picked out a bistro table!

Any ways, tip for making macaroons: pay attention to what side of the wax paper you put them on, buy a rubber template, and invest in gel food coloring if your not using the natural color. We wanted our vanilla macaroons to be purple so we mixed red and blue… some of the batches turned out to be an ugly grey color and we were sad. Also, if you’re a spoonie like me–get a mixer. All the hand beating and folding brought me to tears and Queenie had to take over because my hands were hurting so bad.

Also, even with all of our preparing, the feet still stuck to the wax paper. Here’s what we did:

We took the wax sheet with the feet on top and placed the sheet in warm water. We used a separate cookie sheet with warm water covering the bottom of the pan.

And for god sake whatever you do, DO NOT LET THE MACAROONS GET WET.

It’s not that hard to set the wax sheet ON TOP of the water, or at least it shouldn’t be. We however had tried to pry a few off with a spatula, so there were holes in the wax paper.*le sigh*

Once the paper sat there for a few minuets the feet popped off like they were supposed to! It was like magic! Only it wasn’t… it was an accumulation of college ingenuity and a lot of frantic googling.

We will be experimenting with flavors now that we have the basic recipe down. We made vanilla macaroons with a chocolate ganache (google that if you don’t know what it is) and they were AMAZING. Enjoy the pictures below of our Macaroon adventure part 2.

The Recipe: http://sugarywinzy.com/basic-macarons-italian-meringue-method-with-raspberry-curd-filling/

Have a wonderful week WildeKats!

OXOXO

Kat

I Am Strong

So this week has been….well there are no words. I missed Krypticon because of some family drama and ended up taking some shifts at a family store so I wouldn’t have to be at home. Its been really hard mostly because I have come to a revelation.

I am scared of men.

My best friend in the whole wide world said something to me and she was completely right. My entire life, every man that I’m related to by blood has been very oppressive, manipulative, and just down right mean. Sometimes when your close to someone, it’s hard to see how bad someone has been treating you–or maybe you know and you just don’t want to believe it.

I’m not an abused person, but as I was thinking about it, I realized that C was right. I’ve only had three boyfriends in my entire life and in all three relationships I was so submissive and worried about what they wanted and not what I wanted. I’ve always been like that I guess, but its gotten to the point where I’ve had to leave work or public places because of panic attacks due to one text message. And I’ve been blaming it on the fibromyalgia and autoimmune stuff but now I’m really thinking there is an underlying issue. I’m in the process of moving away–which I think will alleviate most of these problems but I’m going to talk to my doctor again this week anyways.

C loves me to the moon and back and I love her even more, this girl had the next three  months planned out in like a millisecond as well as a plan B and C! Though, Anita and I are looking for apartments still, its nice to know I have C to stay with if I need to until then. And now that this issue is out in the open, I feel loads better. I have a plan, tomorrow I start making phone calls and hopefully by the end of the week I will no longer be in this crap town.

Allow me to quote Power Rangers “…how could such a small crap town cause me such misery?” This had literally been my life for 15 years. I was fine in Scottsdale, then my parents split and I was shipped off to back woods East Texas and the fecal matter hit the oscillator.

Did you guys know that the girl that played Kimberly in PR is playing Jasmine in the Disney live action Aladdin!? Or how about that BBC announced the 13th doctor and it’s Jodi Whittaker?? Oh man I’m so pumped… see I had been having such a great nerd day until a specific male someone blew up at me over a damn remote.

How dumb is that? You can’t find it? Okay, I’ll be home in an hour watch Netflix on your laptop and calm the fuck down. The sad thing is, I stood up for myself, I told them to chill and that this wasn’t worth getting so upset for then they proceeded to call me selfish. But I’m totes over it now, I had my mental break down, talked to my three best girls, I laughed, sent silly snap chats and now I’m blogging because I needed to say something.

Women are strong as hell. No man ever has to deal with the shit we go through. I don’t care if you’ve been in the military and have been over seas and seen some rough crap. That’s great and all, thank you, but let me tell you–women have been oppressed by men since the damn middle ages and it needs to fucking stop. Maybe not all women feel this way, maybe some women don’t care. But I care. My whole life has been run by men; my dad, my grandpa, my uncles, stepdad’s. Since the day I could talk I’ve had men telling me what I can and can’t do and it stops now.

I am strong. Just because I cry, or have anxiety attacks or use a blog to vent, I am strong. We need fear in our lives, without fear we wouldn’t know our limitations. We need hardships in our lives because without them we wouldn’t know what we’re capable of. I am capable of a hell of a lot more than this. And watch me prove it. I may not have the amazing job I want–yet. But I’m getting there. This is the first step right? Admitting it to myself?

I feel like I’ve hit rock bottom, so the only way is up now, right?

I hope you all have an amazing week. Go out there and kick some ass for me, doing whatever it is that you do. I’m certainly not letting this week keep me down. Tomorrow is monday. And maybe it’s a whole new Kat.

OXOXOX

Kat

My Chronic Emergency Kit

If you have a chronic illness then you know what it’s like to be out and about, at a family gathering, or be at work and then BAHM your doubling over, writhing in pain or dizzy AF.  I’ve been there. I live a busy life that I refuse to give up. I’m constantly at cons, conventions, weddings, out with friends or with family. Im hardly ever at home, and when I am I’m usually binge watching or playing video games. The symptoms can be a real pain sometimes, not to mention a huge inconvience. When a flare hits out of no where I keep a few things on me to help me cope until I get home. 

Since its summer time and the next few weeks are going to be pretty busy I thought this was an appropriate topic. 

I don’t keep everything in a fancy hello kitty bag like my friend Gem does, but the bag doesn’t matter it’s what’s inside that counts. I keep an array of things in my emergency kit, and when I list them all you’ll probably be thinking ‘Kat, is all of that necessary? Carrying that much stuff is mental!” But yes, it is necessary. I never know where I’m going to be or what sort of symptoms I’ll have. Lupus is called the imitator disease, fibro is more than just a pain disorder and with RA comes fatigue. I have skin issues sometimes, dietary issues, random pain, I get dizzy, shaky, nauseous, and brain fog is my worst enemy. The things I carry are helpful medical wise but also comforting. I’m that girl who carries a small stuffed animal at all times when I’m by myself because I get panic attacks and I need something to cuddle. Everything you carry should be tailored to what helps you physically and mentally. 

For starters I carry bottles water, the small ones in case I need to swallow an emergency pill or something. I also keep fruit snacks in my purse, or crackers depending on where I’m going. Having a snack on hand can help blood sugar issues or keep you from being nauseous if you have to take meds that require being taken with food. I also keep benedryl, OTC pain, nausea and motion sickness meds in a small plastic baggy. Aside from basic spoonie essentials here’s a list of other items I keep on hand. 

  • Lavender oil- calming essential oil 
  • Peppermint oil- energizing and good for headaches/migraines
  • Small toothbrush and toothpaste in case of unplanned vomiting
  • Cocoa or shea butter
  • Sunscreen
  • Perfume
  • Sunglasses
  • Chapstick (or Vaseline. Vaseline has MANY uses) 
  • Wipes
  • Makeup wipes
  • Banana bag Oral Solution packets(here’s the link, these things are a LIFE SAVER) 
  • Gum (peppermint always)
  • One dose of each medicine in case I have to stay overnight unexpectedly in the hospital, a family member or a friends house. 
  • Extra hair ties
  • Humbled extracts pain butter? It may be calssified as a cream. Who knows. Their amazing, but icy hot or Bengay works too
  • Icy hot roller stick with lidocaine. 
  • Deodorant 
  • Hand sanitizer 
  • Small stuffed turtle/hippo (I change them out. But their basically beanie babies incase of panic attacks)

There’s probably more to that list that I’m forgetting, I told you, I carry A LOT of stuff. But I have too. I even keep a change of comfy clothes in my car. I just know how unpredictable life is, and how unpredictable my body is. I hate having to rely on others so I come prepared to EVERYTHING for any situation. I’ve always been the girl to have bobby pins, safety pins, double sided fashion tape, or extra everything because when I was in high school I would always forget something when I went on a trip. Now, I bring loads of small things so that I’m prepared for anything. 

I keep it all in a small clear plastic airline toiletries bag, most of what I carry is travel sized so it fits just fine. It’s a bit snug but better safe than sorry right?? I’m usually wearing my psi bands, but if I’m not then I toss them in my purse/bag; the same goes for all my braces. I have one for both knees and both wrists. On particularly hot days I swap my water out for pedialyte or Gatorade. 

You may not need all of this, maybe you’ll just benefit from emergency meds, an extra dose of every day meds, gum, and a snack. Or maybe you carry something I don’t! I’d love to hear what all my spoonie buddies keep on them in case of emergency flare ups!! But whatever you carry, it should be based on your needs and your preferences. Anita only carries meds and snacks where Elsa keeps her daily meds and a notebook on her. Everyone is different, everyone’s illness is different. I will say that carrying an emergency/survival kit no matter what your illness is a smart move. Even just keeping a slip of paper in your pocket or I’m a medical bracelet/necklace to let them know you have an illness, allergies or are on specific meds is a good idea in case of the worst case scenario. You never know what will happen and I feel less anxious leaving my house every day knowing I’m prepared and have contingency plans upon contingency plans. 

If you have any ideas, suggestions or carry something bizarre coment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Have a great weekend my WildeKats! 

OXOXO 

Kat