impy: tori from jackie's strength video (MH: Clawdeen uhoh)
100 Things, #17: PG-13

The year is 1991, and I haven't had my birthday yet so I'm still nine years old. I've spent the weekend with a friend of mine and as a treat for the both of us, her mother is taking us to the movies. They don't have a TV so movies really are a big thing, so we're both super excited about it. Because it was the thing to do, I call my mom and ask permission to go see some kid's flick that for the life of me I cannot figure out what it could have been based on release dates. I suppose it's possible that the theatre had a re-release of something? I just remember it was animated and I wanted to see it.

I don't remember whether the plans changed before we arrived at the movie theater or afterwards, but I do know that by the time we were in line for tickets, her mom was taking us to see F/X2. Which was a sequel to a movie I'd never seen, nor even heard about, and it was decidedly not for children.

We sat down on the left side of the theater and busied ourselves with popcorn and sodas and I was sitting right next to the wall, which was a little too thin for a movie theater. I was a little nervous because I'd told my mother I was seeing an entirely different movie than the one I was about to see and I knew she wouldn't approve. But I was a little excited too.

And then the movie started. I have never rewatched F/X2, but I have several scenes seared into memory because it is not a movie you take a nine year old to see when she thinks she'll be seeing singing dogs or something. (I really do not remember the movie I was expecting to see. I do know, however, that it was playing on the other side of the wall from where I was sitting.) Nope, there's a massive body count (all things considered) and it involves some unusual ways of getting there.

But the thing that scarred me for life is the shower scene. I know, most people are scarred by the Psycho shower scene. Nah. Me? I was scarred by the thought of taking one step out of the shower and then getting shot (Through the window so it was somehow that much worse to younger!me.) because I'm pretty sure that happened in that movie. For some reason that just did my head right in and for the next year (...and longer) I had problems with showers. I would kind of crawl out of the shower/bath and keep out of sight of the window even though I knew it was ridiculous.
It got so bad that I have a vague memory of crying and telling my mother that I'd seen a movie she hadn't told me I could see...
And she was miffed all right, but it wasn't because I was scarred for life (seriously, showers for a year or more were iffy). It was because she'd wanted to see F/X2. :P

Which just kind of added to the whole surreal experience.

The worst thing about it was that I didn't want my friend, or her mom, to know how much of a wimp I was, so each time you could notch another body onto the count, they seemed enthused so I'd just shovel some popcorn in my mouth, offer a thumbs up, and quietly shrink ever closer to the wall where I could hear the movie I was supposed to see, and kind of try to concentrate on that movie instead until the next murder.

So when people ask which movie scared everyone most, I don't answer. It wasn't one of the actual horror movies that apparently I saw as a kid but have no memory of*. It wasn't The Exorcist or Poltergeist or any of the various horror movies I've seen over the years.

It was F/X2.

Scarred. For. Life.

*- My mom chalks the fascination with horror movies up to the time she found me watching _some horror movie that she has never ID'd_ with older kids while we were at a family friend's house. I was like, four or something, so that narrows it down to something from the late 70's or early 80's.
impy: tori from jackie's strength video (sanity)

The past couple of months I've found out two friends (or one friend and one friend of a friend that I don't hate or anything) are having weight loss surgery. I'm not really sure how one is supposed to reply to that, truthfully. On the one hand, I hope it works and you're happier and healthier. I really and truly do, no sarcasm or judgment ever even though I realize this sounds sarcastic. I love you both and this is what you need so I cheer you on.

On the other hand, I feel weird because I am and always have been the fat friend. So if you guys are having surgery, wtf, mate? Logically I know neither one of them is thinking a damn thing about my ass because they're a little hung up on their own at the moment, thank you very much. But as the largest one in the group (and having always felt that I was, even when there are times I think I wasn't now that I can look back on it) currently, I feel completely incapable of saying much of anything beyond "yay you!"
I dunno. I guess I worry and have this loop of this very skinny woman telling me why she was one of my Sunday coupon ladies. She'd had the surgery, it went Oh So Wrong and now she exists on these coupon items because it's all she can really eat. Which is an awfully extreme thought to have on loop but I'm smart enough to not mention it to them. :P I also know that there are a lot of people this works for and that it's not a magical cure all and...

Mostly, I keep coming back to this memory.

During one of the ex's vists (I think his first) someone got the brilliant idea to play truth or dare. ExR took one look at the group and said, "Nope, not gonna" and went upstairs to the computer. I stuck around because I know my group and we were missing two of the main people who would've made this a seriously dangerous idea.

We're all sitting out on the porch at my house (screened in, very nice) and in a vague circle. Truth or dare very quickly just turns into truth because someone always has an agenda, but before that axe to grind was dragged out, someone asked, "If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?" I'm sitting about halfway through the circle so I have a little time to think but even then you don't want to be the jackass holding the game up while you try and sift through various answers, right? So I'm trying to think really fast.

I don't remember if one of the guys was first or not, but the first girl, the VERY FIRST GIRL says, "Weight." And for a second I thought she said, "Wait" as in she was thinking, too. And for a split second I was glad I wasn't the only one who needed a minute to think this question through.

Until the next girl says, "Yeah, my weight." And every girl there chimes in with the same answer.
I sat there, shocked and not shocked all at the same time.
I still ended up being the jackass who needed time to think because... if you gave me a free pass to change anything, I would seriously not consider my weight to be what I'd waste that wish on. I'd want to be smarter or funnier or kinder or happier or something.

I felt that way at 17. I feel that way now. I don't want you thinking I was a tiny thing, or even just ~curvy~ though I would love to be that size again. Like I said, bigger than most in the group and definitely the biggest girl there.

It broke my heart then and it still breaks my heart now.

And yes, I know the two aren't the same as this isn't a magical wish and serious thought and angst went into this, but one of the people discussed is the first girl mentioned and the other was also in the group during that memory, too. Which is part of the connection in my brain.
impy: tori from jackie's strength video (blood)
There's a madman at my door.

  I don't remember how old I am in the following story, nor do I remember really what time of year it was. I'm not even 100% positive on the time of day, though I want to say it was early morning because we ate cereal, but if it was late enough summer/early enough fall, it would be entirely possible for it to be one of those rainy days in September that turns everything this weirdly blue-green and is just so incredibly dark that you wonder if one will ever see the sun again. It makes time pretty meaningless.

   There's a knock at the door and Mums answers. The next thing I know, my mother has left me sort of in charge of my brother and my youngest cousin on that side of the family, while she and her older sister have a chat. Something is clearly Wrong but I think I'm busy chasing marshmallows in my Rice Krispies so who knows for sure.

  Until I do know. I know very well because the adults' voices change and I become painfully aware that Something Big is going to happen any minute now. And it does. My uncle appears at the door, and there's a rush to the door to make sure it's locked (it is) and someone else checks the back door to make sure it is (again, it is) and Mom and Aunt are yelling through the door to my uncle to go away.
   I can't tell you whether or not I'm confused by this or if this is after the Halloween my grandfather told him that if he ever set foot on his property again, cops would be called no questions asked. He was banned from the premises FOREVER.

  I also can't recall if he called to find them first or if he just showed up. I want to say he showed up after calling, then disappeared and returned because Mums pulled me aside during one of the downtimes and told me something Very Important:
  I was to take my brother and my cousin upstairs and hide. I'm leaning towards my uncle showing up at least twice because I overheard the reason we were doing this (he threatened to get a gun or something with which to use to kill/maim anyone standing between him and his family) and I wouldn't have heard that over the phone.

   So he appears again and I make sure we all run up the stairs, no looking back, and we camp out in my brother's closet because it was the biggest and we could draw on the walls with chalk and I knew that would appeal to them because you just don't get to draw on the walls, ever, right? And I kept diverting their attention from the screaming match downstairs and praying to God that my uncle wouldn't kill my mother or make it through the door at all, while trying to pretend that this was simply an adventure and hey, don't hog all the blue chalk.
  I don't know how long we were up there, I don't know if the cops were called, or if my mom and my aunt came to find us or if they just called down that it was fine to come downstairs. I just remember sitting in the half darkness, praying while two kids (and I was well aware of being just a kid myself) needed me to keep them from hearing all the horrible things being said downstairs.

   Sometime that day I found out that my uncle was having a bit of a flashback due to the drugs he used and the time he spent in the military. Since my grandfather was in the navy and never went fullblown psychotic like that, I chalked it up to the drugs and vowed I would never, ever, ever touch any. Ever.
   I know this was said in front of cousin and brother because the boy chimed in with a "yeah!" and cousin nodded, plus it was used as a reason for her to not entirely hate/fear her father or something. "Sure, Daddy threatened to go all Shining on us with an axe but that's just the drugs talking!" Um, no?

  So. I just said no. Forever. Which, I'm pretty sure, makes me one of like, four people on the planet. My brother and my cousin both went in the opposite direction to the point where my brother likes to tell this non-related story:
   His friends kept telling him about this girl who would be perfect for him because she was basically him, only not a dude. This goes on for awhile because the perpetually baked are not the best when it comes to setting up actual dates. Eventually they run into each other at a party and someone realizes the two haven't met and now they are and introduces them. To which the boy says, "Look, I know it's the South, but I'm not datin' my cousin."
  Annnnnnnd cue the laugh track.

   So that's the story of how three kids can experience the same "I will kill you all!" moment and walk away to lead incredibly different lives. It's the reason I don't and haven't done drugs, nor do I feel in the least bit lame when it comes up, and yet I still feel weird when I realize that I'm the odd one out. Go figure.

Today is the boy's birthday, so I figured I'd give you a tale or two with him.
impy: tori from jackie's strength video (BSC: oh man)
100 Things: My Nemesis

I won't say every kid has a nemesis, nor will I say every adult has one. Some people are lucky. I'm hoping lots of people are lucky. Sadly, I was not one of those people as a kid. Nope. I'm still not sure how I ended up with a nemesis, nor am I entirely sure how she ended up being worse than the kid who stepped on my toes til they bled, or the girl who pinched me so much that I was bruised for the entire school year, but she was, ultimately disproving that whole sticks and stones thing for me.

Rachael (I believe she spelled her name this way and if not, we'll spell it this way because it irks the other Rachel I know and I wouldn't want them to share anything more than they already do) was kind of the anti-me. In elementary school we both tested into SAIL (gifted and talented program) at the same time after two years of not doing quite well enough on the entrance tests. Only in my case I earned the spot and her daddy called the school district and harassed them til they said whatever difference between "yay/nay" wasn't enough to keep her out again. Or, y'know, to shut them up. Whichever!
She wasn't my favorite person before that as she was kind of a killjoy. You know those people you want to smack instinctively, though it takes you awhile to figure out why? She was like that for me. Luckily I didn't have a ton of classes with her, ever, aside from SAIL once we both ended up there. We could avoid each other the rest of the time and I was fine.

Fast forward to middle school where the rules on everything changed. (I failed to get this memo and thus spent the next three years prepping myself for a miserable life in high school by being pretty miserable in middle school.) Sixth grade wasn't a big thing with her because again, only one class with her.

But oh, OH how she made the most of that one class. Come sixth grade, all the SAIL kids had to do this thing called O.M. and this involved you gathering 5-7 of your friends and picking one of five categories and then fulfilling the project requirements for that category.

This seemed to be likely to involve having to, I dunno, actually be seen by other people or talk in front of them or god knows what else, and I nearly panicked myself into oblivion. But then my oldest school friend M. reassured me that we could totally be on the same team and it would be awesome and all we had to do was sign up for the same category. So... despite being rather meh on whatever category she chose, I did because the idea of having to fend for myself completely alone was just not an option.

You have some idea of where this is going, don't you?

I've blocked a lot of this out and while I could ask Mums, I don't want to re-open that can of worms at the moment. So this part is a bit unclear and I apologize. After you signed up for a category, you then formed a team and signed up as that team on the door of the 7th & 8th grade teacher's classroom. I was the seventh person on a team but the job was done and I could breathe easy again.

Until I wasn't. Until Heather something-or-other who rode my bus was babbling about her team and it was my team only it wasn't my team anymore. Someone had erased my name so Heather could add her name. I freaked out because M and I had signed up with enough time for all the other teams to have formed in the meantime. I had no team. NO. TEAM. You couldn't get out of this, btw. You had to do OM.

Mums called and complained about how it wasn't fair that I should be penalized for someone else erasing my name and the school basically said "tough shit, find a new team." I found out pretty quickly what actually happened.

Heather was ~new~ and despite the fact that sixth grade was nothing but a parade of new, she was one of those girls you instantly know will be popular. Possibly Popular with capital letters. I was not. Rachael wanted to be on a team with Heather. So... she called up a meeting of the rest of team 2 or whatever it was, and said that my mother would take over the whole project and it would just be this horrible experience and g'ah, they should just avoid the whole thing by having Heather instead. I think M either missed this meeting too, or she thought they were all going to ignore Rachael. Or hell, maybe I got stabbed in the back but I don't think it was that one. M never had the patience for super drawn out drama, nor did she have the mind for it. Anyway, Heather was in and I was out.

Do you know what they do to kids who don't have a team and can't find one? That's right. Your teacher has to go around to each group that hasn't filled their quota and ask them if they'd like you to be part of their team. Technically you're supposed to do this, but there's just not enough humiliation involved in that.

So... I got paraded to the teams with the most sixth graders and offered up and surprise, surprise, Rachael's lie had made the rounds so just about everyone said no. Oh, hey, what's that, sixth grade me? You want to walk around the school library being shunned by everyone in your grade while trying super hard not to cry? Oh, you don't? Too bad.

I'm not even sure if it was worse that my teacher was incredibly nice but didn't seem to realize why no one was jumping at the chance to work with the fat kid who didn't wear jeans (it became a thing later on) and whose mother was apparently going to suck the fun out of everything. Also, probably red faced and on the verge of tears. Seriously, why did no one jump at this golden opportunity?

Eventually I think I got paraded by a team with a seventh grader (because she'd been through something similar a week prior when I thought I still had a team) and I think the combo of them having already accepted someone else and my teacher was getting fed up with a bunch of jerks in the sixth grade meant I was eventually allowed to join a group most begrudgingly.

I tried to make the best of it, but it was incredibly awkward every time Team 2 had a meeting at Heather's house so they'd all ride the bus and I'm sitting there like "oh, hey you backstabbers, I hope you die in a ditch. But not because the bus swerves off course because then I might be stuck with you even longer."

The plus side was that I made friends with that seventh grader since we were the two no one actually wanted on the team. :P Seriously, this was the best thing about this whole story. I just wish we'd managed to stay friends longer, but there's a huge gulf between 8th grade and high school so once it became clear I wasn't likely to go to her high school, our friendship sort of died out. While it lasted, though, it almost made up for the humiliation of being rejected so many times in such a very short period of time.

The next year I ended up... on a team with Rachael. And we made it past the regional and state devisions so we ended up at the big country-wide thing and guess who I had to share a room with?
Rachael. Who proceeded to spend the entire trip borrowing money from me. Money she never paid back. And no, we did not become friends after our stint as roommates. I ended up getting voted out of the spontaneous competition and since I wasn't in the other portion of the competition it was a lot like being told "you suck, get lost." I'm also pretty sure that it disqualified us, but no one would listen when I pointed that out.

The following year Rachael's father basically took over the group and we stalled out at regional or possibly state. I dunno. I did learn that her little sister was awesome and if I were a fictional version of me, I'd come to appreciate why Rachael was such a bitch (because everyone fawned over little sister) and that she took it out on the people around her. Instead I just laughed to myself every time I thought about it.

On the plus side, there are few people who are as good at connecting seemingly random words. The irony at becoming good at it as soon as I no longer needed to be is not lost on me.

Come high school, I'm not sure how much was just my awkwardness finally reaching a point that one might consider paranoia and how much was a helping hand from the nemesis.

Nowadays I don't think about her often, but when I do I wish her into a ditch. Maybe not dead, as it's entirely possible she has children now.

^Not as awesome as that. Sadly.
impy: tori from jackie's strength video (waiting for you)
Hey, remember that 100 Things Challenge? Yeah. Every time I think I've got something to noodle out, something else comes along and wants my attention. Since I'm actively trying to avoid thinking about something else now, I figure maybe it'll work in reverse.

So, let's resume 100 Things That Changed My Life, Take 13: One Perfect Moment.

  It's summer, which means that it's somewhere near a hundred and thirteen even in the shade. We could stay inside where the A/C is running full blast and it feels fantastic. Or you could slip your hand in mine and suggest we go for an after dinner walk, maybe to the ice-cream parlor down the road. I might laugh and point out that 'down the road' is all well and good on a normal day, but today one could probably honestly fry an egg out on the street.

  It doesn't matter, ice-cream and a walk are required and so they must be done. I don't remember much about the walk to get the ice-cream, but on the way back the whole world seems to slow down in that liquid sunshine haze that you always hear about when someone decidedly not Southern ventures south of the Mason Dixon line. It's too hot for gnats or mosquitoes let alone other people even as the sun begins to slowly set overhead, so it's just the two of us drifting down the street, ice-cream in hand. The whole world seems to have vanished from sight and even as it's happening I think how ridiculous it is to think any such thing.

   For one brief moment in time everything in life seemed so perfect that I had to freeze frame it. I never thought it was possible to actually do any such thing, but I'll be damned if I can't bring out this slowly fading memory out every so often and still feel the sunshine on my skin, the way your hand felt in mine, and the sheer, perfect happiness of one moment.

  Even when the world imploded, this one moment is left untouched by all the pain that later seemed to destroy every other memory of us.
impy: Blair Waldorf looking very alone and sad. (broken blair)

   This was going to be a thing on the album, Dizzy Up The Girl (which is awesome and it's very hard to believe that it's 14 years old) but then I realized that while the album was amazing and probably did change my life, it was this song that probably saved it and possibly a few other people's (that I know).

  It's a very, very short song (under two minutes) and it's more than a little sad, but there's a story or three lurking inside, which is something I love more than is probably healthy.

   I was seventeen when this was released and I should have been in my senior year of high school. I wasn't for reasons we'll get into later, but I will say that everyone has a breaking point and by the time my junior year ended, I'd more than reached mine. Thing is, no one realized (not even me) how close I was to breaking completely. I dealt with this by shutting down pretty much across the board. If you couldn't feel anything, you couldn't feel how desperately unhappy you were, right?
  Which is great* when you do it by choice, but when it's the culmination of being verbally bullied over an extended period of time, odds are good you don't realize you've done it until you realize that you can't feel anything. At all.
   That's a scary feeling to say the least. But how do you fix it? I wish I had the answer for that, but all I've got is this song. I'd listen to it over and over and over and even though it made me cry (it still does, honestly) it was something and I could work with something.

  So this became my go to song for writing and for trying to help someone else break through when things tried to drag them down. Of course, you can't save someone who isn't willing, so sometimes you just have to sit there and wait for them to come around. Even if that person is just you.

And I tried so hard to reach you
but you're falling anyway

and you know I see right through you
cause the world gets in your way
what's the point in all this screaming
you're not listening anyway

I'm sure I caused my fair share of the last couple of lines being used against me and I sure as hell used them on someone else but I'm pretty sure this song saved me more than once, even if I didn't realize it at the time.

*- Obviously not great.
impy: tori from jackie's strength video (dread)
It's September 1989 and the world goes topsy turvy. If you've done your math, you'll realize I'm 8 at the time and in third grade. At home the news is filled with talk of a hurricane brewing, but for awhile no one's all that worried. Coastal folk are rarely worried.

Until they are.
Then the names of old storms pop up, fast and furious. )

Hugo changed my life in a million ways, big and small. I became one of those people who feared not most storms because bah, I'd survived a fairly large one. I was also one of those who stayed and had the stories to prove it. And yet I also developed a serious aversion to tornado conditions and when a storm comes close I spend too much time watching the coverage or lack thereof.

It gave me a big storm story and scarred me in unexpected ways. Sometimes I can close my eyes and I'm back there for half a second. Other times I can barely remember a thing.

23 years. Whoa.
impy: tori from jackie's strength video (space fritters)
   I think everyone who reads a fair bit at any point in their young life comes across a book they read too soon. In some cases this just means jokes and innuendo go right over your head. In other cases this means you are now freakin' scarred for life, usually by things that people will later mock. Mercilessly.

   For me that book was The Season of Passage by Christopher Pike. If you've never read this (gasp! shock! horror! Remedy this situation immediately!) most fantastic of books, let me give you the incredibly simple summary:
  In the year 2002, cosmonauts land on Mars. Things are great for all of about a minute when they disappear, including the guy left out in space. Two years later, America sends their own astronauts to find out what happened to the Russians. Oh, and also to explore Mars.
   Things quickly go horribly, horribly wrong.

  If I'm allowed an irrational (and I do mean completely and utterly irrational) fear, it's got to be any manned expedition to Mars. Why? This freakin' book. Nothing good comes from Mars, people. (Sailormars excluded) There's never any "hey, we went to Mars and the aliens loved us!" in Sci-fi, you've got to look to kid's cartoons for that. (This may not actually be true, but any time I stumble across an expedition to Mars, it ends HORRIBLY.)

  See, it turns out that Mars used to be populated a gazillion years or so ago, only not by anything you'd ever want to run into even in broad daylight, let alone in the harsh, cold reality of space. They're pretty much vampires, but you run that risk when you go the blood borne way of infection. So. The Americans find a survivor of the Russian exploration and instead of running the fuck away from the obviously insane should be dead dude, they ask him if he knows where the rest of his team is. Of course he does and they follow.
  Fucking scientists.

  Annnnnnnnnnnd the bodies hit the floor.

   I've been re-reading it and I've forgotten a fair bit (like the fact that it takes place in the past now! Whoa.) but I still vividly remember them finding the Russian in space, with the floating blood and the eyeball. I also vividly (and accurately) remember the girlfriend rubbing herself rather inappropriately against a wooden door and getting a splinter somewhere not all that fun.

  But mostly I remember the story-within-a-story format. I'm sure this wasn't the first book I read to utilize it (if only because Pike himself is rather fond of it, with mixed results) but it's one that stuck. Through our heroine's little sister, we learn the history of Mars (and Earth, to an extent) and why you listen to the gods. When they tell you "stay on your side of the cursed lands" you stay on your side. If it looks like a goddamned trap, it is a goddamned trap only it's worse than you can imagine.

  And most of all: ALWAYS pay attention to exactly what the villain says. If he doesn't say, "yes, I killed X" then do not assume X is dead. But also? Your villain is, y'know, a villain. They are going to lie to you. Probably even if they aren't allowed to lie, but most especially if they don't have anything keeping them from doing so. I feel this is a pretty important life lesson, truth be told.

  So, yes. Mars creeps me out more than it has any right to and this is one of the few books I've read so many times and let so many people borrow that I've had to buy quite a few copies without complaint. Martian vampires, people! Old school vampires, even!

Even Martians here have issues.
impy: tori from jackie's strength video (i follow)
   You know what we haven't done lately? Exactly.

  Sooooo, when I was in high school there was really only one solid couple that I knew. Solid, of course, is open to interpretation, given the fact that they were both clearly nuts and they obviously thrived off the drama their merely being together caused, but these are things you learn in hindsight (except the nuts part, that one was obvious even at the time) and also, really. If you're only going to watch one super serious couple up close and personal, it should have as much drama as possible.

   C & AA faced one HUGE obstacle: her family hated him. Forbade her to see him and naturally this just made him the most important thing in all the nine realms. So, as I'm the sidekick in my own life (huzzah!), I tended to help them out whenever possible. This did not endear me to her mother much, but that really wasn't my concern. TRUE LOVE, guys. Or something. I dunno, like I said. Teenager and an idiot, that was me. I was the cover story for a lot of dates and I kept the really obvious mementos of their 'ship at my house (pictures, mostly) and I'd distract people if the phone was needed. This meant I got roped into doing some stupid stuff and to this day I think I'm the only one of my friends who actually saw US Marshals all the way through. (Why yes, this was one of the cover dates only it wasn't supposed to be a "ditch me and then have me frantic when we're like 4 seconds until it's time to go and you're both still MIA and ohgodohgod, the parentals are here!)

  I did this because I thought they were adorable together and thought they deserved a shot to see if they could actually work out.

   Things shifted over time, but while I was still very much a fan of them together, they got into some huge fight over things I no longer recall, and they broke up. At that moment in time, I was still friends with both of them and quickly realized they both really wanted to be together but it just... wasn't going to work. This is when I learned that sometimes love, be it teenage infatuation or any other form, really isn't enough. Maybe other people learn this little life lesson earlier, but this was pretty much the first relationship I ever saw burn to the ground in front of me, and it broke my heart to see it end.

  I don't think I've ever felt that same emotional kick in the gut over someone else's breakup (not even theirs after they got back together and broke up two more times that really, really counted) and to this day I still remember sitting there, shocked as hell, as they both admitted it was over. It's weird when you get worked up over someone else's heartbreak because you can't really get sympathy for it and you don't try because you don't co-opt someone else's pain, but you can still feel it anyway.
   And it doesn't work for just any couple; it has to be one that you honestly thought were forever and ever bound. At the moment I can only think of two other couples I know who might trigger this, and only one of them is definite in the "I would bawl like a baby if you two broke up" department.


May. 28th, 2012 01:32 pm
impy: tori from jackie's strength video (i believe)
  I've been on a bit of a superhero kick as of late. This shouldn't be much of a surprise since summer is the time when the comics try to lure more fans to their books... by completely eradicating everything else they've done all year. Wait! Rant for another time!

  I finally sat down and watched X-Men: First Class and we'll discuss the numerous wtf moments sprinkled throughout the movie and my subsequent reeducation in the lives of the X-Men at a later date. (Namely, when I rewatch it.)

   For now we're going to take a moment to reflect upon Magneto. Why? Because it's time for Day 8: Magneto. Yes. Magneto. Take a moment to let that sink in and we'll move on.

  Doofy helmet aside, Magneto has pretty much been my favorite X-villain ever. I couldn't tell you why if you asked. He wasn't the one I was first acquainted with (the tv series was always more fascinated by Sinister) and honestly, the man has had some amazingly awful what the fresh hell is this?! incarnations. (What's that, Jungle!Magneto? You want to dispute this?)

   But if I had to hazard a guess, it'd be the way he frequently mirrors Xavier, and the way this can make you stop and think not just the first time you realize it but how, in the hands of a good writer, the series explores this and it's still interesting each time the two engage in their dance of wills. Erik brings out some of Xavier's best and worst traits and has been painfully right about humanity's capacity for horrific cruelty on more than one occasion. Yet he still somehow seems sad that his oldest friend is disillusioned once again by the very people they fight over/about time and time again.
  There's also the fact that I'm a firm believer in the whole "the villain of the piece never thinks of themselves as the villain" school of thought. Magneto does HORRIBLE things (hello, Wolvie) and sometimes this seems to bother him (usually when it involves him doing something awful to another mutant, particularly if he seems to not hate them) but at the end of the day, when Mags shows up, it's usually to fight for mutants to take their rightful place in the world. All mutants, Xavier, not just the pretty ones.
   I love a villain who realizes he's flawed but still thinks his way is right. Commitment, people. It's all about commitment.

  Still, my absolute favorite bit about Magneto, and the life changer, is a bit of what I suspect was a throwaway. I'm not sure if it's in one of the comics or one of the books, but Erik and Charles are on the astral plane and Charles remarks that usually on the AP people "fix" themselves. Charles can walk, people are thinner/taller/prettier than they are, flaws are erased, wrinkles smoothed but Erik?
  Erik is the same. Dude is exactly the same. He's that secure in himself, flaws and all, and sees no need to change one single thing. He knows who he is and even when given the chance to upgrade, no charge, he doesn't see the need. Why should he?

  As someone who is painfully shy and definitely even more self conscious than anyone has a right to be (deserved or otherwise), I keep this little throwaway bit in the back of my mind when I manage to work myself into a near fullblown panic attack.

   Ultimately Xavier's world view involves serious compromise and anyone unable to pass (or offer a massive contribution to offset their obvious mutation) is left out.*
  Magneto's world order? Yeah, eff that noise. We're here, we're the next step in evolution, so get with the program and deal.
  You've gotta love that.

   Even with that helmet.

Yeah, I tried. I failed not to include this. )
impy: tori from jackie's strength video (lie)
It's quiet. Too quiet. Things have been... odd. Aside from the various "happy mother's day!" comments over the weekend (cuz, y'know, female of the super hippy persuasion, you're going to have people assume you got those hips the hard way) and the wanting to punch a dude in the face early Sunday morning, work has presented me with this realization:
I have achieved rumor status. It appears there was (is?) a rumor floating around that I was (am?) married. My boss, the night manager, asked if there was something I should have told her and I had no idea what she was talking about. She pointed to her ring finger and I stared blankly for a second and then it dawned on me. Ohhhhhhhh.
  Later she flat out asked and I got to ask who said it. I never did find out how it came up though. Hrmm. Maybe another time? I do wonder if there are other rumors. Still, I can't help but feel semi victorious that I've scored a rumor. :P

This was on the heels of one of my favorite customer-couples coming in and asking earlier in the week when they'd get to dance at my wedding. I laughed and said it'd be a while since y'know, no groom. I figured they'd laugh, too. Nope, they kind of sobered up a little and said, "But wait, I thought you had someone. Someone serious." And I had to give that smile that I don't think is as worn around the edges as it used to be and say that things didn't work out. Why not? Because he turned into a jerk. Which prompted them to offer to take out his kneecaps (like I said, they're regulars so they know my attack preference) and we laughed again.

But it was a weird week all the same.

So this leads us to Day 7: Radio Silence.

  I'd planned on going in some semblance of order where this is concerned because some people might prefer a linear time line. Usually I'm one of those people, but since I've basically spent all week thinking about this whether I've really wanted to or not, I figured I might as well start with the end.

  Since we're going out of order, I'll give you the condensed version of things: Off and on for ten or so years, the significant ex and I did the whole long distance relationship thing. When things were good, they were so good I'd revisit my stance on marriage and once or twice the thought of kids. When they were bad, well, it's a case of the distance working in everyone's favor at that point. A few years back, a lot of my friends seemed to choose the same two years to get married. I can think of four people off the top of my head, and there might've been more.

You might have noticed we skipped 6. Well, I can't go on to 7 until we hit Day 6: A Lie I Believed. (I tried, but it works better if we actually start here.)

  ExR came down for Cassy's wedding. This I think was the third wedding of the year. Anyway, he bonded with Widget and things were going well. The last day or two before he left, we had a fairly serious talk. We'd started it years before, but this time when he left it was decided that we were going to give the relationship an actual shot. I'd get over my hangups over moving out of the house and he'd move down here and we'd find some place. Ideally it wouldn't be as festive as Cassy's house at the time with the bullet holes in the front door (yes.) but hey, if my parents could start off in a place where the possums took out the cats occasionally and you had to check before feeding them in the morning...

  The point is, you start somewhere together. This wasn't the first time he'd mentioned it, but it was the first time I agreed without it being this big deal. Which then turned it into another kind of big deal, but a good sort of way.
  Friends were told and then nothing much was said to them, but I remember thinking that New Year's Eve that hey, this would be our year. I'd waited out the year of never ending wedding planning and the new year would start a good year.

I jinxed myself so badly. So, so badly. But I believed it so strongly that it wasn't even a question of jinxing it. It was just going to be. Not perfect, but I was even looking forward to the weirdness that I knew would exist. I don't think I've been that blindly starry-eyed since. But in that moment, I believed we'd either have the best story ever... or we'd at least be able to walk away and say we tried our best. And I honestly thought it'd be the best story ever.

Day 7 is the moment that dream died a horrible, agonizing death. The summer after he promised he'd be back, he moved all right. He moved to an entirely different state and didn't tell me. I'm many things, but I'm not that stupid. So even as he tried to talk his way out of my unbelievable wrath, I knew full well that the future I'd seen so clearly, wanted so badly, and actually worked so hard for had died while I wasn't looking.
  For whatever reason, he pulled the plug. He tried to pretend that the move didn't mean what I thought it did and then he proved it meant just that. We never officially broke up. He cheated me out of our last fight, of all the last shots and explanations and the reasons why. He said we'd talk tomorrow and then never spoke to me again. Radio silence that has lasted ever since.
  He didn't fall off a cliff as he'd talk to Cass occasionally and this would drive me so crazy that I had to just stop listening whenever she'd bring it up. I'm not sure she ever realized that he really did just stop talking.

  This of course led to all kinds of things, like the wondering if it had just been this incredibly pointless lie the whole time, or the awkward conversation with Mums when she assumed he'd proposed because he'd discussed the prospect with Mums (and apparently Dad) to see whether she thought he had a shot of getting me to change my mind about marriage in general. That conversation was like being hit, repeatedly, in case you wondered.

I figure you'll forgive me for cheating and using two things that changed my life in one entry, since they're so closely related.

And yes, the original plan was to wait awhile on these but like I said, weird week. :P
impy: tori from jackie's strength video (sadness)
Day 5: First Heartbreak

  Stop me if you've heard this one before... wait, no. You're getting the story again anyway. But hey, raid the liquor cabinet to entertain yourself, k?

  I'm trying to avoid too many of the obvious life-changers because they're obvious, but some really should be mentioned. I'm going to try and dole them out amongst the other moments though, so you don't end up having to talk me off a ledge or something. (Not gonna happen: heights are bad!)

  The first time I had my heart broken was not the first time I broke up with someone, nor was it even a break-up exactly, as that would come later, but it was the moment I realized that what I'd hoped for wasn't going to happen and at that moment in time, no one believed me when I said the end was near.

Disclaimer. )

  ExB, as we'll call him, was pretty much a drama queen. It's why I didn't take him seriously when he played the you're awesome card, even if it was worded differently. It took quite a few phone calls and some serious lapses in judgment for me to take the bait and even then it was knowing full well that this dude came with some serious baggage.

  Serious Baggage is code, of course, for a Significant Ex of his own. Since ExB was older than I was, his ex was pretty friggin' important. The two were serious and engaged and a wedding date was set and everything. I'm a little fuzzy on the details these days, but I believe she cheated and then decided that breaking up was the way to go. So, yeah. He got dumped.
   And yes, I knew this going in. Ah, the cluelessness of youth.

  So one weekend he disappeared. Full on radio silence, which was a bit weird for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was the fact that he'd bailed on a phone call and he was always going on about me not calling enough (...yes.), and he wasn't at work. Couldn't get a hold of him in any way. An then he comes back and doesn't make a big deal about his lost weekend so I don't either.

   It's winter time and other than him going off the grid for that weekend, things have been going well. I remember the day I got the call had been a pretty good one up until that point, because that's always how these things go. I remember being outside and Mums calls me to answer the phone. It was Cass, and that wasn't all that surprising. If I was worried about ExB's disappearance, she was positively frantic. She'll deny it to this day, but I (and everyone ever involved in our group at the time) would swear she was nursing a serious crush on him at the time.

  There's a certain hitch in someone's voice when they're calling to tell you bad news, and with Cass there was always a way to tell when she'd told you everything and when she hadn't. I've been fairly good at getting her to spill her guts over the years, but there's always a bit of hoop jumping to get it done. Double this when she was a teenager. I don't remember how exactly it came up, whether she came right out with the "I have bad news" or if she chickened out at the last minute and I had to drag it out of her. I want to say it was the latter, but that might simply be because I usually had to do so, knowing it's the way the game was played.

  Either way, the sun is fading when she tells me she found out where ExB went when he disappeared. I'm intrigued by her sluethiness. Do tell.
  And so she does with a minimal amount of prodding at this point. That much I do recall.

   She reminds me of his ex and how they were engaged and I nod and make the "get on with it" hand gestures even though we're on the phone. Well, the weekend he went missing was the weekend they were supposed to get married.


  Well. That's... to be expected, I decide. That day was supposed to change his life, so it makes sense he'd need some alone time to process it.

  There's more, she says.

  It turns out she found this out by accident, sort of. He was talking to her about cleaning his apartment and having to replace some CD of his. She asked what happened and he got cagey. Drama queens know when other drama queens are sitting on some serious drama. Like calls to like and all that and once you realize someone is hiding something from you, well... you dig in.

  Yeah. The weekend he went missing, he destroyed his apartment. Went completely batshit crazy. Anything that still reminded him of her? Toast. Things he liked even if they had nothing to do with her? Also toast. Fire sale, everything must be destroyed.
  Then he continued to crawl into a bottle and lost what was left of his damn mind.

  She tells me this and I do that extremely slow blink you sometimes see people do when they're trying to process something that will not compute. Will not compute. And then it does.

  And you slide to the floor because your legs turn to jelly. You might drop the phone for a second, but it's okay because you can still hear every word. And each word destroys whatever little picture of the future you'd pieced together in your head over time. In one small conversation everything has changed.

  "But then he realized he still has you." Added as an afterthought then, and probably when he said it as well.

  The light outside has faded completely and you never bothered to turn on the light in your room, so it's full dark. You turn the phone off and leave it outside the room where your brother promptly claims it and runs away with it for the night.

  I'm still on the floor, the lights are still off, and I turn on Stonehenge, my stereo. I put my Billie Myers CD on repeat and basically listen to two songs on repeat for the next several hours as I tried to sort out what the fuck just happened.

  In retrospect it's all very easy to see just how much of a clusterfuck this was from the start and how there was no possible other outcome once everything was in motion. But at the time I couldn't see that. It didn't help that everyone else who heard about this acted like it wasn't a deal breaker, like the fact that he trashed his apartment wasn't a sign that dude was still not over the ex and if he wasn't over her to that extent there was no real room for me in his life, at least not the way he'd invited me in.

  I'd like to say it was all people my age or younger giving me this stupid advice, but no. I'm not sure if it's just a case of not wanting to upset someone so you tell them what you think they need to hear or if they honestly thought things would somehow magically improve.

  They didn't. But it wasn't the actual breakup later that did my heart in, it was the moment I realized that for all his words to the contrary, this, whatever this could have been, would never actually happen. He did his best to convince us both otherwise, but I think he's the only one who believed him even then. This isn't to say I didn't retire once more to my room when I was unceremoniously dumped via an email even though he could have done so in person (oh that's a fun story) because I assure you, I most certainly did. But that moment of having my heart seem to shatter into a million pieces didn't happen then because it had already happened.

  ExB provided quite a few stories during his short stint in my life. He won't go down as the most dramatic of the exes, simply because he never uttered the phrase, "did I ever tell you about the time I built a bomb?" but he ranks right up there.

Oh, and I feel I should mention this: At the time I was sure there'd never be a time when this memory didn't hurt but of course I was wrong. Which was a nice thing to realize the last time I thought about this and realized that time had actually managed to heal a wound and that saying wasn't just a crock. Who knew? But for years I couldn't hear Opposites Attract or A Few Words Too Many without being thrown right back on the floor, having my heart ripped out all over again. Which was useful at times and completely inconvenient at others.

Want to play along musically?
Billie Myers: First Time.
Opposites Attract.
A Few Words Too Many.
impy: tori from jackie's strength video (watchyerhands frankie)
Day 4: X-Men: The Animated Series.

  Like just about anything awesome but not musically inclined that I've adopted, this is courtesy of Mums. I... don't remember watching it prior to Mums being upset about Morph's death. But she was and I somehow got hooked and the rest is history.

  I could not get enough of my X-Men fix, although I was ticked beyond all reasonable measure because my favorites (hey, Rogue. Gambit.) took a backseat to the incredibly boring tales of Jean Grey and Cyclops. To this day, aside from movie!Cyclops, I still find them both to be painfully dull 99.9% of the time. But!

  There were comic books, y'all. Comic. Books. I don't think I can stress how much this changed my world view of things. I'd known there were comics in the universe before, because my favorite bookstore (Book Bag, I believe) had racks of them, and who didn't love Betty & Veronica? But now! Now I could see all these stories that didn't involve waiting for Saturday morning!

  And, and, and (please say this in your best little kid voice) the Book Exchange had back issues that were usually priced really reasonably, so I'd save up my money and buy as many X-Men related comics as I could afford. Sometimes I'd buy them based on the fact that obviously the storyline had been adapted for the cartoon. Sometimes I'd buy them because the story looked interesting, or the art was pretty (usually more interesting than 'pretty' because we're talking the early to mid 90's here for recent comics, so late 80's/early 90's for back issues) or there was a character I couldn't identify and I had to know more. When I stayed home sick from school (legitimately sick), Mums would bring me home a pile of back issues because when I was sick, I tended to be sick for days on end.

  When I fall for something, I must know EVERYTHING. We've discussed this. And the very nature of comic books means that there is always something new to learn. The turnover rate is freakishly high so you had to love the character and not so much a certain writer's or artist's take on said character. You had to roll with the inevitable out of nowhere re-write of something because your writer hated a character and wanted to screw things up just because they could. With comic books, there was always something else to learn. Always.

  Like many a geek before me, I bristled at change for the sake of change, but I also couldn't complain too much because I was sucked in during the cartoon phase of the books. So seriously? No leg to stand on, kidlets.

   My favorite memory was the Dark Phoenix saga playing out on the show. Somehow it managed to capture the attention of most of the kids on my bus (in your face, Power Rangers!) and we'd shriek out things like, "Did you see the newest episode?!?!" and discussions were had (loudly) and kids whose siblings/aunts/uncles/parents read comics said that these people were a little vexed by changes but who cared because OMG. AWESOME. That's right. Jean Grey does one awesome thing and gets to coast for the rest of forever on it.

  Essentially this show was my gateway drug to the world of comic books. I'd later branch out to other comics, some with happier results than others, but my heart has always belonged to the X-Men characters. In my head Storm does not use contractions (nor will she ever resemble the abomination that is Halle Berry's performance in the first X-Men movie), Rogue and Gambit are forever 'shippable, Jean and Cyclops are boring as hell, and Beast is adorable.

  We'll discuss comics as a whole later, because that had some unexpected outcomes (and some completely expected ones as well) but at the end of the day, I'd have never ventured into a comic book store without having seen this first. And that, my dears, would have completely changed the course of my history.
impy: tori from jackie's strength video (no happy)
Day 3:

  And now the tale of the First Mix Tape that mostly wasn't.

  So the first mix tape I ever got was actually in middle school. If one were making a movie/tv show about those years, it would be incredibly awkward, but you'd find yourself realizing something I didn't realize for a very long time.

  I feel the need to preface this with a statement: I don't do crushes very often. I'd say ever, but that's obviously not true, so we'll stick with "often." They're usually one-sided and they suck and all of this is amplified so very much in middle school for a variety of reasons, the least of which is hormones.

  So. TV!me would have a crush on the guy who gave me my first mixtape and the viewing audience would be filled with "awww" moments while I was still clueless. We'd snark at one another long before I knew what snark was. Despite being fairly shy, I still remember telling him to "shut it" during an oral presentation which meant I willingly extended the horror of standing in front of people I didn't particularly know/like by an extra few seconds. We called each other by our last names for proper annoyance. Good times!

   Thing is, I didn't realize it was a crush until somewhere near Valentine's Day when he gave me a tape that he said he'd made himself. And I thought it was a little random and weird but hey, free stuff. Tv!me? Totally cartoon at this point and would've been all "eeeeeeee!" or something along those lines. Real me probably had a doofy smile.

  I went home and I listened to it and... I don't remember anything other than not particularly liking the music but I was willing to give it another go because I rarely like music people give me with the promise that I'll love it. Not on the first go, anyway.

  But how, exactly, did this change your life since you clearly said the other tape was the defining mix tape, you might ask.

   He asked for it back.

  He asked for it back so he could replace the copy my best friend (not A or C) had lost mere days after him handing it over. He called my house for the first, last, and probably only time and asked if I still had the tape he'd given me, and then he asked for it back so he could give it to M because she'd lost hers.

  So not only was mine a copy, it was being recalled. And the only reason it would be recalled was because he liked her. You can do your "liked liked her" bits now, but at the time I was actually crushed. (Ha, see what I...)

  This was not the first time a guy I'd sort of liked happened to fall for her and it would not be the last. But it was the first that actually hurt enough to leave a mark.
impy: tori from jackie's strength video (Default)
  Inspired by [ profile] luxken27's ode to Buddy Holly, today's installment is the art of the mix tape.

  My first* mixtape was made for me by a friend of mine in Australia. We met online doing a CCG card trade, although I think we'd interacted a bit prior to the trade. He was away from home and I didn't mind waiting for him to make it back home for the trade, so we emailed. And when he did get home, we went to letters and email. And that somehow translated to me getting a mixtape in the mail one day. I don't remember much about how it came to be, like whether I'd mentioned I'd never really gotten one before or he just wanted to introduce me to his kind of music. Whatever the case, a tape I now had.

  Which is how I learned that in the right hands, a mixtape could be a musical map to whomever made it. Listening to the tape was a lot like talking to him. Sometimes bouncing around the room, seeming like he'd never come down off whatever high he was possibly on (pretty much the entirety of side one) or randomly ending the tape with a snippet from a Kevin Smith movie or getting to the slightly less bouncy but no less fun debates over love in its many different forms. Y'know, random and awesome and completely unlike anyone I've known since.

  Of course this meant that I had to try it myself and for quite awhile it was pretty likely that at any given time, Cass, Ari, or I (not to mention nebs and Nelle) was working on a tape for someone else, or possibly everyone else. You had to take your time and plan with a proper mix tape. You had to know exactly how long you had before the tape ran out and had to be quick on the draw to catch a song as it was ending so you didn't end up with abrupt transitions. You had to know when to hold back on the sad songs because too much sad and you'll break someone's heart all over again. And then there was the question of whether you were tailoring the tape to their tastes or giving them a piece of your own and their tastes be damned.

  Obviously, mix tapes? Serious business. But yeah, the art of the mixtape is a life changer.

Songs! )

* - Not entirely true. This is the first tape I got to keep, but that's a story for another time.
impy: tori from jackie's strength video (eyecandy)
100 Things, Day 1: I Want You
   It's 1997 and my father is in the hospital for surgery to remove one of his kidneys. After not going to school (shocker) and waiting to see how surgery went (well), Mums and I return home to wait for the boy to get off from school. I'm killing time because none of my friends are home yet or... something and this isn't quite pre-internet, but it's still dial-up and very much of the one phone line in the house persuasion, so even if I wanted to get online or could have, Mums would have killed me.
  So I veg in front of the TV. I channel surf, because that's what you do when your brain won't turn off but you can't sleep yet cuz clowns will eat you. And I finally find the answer to a question that had been bugging me for ages.

(they got the title wrong, but the video quality is fab)

   The title of this song and the band. See, for a month or so, I'd been hearing it but everytime they got around to the chorus (usually a good indicator of the song title, particularly back then), something would happen. Someone would choose that exact moment to talk, or the radio station would fritz out, or water would get in my ear while showering. Y'know, the usual stuff. This also applied to the DJs announcing the song title/band info, so I just knew it was that really catchy song, and that didn't help me much. :P
  But there it was! On TV and the whole video and everything! I stared, kind of dumbstruck. The video itself is a bit weird and when you haven't slept (I didn't sleep much to begin with, and worries about Dad meant I slept even less than usual) it's a bit weirder than that.
  Mostly though, I was thrilled I had a name to go on so I could find out more. Also? Daniel Jones. I'm not the type to get all googly over a pretty face, but, well... Yeah. I could get all swoony just thinking about him. ♥

What's that? Pics or it didn't happen? )

   But this, you might ask, how did this change you or change your life? That's the funny thing and why this is the video and not the band. The band is an entirely different story and will be the focus of another 100 Things entry. The video, however, did something far more simple.

  It gave me something to focus on while I was busy freaking right out. My parents seriously underplayed the seriousness of Dad's operation and while I didn't fully realize it then, I knew something wasn't adding up... but I was 15, and while I love my friends, we weren't as close then as we had been before or have been since. My brother and I have always had a strange relationship, so I couldn't just lean on him, and extended family was out of the equation by this point. It was a strange time and I didn't have much to take my mind off my worries. Then along comes this song and this video and this band, and well, instant distraction!
  When I fall for something (a little less so with someone, but not by much), I want to know EVERYTHING. So this gave me a way to channel my nervous energy... and the song made me happy. (Plus it annoyed the hell out of my brother, so that's always a nice bonus.)
impy: tori from jackie's strength video (MH: Lagoona mocks you)

{Take the 100 Things challenge!}

I'm going for 100 Things That Changed My Life. Big, small, and plenty of geeky things. There's going to be no particular order as that would require me to think of all 100 right off the bat and then weigh each option for importance and let's be honest. I haven't got the patience for that.


impy: tori from jackie's strength video (Default)

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