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Tag: progress

Future.

Since the last post I’ve been able to sit with myself for a few minutes and think about where I go from here. 

I’ve decided that I am definitely going to focus on Labor Studies since Coming Out Week went so well and I got an email about the Student Organizing Cohort that the Ethnic Studies Department is doing at school (I have an interview for that this week). 

I have a meeting this week with Disability services to see about getting a medical withdrawal from shop so my incomplete does not give me an F for just not being physically capable to machine safely. As it turns out, losing an entire reproductive system takes a lot out of you even after your stitches are healed. Mixed with stress disorders and trauma it’s just…not happening.

I met with a counselor about changing majors, and ever since I decided to act on it, I’ve felt more at peace and in alignment with myself. I feel like this is the thing I should be doing, and I feel centered when I think about it. 

I also feel a bit nervous because I think it will be really challenging in good and frustrating ways, but hopefully in ways that I’m a little more equipped for.

Honestly after the news this week, going to school for an organizing AA, organizing on campus and in the East Bay, and doing the work to at least make this portion of the world less hostile is how I’m keeping myself from melting into despair.

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Birthday Feels/Survival Anxiety

Holy shit.

In light of everything else happening, like fascism, it seems silly that the thing plaguing my mind would be my birthday. On one hand I feel like I shouldn’t even bother celebrating something so frivolous because, fascism. On the other, I have this unshakeable feeling that we might be in nuclear fallout by the time it rolls around, and if I survive to my birthday, that will be An Achievement.

Although given the last year, making it to my birthday already feels like An Achievement. So much has happened. The floor has fallen out from under my feet too many times to count, I barely know which way is up. All I can manage to do is keep fighting and finding new ways to fight for the future that I want to exist.

Nothing feels stable. I feel like more shoes could drop at any minute and leave me homeless, bankrupt, or starving. There’s nothing in my life that is actually pointing towards this happening, it’s just that everything feels so topsy turvy right now that it’s playing on my survival level anxieties.

I re-evaluate my life and the past year around my birthday. February is basically an entire month of introspection with the hope of some kind of party with booze, cake, and people who love me at the end of it. I can celebrate the fact that my existence continued and the people I care about also care about me.

It seems silly, but it feels really important.

If we even get there.

I’ve come so far in a lot of ways since last year, so much has changed – personally and in general. This time last year I was starting ABE classes and actually learning algebra for the first time. Today I’m writing articles about how to combat fascism, talking to reporters and city council, and getting the next dose of testosterone while trying to remember that I deserve to be paid for things I do.

I’m completely me now, and it’s great. I guess that’s worth celebrating.

 

Remind me of this when we get to my actual birthday.

 


I’m worried that I’ll be killed having helped nothing.

I’m worried about my chosen family dying or disappearing.

I wake up to this anxiety and go to sleep with it.

it’s really hard.

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College Week 4 Day 1

I should be actually doing homework, but I can’t focus and I’m waiting for coffee to kick in while contemplating finding out if I have ADD/ADHD because reasons. I turned in my first paper today and omg feels. I’ve never turned in a paper where the grade actually mattered in a real way, so this is kinda huge.

Anyway, enjoy this collage.

Also, I have less than a week left in the voting period for the 10k Scholarship. I need about 600 votes to secure my place in the top 10 and then it goes to a round of judging. So if you haven’t voted, please vote, and if you have, please please please share the shit out of it. 10k would go A LONG way in helping me get through college and also maintaining my levels of calm.

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Kiery Actually Does College

I started taking college prep courses in January, which I’ve written about most of the few times that I’ve actually gotten around to writing this year. The week before last week I took the college placement test in english and got a near perfect score (98 & 99, out of 99) and placed into english 101. Which is huge on multiple levels, and bigger still I’ve actually registered for the class and am starting in April. I plan to continue taking my college prep course in math and hopefully over the summer be able to take the placement test for that as well and start doing full college courses with the hope of getting an AA or AS and maybe even transfer to UW.

I still can’t quite believe that I’m doing it? I didn’t think I would be able to? I almost believed everything my parents told me about how my uterus meant that higher education wasn’t an option for me, and if it weren’t for the encouragement of my friends and that math was blocking my ability to code, I probably wouldn’t have actually tried. Turns out, I love school and going somewhere to learn things, and my particular school has to many things going on for queer students and there’s a huge art thing and….it’s overwhelming and great at the same time.

kdcvoteI have a really hard time expressing how massive it is to be able to do school – to start doing school – at 25 and all of the blocks I’ve had to get over to get to the point that I could even try, and then to actually be doing well there….My ABE teacher and my advisor both think I’ll do great and I’m on the right track and they actually believe in me? I’ve never had teacher types believe in me before. It’s healing on a lot of levels and I’m really happy that I’m at a place where I can do this now. My dream of wanting to go to college as a teenager is finally being realized and it’s magical.

I’m working on getting scholarships and funding together now, so I don’t have to pay everything out of pocket. To that end I’ve submitted an essay to the Wyzant scholarship and it would be amazing if you could take a moment to vote and share (vote daily!), that will go a long way towards helping with my funding for at least the fall semester. In the mean time, I’m also trying to put together resources for this quarter, even though I’m only taking one class, I still need books and a replacement laptop once the new iteration is out because my laptop suddenly acquired a motherboard problem and won’t turn on.

So, I’m asking for helpI need your shares and your votes desperately for the scholarship for the fall, and in the meantime, if you have the means or desire and feel like donating to help cover the cost of books/coffee/school supplies and a replacement laptop…you can click the giant purple button and I will love you forever.




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Midday Muse

Sometimes I learn slower than I’d like. I get frustrated because PHP isn’t intuitive and I can watch a segment and then I have to take a break and let what I learned sit there for a couple days before going back for more. On the upside, I am actually grasping it this time, but I wish I knew all the things now so I could make stuff already.

But I guess no one really learns a language in a day, and I am making progress, so that’s good.

Unrelated to PHP Basics though, I am exhausted and heavy hearted. Part of me doesn’t know why, and part of me is aware that I’m just sensing the weight of the world. I’m doing the best I can to make a small piece of it better though, and I just have to keep plugging away. I can’t focus on everything, and that’s okay.

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Why Bother?

I had been in NCFCA for a year and a half, I had, at that point, never made it out of the preliminary rounds in the two or three tournaments I’d been to. I put a lot of work into what I did: spending hours researching, memorizing, practicing, and learning how not to take criticism personally. I failed to make it into any following rounds and spent the day cheering on my friends – when I got home from the tournament, my parents said:

This isn’t working, and obviously you aren’t going anywhere, so we think this was your last tournament and you can focus on other things. 

— in other words: I wasn’t good enough, despite the effort, and I wasn’t allowed a chance to improve, because I wasn’t progressing quickly enough —

I was barely fifteen. NCFCA was the only place I saw other humans – friends – my age who I could communicate with. And like that it was gone.

 

I like to tell myself – to believe that those crippling words were left to debater Kiery in my past and I’ve moved on; proven I can do things – or that things are worth doing even if I don’t succeed as much as I want to.

But it hasn’t. Any unsuccessful attempt to improve anything leaves me broken in shambles, reliving that speech from my parents where I wasn’t good enough now, so why bother even trying? It haunts me with every application and interview, every competition I lose. I can hold my head up so many times before it kills me. I can keep persisting for so long before I start questioning.

Why bother?

Is it even worth trying to get into this course or apply for that job?

I would love it if I did.

But is it worth, the (likely) inevitable rejection?

Am I better off going solo, quietly, unnoticed, like I have been?

It’s so easy to say yes.

So much safer to just stop putting myself out there, to stop working so hard for what I want when I have all these voices telling me I’m not good enough and not to bother.

And every time an opportunity vanishes, I feel like they’re right. Like my parents were on to something when they said I was only good for breeding. Like I’ll never make it out there with the other people. It’s better to keep doing things myself, silently, alone, where I feel like I’m doing something but no one notices enough to shatter me again.

Where I spin my wheels and feel progress and if I don’t look out the window then I’m not going nowhere.

 

But here’s the thing, I’m not going nowhere, I just have an opportunity to accelerate.

I’ve had other opportunities to accelerate, and I’ve taken them, and was left in the dust, watching others arrive closer to where I wanted to be. And I cheered for them, and kept doing my thing, quietly.

 

But I don’t know if I can bother again. I want to, desperately, but I don’t know if I can take that reminder.

 

You’re not good enough, you’re not progressing, it’s pointless to keep trying. 

 

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Reminders

I’ve posted this before several times, but sometimes I’m at this point where I just need to listen to it again…

I’m at a point in my creative cycle where I feel like all of my goals are unattainable, that I’ll never be where I want to be. I feel like everyone is just better at everything by default and flying by and I’ll never ever get to the point where I’ll be good enough – to where I can make what I want to make and it’ll be as good as I wanted it to be.

All of my ambitions seem so impossible, and then I remember this is the part where a lot of people just stop, and so, if I don’t stop, if I can just manage to push through, I’ll get better. I always do.

And then I remember that I’m not 45, I’m 23, and I’ve only been doing things consistently for a couple years. My life hasn’t passed me by yet, I still have time.

It’s normal to take a while.

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Failure and Creatives (me)

I follow awesome people on twitter – and Erika brought up something that I had thought about at PAX (and then forgot because I was confused by my sudden lack of 4 molars), the subsequent short conversation with Kiri (who, btw, is awesome incarnate – not just because we pronounce our names the same way) then spurred me onto a twitter muse which I realized would be better suited for a blog post, because all the thoughts are way more than 140.

I feel like a failure – and if twitter is any indication I’m certainly not alone in that feeling. If you’ve read here before, you’ll probably have seen that strewn across the blog relatively frequently, if in vague terms.

That’s been escalated lately, exponentially. At some point, you become comfortable with your relationship with failure, and hiding in the dark, and doing stuff with little response – even though you desperately want response, all creators do (as hard as that is to admit because it feels…vain?).

Kiri wrote a post the day before I started my kickstarter about the same feeling. Between that and this post by Katie Lane…I’ve expressed the general terrifying-ness and failing feels of everything, but I’ve been so afraid to say what for fear of…I don’t really know.

I think I’m afraid that if I get into detail here of how I feel and why, everyone who’s been there for me and backed me is going to think I’m a horrible person. Which probably is playing a huge part in the creative block I’ve been facing.

I made it into the first round of the G&S Vlogs, my Kickstarter following that was successful, before PAX even! So the paralyzing fear and anxiety should be gone, right? Because everything worked?

Ah, but you don’t live inside my head. I waffle between YAY PEOPLE THINK I’M COOL and OH MY GOD I NEED TO NOT FUCK THIS UP. WHAT IF I’M AWFUL AND THEY HATE ME?

Strangely, the “just don’t fuck this up” part is wayyyy louder than the, “hey people like what I do!” voice.

Because I was successful I’m met with more stress than living in the shadows and making things maybe 30 people saw – most of whom I know, on a good day. It’s gone up a bit since The Daily Beast and Geek and Sundry and Kickstarter and it’s wonderful.

But damned if I’m not fucking terrified. I was funded, partially because Harry Knowles pissed people off, which I mean, I’m not complaining about – but the internet can be scary. I don’t want to piss people off, and I’m afraid that if I don’t deliver something perfect, it’s going to end poorly.

Which I know in my thinking brain isn’t true, because I have a years worth of content people could go back and look at, people knew what they were getting into when they funded me and they liked it, it doesn’t have to be The Best Show Ever(tm) is just needs to be KieryGeek, which I’m actually good at – when I’m not hiding in a corner being afraid.

I’m afraid that I’m not getting things done fast enough, or that I don’t know what I’m doing (I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing anymore, even though I’m doing the same thing, but being actually able to show it this time), or that it’ll still fall short (I’m reminded of Ira Glass on Storytelling) of what I want it to be.

I’m worried I won’t get the rewards to everyone on time, or they won’t like them, or I’m not making KieryGeek episodes fast enough (even though I’m still waiting on my mic to arrive), and I should be making ALL OF THE THINGS right this second, and I’m failing because I’m not. Instead I’m writing this, or playing animal crossing or painting my Archangel (which is actually related, because warmahordes). I’m worried I won’t be able to keep the Humorotica schedule that we’ve only tentatively set, or that if I draw all of the times my drawing will not get better and it’ll just be lamer and lamer (which, I KNOW is bullshit, you can’t get worse at doing something all the time..right?).

I’m afraid that my comics are lame (drawing, not words, because I have a great writer), or that I won’t be able to balance comics and KieryGeek and jobs – even though I’ve been doing that, dare I say successfully, for months.

I’m not sure how everything is going to work from here on out. I know what I want, but I’m also terrified of achieving it. I want to be able to support myself making comics and filming vlogs about games and making webseries and painting and making other digital art. I want to not have to rely on my partner for everything all of the time. It’s really awesome that he doesn’t mind, but, I’d like to be able to contribute too, you know? With more than $9 an hour seasonally.

I’ve not done things because I was afraid or too drained to, and I regret those a lot. I wanted to make friends with all the G&S Vloggers during the competition but didn’t – mostly because I was coming off of hellcation and the PTSD that brought (which, fed into self loathing, oh yeah, that’s tied in too – this is a nasty beast). I’ve regretted it since and haven’t really known how to deal with it. I didn’t meet any of the strip search artists at PAX even though they’re some of my favorite people because, SOCIAL ANXIETY. I feel like I talked a little about the meltdown I was dealing with over that weekend, it’s basically all of this stuff and existential crisis and creative self-doubt.

But, I DID muster up the courage to buy a shirt from MC Frontalot because I was too scared at PAX East…so…that’s a plus? If you don’t listen to the internal montage of “dude, you sounded so stupid” that played for a couple days later.

I realized there, that everyone deals with this – all creatives do – probably all humans, actually. I don’t remember which story Scott Kurtz was telling that made that point, but it was perfect. I think it was about how you put so much of yourself out there that you get exhausted, which…so true. Sometimes everything in my head is exhausting, and everything external is exhausting and everything is just exhausting.

But I can’t not do it.

And that’s what keeps me going – through the blocks and the fear and the anxiety.

I know what happens when I don’t create (I go nuts and YAY MORE MELTDOWN KIERY).

I have to (and I love it).

I realize that ultimately, the problem is coming from myself and my own hangups and my own fears and I am quite literally my own worst enemy. I am the one with the unreasonable expectations and overactive internal critic.

I just don’t know how to fix it – I’ll let you know when I do.

(If you’ve discovered the elixir, tell me? please? *begs*)

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Becoming Geek

Not so long ago, I was one of those really unsocialized homeschoolers who couldn’t hold up a conversation about Harry Potter but could tell you about ANWR (Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge), domestic (oil) drilling, and how little control our federal government really has over the control of oil prices. I’d only ever played racing video games occasionally – my favorite games were the educational ones my parents bought or that my grandpa got from school – namely, Mavis Beacon Typing, Story Weaver, and Amazon Trail. Those were just the games I was allowed to play, actually. My brother played Need For Speed, and Lego Racers (which I joined in on a few times) and was allowed video games and consoles.

I lived in a very controlling, mentally/spiritually/emotionally abusive home, where I raised and nurtured 6 of my siblings until I moved out days before my 7th sibling was born at 18. I was never encouraged in any artistic endeavor or to do anything but get married and become a breeder for religious reasons. That’s what I got for being born with a uterus – my reproductive organs defined my worth.

I never read The Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potter because magic was witchcraft, which we would inevitably start practicing if we were exposed to it (because of our lack of brains?). At one point we abandoned our Disney collection, until my mom had too many kids it was impractical to keep them from Cinderella even if it did have a fairy godmother in it, and she did use a spell (bippity, boppity, boo).

I thus immersed myself in historical fiction and studying history so intensely that I still have a lot of random stuff memorized. It was the only allowed form of geekiness that I had, and so, I used it. I had 4 pocket constitutions; for a couple years I always had one on hand, just in case. I knew where to find ANYTHING by the article, and often section number.

Because I was so intensely set on learning I saw through the bullshit that a lot of the history “teachers” in the Christian community were peddling. Their revisionist history – while I was never allowed to say otherwise without being lectured – was clearly ill informed, completely untrue, and lacking in any historical context. I knew this because I studied everything around and leading up to events just for the context.

Now when people try to tell me that we were meant to be a theocracy by our founders, I call bullshit and brainwashed.

That’s kind of besides the point, though. The point is that I was sheltered. I was not allowed to play actual video games for more than an hour here-or-there if my siblings needed a player 2. I wasn’t allowed to read fantasy books because of religion. I hadn’t seen Star Wars until I was nearly 17, and even then I was bored because it was Episode 1. I’m convinced we only saw it because my mom was confused about the “classic” nature of it, and the kid from Jingle All The Way was starring.

I didn’t see LOTR until I was 17 at my boyfriend’s house, because he was really into it: Tolkien quote in email signature and everything. We started with the extended edition – I had to watch it 3 different times before I got the story and then I fell in love with the genre and with LOTRTwo Towers especially.

When I moved out, and moved in with my boyfriend’s family which is an even longer story, we started playing the PC version of Halo on occasion. That was my first “real” introduction to gaming, even though I hated getting shot all the time while figuring out how to move. I was also introduced to Firefly and Fringe – we’d watch these quietly to avoid waking up his parents, who are also not into science fiction or fantasy.

When we got married, we bought our first console, cable, and I’ve come a long way since then. I’d always identified as a geek, much to my mom’s horror, because I always knew I was – so you can imagine my happiness upon finding not only a ton of content, but a ton of people who were into the same things. We discovered that Focus on the Family outright lied about Harry Potter; Doctor Who is amazing; Browncoats are forever; and GAMING IS FUN. There are games that have stories, you guys! STORIES, not just racing and/or shooting. I had found that piece of me that was missing and wanting to manifest, that piece of me that helps everything else make sense.

Ask any ex-quiverfull or fundamentalist daughter and they’ll tell you it’s reallllllly hard to escape the you-are-your-uterus-mindset and find out who you actually are, what you actually like. This has been a long process for me – an ongoing process even, because I’m still unlearning old thought processes. On bad days, I just sit and wonder if doing what I want is even worth it – if being me (whoever that is) is even worth it.

It is.

Now, I’m making the third season of my web-series. I started it last year in a moment of clarity, sudden bravery, and lack of fucks to give after an existential crisis.

This project, KieryGeek Season Three, is all about storytelling: the things that I love about gaming, sci-fi, fantasy, and geekdom – I’ll be talking about world-building in games and collecting play-through footage. I’ll also be creating stories with the help of my co-conspirator Matt (MALE FRIEND I’M NOT MARRIED TO WHAT? TAKE THAT UPBRINGING!) in a hangout format. I’d really like to see this funded not just because it’s cool and another kind of community, but because it would mean so much to me personally and my constantly self-critical psyche to do something amazing and worthwhile and completely me for a change.

Thank you everybody!

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Kickstarter Comic

I’m 35% funded and it’s only been a week! Which is really awesome! I keep going between “I’ve got this” and panic – actually I made a comic about it, that you should check out. But here’s the thumbnail: kickstartercomic1It’s been kinda crazy – support’s been awesome. I’m looking for new ways to make people aware of the existence of the kickstarter and the awesome it entails. The hardest part is that, I have AWESOME things that I can’t announce until we’re closer to being funded, or are funded, so I’m like, anxiously impatient at the moment.

If you haven’t seen the kickstarter, you need to – check out the page and check out the project updates, because I’ve been making mini vlogs for them. Only two so far, but there will be more. If you like what you see, back it and share it with everyone you know.

I’ll be over here, plotting. and spamming sharing….

 

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