13 Reasons Why.

TRIGGER WARNING. UPTO AND INCLUDING (BUT NOT INCLUSIVE)

Suicide, Rape, Self Harm, Mental Health, Abuse.

Please do not read further if this will affect your mental wellbeing.

 

 

 

If you’re an internet junkie like me, you’ll have seen several posts, write ups, statuses and more about this newest Netflix Original. 13 Reasons Why is an adaptation of a book with the same name, written by Jay Asher. I cannot say I have had the opportunity to read it yet as my first experience came from Netflix. I remember seeing a lot of people I knew writing mixed reviews about it, some praising others criticising. To the point where I felt I needed to see what the fuss was about.

For those who are unfamiliar with the program, it follows the story of Hannah Baker. Or, more specifically, the reasons why she ends her own life. Across 13 sides of tape cassettes. We see the events unfold in a mix of flashbacks and present day struggles, all whilst following our main guy, Clay. There are rules, anyone on the tapes must listen to them in full, else they are all broadcasted very publicly. The person on tape 1 gets them first, to then be passed through each person in the order they are mentioned. As time goes on we see the impact these revelations have on those held up for judgement in Hannah’s truth. Of course, we know the ending from the beginning, episode 13 contains Hannah’s awaited suicide, it goes on to loosely tie ends and almost immediately after the episode ends we are greeted with “Behind the Reasons” A short program on seeking help including the cast and crew.

My immediate reaction to this series was an uncomfortable one, I do not recommend binge watching (as I did) as you can imagine from the subject matter its an incredibly heavy watch, each episode is 50 mins long, with no real respite from the onslaught of harrowing events. I found my own state of mind slipping whilst watching, unlike other series there are no let ups, each happy moment we explore in Hannah’s life is bitter sweet, I found myself wondering how it will be ruined, or if the person showing her love at that moment, will end up being on a tape later on. Every moment makes you doubt and its damn hard getting through.

Having said that, the series tackles some strong issues and it certainly doesn’t pull any punches, seeing a series tackle rape, not only once, but twice was shocking. Not only was it shown almost completely in full, but what constitutes as rape was challenged, how some are deemed untouchable due to social status, whilst showing it can happen to anyone was a harsh reality to show a spotlight on. I personally applaud them for it. It is sickening to watch, I found myself shouting at my laptop on both accounts, crying for the victims without a care for their fictional existence. Because they are not fiction. This happens, this happens and it happens how they show it. People react the way they show it and I respect that no apologies are made for making it so tough to watch. I also note the considerate use of a warning before the two episodes in which this is depicted, specifying the warning of rape, something that was really helpful to prepare viewers for what they would be witnessing. A similar disclaimer appears at the very start of episode one, with suicide hotline numbers and encouragement to seek help if affected. Then one final time for the last episode, this time warning of scenes showing suicide. For all its faults, at least they tried to warn us.

Now to be fair, one scene I previously disagreed with, has changed my mind after viewing a second time. Showing Hannah’s suicide was heartbreaking, we knew it was coming, we even knew how she did it. But actually seeing it, watching her parents find her, seeing it all unfold is borderline torture. My initial reaction was outrage. How dare they be so irresponsible? Why create something of a How-To guide for suicide? Was this actually necessary being as we already knew it happened? Why show so much horrific detail? I was angry. I was upset and I disagreed entirely. It felt like they went too far, like it was all just for dramatic effect and viewings, but then I watched the whole series again, for the sake of this write up. I saw it differently, I realised that, in this society where Mental Health is either hidden away in a dangerous stigma or romanticised for people who think its “cute” to have anxiety or that suicide is “poetic”, seeing suicide in such a raw, messy and uncomfortable way was needed. It shows the pain of those left behind, it shows that its not easy, its not a “quick way out” and it certainly is not the “easy option” It tells people that it hurts, its unpleasant and it has no reward, that it is not the right choice. This hits home when her Mother finds her in the bath, due to running water spilling out of the room, the lighthearted questioning until she reaches her daughter. Then the panic, the shouting for help, all the time reassuring Hannah that she will be ok, the stress, the heartbreak and the realisation that it is already too late. The whole thing is incredibly acted. Its not dignified, it pulls no punches and it ensures we know just how harrowing it is. In short, it shows suicide for what it is. And I can’t see that as a bad thing right now. This is emphasised before we even see Hannah’s death, with Tony describing how he realised too late, how he saw her in the bodybag, her parents and the whole event immediately after. That he knocked on her door, whilst she was doing it-unaware of course. The whole series slowly adds snippets of information that make the scene itself so multilayered with emotion, its physically painful to watch.

As with any program, it does have its flaws, one line in particular did stand out to me. It comes from Skye, our Tarot reading slightly mean but ultimately harmless sub-character. When reading Clay’s cards he notices her self harm, reacting harshly to it she responds with “This is what you do instead of killing yourself. Suicide is for the weak.” Now self harm is a method of coping, it is not a healthy nor a correct one but unfortunately it is a form of release. It should not, however, be portrayed as what you should do instead. I feel that this line was delivered incorrectly, a subtle change of “This is what I do instead of killing myself” It makes it more of a personal choice as opposed to what is considered as the only other of two options. This could also have been neutralised by Clay offering a different choice, saying that actually whilst both actions are undeniably options, neither are the right nor best ones and that he could help her find safer ways to cope with her issues. Instead he just kinda walks off, to deal with his tape. The second part of Skye’s sentence hits me too, I don’t believe that suicide can ever be described as weak. It’s not right and perhaps using that word was supposed to act as more of a deterrent than anything, but to call the act weak when it takes so much anguish and pain to do, it just felt wrong to me, it felt like it was an unnecessary stab at those who have taken their own lives, like they weren’t feeling bad enough without being called out beyond their decision.  I suppose this disagreement with wording is more of a personal thing, but it rang out to me, when watching with others I was surprised to note the sharp intake of breath they too had when the line is said, so perhaps its not just me?

One point I have seen voiced a lot in reaction to this series, is the opinion that it only shows suicide as an option. That it does not explore other methods of coping or other ways out for Hannah. This is something I respectfully disagree with. Hannah’s choice was suicide. It wasn’t the right one and there would always have been other choices for her, but as she didn’t see them her path led her to suicide. I feel that the other options are actually displayed by the other characters in the series. If we take Courtney, (Yes. I know, fuck her, right?) for example, she tells Clay how hard it was growing up with two Dad’s, how hard it still can be. If we take that, add the internal struggle of realising her own sexuality and the possible ramifications this could have on her life, plus the photo shared around school, with added  guilt and panic from starting the rumour about Hannah. All ended with listening to the tapes and being held up for judgement by those sharing that truth. Feeling somehow responsible for another persons death… I’d say those altogether could easily have been converted into tapes in there own right. Instead, she busies herself with memorials and posters. She eventually tells her parents about her sexuality. She may not make all of the right decisions, but in a time of high stress, she chose a different option.

Another, perhaps stronger case of this is in Jessica. Her story is one of the most harrowing. Believing for months that you hooked up with your boyfriend whilst drunk at your party, to then find out that not only were you raped by a guy you had been hanging out with ever since, but your boyfriend knew the whole time and kept it from you. The rape alone could have been enough to cause Jessica to see suicide as an option, sadly many victims do. But when you pile on the circumstances, the people involved and the fact it was hidden from you? This is serious territory. When Jessica starts to wonder if the tapes are actually lies, we see a change. She starts drinking, smoking, skipping cheerleader practice and actively spending time with her rapist. She goes into complete denial until it is admitted to her by Justin, her boyfriend. So the drinking and drugs are not healthy methods either, certainly not ones to be encouraged and this is emphasised by the rather quick turnaround her life has, being benched from basketball games, grades failing and her general school life suffering. In the end she tells her Dad, or at least its heavily implied at the end of episode 13. This shows us another option. Its messy, and it isn’t advisable but it ends in her getting the help she needed. In a situation like that, it could have been quite easy for the writers to decide Jessica was not able to cope and decided to end her life, instead they had her self destruct for a while, to then seek help from her Father.

I do feel it is worth noting here that Hannah did actually try different options before suicide too, she tried the poetry club, she clung onto communications class. At the end of summer break she has a hair cut and tries to reinvent herself to give a more positive outlook, she reaches out three times. Once to Zach, a poor choice perhaps but she did it in the form of a letter, something he could have passed on to someone if he didn’t feel able to cope. She reaches out to Clay after the party, he misconstrues this as her creating drama out of the death of his friend. When in reality she was only thinking of not only what she witnessed, but the issues that happened between them. Lastly, she reaches out to Mr Porter. Which is dealt with in what can only be described as the worst student-teacher meeting in the history of bad meetings. I respect that he needed her to tell him more about her experiences for him to get authorities involved, but she said clearly about ending her own life. Which he decided not to act on. Now there will always have been more choices, her parents, her friend who moved away, hell, Tony would have listened. But we only see the choices we feel are available to us, the truth here is she explored the avenues she felt she had. When they all went south she went to the only one that made sense anymore.

Something that sparks my interest and pushes my admiration for this series is its unbiased coverage. By this I mean we have a mix of people, some truly hurt by Hannah’s death, some jumping on it for attention, (the two girls posing for a selfie at her memorial locker. I believe the # was Never forget?) others see it as attention seeking. That Hannah was just a silly kid who killed herself for the attention. Others feel responsible regardless of tapes. We see opinions change as spotlights are thrown on individuals. As people are held accountable for their actions we see their minds change. Some defensively whilst others start to carry more responsibility than they needed to. each different response mirrors those in reality. We see people blame those who end their lives, calling it selfish and attention seeking. We see people reach out to help those affected. We see all walks of life react to the same event and in completely different ways. 13 Reasons Why does the same thing. It is hard to over dramatise the reactions of people who would be affected by such a thing, regardless of their attachment to the deceased. Realistically I don’t think any of us know how we would react, what we would do or how we would see it until we are in that position, something I hope we never have to be.

My last point is in the form of a grateful applause, heres to you, Netflix. For doing something no one else does. I touched on this briefly earlier but have decided to praise it further, your use of warnings. We are given hotline numbers and offers of support before we even start, you give us plenty of notice on episodes 9 and 12 for rape, with the final suicide warning on 13. In the UK we have soap operas. Dramatised day-to-day productions that are on most days of the week. These like to go for dramatic storylines every now and then, they have indeed covered rape numerous times, they have covered murder, suicide, and pretty much every other harrowing event you can think of. Granted, not in as much detail but enough is implied for you to seriously get the message, sometimes less is more and we end up feeling worse due to lack of visual representation too. We get a hotline afterwards. After we are possibly affected we are told if you are we can help. Sure, its better than nothing but the heads up would be nice! Sometimes an announcer might mention an episode is not suitable for children, but there are no specifics, nothing to help us gauge what triggers may be hit, until its too late. Films are even worse! They have a certificate rating but thats it, no indication as to what will happen until you’re there, with extreme cases of upsetting material I feel this should be shown. It takes 2 seconds to whip up a slide on powerpoint saying the same as the featured image I have used. Sure you could use the argument of “so many people get upset by so much we would have to warn for everything” I get that, really I do. But if Netfix can use its judgement I don’t see why others can’t. Its something I know I was grateful for and I am sure others were too.

It is really hard for me to decide whether I like this series or not. I think it’s impossible to enjoy given the subject matter, but it pushes some serious issues in society, it deglamorizes suicide and mental health. It shows rape in the light it needs, that its not just a predator in the dark, its not just strangers, it can be friends, loved ones, it can be anyone. It shows that you can survive it, that some people do. Some people don’t. It shows the unbelievable attitude towards drunken rape, throwing a spotlight on “young men with potential” in high school and the almost untouchable power they are sometimes shown to have, something thrown to light in several court cases. It shows the impact suicide has on families and friends. It has started a conversation. From those who like the program and those who disagree with it, we have been thrown this line, to talk. To agree and disagree, to explore what mental health is to others and how we can support them. It pushes us to question society we live in, it makes us relate to situations Hannah is in, then to feel shocked that we do see ourselves there. Toilets covered in nasty graffiti? I am from the UK and this was the norm. This show has provoked people into talking about things that need to be talked about. If it took this to start that conversation then so be it. It makes us think before we speak, before we act. It encourages us to take that time to listen, to be a helping hand to someone, to be kind but to also understand that no matter how kind our actions, we are not in control of how other perceive them. That we can only do our best and to be held accountable when we have done all we can is unfair. I feel it teaches us to think. Regardless of our pasts, our experiences and our previous encounters, to see each person as a fresh page in a book, to remember our past but not live by it.

I believe I have come away with two very important questions not only for myself, but for others, those questions I will leave you all with:

Do you know a Hannah Baker?

Would you/will you save her?

 

 

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Dragons and Maids and Magic… Oh My! 

So this weekend gone was a relaxing one, myself and my other half spent the time binge watching Anime and going for a short walk in Virginia Water Lake. 

The anime in question was the rather charming Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid. A very cute story about a woman (Kobayashi) drunkenly saving the life of a Dragon  (Tohru) who had come into our world by accident when trying to escape an attack. It watched very much like a Slice of Life anime but with added magic and dragons. There are previews that hint at a serious moment incoming that always turns out to be just some hilarious conundrum caused by a few other dragons who have randomly appeared. 

The main characters are Kobayashi and Tohru. After Kobayashi saves her life and goes home in a drunken stupor, she forgets about the entire experience and is suitably shocked when Tohru arrives at her flat the next morning (in Dragon form… obviously) then transforming to a more human like state (aside from a tail and horns) confirms that actually yes. She did save her and also wanted Tohru to be her maid as a way to repay the favour.

Tohru is besotted and this leads to a lot of romance related jokes, some fanservice (D for Dragon…….) and some really cute heartfelt moments. We are later joined by Kanna, a younger Dragon who does not possess the power to return home but seems quite content to stay with Tohru. Adding a child into the mix only adds to the comedy but also adds a slight loli presence to the anime… so please be prepared for that. 

Overall I absolutely adored this anime. It’s so lighthearted and fun, with a few cute moments and some hilarious lines thrown in there. It’s complete trash and it makes me happy.

Yes. I’m cosplaying Tohru. And no. I’m not serving my tail for dinner. 

International Women’s Day

The day is upon us! Where some people love to scream it from the rooftops whilst others quietly raise a toast, I very much like to do the latter.I love that we celebrate women in all of our glory, that it gives men the opportunity to also show that support. I see people everywhere paying homage to the women in their lives who have made them the people they are, and its the most beautiful thing I’ll see until Halloween.

So for my tribute to the thousands, I wish to celebrate the unsung heroes in my life. The only reason I say unsung is because despite numerous emails, the Nobel Peace Prize I requested for them all, seems to keep getting lost in the post… It was very hard for me to pick the people in my life to highlight on this day, and those I have left out are in no way less than these, its more I had to narrow myself to 5 or this post would be decades long. Every single woman in my life has been of influence in some way shape or form, these are the 5 I feel need more love from me.

So onto the first. It will come as no surprise to anyone that the award for unconditional determination goes to…. Mum! Thats right, my Mother. (I’m allowed to award her with stuff its my job) Throughout my life she has remained strong, encouraging and compassionate. No matter what I’ve thrown at her (Trust me, there has been a lot) she has always managed to see things not only through my eyes, but from a completely unbiased point of view. Allowing me to understand the world in a far better way. She is fierce for her daughters, like seriously… Don’t mess with us… Ever. Yet strong with us too, she is thoughtful, kind and friendly to all without exception, provided you treat her with the same respect. This taught me to accept myself and whilst understanding the value of a second chance, when its been about 5 second chances and its time to leave. She gave me the confidence to be who I am today.

The second Lady to mention is very much a Lady. Lady M to be precise. I speak here of Jo, who very deservingly gets the award for unwavering sturdiness. Which sounds weird, but let me explain. I cannot think of a situation in which Jo has not only met it head on, with a hockey stick, but so head on that the problem either slowly starts to shake and regret its life choices, or it simplifies to a far more manageable state that actually it always was, but decided to get cocky. Jo makes time for everyone even when actually she should be looking after herself, she runs a wonderful page called T.W.I.T.T (Today’s Women In Tomorrow’s Technology) Which basically encompasses everything IWD is actually about. Her determination and pride in her family, friends and work makes her formidable to the common folk, her excitement at disney is only rivalled by the excitement I get towards dinosaurs, even then its a close call… In short, Joanne taught me that I am worth sticking up for, that I should argue back when its correct but also remember that others have feelings. To pursue my passions and to be confident in what I do.

 

My third award winner is none other than my cousin Hannah, she will be awarded the Positively enlightening award. No matter how hard things get, nor how bad I feel, she always pulls me back up. Whether its a phone call, a disney night or simply snapchat filters, she is relentless in her pursuit of positivity. Her thoughtfulness knows no bounds, as an example for christmas she took me to see Jurassic Park at the Natural History Museum. If thats not knowing me inside out I don’t know what is. She is completely selfless and enthusiastic about everything. Her ability to blend in with any friend group amazes me, I don’t think she could ever make anyone feel unwelcome if she tried. Despite her own hardships she has always made time for me. She has taught me to smile. To believe in myself because I truly believe she is my biggest fan. To think positively and encourage others to do so too.

 

Award number 4 goes to my sister Jade. We may not dine together all the time, we may not have been the cosiest of sisters growing up, but the award for endless support goes to her. No matter what I’ve done, how silly, serious, upsetting or wrong. She listens. She not only listens but she tells me what I don’t want to hear, the truth. Throughout our childhood I have gone to her to talk, to vent about anyone and everyone. Sure, she joins in too but the point is that she knows me so well, I cannot hide from her and there isn’t a better person out there. She sees things from everyones point of view and points out where I could be wrong, or where I am right. She looks out for me in ways I would never do for myself and motivates me to be a better person. Jade makes me become more honest, with myself and with others. She helps me to see from a different viewpoint and my god is she funny! She makes me laugh way too much and I couldn’t be happier. She has taught me to be open and never to bottle things up. That its ok to be cross at someone and vent it out to someone else, to get more viewpoints on a situation before acting on them.

 

The final award goes to… Myself. What is this tomfoolery I hear you bellow. A travesty you say? Well, actually no. Today is a day to celebrate women, and I am one of those. I spend so much time looking at the good in others that it would be an insult to those who have shaped my life if I didn’t give a little pat on the back to myself now and then. So the award for hard earned bravery goes to me. Because for these women to shine through I needed hardships, for the light there must be dark. I have forced my way through, kicking and screaming at times, but I have done it. I have made mistakes that would make Trump cringe, but I’ve also brought smiles that Disneyworld will never see. I’ve encouraged, loved, supported and inspired people I don’t even know about. I have shown others their worth, boosted confidence and encouraged understanding. I have given advice (that I so seldom follow myself) -I can make Alice In Wonderland references…-  And I like to think I’ve given some degree of happiness to people. I work hard and beat myself up harder,  I second guess myself and I question my worth with every breath I take. But you know what? I can face it. I can face my life because not only do I have these women, I have an army more. I have men who know  what equality is. I have family who know how to love. I have friends who inspire me daily and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

So on International Women’s Day, if you’re going to celebrate a woman in your life, make it you. Because Castiel be damned you’re worth celebrating.

Social Circles

Like most people, I have different social groups, some from the good old school days, others from my more recent endeavours in cosplay, and even those groups split into different mini groups. 

But something I’ve noticed about my groups, is that I am very much on the edge of them all. I don’t feel deeply involved in any despite efforts to meet up or message. Now, this isn’t me bitching about anyone or anything in particular, it’s more a musing on my social skills, I am awful at replying to messages, meaning I do get left out of the loop, at social gatherings I don’t tend to try and strike up conversation anymore, I’d rather play with the candles or be lost in thought. 

I wonder if this leads me to come across as rather unapproachable, or just as lot of hard work. Either way I am happy to have  the people in my life that I do, but it does make me feel a little isolated at times. It’s something I’m trying to improve, but I am a sensitive soul, so when I try to actively be a part of a group but still get left out of plans and occasions, it can be a little hurtful. Knocking the confidence and starting the loop again. 

I’d love to get to a stage where I can happily interact with everyone, be the person people invite out and want to talk to, but I know it takes a long time and lots of work to get there. Besides, friendship is a two way Street, and as much as there are groups I long to be a bigger part of, there are others I feel I’ve overstayed in, that perhaps my efforts will never quite be enough, and that my dears, is when it’s time to walk away. 


 

Day One

Well, here we are. I’ve committed now so there is no turning back. I’m taking part in the “De-Choc” event set up by The British Heart Foundation. The idea is to completely cut out chocolate for the course of March. This ties in nicely with those participating in Lent, if I last the month who knows? I may even extend it to the length of Lent too, but no promises! 

But Alice! Why are you doing this?! I possibly hear you cry. Well, yes it does seem to be a bit counter productive for someone who is trying to gain weight, but I actually think chocolate resides at the root of my problem. You see, I’m a rather fussy eater, so chocolate has always been something I know I can comfortably eat without worrying, meaning it’s become pretty much the core of my diet. Contrary to popular belief, this does not help me gain weight at all, in fact it fills me up quicker and stops me from eating normal food. 

Now it may be worth noting here that I do suffer with a horrible relationship with food, I am not diagnosed with an eating disorder however my attitude and emotions towards food are highly indicative of one. To summarise my feelings quickly and easily, I am repulsed by food. The thought of having to eat each day makes me feel sick and I cannot stand hearing or watching others eat. I find meal times distressing and do not enjoy food at all. It is NOT associated with body image or weight, if anything I am keen to gain weight as I have Neen humiliated by my lack of body fat countless times. 

Ok… so why? Why take out a food I have come to rely on so heavily? Well for that reason. If the food that I rely on to avoid eating proper food is gone, the hunger will still be there. Thus forcing me to find other alternatives. (So  far I’m snacking on bananas) it is to encourage me to find new foods and improve my attitude towards eating in general. The hope is, by the end of it I’ll still have the same appetite, but with new foods in place chocolate will become a treat as opposed to a staple food. I am doing it properly, of course. No half measures! Meaning no hot chocolate, milkshake, nor chocolate flavoured…anything really.

I am well aware of how mentally draining this will be, people may laugh and say “it’s only chocolate” but from what I have said above I hope the weight of what I am doing comes through, I’m tackling something huge in my life that is sure to cause me distress, I’m pushing myself to think about food, to try new foods and effectively put a spotlight on a part of my life of which I am terrified. I know the positive outcome will far outweigh the initial struggle, but please bear with me for this month, I’ll probably be a vulnerable ball of nope. 

Here’s to my birthday being on Easter Sunday! 

Support.

So I tried leaving it a couple of days to see if anything exciting would happen in my life to blog about… As you can see it didn’t particularly! So instead I am going to talk about someone who is constantly exciting in my life. 

That person is my Player 2, Darryl. We have been together almost 7 years now and somehow he still puts up with me! The main reason for writing this is to show him as much support as he shows me. When I first started cosplay he did nothing but encourage me, and has continued to do so ever since. I even got him to cosplay a couple of times! 

The topic I want to talk about now though is his hard work on having a healthy lifestyle. He is very strict with his diet and exercise regime, going to the gym 5 times a week with his gym buddy, for an hour each time. I couldn’t explain what they do there but I know it includes weights and exercise that would be enough to give me a well deserved 5 year nap! They only ever do exercises that are safe etc, of course minor injuries cannot always be helped but thanks to his research and careful hard work I can so far report no worries on that area! 

This Gym timetable would of course be pointless if not backed up by a strong diet to back it up. Darryl always sends me pictures and descriptions of his latest dish, preparing meals for the week to take to work on the Sunday, from Jambalaya to Chinese, all healthy and balanced but with good portions. I personally admire this disciplined approach to food, possibly more so thanks to my own lack of food comfortability. 

Of course this lifestyle is not for the weak, food times need to be adhered to, no eating after 8 and Sunday is the only treat day! Working plans around the gym can also be hard and I’d be a rotten liar if I said it never frustrated me a little at times, but at the end of the day this makes him happy, he is proud of his meals and the results from the gym (I don’t mind them either!) And to me it is so much more important for him to be happy and confident than for me to plan something without considering this. It would also be hugely mean to not support this when he has been so tolerant of me parading around in different costumes, being away at weekends and generally posting a lot on social media, sometimes in ballgowns. Other times in spandex… he has the patience of a saint.

I suppose I just wanted to show off the hard work he puts in, people say how hard these lifestyles and most people presume gyms are for steroids and judgement, but not everyone is like that, sure they are out there, but I’m proud of Darryl, he never tries to push this lifestyle on me but gently encourages me to try new foods and look after my body. This has all done wonders for his confidence, he even has an instagram now! (@dph_fitness) in which pi tires and videos from the gym and food are posted, for anyone else interested in what he and his friend do. If anyone said to me that Darryl would have an instagram I would laugh my head off. It’s out if character for him but I am so glad he feels confident and happy enough in himself to do it.

Photo by www.facebook.com/carlosadamaphotography 

Weekend Craziness

So its been a difficult weekend for blogging, mainly due to not being around much nor having spare time which isn’t always a bad thing! This weekend was spent having some quality time with Player 2, an extension of Valentines really.

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So the grand adventure started in Windsor. Like true cheeky sods we headed straight for Nando’s, as these things require energy (something I generally lack) We ordered the rarely eaten dish off the menu… Chicken! From there it was off to the Fudge Kitchen, a delightful little shop that sells handmade fudge, in an amazing assortment of flavours. The staff were wonderfully excited, friendly and enthusiastic but with no pressure to buy at all. I personally favoured the dark chocolate & sea salt, whereas Player 2 went for a few different slices, from chocolate orange to peanut butter.

After that we wandered down to an old antique shop, as I have a soft spot for these places. Filled with gorgeous Cameos & some beautiful dresses from the 30’s, it was safe to say I was smitten. The lady in the store told us about a charity shop completely dedicated to vintage clothing, so our original route now included a stop to this shop. Inside was a beautiful mix of vintage and retro clothing, including a two piece green suit which I admit hugely caught my eye! It’s a real must see for those who love all thing vintage, from dresses to jackets they literally have everything covered.

From there we embarked on our adventure. From the Shire to Mordor. Or (perhaps less dramatically) Windsor Castle to the Copper Horse. This is no quick stroll, there and back again, (yes, I know I know) Is about 5 miles, and when you’re as lazy as I am thats a pretty strong effort! Along the way there was plenty of dog spotting, pokemon hunting and more importantly, simple chit chat between us. I am a firm believer that a good walk and conversation are far more valuable than any trinket or lavash trip, so moments like these are always hugely appreciated, I see them as a great time to bond, listen to each others opinions on the world and generally just touch base. Sadly my boots were not made for walking, so I now sport wonderful blisters… All part of the fun really…

So all in all its been a fabulous weekend. Today was spent resting up whilst binge watching season 9 of Supernatural. Dean and Castiel are my favorites, I will not be convinced otherwise! I highly recommend a trip to Windsor if you’re local, its good fun and you might just see the Queen!

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Third Time Lucky.

So it’s my third post! I’d you’ve made it this far, congratulations. If you didn’t, well that’s neither here nor there! 

So I decided this post should be about my general interests. The Cosplay side of things has already been adequately explained but other things get slightly overshadowed. 

The first one to mention is my complete love of Dinosaurs. This started when I was very young and has unapologetically stomped it’s way into my adulthood, evolving all the time. My favorite will always be our good friend Rex, with Raptors coming in at a close second. I’d never paid much mind to herbivores, something that rings very true in my list of modern day favorite animals, perhaps I prefer those with a similar eating habits to me, or perhaps I’m just in awe of stuff with big teeth. 

Another interest of mine is far newer to my life, it comes in the form of some well crafted wood and some strings, (no. It’s not BDSM) The Violin is never something I’d have thought to take up, I’ve never been musically talented and to even consider playing something so easy to mess up just seemed laughable. But in the 6/7 months I’ve been playing, I’ve already played with an Orchestra, learnt a few well known but simple tunes and have had the pleasure of playing alongside my Dad, who coincidently is the inspiration behind playing in the first place.

I am part of a good few fandoms. Harry Potter and LOTR being my main two, but backed up firmly with MCU, Disney and Supernatural. I like to think of myself as a simple geek, happy in her own bubble. Master of no fandom but a friend to all. There are so many I am in that to list them would be a very long and probably quite boring task! 

So there you have it. I do like to play games, I’m in a D&D group, I partake in alcohol and generally give anything a go. I love hearing about other people’s interests, so if you have any, tell me about them! I’m always open to a chat. 

London Anime & Gaming Con

So, whilst I have been sick I decided to have a write about something that has already happened instead of giving you a detailed account of how I wasted a day in bed watching anime! (as fun as that was to do with my Player 2… And as great as Assassination Classroom is) The best thing to talk about seemed to be my latest Convention which just so happens to be my first one of the year, making it a great start to this very regular blog.

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I was lucky enough to be considered interesting enough to attend as a Guest to LAGC, something I have done a few times for Anime League and has always been a fun but professional experience. Each time I have been invited to give a talk, something that terrified me the first time and if I’m completely honest still gives me the nervous butterflies now! In a very brave and I would say compassionate move,  Anime League have allowed me to hold a talk on mental health, something we all know has a rather unattractive stigma tied to it which, when talked about in a public place, can invite those who are more ignorant to it to ridicule and possibly target.

I can quite proudly say this has never been the case at one of my talks. I have had a fantastic turn out each time with both familiar and new faces, all of which have taken in my ramblings and some have even taken the time to approach me afterwards with their thoughts. It may seem like a small thing but I really think talks like this help break down certain stereotypes and help people to realise that its ok to talk about these things.

Alas! I digress. The convention itself was held in the London Metropolitan University, also known as the Rocket Complex. It’s a really funky venue for a convention and has more of a club/pub feel in the main stage area than a convention. As you wander through the corridors however, you can find different rooms filled with merch stalls and artists galore! It’s any Weeb’s dream (including mine) I personally indulged in Pocky and artwork from my wonderful friend who I will boast about later! The convention hosts a cool gaming area with anything from dance machines to classic arcade games, with newer consoles set up and even PC gaming available. So you can literally go from sitting at home playing Overwatch to getting a train and sitting to play Overwatch! (I personally see no issue here) Throughout the day there are also numerous performances for you to watch, from singing, dancing to youtube panels and clan battles, I guarantee you will find yourself watching someone at some point! But as the name suggests this convention is also very Anime orientated, with hilarious anime reels running on the main stage screen in-between talks, oddly fitting but comedic music playing over famous scenes in anime. (Full Metal Alchemist scene with dog revealed as spliced with small child…to the tune of who let the dogs out) Most of the merch is also anime related, from cute Asuna key rings to full on Sonico body pillows, this convention is sure to fill all of your possible needs.

I spent my time mainly with friends, catching up and having photos taken of my Poison Ivy cosplay, I had taken a lot of time to hot glue the train together so I decided it was best to get some photographic evidence of something I made not actually falling apart!  This also happened on the Sunday when I decided to let out my inner Anime school girl and cosplay Miyuki from Lucky Star, prompting some very cute photoshoots! We mainly browsed the stalls and generally relaxed. As a guest one of my duties was to judge the Cosplay Masquerade, something that was quite gruelling by the end as there were an awful lot of entries! I never quite feel good enough to be judging others which usually makes me feel a bit inferior next to the other Judges but after a while I realised that I was the only one who felt like that and I had been invited to guest, so I was just as capable as anyone else. In the end we had an amazing Yuri on Ice couple win overall, their costumes were perfect and the performance was well rehearsed and perfectly in character.

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All in all this was a really nice start to the year, I saw loads of people, met new friends and got to talk about something close to my heart. My costume didn’t fall apart and no one died! Can’t ask for much more really. I had a childhood friend come along with me, someone who has never been to a convention nor known anything about cosplay until I came storming back into his life. Safe to say he blended in well and dare I even say he enjoyed himself!

I was also lucky enough to buy artwork from my favourite artist Sashdoesdoodles Who astounds me with his talent. He was kind enough to draw my Patronus (Aardvarks are cool I don’t care what you say) and I bought a pre-drawn print of a very cute bear for my own Player 2 bear at home. Go and check out his stuff. You will fall in love instantly I promise.

Initiate Blogging Sequence.

So I’ve wanted to get myself to a point in which I would blog regularly for a while and I figured now would be a great time. I am surrounded by incredibly creative & inspiring people who certainly encouraged this decision.

I’m not going to pocket this space into a specific category, as in it won’t just be about cosplay, nor day to day musings. I am hoping it will be a delightfully messy amalgamation of my thoughts. Of course I will cover cosplay, violin and other well known interests of mine but this is to be a daily blog and unfortunately my entire life does not comprise of these two things alone!

To start this blog on a very positive note, I have just received a confirmation email from MCM Expo granting me a Press Pass for the upcoming May event! It’s the first time I have ever applied for something like this as I am a firm believer in myself generally being on the same level as trash. It does bring a small flicker of pride to my mind though, it lightly confirms that all the wig-aches, blisters, costume malfunctions and general cosplay mishaps have meant something. It may not be much to some, others will have been press for a long time and see it as positively old-hat! But to little old me its a firm post of achievement in what hopes to be a promising future. With this in mind, however, we can expect longer, more detailed vlogging from myself in the future. Just… please don’t expect structure!

Feature Photo by the wonderful Kaiju Industries