Role Reboot

It occurred to me that I linked my essay “The Year I Was Diagnosed With Lupus” to here, but that I never actually told you the circumstances of how I started reading Role Reboot and why I was so interested in publishing with them (and have been interested in doing so for the last year).

I first discovered Role Reboot after I started reading Emily Rapp’s Little Seal Blog. I believe I found Little Seal after Taylor Swift released her song “Ronan” about a different Ronan. I loved Rapp’s writing, and so I googled her and found her first book, and then the essays that she has published with Role Reboot and other places, as well. I liked that Role Reboot didn’t shy away from the nitty gritty of life, because that is what life is for many people: situations that you wish were different but are powerless to change.

I like reading about people who have atypical experiences. In Star Trek, the Vulcans say, “Infinite diversity in infinite combination,” and I believe that to be true of people, though there are experiences that are universal, each person experiences things differently. Sometimes, media can be so monotonous that it feels as though the same things happen over and over and over. To find a place where people were writing about things I’d never experienced was an incredible joy.

My experiences of life have also been quite different. Most 24 year olds don’t undergo treatment for their third autoimmune disease. Most 24 year olds aren’t incapacitated by their symptoms. So a year ago, when I first wrote things that didn’t quite fit with my memoir on chronic illness, my first thought was that maybe they were things that could be adapted for publication by Role Reboot. Almost a year later, I had an essay, not one of the pieces I’d written a year earlier, but an essay that worked on the same themes as the pieces of a year ago, published by Role Reboot, and I was ecstatic. Chronic illness isn’t a subject that many journals will broach. It is depressing. It is difficult. It is fraught. And it is scary. But I didn’t think that that would be a problem in this case. I submitted to Role Reboot first, and told myself that they would reject it. But if they had rejected it, I had no idea where else to submit it with any hope of publication.

When I heard that Role Reboot had accepted my essay, then entitled ‘The Lupus Year’, I was ecstatic.

I am so happy to be back to feeling like a writer, and I am hopeful that this coming academic year will bring more essays published, and perhaps… Perhaps it will even bring a book deal (I HOPE).

Mean Girls

Every time I rewatch Mean Girls, I fall in love with it again. For a very long time, my family worked Mean Girls quotes into every. single. conversation we had. It’s been a long time (for me) since I’ve seen it, but it’s a movie that maintains its wonderment each time I view it.

The dialogue is hilarious.

I also love that the parents are kooky and eccentric, and that they came from the fields of Africa to the middle of the country. It’s such a culture shock experience, and the set up is just wonderful. And the Africa references make me love it even more.

I love that Cady begins as an unapologetically intelligent, albeit very naive person. She is taking advanced calculus class, a class meant for seniors, and she is not a senior. She wears a bracelet that her mom made her, and is presentable, but not overly dressed up for school, and wearing very little makeup. When Halloween rolls around, she dresses up in an incredible costume while other girls show up wearing very little clothing and animal ears.

All this makes the transition even better.

Then, by the end of the movie, Cady has redeemed and re-humanized herself.

I love this movie.

Mean Girls is available to stream on Netflix.

Elephant Journal

I find a lot of literary magazines and online journals I never new existed because my friends are being published by them.

In the spring, a friend of mine from grad school posted a link to a piece she wrote that was published by Elephant Journal. I thought the name was cool, but didn’t know anything about them. She’s published more pieces with Elephant Journal since then, and about a month ago I became a member so that I could read as many of their pieces each day as I wanted. I also got stickers, which were quite a draw towards membership.

One thing that I really like about Elephant Journal is that it is a very open journal, writing about eco-friendly, green, wellness, and practices such as yoga. From their About Page: “The mindful life is about yoga, organics, sustainability, conscious consumerism, enlightened education, the contemplative arts, adventure, bicycling, family…everything. But mostly it’s about this present moment, right here, right now, and how we can best be of benefit, and have a good time doing so.” What a beautiful notion upon which to found a journal!

I don’t do yoga–I am way too clumsy, but enough of my friends do that I am not entirely lost in that world. I do eat organically as much as possible. I try to be conscious about my purchases, and to educate others. I grew up in a separate culture from my peers, even though we lived in the same communities at the same time. I think what I love about Elephant Journal is that it feels like home to so many different varieties of outsiders, and for writers, it seems to say, You are different, and we welcome you.

If you are able to support Elephant Journal (a readers’ membership is just $13 a year), I urge you to consider doing so. If you are not, I encourage you to give their articles a read from time to time. You never know when you will find an article that impacts your life!

My Dear Readers

  

Thank you so much for coming along on this journey with me! Seeing this this morning made me so, so happy. I am so grateful for you. 

Orange Is The New Black

Orange is the New Black is another show that I am super late to the party for. Last summer, Mom tried to make me watch OitNB on Netflix and it was actually the worst connection I have ever had. The syncing of the dialogue and the picture was all off, and the picture was lagging so significantly I had absolutely no idea what was going on. Mom had watched it before that with minimal problems, but I opted not to watch it because it was driving me crazy.

Back in February, we spent my sister’s birthday at the largest mall in our area. I was in a very bad way that day and spent most of the day sitting in rest areas playing Panda Pop. But I hobbled into an FYE store, and bought, among other things, season 1 of OitNB on DVD. Since that day, Mom and I have watched those DVDs more than once, and recently, I received OitNB Season 2 on DVD from Amazon, and so we watched those while we were waiting for Season 3 to come out on Netflix. Since it came out last week, we are undecided if we will watch on Mom’s new Fire TV stick or online on our own, or what. But this show just keeps getting better and better. It looks like it’s a lot of fun to shoot, and I think that is reflected in the quality of the show.

You can buy Orange is the New Black on DVD from Amazon, or stream it on Netflix!

Outback Steakhouse

Whenever we go to see my grandparents, we go out to eat. My family is highly motivated by food, and also seeing them while we’re all eating eliminates some of the awkward silences known to most families as we clumsily move from topic to topic.

Because of my celiac, I am incredibly limited in where I can eat safely, because a lot of restaurants have gluten free or allergen menus and allergen statements, but a lot of places have food that is rife with cross contamination. Because I am so sensitive to gluten, even the smallest amount of cross contamination can be a big problem for me, so this means that we generally go to the same few places over and over. But the issue with us going out isn’t only my celiac: my mom and sister are vegetarian, and my sister is a very picky eater.

One time when we were going to see my grandparents, we decided to go to Outback Steakhouse after discovering that they have a gluten free menu. We’ve been a few times since, and recently, we discovered that their dessert, Thunder From Down Under is gluten free. My sister ordered one and our waiter asked if we wanted 3 spoons, and I said no, and he said that it’s all gluten free, and that there are no regular flour brownies. We got three spoons. I had about 3 spoonfuls before I had to stop so the richness and wonderfulness of it didn’t make me sick. Any restaurant where I can get a steak and a lobster tail or a steak and shrimp is good with me, especially if I can also get a loaded baked potato or garlic mashed potatoes. And throwing the dessert into consideration means that Outback is basically my new favorite place.

And I have never gotten sick there. This is a huge win. My sister’s favorite restaurant for a long time was Applebee’s (it might still be). We go there from time to time, and I am not opposed to eating there, but it’s entirely hit or miss in terms of cross contamination, and my getting sick. We always tell them that I have a severe gluten problem, and please to make sure that nothing else touches my food, but flour is something that goes airborne remarkably well, plus if a chief puts a burger on a bun using his spatula and that spatula touches the bun and then touches my steak, it could be a problem for me.

When I was a kid, the Fosters beer commercial was my favorite. I like Australian accents, and some of the idioms that come out of the mouths of Aussies. I think they’re funny. While Applebee’s is more of a hometown bar and grill, Outback feels like more of a restaurant somehow, and the one closest to me is now serving Dr. Pepper, which has always been my favorite soda. (I am perpetually trying to remove soda from my diet, but sometimes it is the only thing that works, and I don’t believe in the complete depravation of something that you really like, because that isn’t healthy.) So that’s something else that Outback has going for it.

I can’t wait to go back to Outback (and also to eat my leftovers). If you have food restrictions, how do you cope with them when you go out to eat? What are your favorite places to eat?

I Fall In Love With Shows That End Too Soon, and Other Confessions.

It’s easier for me to re-watch shows I’ve seen many times before than it is for me to watch a new show. I’m terrible at watching a show straight through, though I used to have a far better attention span and wonder where it went. I fall in love with shows that end too soon, and spend an inordinate amount of time re-watching those shows in mourning, and wondering what would have happened had they not been cancelled?

Make it or Break it was cancelled after 3 seasons. Body of Proof after 3. Breaking Pointe after 2. Bunheads after 1.

Then there are shows that I love that I am so far behind on that I have to remind myself they still exist. I absolutely adore Reign, but I have missed almost this entire season. I love The Royals, the first season of which has ended (Season 2 starts in the fall). Orphan Black is the one show that I keep up with religiously because it’s a fandom that I am very active in. I used to be all about Rizzoli & Isles, but loving that show hurt my heart a lot, and so I have all but stopped watching it (I still see a lot on tumblr, in terms of gifs and summaries and commentaries, so I still know what’s going on, which has not given me incentive to watch it again).

It takes a lot for me to invest in a show that may or may not be good, and that may or may not be allowed to live up to its full potential. Re-watching old shows are a sure thing. Even if you know that they aren’t good or that they are problematic, you know the body of work as a whole, which is enough to get you through the (hopefully occasionally) wonky episode or 2. Because fiction is such a real world to me, I don’t want to love it unless it’s going to be great.

So, what shows have you had high hopes for and been disappointed by? What shows defied your expectations, either positively or negatively?

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