3:30 AM Thoughts on Friends

I used to think that I was a horrible friend. Maybe it’s because in middle school and high school–especially high school–I was always told I was. Maybe not in those words but I felt like I was a horrible friend. I won’t lie, I did things I’m not proud of in high school. I got caught up in the petty drama and I hurt my friends, but can we also acknowledge a few things?

Like the fact we were teenagers. Teenagers are stupid. They do and say stupid things to impress their friends. They say and do stupid things just to do it. Teenagers want to fit in and be cool, and I was acting like every other teenager, more or less.

In high school, my friends would act all supportive and then call me a whore and slut behind my back. They’d talk about me, the constant whispers took a strain on me. That happened a lot in sophomore year. I’d hang out with them and then the next day a rumor would start about me. It hurt. So you know what, I did retaliate. I stirred the drama pot. Looking back at it now, I think I wanted to fit in, I wanted to not be the whore or the slut. Or the girl who was causing problems. I just wanted to blend in and be the wallflower. Instead, I ended up as the doormat.

I think we need to realize, or rather acknowledge and understand. that in high school, I wasn’t just going through the regular teenage stuff. We all had our own problems and issues that we were all going through. You never know what’s going on in someone’s life.

Now that’s not an excuse. I wasn’t the best friend, but it is a reason. But come on. What teenagers make the right decisions? No one does. Add in hormones and peer pressure, you get a disaster of a human beings. Then on top of all that teenage idiocy, I had adult problems.

I had to figure out how to pay for bills and food.

I had to get up early to make sure the kids got on the bus.

I had to help the kids with their home, cook dinner and clean the house.

I had all of that on top of teenage life and school work. And I think that’s why I was a doormat.

My friends got me through high school. They were my safe haven. They gave me a place to go when I needed a break from my shitty life. When I wanted to just be a teenager and that’s it.

But you know what? My friends also hurt me the most.

I put up with the whispers and the taunts because I didn’t want to lose them. I didn’t have anyone else I could turn to but my friends. So I shut my mouth, most of the time, smiled and bared it, and you know what, I did lash out after I’d had enough. Then I was the bad guy. They made me feel like I was always the problem. Like I was the one who had to apologize for my shortcomings. But they never did. They made me feel like my words were insignificant because no one ever listened anyways. They made me feel like I had to change and adapt to the situation, and then they’d call me manipulative and a liar. They’d call me fake. I got called that a lot. Along with a whore.

You know what? I did fool around in high school with different boys and a few girls. But I didn’t have sex with anyone until I was 18. After high school. I was experimenting during high school. What teenager doesn’t? I will say that it was nice when I did come out as bisexual and the support I got from my friends, it was great.

My mother on the other hand. She said it was ‘phase.’ I hated that.

But honestly, all that experimenting in high school, it was detrimental to my health. I was lonely and hurting. And honestly, I wanted to feel something. Life was rough and I wanted to feel something. It didn’t make me feel better. It made me feel worse. And I think a part of me went ‘Well if they’re going to call me a whore, I’ll give them one.’

When I got back from Iowa, I slept around. I screwed over my friends, both literally and figuratively. I burned a lot of bridges. I was angry and hurting. I thought I had finally escaped my shitty life with my shitty mother, but I hadn’t. I was right back where I started. That pissed me off. So yeah. I slept around. I messed up some friendships. I regretted it afterwards.

And when I moved to Arkansas, and I was in a better headspace, I apologized. I apologized to the guys for using them and hurting them. I was hurting and barely any of my friends reached out and thought to ask hey are you okay? What do you need? Instead, I was alone. Maybe not all the way alone but often times I felt like If I reached out to complain they wouldn’t care. That it was just typical Keely.

I know I was awful then but I was going through a lot. And honestly, I don’t think I was near as awful as I think or how people made me out to be. It doesn’t excuse it, but I have apologized, and I think it’s time that I gave my 15 year old self, my 19 year old self, and the ages in between some credit. I think it’s time I apologized to myself and to realize that I was only 15. Yes I made mistakes, but I don’t need them thrown in my face.

I was only 19, angry at the world. Yes, I slept around and screwed over some guys. But come on. What 19 year hasn’t? That’s the time to explore and figure out who you are. Now I wasn’t trying to figure out who I was. I was self-flagellating. I was hurting myself by letting guys use me however they wanted because again, I wanted to feel something. I’ve acknowledged that. I’ve apologized. I don’t need it thrown at my face every time. I needed a friend then, and I didn’t really have one. Not a consistent one.

I used to think that it was all on me why I have this habit of losing friends. Like it was all my fault. That I was the awful friend. Truth is, after a lot of thought, I’ve realized that I’m not an awful friend. In high school I wasn’t the best but I tried. Now I do more than try, but I think I have the tendency of getting friends who don’t try. I claim everyone as my best friend but I’m not theirs. I cling to them. I make excuses. I don’t see the fact they’re not a good friend to me. Like the fact I always answer their call when they need me but they are always too busy to talk. If I don’t answer then they get angry at me. How I spend a week with them and they made me feel like an inconvenience the entire time. How they treat me like an idiot, talking down at me, being condescending. How I can never get a word in edgewise. It’s always about them.

Or how when they call and want to talk about their job, and I’m excited about my job so I ramble. I realize that I messed up and I apologize to them. They had said they were hurt that I did that. So I acknowledged that and I apologized. Tell them to call me and I want to hear all about it. Because I’ve missed them and it’s been a crazy semester. I want to caught up. I enjoy talking yo them. Then they call and tell me that they want to take a break from our friendship. That they need to work on themselves before they can friends again. And it might be the truth, but also, this isn’t the first time.

It makes me wonder if I’m the problem. If they want a break from me because I did something wrong. I apologized. But they don’t want to be friends. It makes me self doubt and think I did something wrong. Was it just that incident? I apologized and I was sincere. Was I never a good friend to them? Was I never their best friend? Do they even miss me? I’ve gone through a break up and family drama and, I, of course wanted to reach out to them but I don’t. Because they don’t want to speak to me. To be friends. Do they even care? Or are they going through their life, carefree and free of my apparently awful friendship?

Perhaps it’s petty to write it here. Maybe it’s being shady or something. But I’ve never been good at speaking. I get tripped up and I stutter. But when I write, it flows. It’s why I have this blog. I’m a writer at heart. I mean this blog is called “The Inner Workings” after all. It’s all about me and in my head.

I’m almost 28 now. I’m not the same person I was ten years ago. I’ve grown up. I’ve learned. I’ve evolved like a Pokémon. I’m proud of who I am and I can’t wait to see who I am ten years from now. Maybe it’s naive to think I’ll keep my friends from high school. It is naive. None of us are the same. I barely speak to those from high school. Only a few random messages and comments on FB. But that’s okay. We’ve all grown up and adapted and changed. We aren’t the same. We talk when we can and that’s enough. The congratulations and how are you doings. It’s enough.

And you know what, those two people may have not thought I was their best friend, they may have hurt me intentionally or unintentionally but they were my best friends. They may not be anymore but that’s okay. I’ve learned from them. We’ve had great times. And not so great times. But without them I probably wouldn’t have made it out of high school. At times I miss them, but I’ve got life to live. They can’t consume my thoughts because, honestly, I don’t think they think about me. I think to them I was a burden. I was some clingy girl who clung to them and they allowed it. But I wasn’t their best friend. I don’t even know if they considered me their friend. I do know that I ignored the issues. I ignored how one would talk down at me and how the other brought up my sleeping around with guys and accusing me of cheating on my bf at the time. And how they bowed out when I did something wrong. Like I was too much for them and they needed a break. I didn’t realize how much that hurt until now. How a friend just stepping away hurts. I just accepted it as normal. They’d come back and I’d apologize for whatever I did wrong. I always bowed down to them and always agreed that I was in the wrong.

But you know what? I wasn’t always. I’ve acknowledged my problems. I’ve apologized. And I’ve realized something.

I’m not an awful friend. I’m not perfect but I’m a good friend. I try.

Friends are supposed to build you up not make you feel bad about yourself. Friends are there to support you. They may not agree. They’ll give their opinion and say they don’t agree but they don’t leave. They support you through everything. And if you make a mistake, they don’t rub it in your face. They tell you that they’ve got you. Even if you make mistakes, they’ve got you. They are here. Because they’ve made mistakes too. Friends know when you want advice and when you want to vent. Friends can disagree but not argue. They can agree to disagree and understand that everyone has their own opinion. Friends are there. They don’t bow out. They stick through the ups and downs because a real friendship does that. They realize that hey you messed up and I did but we’ll get through this. Because I love you. You love me. Our friendship is worth more than this one down. Let’s work on this together because I’d rather have you in my life even when we aren’t getting along, than not have you at all. Friends are important because they help you grow and you help them grow and then there’s lots of growth. And it’s like, wow, look at us now. Look at what we’ve become. Look at what we can become.

I didn’t know what true friendship was until recently. Until my internship in DC, and I met some wonderful people. We still talk to this day, and we met in 2018. They’re some real friends. I know they have my back and I have theirs. We may stop talking for a few but we always come back and check in with each other. We get each other and it’s nice to have people who support you and metaphorically have Pom poms in the air. Always. We all build each other up and when we break down, we help and we say ‘Hey we got you.’ It’s a beautiful thing. It’s real. And I love it. I didn’t know that friendship could be like that until them. Just like I didn’t know what being someone’s best friend was until now. I think that’s a wonderful feeling.

So maybe I don’t get to keep my best friends from high school. That’s okay. People change. People grow apart. I’ll always be grateful for what they’ve taught me, and I wish them all the best in the world. But you know what, I’m doing alright without them. I have my friends and they have theirs. Maybe our paths will cross again.

Through all this I’ve realized that I need to stop acting like I am an awful friend. Like I am the bad guy and the one that’s wrong. I’m not. I’m not perfect but I’m a good friend. I try. And I think that’s more than good enough. That’s all anyone can do. Is try.

-K

What Has a Book Ever Done to You?

What has a book ever done to you? Personally, if I was to ban a book, do you know what books I’d ban? Math books. Math books have harmed me. They’ve made me cry. They’ve made me scream. They’ve made me faceplant on the desk in hopelessness. But in all seriousness, what has a book ever done to you? What have they done that they warrant being banned from schools? You know if we decided to ban the Bible from schools, people would lose their plum minds. Then if we decided to replace the Bible with the Qur’an, then boy, howdy, people would lose it. Yet, the Bible hasn’t been banned from middle schools or high schools. Hell, in some schools they had a “praying time” in the morning. That later got turned into “read time” or “quiet time.”

Somehow, books are constantly being banned.

Now, I am one of those people who have never believed in the whole banning books thing. Can you name a single book that should be banned? Can you? I honestly can’t. I don’t think any book should be banned. Nor do I think music should be censored on the radio (See this blog: “Unnecessary Censorship”) Or movies censored on television. All that being said, let’s talk.

I’m sure you’ve heard about how a Tennessee school banned the graphic novel Maus by Art Spiegelman. This book details his parents during the Holocaust, depicting Nazis as cats and Jews as mice. The book was taken out of a middle school curriculum. Now, it was banned, according to this article, because it had several curse words and a naked woman.

However, this banning has caused massive controversy. A lot of people have spoken out about it, and it is still ongoing. That it isn’t about swearing or a naked woman, that instead, it’s about the context in the book. Since then, the book has been selling even more copies on Amazon. I plan to order it at some point so I can read it.

What other books have been banned from middle or high schools?

Let me tell you, there’s been a lot. Harry Potter, The Golden Compass, Dr. Seuss, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, Judy Blume, To Kill a Mockingbird to name just a few. A few, mind. There’s a lot more where that came from. (See links below.)

But why ban books? Well, in my opinion, it’s because the board of directors are trying to control what children learn. Do they want children to know our country’s history? Yes, but not in a negative light. They want the kiddos to know yes, slavery was a part of the country and leave it at that. They gloss over a lot of things in history classes. Such as slavery, the Trail of Tears, the Holocaust. Why? Because events like that were dark periods in our history and they (the board of educators, the government, pick one, there are lots of ‘theys’) don’t want to remind the public about those times. So when it comes to books such as Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, or To Kill a Mockingbird, which both address difficult topics such as racism and slavery, of course, they will get banned.

As for books like Harry Potter and The Golden Compass, they deal with magic, and honestly, not to be rude, it’s the Christians or other religious sects who want those banned. Especially The Golden Compass which is very anti-religious.

I don’t believe books should be banned. Ever. I think that children should be able to read whatever book they want to read and draw their own conclusions from it. They need to learn and figure it out for themselves. But how can they do that when they are prevented from reading certain books? When books are banned?

So I’d like to challenge you to read one of the banned books listed in the articles below. Any of them. Make a list. See how many you can read before Banned Book Week in September.

They’re trying to ban ‘Maus’: Why you should read it and these 30 other challenged books

Book awards: Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century

Now to decide my first banned book to read. . . It will probably be either The Color Purple by Alice Walker, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Beloved by Toni Morrison, or To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

-K

We Don’t Blog About Bruno (Encanto Review)

Happy New Year! Yes, I know, I’m a bit late to the party but I’ve been busy being artsy and cuddling with my dogs. What do you want from me. Now in 2021 I only had around 28 blog posts. Eek. that’s like, what, 2 blog posts per month? I mean, not bad, but come on. I can do better than that! I know I always say I’m going to blog every week, well this time I mean it. So be prepared for the year of a blog a week. It’s going to be awesome! Considering I have four drafts plus this post right here, that means I’m pretty set for the next five weeks. Just saying. It’ll probably be on Fridays. Who knows? Still figuring that out.

Classes started this week. I am taking three classes: grant writing, healing & writing, and seminar for social equity. I am super excited about all of them, and will more than likely give updates on here about them. But enough about that, let’s get to the real point of this blog.

Oh, Disney, you’ve done it again. And by that, I mean, create a movie that made me cry and have feelings, which trust me. If you know me, you know it takes a lot to make me cry during movies. Coco, Moana, and A Dog’s Purpose are a few right off the top of my head that make me full-blown, ugly cry.

Now while this movie didn’t make me cry per se, it did make me tear up and then have deep feelings, it’s still worth mentioning and talking about because it is a beautiful movie with hidden depths.

Today, we are going to talk about Encanto.

Encanto was released in theatres on November 24th, 2021. (Holy shit, it’s 2022. Did anyone else forget that?) I didn’t see it in theatres. In fact, I saw it on Disney Plus last Thursday while I was watching my boyfriend’s son. I don’t tend to see animated films in theatres, other than well Frozen II but hey, it was a great movie!

The style of Encanto reminds me of Coco with the bright colors, and the cultural aspect of it. Coco is one of my favorite movies, and like Coco, Encanto is all about family.

Encanto follows the Madrigal family who lives in a hidden town in Colombia. Like fifty years before, Alma Madrigal and her husband, Pedro, had to leave their home due to war. She and Pedro fled with their triplets (Julieta, Pepa, and Bruno), but Pedro died and she was left alone. Somehow, though it’s not very clear (we’ll get to that in a moment), there was magic, an eternal flame, an enchanted house that had a mind of its own, and later her three children and their children after them received a gift from the eternally burning candle.

All except one.

Mirabel, the youngest daughter of Julieta, did not receive a gift at five. Due to this, Alma, or Abuela as we’ll call her now, shunned Mirabel. Ten years later, it’s time for another Madrigal child to receive their gift. This time it is Antonio’s turn, Mirabel’s younger cousin. He receives the gift to speak to animals. But alas, all is not as it seems. Mirabel starts to notice that Casita, the very much alive house that they live in, starts to have cracks. It seems the magic of the Madrigal family is dying for a reason no one can explain.

Mirabel takes it upon herself to find out the reason why. She is simply a girl, perhaps an ordinary girl to her family, especially her Abuela, who loves her family very much. She wants to help. She goes on this journey without ever leaving her town, which is different, all things considered. Most leave home to have a journey, yet Mirabel doesn’t. I liked that. Anyways, Mirabel discovers things she didn’t know about her sisters, and ultimately, about herself.

She finds out that the estranged Bruno, the third triplet of her Abuela’s, never left home. That he stayed in Casita. Bruno was gifted the power to see the future but the future isn’t always clear. He saw a vision of Mirabel in front of the Casita that would change from her healing the magic to her destroying the magic. Bruno, like Mirabel, was shunned, because he had visions but he didn’t understand them all the time. When something went wrong, it was automatically Bruno’s fault.

Also, he has an entire song dedicated to him. It’s perfect.

Through some magic mumbo, Mirabel finds out that she needs to make up with her older sister, Isabela. So they do. Mirabel finds out that Isabela or Isa, doesn’t like to be perfect all the time, but it’s expected of her. Of course, she has to perfect. What else can she be? She must make perfect, beautiful flowers. Every hair in place. Be graceful. Be posed. That is what everyone expects.

Just like with Luisa, Mirabel’s other sister, Mirabel connects to Isa for the first time. She learns something she didn’t know about her: that Isa doesn’t want to be perfect all the time.

Luisa doesn’t want to be the strong one all the time. She gives this great musical number, explaining the pressure she feels she is always in. Her gift is to be supernaturally strong. The burden is literally always on her. She can’t show weakness. As someone who is the oldest sister, I get that.

I can relate to both Isa and Luisa. I get having to be perfect all the time. If I did one thing wrong growing up, it was like the world ended. Yet if one of my siblings did something worse, they got away with it. It wasn’t fair. I grew up in a broken home. It wasn’t ideal. It was rough at times. But I couldn’t show weakness. I had to stand firm and keep face because if I didn’t, if my siblings saw that I was breaking, then they’d break too. I didn’t want them to know we didn’t have food in the pantry or that the electricity was about to be cut off. That wasn’t their burden to bear. Like Isa, I had to be the perfect good girl daughter. And like Luisa, I had to be the strong dependable daughter.

Mirabel assumed that Isa enjoyed being the center of attention and Luisa liked being the one you could count on. But, she finds out that that isn’t true. She finds the deeper meaning, gets to expose her sisters, and reconnects with them. She listens, she empathizes. She may not understand, but she tries to. She tells them they don’t always have to be perfect or strong all the time. Mirabel is the healer of the family, though unlike her mother, she doesn’t do it through food, she does it through words, and I think that’s even more powerful than any other gift she could have.

Abuela sees that Isa is not perfect and that Luisa is weaker. She blames Mirabel and tells her that she has broken this family. That it is all her fault. Mirabel delivers this heartbreaking speech to her Abuela.

Family can build you up and break you down. Encanto shows how expectations, such as the expectations Abuela places on her family, can cause harm. It can make them feel as if they have to try harder, do better, in order to fit those expectations.

In a way, Abuela is the villain in Encanto because of her trauma, her past, she put all this pressure on her family. So much pressure that her son Bruno “left” because he felt like he was the cause of all the bad things. So much pressure that her daughter Pepa has to always be in control and never have a cloud. Abuela shunned her granddaughter Mirabel because she didn’t have a gift and couldn’t, in Abuela’s eyes, contribute to keeping the family and the town safe. She didn’t have a gift and thus wasn’t special and had no purpose to keep the family going.

Abuela was so terrified of losing her home, losing her family, that she lost herself. She lost her family. That is wasn’t about the magic or even the home. It was about them. It was about being together and loving each other. And I think that’s a beautiful message. It’s not about the magic. It’s about knowing that you have each and that is more than enough. The rest is just gravy.

When Abuela realizes that, she realizes that she is the reason the family is broken, she apologies, which takes a lot of strength. Parents, or grandparents, in this case, don’t often know that their actions are having a negative impact on their family. Abuela takes that step towards healing, and it’s a wonderful feeling.

Mirabel realizes that she didn’t need a gift. She is the gift, because sees more than her family’s gifts. She sees them. She is special. She is the foundation and the heart of the family. That’s why she communicates with the Casita. She’s the home.

Encanto, like a lot of Disney movies, is about family. What it means to be a family, and how to be one. Whether it’s the family you were born into or the family you choose. Encanto is about accepting yourself as you are, that it’s not your gift that’s the miracle, that’s what’s special about you, that seeing that you are the miracle. Because you’re here, and you’re still fighting. And that’s more than enough.

I think that’s beautiful.

If you haven’t watched Encanto, you should.

Here’s some articles on the movie once you watch it.

27 Facts About The Songs From “Encanto” That’ll Change The Way You Watch And Listen To It

Why therapists ARE talking about Bruno — and all the other ‘Encanto’ characters

Encanto Subtly Revealed Its Mirabel Power Twist At The Beginning

-K

What Do You Rewatch?

If you know me, you know that I love movies and TV shows. I mean come on, I have a degree in motion pictures (not that it’s being used at the moment and is gathering dust in my closet. But that’s another rant. . . .I mean blog post). I want to make movies and TV shows. It would make sense that I watch a lot of movies and TV shows. Which don’t get me wrong, I do. Seriously, I made an entire spreadsheet of all the shows we watch on Netflix, Hulu, Prime, and Disney Plus. It’s a glorious spreadsheet. Need a show to watch? You can definitely find one here.

Here’s the thing though. . . .I have the tendency to rewatch the same thing over and over and over again. It’s why it sometimes takes me SO LONG to finish a new show if I’m not watching it with someone else. I mean this is this the girl who STILL hasn’t watched The Witcher or The Mandalorian. Yes, yes, I know, blasphemy, blah blah blah. I want to watch them, I do but I’m a contrary little shit, which means the more people tell me I have to watch this show and it’s so awesome and I’m going to love it. . . .the more I don’t want to. It’s a problem.

And sometimes, I don’t want to watch something new. I want to watch something where I already know what’s going to happen. I know that the bad guy loses, eventually, and the good guys are happy. I know the ending, and it’s an ending I like. I need that comfort and security. When I’m sad or angry or insert whatever other negative emotion here, I know that I can flip on this TV show or movie, and it’ll make me happy. I’d thought I’d share the three TV shows and three movies that I rewatch.

TV Shows

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

The first time I ever watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer was at my grandparents’ house in Fayetteville when my brother Tristan and I lived with them when I was in the fourth grade. We used to have what we called BT. Buffy time. Buffy time came with cake time. We’d all sit in the living room, eating the moist, yellow cake with the thick, chocolate frosting that my grandpa baked with a tall glass of milk and watch Buffy together. It was family time. All of us watching it together. Tristan, Uncle Dean, Grandma and Grandpa. Buffy reminds me of those times and yeah, it hurts sometimes especially since my grandpa is gone but it’s a good memory. So when I need Buffy and her badass blonde self to tell me to keep fighting, I flip on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

I actually got to meet James Marsters who plays Spike in both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. He’s a seriously nice guy. I stood in line and got a selfie with him. I also got a photograph signed for my aunt that says “Mama Meme.” I talked to him for like thirty minutes while my cousin Paige gapped like a fool. I guess it’s a good thing when I’m nervous I talk. A LOT. Works to my benefit.

James Marsters with me (on the left) as the Winter Soldier and my cousin Paige (on the right) as Captain America

Can be watched on Hulu, all seasons, 1 to 7.

Charmed

Charmed used to come on TNT before we left for the bus. That’s where I got involved in this show about witches. My grandparents (not the ones in Fayetteville, the ones who lived in Oklahoma then but now in Texas) didn’t like anything to do with witches. I barely got to watch Harry Potter when I was over at their house. Or even like, Narnia. But they got over that. Grandpa Kopanke would always have TNT turned on for me when I got home from school. Two episodes came on right as I got off the bus, and everyone knew that it was Keely’s TV time. It was like some unspoken rule. I loved Charmed so much that Grandpa Kopanke actually bought me the first season of it and Buffy the Vampire Slayer for my birthday one year. I mean who wouldn’t like Charmed? It’s got sisters who kick ass. Hell, the story I’m trying to write on (What Lurks in the Woods) is about three sisters and based off my grandparents’ house in Fayetteville. Sisters kick ass.

I tend to actually rewatch a certain season of Charmed. Season six. Why? Because it’s the best season. It has a great story line. It was different. Now I don’t rewatch season 7 or 8 because the writers absolutely trash all the sisters’ personalities. It doesn’t feel like them at all. My thoughts on that are here.

Phoebe, Piper, and Paige from Charmed

Can be watched on Peacock apparently, all seasons, 1 to 8. (But I wouldn’t bother watching seasons 7 or 8.)

Criminal Minds

When I was in Washington D.C. 2018, we would sit around in my apartment, drink wine, and watch Criminal Minds. (That almost rhymed.) We would hang out and talk and just have a great time. Criminal Minds is one of those shows that you don’t necessarily have to watch in order. Sure, towards the latter seasons it might be best but if you don’t, then it’s fine. The cases do get really competitive at times. I mean, how many serial killers are there really? But for me the show isn’t about the unsubs (unknown subjects) or the cases. It’s about the characters themselves. The Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) is full of interesting and intriguing characters that you get invested in. Other than Elle who is thankfully only in the first season and leaves in the second season, you like the characters. My favorites are Penelope Garcia and Spencer Morgan.

It’s my go to show when I don’t want to watch something new but I need something semi-normal. Not fantasy.

The cast of Criminal Minds, Season 15, the final season

Can be watched on Netflix season 1-12 or all seasons on Prime 1-15.

Movies

Big Fish

Once again, the first time I ever watched Big Fish was at my grandparents’ in Fayetteville. Actually every movie I’m about to mention I watched at their house. Big Fish is a Tim Burton movie, which means that it’s a bit a lot weird and hard to explain. If you haven’t watched it, you should. Also, Ewan McGregor is amazing as always. It’s about a son who comes home because his father is sick. His father told these glorious grand stories and the son who wants the truth, and by searching for the truth behind the stories, the son finally connects and finds out who his dad is.

Alison Lohman as a young Sandra Templeton and Ewan McGregor as a young Edward Bloom

Here’s the synopsis:

“When Edward Bloom (Albert Finney) becomes ill, his son, William (Billy Crudup), travels to be with him. William has a strained relationship with Edward because his father has always told exaggerated stories about his life, and William thinks he’s never really told the truth. Even on his deathbed, Edward recounts fantastical anecdotes. When William, who is a journalist, starts to investigate his father’s tales, he begins to understand the man and his penchant for storytelling.”

Unfortunately you have to pay on every streaming service to watch Big Fish. It’s definitely worth paying to watch though. If you have HBO Max you can watch it on there.

Practical Magic

I might have a thing for witches. . . .a bit. (A lot.) Practical Magic is one of my favorite movies. I watched it so much at my grandparents’ that no one can watch it anymore because of me. It’s about a family of witches who have always been outcasts in this little town in Massachusetts. Two sisters, Sally and Gillian Owens grew up knowing that they were different. Sally denied her powers while Gillian has embraced it. The Owens’ family has a curse on them where any man that an Owens woman falls in love with dies. It’s about sisterhood and love and family and acceptance. I love it. To pieces.

Sandra Bullock as Sally Owens and Nicole Kidman as Gillian Owens

Here’s the synopsis:

“Sally (Sandra Bullock) and Gillian Owens (Nicole Kidman), born into a magical family, have mostly avoided witchcraft themselves. But when Gillian’s vicious boyfriend, Jimmy Angelov (Goran Visnjic), dies unexpectedly, the Owens sisters give themselves a crash course in hard magic. With policeman Gary Hallet (Aidan Quinn) growing suspicious, the girls struggle to resurrect Angelov — and unwittingly inject his corpse with an evil spirit that threatens to end their family line.”

Unfortunately you have to pay on every streaming service to watch Practical magic. It’s definitely worth paying to watch though. If you have HBO Max you can watch it on there.

Van Helsing

I watched this movie every single time we went to our grandparents’ in Fayetteville. So much that my Uncle dean actually bought a real DVD of the movie instead of the burned copy he had. Van Helsing is an early 2000s movie so it’s not the best in the world. The dialogue is. . . .well, I could write an entire blog post about early 2000s dialogue. The plot is okay, a bit shoddy, but I love it. I love the emotion behind it. It’s got everything. Mystery, romance, betrayal. It’s about a vampire hunter named Van Helsing played by the wonderful Hugh Jackman who can do no wrong who goes to Transylvania to take care of THE vampire, also known as Dracula. It brings in Dracula and Frankenstein’s monsters. Pretty sure I could quote the damn movie word by word. Also, Kate Beckinsale is amazing, and here she is playing a woman who wants to kill all vampires. And later she plays one — Selene, from the Underworld series.

Hugh Jackman as Van Helsing and Kate Beckinsale as Anna Valerious

Here’s the synopis:

“Famed monster slayer Gabriel Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) is dispatched to Transylvania to assist the last of the Valerious bloodline in defeating Count Dracula (Richard Roxburgh). Anna Valerious (Kate Beckinsale) reveals that Dracula has formed an unholy alliance with Dr. Frankenstein’s monster (Shuler Hensley) and is hell-bent on exacting a centuries-old curse on her family. Together Anna and Van Helsing set out to destroy their common enemy, but uncover some unsettling secrets along the way.”

You can apparently watch Van Helsing if you have a subscription on Peacock or rent/buy on Prime.

What movies and TV shows do you rewatch over and over again? Why? Leave a comment and let me know!

-K

COVID Ruins Everything

My sort of New Year’s resolution to blog at least once a week was wrecked. Why? Because this girl got COVID. Yeah, I know, right? COVID ruins everything. Seriously. I could make a list. (The baby shower, my graduation, my vacation to Massachusetts, I could go on. . .)

Here’s a breakdown/timeline of how this went.

January 14th, I started not feeling good. It was just sinuses. The weather kept changing, I mean, it is Arkansas — are we really surprised? But yeah, wasn’t feeling good but mainly my sinuses and that was that. I went and had lunch at Olive Garden that day with my bf. Everything good. Then Saturday when I saw him, he wasn’t feeling good at all. We went to Texas Roadhouse and he didn’t even eat the rolls so I knew something was wrong. He dropped me off and he went home.

Now, either that night or Sunday, I suddenly was hit with fatigue. Not sure it was my insomnia or if it was COVID. Either way, I went to bed at like nine o’clock and passed the hell out. I got caught up on sleep and felt good.

My cousin Paige and I go to work on Monday. My bf gets tested I believe it was on Tuesday and got his results on Wednesday. He tested positive. Wednesday, I was not feeling good and only went to one job, especially after he tested positive. Paige got tested and got her results on Thursday. Paul and I got tested on Thursday and got our results Friday. We all tested positive. While my aunt (Mom) and Jack tested negative.

Paul and Paige got a lot of the symptoms, checking a nice little box. I on the other hand was simply very tired, had a headache (but that also could be because lack of caffeine), my taste buds were all wonky so nothing tasted right, couldn’t smell anything, and my stomach was very upset. I had a cough for a little bit but that was it. Also, I don’t believe I ever had a fever. But my body temperature also runs at a nice cool 96 (it once read as like 93 when I got drug tested for my job and I swear the lady thought she read it wrong) which means when my body temperature is like at 98, 99, it could just mean that my inner temperature is finally semi-normal. (I could possibly be anemic. Who knows?) I also had a sore throat.

Here are the symptoms of COVID. I’ll bold the ones I had and italics the ones Paul and Paige had. It they are both then we all had that one symptom.

Fever or chills

Cough

Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Fatigue

Muscle or body aches

Headache

New loss of taste or smell

Sore throat

Congestion or runny nose

Nausea or vomiting

Diarrhea

Paige also had trouble breathing. Keep in mind that Paige has underlying medical problems. She already has heart problems and breathing problems and doesn’t have the best immune system. Neither does Paul. But basically, having COVID was like having a bad cold. Luckily, we only had a mild case. From what I understand/heard/read, COVID affects everyone differently. So people, like us have a milder case while some have no symptoms at all, and then others have more severe case.

I slept a lot mostly. Forced myself to eat crackers and drink apple juice. I couldn’t have soda or my favorite mint tea for days because they both tasted horrible. Since my aunt and Jack were both negative, Paige, Paul, and I wore masks when we came out of our bedrooms to use the bathroom. My aunt used this rolly cart and put our food and drink on it and rang a dinner bell for us. That was we kept out of her and Jack’s way and not infect them. She’s a saint and we owe her like a vacation or a steak dinner or something. Both, probably.

I did what I usually do, which was binge watch shows. That got boring after a while so I colored in my adult coloring book and wrote some, did some research so I can figure out my life. (Ha. Maybe.) Paige got this cool diamond art thing that I wish I could do but like, I’m blind.

It wasn’t until around last week, around Wednesday or so that I finally felt more like myself. We stopped wearing our masks around Thursday since none of us had symptoms and we were cleared by the Arkansas Department of Health to stop quarantining on the 30th anyways. Paige and I got retested on the 29th and yeah, we’re still positive. But according to the CDC, you can remain positive of COVID for up to 90 days but not have symptoms and not be contagious. I sent an email to both my jobs and I get to return to work! (That’s where I am as I write this actually. We are so dead at the school. Save me.) Paige gets to return Thursday. My aunt is hoping she can return but her job requires a negative from all of us (She and Jack are still negative) but that won’t be for a while. On the other hand, my bf is now negative.

In other news, Pagan had her baby! My new niece was born 11:52pm on January 25th. It’ll be a while before we can see her though. Emery Millie Bates is beautiful. Now I have three nieces/nephews. Eliana or Ellie as I call her is my brother Tristan’s. She turned two December 19th. Salem Hunter Mace is my sister Chloe’s. He was born December 4th. And now, Emery! I do like that they gave me girl-boy-girl. It works with me. I can’t wait to hold Salem and Emery when I’m able too.

I really hope this passes. At some point. Then we can get back to normal. . .maybe. Not holding on to that concept. We will probably never be quite back to normal.

Since this is the first day of February, I’m making a February resolution. (If that is a thing. It probably isn’t. It is now. A Valentine’s resolution? Ew. No. We’ll stick with the month.) Either way, this is my New Year’s resolution starting in February, to blog at least once a week.

Hope everything is doing well. Stay safe. Wear a mask. Live a little. Pet your dogs. Don’t forget to breathe.

-K

Enjoy The Now

If you know me, you know that I love movies. I want to make movies so yeah, I love them. I enjoy superhero movies, horror, psychological thriller, the occasional romance and yes, sometimes, I watch really trashy movies that only ever come on Syfy at like two in the morning. (I’ve seen every Sharknado and every Tremors movie. Don’t judge me.) It all depends on my mood. And like all people, or like most people, I love Disney and Pixar. Although now I suppose it’s DisneyPixar since Disney is our overlord and owns everything. My favorite Disney movie is Mulan. Now when it comes to Pixar, that’s more difficult because they have some incredible movies. And the thing with Pixar is that their movies always have some deeper meaning. Some hidden depth in them. That’s why I love them. (Even if they do have the tendency of making me cry.)

Take the movie Inside Out for example. I didn’t expect for it to make me cry and have a deeper meaning than it did. Inside Out follows a girl named Riley who moves with her parents. She struggles to adjust to the move and make new friends. It also follows the emotions Riley is going through. Those emotions are Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear. For Riley, Joy runs the show. For Riley’s mom, Sadness runs the show. For Riley’s dad, Anger runs the show. And it really makes you think. What emotion runs the show for you? I think for me, like Riley, it would be Joy. I’m always smiling and then when I don’t smile it’s instantly “What’s wrong, Keely?” The line that stuck with me and made me bawl like a baby was right after Riley ran away. She tells her parents:

 I… I know you don’t want me to, but… I miss home. I miss Minnesota. You need me to be happy, but I want my old friends, and my hockey team. I wanna go home. Please don’t be mad.”

Riley, Inside Out

As someone who moved all the time growing up, I related to this so much. I hated moving. Especially when we moved from Broken Arrow to Tulsa after eighth grade. Suddenly, I was a new freshmen and I had no friends. My friends and I talked about how excited we were about high school. Then suddenly, I was at a new school. It really sucked. Yes, I made friends but I still missed my friends from before. Then we moved back to Broken Arrow before my junior year, suddenly the friends I had in middle school had moved on without me, and it hurt.

Inside Out really made you think about emotions and the brain and how does it work? Here’s a review of Inside Out.

I recently watched Soul. It follows a man, Joe who is a middle-school band teacher. His passion is jazz and the piano. After finally getting a big break, Joe unfortunately has an accident and ends up in a coma. He finds himself in another realm where there are souls who haven’t been born yet. He meets one soul, 22, voiced by the wonderful Tina Fey, who has been there the longest. Joe tries to get 22 to find her spark and in the end he does. It’s a beautiful movie with a great meaning.

Joe spends his life always focused on his music and his passion, which is not a bad thing, but he forgets to live. In the end, it’s 22 who helps him to live. Yes, he helps her to not be afraid of coming to Earth and living, but through 22, Joe realizes that he’s spent so much of his life thinking about the next step. The next move so he could do what he always wanted, be a jazz player, that he didn’t enjoy life. He wasn’t live. He lost that spark. And 22 helped him to find it. (For more thoughts on Soul, check out “19 Moments In The Movie ‘Soul’ That Will Tug Your Heart Strings” and “29 Fan Reactions to Disney+’s ‘Soul’ That Will Give You All the Feels”

My favorite quote when one of Jerry’s asks Joe “How are you going to spend your life?” And Joe says:

“I’m not sure. But I do know I’m going to live every minute of it.”

Joe, Soul

And it got me to thinking. Some deep thinking.

Lately, I’ve been burned out. I’m taking the next two semesters off because I ran through undergrad with no break. And I feel like I did college all wrong. I was so focused on getting good grades and keeping my scholarships that I didn’t really make friends in undergrad. I didn’t attend games or events. It was always school, school, school. Did I live? No. I simply existed. I think that’s what a lot of us do. We simply exist. We go through the motions. Maybe we shouldn’t. Maybe we need to stop focusing on the big ten year plan and just focus on living.

I think that’s my problem. I keep focusing on the next step rather than enjoying the step I’m in. Enjoying the now rather than think about the later. So that’s what I’m going to try to do. Enjoy the now and not think about the later. Not stress about the next step or what happens next. Otherwise, I’m going to miss out on a lot of things because I’m so focused on the future that I can’t see the present right in front of me. It might save me a lot of grief and headache.

-K

First Semester of Grad School Done (I Lived…Barely)

Admittedly, this is not how I imagined my first semester of graduate school. Of course, I imagine that this semester for a lot of people did not go as planned. Tomorrow will be the virtual commencement for Spring and Fall graduates at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and I know I’m not the only who is salty about that. Even though I am working on my master’s, I still wanted to walk down that aisle, probably lose my cap like I did during high school graduation and shake the Chancellor’s hand as I received my diploma after working my butt off for three and half years on two bachelors. Receiving both in the mail didn’t really feel real. Well, not until I put them in some fancy frames that I have yet to hang up. The point is, that no one’s semester went as expected thanks to COVID.

The school is a ghost school. Most classes are are online. My two classes, The Personal Essay and Memoir were online, though for Memoir we met every Tuesday up until the week after Thanksgiving. There were no events this year. Student life was basically nonexistent, and it’s because of that that my graduate assistantship at the Office of Communications and Marketing was different. I couldn’t go out and make videos and take photographs because there was nothing happening. While I still enjoyed my graduate assistantship, it had to change because of COVID.

In fact, so many things have changed because of COVID. And even when COVID is handled, however long that takes, things will still be different.

COVID has affected school, not just college but also K-12. A few of my professors kids have been doing virtual school and staying at home, all their coursework online. My brothers in Oklahoma had online school but also went in for a few weeks. Some schools are doing half and half.

COVID has affected jobs. Some people lost their jobs, while others were forced to work remotely. As someone who worked remotely, can I just say it sucks. Working from home is definitely not something I can do. I don’t have enough discipline to do it. And while, I loved being at home with my doggos and getting all the cuddles, eventually I got tired of being home. All. The. Damn. Time.

COVID has affected movie theatres, restaurants, theme parks, zoos, fairs, malls, etc..

The movie industry has suffered a lot because of COVID. Several shows such as The Walking Dead, Supernatural and countless others were put on hold and episodes not released until late summer or early fall. Movies such as Black Widow, A Quiet Place Part II, Wonder Woman 1984, and countless others were pushed back. Black Widow won’t be released until next year while thankfully, Wonder Woman 1984 will premiere in theatres and HBO Max Christmas.

There’s nothing that COVID has affected or changed.

So yeah, 2020 has been a rough year. Not only like, globally, but also in my household we’ve had a rough year. (A tree fell and broke our fence, my mom lost her job, my cousin Pagan broke her foot and found out she’s pregnant in the same day, Paul had his appendix out, and boy, I could go on, not gonna to lie. Also those are in no particular order.) We need someone to do a video summary of 2020.

I’m trying to look at the brightside of things.

I painted my room a mint green with one wall that has purple triangles on it. I love it. It’s unintentionally Joker theme.

My BFF Caroline came down from New York in May and I showed her Arkansas. (She wasn’t impressed. Lol.) She and I started a podcast, Disturbed Nerds. If you haven’t, check it out. It’s great. (I’m probably biased though, tbh.)

I met a guy and he’s cute and I like him.

Oh, and my girl, Taylor Swift released two new albums. folklore in July, and then evermore in December.

My sister had a healthy baby boy named Salem December 4th.

Oh, and I finished my first semester of grad school with an A and B! Which considering, I put in about like. . .minimum effort in my classwork this semester, is really good.

I have a new job at P. Allen Smith, a place that I actually interned at 2 years ago. P. Allen Smith does a lot of home, garden, design type stuff. You’ve probably heard of him. I’m going to be helping with upping their YouTube presence, video editing, and social media. I’m really excited about it. I’m also back at working at the school in undergraduate academic advising.

I’m taking the next two semesters off from school. I zoomed through my undegrad and never took a break, then jumped right into grad school without a break in between. I’ll start up classes again fall 2021. Until then, I’ll be working at P. Allen Smith and UA Little Rock, both part-time. Since I will have free time, I want to get back to a few hobbies of mine.

Such as:

  1. Drawing/painting/art in general
  2. Writing
  3. Photography/videography

That’s what I’m going to focus on. I miss drawing and using my Prismacolors. And I know I’m out of practice and I need to hone up those skills. Writing is very broad. I want to really work on this blog and blog every week, then go from once a week to maybe three times a week. Get on a really set posting so I can build more of an audience. I’m going to work on my poetry collection and really start on one of my three fiction stories I have. Photography, I want to break out the camera more and take pictures of well, everything and find what I really enjoy photographing. Also, I would love to make a short movie by next fall. We will see.

So, to all my fellow students, and well everyone, we made it. Keep trucking along. 2020 is almost over.

Check out my 2020 Wrap Up on Spotify. As usual, it is all over the place.

-K