Obligatory Holiday Greetings!

Froley loves the Christmas tree.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Years’ to you all! It’s right about the time that people are preparing for the holiday, so I thought I’d wish everyone a happy season’s greetings and all that jazz.

I really want to thank everyone who takes the time to read these things and say that I really appreciate the blogging community as a whole. You guys have been nothing but supportive, and always heckin’ awesome to read.

This year is ending on a fairly tumultuous note for me. This past October/November really sucked eggs for me, so I’m hoping things turn up in the new year. I know that things changing on a dime just because the calendar year is beginning anew is a fool’s dream, but it’d be freakin’ sweet if that were real. I mean, who doesn’t want better things on the horizon just because a number changed, from 2019 to 2020?

Anyways, just wanted to wish you all a happy time in these coming weeks! It’s an obligatory holiday post!

Plus, I’d also like to leave you with some Christmas recommendations. You know, little activities you can do to make the holidays just a tad more bearable.

1 – Watch The Muppet Christmas Carol

It is by far the best iteration of A Christmas Carol you could ever hope to watch.

2 – Eat a Mouthful of Cookie Dough

Look, I know all the labels tell you not to, that it’s bad for you, that you’re doing damage to yourself. But, I swear, that single mouthful just tastes so darned delicious. It’s what I imagine Play-Doh tastes like.

(Disclaimer: I am in no way a licensed medical professional. Eat raw cookie dough at your own risk.)

3 – Wear Fuzzy Socks

You can wear fuzzy socks on any ole day of the year, but there’s something particularly comforting about wearing them in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Especially if you’ve got a pair of Christmas-themed fuzzy socks you got as a gift last year that you haven’t worn until this very moment.

4 – Go to the Beach

No one spends a lot of time at the beach when it isn’t summer, which means that there’s a lot of space to lay down your blanket! Sure, the water is freezing this time of year, but it is also gloriously devoid of summer beach tourists. Plan yourself a trip and experience a wintry beach time. I’m 80% sure you won’t regret it.

5 – Play a Video Game

If you already play video games, you know how relaxing a video game can be when holiday plans are piling up on you. If you don’t play video games, you are missing out on one of the most stress-relieving hobbies you can have. And even though they’re a time for love and caring, holidays can be hella stressful.

The Caramel Brulee Latte

I am in no way, shape, or form paid by Starbucks to promote their shit.

Yet.

My introduction to Starbucks occurred gradually. It started off as a few beverages my mom bought for me when she stopped there, and eventually graduated to me picking my own drinks.

I initially only liked two kinds of drinks. I liked those tea-lemonade hybrids which they still have to this day, and I also liked a straight-up coffee frappuccino. As you might have noticed, these are both signature cold drinks, meant to be enjoyed during the height of summer.

One winter day, my sister suggested we walk to our local Starbucks. I was reluctant. I whined how it was too cold for Starbucks.

Side note: Remember, I only knew to order my favorite chilled drinks from Starbucks at the time.

My sister looked at me like I was an idiot. Told me to just order a hot drink. I whined some more, complaining that the menu was complicated and I had no clue what was good and what was terrible based on these extravagant espresso monikers.

My sister insisted/demanded we go there anyways. Told me to be more experimentive.

Since I was still hesitant to pick (and pay) for a drink I knew nothing about, my sister ended up choosing the drink for me.

And thus, I was introduced to the Caramel Brulee Latte.

After the first initial sip, I was in sweetened, caffeinated heaven. The taste of caramel graced the edges of my tongue, the rich espresso flavor coated my throat, and the warmth of the drink touched my fingertips and my heart.

Side note: Am I being overly poetic? Yes. Yes, I am.

It was the best drink I’d ever had.

And unbeknownst to me until it was too late, it was a seasonal holiday drink.

These days, I wait for the Caramel Brulee Latte’s season in an neverending state of agitation; I hunger for it. Eight months out of the year, I’m in constant torment. Fuck the Pumpkin Spice Latte. I crave a different sugary sweetness.

Okay, I sound like a basic bitch, but come on. Where I live, Starbuckses are practically a form of entertainment. There is nothing to do around here except go to the movies, shop at the local mall, or hang out at a Starbucks. It is the only place to chill at that is not my or a friend’s home.

And now that the holidays are here, I can guzzle that caramelly, brulee-y goodness to my heart’s content.

Or at least until I get diabetes or something like that.

Life Update #8: Plans for the Blog Going Forward and Damn News

It’s been one heck of a month for me, guys. Not that you would know it because I’ve been characteristically closemouthed about it. But that’s not the reason for this update.

Well, it’s not the entire reason for this update.

I have a few ideas of what I want to do with the blog, and the main one is introducing a new type of post.

I’m thinking about doing some how-tos, not many and mostly humorous in nature.

How original, right?

I got the idea of doing it not too long ago, but haven’t implemented it into my schedule yet because of the chaos that consumed my life about three weeks ago. (More on that in a bit.)

As things stand with my Below Average Blog now, I have four types of posts that I write regularly. There are these Life Updates, where I toss around what’s been new with me. There are “reviews” that I do for movies, shows, games, and books, and those are hardly professional. (In fact, they’re Below Average content. Get it?) There are top-numbered lists, where I write about my favorite things from different categories, and then there are the posts where I just shoot the shit.

So why not add some how-tos in there?

I also want to start consistently adding an image per post. Even if that image is reused. It makes the whole thing look prettier, doesn’t it?

Posting once every 5 days has really worked out for me, by the way. That was the last big change I made to the blog, and I’m glad I did. My work schedule was getting a bit overwhelming.

I mean, work’s still relentless, and I’m still falling a bit behind on the post scheduling, but I’m enjoying this level of activity more than the panic-fest from before.

So I’m happy to report that that change was a success.

Now all I need to do is devote more time to reading my fellow bloggers’ work than I do now.

For those of you who’ve stuck around this far, well, I guess you might want to know what the “chaos” thing I was referring to earlier was all about. I’ve been having some medical issues, nothing too serious, but jarring for me nonetheless. I’m planning to go full-on rant about it in a later post in the future. But rest assured, my health is more or less okay (average, you might say), and the issue lay mostly in my troubles with my health provider and his prescriptions than with the ailment I’m dealing with. I am fine. I’m just more…irked…with doctors than I used to be.

It took up my time and my mind like you wouldn’t believe, and now that I’ve got it behind me (somewhat), I’m ready to focus my attention on my writing wholeheartedly once again.

Back to the blog.

If you guys have any ideas or wishes or comments on what to include for future how-to posts, feel free to let me know down below! (In the comments.) I’m all ears. I’m mostly knowledgeable in writing, proofreading, navigating social situations poorly, reading, bad movies, and being a plebeian gamer.

Growing Older

One of those constant tropes you hear when you’re a kid is that you think the world revolves around you.

“Oh, kids these days, they’re so selfish. They think the world is their oyster. They don’t believe they’re going to grow old. They don’t think time will happen to them.”

As a kid, I used to think that was bullshit.

‘Of course I’m going to get old,’ my younger self thought. ‘That’s what happens to everybody. We all get birthdays, we all get taller, and we all get old.’

But I didn’t really know.

I fell into the stereotype of a kid that I bristled so much at. But it’s like a Catch-22. You’re not truly a young person if you have the mindset of an older person, no matter how much you might want to avoid preconceived notions.

Side note: Preconceived notions have and always will be the bane of my existence.

Now that I’ve grown some, I’m hyper aware that I’m…well, I’m aware that I’m older. And with this awareness has come this kind of resignation, a this-is-it weariness.

‘Cause, I mean, after high school, it was all about “what comes next.” Where are you going to college? What do you want to do with your life? Where do you see yourself in five years?

And now that I’m past that point, all I can think is, “Oh well. That’s all there was to it.”

From where I’m standing, life is all about the future. Life grows, life moves forward, or, to quote Ian Malcolm, “life finds a way.” When you’re a kid, you embody that potential. It’s annoying to hear all the time, but kids are the future. When you grow up, the future stops being you.

This all sounds very depressing, and while the concept can get me down in the dumps, I’m not always upset about it. With resignation, there’s also this kind of relief. It’s like expectations have been lifted from me and now I can focus on just trying to be happy.

And just because I’m no longer the future, doesn’t mean I can’t contribute to it, right?

I know some people take this in a very literal sense, and they physically contribute to the future by having kids. This is a dubious decision for certain persons (won’t name names, but my god, haven’t you ever thought that certain people should never in the history of ever attempt to be parents), and I’ve seen my fair share of people who fall into the trap of having kids as a way to remain relevant to the future.

But I do not want to have a child. Have you guys heard of the goddamn changes women have to go through in order to have a baby?! I cringe when I watch a horror movie; no way am I actually gong to live through one.

So I sometimes wonder how I can contribute to the future as I grow older.

And funnily enough, it’s that living-in-the-moment bullcrap that has become my go-to answer.

I want to live in the now with the idea that anything I say or do can have a positive effect on a person, be it a kind word or a particularly moving blog post or a fun multiplayer match of Halo. I want to pepper my life with kindness to others in the hopes that I might be helping them through a tough time or something like that.

I feel like that’s what I can do with my life.

And yeah, as I grow older, I don’t just think about these moral obligations or philosophical musings like a dweeb. I think about dying like a normal person would, too.

But I think about dying the way I used to think about growing up.

It’s not real for me yet. Not really, not in a way that counts.

I know it’s going to happen, I just haven’t completely wrapped my brain around the concept of not existing. It’s easier to think about death this way because I don’t want to get uber fixated on it or anything. I just want to live life to the fullest, being happy and making other people happy, too. Small things.

And this all sounds so stupid and lame and corny and emotional, but it’s just what I was thinking about right now.

I promise I’ll go back to writing about fun video games next time. Today, I was just feeling kind of thoughtful.

The WALL-E Syndrome: The Toxicity of Current Perspectives on Romantic Rejection

I used to apply this particular metaphor to people.

I’m sure you know about phrases that start with, “There are two kinds of people in the world…”

Well, mine went a little something like this:

There are two kinds of people in the world: WALL-Es and EVEs.

This classification came from the Pixar movie WALL-E. For those of you unfamiliar with the film, all you need to know about it in order to understand my point is that the plot revolved around the unreturned affections a robot named WALL-E had for a more advanced (i.e., prettier) robot named EVE.

When I made that metaphor, I was, in essence, boiling down people into two types: the type who has been consistently rejected by potential love interests and the type who has been doing the rejecting.

In my mind, I always felt that a person who has suffered through rejection knows what it’s like to feel at their lowest. That made them, I believed, ten times more likely to be empathetic toward another person in a similar situation. There’s an understanding you get for another person’s sorrows if you’ve been down in the dumps yourself.

Anyways, what I want to say today is that I was extremely fucking naive.

First of all, you should never classify an entire population of people into two groups with any degree of seriousness.

Second of all, as a frequent recipient of rejection during my high school and college years, I was perceiving the world from a place of extreme subjectivity.

Recently, events in my life have made me realize how messed up my views on rejection were.

I’ll expand on that in a sec.

First, some backstory.

I don’t want to throw anybody under the bus, so I’m not going to name names. The only thing of consequence that pertains to my epiphany is the fact that I had some romantic advances made towards me.

Basically, I got flirted with.

This is a RARE occurrence for me. I’m a homebody by nature, and I’m not exactly a looker.

Anyways, it happened, and since I’m normally pretty obtuse when it comes to these things at the best of times, I was caught off guard when it occurred. Several compliments had already been sent my way before I realized that I was being low-key romanced.

Once I did realize what was going on, I knew I had to set matters straight. I was not interested in the guy in that capacity, and I had to let him know without hurting his feelings.

And that’s when I found out that the only method of rejecting people that I thought comfortable was saying I was already dating somebody else.

Before I get into the massive realizations and stuff, I’ll just say that the dude I rejected was totally chill. He’d had no idea I was seeing someone, and didn’t seem to hold my rejecting him against me the way I had worried he would.

But afterwards, I kept thinking about the situation, distress about the whole thing festering in my brain.

Two questions kept me awake at night:

  1. Why had I needed to say that I was with someone else in order to more comfortably reject someone?
  2. And why did I feel guilty in the first place for not having feelings for another person?

The first question is a rather unfortunate byproduct of the second. Because you see, I think society and pop culture and stuff has taught us over time that not reciprocating feelings for somebody else is equivalent to hurting them.

Persons who go through unrequited love are considered “victims,” and if there is a “victim,” that means that the other person in the equation is an “oppressor,” “abuser,” or “perpetrator.”

In actuality, we shouldn’t have that mindset at all.

We all have our own feelings, and our feelings are no one’s responsibility except our own.

Now, I’m not advocating a mass wave of inconsiderateness. I’m not saying that at all.

What I am saying is that we need to stop having “bad guys” when it comes to romantic rejection.

It is no one’s fault if they don’t like another person. Feeling guilty about not liking another person is kind of like feeling guilty for not liking a specific food.

When I had to let down someone, I was forced to essentially say, “I’m sorry, but I can’t be interested in you in that way because I am currently interested in another person” because that was kinder than saying “I’m just not interested in being with you in a romantic capacity.”

See what I’m saying here?

I had to label myself as someone else’s girlfriend instead of just saying, “Nah, brah, I’m not looking for that right now.”

I had to do this so I didn’t feel like a terrible person.

Expressing your interest in another person is a brave thing to do, and it can put you in an emotionally vulnerable place. But just because you put yourself out there, does not mean that a person who rejects you is a villain.

Thinking of rejection in this manner can lead to outraged, yet misplaced, righteousness on the part of the person getting rejected.

Having been a WALL-E, I know it’s sometimes easier to think that someone doesn’t like you because of outside circumstances instead of your looks, personality, or habits.

But my sense of self-worth shouldn’t be valued as greater than another person’s.

Bottom line?

If you like someone and they don’t like you back, it is nobody’s fault. It sucks to feel rejected, but it is nobody’s fault. Not yours, not theirs.

And if you find yourself in a position where you have to reject someone, don’t hesitate to be honest, but also don’t hesitate to be kind.

WALL-E and EVE ended up together, but I think we should all remember that life is not a Disney movie.

Life Update #7: The Rise of Hardcore Henry III

Avid readers of my blog (it’s getting slightly easier to say that word out loud) will know who Hardcore Henry was. (Or maybe they won’t, because it’s been a while since I’ve talked about him that one time.) I mentioned him in one of my previous Life Updates. (Which you can read for yourself right here!)

For those of you just stopping by, Hardcore Henry was the daddy long-legs that lived by my bookshelf. He got killed (semi-long story) and was soon replaced by a newcomer daddy long-legs that I dubbed Hardcore Henry II.

I didn’t post about it, but Hardcore Henry II is gone too.

I don’t know if he perished in the cold and forgotten wastes behind my bookshelves or if he crawled himself to a new locale with better property value. All I know is that the hardcore spot between the wall and one of my bookshelves has been empty for months.

That is, it was until a few days ago.

A brand-new daddy long-legs, Hardcore Henry III, has taken up residence there, and this spider has an attitude. He’s not mean per se, but he’s kind of…moody.

He has a tendency to spring out from his lair if someone so much as breathes on his web.

This is as close as I can safely get to Hardcore Henry III.

You can see Hardcore Henry III as the little dot above my gargantuan schnozz.

I’ve got to admit, I’m not too fond of this guy. The other Hardcore Henrys webbed their way into my heart by being unobtrusive spiders that may have assisted in decreasing the fly and mosquito population near my desk. But Hardcore Henry III is a tough as nails, take no shit, spit in your eye, and growl kind of guy.

And, as my earlier Life Update specified, I’m a tad on the arachnophobic side.

I don’t know what to do with Hardcore Henry III.

I’ve already named him, so I can’t just squash him.

So you see those books in the picture above, the ones with backwards titles since I took the photo selfie-style?

Yeah, it’s gonna be a while before I pick those up again.

What’s the natural life span of a daddy long-legs?

It’s That Scheduled Time Of Year Again

It is that time of year again, folks.

It’s time…

…to get my new agenda ready.

And no, I’m not talking about some figurative agenda that I have to start planning for my diabolical machinations.

I am a big agenda person. I like keeping my days organized with a physical planner, none of that phone shit for me. I make bullet-point entries of all the things I need to do each day. When I complete the activity/task/chore, I cross out its bullet point. Crossing those items off my daily to-do list is immensely satisfying. Sometimes, I think I put things on my agenda just so I can have something to cross out.

Having an agenda really caters to the list-making part of me too. No matter what, thanks to my agenda, I work with a list every day. (For some of my list-oriented posts, click here!)

My agenda obsession started when I was in junior high. I wish I could say I was cool enough to have brought my own agenda to class, but I wasn’t that awesome when I was younger. The school’s administration passed out agendas to all incoming middle schoolers on our first day. They probably wanted to instill organizational skills in us. And hey howdy hey, it worked! Well, on me at least.

I buy agendas once a year now. It’s a habit, but one I’m not entirely ashamed of.

Since I got introduced to agendas through school, I always buy the July-to-June agendas instead of the January-to-December ones (which are so totally lame). Which means, as I stated before, that it is officially time to get a new agenda since June is ending.

I’m a basic bitch when it comes to buying my agendas, so I always just pop over to the nearest Staples and by the most appealing, overpriced planner I can get. I wish I could say that I crafted my own agendas out of sketch paper and a three-ring binder, but I haven’t reached such levels of niftiness yet.

Do you guys get agendas of some sort? (If it’s a January-to-December kind, I was just being silly before when I said they were lame!)