You Collect What?

I said I was going to in one of my first posts, so I suppose almost 5 months in is as good a time as any... I'm finally going to write about a hobby of mine.


I guess I'll start by saying that you're not the only one unsuspecting of a 25 year old mother of [almost] 2 having even the slightest interest at all in comics. While I can't make you understand something you may not have any interest in, I can at least share my side of it. How it started, why I keep it up, what I collect and why...you know, that stuff.

Like most kids, I grew up admiring super heroes. Batman, Cat Woman, Wonder Woman, Spider Man, the many many many X-Men. I dreamed of being my own version all the time, saving the innocent, fighting for those who couldn't, beating up bad guys, impressing all the boys, you know. I loved creating and writing profiles for my own characters in the stories I made up in my head. I've drawn so many different characters from mutants to aliens to emo/scene/punk kids to my own personal versions of #squadgoals. I started so many comic story ideas but never committed to any of them. But creating them was the part I loved most. If I can find some examples, I'll add photos of them later. I was never a pro comic artist, by any means, but I had fun. I also somehow lost that talent altogether now. I can't even draw a decent looking circle anymore.

Tip for aspiring artists: NEVER stop drawing or doing your art. Ever.

Anyway, as interested as I was in super heroes and their stories, I never really collected their comics. I honestly didn't even really think about it. I gained all my knowledge from animated shows, borrowed volumes from the library, and every single "Encyclopedia" book I could get my hands on. You know which ones I'm talking about.

During my late teen years, a few friends of mine shared their newfound interest in comic reading and collecting and it sparked my interest, but I didn't know where to go to get them or if I even wanted to invest in physical prints or if I should go the digital route. So I just borrowed a few of my friends books every once in a while to get my fix.

Then I met Josh.
One of our first dates started off in his old room in his parent's house looking through his many many boxes of perfectly 'bagged and boarded' comic books. He had so many and some of them were so old. He shared how he obtained certain collections and what they were worth now. He shared the stories that got him hooked and the ones that made him almost hate the series or character. He showed me strange ones made by strange people that he liked because they were strange and dark and not well known or made anymore. He pulled out ones he thought I'd like and showed me his absolute favorites that he may never part with.
I hadn't seen him that excited or knowledgeable about anything before that point. It was so endearing and inspiring. It was infectious.

So when he took me to a real comic shop for the first time and I saw a poster for "Harley Quinn" debuting in her own comic...I knew I was about to embark on a wild adventure of a new hobby.

I now have Harley Quinn #0 through #26 as well as many many specials and side issues.
I also collect Spider-Woman, Silk and now Poison Ivy. I had to give up on a few stories for financial reasons [comics were 99cents when I was a kid, now they range from $2.99-4.99], like Gem and the Holograms, Black Canary and Spider Gwen. I was also a little late to a few parties I wish I could have attended, like Cat Woman, Wonder Woman and Bat Woman, but I still snag older issues from the 80s and 90s in bulk when I can, and plan to catch up in chunks later.

This all is supposed to lead to my next ramble, which is why I collect what I collect and what I would recommend to someone interested in starting up their own collection.

If you haven't noticed the obvious, I tend to stick with female heroes. I certainly don't have anything against any male superhero or character. In fact, I'm a huge Deadpool, Spiderman and Batman fan. I actually saw myself starting out with some X-Men comics as a teenager, to tell the truth. If you are familiar with X-Men and the many alternate dimensions, universes, X teams and origins, you can probably understand why that venture overwhelmed me a bit as a newbie.
I'd be lying if I said my feministic tendencies didn't directly effect my decision making when it comes to comics. But at the same time, I stick to what I thoroughly enjoy reading and collecting. It also doesn't hurt that my boyfriend collects plenty of male focused comics for the both of us as well, like The Amazing Spiderman, Spiderman 2099, and Venom. My good friend has his fair share of Deadpool comics and volumes as well that we've been able to glimpse a few times too.

To fully explain why I collect exactly what I collect would take an entire post in itself to accomplish, which I'll most likely do at some point. For now I'll just summarize by saying I relate and connect to each of them fairly deeply for different reasons. They are basically versions of different aspects of me.

That leads me to my final section for this post.
If you are thinking about dipping your toes in the lazarus pit of comic collecting, here is what I, a fellow newbie and casual collector, would advise/recommend/share with you.

#1 Start with a brand new series or series that is about 10 issues or younger.
I say this because it's easier to connect with a story you understand because you've been along for the ride from the beginning. Also because most series that hit about 6-10 issues usually last a good while so you won't have to worry as much about it being cancelled or re-written just as you were becoming invested in it. I happened to start with Harley Quinn because her series was just beginning and I knew she'd be popular enough to last a long time. I was right and I'm happy with the journey so far.
[side note: the first 10 issues in good series tend to be the most valuable and hard to find in the long run as the series grows, so if you catch on early, it'll save you some $$$ later because the prices will go up as they become more rare and sought after.]

#2 Limit yourself.
Like any hobby or "addiction", it can be tempting to buy all of the things every time you stand in front of that Latest Releases display rack. Very tempting. But keep in mind that new issues typically come out once, sometimes twice, a month and the more you get behind, the more you have to buy next time you get to the shop and the harder they may be to find, depending on their popularity. I began to learn this the hard way, which is why I only collect 3-4 series instead of the 6+ I would be if I would have committed myself and thus be spending way too much money. I sacrificed following Gem, Gwen and Black Canary for financial reasons, not lack of interest. I truly wish I could buy all of them every other week, but as you'll see, it can't always be done.
So either keep a budget or give yourself a 2-4 series limit. [Remember that some series are bi-weekly and most will have holiday specials and/or side series in addition to the main story line, so you'll have to give yourself possible wiggle room for those occasionally too.] try different series out, start with classics or familiar characters and see where it takes you. Take your time, don't get caught up in every new series that jumps out at you because they don't all last. I have Lois Lane #1 and loved it but they dropped it after one issue so that decision was made for me.

#3 Take care of your comics.
Bags and boards can be bought as needed, as you check out. Almost every comic shop has them right next to the register for you, and they are usually well under $1 each. You can also buy them in bulk too, if you decide to subscribe or don't want to buy them every time you get comics, and then pack them at home. Even if you don't plan to sell them or care if they become valuable later, keeping your books safe, clean and organized is like keeping your makeup or video games organized and in their cases. They're fragile and are literally made for display.
I also recommend keeping them in binders for easy organization and access. You could also use shoe boxes, comic boxes or any appropriate size cardboard box for storage too, binders with clear slips just display them a little nicer and you can make them all pretty and store them on a bookshelf and they'll blend in with all your other pretty books and things. Bottom line, keep them dry, straight and organized. They are an investment no matter how you look at it, so taking care of them is a no brainer.

#4 Find a comic buddy!
Just like any other hobby or new adventure, it's always more fun with friends. They'll keep you excited, inspired and accountable in terms of sticking it out with series or picking up something new. It's also nice just being around someone who enjoys what you enjoy. If you don't know someone like that or can't convince any of your friends to join you, come to me! I'll talk comics and super heroes with you all day if you let me. I'm here for you, pretty ladies and mamas!

Feel free to share your favorite comics, super heroes, books, and photos of all of them with me here! Or ask me questions or tell me I'm crazy! It all works for me. I want to hear from you. I want to connect. 

Love you, mamas/ladies!! 


Friends? Oh Yeah Those...

To be honest, the reason I haven't posted in days is because I've been dealing with some major anxiety and depression and I didn't want to risk writing a post filled with nothing but negativity.
Because that's exactly what would have happened.

The cause of my anxiety and depression?

Or, lack thereof, really.

Okay, to be fair, I obviously have friends. I have friends my age, my gender and even mom friends. I'm also usually a really good friend, too. I'm thoughtful, loyal, honest, understanding and incredibly slow to judge. I have a pretty chill personality and don't participate in, let alone start, unnecessary drama. I also very rarely bail on plans once I make them. Almost never. So what's my problem then?

I absolutely suck at reaching out, making plans and even freaking texting back within a reasonable amount of time. Doesn't matter if you're my mom, my boss, or my boyfriend. I either text back immediately or not for hours or even sometimes days. No particular reason why, either. Sometimes it's because my phone is off and charging, sometimes it's because it's in my bag still, or in another room and I just haven't picked it up yet, and sometimes I just don't want to deal with the mental energy it takes to think of the appropriate response and then actually type it out.  Lame and lazy sounding, I know. Trust me, I hate it too. It makes no sense at all.

I also am fully aware that at 25 years old, friendships don't always work the same as they did when I was still in the teen era. There's slightly less expectation and much less petty drama. But there's one particular con that I can't seem to just get over.

By now, pretty much everyone already has their bestie for life. Whether it's just one that they see once or twice a week, or a select few that are always down to meet for drinks, shopping or crafts. Everyone has at least that one friend they've known for years that has always been their go-to that they can text or call at any time of day to chat, that they can all but assume they will see at that craft fair or wine festival and that they can make last minute plans with to get a drink after work or watch their kids or pets when needed.

Everyone but me, that is.

All my friends have better best friends. They know it. I know it.
It's all good. I know how it all works.

It's not like I have so much social anxiety that I can't talk to people or have never been able to make friends. I'm easy to get along with and I've never had a problem getting people to like me.
But my anxiety definitely still plays a major role in my friendship struggles.

I don't reach out to text the people I desperately want to invite and make plans with, why?
Because my stupid anxiety convinces me that they already have plans, they'd rather spend time with someone else, and that I would just be annoying them and putting them in an awkward position to have to turn me down.
Because I'm already convinced that they will turn me down. I've already accepted the rejection.

It sounds so....juvenile, doesn't it?

Writing this all out is honestly humiliating. I HATE this about myself. My social awkwardness has kept me from doing literally a million things in my life that I really really wanted to do. Like waiting until 20 to get my driver's license and 21 to get my first real job. Like convincing me the art school I dreamed of going to wouldn't accept me not because of money, location, grades or upbringing, but because they might not fall in love with my strange, confusing and diverse portfolio. Like requiring hours of pep talk to myself and practicing what I want to say like they're lines in a script just to call the doctor or any service that all adults have been doing for years now.

How I got a date with Josh at all, is beyond me.
Although, ironically, talking to guys and being decent girlfriend material has been one thing I've never struggled with. I know, it makes absolutely NO sense. None. Nada.

The real kicker of it all is that I know it's all in my head.
I am 100% fully aware that I overthink and it's really not that bad. There's usually a good 50/50 chance they would actually love to make plans with me. They all tell me so.
I'm still most likely not going to text you first.

So how do I plan to turn this post around so it's not just me whining about my self inflicted pity party that is my social life?
I'm honestly not sure. I didn't really plan any of this out. I don't outline these things at all. Maybe if I did, I'd have better quality content that would inspire at least one comment per post....

At least my son and my boyfriend like me. And not just because they're forced to live with me.
The dog's affection is probably pretty conditional. I can't tell if Bowie likes me at all, to be honest.
I love my little tribe and I wouldn't trade our adventures and dynamic for anything. I love having them to come home to. They're always down for whatever. Well, almost always.

When I get down and depressed and my anxiety gets the best of me, which can last days, I don't blame anyone at all for avoiding me completely. Even Josh gets overwhelmed and lost trying to bring me back up. Yet he somehow manages to stick it out and even make me feel like me again. And you can't spend any amount of time with Jaxon and not smile at least once. He's my angel and shining star. Saving my life every day. I'm so thankful for both of them.

So I'll keep trying and waiting for those golden opportunities. Pregnant or not. Eventually something will work out and it'll be fun and much needed and all that jazz. Hopefully everyone else sticks with me a bit longer too.

And hey, if I can't keep friends, at least I'm pretty good at creating them. Ha, get it?



Other Half of My Puzzle

Relationships thrive on more than love and trust. There needs to be respect and understanding too. How can you expect your man to show you 'love' if you don't respect him? How can you expect her to respect you if you don't show your love for her with more than just your words?

I'm far from an expert, but I've learned a few things in my 25 years of life and 10+ years of different relationships from cute and naive to toxic and even abusive.
I've struggled with balancing my feministic tendencies with necessary sacrifice and knowing when to just shut up and get over it. I've experienced the consequences of holding on to the past, like staying in contact with exes I didn't need to, and trying to make everyone but me happy, and the consequences of giving too much too soon and what happens when you mold your entire world around one person.

Today in particular I am grateful, thankful and humbled by the way Josh Markle loves me. Neither of us expected our journey together to go in the direction it did, but with each curve ball we end up stronger and happier and more solid. It's not always flowers and rose petals and candles and expensive gifts (actually it rarely is, now with offspring lol) but I'm never stressed about loyalty, honesty or security. And not because I'm naive or blind. 

It's waking up to your best friend every morning and going to bed knowing there will be a tomorrow to try again. 
It's sharing bites of the food you ordered because it's really good and you want them to understand how good.
It's playing late night video games in your undies and pj's to decide who's doing the dishes next.
It's laughing histerically at them tripping and falling, then tripping yourself.
It's watching your favorite shows and movies and critiquing every aspect of it to each other and agreeing (for the most part)
It's texting them stupid memes and ugly faces on snapchat just to make them roll their eyes.
It's arguing over the socks on the floor and how they do the laundry wrong but then cooking them their favorite dinner or snack later without batting an eye.
It's watching them tickle and hug your kid every night before bed and seeing them in your kid's eyes when they get mad or laugh.

Every relationship is different because people are different and situations and lifestyles are different.
But when you find a relationship that doesn't stress you out, it's because you have trust, loyalty, respect AND love.
For yourself, and for them.

So it's okay to not respond to every guy/girl that sends you a message, whether you know them or not. It's also okay to do things without your dude or woman every once in a while.
It's okay to let them win every so often. And it's okay to let them know when something is not okay. 

It's not 50/50. It's 100/100. 
It's not about being someone's dream girl or finding that ultimate happiness in someone.
It's about growing along side someone and both fighting battles and overcoming mistakes together.
It's about your goals together. Your every day struggles and victories.

It's about balance.

This isn't a brag post. It's just a revelation and honest observation from what I hope is learned wisdom from experience.

I still have no idea what I'm doing, but I know I'm getting there and I have the best partner in crime anyone could ask for.
And so does he ;)



Oh Yeah...

You thought I forgot, didn't you?

Well, to be completely honest, I kinda did.

Mainly because a lot has been happening. Well, a lot for us, that is.
Two Wednesdays ago Josh and I stopped at a local used car place to look at a decent looking Subaru Outback. We liked the look and the price so we test drove it and decided it was exactly what I was looking for.  Two days later, I became the official owner. Scary, stressful but very exciting at the same time.  I've needed something with all wheel drive and more than two doors since I had Jaxon, but my little Honda Civic was so good on gas and has been so good to me, I put it off. But with number two on the way, it was time to quit procrastinating.

The hotel restaurant I work at also recently got two new managers and, while everything is going well, my schedule and Josh's schedule got changed a wee bit for a few weeks, causing me to have less time to blog or have any sort of set schedule. But now things should be back to 'normal' at least for a while.

Plus, Easter week happened and just like every year since I was born, my birthday was immediately after.  At 25 years old, those things shouldn't be all that stressful, in fact they are normally events I look forward to. However, once I hit 23 and had my first baby, adulthood hit me like a freight train and I've been dreading my birthdays ever since. I honestly don't know if it's because I'm getting older, the time is flying faster, I stopped doing the whole party thing since I hit 21, or what. I just know I prefer to ignore it completely and pretend it's not happening. I honestly forgot it was coming even after my mother, my grandparents, my boyfriend and my friends mentioned it to me. I just don't care anymore.  As for Easter, it was weird for me because I normally go to every church service; Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and even Maundy Thursday (my church usually does the whole foot washing thing), though I can't even tell you if they even had any special services through the week because I didn't attend any of them. Except Easter Sunday, but I went by myself and had to leave after the play and before the message because I had to rush to meet Josh and Jax for Jaxon's first egg hunt before leaving for work. 
Yeah, I got wrangled into working Easter Sunday.

Rant time.
I am aware of the history and traditions of Easter. I grew up being told about the Easter Bunny as well as attending every church service available. I learned very early on what was real and what wasn't.
That being said, just like I'm not a fan of the 'magic' of Santa Claus, I think the whole Easter Bunny and egg hunting thing is absolute garbage. Like I actually can't stand the whole thing.
Easter, regardless of what it's called or should be called or what the history is or isn't, is very special and important to me. But for my own reasons. It's a very personal thing for me. A very spiritual experience for me. Always has been, always will be.
But the whole candy stuffed plastic egg hunts, sugar coated marshmallow creatures, baby bunnies, chicks and sheep everywhere, strange men dressed in creepy oversized bunny costumes hopping around with baskets of more sweet treats.....thing, honestly makes me roll my eyes.
It's so materialistic and over emphasized and....commercialized. 
And don't even get me started on the stuff people make reservations months ahead of time for....like duck, rack of lamb and veal. Seriously? You take one look at all the images of baby animals representing new life and upcoming Spring weather, and you choose to eat their decaying carcasses? 
You make reservations at the same restaurant every year (one of the few that are unfortunately still open) so you can justify taking someone else away from their family to serve and cook for you?
All for the sake of tradition.

Yes, I'm salty about it. Not condemning, at least not intentionally. Just salty.
But then again, I am still pregnant. And vegetarian going on vegan.
So I'll stop now.
I still took Jaxon to his first egg hunt and he did really well. All the kids did. All the parents did too. As much as I hate those traditions, I figured screw it, let him get excited for something and get some sweet treats out of it. It's once a year and we have been needing to get a jar of candy as a tool for potty training...
So yeah, I'm a slight hypocrite this year. Judge me.

I truly hope all of you had a wonderfully sweet, refreshing and heart warming Easter. I hope it was uplifting and exciting and everything you wanted it to be, beautiful weather and all. Don't ever let my anti-everything attitude and rants ever bring you down about the things you like. Seriously. I'm just a hipster emo kid still at heart. 

On a lighter note, I recently took up crochet and I love it. I am officially an old lady and proud.
In fact, I'm finishing up a blanket for Roarin as we speak. Kinda.
It's calming and for someone like me, with anxiety issues, it's a huge relief and even therapeutic to me.  I'm still learning the terms, techniques and patterns, but I'm so glad I decided to finally do it.
So yeah, I'm sure there will be plenty of scarves, blankets, socks and hats to come.
You've been warned. 

Pregnancy update?
I'm at 26 weeks, the kid still kicks like crazy and gets hiccups and likes to stick his butt out when I'm sitting so my organs have nowhere to go but against my spine, ribs, each other...you know, typical end of the 2nd trimester things.
Haven't done too much as far as preparations go. Still have to make room in our bedroom for a crib, bring all Jax's baby clothes, toys and bouncer things from my parents house, and probably should start stocking up on diapers, wipes, formula and breastfeeding supplies. If my mom is planning another baby shower, it must be a surprise because she hasn't said a word to me.
Not that it's necessary. We have everything except diapers and formula and I'd like to get a double stroller.  We'll make do. I don't have the energy to worry anymore.

I feel bad that my first pregnancy was cute and exciting and this one is just....a chore.
But I really just want this kid here already. I'm ready to get the whole birth giving thing over with and start my second go at breastfeeding. I'm ready to be done with pregnancy.
Two boys is good for me. I'm ready to retire my body haha

I know I'll miss it 6 months after. 
Judge me.