Owning Up

While I’ve been extremely excited to pursue my fiance visa, there is one thing I’ve still been worried about. It’s a thought that tends to pop up once a month (usually during that time of the month) that highlights the one part of my life I’m still not happy with: job stability. Moving to the States will be exciting and scary for various reasons, but one thing I’m both happy and worried about is getting a fresh start on the job front. I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it, but I want to take this time to clear the air.

I’ve mentioned my job woes on this blog a few times, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized just why I’m so unhappy about my situation. Sure, I have my regrets about not being able to afford to move or not bothering to get my own vehicle. Either of those options might have allowed me to find work in the city or at least commute there. And yes, I’ve been consistently down about the lack of work I’ve found. My resume is spotty at best and mostly consists of entries from fast food restaurants. That’s definitely NOT what I had in mind after my college years. Adding to that, I’m still sad that I haven’t been able to really dig deep and use the skills I acquired from taking journalism courses. I can live with only having two years under my belt, but I’m pretty sure many of the things I learned those 8-9 years ago are outdated by now.

But the thing I feel is the source of my unhappiness is a lack of confidence. When I first started working, even though I hated being at McDonald’s, I did my best and was confident that I’d find better work. Over the years, that confidence has start dwindling. The first real blow I felt was during my second last fast food job. My boss was condescending and I felt uncomfortable working there. I made mistakes (the kind where you get physically hurt – it was a kitchen after all) and often felt like I couldn’t do anything right. From there, I eventually went on to yet another fast food job and… Well, unlike all my prior jobs, I didn’t leave of my own volition. I was let go, and it devastated me because that was the one job in that field I was actually enjoying (mainly because of my coworkers).

I never had the best self-esteem growing up, but I feel like it’s at an all-time low when it comes to my job situation. I’ve reached a point where I question whether I’m even good enough to do the job. Anything I can do, someone else can do better. Now, I try my best to overcome these thoughts. Everyone is good at something, even if others might be more skilled or experienced. But I still sometimes feel like I’m not good at any one thing. My current job involves cleaning, and while I’m good at it, I know my mom (who has always had cleaning jobs) can do it faster and still make things look good. I edit videos for my fiance and, while I’m proud of the work I do, I know there are better editors than me that aren’t necessarily professionals.

Again, these aren’t thoughts that constantly go through my head day after day, but I feel that I owe it to myself to own up to them. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get a job that’s more worth my while, but I’m prepared to make ends meet if there’s no other option. I’ve started focusing on being more positive about all of it, because I don’t want this to beat me down. I’m trying to build my confidence and self-esteem back up, and I’m hopeful that being somewhere new will give me the boost I need.

Internet Personalities and Alter Egos

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It’s become something of a cliche or trope lately for some internet personalities to make videos or storylines based around alter egos. Granted, in the world of TV and movies, this isn’t a new idea. But for the world of internet videos, I can’t recall when I first came across this concept. My fiance and I utilized this idea when we made our first internet review show, but we were inspired to do so by others like Doug Walker, aka The Nostalgia Critic, and Lewis Lovhaug, aka Linkara. Both of them use exaggerations of themselves for their review shows, as well as dress up to bring in other characters. In Doug’s case, it’s for comedy or to branch out into other shows. In Lewis’s, it’s mainly for an ongoing story in his show. I even like it when creators apply a personality to something that doesn’t normally have one, such as watching TeamFourStar make up stories for their Pokemon in their various Nuzlocke series.

One thing that fascinates me is when a fandom either creates or gives backstory to alter egos. Most of the time, this is just something done within the community and without the input of the person or work surrounding it. I’ve always been a fan of lore, so I appreciate interpretations of alter egos and/or characters that aren’t given a backstory or have a vague one at best. For example, until recently, the fandom-created evil alter ego of Jacksepticeye, dubbed Antisepticeye, existed through stories and artwork that people built a backstory around. But I especially love it when the original creators get into these alter egos and make something of them. Markiplier has a plethora of them created mostly for skits that he recently brought back, and Jacksepticeye took the aforementioned idea of Antisepticeye and made it a video-based reality starting last October.

I can understand why alter egos wouldn’t be for everyone, but I personally love it when internet personalities use them. I’ve always been interested in the concept of alternate universes and by extension characters. I think it might have started with “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” or “Animorphs”, though I’m positive there were other influences between those. In the case of Doug or Lewis, I enjoy both usages of their various characters for the little bits of backstory we get as well as the storytelling aspects. As for producers like Mark and Jack, I adore how they’ve made a compromise between fleshing out their alter egos on their own and also incorporating ideas from their fans. There’s a bit of audience interaction there that I can get behind. At the end of the day, I’m a sucker for both some good lore and entertaining videos. Put them together and, for me at least, you have a winning combination.

Progress Report #2

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I didn’t expect to be blogging about this again so soon, but so much has happened in the past two days that I can’t help it. On Wednesday, our immigration lawyer sent off the last of our documents to the consulate as part of the third step of my visa application. Within the same afternoon, the consulate immediately sent instructions for the next step to myself, the lawyer, and my fiance, Richard. We were shocked at how quickly this happened and immediately started making plans with our lawyer.

To clarify, this fourth step involves me setting up appointments for my medical exam and eventual interview at the consulate. Because I wanted to make time for each thing and didn’t mind waiting a little longer, both of my appointments are scheduled at the beginning and end of June. I’m super excited and nervous, but mostly excited. I’m now that much closer to being with my fiance and it feels like it’s taken less time than I expected.

It’s hard to believe we’ve made it this far. In the course of our relationship, we’ve cherished our temporary yearly visits. However, we often talked about when the day would come when we could see each other permanently. And even though we’ve been engaged for over three years, neither of us were sure when that could happen. It’s just surreal to know that we’ve reached a point where that might become a reality.

I think this will be the last update I make on the subject until I know if I’ve been approved or denied for my visa. I’m being optimistic that I will be approved, mainly because we’ve had no major issues with this process so far. Wish us luck!

My Current Obsession: Lemony Snicket’s All The Wrong Questions

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Back in January, I went through a “A Series of Unfortunate Events” phase by watching the Netflix show and reading all 13 books. Since the show is now renewed and will fully adapt the series by the end of Season 3, I’ve been in the mood for more Lemony Snicket. I have yet to read the “Unauthorized Biography” or “The Beatrice Letters,” but I’ve recently managed to get my hands on the prequel series called “All The Wrong Questions.”

For those who don’t know, Daniel Handler wrote this series just a few years ago. It depicts adventures of the shadowy narrator Lemony Snicket, who’s only 12 years old during this time. Alongside his bumbling older associate, S. Theodora Markson, Snicket solves various small town mysteries that may have a connection between them. The titles of each book revolve around four questions Snicket asks during these mysteries that are ultimately the wrong things to focus on.

I’ll mention here that I’ve only read two of the four stories so far, and my plan is to read the supplemental “File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents” next before I continue. However, I’m already really enjoying this series so far. I’ve always loved mysteries, so the noir feel to these books appealed to me immediately. I also appreciated that Handler’s familiar writing style shown in ASOUE was brought back here, albeit slightly more polished. He made a simple difference between both versions of Snicket in that the younger one is a bit of a smart aleck like some pre-teens can be. And even for such a young boy, he’s competent at what he does.

Another thing I’ve liked is that the stories involve a sort of hub location: the desolate town of Stain’d-by-the-Sea. The descriptive narrative makes it easy to picture, but I also like that Handler keeps focus on the town rather than having Snicket jump to a bunch of other locations like the Baudelaires did. I think it’s a testament to Handler’s writing that I haven’t felt remotely bored by this setting. In relation to that, the cast of characters is smaller and easy to get invested in. S. Theodora and the Mitchums (the local police and married couple) are a prime example of the “adults are mostly useless” trope seen in ASOUE. Thankfully, even though they usually aren’t much help, the books occasionally have adults that are. For example, a pair of twins in the second book are actually cooperative with Snicket’s investigation. It’s kinda sad that that’s even a positive in this universe, but it still highlights how most of the kids, such as Snicket’s journalist friend Moxie, are the ones with the smarts to get things done. One of the only other competent adults seems to be the mysterious and villainous Hangfire, so I can’t wait to see the inevitable final showdown between him and Snicket.

Despite this series being only about a quarter of the length of ASOUE, I think “All The Wrong Questions” is a solid bunch of stories so far. It does reference lines and characters from ASOUE, but since it’s a prequel series that didn’t bother me whatsoever. I think I would even recommend newcomers to try reading this first before ASOUE if continuity is a big deal to you. Of course, as I’ve found out, reading them in the reverse order isn’t bad either. No matter which series you choose to read first, ATWQ is definitely a good addition to the Snicket line-up.