BlerDCon 2021

After a year of no concerts or nerd conventions, and armed with both doses of the Pfizer vaccine, my best friend, Brooke and I made the trek to Arlington, VA for the fourth annual BlerDCon.* (Now with vaccination and mask mandates for your safety!)

I actually didn’t know that BlerDCon was a thing until Brooke kidnapped me back in 2019 in order to attend and I had a blast. It is hands down the best con I’ve ever attended, though I only have 10 years of New York Comic Con and 1 year of Anime NYC to compare it to. While our first year at BlerDCon was amazing (we only got to stay for 18 hours out of the 3 days), this year we took it up a notch,  as this was the year of the Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune “couple cosplay.”

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5 Ways to Add Self Care to Your Daily Life

With everything that has happened over the last year it has been difficult to not sink deep into my usual stress response of survival, and coping mechanisms.  I am so guilty of not taking care of myself when things were “normal” and this has only gotten worst between dealing with the possibly of being laid off (again), financial insecurity and the logistics of having to move during a pandemic to name a few. I know that I’m not alone with this, nevertheless I’ve been actively trying to find some sense of peace in chaos.

And yes, things may seem a bit quiet and boring being under quarantine for so long, yet that too can be a form of chaos for some of us. (Yes, even for introverts.) Today I’m sharing five ways I’ve been incorporating more self care into my routine. While some of these may seem obvious, some are still hard even for me, but I’m trying and I hope you’ll join me.

1.) Get cozy and cute (but only if YOU want to)

I’ve taken to treating myself to some new sleep and lounger wear to bring in some changes to my overall dull WFH wardrobe. Most recently I got this black sleep shirt from the Modcloth-exclusive collaboration with Hello Kitty. It has a classic pajama silhouette with lapel collar, cuffed long sleeves and curved shirttail hem, red heart-shaped buttons down the entire front, piping throughout and an embroidered patch of this Sanrio icon on the chest pocket.  It is adorable and soft though also chic enough that I deemed it worthy of including a few accessories and makeup despite the fact that I’m just staying home because, why not?

I’ll admit that like most people that have been working from home,  I really haven’t been dressing up much, though I try to make an effort at least on those days I have a scheduled  Zoom call.  Somedays I’ll do this and other times I simply don’t care enough to try. Both are fine. The important thing is to do what is comfortable for you.

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Mental Health in the Time of COVID-19

As someone who has dealt with homeless twice before already, the very thought of unemployment has always been a major anxiety trigger for me. So I’ve become the kind of person that needs to have some sense of financial stability and control in order to hold my fears and anxiety in check. Financially, I am in a better place than how things were with my family back when I was a kid, however, like most people I know living in NYC, I still live paycheck to paycheck, which isn’t the most stress-reducing situation. Just missing one paycheck results in a financial setback that will take months to recover from.

So when I got the news in April that I was furloughed, I broke down and had one of the worst panic attacks ever. My mother, who is getting through lockdown along with me, didn’t know how to help but she tried her best to calm me down, embracing me until I stopped crying, shaking and hyperventilating. (My mother has never experienced me having a panic or anxiety attack firsthand and I know this scared her but I appreciate that this is how she chose to handle the situation in that moment because I managed to recover much faster than I would have otherwise.) I was unconsolable for days. I was angry at all those “we’re in this together” messages circulating everywhere. Yes, we’re facing the same storm that is COVID-19, BUT we’re all experiencing different journeys because we’re on different ships. Some of us aren’t even on ships at all, just doing the best with our inflatable life raft, if that.

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My Two Cents: Body Positivity vs. Influencer Weight Loss?

Back in December, I spent some of my holiday break  going through my Facebook blog page DMs from readers (yes, I actually make time to read and answer those) and this was one of the ones I had received:

I’m not going to lie, the question took me off guard to the point that I failed to formulate an immediate answer. So I simply wrote back that I needed some time to process this a bit, promising that I would cover this topic on the blog as soon as I could.

Weight loss is such a touchy subject. Understandably so as it triggers a lot of difficult memories and emotions for many of us, especially if you are a woman. As someone who grew up being constantly criticized, bullied and even publicly humiliated for my weight, I still cringe a bit when Weight Watchers is brought up in conversation. (For context I was gifted a membership to that program by my Great Aunt when I was 9 years old and subsequently continued to do so until the day I turned 18, but that’s a story for another time.)

I came into plus size fatshion through the body positive movement and I know that for some people its the opposite. This was back in 2009, before it all went mainstream and body positivity, as it applied to plus size bodies specifically, was more along the lines of size acceptance. I was 19 and had a history of leaving the mall in tears for not being able to find anything that I liked that fit and was actually affordable.  I told myself that I hated fashion but the truth was that I hated the fact that the fashion industry just wouldn’t work with my body.  I believed that in order to have things like respect, love and nice clothes, akin to that of my thinner peers, I would have to lose as much weight as possible first.

Me at 19 vs. Now

That’s when I stumbled onto The Big Girl Blog by Cece Olisa. It was purely by accident, as I had been online shopping for plus size club clothes since I had been invited to a party that called for that kind of thing. I kept reading post after post and ended up finding other similar blogs that covered topics such as dating, fashion and, of course, body love and body positivity. Motivated by what I read,  I started to unlearn the negative “lessons” that had been instilled in me and learned to love and celebrate the body I have. Continue reading

+Size Matters – Body Positive vs Offensive Narratives

This  year marks the first time that I’ve made a point to have a Netflix account. It started with me opening what must have been my eighth account under a different email address for another free trail and after I ended up getting charged for one month since I forgot to cancel it, I figured I might as well give this service a try for a year. Thus I too have taken to binge-watch sessions after work well into the early hours of the morning of many shows and movies.

For the most part I’ve taken to watching anime and catching up on shows that my friends were raving about years before, like Sherlock. Yes,  I’m “tardy to the party” but hey at least I’m here now, haha. Anyway, I say all this because Netflix originals were on the very bottom of my “To Watch” list and with shows like Insatiable being  produced by the service, I feel that I was right in not going that route with my new streaming binge-watching habit.

Image result for netflix insatiable

Image Credit: Spoiler TV

Honestly, when the online petition reached 100,000 signatures back in July I believed that the show would never be an option to be streamed on Netflix but obviously this didn’t stop production. Sure this is old news by this point but it still warrants a bit more discussion as it demonstrates the significance of narratives that are presented to an audience – well, at least I think it does.

The basic plot of the show is as follows: a formerly overweight teenager turned beauty queen sets out to get revenge on everyone who tormented her when she was bigger. According to the creator, the show is meant to tackle major social issues attached to weight and fat-shaming through comedy and satire. She has even gone on the record to say that the backlash the show got at the release of its trailer was nothing more than a form of censorship. [Insert eye-roll here] Continue reading