Beware the Slenderman

NOTE: If there is a movie, documentary, play, or book you’d like me to review please let me know. For a while I reviewed television shows but I’m way behind on all of the shows of mine I like, so I will wait to catch up on those before I seek new ones.

As several of my friends know, I tend to find unexplained mysteries, disappearances without explanation, unsolved murders, and serial killers fascinating. I just find it so interesting given modern technology how people are able to escape detection from security cameras and can get killed or go missing without anyone knowing. It also is interesting to me what goes through the mind of a criminal that allows them to commit crimes or murder(s).

One of my best friends last week told me that she had recorded a new HBO documentary called _beware the slenderman, and I was immediately intrigued by it. Being from Wisconsin, I had heard about the case when it first happened, but I hadn’t followed up on it much until fairly recently. The movie explains the crime the girls committed and describes what the home life was like for both of the girls.

In 2014 Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier, two twelve year old girls stabbed and nearly murdered Payton (Bella) Leutner in Waukesha, Wisconsin. I emphasized “nearly”, because myself and most other people I have talked to had assumed Bella died from her injuries. The two claimed their actions were done to appease the fictional character Slenderman. He is an unusually tall man with a thin build, who is always seen wearing a suit, and he  generally has a blank, expressionless face. Apparently, he has “proxies” that work for him and seem to do his bidding. Both girl claimed that they were told they had to kill Bella or Slenderman would kill their family, and after killing her, they could go to the Slenderman Mansion and become said proxies. Due to the developing backstory of the character, not much more information was provided about the fictional character. However, while most people associate a malicious or creepy tone to him, some people (presumably both girls) see him as a “Guardian Angel” of sorts.

Editing is always vital for the success of a film and the way the audience perceives the actions of the people or characters in it. For example, in December 2015 when Making a Murderer was released, it helped sway a lot of people into believing that Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey were wrongfully sentenced for crimes they may or may not have committed (see my review Making a Murderer to get a deeper analysis of what I thought). When I researched the documentary at a later point, I noticed other sources saying that the documentary left out some information that would make the two men not seem as innocent as how they were portrayed. While I have no clue how accurate these claims are, it does show how important editing is in driving a narrative and what the audience will take away. In regards to the editing of _beware the slenderman, the message was great but the flow of the film could have greatly improved. As I’ve already explained, most crime documentaries or shows have an agenda of clearing someone’s name or tarnishing it further. This movie  balanced both their roles in the crime without making one seem guiltier than the other, and the interviews with each of their families also gave interesting insight to how both girls behaved throughout their earlier childhood too. It just presented what happened without really trying to sway the viewer one way or the other.However, the flow of the film could have significantly improved. It seemed jumbled and out of order. It is understandable to want to build suspense and not give out all of the information immediately, but it felt like it jumped around a lot and was hard to follow at times.

A bit of levity came during the middle of the film when my friend and I laughed at the job description given to one of the people being interviewed. By his preference, or that of the editors of the film, he was referred to as a “Digital Folklorist”. The term folklore is often meant to describe traditions and beliefs passed down from generation to generation, but more importantly it has been associated with oral tradition. Hence, adding the “digital” in front of it seems counterintuitive. While many fabricated stories have gained notoriety (such as Slenderman), the digital age is a more recent phenomenon, and it has hardly passed anything down through generations, if any at all. The necessity of such a position is not needed at this point. I by no means have room to talk, because I am blog for fun (and free), but I would never adopt such a ludicrous title to describe myself. Anyway, that man and the latter half of the movie touched on the ever increasing influence of electronics and the importance they have in the everyday lives of most people. The father of Anissa felt had he not given his daughter a tablet she may not have gone down the path she had. His younger son is being mandated to use one in schools and the increasing necessity and reliance on technology worries him. At times it seemed like the film focused on technology almost as much as the crimes, without ever really acknowledging that it is doing so.

Despite all of the imagery surrounding Slenderman, I felt the creeper element of the movie was the videotaped confessions of both girls during their interviews. The way they responded to several questions just sent a chill down my spine. At one point Morgan mentioned how the girls didn’t kill Bella at the sleepover they were all at, because she wanted to give Bella one more morning, to see if the feeling to murder her would subside. Throughout, both girls phrased and said things in such a disturbing manner, that was emphasized by their young age at the time. After seeing the footage, the denial of their appeal (to be tried as children instead of adult, because of their age) seemed like the right decision. I do think it is unfortunate that children at such a young age may face a significant amount of time behind bars, but given their confessions, it is obvious the entire ordeal was premeditated with intent to kill, and once Bella was stabbed, she was left their to die. They were quite aware of their actions and there was no psychotic break. While I feel they deserve to be reprimanded for their actions, I do hope they are also able to receive guidance and therapy and Morgan will learn how to understand her schizophrenia and live with it.

I definitely think this movie is a great choice for anyone interested in crime related entertainment. Perhaps it is due to my close proximity to the crimes, but I felt engaged the entire time. While the pacing could have been improved, I felt like the overall product was well constructed and I would give it an 8 out of 10. It will definitely be interesting to see the story unfold and see whether a follow up will ever be produced.

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Batman V. Superman

NOTE: If there is a movie, documentary, play, or book you’d like me to review please let me know. For a while I reviewed television shows but I’m way behind on all of the shows of mine I like, so I will wait to catch up on those before I seek new ones. 

I’m not entirely sure, but according to what my last blog post says I have not posted in well over a year. Whoops! I guess that is what happens when your life gets unexpectedly crazy for a few months. Luckily, I am not juggling quite as much as I was the past few months. So, that has given me more time to finally watch movies and write. So, here are my views on Batman V. Superman.

To make it perfectly clear: SPOILERS.

A few months ago I saw Man of Steel and I honestly didn’t mind it. Quite a few people I talked to said they were not a huge fan of either movie. The biggest thing the company needs to work on, from what I’ve been able to glean from these two movies, is the pacing of their films. Both movies seemed to drag, especially towards the beginning. While I love background information on characters, I felt like it spends too much time on exposition. The Marvel movie universe has seen more success with their franchise so far, and I think that it is due to the fact that they had several solo films to establish some of their characters before jumping into a shared movie. It probably would’ve benefited DC to have had a solo film with Batman before they threw him into a film with Superman. It felt like a good portion of the beginning of the film was just a lot of Batman exposition. Otherwise, the movie started to pick up once it reached the action. However, it did have one more slow point when all of the actions briefly stopped so Wonder Woman could do some investigation into other meta humans. Again, I loved being able to sneak peeks and a little background with each of the actors, but it felt a little forced. The earlier Flash cameo was sufficient enough to introduce him. Given how often news broadcasts introduced other elements, I think having Aquaman introduced that way as a background Easter egg would’ve been better. The random delay of action just felt out of place.

Overall, I thought that the casting of all of the characters was good. I enjoyed the casting for Man of Steel and I felt like Gal Gadot and Ben Affleck were welcome additions to the cast. Despite all of the exposition, Affleck did a great job of portraying an older Batman. Gal Gadot has the perfect composure to play Wonder Woman and it will be exciting to see what she can bring to her solo outing. One of the most polarizing performances was Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. Other iterations of the character, that I have seen, typically show him more stoic and calculating and only over time does he appear more manic. One website likened his performance to a cheap imitation of Heath Ledger’s Joker. While I certainly don’t think that was his intent, I felt like his performance could’ve been more reserved and the way he portrayed his character seemed more like another DC villain, the Mad Hatter. Mad Hatter tends to be more crazed but not as volatile as the Joker. I feel like his acting wasn’t homicidal enough to play someone like Joker. His performance wasn’t serious enough for Lex Luthor but not manic/tactical enough for the Joker.

This movie made me dislike the name Martha for two reasons. My first reason is because I feel like a complete idiot for never realizing that both Batman and Superman’s mothers have the same name. Granted, I prefer Batman, but still I didn’t even pick up on it during Man of Steel where I’m sure it was said multiple times. Secondly, the shared name between the mothers led to an incredibly anti-climatic end to the fight between the two heroes. They were bound to stop fighting at some point, but it made everything seem too easy.

A superhero costume can really make or break a character. Despite a significantly darker tone than many earlier versions of the heroes, I feel like DC has done a good job costuming their characters in the DC cinematic universe. Gal Gadot looks stupendous in her Wonder Woman costume and Ben Affleck’s Batman suit based on the Dark Knight graphic novel was pretty spot on. However, the one costume I was not a fan of was Ezra Miller’s armored Flash suit. After doing a little research I discovered it is closer to the Injustice: Gods Among Us video game than the usual red spandex suit. It makes sense given Grant Gustin is wearing the traditional costume on The Flash and the company probably doesn’t want fans to confuse the two portrayals. Regardless, the brief cameo just made the suit look a little clunky and not as exciting as I would’ve hoped it to be (I might be biased because the Flash is one of my favorite heroes).

Despite what may seem like a largely negative review, I would still give this film a 6.5 out of 10. I do think it could’ve been greatly improved with some more editing and reworking of bits, but largely it is a nice start to the franchise. A lot of exposition was given to set up future movies, so hopefully the pacing in future installments will go a lot faster and smoother. We shall see. After watching this movie, I watched Suicide Squad and I’ll be posting a review of that movie shortly.

Suggestions

I want to try keeping up with writing posts, so my aim is to try watching and reviewing one thing a week (I think that should be easily accomplished). However, with a lot going on, I want suggestions for things that are short in length. I’m open to the following:

  • Documentaries (open to any, but I have seem several on Netflix already)
  • Movies (Easier to watch things that aren’t currently in theaters, but recent releases are okay)
  • Television Series (between 1-3 seasons)

The easiest method is to have suggestions that can be found on Netflix or are free on other streaming websites (like some Hulu shows).

Thank you for suggestions!

Making a Murderer

It has been quite sometime since I have written a review or discussed my opinions on films, movies, shows, documentaries and other things. Primarily I was focusing on theatre for the majority of last year, then I was spending a lot of time working, and then I began work on several writing and editing projects. However, I have decided to start posting reviews again, and I feel like a great place to start is with Making a Murderer. There has been quite a bit of buzz around the show and I am going to discuss the merits of the documentary and my thoughts about the case itself. Please note, I have very minimal background knowledge about crime, laws, and procedures associated with trials, so if any information I provide is incorrect or flawed, I apologize. I am by no means a professional in this field and I am merely sharing my perspective about the whole situation.

With my reviews (as far back as I can remember) I would begin with discussing my perception of the overall merit of the piece (cinematography, pacing, overall story, etc.). Therefore, that is where I will begin with this my thoughts on Making a Murderer. For a production that was released in 2015, I was not overly impressed with the quality of the film itself. I needed to remind myself that most of the footage was shot around ten years ago, when the trials were going on, but about 90% of the footage was at a lower resolution and I think more current footage could have been spliced in. It was not a huge issue, but it felt like my eyes were not well adjusted to the screen.

I felt like the ten episode docuseries could have been condensed down a little bit. Quite a bit of the footage was repetitive and several segments could have been shortened with text like they did at other moments throughout the documentary. The benefit of the longer run time, in my opinion, was that it let the audience become more sympathetic for the Avery family and relatives. Personally, I felt quite awful for Steven Avery’s parents, and had they not included all of those moments with them, I may have never felt that way.

Now there are a few things I want to discuss about the show, so if you’re interested in whether I think Steven or Brendan are innocent or guilty, skip below to the bottom of my review for my specific thoughts on both of them (I will bold it).

One of the worst things that I think happens during any type of criminal case is that family of the accused are targeted by the press, media, and upset citizens. I personally do not care whether a person is found innocent or guilty, I think it is wrong to attack the families of accused or convicted felons. There have been plenty of cases of a terrible upbringing leading to someone becoming a criminal, but that doesn’t mean people should send nasty notes or death threats to the parents or siblings of the accused. It is despicable practice and if anyone does it, they should be ashamed.

A frustrating aspect of the entire case was that the state was not held accountable for the initial imprisonment. While I think the 36 million dollar settlement would have been a bit much, I do think that Avery and the others involved should have received more than the 400,000 dollars that they received and more action should have been taken against those that did not perform their respective duties in the manner that needed to be done. An innocent man spent 18 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, because of a faulty justice system that was more concerned with revenge over following the appropriate actions that were supposed to have been taken. As well, I think it is absolutely ludicrous that people involved with his rape case and the lawsuit against his wrongful imprisonment were allowed to be part of the homicide case. I do not know how much it holds up in courts, but there clearly would have been a conflict of interest no matter how unbiased the officers claimed to be.

I think most people who watch the series would say the four most despicable men involved are Mark, Fassbender, Len, and Ken Kratz. From the perspective of the docuseries, it seems that Mark and Fassbender coerced a confession out of Brendan. The two men kept telling him to “be honest” any time that he answered until he gave an answer that they deemed satisfactory. Len, who was meant to defend Brendan, essentially threw him under the bus and did very little to actually help him. Instead of trying to prove his innocence it seemed like he was more interested in Brendan accepting a guilty plea or finding him guilty. Either situation would have helped in the Steven Avery trial and would have added more evidence against him. My personal least favorite person during the trial was Ken Kratz. His unbearable voice made me want to switch on closed captioning and press mute whenever he appeared on screen. However, it seemed he approached the trial in an unprofessional manner and I feel he released details of the case before the trial, and that could have lead to a tainted jury.

My thoughts on the two of them:

Steven Avery – Inconclusive

Brendan Dassey – Innocent

Due to evidence provided in the documentary, I do not think there was enough evidence to convict Steven Avery of murder. The biggest thing that I think the prosecutors had against Avery was the blood in the Rav4. If the tests would have came back  having said that the chemical from the test tube was in that blood, I think that would be the proof I need to say he is completely innocent. Everything else, in my opinion, should not have held up in court. With the key, why would it have only his fingerprints on it and none of Teresa Halbach’s? The DNA from the bullet was tainted by the lab technician that was looking at it. The fact that very little of her blood was discovered on the site just seems incredibly unlikely. Nothing against Avery or Brendan, but neither man seemed intelligent enough to think to be that thorough when cleaning. In general, it seemed like the majority of the factors that comprised his conviction were based on circumstantial evidence. The main question remains, if he didn’t do it, then who did? That is where I think the police failed in both cases against Steven Avery. As mentioned in the film, the prosecutors had “tunnel vision” and seemingly went only after him. I just feel like there is not enough tangible evidence to necessarily say he did or did not commit the murder.

For Brendan, I think he was given a corrupt lawyer and at least deserves a retrial. As far as I remember only his testimony placed him at the crime scene. I could be wrong, but none of the physical evidence provided in the series tied him to being associated with the crime. Without seeing his entire interrogations, it appears that he was lead to make the confessions that he did and the investigators took advantage of a teenager who did not have the mental capacities to realize the gravity of the situation.

All in all, I think it is a good watch. It might be a bit boring to those who are not really interested in watching court cases. However, it shows the plight of an accused man, and more often than not, people don’t really get this perspective in this type of situation. If anyone reading this saw the original trial and then saw this show, I would love to hear if views have changed after watching this. Also, if anyone wants to comment, I would love to have a conversation about your thoughts on the case. I do think the docuseries is biased by focusing more on his innocence than showing a middle ground, but nonetheless it is a thought provoking show and had already engaged quite a huge number of people. Only the future will show whether more of this case will unravel and we will get more of a definitive answer of who the culprit was and if either man will get a second chance.

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead – Documentary

Another suggestion and another review. This documentary was perfect for what I was using it for, background noise. A few days ago I was trying to work on a project for a play I am in, and instead of sitting in the silence, I decided to put this on in the background. While what I said in the second sentence might sound harsh, I think I may have been bored even more by the end of the film had I paid attention the entire time.

The documentary is about a man named Joe Cross who is an overweight man with a lot of health concerns in his life. He has some immune disorder where his body will break out in rashes because the body thinks it is under attack. The example he uses is that when someone gets bit by a mosquito, their skin will swell in that spot, and it is a reaction by the body to help prevent toxins from bite to spread further. For him, his body has this reaction to random touches or scratches.

Anyway, Joe Cross decides to improve his health by going on a juice cleanse where he will fast for sixty days and the only thing he will consume are fruit and vegetable juices. However, he will only be using his own personal juicer, because the fruits and vegetables won’t be as processed or sugary as supermarket juices. Along his journey, he comes across a man named Phil Staples, who is a large truck driver who weighs over 400 pounds. Phil has the same condition as Joe, and he wants to lose weight to get healthier and happier. The first half is primarily focused on Joe losing weight and the second half is more focused on Phil.

One of the (few) good points brought up from the film is that losing weight and trying to be healthier is something that is determined by each individual person. While making his way across America, Joe comes across numerous people that he tells his story to. He’ll ask these people questions about their health and if they would do something like the cleanse or if they are concerned about their weight, and most people he runs into are apathetic and either don’t care about their weight or find themselves too lazy to do anything about it.

Although I wasn’t paying full attention to the movie, I don’t recall the documentary using a lot of statistics or scientific data. I think there might have been some moments here and there, but largely it was focused on this juice cleanse and while it apparently helped alleviate some symptoms and helps people lose weight, the film doesn’t discuss any potentially negative side effects. None of the “professionals” (as far as I remember) discuss much about the fruit cleanse. They will talk about food and the general health of people, but I don’t recall them discussing much of what Joe or Phil are doing.

The movie did focus, minutely, on the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables, but the movie used it to compare to the price of prescription drugs some of the people were on to treat their different illnesses. Over the past year I have seen several documentaries that have touched on health and food, and there is one big issue that Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead missed out on, a lot of unhealthy food can be bought in bulk for cheaper. A lot of whole food or organic stores will provide healthy options, but usually it comes at a higher cost. Bringing up how pricey medication can get was a good idea, but the movie didn’t show all sides of the issue they it should have.

I give this documentary a 4 out of 10. While it was nice to see a healthier alternative for people to lose weight, the movie (as other reviewers have said) seemed more like a two hour long infomercial than it did a documentary. The format of the movie was also a little odd. I understand everything happened chronologically, but the movie seemed like two different segments, because Joe has finished his fasting halfway through the movie and the second half was focused on Phil. It made the documentary seem divided. The biggest fault, in my opinion, was the fact that it really didn’t include many facts. While eating fresh fruits and vegetables can be healthy, it didn’t really tell the viewer on ways to maintain healthy eating habits. A better title would have been Long, Boring, and Nearly Educational.

Garfunkel and Oats – TV Series

This is another suggestion from one of my friends of something to watch. Garfunkel and Oats is a short, eight episode comedy show on Netflix. The series is based on the lives of two 30 somethings, Riki Lindhome (Garfunkel) and Kate Micucci (Oats) and the misadventures they go on together. Each twenty minute episode usually involves them partaking in some sort of shenanigans and an original song by the two comedy singers tends to accompany some theme of that episode.

My general feeling of the show: meh. Don’t get me wrong, the two actresses are pretty good in their roles and I thought their songs were usually catchy and funny. However, the overall feeling I had from the series was that it relied too heavily on “awkward” comedy. As an incredibly awkward person myself, I did enjoy them showing characters embracing their quirkiness, but it was a little too much sometimes. There were a few times where I was cringing instead of laughing because I understood the pain of their awkward encounters.

One of my favorite episodes was the third episode where the duo decide that they are not going to talk to their blind dates and see if the men catch on. Oblivious to the situation, both their dates request a second date where they continue to give them the silent treatment, with (seemingly) continued success for both of them. I liked the episode a lot, because both Riki and Kate focused more on facial/physical expressions and both were hilarious at emoting their discomfort on their respective dates without the usual awkward dialogue.

I didn’t realize until the sixth episode that I had seen some of their music videos before. I knew that the overall premise was that the two characters were YouTube comedians that became successful with their songs, but until a few videos were spliced into a montage in that episode, I hadn’t realized I had seen them before (and that they were actually famous because of their music). Their music videos on the show definitely tended to be the highlight of each episode. Something about the camp and cleverness of the little skits tended to outshine the rest of the episode.

I didn’t like how the show ended. The final song was one of my favorites of the season, but it didn’t really feel like their was much of a pay off at the end of the last episode. Usually, you watch a show and get emotionally invested in the characters, by the end the people will either reach their goal or don’t, and then the audience has a positive or negative reaction to the outcome. The conflict in the last episode was fully wrapped up by the end, but I didn’t really have much of a response to what happened. I felt like they could have expanded on having a better story arc for the entire season. Other characters are introduced, with very few of them reoccurring, and this doesn’t allow Riki and Kate to show much development as characters, because the two of them were already well established as friends and they don’t have much conflict between themselves.

I would give the show a five out of ten. Each episode tended to have a joke here or there that stood out and made me chuckle, but I wasn’t constantly laughing and nothing really stuck in my brain as a funny joke that I’d like to share with other people. Both women are incredibly talented, and they are great in other things I’ve seen them in, but I just didn’t enjoy this show as much as I had hoped. I think if I had been a bigger fan of their comedy before watching the show, I would’ve enjoyed the series more. I’d recommend this show to someone looking for a quick show to watch and/or to people who enjoys quirky songs and awkward humor.

Why I Do What I Do

Warning: A LOT of rambling.

First off, this isn’t my typical type of review. Usually, I will talk about something I’ve seen lately, but I decided to make a personal post instead. I’ve had people from several different countries reading this, and plenty of Americans too, but not a lot of you probably know me. Even those who do know me, might not know some of what I’m about to say. So, here you go.

Currently I am working on a production of Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead at a community theatre in town. If someone would have told me two years after I graduated I would still be at home, living in this small town (granted, it is the third largest in the state, but it still seems small to me) I probably would’ve told them off and said I would be somewhere else doing “bigger and better things”. However, as I’ve been working on this play, it has given me a lot of time to reflect back on my life up until this point.

The title for this post is “Why I Do What I Do” and it is tied into the play I am working on, so I guess I’ll start there. Dog Sees God focuses on a combination of different elements from fear, rejection, love, loss, bullying and identity (among many other topics). The character I am is a teenage version of Schroeder from the Peanuts in this unlicensed parody of the comic strip. He’s an upperclassmen who has faced years of bullying due to being molested by his father several years before the beginning of the play. I am fortunate enough to have never gone through an experience like that, but the bullying is something that resonated deeply with me.

At some point when I was a child, I honestly don’t know when or why, I started getting picked on and bullied. Maybe due to being so naive when I was younger, I never realized the hurtful intent of the people that I was around. One instance I recall from when I was in elementary school was that I was playing with some other kids and they asked if I was gay, and my response was “of course I am! I’m having fun!”. When I was younger, I didn’t realize gay was a term also used to describe homosexual, nor did I realize it was meant to be an insult in that situation. As I started growing up, I slowly began to understand more of the intentions behind the things people said to me, and as the bullying continued, I began to catch on to it more and more. I was lucky enough to have it mostly just be verbal, but the few times it was physical, the harm was never anything too serious.

A lot of the time what I see in fictionalized bullying, more often than not, is that the person being bullied tends to be more isolated or reserved with no friends. This wasn’t really my case growing up (note: I am not trying to discredit anyone who has been bullied in real life and didn’t have any friends, I am just speaking from my experience). I always had a tight knit group of friends. Some were also bullied like I was, but other friends were more popular. One of my biggest issues was that transitioning between each school, I lost a good chunk of my friends but the bullies tended to follow me.

For me, everything changed once I started doing theatre in high school. When I was a freshman, I signed up to be in the drama club, but for some reason I never went. Forward two years, and when they were looking for people to work in the haunted house, I was recruited by a few friends, and from that point on I decided to stick with the club. I had tried a few other clubs over my high school career, but nothing kept me motivated like drama club.

Over the course of my junior year, I ended up discovering a lot about who I was, and I went from being bullied to having a lot of friends and even a bunch of underclassmen who looked up to me. By the end of the year, I had made such an impact that I was even nominated for president (I ended up as treasurer, which was a pain, but that is another story). Surrounding myself with people who cared about me helped so much.

That year made me realize two things: I want to be there for people who need it and being creative is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Do I like everyone that I meet? Hell no. However, I try not to limit myself to the first impression of someone. I have found a lot of friends, especially in college, where we got off on the wrong foot or I felt annoyed by them, but when we actually sat down and got to know each other, I realized how amazing of a person they were. I discovered that the hand that was held out for me when I joined drama club in high school, is the exact same thing everyone else needs every now and then. Sure, some people can make friends with anyone. I’ve been told I am that type of person, but as you can tell from reading this, that wasn’t always the case. I just understand that everyone needs a friend and I am willing to be that friend. Even if we end up losing touch or rarely see each other, I made a lot of strong connections with people over the years that won’t ever completely fade away. Have I met people that I have lost as friends or people that don’t like me/can’t stand me? You betcha. However, that’s life.

The other rewarding thing about theatre was that it gave me an outlet to discover who I was, but it also allowed me to be creative. Trust me, as a child I would come up with some of the most imaginative ideas, and I am grateful that I never lost that. I’ve certainly reigned it in over the years, but that flame of creativity has never completely blown out.

I act. I design. I write. I draw. Am I the best at any of these things? Probably not. Do I care? Absolutely not. I do what I do because I find it fun and it makes me happy. My acting has made leaps and bounds since Claudius’s man-at-arms role in high school (fun fact: Hamlet is the first show I was ever in and I’ve worked on three different productions of it). I’ve even made significant strides since college. I’ve learned to be more grounded and I’ve been working on slowing down my rate.

I started writing this blog because I wanted a way to keep myself writing. I have a folder dedicated to all of my deceased ideas and projects that I gave up on. I love to write but can never keep a story going, so to help prevent me from getting rusty with my writing, I decided to maintain a blog I would edit a few times during the week. Little did I realize, this project would also help me to continue writing a book that I’ve been working on for a few months. I hope to have it finished by years end.

The reason I wrote all of this is because I’ve noticed a lot of people being down on themselves lately. Personally, I think I have made a tremendous journey the twenty something years I have been alive. I continue to grow and discover more of who I am and what I want. I didn’t write this as a need for an apology or sympathy for the rough patches I’ve been through. I just want to show everyone, tough things (including many things I didn’t add about my life) do happen and it may feel like the pain and suffering will never end, but always remember you are not alone. To anyone who reads through all of this, know that if you ever need someone to talk to, I am here for you. Old friend, new friend, someone really close or a complete stranger, it doesn’t matter. When you look back on your life (now or decades later) you will see how far you have come. All the good things and all the bad things have helped shape you into the person you are, and never forget how strong that person is. We define ourselves, nothing or no one else.