The College Dropout Survival Guide

Note: Thank you to TheOriginalPhoenix. Her post Self-Care Isn’t Selfish is what inspired me to write this post.

It’s now been 3 years since I made the choice to come home after my second semester of university.

Bad grades, combined with not knowing what I wanted to do with my life, made me realize I need time to get my head on straight.

Coming home was a choice that almost killed me.

So, in this post, I want to share with you what I have done in order to keep myself motivated to get out of bed in the morning:

Get a job. I initially balked at the prospect of getting a job. But I knew I had to do it — I knew that I didn’t want to spend my life on the couch, living off the charity of others. So, despite the grumbling of that lazy, entitled, refuse-to-take-responsibility part of myself, when a job opportunity presented itself I jumped at it. And I am so glad I did. Sure, my work could use improvement. More than once, my boss has expressed disappointment at my performance. But, I keep at it. And I figure that as long as the paychecks keep coming, than I must be doing something right.

I’m not at Kiki levels of productivity…

Image result for kiki's delivery service gif
Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

…but I’m getting there.

Plus, if nothing else: My job allowed me to have enough money to get an Xbox One after my Xbox 360 got the Red Ring of Death.

Have a spiritual life. If you’re spiritual/religious than, if you don’t already, get in the habit of praying at least twice a day — a prayer before you go to sleep and a prayer right after you wake up.

Even if it’s only 5 seconds long and consists of two words — “Hi, (insert name of higher power here).” — praying will do you good.

As the name of my blog implies, I’m a Catholic. I was raised in the Catholic faith and, so far, my faith hasn’t let me down.

Image result for star wars come on baby hold together
Star Wars (1977)

Realize that you aren’t alone. Chances are that if you’re reading this post, you’re in a similar position: You’re not in college and are wondering What the deuce do I do now?

Well, one of the ways to not despair is to know that you aren’t struggling alone. There are people who have gone through, or are going through, what you are, and either they need you to help them, you need their help, or both.

After all: In order to slay the Kaiju that is Despair, you can’t do it alone…

Image result for pacific rim crimson typhoon gif
Pacific Rim (2013)

(I picked Crimson Typhoon because, even though it does get destroyed, I think it’s the coolest Jaeger.)

Surround yourself with beautiful things. I don’t know about you, but: The 24-hour news cycle of terrorist attacks, natural disasters, presidential incompetence, rapes, and murders depresses me. It makes me ask the one question I never want to find myself asking: Should I keep on living?

So, what do I do? I focus on the good in life instead.

For example:

Instead of scratching my head over Donald Trump’s latest tweet…

Image result for donald trump face

…I listen to my favorite song instead:

It’s much more relaxing.

Do what you love. I’m currently teaching myself how to write screenplays.

I’m doing this because I discovered that, in my free time, I would frequently read film reviews. There was just something about the reviews by Steven Greydanus and Jeffrey Overstreet that hooked me. That kindled within me a passion for film. A passion to not just critique art, but create it. Because anyone can criticize. But not everyone can create.

Lately that passion to create has, unfortunately, been fueled by anger at the incompetence of fellow Christian film enthusiasts…

…reviewers are sadly out of touch with ticket buyers. In fact, they are so far out of touch that most of them pick only one blockbuster movie, and many mediocre “independent” movies and boring foreign language movies that appeal to only a few moviegoers.
~WAR ROOM’s A+ cinemascore tells the story

…but still: I’m glad to be doing something I love. Even if it can be hard.

Image result for writing meme

And:

Love yourself.

You’re not perfect.

You’ve failed before, and you’re going to fail again.

But is that going to be the end of you?

No.

Why?

Because: You love yourself, flaws and all.

You know that what you have to offer the universe is unique.

And you know that it’ll be a cold day in Hell before you let life get away with sucker-punching you.

Woman9

How I Decided To Not Commit Suicide

Note: Language.

Earlier today, I was feeling low.

I realized I didn’t meet the standards to get into the college I’d wanted to go to and, to add insult to injury, I learned that my financial situation wouldn’t allow me to go to that college in the first place, leaving me once again stranded in Limbo for the time being.

Not the cool, do-anything-you-want Limbo from Inception (2010)…

…the nightmarish “SB-129” Limbo:

With my future looking bleak, my mind went to dark places. Thoughts of suicide popped into my head, and I just let them be — I didn’t make an effort to drive them away.

After letting such morbid thoughts have their time in the sun, I feel that I was able to think more clearly — I feel that there was a method to my madness. After my mind went through every dark scenario it could think of, the light was able to come in.

I realized that I didn’t want to die. I realized that what I really wanted was just for the pain to end. The pain of knowing that my future is looking nothing like I wanted it to look 3 years ago: before I attended a 4-year college for 1 year and spent the next 2 on the couch.

A number of factors snapped me out of my suicidal funk:

I wouldn’t go through with it. There’s a difference between what a person can do and what a person will do.

It would be selfish. I imagined how my family would react, and I realized that making the choice to take my own life is a selfish one. Why? Because I would be putting people I love through terrible pain for the sake of trying to escape my own pain.

I realized I didn’t actually want to die. To reiterate: After letting dark scenarios run through my mind, I realized that I didn’t want to die — I just wanted my pain to end.

My beliefs. Suicide is considered a sin by the Catholic Church. I didn’t want to risk ending up in Hell.*

Beauty. If anime has taught me one thing, it’s to appreciate the beauty of this world that God has made.

When we create, we are, in our own little ways, doing what God does. J.R.R.Tolkien, the author of The Lord of the Rings, called this “sub-creation”: Creating secondary worlds inside of God’s primary world.

Image result for sword art online ending

And: It might be embarrassing and weird, but it’s true:

I thought of that shot of Yolko’s butt in the Sword Art Online episode “Murder in the Safe Zone,” and that was another reminder of beauty, too.

Sword10

I wasn’t glad I thought of that shot because of anything having to do with sex. (Lust is a sin that I try and avoid like the plague.) I was glad I thought of that shot because, like the world that God has created…

Image result for the milky way

…I see it as another example of beauty that I realized I didn’t want to see the end of.

What I’m trying to say is: There is so much beauty in the world, and I didn’t want to see the end of it by taking my life.

Suicide is not how I’m dying. Everyone dies eventually. And earlier today I decided that since I must die, I’m going to die in such a way that will be worthy of the good life I (hope to) have lived. I don’t know how or when I’m going to die, but I hope it’s in a way that makes God go “And that’s why I made Tim! Fuck yes!”

In conclusion:

I’m doing better now.

Praying, giving myself time to think more about my situation, spending time with my parents and kids from my local Catholic school’s youth group, video games, and music, did wonders for me.

Suicide is a complex and hard subject to talk about.

If anything I said in this post offended or upset you for any reason, let me know, and I apologize, because it wasn’t my intent to do that.

*On a related note: The only sin that God won’t forgive is the sin you don’t ask forgiveness for.
If someone you know has committed suicide, pray for the salvation of that person’s soul, and your prayers will not be in vain.

Need Evidence That Good Will Triumph Over Evil? Look At A Woman’s Butt

Evidence: The available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.

Fascination: Draw irresistibly the attention and interest of (someone).

God saw all he had made, and it was very good.
~Genesis 1:31

The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
~Genesis 2:22 — 23

The Shadow…can only mock, it cannot make: not real new things of its own.
~J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Note: This post is not an apologia for gawking, fantasizing, and/or jerking off. Those things are not groovy.

On a side note: This is groovy:

As a Catholic, I believe that the Devil exists.

But the Devil isn’t a being on par with God.

God and the Devil aren’t two titans locked in a desperate battle to the death.

Godzilla5
Godzilla (2014)

The Devil was one of God’s angels. Before he decided that he wanted to do what he wanted, when he wanted, where he wanted, how he wanted, to whoever, or whatever, he wanted.

The best way I can think of to describe the Catholic Church’s view of the Devil, is this scene from SpongeBob:

We human beings (SpongeBob) are panicking and despairing because the Devil (Plankton) is running rampant. But God (Mr. Krabs) is not daunted. God walks right up to the Devil and, merely by reaching out his hand, is able to put an end to his scheme.

God could swat the Devil like a fly, but He doesn’t.

Why?

To quote J.R.R. Tolkien again:

Iluvatar’s (God’s) words to the Ainur (angels) after Melkor’s (the Devil’s) failed rebellion in The Silmarillion:

…no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined.

Picture33

The reason I say all of this is:

This shot:

Sword10
Sword Art Online

An awkward shot of Yolko’s butt.

Why is the shot awkward? Because: What is the camera doing there?

Anime is a visual storytelling medium. What about the story is being conveyed to us, the viewer, by having the camera be where it is?

I believe the easiest answer to these questions, unfortunately, is:

Sword Art Online is an anime aimed at teenage boys. Is it surprising that there would be a shot of a woman’s butt?”

The reason I say “unfortunately” is:

I believe shots like the one above can cause a person to lust. And lust can make a person do, to put it lightly, bad things.

With lust, the Devil is twisting a person’s fascination with the opposite sex. Twisting Adam’s words of love for Eve:

Bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.*

Despair3
Photo by Tereshkovets

But: Despite the temptation to lust — the temptation to see people as a means of attaining pleasure, not as human beings — our fascination with the opposite sex is still, to quote Genesis 1:31, “very good.” It’s just not as good as it could be, because of this imperfect world we live in. (Genesis 3:7)

Adam and Eve7

The Devil will use what God has created to try and get us to lust and, thus, be separated from Him because of that sin.

But: Despite the Devil’s efforts to tempt us, what God has created is still inherently good.

What you feel when you look at a shot like this…

Sword10

…is evidence that, despite the imperfect nature of the world, God’s creation still causes perfectly natural fascination.

And fascination with the beauty of the female body can lead a person closer to the creator of that beauty.

Adam and Eve10

That is how a woman’s butt is evidence of the eventual triumph of Good over Evil.

…a woman’s breasts, hips, bottom, and lips all proclaim the glory of the Lord! Each womanly part honors Him. He created the female body, and it is good.
~Sharon Hodde Miller

Quotes7

*I’m not saying that lust is something only men struggle with. I know women struggle with lust, too. I just used Adam’s words about Eve as an example of our fascination with the opposite sex: something the Devil tries to twist.

The Awesome Blogger Award

Thank you to Between the lines for nominating me for the Awesome Blogger Award.

About the award:

What is the Awesome Blogger Award?

This award was created by Miss Maggie over at Dreaming of Guatemala! And she says:

“This is an award for the absolutely wonderful writers all across the blogging world. They have beautiful blogs, are kind and lovely, and always find a way to add happiness and laughter to the lives of their readers. That is what truly defines an awesome blogger.”

Rules of this award:

• Thank the person who nominated you. Include the reason behind the award. Include the banner in your post.

• Tag it under #awesomebloggeraward in the Reader.

• Answer the questions your nominator gave you.

• Nominate at least 5 awesome bloggers.

• Give your nominees 10 new questions to answer.

• Let your nominees know that they’ve been nominated!

Between the lines’ questions, and my answers:

If every person would be a color, what color would you be?

Blue.

If you could choose a historical period to live in, what would be your choice?

America in the 1980s.

Your favorites 3 songs are…

They are:

What is your first memory?

The earliest I can remember is: Coming home from preschool one day and asking my parents when my 4th birthday would be.

If you could teleport yourself in any place in this world, what would it be your first choice?

Japan.

Did you ever have an imaginary friend?

Yes. A Terminator-esque killer robot called “Plan A.”

What is the color of your eyes?

Brown.

If you’d be a painter, what would it be your favorite theme to paint?

Forests. I would enjoy painting forests.

Your favorite ice cream flavor is…

Cookie dough.

Where do you find inspiration for your blog?

My fellow bloggers inspire me.

My 10 questions:

  1. What is one subject you want to write about, but haven’t yet?
    Or: What is one person, place, or thing, that you want to draw, but haven’t yet?
  2. If you could be any animal, what would you be?
  3. What is the last movie you watched?
  4. What is something that is underappreciated?
  5. Dog person? Cat person? Both? Neither?
  6. When was the last time you laughed, and why?
  7. What is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
  8. Would you go skydiving?
  9. What is one thing you are thankful for right now?
  10. If people could only know one thing about you, what would you want them to know?

I nominate:

All About Anime

Confessions Of A Reborn Girl

The Crazy Bag Lady

M&M Millennials

Iheartlife

The Emoji Movie: It’s Not All Bad

Every cloud has a silver lining.

Being a fan of Life is Strange, I’m a member of a Life is Strange fan group.

Recently, one of the members of that group brought something to my attention:

A blue-haired, skull-wearing character in The Emoji Movie (2017) bears a suspicious resemblance to a certain character…

Image result for the emoji movie jailbreak Image result for life is strange chloe

Ironic, considering that Chloe Price hates emoji:

Image result for life is strange chloe no emoji

Also of interest is the character’s name: Jailbreak. She’s the “Rebel emoji.”

Chloe is also a rebel.

Image result for life is strange chloe quotes

My takeaway from this is: The creators of The Emoji Movie have good taste.

Plus, who knows? The resemblance between the two characters could cause someone to discover Life is Strange. And for this reason, this reason, and this reason, I’d say that’s a good thing.

Image may contain: one or more people and text

And yes, Chloe, I can put on some music now.

Melancholy

“Even when they explore the darkest depths of the soul or the most unsettling aspects of evil, artists give voice in a way to the universal desire for redemption.”
~Pope John Paul II — Letter to Artists

Sehnsucht: “Tender, wistful, and/or melancholic desire; yearning, longing.”

I’ve been feeling melancholic lately.

The reason why is: Once again, I find myself stuck in a rut.

My circumstances being what they are, my foreseeable future sees me continuing to work at a grocery store stocking shelves and pricing items and saving up my money for future endeavors.

On the one hand, I’m happy:

I’d spent months vacillating about whether or not to return to college. And, when I was recently made more aware of my financial situation earlier this month, that put an end to my indecisiveness. I wouldn’t be returning to college. At least, not for a long time.

On the other hand, I’m sad:

I see my family and friends going off and doing so many amazing things with their lives, and I can’t help but feel trapped.

I know I’m not the same person I was 4 years ago — before I went to college and before I made the decision to come home.

For example: Now I feel like I know what I want to do with my life: Be a screenwriter.

But it’s hard not to feel that I haven’t grown or, worse, regressed.

And that fear makes me think: As a Catholic, am I supposed to be melancholic? Is there a place for sadness in the life of a follower of Jesus?

After all: I’m a bringer of the Good News: “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.'” (Mark 16:15)

How can I be sad?

sigh

I can be sad because I’m only human.

“‘You can’t go home again’ said Thomas Wolfe. Yet here I am.”
~Max Caulfield, Life is Strange

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing and outdoor

“I’m somewhere
You’re somewhere
I’m nowhere
You’re nowhere”
~Angus & Julia Stone

Black and Blue: Not Funny

Free The Truth

A guy and a girl get ready to go on a blind date, both nervous and worried. The guy is hoping that his date won’t be fat and ugly. The girl is hoping she won’t be raped or killed.

That’s a joke I remember hearing when I was a teenager, laughing and thinking to myself, “How true.”

The other day I thought of one like it that I wanted to share.

A black kid and a white kid go to a gas station, both nervous and worried.  The white kid is afraid his parents will find out he stole money from the coin jar and bought candy. The black kid is afraid a police officer will mistake his candy bar for a gun and shoot him.

Not funny? What? Did you laugh at the first one?

All right, I will try one more that I told the other day.

Raise…

View original post 208 more words

The Duty Of The Artist

Two of my closest friends have joined the Armed Forces.

One a Marine. The other a member of the National Guard.

Because of my physical condition — I have metal plates in my hips as result of surgery to combat effects of the cerebral palsy I was born with (I was born three months premature) — I am not fit to serve my country in the same way as them.

Image result for spongebob check it out

I’m exercising. Building up my strength and endurance. But the reality is: When it comes to my physicality, I’ll always hit a wall that others won’t.

Since it’s clear that my future lies not in working with my body, but in working with my mind, that’s one reason why I decided to pursue writing.

I used to feel bummed that I wasn’t able to do everything that my friends were doing.

But, a recent thought has caused me to see my decision to devote my time and talents to becoming an artist in a new light:

A soldier’s duty is to fight for home. An artist’s duty is to make home worth fighting for.

On a related note:

It’s art — music and visuals — like this that make me appreciate my home: