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…

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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.

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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…

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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…

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…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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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…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.

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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.

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The reason I say all of this is:

This shot:

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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.*

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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)

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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…

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…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.

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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

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*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.

A Response To “I love being naked!”

Note: The language in this post could be called “Explicit” so reader discretion is advised.

As followers of my blog know, I write about nudity. For example:

Nudity was reserved for the bedroom or the bathroom. So it was… interesting… to be naked in a room that was neither. Walking around the living room, I felt like I was seeing it with new eyes. I felt like, all my life, I had been wearing a “Clothes Filter,” and now the filter was off. My eyes were as naked as my body.
~Being Naked Outside

Because of my Catholic faith, I don’t want to shy away from subjects like nudity. As a Catholic, I’m supposed to be a light in a dark place:

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
~Matthew 5:14 — 16

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And that means talking about subjects considered by many to be taboo or indecent.

Which brings me to a blog I discovered weeks ago but, for the longest time, was not sure how to feel about. Until now.

Specifically, I’m talking about this blog post: I love being naked!

Below are excerpts from that post, and my thoughts on them:

…it’s such an awesome feeling. Having nothing touching your skin. Being able to touch anything you wanna touch, with nothing in the way. It’s looooove.

I understand. And I agree.

Being naked can be an awesome feeling. It can be nice to have nothing touching your skin. To be completely free.

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

“And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”
~Genesis 2:25

It’s so sexy! Cuz that’s obviously what it’s all about. Being naked turns me on. Like big time. It makes me wanna touch myself all over all the time. And sometimes I do.

Once again: Perfectly understandable.

When you are naked, not only are you showing all of yourself, your body is preparing to give all of itself.

What do I mean? I mean this: Sex is an act of giving. The woman receives the man. The man enters the woman. The two become one.

“…a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”
~Genesis 2:24

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That’s why you want to sexually excite yourself when you’re naked: Your naked body is telling you “It’s time for sex.”

…I can get myself so increeeeeeeedibly turned on I can barely get myself to stop being naked any more.

There’s an old saying: “Too much of a good thing is a bad thing.”

I don’t say that to come across as the stereotypical religious scold…

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…I say that to tell you, belle noowelleDon’t allow your nudity to become too much of a good thing.

There could come a day when you regret the choice to be naked.

And I don’t want that day to come.

I want being naked to be something that changes your life for the better in ways that you continue to discover throughout your long and happy life.

I know that might sound corny, but it’s true. I want you to be happy, belle noowelle.

Being naked is so cool. It helps with getting naughty, it makes me feel sexy, and it makes lame Sundays so much more interesting. Try it!

belle noowelle, your honesty and openness is attractive.

You don’t have to be naked to come across as sexy. You are sexy by just being your unashamed and positive self.

What I’m trying to say is: You’ve found something that brings you joy, and you want to share that joy with others, so that they may have what you have. And, to me, there is nothing more beautiful than that.

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To conclude this post:

belle noowelle,

May being naked continue to bring you a feeling of freedom.

May your orgasms always be shattering.

May the people in your life always look beyond your naked body, appreciating your naked soul, too.

And, when all is said and done, may you look back on the life you have lived with no regrets, knowing that all the choices you made ultimately brought you to where you wanted to be, even if you didn’t know where it was that you wanted to be.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart…”
~Ecclesiastes 3:11

~21stCenturyCatholic

The Wild Witch

Her bones are made of earth.
Her eyes are the color of water.

Her hair is like the sun.
Golden.

This night, it is clothes that feed her fire.
Her old life is turning to ashes before her eyes.

She absorbs the vibes of the forest through the soles of her feet.
And in her soul the heart of her mother, Earth, beats.

Squatting in the earth, she pays no mind to the non-human eyes watching her.
Wiping, the leaf against her butt awakens the memory of one human’s kiss.

Receiving his gift on the night of a full moon, she does not howl with the wolves.
On the night of a full moon, she opens her legs, not her mouth.

Imagining her lips around her nipple, the two become one again.
If only for a moment.

In the earthbound wild she sleeps.
To dream of the magic that is flight.

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Thank you to the beautiful women, whoever they may be, who made the images used in this post possible.

Liking Your Body – What Does That Look Like?

What does it mean to “Like your body”?

If the picture below is anything to go by, to “Like your body” means to go naked. I can see why: When a person is naked, they are showing all that they are to the world. They are saying “This is me” without shame.

The naked body is inherently good, and we (human beings) were meant to be naked without shame:

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

And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
~Genesis 2:25

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Video Games Are Art

Art: The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. (Thanks, Google.)

My favorite moment in Life Is Strange: Episode 1, Chloe’s house — Max sits on the swing that the deceased father of her best friend built for the two of them and thinks back to happier times.

Despite the prompt to get up — “Space Get Up” — you can sit on the swing for as long as you want.

If this 1 minute and 49 seconds isn’t an “expression or application of human creative skill and imagination” in a “visual form” that is beautiful and emotionally powerful, than I don’t know what is.

0:17 — 2:06:

Why I Have Mixed Feelings About “Life Is Strange: Before The Storm”

Life Is Strange (2015) is my favorite video game, and one of my favorite stories, ever.

So when a prequel —  Life Is Strange: Before The Storm — was announced at E3 2017…

…a part of me screamed “Yes!” while another part moaned “No!”

Why?

Well, as Cracked put it: The past was more interesting before we saw it happen.

When a magician hears the audience gasp and say, “How’d he do that?” he does not turn around and loudly announce, “Oh, the rabbit’s in my assistant’s ass.” Similarly, professional writers know that there are some questions that their audience doesn’t want answered, even though they think they do. Like a magician, a writer wants his audience to live in that space between knowing and wanting to know. That’s what keeps them coming back for more.

Having watched the trailer three times, my feelings towards it are more positive than they were on my first watch. For example: Before The Storm seems to be delving into Chloe’s psyche through the use of nightmares — Chloe dreams she is in the car on the day of her dad’s accident — like Life Is Strange did with Max near the end of Episode 5. (Max’s nightmare being one of my favorite sections of that game.) But… but…

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You know the airport fight in Godzilla (2014)? The fight that you never saw happen?

Here’s why I’m ultimately glad Gareth Edwards cut away right before Godzilla and the MUTO went at it: The fight I imagine will  be superior to the fight I see.

And it’s the same with Before The Storm: The story I imagine will be superior to the story I see.

Another aspect of Before The Storm that has me thinking Don’t do that is the crow imagery:

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Depending on who you talk to, crows are considered bad luck. And Chloe, to put it lightly, could be called unlucky.

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The crow imagery reminds me of the Chosen One prophecy in the “Star Wars” prequels.

Thanks to the prequels, now in Return of the Jedi the Emperor’s death isn’t the result of Darth Vader choosing to save his son’s life — it’s the fulfillment of a prophecy.

The crow imagery has the potential to change Chloe’s death in Life Is Strange from a tragic accident…

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…to the cruel, calculated machinations of the universe: The universe has it out for Chloe, and won’t stop until she loses everything — her dad, her best friend and, finally, her life.

Which would make sense, given what we hear in Life Is Strange:

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But still: I would rather have Chloe’s death be an accident, not the fulfillment of the universe’s sadistic plan for one Arcadia Bay teen.

One reason why: Chloe’s fate being set in stone — if the crow imagery is anything to judge by — robs the “Life Is Strange” series of one of its most thought-provoking attributes: Choice.

Image result for life is strange whoever said we had a single fate

At the end of Life Is Strange, Chloe could have “forced” Max to make one choice or another by, for example, putting her step-dad’s gun to Max’s head and telling her “Don’t go back in time and allow me to die.” But she didn’t. Chloe chose to allow Max to make her own choice. Ultimately, it was free will, not fate, that killed Chloe.

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Of course, all of this is just a reaction to the first trailer. I’ll have to play the game in its entirety before I have the… big picture.

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But I’m praying like Kate Marsh that Beyond The Storm isn’t what I fear it is.

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Why I Stopped Watching “13 Reasons Why”

Note: Language. And spoilers for Life Is Strange.

Recently, I decided to see if the popular Netflix series 13 Reasons Why was worth the hype.

I got halfway through episode 4 before I stopped.

I was willing to accept the premise: A high school girl blames everyone expect herself for the choice she makes.

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There’s one person holding the knife, Hannah — you.

I was willing to forgive our protagonist masturbating to a picture of the girl who would eventually kill herself — a scene I skipped when it became all too clear what Clay was doing with that cloth he pulled our of a drawer. Watching a teenage boy masturbate is not my idea of entertainment.

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“My computer is the only one who gets me.”

But the straw that broke the camel’s back was characters’ refusal to talk to each other about their struggles.

Whether it was teens talking to teens, teens talking to their parents, or teens talking to authority figures, it’s like there’s a force-field around the characters of 13 Reasons Why preventing person-to-person interaction.

I know mystery is a pillar of drama, but 13 Reasons Why felt needlessly complex. It felt like mystery for the sake of mystery: Mystery at the expense of common sense. If people just sat down and said “___ is how I’m feeling. And ___ is why,” the question of “What do we do about Hannah Baker’s suicide?” would be answered in 5 seconds.

The most infuriating character of all was Tony.

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I kept hoping that someone would pin Tony against a wall, tell him to cut the bullshit (pardon my French), and just explain what his deal is.

Because, Tony, to quote Jack Sparrow:

While watching 13 Reasons Why, I would always eventually think to myself “I would rather be playing Life Is Strange.” One reason why being: The characters in Life Is Strange actually talk to each other about what they’re going through.

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Maybe I’ll give the series another chance soon. After all: This could all just be hyperbole — I could be totally wrong and characters in 13 Reasons Why really do open up to each other. But my first impression was not a good one. The impression I walked away with from the 4 episodes I watched was: A lot of cloak-and-dagger with no method to its madness other than stringing out the story of a teenage girl’s suicide for as long as possible:

’13 Reasons Why’ Officially Renewed for Season 2 at Netflix