[PLEASE NOTE: This entry has NOT been edited, per usual. Those of you who are frequent to the blog should expect this by now, harharhar. Enjoy!]
Wow, can you believe it’s already December 31st, 2016? My brain can barely comprehend that this year is almost over. There’s only a few hours left in 2016. Well, I say a few, but there’s actually quite a lot of hours left as of typing this.
I want to say I don’t know where to start, but that isn’t quite true. I know to start talking, I need to start at 2015. I also want to make a note, before I start talking to you guys about last year and what unfolded this year, I would like to mention that at the time of writing this, I had no idea what to put in the banner image. 2016 has had many ups with some downs for me, so unlike the 2015 post, where I knew the image of myself crying was perfect for that year, nothing really works to summarize this entire year because it can’t be summarized in one picture for me. There was just too much this year.
Let’s Look Back at 2015
I’ll admit, I hate looking back at 2015. I know a lot of people HATE 2016, but 2016 has been much, much, MUCH kinder to me than 2015. I can’t even think back to 2015 without bringing back all the emotional distraught I felt up until the very end of that year.
The most important points you need to know for 2015 are:
- Hurricane and I lived together again
- We got an apartment together
- I was getting ready for an upcoming convention
That’s literally all you need to know about 2015 because those occurred in the last 3 months of 2015, therefore rolled over to 2016.
What you guys may not know is that I knew there was this impending doom sort-of feeling blanketed over the whole apartment. Primarily, I knew my job did not bring in enough money and I was going to burn through my savings far faster than anything else. I chose to look the other way though because I didn’t really have much of a choice. I wanted to be with Hurricane, even if it was only for a little while.
2016 started off actually really well! Yeah, I knew my savings was going to run out sooner than later. My job, which had been giving me 5 days a week, was down to 1 day a week, maybe 2 or 3 if I was lucky. I didn’t care though. A part of me was happy about this because Hurricane kept trying to argue with me that because I made more money and worked more often, I should pay for everything. Now I was making the same amount he was and working as often as he was, so HA.
YourMiniCon was GREAT! It was a great first-time convention, especially for a show. I was able to learn about the wire racks people use at conventions, as well as look at everybody else’s set up. The person who sat next to me complimented that my setup was better than their first convention set up. I credit that to my imagination.
I also met my twin there (well, I say twin, but she’s like a younger sibling) who is just AWESOME and I love her and we still talk, although not as often because we live far away from each other and she’s super busy. Either way, she is AWESOME and I miss her.
I went to the convention on both days and I think my table presentation was better the second day. I didn’t make much money, but I definitely did better with my table set up.
If you would like to read more about my experience at YourMiniCon, please go here.
Apartment Failure and Conventions Every Two Weeks
February came and, just like I knew it would, my savings ran out of money and I was left with less than $100 in my bank account overall, the lowest I have ever been. Of course, I didn’t know that until after I reset my password that I delayed getting because I was afraid to look at my bank account and ended up messing up my password because I could not remember my password for my bank for the life of me no matter how many times I changed it.
Strangely enough, losing the apartment was bittersweet. Well, more of sweet bitter, to be more accurate.
I HATED that apartment. Hurricane hated that apartment too. I’m not sure if he hated it as much as I did though. I HATED how thin the walls were. I HATED the brick walls. I HATED the gigantic windows that let in too much light, but also were difficult to open and clearly weren’t sealed in well enough around the edges because there was most certainly a draft. I HATED you could hear the people upstairs and you couldn’t tell if they were watching porn or having sex. I HATED the carpet. I HATED the walls in general. I HATED the set up. I HATED the frequency that the toilet got clogged. I HATED EVERYTHING except really the garbage disposal, the bathtub (for the most part, even though it was kind of gross), and being with Hurricane.
Oh, let’s not forget I had to get a new tire practically every FREAKIN’ MONTH BEING THERE BECAUSE THE CURB WAS TOO SHARP AND THE PARKING LOT SUCKED. I also SCRATCHED THE PASSENGER SIDE OF MY CAR WHILE INSIDE THEIR POORLY DESIGNED GARAGE.
I HATED IT THERE. I HATED IT THERE. I HATED IT THERE. Seriously! I think living out of my freakin’ car would have a MUCH more pleasant experience! Heck, I WANTED to (and still sort of do) live out of my car instead! I don’t think you guys understand how much I freakin’ hated that stupid, overpriced, piece-of-crap apartment. I hated it. I hated it. I HATED IT.
I’m sure some people would try and tell me about how there are people who would have wished to have been in that apartment and all I have to say is, do you know what, go right ahead. Go take that piece of crap. My car would have been better. No, seriously, it would have been better. My car looks nicer than that horrible place.
Okay, now that you understand how much I despised the apartment, you can probably understand when I lost it, I wasn’t too upset over the apartment. In fact, I was happy. Like, genuinely happy to have gotten rid of the apartment. So many people like to say because of my age, I should be on my own, but honestly, I know I’m not ready for a place of my own. I wasn’t then and I’m not now.
Oh, another think that bothered me about that place was that it felt like an extension of my mother’s apartment, so it never really felt like mine.
Literally, the only thing about losing the apartment that CRUSHED ME was the fact Hurricane had to go back to a really horrible place. We didn’t even have a chance to sit down and eat pizza together. He had to leave before then. My tears would not stop flowing.
This was also about two days before my convention, that I was planning on bringing him to, that we were torn apart.
I kept to hearing “broke up” in my head, although I didn’t know where that was coming from. It was clear that it was not from myself nor Hurricane after talking to him, but after talking to him, it sounded like it may have been what his parents were thinking. It honestly took a while for that voice in my head to go away. You’ll see why it eventually went away in a bit.
U-Con @ UConn
A friend of mine kept telling me about a convention called U-Con @ UConn (University of Connecticut). He was supposedly volunteering there. I signed up for it a few months ago and, honestly, why not. The table was only $5. I almost didn’t even make it onto the list, but I know the staff there switched the room the vendors/artists were in so they could fit everyone and then some.
The first day of U-Con turned out GREAT overall, but had a rocky start. I was down help because Hurricane was back in a horrible place. While setting up my table kept my mind occupied from sliding into thoughts that kept me crying non-stop for two days, the idling that followed the completion brought me back into a place where I could almost not function. I let my mom know and she prayed for me — which I could feel was not enough. I had been praying all morning to lift myself up and I could feel her prayers as well, but it wasn’t enough either. I took to Facebook, asking for prayers to get me through the day, and received them. I felt uplifted and I spent the convention able to function normally. I really do have to thank everyone who prayed for me because without them, I probably would not have been able to do the convention.
I made a terrible mistake at this convention by not bringing food the first day. I used to go to conventions all the time and not eat because you just kind of…get sucked into everything while participating. However, as an artist in Artist Alley, it became very apparent to me that…um…I needed food and drink. My friend and his girlfriend kindly bought me a ramune (Japanese soft drink), which helped a TON with my thirst. The only thing I ate that day was a lollipop. I thought it was kind of funny I had been thinking about wanting to eat and somebody brought over a lollipop shortly after…
…actually, like, that entire day, I would think something and it would shortly happen afterward. I felt like the universe was working with me. It was awesome.
Let me also add in too that the row I was in was full of people who had a connection with an old best friend (still a friend though) of mine. It was pretty crazy. And awesome.
After the first day, where I had to ask for help from the convention staff to bring in my entire table AND was hungry/thirsty pretty much for the entire day, I knew I needed help and to bring food. My mom suggested I invite my friend, Nick. I thought that was a great idea and invited him. He was able to come.
Nick was GREAT help. His reaction too was priceless: “everyone here is so nice.” I’m pretty sure he got me water throughout the day. Everything…just seriously, he was a huge help. Heck, my friends who were attending the convention were a huge help too. They helped me carrying my convention stuff to my car at the end. We had this huge group just walking to my car. It was so much fun!
I just wish Hurricane had been there to experience it.
I wanted to expand my reach of my works and knew I wanted to try and go to conventions in surrounding states. I ended up picking two conventions in upstate New York: Fubuki Con and Kaminari Con. I was expecting to go to the conventions completely alone, but my mom surprised me by suggesting I take Hurricane with me.
I was completely thrown off by the suggestion, but I was happy, ESPECIALLY since Fubuki Con fell only a few days before my birthday. I hadn’t seen Hurricane in what felt like a month, although I think it was only two weeks. We made arrangements and Hurricane and I headed off to the convention.
The first time I ever actually used cruise control on my car was going to Fubuki Con. The highway we were on had only two lanes (travel and passing) and it was difficult for me to keep at a consistent speed otherwise. The drive was long (almost 7 hours), but let me tell you: it was ABSOLUTELY worth the drive. Like, ABSOLUTELY WORTH THE DRIVE.
First, I got to spend time with Hurricane. We had so much fun, particularly him making lots of jokes. Second, I got to fall IN LOVE with Amherst, NY, where the convention is located. The area we were in was a really nice mix of like…urban convenience and suburban living. The roads were nice and wide, there were a ton of shops and places to go. I don’t even think we scratched the surface of what was around. Hurricane at first disagreed with me about Amherst being wonderful, until he got over his biased towards NYC and started to really appreciate how beautiful the area was. Gosh, Amherst is BEAUTIFUL. Third, Fubuki Con was an adorable small convention with a kind staff and friendly attendees. I LOVED it.
No, seriously, I loved Fubuki Con.
Okay, so, I made back my money only on my table, but do you know what? That’s fine. That is absolutely fine. The experience I had there was mostly pleasant (ignoring that I didn’t like them running anime in the background because it was kind of distracting), and everyone there was perhaps even sweeter than the experiences I have had in my state. Which is funny to me.
On top of that, Hurricane and I were together and it was seriously the best birthday present ever and I couldn’t help but cry because I missed him so dang much.
I can’t remember if this was the convention where Hurricane almost didn’t come, but he ended up coming. Kaminari Con took place in Sanborn, NY, just past Amherst.
After being in the beautiful Amherst area, Sanborn just seemed ugly in comparison. Shody. Cluttered. The signs right outside of our hotel about the hotel not being responsible for stolen items made me feel a bit uncomfortable, making me wonder if crime was fairly high in that area. The hotel wasn’t as nice at the first one, although, to its credit, it didn’t have any paintings that made me feel scared and the bed was SUPER comfy. In a way, I liked the hotel better than the first one, despite it being cheaper.
Kaminari Con was frustrating, to say the least. I thought it would have been pretty straight forward like Fubuki Con was, but NOPE.
Not straight forward at all.
The first problem was finding the place it was even being held at. Yeah, sure, we found the college, but we couldn’t figure out the building. The cellphone service in that area was almost non-existent, except in a few spotty parts. The directions on the website and Facebook page were inconsistent with the building names; I eventually got access to a map on the Kaminari Con website and put together that the students of the school call the buildings one name, but the official name is something else.
So, that was a thing.
Then we got inside and…I think things went kind of smoothly until you realized that the cellphone service was just as non-existent inside as it was outside. I was fortunate enough that some of my texts and posts even went through. Also, it became apparent very quickly — which literally everyone in the room agreed with — that there was probably more vendors than there were attendees.
The convention boasted on their FB page about there being over 100 attendees, but that’s not what I was seeing. I really want to say there probably wasn’t much more than 20 to 25 people total who walked through the dealers room/artist alley. Most people were pretty bored waiting around for people to come. I think I made half back of my overpriced table.
The convention was so terrible, I cut it short, after Hurricane went to explore the convention and I couldn’t find him because NO CELLPHONE SERVICE. Frustratingly enough, they actually HAD wi-fi for people to use, but we didn’t get the password until shortly before we were leaving. Ugh.
I definitely don’t recommend this convention, at least not for another couple of years, and I will probably not be going back unless I start to hear positive things about it.
I think its biggest flaw was that it was too spread out for the number of attendees. They tried to expand to a couple different buildings, but I thought it was too spread out and confusing to those who had never been at the school before. On top of that, the guidebook was almost useless to me. The staff asked if I used to to figure out where places were and I told them I didn’t see really any actual locations inside the book…ugh.
To be honest, I didn’t really even want to go to this convention at this point. I just wanted to spend time with Hurricane.
While Hurricane and I were apart, I began to switch my diet from vegetarian to vegan. The spiritual side of me knows that I had repetitive internal nudges telling me to go vegan, but I kept being uncertain about it, even though I knew I was going to be alright. Part of my motivation to go vegan from vegetarian was because I knew my vegetarian diet was unbalanced and lacked variety. It was just easier for me to go vegan; while, no, going vegan isn’t a huge jump from vegetarian, the change was/is large enough for my brain to fix my eating habits.
For a while, I still had my foot in vegetarianism, although my diet quickly changed over to a whole-foods (not the grocery store) plant-based diet. I had reached out to an old friend from middle school/high school who I saw recently went vegan (we were both vegetarians in school, which I’m pretty sure we bonded over) and asked her what she was doing to have balanced diet. She referred me to this great book called The Starch Solution by Dr. John McDougall. After reading that book, I gained confidence in fixing my diet…
Like, yeah, I gained confidence, especially since I started understanding the health aspects of veganism when done in a whole-food approach, why carbs are actually good for you (something I was already aware of, although too many of the people in my life tried Atkins and are convinced carbs are evil), and a slew of other information…I just didn’t really know what to eat.
Yeah, the book was full of recipes and I had a bunch of pins on Pinterest of delicious-looking vegan foods, but what could I eat now. I didn’t have the money to go and buy an entirely new pantry of food, which is more or less what a vegan diet seems to start with. It’s cheap in the long run, but to start, it can be quite expensive. Even coming off a vegetarian diet.
I took to mostly mashed potatoes and pasta. Little to no oil. Maybe some vegetables here and there. This is all while trying to figure out how to balance out my diet and what else I could eat.
My mother looked at me one day and commented that it looked like I lost weight. I looked down at myself and did think that my nightgown had been fitting a bit better, so I looked at my weight and noticed it at 232 lbs. This was back in April. I was surprised. I think I may have been closer to 240, but I can’t be sure.
What I can be sure though is that I lost weight like crazy. It took a few months, but the lowest I have been so far this year was about 212 lbs. I have not been that low since high school. I will admit that at the time of writing this, I am up, but I have been stressing eat, particularly a lot of junk food, and processed junk food at that.
But no, yeah, so, eating pasta and potatoes had me lose weight for the most part. I found if I tried to veer off from that path, my weight more or less stayed the same. I also found that I could no longer skip meals. I used to skip over all but one meal in a day, but after going vegan, I realized that unless I’m stupidly full, I need to eat a minimum of two meals a day. Starting my day off with a fruit smoothie (which is literally just frozen fruit with oats, flax seed, and a plant-based milk of some sort) seems to help with my weight loss the best. Ending my day with some delicious starchy foods seems to help as well. As I said, veering off doesn’t help me.
I should clarify that while I did not go vegan because I wanted to lose weight. After going vegan and watching my amazing weight loss, I am actually motivated to lose weight, although I am partially frustrated at everybody trying to give me their two cents of how to lose it even though literally I already know exactly what I am doing and it’s just a matter of tell my brain to stop trying to mess with what I’m doing and experimenting because until I hit my goal weight, I shouldn’t be getting off it. However, if I do not lose more weight, I’m not going to complain because that was never my goal in the first place.
Going vegan, overall, has given me a lot more energy, as long as I am eating enough. I’m generally a lot happier as well. I cook a lot and I love every second of it! Usually. Haha.
Second Half of the Year
The first half of the year was full of some pretty big ups and downs. A lot of it was consequences of whatever happened into 2015, but I got through it. I started getting back into the habit of working on my projects for large amounts of time, which was something I hadn’t done in over a year. I managed to power through 3 out of my 4 comics, dropped the last comic out of disinterest, and worked through more of my convention artwork, including attending a school function that my old supervisor from one of my previous jobs was running (most interesting thing about that: I realized that the younger boys and older girls are interested in my artwork, but not so much the opposite).
I felt like things were getting back on track.
Also, Hurricane and I got married.
If you guys didn’t know this, this is probably a surprise for you! We got married on August 16th. The best way to describe what happened was that he was fed up with how his life was going with where he was staying, which had turned into almost nothing, so he gathered his things, loaded them into my car, and told me that we could go get married. I spent about three days actually getting everything together for the wedding, from our witnesses to our venue. I was a bit worried, but I knew everything was going to be fine.
The day of the wedding, it was suppose to rain and two out of three witnesses couldn’t come (heck, the third one almost didn’t think they could come, but I was able to pick them up). Not only did the rain hold off, but I got one of our original witnesses to come and an additional one (old supervisor, same one as above, because she is awesome like that). The sky was cloudy, but the moment the ceremony started, the clouds part for the sun to watch us and closed when the ceremony ended. It was pretty awesome. Poor Hurricane was nervous, but I wasn’t. I don’t consider marriage a big deal nor an important life event, at least, not to me. I know a lot of people don’t feel that way. I actually wanted to make the wedding day the least special as possible, but Hurricane wanted it to be at least a little special.
When we showed my mom the marriage document, she couldn’t really tell what that was until I pointed to the top. She gasped and covered her mouth, happy to see something she didn’t even suspect! (I don’t really know why…I thought she knew without us telling her…hm.)
I told her to hold off telling anyone we got married because I wanted to make announcement cards. It took me almost a week to make them, but I did send them out and it was great. The only sour reactions we got were from basically the same type of family member from both sides, pffft. Not going to say anything more.
Hurricane also got to stay with me again too! What great timing as well! Mom just got a house, which definitely was better suited for more people than her small apartment. Perfect timing, whoot whoot!
After we got married, both Hurricane and I POWERED through our work. Yep. We got married and then we got to work. He hadn’t worked on YouTube for almost a year, so we both took the opportunity to work hard on our goals. Of course, it made him feel a bit lonely because we weren’t spending too much time together, but we are working on that, even still.
During…I think September, it occurred to me that Pokémon Sun and Moon were coming out for the Nintendo 3DS and at my job at the time, I wouldn’t be able to purchase it when it came out in Japanese because of money. While, sure, there were other factors as well, the primary motivation to get another job was Sun and Moon. I applied to a few places, particularly related to printing (a field I’m interested in because of my publishing company).
Not only did I get a new job, but I got a full-time job. I didn’t even know the job was full-time! Imagine my surprise finding that out! Wow!
I’ll admit, working full-time has been difficult. Particularly painful on days that are so slow, there’s not enough work for one full-time customer service rep, let alone two (there are two of us)! I think some of that is fueled though I have more than enough work for TrainerKelly’s Network and having dead spots throughout the day is just painful. Hopefully though, it will pick-up after the holidays are over.
On the other hand, because I work full-time, I almost consistently work on TrainerKelly’s Network. I make sure I put in a minimum of 6 hours (5 hours if I am REALLY tired and can barely function, but even then, I try to push through) into working on it after my 8 and 1/2 hour work day. I remember when I told my dad about my job, he kind of smirked and said something along the lines of “now you can’t stay up until 3 o’clock in the morning”, in which I responded “actually, I still do”.
And please note this was when I was driving about 30 minutes away to my computer (now I’m not because it’s with me). Even though I am driving 30 minutes to my computer now, I still easily stay up until 3 in the morning because, DANG IT, I have work to do and it isn’t going to get done unless I actually do it.
This year, my mom, for the first time, realized what I knew all along: the work I am doing is my full-time job. It’s not some silly hobby that I happen to take seriously. No, this is serious business that I am feeling my way through.
I’m hoping others will see that too, soon enough.
If I have the opportunity to speak to my dad about how I still stay up until 3 AM, I will bring up that I don’t have a choice if I want the work done. The work isn’t going to get done unless I stay up and work on it, which averages about 3 hours per piece. Even writing takes about 3 hours. 6 hours allows for a bigger chunk.
I don’t think people know how serious I am, but I really think people are starting to realize that I’m not playing around. If I AM playing around, it has a purpose, not just some silly dilly-dally.
The End of 2016
So, where am I at now?
I have two out of three of my comics running, although my longer one is on a short hiatus because I only do 12 pages at a time, post all those up over the course of a few weeks, then post again.
I’m working full-time at a day job and working as hard as I can on TrainerKelly’s Network.
I’m preparing for a convention in January that I am stupidly excited for.
Money is still a bit of a struggle, but between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s kind of understandable.
Hurricane is still having difficulties, particularly over this year, but I believe we got it.
I’m still feeling what my mom perfectly described as “turbulence” from after the election this year, which I found VERY predictable and obvious, but I do not agree with it as the person who was selected is really not who I want to represent the country I live in, although as I said earlier, he is actually a great representation of what America actually is. I personally still struggle with the kind of emotions and feelings that have been brought to the surface with such a representation. I feel a lot of hate just bursting from inside of me (well, not now; it was that way up until today, but dude, I GOT PENS WITH TKN ON IT), but I choose to believe I can overcome that and for everyone out there who is scared, afraid, and worn out, we can all come together and be united towards a greater goal of peace, tolerance, and perhaps even love.
I’m fired up about 2017. I have been so excited for it for over two years now, I feel like.
2017 is going to be big for me.
I just know it.
Ending Bit: 2016 Goals
I have to say, the thing that made this particular year really good for me was achieving a good bulk of my goals. I spent year after year trying to achieve my goals, but nothing really ever seemed to play out the way I wanted them to. I got sidetracked. I didn’t really feel like working on them, so I distracted myself. They barely got anywhere.
I think a part of what helped was actually breaking down the goals month-by-month for 2016, which helped me focus a lot better. Instead of these like…semi-generic or not-too-well-planned goals, I had solid ideas until the second half of the year.
Go check out the original goal post first here and then come back here so I can break down for you what was achieved.
Did you at least skim it? GREAT!
Let me tell you what I ended up achieving. Although it didn’t 100% fall into the deadlines I originally planned for, I still managed to complete the bulk of the goals I aimed to do.
The goals I hit were:
- diet correction — although I am not 100% done with this, my diet is definitely a lot more balanced than it was at the beginning of the year
- business — while, no, I didn’t hit everything as planned (increasing customer account, convention every month), I still focused on putting out the content AND I went to conventions.
- created & completed a Comics subsite
- created & completed a conventions subsite
- fixed & launched online shop
- wrote some short stories related to the characters I am selling at the conventions (not completed yet, but heck, it’s there)
- finished taking digital notes on the first Genki textbook (Japanese)
- finished Kelly’s Journey episode 25
- completed/continued storyboards for both long-form comics (not to mention, completed AHEAD of time)
- drew the first 10/11 of the short comics (Naitmarish/Fairy Glimpse) for Instagram, plus the first 12 pages of MAKE ME A MODEL; I’ll admit, I began the 4th comic as well, called Everybody Loves Ashley, but I ended up dropping it just out of disinterest in working on a fan comic
- Created merchandise based off the comics (although not in July like I originally planned, harharhar)
- Although not an initial goal, I completed redid my website; I ended up scrapping that Comics subsite as well. However, my website just looks A LOT better, overall!
If you know how my goals have gone these past few years, you will realize just how big a deal it is that I did all of this. I DID ALL OF THIS. I know it’s not as much as some other people, but dang, let me TELL YOU, this is just the start.
So, 2017, HERE. I. COME.
Want to read additional posts from 2016 to get the bigger picture? Check out these posts:
[PERSONAL | RAMBLES] See ya, 2015. Good Riddens!
[PERSONAL | RAMBLES] 2016 Goals…Later
[PERSONAL | MY DAY] YourMiniCon!!
[PERSONAL | RAMBLES] 2016 Goals
[PERSONAL | RAMBLES] Goal Progress Update #1
[PERSONAL | RAMBLES]
[PERSONAL | RAMBLES] 1ST GOAL OF THE YEAR COMPLETED!!!
[BUSINESS | WEBSITE] COMMISSIONS CLOSING January 1st, 2017
[CREATIVE WORKS | KELLY’S JOURNEY | UPDATES] TO KELLY’S JOURNEY FANS
[WEBSITE | BUSINESS-SIDE] COMMISSIONS PERMANENTLY CLOSING IN TWO WEEKS FROM MONDAY
[CREATIVE WORKS | PERSONAL] Hitting the PAUSE Button on EVERYTHING!
[PERSONAL | RAMBLES] Re: 2016 Goals
[PERSONAL | RAMBLES] RE: RE: 2016 Goals – September 2016 Update
[CREATIVE WORKS | RAMBLES] New Schedule
[WEBSITE | UPDATES] Revamped Website Updates
[WEBSITE | UPDATES] More Layouts!
[WEBSITE | UPDATE] NEW LAYOUT DEBUUUUUUUT!!!!
[PERSONAL | RAMBLES] The Election
[KELLY’S JOURNEY] KJ DAILY UPDATES – Scaling Back