Ok, firstly I have to say WHOA… I’m a little mortified that it’s been two months since I last posted! Holy cow, how time flies. It’s been flying and I’ve been busy busy busy and enjoying every second I can. I have a lot of years to make up for if I can, and I’ve been totally focused on my life anew, making strides to figure out my shady mental state, and accept my circumstances.
It has become something of a tradition for me to evaluate my goals at the halfway point, so here were are – June 1. Half the year is over, and half the year still to come (although technically, I suppose July 1 is actually the more appropriate date for half the year passed.). At any rate, here I am.
I did not have much in the way of goals for 2016, but I did have a few. The goals I did have, some of them have changed shape or been shelfed completely. I’m starting to find pieces of myself that I once remembered and long since thought I lost, and those pieces are starting to fit together like a comfortable old pair of slippers and they are starting to shape my new life going forward in their own way. I am exploring new endeavors, trying things I have never tried before, and learning skills and more about myself that I never would have been able to realize living in the conditions I was.
So, let’s see where I am at. My original goals for the year were to:
- Photograph Bald Eagles
- Build new costumes – a Castithan/Stahma Tarr from Defiance costume, an entirely new (and hopefully improved!) Predator costume, also a couple other costumes, including Princess Nuala from Hellboy 2, and the dark dancer from Legend.
- Resume attending Science Fiction Conventions, and most of all attend my precious Dragon*Con again.
- Compete with Luke or Jesse in the Hickory Knoll CDE and/or another CDE in the Midwest.
- Attend the National Drive in Kentucky
- Take a photo journey to the Florida Everglades
- Finalize divorce
- Go skydiving (in Florida!)
Well, I have definitely done some Bald Eagle photographing, including taking another trip to Horicon Marsh, where I spotted 2, so I would say that is one complete.
I’m going to skip the costume building & Sci-Fi con goal for the moment and discuss that in a second.
I have also changed my goals a bit with the horses. Because of the previous goal (costumes & conventions) taking new life, it’s pushing my horse activities back a bit, and I feel a bit like I’m standing at a cross road – horses going one way, conventions and costuming going the other. There’s a truth here that I should share at this point. In 2003, I sold my horse and all my tack. I did that because I chose science fiction conventions and costuming over horses. I wanted to build bigger, better costumes, and pursue this love I have and travel to cons. I made that choice because although I love both things dearly, there is one thing that has more of a driving force in my life than horses ever have.
And then, it was all shut down. The beauty of narcissistic abuse- the abuser shuts down your passions, and takes them away from you. I held on to horses throughout my marriage because it was the one thing I was allowed, in some degree, although it became troublesome when I wanted to show or travel with the horses. At least the horses kept me grounded, “forced me” (in a matter of speaking) to remain home, local, and bound to my marriage under threat of them being taken away from me if I left.
Now that I have this freedom again, I am able to pursue both interests, but one is coming out full-force while the other is shifting away again.
I’m still working on both the trip to Florida and the skydiving thing. Both are dependent on money, of course, and also both are weather dependent. I can’t skydive when it’s cold or raining, and I don’t want to try to hit the Everglades when it’s 2,000 degrees in Florida! LOL!!
My divorce was finalized on Feb 26, so that is one major goal accomplished!
But that is far from the only goal. Let’s back up to the whole costume building thing and conventions.
Goals met – check, check, and check. I began working towards accomplishing those goals starting January 2. I bought admission to Dragon*Con and organized a hotel room in the hotel I am compelled to stay in – the one I stayed in during the con in 2002, 2003, and 2004, and also insisted on staying in after my wedding, despite my nasty husband’s objections. I got a room at the Marriott Marquis.
A month later, I had attended one small Sci-Fi con in the Stahma Tarr costume I made, which also involved me getting a sewing machine and putting some paltry sewing skills to use.
I also started building my beloved Predator costume at the beginning of January. Three months later, the suit was complete and I attended my first convention in ten years as Predator (Wizard World Madison).
I also attended another large convention (Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo) out of costume, and then in May drove to Michigan to attend another convention with a group of Predators at the Motor City Comic Con. I have 2 small events in June, currently nothing in July, and then 2 major events at the end of August and beginning of September, with another small event squished in between the two.
(Above, 2 photos from Motor City Comic Con, including the group shot featuring 9 of the 11 Predators and 2 aliens. There were also 5 Colonial Marines and a Ripley, even Jonesy Cat and a facehugger, making up a huge 19 person group Cosplay event)
When I built the Predator suit, it made me utilize new materials I was not familiar with – foam, latex, and airbrushing paint. I realized while doing it that I love … I mean LOVE… airbrushing. It sparked a fire in me, and I am now in “airbrush everything” mode, and have even gone so far as to drive 8 hours from home to learn from a professional airbrush artist. I have also begun sculpting and have some vague plans to perhaps put my growing knowledge base to use and earn an income with that.
For me, life has been taking me in a direction I had not planned on, and I am loving it. For the first time in a long time, I feel right. I feel like I am tenderly stepping out into a world where I am happy, and enjoying all life has to offer, and I am letting the waves carry me, so to speak. I have made major changes and I’m trying to let it all absorb.
For me, Predator has always been something that inspired me – to paint, draw, sculpt, create, and even socialize. It’s always elicited good impacts in my life, and when my love of the Predator fandom and attending conventions was squashed out of me for 10 years, it took a toll on me. I’m back to doing what I love, and I really hope the next 6 months prove to have as tremendous waves as the last 6 months have.
One other major change that the Predator suit elicited was a physical one. As I started into the build and saw that it was coming along well, I began to realize I needed to change my body shape in order to present the suit to the best of my ability. I had once lost 45 pounds, before I discovered cancer in my leg in 2011, and in the subsequent years, stress, depression, and lack of….anything…. led me to gaining 65 pounds back. As I looked at myself during the Predator build, I realized the weight needed to go, because I needed to be at my best for my much-anticipated return to Dragon*Con after 12 years.
So, with 7 months before the con, I started dieting & exercising in February. I set myself the goal of walking to Dragon*Con. It is 668 miles from my front door to those wonderful glass doors of the Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta. So, my distance to Dragon*Con plan was born. As of now, June 1, I have walked/biked/jogged/run a total of 353 miles towards that goal, and have lost approximately 60 pounds. I have dropped almost 10 full sizes of jeans, and have lost almost 10″ off my waist. I have a 90 pound goal, so I still have work to do, but I am hopeful that I will lose the remaining 30 and be at my goal weight for the great con!
So that is where I am at this halfway point through the year.
The horses are fine and wonderful, and I am have been working them on trails during nice weather. Chewbacca is enjoying his retirement along with Dixie, and both are doing well. Luke is ready to go whenever there’s a trail waiting, and is perfectly happy hanging out the rest of the time.
As for me… I can only hope to be lucky enough to ride this ride for a long time.