Tag Archives: Opinions

Choosing Pictures Over Snapshots

It really annoys me when people try and put a label on me, regardless of what that label is based off of, whether it’s physical appearance, interest, belief, personality, whathaveyou.

Sure, I use labels to describe myself in a pinch, when I don’t have time to unpack all the different facets that make up my personality: nerd, dreamer, gamer, etc. But even then, there is so much more to a person than the label we try to place on them, the label we place on ourselves or the stereotype created for us based off of one aspect of our identity.

Let’s take me, for example.

I’m a nerd. A huge one. But what does that really mean? I love Lord of the Rings. I enjoy the genres of both fantasy and science fiction, in books, cinema and games. I play DnD on the weekends, I write books, I play video games, I have T-shirts that make references only those from that random would understand and I plan to learn Elvish before I become fluent in Spanish. I can read a 600 page book in one sitting, if the world will stop bothering me long enough to let me. I have my library card number memorized, but not my debit card.

Sure, you could sum all that up into the label of “nerd,” but the type of nerd that I am, isn’t the same type as someone else who might use the same label. I’m a nerd, yet I’ve only seen two of the Star Wars films. I only got into DnD within the last year (and even then, I don’t follow Critical Role). There are plenty of books, films and games that I haven’t gotten into, which you could claim takes a hit into my nerd status.

And even though that’s just a huge part of my personality and my life, that’s still just one part.

I’m also a writer. Not published, even though someone else could be on the NYT Bestseller List and still use that same title. I’m an athlete, in the sense that I work out regularly, follow my own training routine and care about what I eat, yet I don’t actually compete. So perhaps I should use the label of active, rather than athlete? Does that paint a clearer picture? I’m a believer, in the sense that I worship God. But my version of God is very different than many who I know and on the average day, I’m ashamed to be associated with Christians, because I seriously can’t fathom how you can worship God but hate a Muslim or believe that someone is damned because they love a woman and was born with a vagina. I hate a sleeve yet I don’t do drugs, I prefer to listen to my screamo music loud in my car yet I am a passive driver. I struggle with anxiety and depression and overthinking yet smile more than anyone else you meet. I am obsessed with dogs but have adopted my boyfriend’s cats like they are my own. I’m a hopeless romantic that refuses to be anything else.

What label would you use to encompass all of that?

Here’s the worst part of it, though.

Even though it drives me up the wall when people try to put a label on me and are then shocked when suddenly, that label doesn’t cover all of me or I don’t fit into the mold they believe that label encompassed, guess what?

I do this to strangers all of the time. 

And I hate that I do this.

I work at a college library. I see all sorts of people, all of the time, and in my head, I silently pass judgement and assumptions on them, based on what I think they believe/prescribe to/experience, influenced by both what society has trained me to believe and what my own sampling of experiences has tainted. A sorority woman can’t possible be a nerd. There’s no way they can be professional, wearing those shorts. They’re never going to pass that test, they are laughing so loud when they should be studying. They cheer for that team? Automatically judges them.

On and on and on.

It’s never with malicious intent. Half the time, it’s completely unconscious or almost…instinctual, though that doesn’t feel like the right word. Instantaneous, maybe? I think it’s something everyone probably does, whether they mean to or not; and prolly always will do, at least to some extent.

But that doesn’t make it okay and that doesn’t mean we can’t try to improve. I certainly want to try and lessen how much I do this, both with people I don’t know and those I do. I’m trying to be more aware of when I do it and remind myself that, even though I have that opinion for X reasons, doesn’t mean that opinion is true, accurate or completely encompassing of that person’s character and personality. They deserve the chance for me to get to know them, the real them, every facet and let my opinions of that be based off that: the entire picture, not just a quick snapshot.

Because there is just too many parts that makes each of us uniquely whole to try and box that in neatly.



My Desire To Be More

One of the coolest things, I’ve found, about your own personality and your own existence as a human is how the process of discovering ourselves and growing into the person we want to be never ceases. There is always the opportunity to better yourself and change aspects you don’t like, heightened the things you do or embrace an entirely new element about yourself.

Recently, I’ve discovered a couple things about me that I’d like to focus on changing. They aren’t necessarily bad things. Recently, I’ve been more akin to noticing them and how they are holding me back from being the woman I really want to be and that’s why my goal is to actively change them, whatever that my look like.

Be More Assertive

This aspect of my personality is something I’ve really struggled with. I’ve always been that introvert with extroverted tendencies. Someone who is more shy than outspoken. Someone who will be quiet over making her voice heard. Someone who cares more about the opinions and desires of others–and making sure those are met–than her own. I wrote a post that discussed this at some length, but it just keeps popping up.

Most of the time, it’s simple stuff, like feigning apathy when I actually know what I want for dinner or hesitating to offer a suggestion when an open call is asked for one. But at the same time, it’s still important. My voice and my opinion are still important. And, quite frankly, it’s also rude to other people, who also value my voice and opinion and want to hear it. Why hold back what I want to say or how I feel because I’m so concerned it might not align with what they want or feel? Why assume that, because I’m so used to swallowing my own desires and needs, that they will do the same and we’ll be stuck at an impasse? Why shy away from honest conversations where the needs, wants, desires and opinions of all parties are heard and discussed, before a conclusion is reached? It doesn’t make a ton of sense.

So I want to express my opinions, my thoughts, my wants, my desires, my needs. If I want to eat at one restaurant and my friend wants to eat at another, nine times out of ten, we’ll end up eating at the restaurant my friend wanted, to be honest. Though I want to be more assertive when it comes to expressing my own voice, that doesn’t mean that I’m suddenly going to be so assertive that my needs come before everyone else’s. Nor should it. But there needs to be more of a balance, between being selfless and silent, to being selfish and speaking. I want to be a little bit of both. I want to have a voice and make it heard, while still being super flexible–an aspect that I love about having a meeker personality and I don’t want to lose that as I develop an assertive voice. I do want to be a little more selfish when it matters, when I have a strong opinion, yet I also want to continue being empathetic. I want to balance putting others needs first and making sure my own needs are met.

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Be More Confident

This might be something I’ve always struggled with, ever since I can remember. I’ve always had body confidence issues, for sure, but it’s bled into every area of my life where I could possibly have confidence, to the point where I have hardly any at all.

And I kinda should.

Sure, I think being humble is awesome and that’s something I’d like to claim to be, but there’s a difference between being humble and then honestly belittling your own self worth and self image. This whole post might be talking about how I want to improve, but if I’m being really honest with myself, I like who I am and I like who I am becoming.

I need to stop apologizing for everything (something I also talked about on this blog). I was out with my family this past weekend and I realized feeling the need to apologize for every little thing is apparently something we all do. I was surprised at how annoyed I got with hearing utterance after utterance of, “I’m sorry” for things where no apology was necessary. Which I’m sure you find ironic, considering how I confessed to doing the same thing all of the time.

I need to learn to accept compliments and not immediately try to dissuade them and label the compliment as a lie. I need to be confident in my own skin and realize that, even though I’ve made progress in my weight loss goals and still have work I want to do, I shouldn’t be afraid to still flaunt and love the body I have now. I need to be confident in my writing and my stories and my ideas. I need to be confident in my voice.

I am starting to love me for me. I just need to let other people see that.

Be More In the Present

This one might be a little weird, but it ties into my anxiety, which I’ve also talked about. But I want to focus more on living every day as wonderfully as I can. I want to work harder at creating happiness from each moment, instead of constantly waiting for each weekend or the next big event; doesn’t mean I can’t get excited about the future things on my horizon that get me amped, but I want to be more present in my day-to-day life, appreciating the little things. More often than not, I lose myself to anxiety over the future or overthinking the past that I forget how to live in the present. The scary reality is, the present can change so quickly and not always in a positive way. So I want to focus more on just enjoying what I have, where I am, who I am, now, and letting the future happen as it happens.

Focus on the good.

I got a few things I’d like to work own. Like most good things, none of these changes are going to happen overnight–apparent by the fact that I’ve written at least one other blog post that ties into each of these aspects of my identity once before, so obviously this is a topic I’ve considered before or is on my radar. Awareness is a great first step and I’m there.

Now it’s time to do something about it.

It takes little changes, every day, to reshape, build and then strengthen these elements into my true personality and that is a challenge I really want to–and am very excited–to undertake. Have any tips on how to do exactly that? Leave them in the comments below. I’d really appreciate it!


Frankly, I Have No Idea What to Title This Post

There’s a line from Twenty One Pilot’s “Migraine” that says, “Sometimes to stay alive you gotta kill your mind.”

I really love that line.

I also wish they gave advice on how to do just that.

I’m an over-thinker. A worrywart, as my companions and parents growing up dubbed me. I’ve always been this way. I know I’m not alone in this, but sometimes, that knowledge doesn’t help me deal with my incessant need to look at every angle of a situation–and often situations that haven’t happened yet, but are possible–and then fixate on the worst possible one, causing anxiety, stress and depression to set in as I then obsess over this outcome. Which, nine times out of ten, doesn’t even come true.

But let’s not keep this simple. Let’s include the heart into this, add another layer of complexity.

I’m a big believer of following your heart. It’s why mine is so scarred. I’m not afraid to chase what it wants without abandon. Some believe that’s foolish. Yet that’s not something I’m going to change. I’m sure it comes to no surprise that often, the heart and the mind conflict, even to the point where the mind overrules the heart and makes it confused on what it even wants, which makes it even harder to come to a decision about what to do in X situation.

Hold on, though. Still not complicated enough. Then add in the need to please others and the reliance on your fellow’s good opinion and approval.

Now we’re getting somewhere.

Welcome into the mind of Nicole.

‘Tis a confusing place.

Of course, I have a specific conundrum in mind: my love life. It’s complicated and confusing and conflicting, which I think is the most difficult thing to deal with. At any given moment, my mind will tell me to do one thing and my heart will agree. The next, my mind and heart splits. Another second passes and my heart has completely changed its tune, but now my head is questioning. And then you add in the opinions of everyone else I value–and don’t forgot the overthinking mind that doesn’t fail to look into every possible solution into every possible scenario, and frankly?

I’m just at a loss.

Here’s the situation (you might have gathered inklings about it from this postthis post or this post. Sorry my complicated love life has taken over this blog. But this blog is my outlet and I’ve never been confused like this before. Ergo, a lot of emotionally-charged posts).

Entered into a FWB relationship which actually felt and was treated like more of an actual relationship, just in secret. Not surprising that, on my end, feelings developed and complications arose. I “left” and then came back, twice, before finally deciding to leave the “benefits” side of a relationship and trade it for a “just friends” side, so I could move on emotionally and find someone who’d be capable and willing to meet both my needs and my wants. It’s been…hard, but I’m getting there. What’s been the hardest, however, is being plagued with one question:

What if? 

Because while I left because I needed more stability, more commitment and more certainty, I’ve been lost in this realm of uncertainty ever since. Because though the “relationship” is officially “over,” there are some small seeds of hope that it could still actually blossom into something real. So we could, potentially, still have a chance at having a relationship. Or I could say no, if that question was ever asked. Or it could never be asked and I could find someone else. Or I could find no one. There are so many different ways this could pan out and there are plenty of What Ifs to accompany each route.

What if we date and everything is as amazing as I always thought it would be? What if it’s everything I ever wanted? What if we completely fall on our faces and the relationship crumbles? What if everyone thinks I’m an idiot for giving him another chance? What if everyone hates him? What if I miss out on the guy “meant for me” because I gave him another chance? What if he is the one meant for me and I gave him up too early because it took a little work beforehand? What if I end up alone forever (but kill it as your ultimate dog lady)? 

Yeah, sometimes, my mind sucks.

There are just so many elements in play: my emotions, my feelings, logic, the opinions of others…all of which conflict and fight each other on a daily basis, which isn’t exactly comforting.

You got the feelings I have for the guy that everyone I care about tells me “didn’t treat me right” and constantly reminds me that I can “do better and deserve better,” yet part of me still wants to try because he does mean so much to me and I know he could treat me exactly the way I “deserve.” But then that raises logical questions, like, why hasn’t he already? What made him take so long to chose me; which, in turn, brings up some questions regarding trust. Yet he’s also made me happier than any man before him. Doesn’t that count for something?

Then I look at all the relationships I’ve ever known. All of them have had some sort of conflict, at one point or another. To varying degrees of complexity and difficulty. Some started great and got rough in the middle, only to become stronger. Some started out difficult and took work, but made it in the end. And very few have been really solid throughout it all, hardly a hiccup in sight. And sometimes, when people tell me that I can “do better,” I want to point out that every relationship is different and maybe this one is just experiencing the rough patches at the beginning. I want to ask not to be so quick to judge, even though I know everyone is just looking out for me and wants me to be happy. And I haven’t been happy, recently. So I understand that. It just adds another level of complexity.

And then you get all of those corny quotes telling you to never pick a guy who made you question or made you guess or made you walk away. Then there’s the small excitement of meeting someone new, wondering who is out there for me and the excitement of flirting and getting to know someone; battle that against the comfort of already knowing someone and admitting there are some challenges there, but there is also certain happiness, as well. Then there’s the fear of never finding anyone else juxtaposed with the fear that I already found them, but I’m just giving them up because it takes work and everyone else tells me I should and they are proud of me for finally letting go of something less than what I deserve. But is that really what want?

Yeah, I’d love to just kill my mind for an hour now, thanks.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to two things: choice and risk.

Everything is uncertain. I have no idea if said dude will ever want to try an actual relationship with me. I honestly have no idea if I’m willing to try, if he wants to–my heart and hope scream yes at the same time my mind, my doubts and my fears shout no. I have no idea how I’d meet anyone else or what I’d say if I did. I have no idea about any of this and all this worrying and thinking I’ve done in the past week isn’t really helping.

Regardless of whatever happens, the choice is mine. And though I do recognize that I really rely (a bit too much) on the approval of others, I have to trust that those closest to me will support whatever decision I make. And I need to let myself make that decision, without basing it off the opinions of others.

Even though I’ve been searching for the right answer, through talking and blogging and praying, I think I’ve come to the realization that there isn’t one. There is no right answer. That’s why it’s a risk.

I can’t know that my choices are going to be the best ones. I have no idea how they are going to affect my future or if they are going to hurt me or make me happy. There is no guarantee that whatever choice I make is going to be the right or the wrong one. Because that’s what risk is. It’s making a choice and sticking with it even though you don’t know the end. It’s trying to decipher the feelings in your gut and learning to follow them. It’s talking with those involved and learning to trust them. It’s finding a balance between hope and logic.

At the end of the day, it’s weighing everything I’ve been describing and more, and then finally making a choice, trusting yourself to make the right one. It’s accepting the aftermath and forgiving yourself when you make the wrong one. It’s having the courage to change your choice, if that happens. Or the courage to stay, depending. Or even trusting yourself enough to believe that you made the right choice and believing that everything is good, even when it feels too good to be true.

That realization doesn’t make figuring out my love life any easier. I know that I definitely don’t know what the hell I’m doing, but I’m trying my best to follow my heart wherever it guides me (even if that journey is a bit confusing, at times). I’m doing the best I can and I’ll take a small comfort in that. Because all I can do is try and follow my heart, trusting it to guide me true. Even it it leads to failure and ruin, at least I gave it my all.

Hopefully, when I look back at all of my choices, no matter how many were “right” and “wrong,” I’ll be able to take comfort and avoid regret, knowing that I did the best I could navigating this quest called life; amidst every wrong turn, pleasant surprise, lucky break, difficult choice, second chance, mistake, celebration and achievement, I tried and followed my heart.

Can we really ask ourselves to do more than that?


You Can’t Please Everyone

This realization, in relation to my writing and future publication, has really freaked me out lately. I don’t know why, considering I’m nowhere near close to publishing anything, as engrossed as I am in the editing and writing stages across multiple books.Yet I can’t shake it. Someday, once I’m published, someone is going to read my books.

And they are going to hate them.

And not just hate them. Some people will think they are poorly written. Some people will believe I am making political statements that were either unintentional or unrealized. Some may be offended. Some are going to be aggravated at how similar one book is to X while another book uses the same trope as books A-Z. Some will hate how I incorporate romance. Others will despise how I kill my characters. People will label me as unoriginal, overdone or nothing to get excited over. Suddenly, stories that I have slaved over for years will become nothing more, to some people, than a rating of stars or the latest thing to get pissed off about.

And that scares me.

I’ve been a people pleaser since…gosh, I don’t know if there was ever a time when I wasn’t. I want to make those around me happy. I like to make others lives easier or more enjoyable, even if it is at my own expense. I hate it when others are angry with me. I avoid “getting in trouble” at all costs. Goodie-two-shoes and people pleaser, yep, that’s me. So the idea that my novels, the stories of my heart and soul, which I write because I must, are going to cause unrest, dissension and anger in future readers, inevitably, freaks me out. Obviously, I don’t want people to hate the books I write. I don’t want them to think my stories are overdone or ridiculous or “just another same ole fantasy novel.”

You see, this whole “realization” has been hitting me hard lately as I’ve started reviewing books, over at Erlebnisse. I don’t have too many reviews posted and all of them are positive. It’s really hard for me to read a book and not like it. Occasionally, I’ll pop over to Goodreads and read the reviews posted there about the book I’m currently reviewing, to see how others are feeling. In my latest review, all of the feedback was surprisingly negative and followed the same trend: the entire review would bash the book, about how it started slow or followed this trope or had this character flaw and then at the end, in a single sentence, it would be like, “Oh, don’t get me wrong. I liked the book and it was a good read. It just could have been improved exponentially.”

Um, what?

Then, of course, I loved the book. Upon reflecting what these reviews were saying, I understood where they were coming from, but I didn’t notice these issues whilst reading the book. I was too busy enjoying the story to nitpick all the potential problems. Perhaps these reviews were nitpicking. Perhaps they genuinely had conflicting feelings about the book that I had enjoyed so thoroughly. But then, I started to question if the book was really good as I thought it was. How could it be, when everyone else had so many issues with it?

I stopped myself, went back to my review, and stayed true to my reading of it. I really enjoyed the book. I’m really excited for the second one. My opinion, my reading of it, is just as valid as those who hated it. And those who hated it? Yes, just as valid as my love for it. Our opinions are valid, even as different as they are. And that will still be the same when my books are published. Those who hate them have the right to do so. They will probably find valid reasons to do so, despite my passion for my works.

I don’t have any grand solutions to this, if any solutions are meant to be found. It isn’t even a problem, really, recognizing the vast opinions of my future readers. I’m simply realizing that being a writer, so much is out of my control. I don’t write stories to be loved, though I hope readers will love my stories, one day. I write because I must and I will continue to write stories that I want to because I must, regardless of this fear; regardless that I know, years from now, when I read that first review of how shitty my book was, it will break my heart. My skin isn’t nearly as thick as it needs to be to make it in this business unscathed. My heart hurts knowing, with so many people with varying tastes, moods, backgrounds, experiences and lives, that I can’t please them all. That some people will hate my books, get offended by them, get bored by them or refuse to read them.

These reactions are inevitable. You can’t please everybody.

Yet my heart soars at the possibility of reading a positive review; at the idea that someone missed their alarm clock the next morning because they stayed up too late, living the mantra “only one more chapter.” I crave the day when I can connect with someone online or meet someone at a book signing–hell, to have a book signing or talk would be incredible–and to have someone look up to me and claim, “Damn, you’re my inspiration” or “you’re my favorite author.” Those moments I will cherish beyond belief. And those negative reviews? Those nitpickers? I’ll read them, probably cry a bit because I’m an emotional wreck in every regard, eat some ice cream and then I’ll learn. Perhaps my stories will improve and change for the better from their feedback. Perhaps they won’t.

Regardless of the response I receive one day as an author, I hope my audience and readers know that I’m trying. I am trying to write the best stories that my soul can produce, while staying true to myself, my craft and my passion as a writer. I hope you enjoy them, future readers. And if you hate them, that’s okay, too. I simply thank you all for reading them and allowing me to live out my dream. Now all I gotta do is make it there.