One Month of Blogging

You don’t have to take on another persona for the sake of creating.

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The saying is true, time really flies. To be honest I started this blog on a whim, a desire that’s been nagging me for years now but I never had the courage. 2018 has been a life changing year, I’ve dealt with massive toxicity yet overcame that and many obstacles to graduate with my BSN. Twitter was a catalyst to a desire I was too afraid to feed. The warm community left me feeling like I wasn’t alone and that it’s okay to create boldy and so Aria’s Dreaming was born. Initially I was fearful, during the process. I contemplated deleting my account all together. I felt foolish, but I didn’t want those negative thoughts to control me.

Blogging has been an outlet for me, especially with thoughts poetry wasn’t enough to quell. Initially, I was obsessed with making it aesthetically pleasing, but I’ve always been an oddball and quickly let that desire go. When I created this blog I wanted it to be a reflection of me, truth be told I’m a homebody so why go out of my way to explore to take flashy photos? It would be going against who I am. Perhaps in the future I will, but for now I’m content with sharing plant photography taken in our garden. As a lover of Mother Nature, I’ve always compared myself to her so I celebrate her beauty however I can.

What I’ve learned one month in is authenticity is key. For years I struggled with being myself. I’ve never fit in. During highschool I was very much the girl who could talk to anyone and everyone, I wasn’t into cliques. I was the vagabond of trends, of practically everything and often I felt lonely because I believed I didn’t fit in, I couldn’t. I was too out there. Too different. Too unique. Too expressive. Diving into Twitter and then shortly after blogging quickly proved me wrong. Like minded individuals do exist who understand and appreciate my expression of pain and passion. My message doesn’t allude them, it isn’t foul, but something they can relate to and I can relate to them and that’s a beautiful thing. I’m grateful for the amazing individuals I’ve met because of social media.

On the flip side, I’m also grateful for the toxic people I’ve met because of social media. Truth be told I came close to being a statistic after being cyberbullied by a “prominent” fashion blogger. Initially I was filled with so much hate, anger, and a lust for revenge but after engaging in countless conversations with friends and loved ones I quickly realized I wasn’t the problem. I’m not perfect, far from it and as previously said I’m extremely expressive, not to mention incredibly blunt. Not everyone appreciates an observant individual. However in spite of the threats and harassment I endured for nearly half a year, I’m still here and very much inspired. Driven to do better and be better. I’ve always wanted to create a positive space to share my passion for creativity and my reflections on common themes that plague us as human beings daily. After the damage the blogger attemped (and ultimately failed) to inflict I knew to make a change I needed to move out of my comfort zone. Unlike her I have no qualms with my vulnerabilities. I embrace them, they make me me. I stand for love and not hatred.

The old saying is if you can’t beat ’em join ’em and I’m proud to say I’ve done just, but with good intention. There’s lots to learn, but joining the blogging community has caused a new shift, one I was fearful of initiating for so long. I’ve talked about spreading love in previous posts, that being vengeful will bring no peace but pain ultimately. There’s strength in acknowledging your shortcomings and working towards being a better individual. I strive to do that everyday and I strive to spread positivity and love however I can. The two biggest things I’ve learned after one month of blogging is that a community I can relate to does exist and that being authentic is okay. You don’t have to take on another persona for the sake of creating. I look forward to the future and all that it brings.

Ariana

It’s Okay To Grow

Self growth is another concept that’s hard to grasp, much like self love, it’s one I’ve constantly yearned for much like everyone else and recently I’ve come to notice its presence. Self growth and self love are closely intertwined. As you come to unleash and embrace your potential, your sight clears. Suddenly you see people in a different light, beyond the surface. Of course you cannot see someone’s soul, but it’s fair to say when self love is your anthem you grow to realize the true intentions of others. Your senses becoming heightened to action and inaction, their words and context. You come to subconsciously filter and analyze the statements they make and compare them to your values.

When you love yourself not only do you value yourself, but your values change and with this comes immense growth. Change causes chaos and throws relationships into disharmony, but often in these moments you realize who your true friends are. When you’re going through self growth, your introspection is at it’s peak. With this comes inevitable conflicts which may lead to lost friendships. For awhile I thought this was a bad thing, but as I reflect more on lost friends I come to realize they added nothing of value to my life. Their reality wasn’t compatible with mine and therefore things fell apart. Sometimes we overlook key details for the sake of maintaining a relationship, but this can be destructive for both you and them. For you, downplaying the obvious can lead you to doubt your being, what you stand for, and who you are and for them their ego is stroked, they are content because in their eyes you see nothing of their true intentions; you are blind.

I’m not saying to instigate a conflict for the sake of deciding whether or not your friend or significant other truly cares for you and wants to nurture and support you on your journey of self growth, but in moments of conflict really listen to their words. Reflect on them too. Self reflection is a powerful tool that’s at your disposable so take advantage of it. Through it you come to realize where you stand and where the other person does as well. It’s natural for some relationships to fade and as painful and sad as it can be it’s necessary on the journey of self love and self growth. Trees shed their leaves to grow new ones come spring time. They let go of what was come the fall and sprout new leaves come the spring. Be like a tree, be flexible in that you’re willing to let go to move on and grow to your full potential, to reach the level of self love and self growth you ought to because you are you and you are destined for greatness.

Sometimes it’s not you but them and other times it’s simply a part of life. Many times I’ve lost people and dwelled on what I did wrong. I would tear myself apart based on the words of the other party but reflecting on these moments I’ve come to acknowledge that my self love was lacking then because I associated with such people. When you love yourself that shows and people with the same passion gravitate towards you, even if their passion is in sharp contrast to yours. Let in those who are on your side for a lifetime, through thick and thin. Let go of those who aim to hold you back by tallying your wrongs against you, by hurling insults they know will hit deep. Some people are only meant to be in your life temporarily so you have a moment to reflect and realize what was is gone, but there’s more to be found. There’s better to be found. Flourish. Be the tree that sways with the wind, that sheds your leaves when nothing more can be done. Don’t settle, grow. You deserve to.

Ariana

Love Yourself: All About Self-Love

You are love. Spread the love. Let love be your anthem and hatred an anomaly to be purged.

Self love.

The concept is difficult to grasp and as I get older its meaning becomes clearer yet alludes me. Lately I’ve been reflecting and dwelling on past mistakes. Reflecting to better yourself is one thing but dwelling serves no purpose but to undermine you. You are a one of a kind human being. Emphasis on human. We all make mistakes, we live and we learn. That is what it means to be human. There’s no shame in making a mistake. Mistakes give us the opportunity to engage with the most intimate parts of ourselves and uncover our true potential by acknowledging our faults.

To me, self-reflection is a beautiful thing to do. It takes bravery to embrace your vulnerability, your fears, and all the what ifs. I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason whether it be good or bad. We stand to learn more and progress in life when we make mistakes. Never mind those who chastise and spite you. Let toxic people like them say what they may, their reality is not yours therefore their words are pointless and only a ploy to undermine you. No perfect being exists so don’t let the judgments of others strip away your self worthy. You are worthy of greatness, I am worthy of greatness, we all are worthy of greatness. That is a fact, make it your mantra if need be. The quest for self-love is tiring and daunting but can be accomplished.

Strip yourself down to your soul, accept who you are, accept yourself as you truly are from your own, untainted perspective. Look upon the you now as if your child self is staring at your reflection in awe. Give in and reminisce about those moments in your younger years when the chaos and bitterness of the world wasn’t your burden to face because it didn’t exist, only you did. This may sound self-centered but to truly embrace your being you need to disengage from all thoughts and actions that aren’t your own. Turn away from all the hateful comments, the needless remarks, the petty jabs, the relentless abuse. Turn them away, you do not need them. All you need is yourself, all you need is to love yourself as the beautiful flawed being you are. Flaws are beautiful, flaws inspire me, flaws are the reason I create, flaws are the reasons I am who I am and will continuously strive to better my imperfections but never yearn for the falsehood of perfection.

One day we all will accomplish what we have set out to do, someday we all will tap into our full potential. No person’s life is “easy”, some simply fight their karmic demons in silence while others, such as myself (and many, many others) are made into a mockery and publicly humiliated, but it’s okay. We all must face the ultimate judgement someday and I don’t necessarily mean this in a religious way necessarily, but more so spiritual. I believe we are destined for more, we leave this plane for an unknown one. It is there where those who shunned and abused you will face judgment if not here, but I digress.

Self love is about the self, is about you. Love yourself be bold and brave, you deserve to be enveloped by nothing but love. Think of yourself as a seed, you may be surrounded by the dark now but soon enough you will rise. The day will come where you’ll bloom and the day will come where self-love will not allude you, but be you. Believe in yourself, reflect to learn, but don’t dwell on that which you can’t change, do not take in the judgment of mean-spirited people. Let their words go, they are words and nothing more and you are a being of love therefore answer hate with love, be the change in the sense you respond with kindness, not wrath. Just know those who doubt your potential , who make a mockery of you will face their days of woe whether it be now or in the near future, out in public space or within the confines of their mind. Either way just know you will be fine. You are love. Spread the love. Let love be your anthem and hatred an anomaly to be purged, don’t undermine your progress, don’t delay your journey to self-love.


Just my two cents on my personal journey with self-love. One day it’ll be ingrained in our being till then be kind to yourself.

Ariana 

Death Parade

Now that I’m officially done with nursing school I’ve been revisiting some of my all time favorite anime series as well as checking out new ones. I’m an avid fan and have grown up watching anime. I’ve watched well over 40 anime series in total. I love to share my love of anime with others and exposing people to the wonder that is anime. In this post, I’ll be sharing my opinion/review of the anime Death Parade. 

 

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After death, there is no heaven or hell, only a bar that stands between reincarnation and oblivion. There the attendant will, one after another, challenge pairs of the recently deceased to a random game in which their fate of either ascending into reincarnation or falling into the void will be wagered. Whether it’s bowling, darts, air hockey, or anything in between, each person’s true nature will be revealed in a ghastly parade of death and memories, dancing to the whims of the bar’s master. Welcome to Quindecim, where Decim, arbiter of the afterlife, awaits!

Death Parade expands upon the original one-shot intended to train young animators. It follows yet more people receiving judgment—until a strange, black-haired guest causes Decim to begin questioning his own rulings.

[Written by MAL Rewrite]

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Death Parade is nothing short of a masterpiece, a true exploration of the human psyche it’s guaranteed to leave you questioning yourself and humanity with every episode. Each episode is 23 minutes in length and begins with the two individuals finding themselves in Quindecim and Decim the arbiter judging their faiths by watching them play games. Each episode is as captivating as the next. As a short series consisting of only 12 episodes there’s no room for error, character’s backstories are expressed beautifully over the 23 minutes until the episode’s climax is reached. Death Parade’s pacing is perfect, it’s neither too fast or slow. Just enough attention is given to each character, giving you the opportunity to make sense of their relationships and perceptions of themselves and others.

Death Parade’s animation is bold and vivid, the atmosphere is impeccable even in moodier scenes devoid of color. There’s a perfect blend of CG with animation which doesn’t take away from the show’s overall appeal. Character designs are refreshing with each character having their own unique flair only heightened by their personalities. While some characters’ presence in the series are limited such as Clavis, their brief appearances bring a charm to a moody episode guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. While Quindecim is a stunning sight to behold and the character designs are crisp and endearing, but don’t be fooled.

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Quindecim

Death Parade is a master at deception. The opening itself is bright and cheerful, a sharp contrast to the show’s title but a great introduction, not to mention the lyrics that are guaranteed to instill you with hope even on your darkest and hardest days. Flyers by BRADIO is easily one of my favorite anime openings and the animation couldn’t be better. It’s refreshing, appealing, addicting and really gets you into the groove. (Feel free to listen and watch it here before reading the remainder of this review.) I wholeheartedly forgive Death Parade’s deception because the series is utterly thought-provoking, while it’s heartbreaking in many instances at the same time it’s uplifting, a difficult thing to accomplish with a show centered on the after life, but it accomplished that and more. Be warned the stories are intense and also touch on sensitive topics later on however, they’re done in a balanced way that isn’t overwhelming even for sensitive viewers like myself.

Each episode serves a purpose and teaches you something about yourself that you may have never known. Redemption and forgiveness are two major themes and to be expected from a series like this. The way the characters and story arcs are presented is enthralling, especially for the longer arcs in the series. As mentioned before, the pacing is well executed and the longer story arcs are proof of this. As a writer, I gravitate towards well paced series. I’m always eager to reach the end, but enjoying the steady venture towards the conclusion. Speaking of conclusions, for this series in particular I’d suggest having a box of tissues nearby. While Death Parade isn’t a tragic romance, the stories tug at your heartstrings and the desperation of the characters resonates deeply even if you don’t feel it at first.

My only gripe with the series is that it’s so short. It’s bittersweet, but it doesn’t take away from the experience at all. Death Parade’s 12 episodes do it more than enough justice. If you enjoy tales of redemption and tragedy this show is for you, not to mention the well executed psychological undertones that really bring the show to its true potential. The soundtrack adds an atmosphere to an already rich, detailed world and the characters are truly a sight to behold. The character development especially the likes of Decim’s is heart warming to experience and only adds to an already charming series. The voice cast is great. I’ve only watched the Japanese dub, but if the English dub is anything like the Japanese then you have nothing to lose. Either way the anime is amazing. Death Parade is one of my all time favorite animes, despite being short it’s a series worthy of being rewatched several times over. From personal experience, the enjoyment never ceases.


This concludes my review of Death Parade. I hope you enjoyed it! As mentioned before the series depicts intense stories, it’s definitely geared towards an older/mature audience. As a 12 episode series it can easily be watched in one sitting so if your interest has been piqued why not check out it out? You won’t be disappointed.

*All images from Google.

Ariana 

 

The Woes of Chronic Pain

Hi my name is Ariana.

I’m a newly graduated nursing student, a writer, artist, gamer, avid lover of anime and music and the list goes on. I also have fibromyalgia. I was diagnosed in December 2016 after a fall semester nothing short of Hell. I can’t begin to describe the pain I was in because it was that bad, unrelenting, all day every day and very little helped to quell it until I was officially diagnosed and began taking gabapentin.

Fibromyalgia is an odd disorder, it causes muscle aches and pains, fatigue, and the list goes on. A Google search of it shows you how little is known about it but I can tell you it’s an illness that will suck your passion for life out of you if you’re not careful. Besides fibromyalgia I also have tendonitis, commonly referred to as tennis elbow (No, I don’t play tennis, but I do text, type, and game A LOT). Nowadays I swear the two work hand in hand to make me miserable and to be honest sometimes they succeed, but only if I let them. Your pain may be real but you don’t have to feed into it. Whenever I feel a flare up rearing its head I stop what I’m doing and immediately take a break. It was hard to do in nursing school, but nothing is worth being in pain over. Your health comes first and therefore you should hold it up on a pedestal. It’s not selfish, it’s simply self care and when you’re living with a chronic illness it is a must. I’ve learned this the hard way many times and wish I weren’t so persistent to complete tasks no matter what, but it’s a process for sure.

Being the stubborn person I am I often ignore my body’s warnings and push myself, only to suffer the consequences afterwards, thankfully I’ve discovered ways to curb my pain. Whenever I get fibromyalgia flare ups I take advantage of my heating pad, it’s relatively long so sometimes I’ll place it on the chair I’m sitting on and I’ll sit down and relax. This particular heating pad has an auto shut off setting which is a bonus. Often I’ll wrap it around my arms for pain relief as well. For other aches and pains I use bay rum rubbing alcohol, technically it’s intended to be used as an after shave but it’s great for pain relief. I rub it over my joints, arms. and shins while being careful not to go overboard as it is alcohol and can burn. Other times I use Icy Hot cream which works wonders, especially when my tendonitis is acting up, I rub it directly onto my joints and viola the pain subsides. On occasion I also use lidocaine to the same effect.

Nine times out of ten I use a combination of heat, rubbing ointment, and pain killers to help curb my pain. However, the heat and bay rum (and Icy Hot) too shouldn’t be used back to back under any circumstances. No need to add potential burn injuries. Pain killers are pretty helpful. but it’s a good idea to take them around the clock. From experience, the worst thing to do is stop abruptly because the inflammation rears back at full force and all your progress is lost. Persistence is key to managing pain in the long run. For both fibromyalgia and tendonitis I try to do a variety of stretches to help ease the pain whenever I can, they can help a lot from experience. Exercise has been helpful for my fibromyalgia. Up until about two weeks ago I was doing muy thai kickboxing at least two days a week and let me tell you, my body let me knew it was the wrong choice. Right away my fibromyalgia flared up no doubt because I was sitting around and not being active. With fibromyalgia it’s really important to be active, even if it’s walking or just dancing. Right now I’m taking a break from kickboxing to rest my arms thanks to a tendonitis flare and focusing my time/energy on studying for my NCLEX, but I really want to get back into it soon.

Anyways, relaxation is really important so take time out for yourself and if you can’t indulge in self care even while in the midst of other activities try to make it special, even if it’s as simple as listening to music. Music is really powerful and therapeutic if you really give it a chance to work it’s magic. One of my favorite things to do is make myself a nice hot cup of ginger or chamomile tea. Tea in general always cheers me up and calms me down. Whatever you do remember it’s important to take care of yourself. There’s days you’ll be absolutely miserable and want nothing to do with anyone or anything but always strive for something, even if it’s as small as getting up, opening your blinds, and watching the world outside. The small things matter, you matter so embrace your needs and try not to fret when you can help it. Chronic pain is tough and often times people don’t understand just what you’re going through, but just know you’re stronger than you know and most importantly you are more than you’re illness so pat yourself on your shoulder for a new day, a new moment in time to put your best forward.


Hope you enjoyed this post. Figured I’d share my personal experience with fibromyalgia and tendonitis. Whoever you are, I hope you have access to what you need to make you comfortable and help you normalize your life. Chronic illnesses are no joke whatsoever and I sincerely hope you find all that you need to better your life moving forward and that you’re surrounded by friends, family, and healthcare professionals who have your best interest in mind and are supportive.

Ariana

Fragments of Unity

I strive constantly to create characters who are relatable because everyone deserves to read a book and see a little of themselves within a character.

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. The art has always been near and dear to my heart. I’ve been lucky enough to engage with others who share the same love of writing, especially back in my high school’s spoken word club.

During college, writing was sporadic for me besides poetry I didn’t write much else. There just wasn’t enough time and as a nursing major if I wasn’t studying, I was stressing out about my next quiz or test, or worse having a mental breakdown. Despite that in 2015 I took a chance and signed up for Nanowrimo. A year that was hellish (and that’s putting it lightly) ended on a note I could never foresee beforehand. During this time I quickly learned how therapeutic and utterly relaxing writing is. The daily word count motivated me to dive deep into my creativity and be bold. I did Nanowrimo 2016 to the same effect and won then too.

Back in 2015, after playing Dragon Age Origins I was inspired to create a fantasy world of my own and so Fragments of Unity was born. Truth be told I’m an oddity in the writer’s community. Many writers are a lover of certain genres because they’ve read dozens of books, but for me I came to love certain genres like science fiction and fantasy through video games such as the Final Fantasy and Mass Effect series. Originally I envisioned Fragments of Unity as more of a classic fantasy novel, but quickly realized I couldn’t commit, my creative mind desired more.

In 20 Facts About Me I talked about my love of video games, especially the Final Fantasy series. After immersing myself in the world of Final Fantasy 15 I quickly realized I could create a world of my own that’s modern with a touch of magic mingled with technology and so the original FoU draft was scrapped and the novel was reborn mostly from scratch, saving some elements of the original story envisioned. However, the story itself has changed drastically and ways I could never imagine but I adore.

Truth be told I’m pushing boundaries and doing tons of research to make this story as amazing and captivating as possible. Not only for me, but for those who read it. Diversity, sexuality, and mental health are big parts of my story. I strive constantly to create characters who are relatable because everyone deserves to read a book and see a little of themselves within a character. Fragments of Unity is my heart and that’s no exaggeration. I’m investing lots of time and energy into this writing project and can’t wait to show it in full. The super basic summary is:

A mass exodus from Earth is initiated and humanity takes to the Milky Way to find a new home and that home is the planet Libertus. Here humanity makes a new start until hundreds of years later children are born with the ability to use magic. Soon humanity goes from a united force working towards creating a better world than on Earth to divided with the two nations of Galeus and Bleusonnia at war.

The cast of characters is huge. The story mostly revolves around Jintan Karda, Damian Strada, and Arilyn Stein, students at Kanyir Academy in Bleusonnia who are training to become protectors of the crown. In Fragments of Unity there are Teju (elemental mages), Hyramu (blood mages), and Humans/Casters. How people move in the world is predetermined by who they are and in a nutshell the Hyramu have a history of persecution and bloodshed done at the hands of both humans and Teju which fuels the strained relationship between the two nations and threatens a longstanding armistice between the two.

In all honesty, I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from the world around us as well as Game of Thrones. To say this story is dark is an understatement, creating the timeline filed me with guilt and dread for the future of my characters. Crazy, no? But writing is all about getting in touch with your characters and seeing things through their eyes. Currently I’m focusing on fleshing out the back story and refining the timeline while working on character profiles but I can’t wait to sit down and start working on the first draft by winter if not sooner.

One of my favorite things so far is fleshing out my characters. There’s a lot of minorities who are apart of the central cast of characters such as the aforementioned Jintan who is half Scottish and half Chinese. Another is the Galean Princess Tarys Galbleu who’s predominately of African and Middle Eastern descent. I’ve always created diverse cast of characters and I’m not stopping now, especially today when people have expressed the desire for more representation. Not to mention I’m a New Yorker born and raised by a Jamaican family. I’ve grown up around diversity and it’s become naturally ingrained into my writing, learning more about the world has only pushed me to learn more and move out of my comfort zone. I want to grow as a person and writer always.


I cannot wait to share more about my novel as it progresses and hope you’ll follow me on my endevour. As always, thanks for taking time out to read my post.

Ariana

Looking Towards 2019

If he pulled through the darkness then so can I.

I’ve been looking forward a lot lately. More than ever before with depression trying to pull me down like an anchor. Daydreaming about the future has been a coping mechanism. I’m hoping to take my NCLEX soon so I can get my RN license and start working. I hope it’s at a decent location with decent pay so I can start saving for the future and move out to a better place free of toxicity. Right now everything is really murky and living my life is riddled with uncertainty but I’m trying to hold on and hope for better days. I wish the wait weren’t so painful and dark, but such is life right? Or so I try to tell myself.

Besides having a full-time job going into 2019, I also hope to achieve my creative goals. Right now I’m working as hard as possible to flesh out my science fantasy novel, Fragments of Unity, back story and timeline. It’s one of the few things keeping me going alongside its accompanying art project. By the end of the summer I hope to have a solid foundation so I can officially start writing the first draft. To be honest I’ve never completed a novel before despite writing many. My very first novel, Kiss On My Blue, a sci-fi novel has been on hiatus for several years now. I’ve also “won” Nanowrimo twice but I didn’t complete Fractured Skies (2015) or Of The Ashes (2016), scifi stories as well.

I would be ecstatic to be on track to completing Fragments of Unity. I’m putting my entire heart into it and in all honesty it’s one of the few, if only, things keeping me going right now. Life sucks and it’s horrible, but it’s been bearable thanks to immersing myself into a new world and giving a voice to characters who deserve to be heard. I guess in a way I’m living through my characters while simultaneously acknowledging my existence is on a different, far darker plane than theirs but that’s okay. If I make it through 2018 unscathed, if I stifle impulsive actions then I can bring my novel to fruition therefore giving my life a purpose.

Lately I’ve been reflecting a lot on the struggles Hideaki Anno went through while struggling with depression. In spite of it and many death threats, he was able to create a polarizing, amazing piece of work that has withstood the test of time and critics. If he pulled through the darkness then so can I. Besides working on Fragments of Unity’s first draft, I also hope to make progress with my art project: drawing the cast of characters, weaponry, and other work that reflects my novel, something along the lines of an illustration book. I’m dreaming big to stifle the demons, as a creative I’m fortunate to have mediums at my disposal to keep me motivated. As someone who doesn’t have much hope nowadays I’m glad freedom, if even temporary, is nearby in graphite and ink. It’s all just a matter of utilizing them to create versus dwelling on the things I can’t change. It’s a process but change is all about baby steps.


Thank you for reading my post. Figured I’d share some of my goals for the remainder of 2018 and onwards into 2019.

What are yours? Feel free to comment below, let’s chat.

Ariana