“Oh, monsters are scared,” said Lettie. “That’s why they’re monsters.”

Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Last year, I quit my job.

I put my notice in during March 2021, and my last day ended up being the last day of that June. Others thought I was being uber secretive about moving to a different, but similar place. Though, for some, I told them at face value I was quitting to pursue my dreams. I told my coworkers, “Maybe you’ll see me back in a year.” All the while, my goal would be to never to return. That said, I am incredibly thankful for the place I worked for during the pandemic because I lived a pretty cushy life during that time.

Now, now – I am not a fan of Elon Musk. (I am not the sort of person who dislikes a person just because a person is a billionaire.) However, he is attributed to saying:

Most people will panic to find a charger before their phone dies. But won’t panic to find a plan before their dream dies.

Elon Musk (maybe)

That said, once I had the time to myself I realized I had some obstacles – some ghosts – you could say. Though this blog entry has a happy ending, I promise.

FIro, “Everything’s looking up, I assure you.”

In pop culture and folk tales, ghosts haunt creepy houses at night, appear in old photographs of church picnics, are glimpsed in the rain-lashed beam of a headlight on a country road amid endless fields of corn. In life, they arrive when you are emptying the dryer at ten a.m.

Ann-Marie MacDonald, The Way the Crow Flies

And I found that ghosts are rather difficult to find and exterminate when they had an opportunity to enter to every routine one would ever have in daily life. The plans of attack included, but were not limited to:

  • Talk about them as much as possible – eventually the ghosts will get boring.
  • Create as many new memories as possible to shuffle the ghosts as far back as possible. Like cards. (And that’s a theory of mine for another entry in the form of an analogous fairy tale I made The Two Brothers.) I was going to do that in the form of traveling to very different places of the world. That was going strong until… 2020.
  • Do things that would be likely to contrive a engage a fear response within me. [You see, I was feeling quite adrenaline-like.] I reasoned that any fear responses that I had programmed within me would then be paired with those new contrived experiences, and once I disengaged from those experiences then BAM – all of the adrenaline responses are done.
    That was one of the main reasons I went to Syria back in 2019 – I thought, “While there I’ll either be afraid or I will have a lot of fun and have good memories. A Win-Win.” Well, I ended up having a lot of fun and great memories. That said, that trip was a bit of a calculated risk: I had read enough information suggesting that it was reasonably safe, so going there was likely to be safe despite current stereotypes.
Coco at Krak des Chevaliers, Syria; Coco really loved it there
  • However, I have found plenty of use out of watching gameplay of horror games on YouTube. Me: How to combat horrible memories? Watch a horror movie or game! Then your repetitious thoughts will leech onto that for a while.
  • I also practice gratefulness and visualizing my dream future: I am thankful that Coco is healthy, I am thankful that Austin is loving, I am thankful that Howl is playing, I am grateful that I get to sleep whenever I want, I am grateful for every moment that Uncle Iroh squeaks at me…
  • Actively pursuing my dreams. Big dreams. Little dreams. That’s what life is for, isn’t it? There is no time to be “realistic” in life. Though, I think, most people need to do more hyper-introspection over what their dreams truly are. For example, do you actually want to be the richest person in the world or do you want the results that kind of come with that? (That said, it is entirely possible that within introspection one still wants to be the richest person in the world as a true dream that you know will be part of making you happy. Because, perhaps to you, it is more about simply accomplishing that goal to know that you’re the kind of person that can become the richest person in the world.) My point is, I don’t think a lot of people think about their dreams and why they have them.

One of my dreams has been to fly (as in, be a pilot). I have been meaning to take lessons since I was 17. And for one reason or another… other things have taken precedent. And unfortunately, some of things that took precedence were not part of my dreams. I realized that one day. However, having entered the pilot community as a student, I have found that a decent amount of pilots aim to be airline pilots. I think a lot look at me with incredulity when I say that I have never seriously thought about doing that because I think it would incredibly impede my freedom. My only reason to become an airline pilot, an international airline pilot, would be to travel the world. I can completely do that now.

  • Cull anything that could potentially the current peace I feel. I’ve learned and cemented the lessons from way back when I was a teenager by deviating from this I suppose.
  • That said, further help in my ghost busting quest came from an unlikely source:
Dio Jojo GIF - Dio Jojo Youre Approaching Me - Discover & Share GIFs
Jojo Jjba GIF - Jojo JJBA Stardust Crusaders - Discover & Share GIFs
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: The Phantom Crusaders Arc

You see, even when stories are fiction, stories can help during dark times when it’s difficult to be optimistic. I originally started watching Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure several years ago, but then stopped because I became so demoralized by the villain. Even with the fantastical elements within the series, the villain’s personality is rather realistic, and it hit a bit too close to home. I am not sure why or how I decided to get back into the series, but I did this last year and I am so glad I did. Spoiler: the villain is finally beaten and it is ultra satisfying. I suppose I needed to see that sort of villain beaten, and me spoiling that does not ruin the series at all. (I know because I had to look it up prior to resuming the series.)

I suppose too, it also helped that some of the dialogue from within the show is rather mentally intrusive. Whenever a ghost would pop up in my life, Jojo dialogue would be in my head and scream louder than the ghost.

Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.

Neil Gaiman, Coraline

6 Reasons to be Grateful for being an American in the USA Right Now

Greetings! This has been a list that has been playing in my head over the last months while succumbing to a newfound news addiction. From the current supreme court justice debacle, frustrations and dumbfoundedness of how plenty of people seem to fangirl around the president, to just general COVID-19 stuff – there is still plenty to be thankful for!

1. We do not go to prison for being behind on bills.

For example, in Dubai, you fall behind on your bills you go to prison. So, if you perhaps are behind even $1000.00, they send you to jail for three years. Then you’re free for 30 days to bargain with some wealthy relatives. If you do not have any wealthy relatives, or your GoFundMe page has failed, then you’re back to jail indefinitely until the debt is paid! (Yayyy!)

Apparently, many-a-folk, when they realize their predicament, leave the country, never to return, leaving their Lamborghinis to join the thousands of abandoned luxury vehicles there every year.

Imagine this, but abandoned.

Thankfully, here, that does not happen. Sometimes you can just call your creditors and work out a payment plan. On the worst end of the stick, you lose everything – but at least you’re not in jail.

2. We do not have to include our weight and a picture with our resume when we apply for jobs.

First things first: I love Korea. I think of it as one of my homes. With their exceptionally fast Internet, efficient public transportation, and the best fried chicken in the world.

Sorry, KFC.

Well, because you know, here an employer is not supposed to discriminate you based on your sexual orientation, gender, race, or… looks.

That is, in Korea, you may get passed up for a job because the other candidate is skinnier, younger, or is simply seen as better looking. And they’re able to vet a lot of people by simply asking you for your weight, height, and picture on your resume.

Photo courtesy of a Sleepy Anna in the photo booth at the US Embassy in Seoul

For this reason, plastic surgery is super-duper-popular, and is generally seen as a necessity to land a job.

3. We have access to Google (including Youtube, Gmail), Facebook, CNN…

Then you’ve got China. China is underrated and beautiful.

Gansu Province, PRC

When I lived there, I had to use my Yahoo account as my primary account. My Yahoo account that doesn’t allow me to use special characters in the password – that one. And oh, I had to use Bing to search. That was horrendous. Before going into China, I knew about the censorship, but sheesh, I realized how dependent I was on quite a few sites rather quickly.

True, VPNs exist, and I most definitely went through a few. Though when you combine a VPN with slow internet, and a regime that actually cracks down on shutting down and/or disconnecting you from servers… you just find yourself yearning for the simple life of Google, is all.

4. At the end of the day, we can pretty much go anywhere we want.

True, our passport may not have a lot of power right now in the sense that a ton of countries think of us carriers of COVID-19. However, at the end of the day, I know that I can go anywhere. I may have to withstand a quarantine if I travel during COVID-19 Times, or I may have to wait for certain places until it all settles down. For that, I am eternally grateful.

Coco in Krak de Chevaliers, Syria | September 2019

One day, when I am not throwing ABA at children (I think my community would frown upon my wording just now), or when I just simply block out more time, I will write about my adventures with Coco around the world. (Especially Syria, Syria is great. I expect that I will go back there many times with my cats over the years.)

Anyway, since the onset of the pandemic, I’ve been camping. I have not even gone all of that far from home!

Somewhere near Eagle Harbor, Michigan (Upper Peninsula) 2020.10.10

The U.S. is super-fantastic-great for camping. I would bet hard money that there are beautiful national parks and worthwhile campsites in all 50 states and territories.

Camping has allowed me to take all of my cats. I have five.

Here’s one of them: Killua in Baraga State Park, Michigan (Upper Peninsula) 2020.10.10

5. We have cheese. Varieties of Cheese.

Okay, we are not the only country with cheese. But there are so many countries where cheese is this uncommon, and/or expensive item.

But it’s so worth it.

Take for example, Russia, how they often respond to the sanctions imposed on them is by banning food imports. Like cheese. There are folks out there in Russia, smuggling in cheese so people can have proper pizza.

Basically, anywhere where cows are not all that common cheese will be an especially prized and rare possession. (Think Korea, Philippines… most Asian countries).

6. Though the country is divided, people who do not normally come together… are coming together to fix it.

I have never paid that much attention to politics and the government until the last four years. At the end of the day, I thought, “There are checks and balances, and a lot of stuff only has a pseudo-effect on me. And no matter what happens anyway, I will just work around it.”

Then, throughout the last four years, I realized that a lot of those checks and balances seem to be held by… honor. Like, I have learned a lot in the past four years about how the government works. Anyway, if a leader has no honor, then lot of changes can happen.

The man who still can’t get over the Hunter Biden Thing even though it originally led to his impeachment because he extorted Ukraine over investigating it. The guy who blocked aid to Puerto Rico, showcased in the worst airport experience I’ve ever had. (Cuba, Syria, Philippines all have water in their bathrooms). The guy who talks about how the media spreads fake news yet retweets conspiracy theories to “let people decide what to think”. I could go on…

There are:

And then I suppose, funnily, Putin will not fully endorse Trump. If you watch the following video, I thought it was a bit interesting how it was almost as if it was seen that blacks having rights was a Democratic Party view. Which, by the way, Putin is all for.

I still like many of these left-wing values. Equality and fraternity. What is so bad about them? In fact, they are akin to Christian values. Yes, they are difficult to implement, but they are very attractive, nevertheless. In other words, these can be seen as an ideological basis for developing contacts with the Democratic representative. […]

The Soviet Union also supported the African Americans’ movement for their legitimate rights.

Vladimir Putin,
the man who banned gay pride, lacy underwear, and good cheese for his people, and regulates memes and popular bloggers.
But he’s also kind to dogs.
October 7, 2020

And if Trump wins? I’ll probably move out. Even though I have a house and everything. Because that just means my birth country is not as great as I’d want it to be.

Technically, I am grateful for more…

Like the comfort that the hot dog I buy before the expiration date should not poison me, I can return an item for a refund, clean water, and efficient heat. Prime veterinary service for my cats and doggie. But you don’t need to read more, you get the idea.

Fairy Tales Part 3: The Void

Work, travel, Destiny 2, anime, and cats. That is all for now.

Part 3: The Void

And the fairy found herself in the Void.

When her eyes adjusted in the flash of a second, she realized she was in a field of flowers.

Upon seeing someone approach, the fairy said, “I planned on falling forever and had the resolve that falling was better than what I’d left. But here I am. I got here surprisingly fast!”

“It’s beautiful here, isn’t it?”

“It’s better than anywhere I’ve ever been.”

Fairy Tales Part 2: The Giant and the Fairy

When stories are not told, we risk losing our way.

Ann-Marie MacDonald

“How are you planning to cope?”

Or, “What do you normally do to cope?”

These are the kind of questions you may get asked by a counselor after recounting certain kinds of experiences. I remember asking these questions when I volunteered on the suicide hotline.

Some people will answer that they are going to look to friends and family for support. They’ll read a book. They’ll take a bath. Some people, if they were to answer honestly, cope by drinking alcohol or by engaging in mind altering edibles.

Me, I think about how things might have been. How things might have been if I had a time machine. If it were possible, how could this be repaired or prevented? If I could just go back to a long ago past to find out how this started, and alter the learning history…

(In all other situations not requiring a time machine, I overload myself with information to troubleshoot the problem. In much the same way if you Google how to repair your car.)

Paul Nigh’s ‘TeamTimeCar.com’ Back to the Future DeLorean Time Machine

I listen to the same music I used to cope over anything ten years ago, then go from there.

Am I conscious or is it my unconscious being

no more like a d r e a m ?

The Dandy Warhols, Good Morning

I write down, repeat, and talk about whatever happened until I hopefully get bored. In that way, I can gain some kind of control. Otherwise, Whatever Happened will replay in my head anyway. A certain phrase, a voice at a certain tone, a certain sight, a certain sound will trigger me back and I relive certain things all over again. (Now, imagine what that’s like if the same kind of event does repeat itself in your life, so you’re reliving the past, and experiencing it in the present…)

Keep your ‘lectric eye on me babe.

Put your ray gun to m y y y head.

Press your space face close to m i n e, love.

Freak out in a moonage day dream, oh yeah!

David Bowie, Moonage Daydream

I plan out my life with the goal to do things to push events to as far back in the past as possible. I think of memory-events as similar to a deck of cards, with each card representing an event. And my goal is to put as many cards on top of that card so it fades to bottom and irrelevant to the Now.

Right now, I am writing. I mentalistically think of it as pouring out everything I have hidden. Unpacking it, and putting it away.

It is my way of unpacking everything. Safely and indirectly. That is my aim.

On the face, it is merely a public service announcement on warning signs of certain kinds of bad things. To me, it is more than that.

When I applied to jobs back in December and January, I had included a cover letter.

In the cover letter I stated that my goal in the future was to extend Applied Behavior Analysis to the area of domestic violence. In the interview I would explain, “I found myself in a situation where I was looking up therapy for abusers, and found that the recidivism rate at 100%. In fact, abusers would often return to the situation and end up murdering their partners. Because, as it goes, the partners would take the abuser back thinking that everything would be better because the abuser had went to therapy.”

Most abusive men put on a charming face for their communities, creating a sharp split between their public image and their private treatment of women and children. He may be: Enraged at home but calm and smiling outside. Selfish and self-centered with you but generous and supportive with others. Domineering at home but willing to negotiate and compromise outside. Highly negative about females while on his own turf, but a vocal supporter of equality when anyone else is listening. Assaultive toward his partner or children but nonviolent and nonthreatening with everyone else. Entitled at home but critical of other men who disrespect or assault women The pain of this contrast can eat away at a woman. In the morning her partner cuts her to the quick by calling her a “brainless fat cow,” but a few hours later she sees him laughing with the people next door and helping them fix their car. Later the neighbor says to her, “Your partner is so nice. You’re lucky to be with him—a lot of men wouldn’t do what he does.” She responds with a mumbled “Yeah,” feeling confused and tongue-tied.

Back at home, she asks herself over and over again, “Why me?” 

Lundy Bancroft, Why does he do that? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men

When was the last time someone asked you to go kill yourself? What if, that person asked you to do that on a weekly basis? Daily basis? And/or that person say that he/she wanted to kill you? Perhaps the person would also say on occasion that if you got home late, he would not be able to tell the difference between you and an intruder, and you know what happens to intruders. Perhaps this person would also tell you that you are the one who is too controlling in the same breath.

How long would you last?

If someone were to ask me that, I would say, “What a funny question! About three years seems to be the right answer, for whatever reason.”

You can know ABA all you want, knowing the function of an inappropriate behavior, what the “reason” is for the behavior… but it hurts. Especially when you add everything else and you realize that it was an absolute horror movie that has been playing. And it is your life.

The central attitudes driving the Water Torturer are: You are crazy. You fly off the handle over nothing. I can easily convince other people that you’re the one who is messed up. As long as I’m calm, you can’t call anything I do abusive, no matter how cruel.

I know exactly how to get under your skin.

Lundy Bancroft, Why does he do that? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men

Have you ever moved an object on a desk and that resulted in someone getting angry to the point you got thrown around? All the while listening to the person say you were the one hitting him? Perhaps you’re even holding say… a gray cat.

2018.02.22 | Apparently, I had time to take a photo of Coco before we had to evacuate due to the flooding that you can clearly see in the window.

Have you ever been “helped” out of a moving vehicle by someone who was just telling you he was affected by someone else who got out of a moving vehicle?

Have you ever told someone that you did not call him garbage and he takes out a gun and points it at you, blaming you for arguing about it? Then he tries to get you to hold the gun?

And when you think about it in retrospect, you realize that there may have been other intentions with trying to get you to hold the gun.

Have you ever cried, and the person who was supposed to love you, laughed and danced as a result?

Somehow I can’t forget… You’d laugh right into my tears.

I just won’t forget… how it just made you feel good.

Saint Motel, Balsa Wood Bones

Someone told me last year that I would only sing when I was sad. He only ever heard me sing the first four verses of Balsa Wood Bones when I was alone in another room.

Have you ever had someone headbutt you over and over, while hearing that person say, “Stop headbutting me!”, hmm?

Press your space face close to mine, love…

Have you ever had someone spend twelve hours, four days… months try to to convince you that you did something did not happen, when it did happen? Or vice versa? By screaming, yelling, threatening, grounding, telling you and others you’re delusional, or even trying to have you committed…

Have you ever had someone try to restrain you, and then when you push him on the shoulders to get him off he says, “Stop choking me!”, hmm?

Objectification is a critical reason why an abuser tends to get worse over time. As his conscience adapts to one level of cruelty—or violence—he builds to the next. By depersonalizing his partner, the abuser protects himself from the natural human emotions of guilt and empathy, so that he can sleep at night with a clear conscience. He distances himself so far from her humanity that her feelings no longer count, or simply cease to exist. These walls tend to grow over time, so that after a few years in a relationship my clients can reach a point where they feel no more guilt over degrading or threatening their partners than you or I would feel after angrily kicking a stone in the driveway.

Lundy Bancroft, Why does he do that? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men

I came across the above quote early in the morning of May 1st, 2019.

Perhaps all of these things have happened to you, and you thought, “That’s probably less than half of everything to unpack… There’s more, and it’s going to be awhile before I am completely okay.” But good for you, you’re way more okay than anyone should be you had to deal with all of that. Pat yourself on the back!

Maybe, if these types of things ever happened to you, you thought that with enough patience and know-how this could all be overcome. Perhaps you thought there was a certain intimacy with seeing the darkest side of someone. After all, no one else has that privilege. The silver lining. You’re way more positive than you ever thought!

Perhaps he said the reason why did all of these things is because he’s so passionate about you and because he loves and cares about you. And you got to a point where you understood the logic in that.

Make me baby, make me know you really care..

Make me jump into the air…

Before we go further, here is an ABA jargon definition for you to look at:


a thing, event, or change of conditions whose presentation immediately following a response increases that response

Richard Malott, Principles of Behavior: Chapter 2

An easy example would be where a child takes a sip of Pepsi for the first time. Finding the taste pleasurable, the child takes more sips of Pepsi forever after.

Basically, a reinforcer is not simply just something that is a preferred thing. It is something that, if received right after some behavior, that behavior starts happening more.

Sometimes getting a preferred thing doesn’t make a behavior more likely to occur. Like, if someone gave me a piece of candy I liked, or said, “Good job!” every time I clapped, I probably would not clap more often. However, if someone handed me a 100$ bill, I probably would. Or perhaps even, if someone gave me a hug.

If someone cried whenever I clapped, I’d probably stop clapping ever again without even thinking about it.

Knowing the definition for a reinforcer is important for the sad fairy tale you will read at the end.

Has he ever trapped you in a room and not let you out?
Has he ever raised a fist as if he were going to hit you?
Has he ever thrown an object that hit you or nearly did?
Has he ever held you down or grabbed you to restrain you?
Has he ever shoved, poked, or grabbed you?
Has he ever threatened to hurt you?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then we can stop wondering whether he’ll ever be violent; he already has been.

Lundy Bancroft, Why does he do that? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men

Do you find yourself being able to answer yes to all six of the above questions?


Once upon a time, there was a giant and a fairy.

The giant was known throughout the land for being kind, helpful, and gentle. If a child was stuck in a tree, one could always count on the giant to bring the child safely down.

Everyone knew how kind and gentle the giant was because they always saw him be kind and gentle. You could always be sure to be greeted with a cheerful, “How do you do?”

And one day, the giant fell in love with the little fairy.

And the fairy felt happy for the first time in a long time. The fairy who had seen the land with the mountain of rainbows. The fairy who saw time skip from time to time due to the demons that had been following her since the land with the mountain of rainbows.

Soon, the fairy realized that the giant was different when no one else was looking. He was full of anger. He was unpredictable. The fairy noticed something rotting on the giant, but she thought of how the world changes and taints things.

And she also thought of how the world changes and cleanses things.

She thought the giant merely had demons that he also had to pay his dues too. And that the giant would be successful in getting the demons to go away.

Why else would the giant do the things he does?

She would say, “That hurts me.” He would say, “It’s your fault it hurts. Just be happy.

Then he would do it more. She noticed. And when he saw that he was not hurting her as much, he would do something different… that hurt even more.


a thing, event, or change of conditions whose presentation immediately following a response increases that response

If the giant hurt the fairy, the fairy cried and exhibited other pain behaviors, and the giant hurt the fairy more, what was the reinforcer for the giant’s behavior?

Then she would cry and scream, “Why are you doing this to me? It hurts more!”

He would say, “It hurts me when you cry and scream. Stop it. You’re acting crazy. Everyone thinks you’re crazy. After all, you are the one hurting us.” Sometimes, he would laugh. Sometimes, he would dance. He would also say, “I am the same giant who rescues the children from the trees. I am the same giant who greets everyone with a smile. Who will believe you?”

There, he let it go, his… temper. Standing there.

See her with his gun and he, steals love so he can feel alive.

Everyone’s knees knocking at the fear of love. Taste blood.

Everybody needs to feel…

Sharon Van Etten, Your Love is Killing Me

Each time the fairy got hurt, black fog would surround her. With each new hurt, the fog became thicker.

When the giant saw the fog was too thick, he would be gentle and clear some of the fog and say it made him sad when he saw the fairy get surrounded by fog. This made the fairy happy to hear him say that he did not like black fog around her. But she noticed that he never fixed what caused the black fog to appear in the first place.

But each time the fog would almost be clear, the giant would hurt the fairy so all of the fog would come back, thicker than the last time.

In a healthy relationship, vulnerability is wonderful. It leads to increased intimacy and closer bonds. When a healthy person realizes that he or she hurt you, they feel remorse and they make amends. It’s safe to be honest. In an abusive system, vulnerability is dangerous. It’s considered a weakness, which acts as an invitation for more mistreatment. Abusive people feel a surge of power when they discover a weakness. They exploit it, using it to gain more power. Crying or complaining confirms that they’ve poked you in the right spot.

Christina Enevoldsen

Eventually, the fairy realized that he was not a gentle giant with demons following him. He was a giant demon. But she stayed because she still loved him.

Maybe he loved her, but he loved hurting her more. Knowing this, the fairy became even more sad.

When the fairy saw how thick the fog was becoming with each new hurt, the fairy said to the giant, “I have to leave now because next time you hurt me the fog will be so thick I cannot breath, and I will die. I am going to step into the Great Void.

I do not know what will happen on the other side, but it is calling to me now.”

The giant said, “Go ahead. You will come back. You need me.”

So one day, when the giant left to go to the forest to tend to the children in the trees, the fairy left and jumped into the Great Void.

And she vowed never to never let the giant see her or hear her again. She knew that he would attempt to cover up the truth Smoke and Mirrors, but she knew the truth.

She wrote down the truth on many pieces of paper, and packed and locked it away so she did not have to think about it anymore.

Though she still wished everything was different. Even if she encountered more demons in the Void, and even if she did not, she knew her life would continue to be interesting.

I, I wish you could swim
Like the dolphins, like dolphins can swim
Though nothing, nothing will keep us together
We can beat them, for ever and ever
Oh we can be Heroes, just for one day

David Bowie, Heroes

When I was young, I was not so keen on Bowie. But he literally talks about space and Mars, or infuses space-age type sound to a lot of his music that I should have settled this issue of mine with him sooner.

To Someone in Particular: I remember when I would talk about time travel and outer space, and you would say how much it irritated you. I remember how much you liked to say it was impossible and that we had never even been to the moon. I can still imagine you being irritated, but in the end I still believe in possibility of time travel and traveling throughout outer space. Perhaps we will see each other again on the other side of time and space?

Fairy Tales Part 1: Scripting

Fairy tales are more than true:

Not because they tell us that dragons exist, but they tell us that dragons can be beaten.

Neil Gaiman, Coraline

Whenever I have reached certain, specific types of moments in life, I find myself scripting, in a sense, in my head. I repeat quotes over and over again that I have memorized from movies, television shows, and books.

I think of it as functional, at least.

Rule one of dying: don’t.

Rule two: slow down.

You’ve got the rest of your life. The faster you think, the slower it will pass. Concentrate. Assume you’re going to survive. Always assume that. Imagine you’ve already survived. There’s a storeroom in your mind. Lock the door and think. This is my storeroom.

Doctor Who, Episode: Heaven Sent
[All remaining quotes.]

I script the above quote quite a bit. No, I do not often find myself in situations where I am potentially dying (that said, some may disagree). However, what a hilarious thing to start off a pep talk when you’re down? Don’t die! Why? It’s a rule! If anything, just don’t die! Nothing snaps you out faster. At least, if that’s your kind of humor. Now think fast!

I can’t keep doing this. I can’t always do this. It’s not fair…

Why can’t I just lose?

[“Clara” replies by writing NO! on the chalkboard]

I have seen that episode at least seven times. And this week I am slowly going through the scripts of that episode.

And I realized recently – that a demon that has always weighed on me, and alluded to in my last entry I can get rid of by making mysteriously analogous fairy tales. The demon I am referring to is – hiding truths.

It has always weighed on me to hide truths.

It may not be adult of me to say what has happened to me in my life, over some areas, but no one can stop me from telling mysteriously analogous dark fairy tales.

That said, there’s the technicality that, as an adult, you can say whatever you want. But, you have to be safe. Fairy tales are safe.

The first rule of being interrogated is that you are the only irreplaceable person in the torture chamber. The room is yours, so work it.

If they are going to threaten you to death, show them who’s boss.

Here’s a short primer fairy tale:

Once upon a time, in a far off land, a fairy found a place to call home. She wanted to see the mountains made of rainbows.

However, she found the place was not as it seemed, and she soon realized she had to leave. There were different rules than where she was from. The fairies she trusted were not trustworthy. They told her everything was okay. But the fairy knew that everything was not okay. Fairies were being taken, and fairies were losing their heads. They told her, “You’re different.” But she knew she was not different than the fairies being taken and the fairies that were losing their heads.

She reiterated: The rules were different. So the fairy worked to leave that far off land so that she wasn’t taken and she didn’t lose her head.

At the end, she saw the mountains made of rainbows.

And they were beautiful.

I always imagine I’m back in my TARDIS, showing off… Telling you how I escaped – making you laugh. That’s what I’m doing right now… […]

And I’m going to tell you how I survived. Can’t wait to hear what I say.


Being an Adult is Hard

But he did not understand the price. Mortals never do. They only see the prize, their heart’s desire, their dream…

But the price of getting what you want, is getting what you once wanted.

Neil Gaiman, Dream Country

Over the past two months I was on a job hunt. I had left my previous job, one of two jobs I had ever felt at home and happy. Though, things change.

That’s the way life is.

The interviews I subsequently participated in, I made it through the first “stage” in all. (I specify first “stage” because, with one, I chose not to go to the second portion of the hiring/interview process where I would meet and shadow the rest of the team, since I accepted the position I am now about to start. Who knows?! Perhaps there would have been a chance that the one company would not have loved me after that.)

Now, I have watched a lot of YouTubers lately: others’ advice on fashion, on travel, and on random things. During all this, I thought, “Anna should never give interview advice, especially on YouTube.”

I do not interview like your stereotypical candidate. Sure, I’ll dress up.

But, I am animated. My gestures are all over the place. I say things like, “Du-du-du!” happily. I clap when the interviewer says something I feel like clapping to. I feel the glinting behavior in my eyes.

I am myself, I try to be as genuine as I can and will be, and I have a lot of eccentric behaviors.

Some people consider me traveling with a Coco to other countries an eccentric behavior.

The position I have now, one of the interviewers (out of the group of four) gave me the introduction about the interview, and included the line that went something like,

“We’ll see if you are a good fit for us.”

I replied, “I can fit in anywhere.”

That said, post interview, I thought, “I do not think I would fit in very well in a drug cartel. Would that have been appropriate to say? Maybe saying I could fit in anywhere was too bold because now they could possibly think I’d fit in with a drug cartel. But oh man, I would not do well during a drug cartel interview…”

Drug cartel interviewer (DCI): “So, you can fit in anywhere?”

Me: “Yes!”

DCI: “That’s great! We are looking for people who can blend in and get our product to our confidential clients!”

Me: “I’m sure!”

DCI: “How many people have you killed?”

Me: “I… don’t have any experience with that. Do most people who start with you have experience with that?”

DCI: “Not everyone. But the ones that don’t have experience make up for it with a past of money laundering, blackmail, forgery…”

Me: “I see.”

DCI: “You look a little uncomfortable.”

Me: “No, no, not me. I never get stressed. As we discussed earlier…”

DCI: “You seemed to get uncomfortable when I mentioned killing.”

Me: “I guess I’m just nervous about not having had any experience. You guys are the best, so if you take me on I’d make sure to learn! It’s the job!”

DCI: “So, you lied a bit ago when I pointed out that you looked uncomfortable.”

Me: “This isn’t going to end well for me, is it?”

DCI: “Find comfort in that things may not have ended well for you even if you had never attended this interview.”

Me: “Yeah, I know.”

I get really into thought experiments sometimes.

Anyway, the point is I do a lot of things during interviews that most people would never recommend.

Later on, I was asked about how I have dealt with disagreements with coworkers coworkers/disagreeable coworkers. Within my explanation, I inserted, “Being an adult is hard. I do it, because that’s all you can do. But that is something that’s been hard on me.” I thought then, how that answer applied to all aspects of my life, not simply work.

It made me feel happy though, too, that I could be honest about all of these things and still be invited to work with the company. Those little things that mean a lot.

Last year, I broke my streak of being an adult.

Me: I can just use ABA to help fix this.

OP: But, this is your life. […] You always seem so happy. What you are doing is a lot of work.

Me: I have to try.

Summer 2018

I broke it in many ways. I should mention, being an adult is awful.

Being an adult is being free to be your own person. You are free to find your treasure of happiness in that cave in the mountain yonder.

However, it is also figuring out how to find joy while swimming in the oceans of sadness en route. It is trying to figure out how to make a raft to get above when you cannot see anything to use.

Now, I am not saying every adult is swimming through an ocean of sadness. I am saying that the adult thing to do is: 

if and when 
you get to that particular ocean, 
you have to keep up the appearance 
that everything is dandy.

Sometimes, if you are lucky, you eventually get to say that there was a time you crossed a sad ocean, and tell what was in that sad ocean.

Like, I can say that when I was young and smaller my family was on a bus that got hijacked in the Philippines. I cried and asked for the hijackers not to kill my father when they put a gun to his American head. I learned early on that I was incredibly cute and could counter terrorists.

But I can’t say openly what happened when I lived in China, nor the last time I went to Korea. I can’t openly say what happened since I moved back to the States. Most of my entire life is hidden in darkness. Stating this is not very adult of me.

The interesting thing is, that on my death bed, I will likely say that all of the pain, the chaos, darkness and light, ugliness and beauty, and the things that have ripped me apart and taken parts of me were all worth it. I have gotten to see darkness that no one else has ever gotten to see. On the flip side, I have seen miracles happen against all odds. I have experienced the extreme colors of the world. Its violets and horrors.

There is a sense of vanity, I feel, in that.

However, at the end of the day, I want to come back to peace. Like, a Home Base Peace: Find your calm here! 

I am hoping to figure that out this year. While being as adult as I can.

A soul’s made of stories. Not atoms.

Everything that ever happened to us – people we loved, people we lost… people we found again against all odds.

Doctor Who, The Rings of Akhaten

Next: BACB exam

I went to Lebanon. I have not made into Syria [yet].

Coco in Byblos 2018.11.26
Coco in Byblos 2018.11.26

Although I had applied for a Syrian visa, I had to leave Lebanon by the time it was approved to attend my Master’s defense. Perhaps I will talk another time about Lebanon. However, I have a newly minted MA degree in Behavior Analysis, so over the next month or so I will be all about the BACB exam.

In a way, the last month has been about me applying for the exam. I finally slid in for the January 1st deadline with all of my paperwork to sit in February. The reason I came across so many difficulties was because:

  • I graduated December 15th. The university went on winter break the following week. The exam needs official transcripts mailed by the deadline that also show degree conferral. Needless to say, I had to perform some manual labor and make calls.
  • I had to get all of my supervision forms redone and signed – this involved a lot of speedy back and forth mailing during the month of December. And checking a lot of numbers.

Anyway, there was a lot of response effort involved.

For those of you who do not know, BACB stands for Behavior Analyst Certification Board. There is an exam that is offered a mere four times a year that one must pass to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). I know so many people at this point that have taken the exam at least twice and still have yet to pass.

That said, I am not worried. Though I am sure I will pass the exam, I do think I need to brush up on my fluency of everything behavior analytic so that I can talk to anyone about it all like I am super-mega-expert.

It isn’t always about seeing new places

If the rule you followed brought you to this, of what use was the rule?

Cormac McCarthy
No Country for Old Men

I am going to Lebanon in just a few weeks, with the hopes of also making my way into Syria. In the interim, I have been Googling and Googling whatever interests me about Lebanon and Syria.

One of the tidbits I came across was to not even think about going to Lebanon without having listened to Fairouz. She is a cultural icon in the Arab world.

I am now all about Fairouz. This song makes me happy.

Aaah ya sahar le layali,
aah ya hal la la bayali…

Aaah you lovely night
Aaah you are are so beautiful when I remember…


My goal for traveling to Lebanon, at the very least, is to capture a sense of wonder. Perhaps my life will become one long escape. More on that later.

Sometimes we just want to get away from a place. Traveling isn’t always about seeing new places. Sometimes it’s about escaping old ones.

David K. William
Science Proves that Traveling Boost your Health and Overall Well-being