Why Fitness And Gaming Go Hand In Hand

It’s been a while since I was in the workout mindset for a few different reasons. Life was terrible, then hectic, then confusing, and now I’ve landed somewhere in the territory of crazy…in a good way. In my life, there’s pretty much zero reasons for me to ever be physically active. I write all day in an office, then sit on a bus to get home, then sit and paint or game. My legs pretty much never need to be used. BUT. A few months ago I started having really extreme pain in my knees and lower back. The culprit? You guessed it – sitting all damn day.

Getting back support in my chair started helping with the back problems, but my knees were pretty much in constant pain and I couldn’t figure out why. I tried changing my shoes and tried to walk more, but I needed a serious change to stop feeling like a 73-year-old woman. So my partner in crime suggested that I started working out. Like actual cardio working out. I called a friend who honestly was the sweetest EVER about getting me onboard with Beachbody and then another friend suggested ClassPass. With the two programs combined, I started out on a two-week journey to getting fit. I figured if I could just make it two weeks I’d be good.

I’d be lying if I said it was easy to start. But with the help of some cat stickers, and a hand-drawn sticker chart I started working out every other day and I finally started to feel more like myself. I’ve always been a pretty healthy eater, but working out started making me more conscious of how important a balanced diet was. I switched from white rice to brown. I started stocking up on healthy snacks like dried mango and mixed nuts. I started upping my protein intake and drinking way more water. And guess what? After two weeks my knees started feeling so. much. better. I will say, for the first week and a half they were still hurting and I did a lot of modifications on workouts because I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t further injuring my knee in the process of trying to heal it.

The awesome thing is that by taking this time to honor my body I had more energy to do things that I loved, and I wasn’t as sluggish. Do I now have the body of a bodybuilder, no. But that was never the goal here. I started working out because I want this body to be as healthy as it can be for as long as possible. I want to have the energy to enjoy the things I love, not be walking around in some kind of coma going from one sitting posture to the next.

I’ve never considered myself a gymrat, or someone obsessed with getting their body perfectly toned, but I love having the option of going to a yoga or cardio class whenever it works in my schedule and being able to easily turn on a workout when I’m feeling sluggish when I get home after work. Usually, this only takes an hour out of my day to workout/shower and I can already feel the results. And it makes me that much more alert for when I’m playing or painting fanart, or blogging!

It’s not about perfection, it’s about taking steps toward being healthier and happier. For me, it started a month ago. For you, maybe it starts today. Join me?

PAX West: A N00B’s Predictions

It surprises a lot of people that I’ve never been to PAX West. I mean, I live in Seattle. It’s basically down the street. But here’s a fun fact: I’ve actually only been going to conventions for four years. I started going when I lived in France because conventions were some of the few places I felt like I belonged. It’s always fascinated me that no matter what language you speak you can connect with others based off of your nerd knowledge. Fandom is a lot like music in that it connects with so many different kinds of people.

When I eventually moved back to Seattle in 2015 I was determined to keep attending conventions…and to cosplay. That was the first time I went to Geek Girl Con, and then I went to Emerald City Comic Con for the first time. It was bliss. Last year I would have loved to go to PAX but I completely missed the train on tickets. This year I had a ticket buddy who let me know as soon as they went on sale and FINALLY, I’m going. PAX is pretty expensive, so I’m only going 2/4 days but I’m still so excited!

To be perfectly honest, I have no idea what I’m getting myself into, but here’s what I have a feeling PAX will be like:

1. The lines are going to be insane

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One thing everyone has confirmed is that the game lines at PAX West are worst than a school’s-out day at Disneyland. Knowing that I’m kind of okay with the fact that I’m going on two of the less popular days. Being around people can also be extremely draining for my little introvert soul, so it’s probably for the best that I’m going for only a couple of days.

2. The people are going to be awesome

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Something I really love is the people I meet at conventions. It’s one of the best feelings to be around people who are of the same mindset. People who don’t think gaming is for 40-year-old men who still live in their parent’s basement. People who own just as many Funko POP figurines as you do…and don’t judge you for buying more. Since the other two conventions I go to are later in the year it’s going to be super fun to have something coming up sooner. I can’t wait until September.

3. There’s going to be some insane cosplay happening

Okay, so I have no idea if this is a thing at PAX as much as it is at Comic Con but I sure as hell hope that I’m going to see some jaw-dropping cosplay happening. I need it for my soul. I will be cosplaying for PAX…but I’m not quite sure what I’m going to go as, yet. Since I really like Overwatch I’m thinking I’m going to do a gender bend of one of those characters, but who knows!?

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4. I’ll buy too much merch

Related imageThis is pretty much a given because my self-control for spending gets thrown out the window when I walk into a convention. I’m not sure if it’s the pressure of so many people being around or just a comfortability in the space, but I love finding merch that I would never have otherwise known existed (AND BUYING IT ALL). Since I’m actually not sure about the setup of PAX I don’t know if there will be as much from local artists etc. but I’m looking forward to finding out!

5. I’ll make some new friends

Related imageI’m not an extremely social person. I like the people I like, and I’m pretty good with that handful of people. Conventions are awesome because they’re usually a safe space where people can connect easier. I’ve met some of my best friends at conventions and I’m pretty excited to be back in that space again! Cheers to making nerdy friends who connect with you on what you’re passionate about!

Have you been to PAX West (or any other PAX for that matter)? What was it like? What was your favorite part? Let me know in the comments! 

Why Gamers Dye their Hair and other Universal Mysteries

You may have noticed that a lot of gamers have less than natural looking hair. Hell, I have less than natural looking hair. And by that I mean blonde. Which is actually a perfectly natural hair color, but the polar opposite of my own naturally almost-black colored hair. The question of why people dye their hair has stumped scientists and horrified parents for time immemorial. I mean seriously, can’t you just imagine a teenage Egyptian getting yelled at for using henna to dye their hair? Okay, that’s not historically based at all, but stick with me.

There are obviously as many reasons for dying one’s hair as there are for people who have dyed hair, but I’ve put together this little list based off of personal experience and complete nonsense I’ve construed in my own mind…also shit from people I’ve talked to who have hair that’s different from their natural color. Reminder when reading: It’s not the color of hair that makes a gamer…unless you’re Ninja. In which case it very well might be.

1. We want to look like someone we admire

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I like to think of option number one as parallel to why people cosplay. I cosplay because the characters I dress up as are bad-ass and share attributes that I admire. It’s not about putting on a costume. Cosplay is about embodying some part of yourself that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to express. That’s also why cosplayers are so much more intense than buying a costume off Amazon. It really is a passion project. Think of hair in the same way, it’s a love of something you weren’t born with that you still want to embody as a part of your identity.

2. We don’t feel like we belong anyway

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A lot of people in the sci-fi/fantasy/gaming communities feel an “otherness” and that’s why they connect so deeply to these genres. I can definitely relate on this front because I was raised in a community where I never saw anyone who looked like me. I seriously felt like some kind of alien, and I distinctly remember seeing Spock for the first time and relating so deeply. I was like him. We both were a part of two different cultures and felt torn between them. I felt like I identified more with a fictional character than I ever did with a real-life person. I’m not saying this to be sad, but to emphasize how important these communities are. If we’re going to stand out, why not change our hair color? I think people who have never felt like they fit in (even when they’re ‘normal’) have a lot fewer shits to give when they’re thinking about changing something like hair color.

3. It’s personal expression

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Now here’s a crazy thought. What if it’s just self-expression plain and simple? Hair, like any other kind of body art, is just that …art. Hair stylists are artists. Whether you’re going all pink or getting a glorious rainbow dye job, hair is just another way of telling people who you are and who you want to be. It’s a way of building out an internal identity that you identify with. It’s a way of making you, more you.

4. Yes, it actually is about rebelling

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Hands up if you were raised conservatively! I happen to know that a lot of people with dyed hair would have probably been disowned if they had come within 5 miles of their hair with dye, before their 18th birthday. So when it came time to “grow up” we did exactly what we were never allowed to do when we were kids. It’s kind of like buying all the toys you never were allowed to get when you were a kid. Now we’re the boss and we’ve got 18 years worth of rebellion to make up for.

5. Absolutely no reason.

21 Annoying Things You’ll Only Understand If You Have A Crazy Hair Color

You know, some people dye their hair for absolutely no reason. True story. It just seems like a good idea, and that’s it. I would venture to say that usually, these are one-timers, not people who keep up with their hair dying, but there are exceptions to every rule, so you really never know!

In the end, it really doesn’t matter why people dye their hair. For a lot of gamers, it’s a way to feel more in touch with a personal identity and a community they love. And you know what? I think that’s beautiful and amazing. Keep being yourself, lovelies.