So I write this in an apartment in New York City with my future wife on her laptop not four feet away. And I wonder is this my life?
I look back on this blog and I see where I was three years ago.
I started the Confessions to help me be able to be open about myself and in that, I succeeded beyond my admittedly low expectations. This time in 2008, I was unsure of myself in pretty much whatever I did whether it be school or work or just my relationships with people.
Amazing what change a few years can bring.
But what I’m getting at is that maybe the reason why it was so easy to let real life wash away my inclination to blog is that I’ve outgrown the need for it.
This one at least.
I am still a writer. I still have notebooks and a few GB worth of various story skeletons and character designs. I still think of possible backstories for interesting strangers I pass by day to day.
Just don’t know if I’m a blogger any more.
If not? Then I will look back on that time of my life fondly. If I am? Then this blog is going to have to change because as strange as it is to say, that after 15 years of self loathing and anxiety, I have learned to accept myself and have no shame about just who and what I am.
Heh, look at me getting at sentimental. I have a few ideas for this little corner of the interweb so we will have to see what comes out of it as we move towards 2012.
This whole confidence thing is still kind of strange, almost like a new pair of jeans you really like but don’t fit just right as you haven’t broken them in yet. I wanted to figure out just who I was back at 20 so now that I have my answer?
Hi, I’m Kendall Arrington. Writer. Teacher. Student. Cook. Blank Shooter. Northern Southerner. Burgeoning New Yorker. Abuse Victim. Self-Deprecating. Former Homeless Kid. Amateur DJ. Witty. Lapsing Devout Catholic. French Toast Lover. Mildly Repressed.
Pleased to meet you. I hope we become good friends, warts and all.
Thanks for the adventure, folks. It was often hard and sometimes damn scary but maybe that’s the part we don’t get as kids. That happy endings are not just a matter of course. They’re earned. You fall down again and again but sometimes you find just the right spot and it’s gold.
Maybe I’ve finally learned that I am worth having one.
Ain’t that something?
“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
Preach, Christopher Robin. Preach.
“Greeting loved ones, let’s take a journey…”
Happy Monday morning (oxymoron I know) and welcome to the Confessions.
Let’s talk about music for a second.
In specific, let’s talk about Katy Perry.
I think I first heard of this popster way back in 2008 when I heard “I Kissed A Girl”. I thought it was catchy but didn’t give it much thought after that. Basically, I considered Katy Perry a smalltime pop star that would disappear shortly.
Boy did I misread that one.
Then I heard “Hot N Cold”. Downloaded it. Listened to it. Sung it when I was alone.
Same thing when I heard “Waking Up In Vegas.”
Then we had songs like “Firework”, “Teenage Dream”, and “California Girls”.
I…I can’t explain it folks.
It’s not like she is that great of a singer, her voice warbles a bit on higher notes, nor do many of her songs make complete sense and yet…
I love them.
I love every single one of them.
And I can’t begin to explain why.
It’s like she has found the perfect mix of pop music, that nirvana of catchiness that has helped us remember songs from the 80′s and 90′s like they just debuted yesterday. Those lyrics are skullfucked into your mind.
“Oh I don’t like any of her songs,” you’ll say.
(5 Minutes Later)
“I know a place/ where the grass is really greener. Warm, wet, and wild/ There must be something in the water. SHIT!”
Or is that just me?
I sing along when your songs come on the radio, I get a warm fuzzy whenever Glee covers you, and I recently bought tickets for me and my fiancée to one of your concerts.
So I give up OK?
You win Katy Perry. You win.
You see that? The woman shoots fireworks out of her chest and makes other people do the same? Her awesome is contagious and volatile.
(OK yeah, the fireworks are metaphorical but dammit if it doesn’t look cool.)
Hello Internets. My name is Kendall and I am a Katy Perry fan.
I no longer feel any shame in this.
Testing one, two…testing one, two…is this thing on?
¡Muy bien! Let’s dust off these cobwebs, shall we?
Welcome back, folks, to the Confessions.
And no, your GReader isn’t playing tricks on you.
For those of you who’ve had the distinct pleasure of talking to me, you are well aware that I will say anything. Well more like my mental filter is just very selective in how it wants to work. I will be the first one to get people to laugh in an awkward silence. Those of have ever talked to me on Skype, Google Video, the phone, or in person probably realized quickly that I am just a wee bit of a motor mouth.
Yet despite all my love of talking, I suck at meeting people.
Oh sure I can go up to someone and introduce myself but I always feel anxious. Like I always feel like I’m bothering people by talking to them. Maybe it is just the last shades of my inner shy child but it always happens whenever I meet someone new.
Even online, I do this. I’ll get on Gmail or Skype (if you haven’t added me yet, for shame) and see people who I would love to talk to are on but I just freeze up. Some time I will actually open the conversation box and just stare at it because I have no idea what to say or how to get a conversation started. It’s like in middle school when I was still at Big Bang Theory-levels of social awkwardness.
Then comes the actual starting a friendship and where 95% of my anxiety stems from. I was pretty much an outcast (very very much not by choice) until high school and even now at 23, I still sometimes wonder if people are actually my friends. Yeah, I know that’s a common fear but so far as I can tell, not many others have this thought immediately.
I generally follow a few steps: I meet someone. Whether at a store, train, in class, at work, and find myself in a conversation with them. This happens repeatedly. I start hanging out with them purposefully. But I still hear that voice in my head going “what if they are just humoring me to be polite?”
I hate being alone.
Abhor it. Loathe it. Despite it.
I thrive on having someone to talk to. It’s like giving a starving man a feast. Without the GI issues, of course. And I’d be lying if the thought of going back to that does not fill me with dread.
Is this fear unhealthy? As long as I’m not going to insane lengths to keep people in my life, I would think not. But I’ve never really been one for denial so might as well get it out there. Considering how many people in the past year alone, I’ve cut out of my life for various personal reasons I think I am OK on this front.
Or so I hope.
The people who are all ready my friends, and have proven so time and again, deserve better from me.
Time to give it to them.
-MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD-
And then there’s this.
You think LOST is confusing? Compared to NGE, LOST is Barney in complexity. No I am not kidding. I have seen this show from beginning to end about 4 times along with some of its movies. I still don’t understand a lot of what’s going on.
But Kendall, you ask, why is this show so horrifying to you?
And I answer by way of an example, this is the show that coined the term “mind rape”.
The basic premise of the show? What’s left of Earth’s population (a spoilery cataclysm destroys Antartica and the resulting flood kills about 2 billion people. Many more die in the wars over food shortages) is under attack by otherwordly monsters known as Angels. The UN has tasked NERV-Tokyo (a military organization) with the defense.
The sole weapon capable of fighting the Angels on a somewhat even footing? Biomechanical behemoths known as Evangelion which are piloted by one of several 14 year-olds.
Shinji Ikari – Son of Gendo, NERV commander, and Yui Ikari, the “deceased” scientist that built Eva Unit-01 which Shinji is brought in to pilot. He has unbelievably low self-esteem and is hesitant, to say the least, to open up to people for fear of being hurt. Despite this, he does have his moments of suicidal bravery while piloting.
Asuka Sohryu Langley – The last of main three pilots we are introduced to and the daughter of Kyoko Sohryu who built Eva Unit-02. Competitive, abrasive, full of false bravado; Asuka is constantly competing with Shinji over who is the better pilot. Lives for combat.
Rei Ayanami – To avoid getting too deep in spoiler territory, Rei is a quiet, emotionless (at first) girl who bears a strange resemblance to Shinji’s mother and was “raised” by his father.
All 3 of these characters, and the adults around them, are all very very broken people and their various traumas do eventually lead to their downfalls if not deaths. Should you be worried when these are the people who fight to defeat these monsters?
Yes. Yes, you should.
Both the opening credits and let’s say about the first 18 episodes are a fairly normal mecha anime with creepy monsters, cool robots, comic relief (like a beer-drinking penguin that lives in a fridge), and fanservice.
And it’s all a trap.
Episodes 18-24 and the alternate ending movie are hellbent are driving every last character through new mental and sometimes physical tortures until they utterly snap. From the moment when Shinji’s friend and classmate is chosen to pilot Eva Unit-03 which is corrupted by an Angel during transport and goes berserk when activated.
Shinji, unable to bear hurting his friend, refuses to take out the out-of-control robot. So what does daddy dearest do?
Activate the dummy plug which take control of Shinji’s Eva and uses it to crush Unit-03 with Touji inside. Touji survives, although mangled. Shinji is utterly horrified. Gendo does not care. Shinji then quits and as he is leaving the city, another angel, Zeruel, attacks. It wipes the floor with both Asuka and Rei and Shinji gets back in Unit-01 to try and stop it. His Eva eventually goes berserk and well…it eats Zeruel.
But the weird shit doesn’t stop there, oh no. Because Shinji was so in tune with Unit 01 during the battle, he dissolves within the cockpit and merges with the Eva. At which point he meets his mother. Whose soul is trapped inside from when she built it and has been with him ever since.
Oh and we partially see what the Eva’s face looks like beneath its armour. “Face only a mother could love” is both ironic and an understatement.
And it only gets worse from there.
Asuka? When the angel Iruel invades her mind we see what happened back when she was first chosen to pilot as a little girl. When Kyoko activates Unit-02, it steals part of her soul. Specifically, the mother aspect. She was so fucked up that she believed a doll to be Asuka and give it all her affection while she referred to Asuka as “that girl”. The day Asuka is chosen to pilot she comes home to tell her mother, hoping that she just might be proud of her for once. What does she find?
Yeah. Keep in mind Asuka is maybe 8 at this point. So after Iruel’s Mind Rape Train, she is nearly catatonic.
But it’s not over yet.
Rei? Well, she sacrifices herself to save Shinji. But it’s OK because we have more! The Rei we had seen up to this point is a clone, designated Rei II. Which begs to the question of what ever happened to the first? Who she is a clone of? Shinji’s mom. Oh and the mother of all mankind, Lilith. Who is a crucified Angel beneath NERV.
And lastly there’s Shinji who between Rei’s sacrifice, his inability to save her, his inability to help Asuka, is not in the best of mental places. Enter Kaworu Nagisa, a white haired pretty boy who is probably the second nicest person (after Rei II) towards him. Keeping with the tone of the show, Kaworu is an Angel in disguise who Shinji is forced to kill.
If the anime ended here, it would have still be rather horrific. But no, after the…strangeness that was the show’s ending, they made a movie that retconned the final 2 episodes. Whereas one is the single most confusing thing I have ever seen, End of Evangelion is basically Kill ‘Em All.
- NERV gets invaded, most of the secondary characters die.
- Gendo tries to initiate the End of the World using Rei. He succeeds. Kind of.
- Asuka is outnumbered by fake Evas. For a moment it seems like she has triumphed.
And in the end after all the death and trauma, Shinji is done as says the world can just die.
Except it doesn’t.
And that’s NGE. Aside from Rebuild. And the manga. And the games.
Yeah, it’s just that kind of franchise.
I COULD DO WITH SOME TANG MYSELF.
That isn’t funny.
SAYS YOU. SO READY FOR YOUR NEXT DAY?
What are you going to do next?
*Neon Genesis Evangelion ©1995 belongs to Hideaki Anno and Studio Gainax.
Well it’s the last day of September which means the next few weeks are going to be filled with possible costume and candy shopping, decorations, horror movies and all specials all over the place, ending in my favourite holiday.
Seriously, I make no secret of how much I love Halloween.
Now this year I want to do something special. While watching the original Halloween, I was thinking about movies and books that were actually horrifying when I came across an idea. Most of you remember my countdown of nostalgic TV shows and while I enjoyed it, I hated ranking them as there were a lot more I could have added. That and I couldn’t go as in depth on my picks as I would have liked due to time constraints.
Not this time.
This time, I’m thinking not so much a countdown but a tribute. One to all things vile, nightmare-enducing, and all together mentally damaging. Eldritch Abominations? Cool. Monstrous Clowns? Perfect. Schoolgirls? Err, OK. All throughout the month of October, I’ll be taking you all on a trip through some of the scariest examples from film, television, books, games, anime, and other media.
So prepare yourself for raptors and possessed children, tragic monsters and existential angst, creepy dolls and the lovesick cars.
Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to…
-the earth shakes-
What the f-
Who the fuck are you?
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW IS THAT I WILL BE YOUR CAPTAIN FOR THE NEXT 31 DAYS. IF YOU’RE LUCKY. PLEASE KEEP ALL SOULS WITHIN THE RIDE AT ALL TIMES. NO USE IN THEM GOING TO WASTE AFTER ALL.
So basically you’re saying that you’ll be picking my topics?
FROM A CERTAIN POINT OF VIEW.
Cut the cryptic Obi Wan.
WOULD YOU RATHER BE FORCED TO FINISH NEW MOON INSTEAD? IT CAN BE ARRANGED.
No, that’s quite all right. Considering how hard I am to scare anyway, no need to add to the punishment. So what’s up first Cap’n?
SO GLAD YOU ASKED. -voice changes to that of a meek, teenage boy- “I mustn’t run away, I mustn’t run away, I mustn’t run away.”
Wait, that line sounds…familiar. Very familiar. Dammit. If you’re impersonating Shinji Ikari then that means Eva’s up first isn’t it? Don’t believe in easing into things do you?
SOMETIMES. LIKE WITH YOUR–
If you say my mom, I will gut you. Booming Voice of Evil or not.
As I was saying before being interrupted by some extradimensional force. Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to
The Odd Duck Presents
31 Days Of Nightmares
First up? Sigh. Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Welcome to the mind fuck, folks.
Last time on The Confessions of an Odd Duck:
In the past few years, I have been able to track my pattern where women are concerned.
Boy meets Girl.
Boy and Girl become good friends over time.
Boy and Girl jokingly flirt.
Boy twigs that Girl may not be joking.
Boy freaks out, broods, waffles on whether to do something about it.
Girl informs Boy he is being an idiot. Kissing may be used.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
With the exception of Scarlett, this is how EVERY SINGLE ONE of my relationships has gone.
Boy Meets Girl.
Boy and Girl realize the other is their snarky match.
They antagonize each other for a few weeks like 1st graders.
Boy and Girl find out they both like Call of Duty.
Girl makes Boy her bitch.
Boy and Girl bond over video games.
Girl has her tires slashed and quite a bit is stolen. Boy is called to pick her up.
Boy stays with Girl as she has mild breakdown.
Girl officially declares Boy one of her best friends.
When Boy’s roommate disappears after they get into a fist fight, Girl and her roommate largely take him in.
When Boy discovers his girlfriend had been cheating on him, Girl is the first to try and help him through it.
Boy realizes he might have feelings for Girl. He fights it completely.
Boy and Girl rent a house together.
Boy plays matchmaker for Girl.
Boy and Girl feel like they have lived together for years come Christmas.
Boy and Girl go to New York where Girl’s old roommate cottons on to how Boy might feel.
Girl seems to be flirting with Boy. Boy is terribly confused.
During a spring break trip to Cancun, Girl and Boy own up to how they both feel.
And now here we are. Those of you who saw the post yesterday or cottoned on to what I was talking about on Twitter, your eyes were not deceiving you.
Am I young? Yes. Am I financially stable? Yes. Am I emotionally stable? Against all odds, yes. Do I see us being compatible enough to make this kind of commitment? Hell yes.
My entire life I have always wondered if I am going enough for things. Second-guessing myself has long been second nature here. But I am self-aware enough to acknowledge that I can and do make her happy. During a conversation over coffee with Pippi, I admitted out loud how close I was to at least buying the ring, she questioned why I hadn’t all ready.
This woman knows me better than 95% of the people in my life. Nine years of friendship probably helps. So to hear that from her shouldn’t have surprised me even if it did.
She pointed out how I’m less flighty with Scarlett. How her edges seem to soften with me. How fiercely we go to bat for each other. How we are utterly unafraid to piss the other off if we think they are wrong. How open we are with each other. How we like to just spend time together. She closed by saying that we act, and have for a long time, like any happily married couple she could think of.
And as I thought about that, I reviewed our relationship since those first days in Chapel Hill, and realized she was absolutely right.
I want this. I want my life to be with her. I want to wake up at 70, look over, and see her sleeping next to me.
Hence why Sunday afternoon saw me roping Marilyn into helping me pick out a ring. And why Monday had me calling her parents for That Talk.
But various heartbreaks have beaten caution into me. I remember how happy I was with both Tink and Eva. I remember how those both ended, even if Tink was entirely my fault. I am trying to let my mind rule for a bit over my heart and if you know me, you know how hard that is. Looking before I leap does NOT come naturally.
That is why I am waiting on popping the question. Really do not want to imagine how it would feel to get turned down on that one. It’s no longer a question of “if” but “when”.
But, like the optimist I somehow am, I see the silver lining here.
This delay gives me time to plot how to do this.
Because after this tweet from A Mom In Real Life, I feel like there may be a challenge here. I have a few bare-bones ideas but nothing remotely concrete. Over the next few months, I am probably going to be asking you all for advice on how to do things. Especially our tech savvy bloggers.
After all, anything worth doing is worth doing right.
*Half the title of this post is directly lifted from the lovely Jeney. Who if you hadn’t congratulated her on her engagement yet, you should. Now.
And finally, summer’s over.
Fall is here and all ready the weather seems to have changed. Gone are the almost unbroken days of sunshine. Gone are the random heat waves that push the thermostat into the high 90′s.
Autumn has always been about changes in my life.
2006: I was starting at UF, hundreds of miles from anyone I had ever met.
2007: I was at the lowest point in my life and would stay there for almost a year. Suicide is passingly contemplated and thankfully never attempted.
2008: I started at UNC-Chapel Hill, slowly regaining my self-worth, and amazed to find that despite my every fear of having kids my girlfriend’s daughter saw me as her “Papa” and that the feeling was increasingly mutual. I have my first internship working with a group of lovably insane 6 year-olds. I also work at a restaurant again for the first time since I was 17. I start a little website.
2009: I rent my first house. I have another teaching internship; this time at a local high school. My time of mild whoring around begins.
And now in 2010, well the biggest change here is something I’ll talk about later this week or next depending on how much free time I have to write about it. It has to do with this.
Time to break out the apple cider and the hot chocolate. Time to break out the pumpkin pie. Time to break out the Halloween decorations. Time to break out the jeans and jackets, the hats and scarves.
Welcome back, Autumn.
You took your sweet time getting here.