Monday, May 23, 2016

Recent Awakenings 5/23/2016

Recent Awakenings is a collection of thoughts, cool items, videos, pictures, etc I've seen recently! I hope you enjoy! Read the last one here.


As a lifetime TMNT fan, I've always admired Usagi Yojimbo from afar. Miyamoto Usagi, the protagonist ronin of the comic book, has appeared in the TMNT universe and I've always thought him to be a tremendous character. I wanted to see what all the hype was about. I hit up my local library (support your libraries, people) and picked up two collections. The art work by Stan Sakai is really incredible and beautiful. You wouldn't think anthropomorphic animals set in Edo period Japan would be so incredible but here we are 212 issues later! The work is heavily inspired by Japanese cinema, especially Kurosawa. The stories include elements of Japanese history and folklore. So not only is it an epic adventure story but also historic. I did martial arts all throughout my childhood and spent a lot of time studying various ways of martial art living. The Samurai have always been extremely intriguing. I've poured over these pages and can't wait to read more. If you haven't, you should as well!


It's baaaaaaack! Mountain Dew Pitch Black made its debut back in 2004 as a limited edition flavor. It has made various appearances over the last 12 years, including a sour incarnation. The latest release began to hit shelves in the last month or so. I snatched some up as soon as I could, a couple bottles here and there. Finally, in a recent trip to the grocery we landed upon cans, which thrilled me. I generally prefer soda out of a can rather than a bottle. Mostly the drink tastes like pure sugar with hints of grape and citrus, but how can you not love this ghoulish beverage? This round is part of a DEWcision vs Baja Blast but I think Pitch Black is the clearly superior drink. My wife disagrees, however. She is the Baja Blast type. I guess I can still love her. A lot of internet people love Pitch Black but none more than my buddy Matt over at dinodrac even before he was dinodrac.

Revisited one of my favorite documentaries last week, Stanley Kubrick's Boxes. This great little doc comes in just over 47 minutes. It is directed by the writer Jon Ronson. Kubrick requested a copy of a radio documentary Ronson directed about the Holocaust. (Kubrick famously wanted to make a Holocaust picture adapted from the book Wartime Lies. The dream was crushed with the release of Schindler's List.) Later, after the director's death, Kubrick's assistant invited him out to his estate. That is when he first saw the boxes. 
Kubrick had over a thousand boxes in his house and in storage sheds across the estate's land. Upon seeing them, he requested that he be able to go through them and study them. For over five years he visited the estate monthly and poured over the boxes. He first wrote an article, Citizen Kubrick, for the Guardian about his adventure studying the boxes' content. In it he tells stories of his findings and interviews he had with people from Stanley Kubrick's life. This is basically what the documentary is as well. It has stories, interviews, and never before seen videos and pictures. 
It is truly a treasure trove if you love the director. One of my favorite stories was about him designing the perfect box and requesting a company make them. He found the measurements for the perfect fitting lid. That truly is a snapshot of the man. He was meticulous and brilliant. You can watch the documentary on vimeo. Even if you aren't a huge fan of the director, I promise it is at least intreresting. I personally love knowing about the process.




Last week I finally got around to watching Aliens, the 1986 James Cameron classic. I wrote about my love for Ellen Ripley here. She is truly the kind of hero I feel like I need. Beyond the heart eyes that overtook me over Ellen Ripley, in general I just thoroughly enjoyed the movie. While the original Alien, directed by one of my favorite directors Ridley Scott, is a master class in isolation and anxiety; Aliens took science fiction action, particularly of the combat variety, and perfected it. Say what you want about James Cameron (I've been reading this incredibly intriguing New Yorker article about him called Man of Extremes) but the man knows how to make iconic cinematic experiences. Maybe even more entertaining for me than the movie itself is three hour documentary that exists about it. As I mentioned above, I love learning about the process of things. Three hours is absurd. Watch it for the tantrum Cameron throws about tea breaks. Coincidentally enough, there is also a section in Kubrick's Boxes where he questions the amount of tea breaks the English crew needs to take as well.



It seems that all of my choices this time is about documentaries... I guess that is just who I am. So here is another! I watched Everything Is Copy, a heartfelt documentary about the amazing writer/director Nora Ephron created by her son Jacob Bernstein. Ephron is quite simply one of the biggest influences on my life as a writer and as a woman. Her work has been sprinkled across the nearly twenty five years I've been alive. Her movies are like the soundtrack to my life. Her books, while less widely known, are unbelievably funny and often poignant. Her life was equal parts wit, tragedy, romance, and wisdom. She began as a groundbreaking reporter in an industry dominated by men. That was only the beginning of her pioneering. She went on to write movies, and then direct them. Everyone who knew her felt like she shook them to their cores. You can feel that in her work. It is almost as if you know the person yourself. My favorite quote came from an interview of her's that was played in the doc: 
"I think people go back and forth in their whole lives. They start out believing in this very pure, simple, stupid way about destiny and how there's one person out there and you're going to meet that person, and then things happen and eventually, finally, after many mistakes that you thought were destiny, you find someone who was your destiny. And you said, 'oh I see. I had to go through all the false destinies to get to the real destiny.'"
The documentary can be watched on HBO and its streaming services. I hope everyone gets a chance to watch it. Grab some tissues for the end though!



Greetings Starfighter! Recently cracked into the sophomore novel from one Mr Ernest Cline. I was waiting for the paperback release and actually pre-ordered it. If you haven't read his first novel, Ready Player One, you are truly missing out. I devoured that book and it quickly became one of my all time favorites. Imagine my happiness when it was announced that Spielberg would be directing the film adaption of Ready Player One. One of my favorite books being adapted by my all time favorite director. Life is good.  I digress... The book is about a high school kid who is an ace pilot in a video game, who is then picked up to fight in a real galactic war by the people in the game. The book starts with a conspiracy theory his father, who died when he was young, had about video games training us for actual combat. A lot of the books elements are similar to the movie the Last Starfighter, which is no problem for me because I adore that movie. It is pretty cheesy but it is worth a viewing if you haven't seen it! I want to live in these worlds. I'll report back once I've finished the book but it could be a bit. My attention is constantly scattered, as you can tell from this cluster fudge of a post!


Finally, some friends and myself decided to get some tattoos this Friday. We didn't wanna do anything big and crazy, just small meaningful minimalist tattoos. My wife got an UFO beaming up a cow because I'm the luckiest woman in the world and she's awesome. My two best friends (who are dating) got a telescope and a wolf constellation. Mine was an easy choice. The Shuttle Program has been an obsession of mine my entire life. It was like living in a science fiction movie, a reusable ship that can fly into space. Excellent. So this little guy was just a small ode to a giant of history, something that was so inspiring to me in my childhood and continues to inspire me to this day. 
"Through you, we feel as giants, once again."— President Ronald Reagan, to the crew of Columbia after their completion of the first shuttle mission, 14 April 1981.
Videos seem to be a trend in this post, so here is a great documentary (narrated by Shatner) about the Shuttle program:



A silly little weekly show StarWars.com is doing debuted two weeks ago called the Star Wars Show. Every Wednesday there is a new episode. This past week's episode, the second episode in the series, featured the band CHVRCHES. I love them. I love Star Wars. Hard to find something better than that!
And that does it for this edition of Recent Awakenings. Catch up on some of the recent posts here at bb-k8.com: Happy Birthday, RENTLet's Get Personal - Mental Health Awareness MonthMay the 4th Be With You ReduxWings of Dreams, and Becoming Ellen Ripley.

As always comments, questions, thoughts, and shenanigans are always welcomed in the comment section or tweet me @kaityballgame.

Until next time... May the Force be with you

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Becoming Ellen Ripley

Okay, I'll admit... I hadn't seen any of the Alien movies until the last three months... Growing up I was a giant scaredy cat. I don't do scary movies. I've only recently forced myself to watch some 'scary' movies, some that many others probably wouldn't consider scary at all. When I was a young kid, we would go on the Great Movie ride at Disney MGM Studios (it'll always be MGM to me) I'd cover my mouth and hold my breath going through the Alien section of the ride. The alien that dropped out of the ceiling, with all of its hissing and clawing, terrified me beyond belief. This continued to scare me far longer than I care to admit, but finally in my late teen years I decided to face the fear. I'd go through the section of the ride, eyes open, slowly desensitizing myself from the fear. I decided to do the same with the Alien franchise.

With time and interests evolving, I found myself staring down the film series. Anyone who is a fan of science fiction and geek culture knows the impact the series has had on this circle of the internet (and entertainment as a whole.) Not only the original, Ridley Scott's Alien, which is a master class in claustrophobia, but also the James Cameron directed action sequel Aliens. I knew I would have to watch them at some point, I wanted to feel the hype. When I finally got around to it, I was blown away at what I almost missed due to fear.

Watching the original film one afternoon was an eye opening experience. Visually, the film is gorgeous. It all revolves around the claustrophobia on the ship Nostromo. The thought process behind being stuck on a ship with an alien species running around and cocooning themselves inside of bodies before bursting out is fairly terrifying. That image sticks with you.
The images are so well known now, particularly the chest bursting. Even so, the movie catches you off guard more times than not. Coming from the Spielberg school of extra-terrestrials, this one was hard for me to take in initially. I had to see the aliens as enemy, instead of the fascination I grew up knewing in movies like E.T. or Close Encounters. Scott made it less hard than I would've thought by creating the atmosphere of fear inherent in this movie. The apparent inspiration from 2001: A Space Odyssey drew me to its imagery.

Beyond the tremendous set and vibe created, the most significant aspect of the series is the character Ellen Ripley. In the first film she is strong but muted in ways. It is about survival above all. Her survival is nearly based on sheer fate. The movie Alien creates a world of new characters to care for: Dallas, Ripley, Lambert, Ash, Kane, and more. At no point, based on plot, are you sure who survives the ordeal. In Aliens, the sequel to Alien directed by James Cameron, she shifts into the kind of hero deserving of admiration. She earns her fate. Ripley has seen some things by this point. Her crew has been wiped out by an alien species. While Alien is a lesson in loneliness, Aliens is much the opposite. It is about surviving together. After being in stasis for 57 years, Ripley is now recruited to investigate a disturbance on LV-426 with a crew of Marines. Alien, a classic sci-fi horror thriller, is far from its sequel action horror film counterpart. The tag line "This Time It's War" is as literal as possible. It is no longer a lone battle, it is now mankind vs alien.

What sets Ripley apart in this sequel is her relationship with the young orphaned girl Newt. In the early parts of the film you find out that Ripley's daughter is now dead, after Ripley has been in stasis for 57 years. The obvious trauma of knowing this sets in motion the strong relationship between Ripley and Newt once she finds her on the exomoon. Her parents were killed by the aliens. Newt has been surviving on her own since, an inspiration to Ripley who mentions it to her Marine counterparts later in the movie. She promises to not leave her and that truly drives her more than the general sense of survival in the first movie. This gives her purpose in a future world where she doesn't belong.

Ripley's evolution between the first movie and the second is something to behold. It isn't only about survival or motherly impulses. It is her ability to stay sane after overcoming severe trauma that makes me some a commendable character. In Aliens, while she does do most things herself like the bad ass she is, as time moves forward she finds herself allowing others to carry a load too. Hicks provides a strong male counterpart but there is mutual respect apparent. Ripley's biggest work in character development from start to finish is her ability to work with Bishop, the android. Early in Aliens she sets a barrier between herself and Bishop, this a direct result of the betrayal and pain at the hand of Ash, the science officer android from her time on the Nostromo in Alien. By the end of Aliens they work together to save herself, Hicks, and Newt. In the most gory moment of the movie, the Alien Queen stabs him and rips him apart. The torso portion of the android perseveres long enough to save Newt from being sucked into space with the Alien Queen. "Not bad for a human" he says in his final moments. Their relationship obvious as she places him into stasis in hopes that they can repair him as well.

Throughout all of Aliens I found myself reaching out emotionally to Ripley. It crossed my mind many times that this was the kind of woman I want to be like. She takes her hits and keeps on going. She's confident of her abilities. When she comes out in the exosuit cargo-loader and bitch slaps the Alien Queen around, it doesn't get much cooler than that. You have to cheer as the door opens. “Get away from her, you bitch!”

While I know the franchise moves forward, I think I'll stop here (though I've seen Prometheus but that's a prequel.) Because this Ripley is what I want to be left with. A Ripley that is worthy of letting go of my childhood fear and embracing her strength and composure. If I had tried these movies earlier I think it would've been wasted on me, but as an adult I feel like this was something I needed at this moment in my life.

While the movies may be called Alien(s), it really has very little to do with extra-terrestrials. The first movie is about isolation, fear, and survival. The sequel is a character piece about being knocked down before getting back up. It is about fighting every chance you get, no matter what. That's a life lesson anyone can get behind. Without a doubt, if I could only pick X amount of fictional characters to fight on my side when the shit hits the fan, she is at the top of the list!


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Wings of Dreams

Last Saturday I ventured to a little museum out in Keystone Heights called Wings of Dreams. Their internet presence doesn't look like much but boy, they've got it where it counts. We weren't sure what to expect going into it and were blown out of the water. The up and coming museum is full of great aviation memorabilia, particularly from WWII era. The drawing factor, for me at least, was the extensive private collection of NASA items, particularly from the Shuttle era.

The Space Shuttle program holds a special place in my heart. The reusable low Earth orbital spacecraft was a huge inspiration to me and many others, running for thirty years. I have so many fond memories as a child growing up in Florida watching this miraculous invention lift up towards the heavens. It allowed us to transport more astronauts into space and at a far more regular clip than ever before.
 The entire Shuttle is really just a glider, using the external fuel tank and solid rocket boosters to propel it into space and gliding back down when the mission is over. After landing, it was then transferred on the top of a Boeing 747 back to Kennedy Space Center. The Shuttle's achievements are endless, the crowning achievements being the transportation and launch of the Hubble Space Telescope and the construction and servicing of the International Space Station.

Despite the Shuttle's 135 missions and immense success, it wasn't without its fair share of failures. Two of the five orbiters were lost in tragic accidents, killing a total of fourteen astronauts. As with many tragic events, within NASA and history as a whole, we learned and moved on. Because if we aren't moving forward then we are doing nothing at all. These heroes ventured higher, well aware of the risks at hand. I think Isaac Asimov said it best, "All of a sudden, space isn't friendly. All of a sudden, it's a place where people can die… Many more people are going to die. But we can't explore space if the requirement is that there be no casualties; we can't do anything if the requirement is that there be no casualties."

When the government shut down the Shuttle program NASA began to award various museums with artifacts from the program. Wings of Dreams is home to 40+ such artifacts. Among the coolest pieces we saw: the Shuttle simulator, under water Hubble training mock up, an external fuel tank, original model of the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building), Crew Transporter Vehicle, and much much more.

Our trip to Wings of Dreams was educational and fun. There was a brief breakfast before the founder/director, accomplished pilot Bob Oehl, of the museum gave us a tour of the facilities. His father worked on the Lunar Module for Apollo 13! It doesn't get much cooler than that. He showed us a picture of his father with Gene Kranz, the vest himself! They're currently working to build funding to create the museum all in one area, for now it is spread across the Keystone Heights Airport.

Click to enlarge,
Signed by all the STS astronauts
Beyond the epicness of what we saw, it was truly great for me because of the pleasure of sharing it with good friends. I have a tendency to get a little intense about things, the space program being something I've obsessed about my entire life. It is nice to have people who endlessly support my passions! One of great friend's seven year old daughter was with us and to see her take in these things with my NASA hat on her head, like I did at KSC as a young kid with my parents, was like passing the torch onto a new generation. I got a chance to do that with my nephew Luke last year, you can read a little bit about that trip here. The only way to continue the final frontier is to encourage the ones that come after us to feel that passion too.

All in all, it was a fantastic trip and I recommend everyone in Florida or passing through to take a trip out to Wings of Dreams! There is a star gazing event Saturday night, come on out.

As always, leave me words in the comment section below or tweet me @kaityballgame.https://twitter.com/kaityballgame


Click and enlarge to see little old me!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

May the Fourth Be With You Redux

Yesterday was awesome. Many cynics don't enjoy "Star Wars Day" but I always do. I never need an excuse to celebrate the saga, pretty much every day of my life is Star Wars day! (Including my wedding day.) That being said, I do like the idea of a day everyone can acknowledge this one of a kind franchise. Not to mention the sales are dope!

Now it is Revenge of the Fifth, (sorry, I had to) normal people go back to their ordinary lives while us crazies continue to obsess over a galaxy far, far away. I'll take a look back at yesterday and the way I celebrated!



I had been trying to figure out how I wanted to get all the movies in. Wife had planned a mini Star Wars viewing party starting around 7pm. So my choices were pretty slim with there only being so many hours in the day. Instead of getting up at 5am, I started Episode I at midnight, then went to bed, and began again at 7am. It was worth it. Outfitted in a Star Wars shirt, Star Wars sweatpants, and a Star Wars hat, I decked myself out. (I could've done socks but I'm not a big socks person. I could've done a scarf but it is Florida and hot.) Working through all of them was a blast, as always. It wasn't quite as fun and memorable as when I did the marathon in theaters in the 18 hours leading up to the Force Awakens (read about that epic experience here.) I did episodic number order, 1-2-3-4-5-6. Saw an interesting suggestion online that said 4-5-1-2-3-6-7 was the way they watch, that it really makes things emotionally heavy and suspenseful. May have to give that a try some time! I'd love to do that with someone who has never seen them before, but those people are hard to find for the most part. Anyway, I rolled through them and was finished just after 6pm.

On twitter I shared various thoughts on the movies. Everything from how Anakin makes me sad because he's so insecure that he falls into Palpatine's trap, to Padme being underrated (blog to come about that eventually), and how perfect Ewan McGregor did as a young Obi-Wan. Most of my tweets were early morning during the prequels because as the afternoon went on, more and more news began to circulate! More on that later though...


Finally, our mini Star Wars viewing party! We hooked up Sphero BB-8 and gave the "watch with me" feature a try. It was cute listening to him whistle and beep in reaction to the Force Awakens. The cute sounds he made when Poe would come on the screen made my heart jump. My family was really entertained by him. We had a little fun with our food on the Admiral Snackbar. Chocolate pretzel lightsabers, Jar Jar Links in a blanket, Han Rolos, Poe's Pizza, Boba-Q chips, Han Solo in Jello Carbonite, Chewie's Chicken, Leia's Buns, and Blue 'Milk' punch. Granted, the 'party' was basically just my family because I don't really have a ton of friends because I don't particularly like people. Those people are the only ones I want to spend such a great holiday with anyway. The night was a success!

 

As for the announcements during the day...


Most importantly, STAR WARS CELEBRATION 2017 IS GOING TO BE IN ORLANDO! I've never been to Celebration, it has been my dream for quite awhile to attend. Now that it is in my home state, that dream will become a reality. When the news broke I was shaking I was so excited! While it is still 346 days away, I couldn't be more pumped! Not too often that you get to go to an event where the people surrounding you feel as passionate as you do. Hyped watching some videos from last year!

Other announcements couldn't hold a candle to SWC but there were announcements of  some cool products being released.

Funko announced a new wave of Star Wars pops; highlighted by Episode VII Luke, Maz, and others. My favorite being Rey with the old sandy X-Wing helmet like during one of my favorite scenes in TFA.

Wife and I preordered some silly but amazing Star Wars Geeki Tiki from Think Geek. These things look freaking fantastic. This will go great with our growing collection of kitchen Star Wars items. I played it pretty easy on sales. I wanted the White Prototype Boba Fett Elite from the Disney Store but it sold out. The crown jewel of the day is the Finn jacket by Her Universe. I cannot wait for this to come in!

Alas, the day had to come to an end. I'll continue to live every day like it is Star Wars day until the next one when others join me. It was fun and let's do it all again next year. Thanks to all who joined in on the discussion on twitter. Let me know about your Star Wars Day in the comments or on twitter @kaityballgame!

As as always... May the Force be with you!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Let's Get Personal - Mental Health Awareness Month

It is May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month. While I typically keep posts on bb-k8.com lighthearted, this is something I wanted to bring up. I've had my fair share of ups and downs in the nearly 25 years I've lived and it isn't something I typically care to talk about. But no one should feel alone because this inflicts so many people. So here is what I have to say about it...

On my best day, I'm the king of the world. I'm witty, intelligent, and loving. I feel like I can do anything. On my worst day, I'm nothing. I'm invisible and useless. These are two sides on the same coin. Maybe it isn't always apparent, I'd like to think I hide it well. But for about thirteen years now I've dealt with mental health issues. I used to be ashamed, in middle school I'd cry and beg to stay home. And in high school I'd do anything to keep it hidden. It isn't that simple though. I've been through different therapy, different medication, and multiple diagnosis. When I'm manic, I'm on fire. I write, obsess, ramble, barely sleep, and talk a mile a minute. When I'm depressed, I melt inward. I'm combative, emotional, and I get very little accomplished.

The most important point to make, however, is about the time in between. I'm not always one or the other. Some times I'm just me, that can be the hardest part. The gray between the black and white. I internalize all of this pain. I marinate in anxiety. My mind can't stay on one thing. Most people seem to only acknowledge mental illness when the worst possible outcome comes to light, but it is more than that. It is your whole life. You're painfully aware that any moment the other shoe can drop and you'll be on the other side of the high or low. It is fear. I feel like I don't know how to make friends, or if I do then I'm going to drive them away. I don't want to bother people with my problems because, frankly, they don't even make sense to me most of the time. That is the kind of thing that drives someone inward. While most people may see me as lighthearted, I find that most that get to know me find me to be fairly serious. I think that has a lot to do with trying to balance what rages inside of me.

David Foster Wallace, one of my very favorite writers, hanged himself in 2008 at the age of 46. He struggled with depression for more than twenty years. He wrote about depression ad nauseam. When I feel down I often refer to his work as a buffer, to let me know I'm not alone. This excerpt from his short story The Planet Trillaphon (read the whole thing here, trust me) speaks words about depression, which he refers to as the Bad Thing, I couldn't have put together myself:
“Because the Bad Thing not only attacks you and makes you feel bad and puts you out of commission, it especially attacks and makes you feel bad and puts out of commission precisely those things that are necessary in order for you to fight the Bad Thing, to maybe get better, to stay alive. This is hard to understand but it’s really true. Imagine a really painful disease that, say, attacked your legs and your throat and resulted in a really bad pain and paralysis and all·around agony in these areas. The disease would be bad enough, obviously, but the disease would also be open·ended; you wouldn’t be able to do anything about it. Your legs would be all paralyzed and would hurt like hell … but you wouldn’t be able to run for help for those poor legs, just exactly because your legs would be too sick for you to run anywhere at all. Your throat would burn like crazy and you’d think it was just going to explode … but you wouldn’t be able to call out to any doctors or anyone for help, precisely because your throat would be too sick for you to do so. This is the way the Bad Thing works: it’s especially good at attacking your defense mechanisms. The way to fight against or get away from the Bad Thing is clearly just to think differently, to reason and argue with yourself. Just to change the way you’re perceiving and sensing and processing stuff. But you need your mind to do this, your brain cells with their atoms and your mental powers and all that, your self. And that’s exactly what the Bad Thing has made too sick to work right. That’s exactly what it has made sick. It’s made you sick in just such a way that you can’t get better. And you start thinking about this pretty vicious situation, and you say to yourself, ‘Boy oh boy, how the heck is the Bad Thing able to do this?’ You think about it – really hard, since it’s in your best interests to do so – and then all of a sudden it sort of dawns on you… that the Bad Thing is able to do this to you because you’re the Bad Thing yourself! The Bad Thing is you. Nothing else: no bacteriological infection or having gotten conked on the head with a board or a mallet when you were a little kid, or any other excuse; you are the sickness yourself. It is what ‘defines’ you. You realize all this, here. And that, I guess, is when if you’re all glib you realize that there is no surface to the water, or when you bonk your nose on the jar’s glass and realize you’re trapped, or when you look at the black hole and it’s wearing your face.”

I've heard people say "well what do they have to be depressed about?" or "are you fighting with your (significant other)?" But that is not looking at the big picture. Mental Illness doesn't just stem from abuse or trauma or hardships, etc. It can, it does. But a lot of it is completely out of nowhere. I'm blessed to have a loving wife, an amazing family, and incredible friends. The best support system possible. This doesn't stop me from struggling, it never has and it never will. While the people around  you can make a difference, they cannot change the chemical imbalances in a body and mind.

I'd like to think that after years of mania, depression, self harm, and other battles, that I'm finally at a pretty good place. I try to respect myself. I try to not punch walls, or yell, or cry so hard I make myself sick. I avoid big crowds. I try to center myself, even referring to the Jedi Code as something to keep in mind. Everyone has their own way of coping. I obsess over things, which is mostly out of my control, but it keeps me preoccupied. I hope that if you struggle then you find something that suits you. My mantra is "what's next?" Because while many people preach about living in the moment, sometimes it is impossible to make it through a day. So I look to tomorrow and each day after that. I may not control my OCD, and all of the prickly things that come with it, but it doesn't control me either. I can't ask for more than that.

If anyone needs to someone to talk to, drop me a line. You're never alone, despite how it feels. We're all in this together.

You can reach me in the comments or tweet/message me on twitter @kaityballgame. To learn more about Mental Health Awareness month go to the NAMI website!