It’s Okay to be Enthusiastic

​… Because nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff… Nerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-can’t-control-yourself love it. When people call people nerds, mostly what they’re saying is ‘you like stuff.’ Which is just not a good insult at all. Like, ‘you are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness’

– John Green

“You don’t get out much, do you?”

I’ve had that question directed at me quite a few times before. Not so much in recent years as in years past, but I still get strange looks that ask the same thing sometimes. 

You see, I am a very enthusiastic individual. I get really, really excited about the things that I love. Yeah sure, others do too, but not like I do. I jump up and down and clap and squeal like a little girl, which is one of the only really childish parts of me that I’ve retained from childhood. 

I didn’t exactly grow up “sheltered”. Due to mine and my brother’s health problems, of course, we required more sheltering than most kids, but we were not sheltered. We knew what the world had to offer, we just didn’t have the means or the health to access it. 

After joining the Young Single Adults branch and getting a job, I got to do a lot of things that I almost never got to do much growing up, such as watch movies in the theater, or go hiking on an occasion that’s not Girls’ Camp. And even when I go to a completely new place, I look with wide eyes at everything and investigate with a child-like wonder.

Recently I went to Thunder Over Louisville to witness a fantastic airshow and the biggest fireworks show in the nation. This is my third year going, but it’s still as exciting as ever. Last night I got all squealy excited when I realized I’d be closer to the fireworks than ever before, when I realized I’d be able to watch the fireworks shoot off from the barge, and when they did the traditional spark curtain on the bridge. I was clapping and squealing and had the biggest smile on my face.

And the people around me looked at me funny and laughed nervously.

But what bugged me the most was when people started leaving before the show was over, in order to “beat the traffic.”

So what did they pay fifteen dollars for? To sit on the grass watching airplanes for four hours? For overpriced fast food? 

The fireworks show was what everybody came for. It was the climax of the night, the kickoff of the Kentucky Derby celebrations!

And they were leaving.

Well I for one didn’t pay fifteen dollars to beat the traffic. If the traffic wasn’t worth watching the whole show with rapt attention, I wouldn’t have come. Those dissenters missed a fantastic finale that rattled your bones and shook the earth beneath your feet, lighting up the sky like the sun. Was it worth it? Absolutely. I walked three miles to the waterfront, shivered in 40 degree weather for five hours, and walked three miles back in the dark. In the end I was exhausted, sore, and cold, but every second was worth it.

Perhaps an even better example of my point is what I’ve observed when going to an amusement park. I’m surrounded by hundreds of people who have traveled far and paid well for the opportunity to ride thrill rides, and yet I’m the only one besides children who is giddy and excited as I get strapped in to my seat. During the ride, I’m usually the loudest screamer, and when the ride ends I’m grinning from ear to ear and probably still cheering.

And everyone else? A smile or two, maybe a funny look directed my way, and then they move on, as if they had just done something mundane like grocery shopping.

If this is what “getting out much” looks like, I think I’ll stay under the rock everyone thinks I live under.

So maybe next time you look at someone and think about saying “you don’t get out much, do you?” Think twice. Stop taking for granted the wonders of life that should bring you joy. I don’t envy those who can leave a fireworks show early to beat the traffic. I don’t envy those who can ride a roller coaster with a straight face. 

The next time someone tells me I don’t get out much, perhaps I’ll reply with “well obviously you get out too much.”

Never do something half-way. You either do it, or you don’t. No beating the traffic, no wasting money on day passes at King’s Island if you can’t crack a smile or strain your vocal cords. 

It’s okay to be enthusiastic. Spread the word.

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I Am a Dragon

Here’s a poem I wrote back in February. Enjoy!

I am a dragon

Crouching in the cave, in the woods, on the mountain

Possessor and possessive

The treasures you lost and I found, they weren’t yours to give

I hide away and yet

A glint of gold, a hint of jewels, a daring bet

Will I let you see?

How close can you get before I bite, snap, make you flee
Beauty is a precious thing

I want it all as mine before I feel death’s sting

And yet I also want to share

I want you to appreciate what I see and why I care 
I am awake yet tired

My museum is forbidden yet attendance is required

Suspicious of the thief

Beware, for as I bare my soul, so also do I bare my teeth

It’s hard sometimes to share with the world what is most precious to you. That’s the idea behind this poem. 

Let me know what you think!

From the Beginning

Above is a picture I took the other day of some beautiful mammatus clouds in the sunset, after a rocky day of supercell storms roaring through Kentucky.

I don’t remember when I first learned what a storm was, or what a tornado was. I don’t remember what I thought when I experienced a thunderstorm for the first time. 

I don’t remember, because I was too young.

For as far back as my memory reaches, I have always had a passion for storms, tornadoes in particular. When I was little, my first imaginary friends were even tornadoes. Black tornadoes were “good”, and white tornadoes were “bad”, in my young mind. Growing up, I would sit and watch the lightning for hours and listen to the thunder.

It is no different now. 

As far as I understand it, most people seem to be soothed by the sound of thunder and rain. It lulls them to sleep. But not me! If I’m awake when a thunderstorm comes through, I will easily stay up all night to watch it and listen to it. The sound of thunder is almost musical to me, and the rumbling seems to shake not only my ears and my bones but the very soul of my being.

There’s just something… Exciting about it. It awakens me, it thrills me, and it draws me out to it.

And tornadoes? Multiply the above feeling by 9,372,472. Something about the sight of them makes me jump up and down a squeal like a little girl who got a new doll for Christmas, grinning from ear to ear. What is it about them? Is it their shape? Their movement? Their monstrous size that at once demands terror and awe? Many people appreciate these things, but they’re something different for me. I couldn’t tell you what that is. Even I don’t know. But it is obviously something that has gripped me forever and was the first and perhaps deepest of my many passions. Even my love for horses doesn’t reach back as far as my love for tornadoes.

It has been my lifelong dream to be a storm chaser. To actually go out and hunt down the twisters for at least the privilege of being in the presence of such a powerful event. They are often called the “fingers of God”, and for good reason. They can be as ruthless and violent as justice itself in some ways, but in others seem almost to show mercy to those caught in their path. They are mysterious and breathtaking, and science still hasn’t quite figured them out yet. Perhaps it never will.

But one of these days, I’m going to be out on the Plains, in the heart of Tornado Alley, jumping up and down and squealing like a little girl on Christmas and grinning from ear to ear while I watch an almost harmless looking column of water-vapor wreak havoc upon everything in its path. And of course I’ll be snapping pictures and taking video, which is another one of my hobbies that fits very well with storm chasing. Whereas hunters of other things bring back the antlers, the fur, or the body of their catch as a trophy, all a storm chaser can bring is a picture or a video, and sometimes just the excitement and memory of the experience. One can’t exactly hang a trophy tornado up on the wall, though that would be awesome. (Get working on that, will you, science?)

Seeing as it’s spring now, I hope to post a reminder of storm and tornado safety in the coming days. Because as much as I love tornadoes, it pains me deeply when a tragedy occurs that could easily have been avoided by a little knowledge. I have made it my mission to bring awareness and safety to as many people as I possibly can. I can’t chase the storms away from my fellow humans, but I can warn ahead of the danger. 

God’s earth is a wonderful thing, and I’ll give credit to nothing and no one else.

Challenge Accepted

I saw a writing prompt on the internet recently that read something like this: “Every now and then, dreamcatchers must be emptied of the nightmares they’ve caught. Who does it, and what do they see?”

I thought this was very interesting and decided to write a scene based on the concept. Here it is. I call it “The Dremptier”, which is a bad pun of “Dream Emptier”. Anyway, enjoy!

“Every now and then, dreamcatchers must be emptied of the nightmares they’ve caught. Who does it, and what do they see?”
The child shivers in her sleep.

She is in her bed, in her room, covered with her favorite blanket and cuddling her favorite stuffed animal. She is safe and warm.

And yet she shivers.

An old dreamcatcher hangs above her head, slightly tattered, a little faded, and worn from years of catching the nightmares of those it’s guarded. It hangs heavy, dragged down by the horrors it contains. Despite this, it still shimmers faintly with the old magic that only those of my kind can see. 

The child whimpers, a sweet, heart wrenching sound filled with innocence and fear. I hurry to the side of her bed and begin my work. 

Gently I lift the dreamcatcher from the hook it hangs on, carefully moving it away so that fragmented nightmares don’t fall out into her already troubled mind. 

I examine it closely. Hidden underneath the glow of magic are creeping shadows and creatures of darkness, crawling and writhing in the net. One by one I pluck them off and crush them beneath my ghostly fingers, sending them back to the void they came from. It is not a permanent fix: the nightmares will inch back overtime, but it is still helpful. Besides, it wouldn’t be fair to nature if the Dremptiers such as I were undestroyable but the shadows were. 

Out of curiosity, I observe the forms this child’s nightmares take as I remove them from the web, wondering what her fears are. I see the usual ones for such a young thing; spiders, heights, dogs, lightning… But I also see hunger, tall men with gruff voices, and images of her mother lying sick in bed. This one has had a troubled life already.

I myself was a child her age, years and years ago, before Typhoid Fever took my life. In death I chose the angel’s task of emptying mortals’ dreamcatchers when they became too full over the chance to be a guardian or a messenger. At first it was a dreadful task, but I soon learned to find joy in bringing restful sleep to those in need of it.

I make a mental note to ask her guardians what they can do to help her sick mother and soften the heart of her cold father.

She trembles, almost crying in her sleep. Fortunately, I’m almost done cleansing her dreamcatcher. I remove the last spider and rehook a broken part of the net, straightening a crooked feather, shaking the dust off, and hanging it back above her head. For comfort, I place a miniature daisy from my old childhood dreams into the net. It glimmers for a moment and then disappears. 

Instantly, the shadows that were tormenting her are sucked into the web and replaced by my daisy. The child calms, breathing deep, and then a smile crosses her sleeping face and she finally drifts more deeply into her rest. I observe her for a moment, temporarily nostalgic for the life that was taken from me, but then I lean over and plant a kiss on her head that she’ll never feel, reminding myself that recompense will come.

My soul finds rest in this.

Feel free to let me know what you think of it! I’ve really been working on my writing ability and I finally feel like I’m making some progress. I’m actually working on a Skyrim fanfic right now and hope to upload it soon. Or, whenever it’s finished.

Well, I’ve Finally Done it.

So, I caved to the suggestions of friends, family, and my explorer’s heart, and created a blog. I’ve always considered myself to be a thinker and philosopher, but I’m never sure if anyone is actually interested in what I have to say, which, to be honest, is quite a lot when it’s a subject I’m interested in.

I guess we shall see, won’t we?

I won’t pretend that I’ll post on a regular schedule, or promise what I’ll write about. But I will post when I can. 

The anchor’s up and the sails are deployed, so stay tuned.