Quit the bullshit.

I think one of the most interesting things that has happened to me as I’ve gotten older is my shift in perception. I feel like I view everything so differently than I used to. And yes, obviously some of that is just typical growing up and forming your own opinions, but it’s also a product of the things that happen to you. Nobody makes it to twenty-five without something that changed them. Mine is obvious, it’s something I’ve written countless pieces about and still makes me look at the world a little differently: my war with mental illness. I’m still getting used to living in the sunshine that only exists in a mentality that doesn’t suffer from clinical depression.

One thing that tagged along with my depression was some severe body image issues.  This has been something that’s affected me for a long time, and part of that is being female, and the other part is being a perfectionist who always wants to be the best.  Newsflash: perfect doesn’t exist.

If you’ve known me for longer than about three years, you would know that I gained some weight. Sixty pounds over the course of a year, to be exact. There are reasons this happened, but none of them matter for the purpose of what I want to talk about, or really at all. People gain weight, shit happens.  I had personally never weighed that much, and it freaked me the fuck out.  I went into denial about my weight.  I avoided scales, mirrors, and fitted clothes.  I was so ashamed that I had gained so much, and I truly began to hate my body.  This also lined up with the time that I swore off men, which shouldn’t be a shocker: I was terrified of being naked in front of someone.

I didn’t really start to lose the weight until I got to a much healthier mental state.  It took a while, and that weight lingered and some came off just naturally.  I transferred to a school with a big ass campus that made me walk exponentially more than I was used to walking, and I lost some of the weight just by walking to class.

Eventually I got to a place where I accepted myself. I let go of the demons of my past and I began to let myself start over.  I’ve lost 40 pounds since then. This isn’t really about my *transformation,* it’s just hard to get to my point without giving some background.

I bought shorts last week for the first time in… six years?

I’m not even kidding.  The funny thing is that at one point during those six years where I was refusing to wear shorts, I was the thinnest I have ever been in my life.  Not healthy whatsoever, but thin as fuck.  I remember thinking I looked so fabulous and sexy, and I look back on full body photos of myself from being unhealthily thin, and I am lanky as fuck.  The thing is, I’m not really tall enough to ever be lanky, but that’s just how thin I was.

I’ve gotten to this point where I’m so happy with myself and with my life and what is going on right now that somehow, I have managed to love my body.  It took me twenty-five years, but I did it. I’m not sure I’ve ever been authentically myself until recently, and it’s so liberating and refreshing.

I still want to be stronger.  I want to be able to run farther without stopping and be able to lift higher weights and throw harder punches. But I’m so sick of being hot in the summer from wearing jeans when everyone else is in shorts.  I’m sick of comparing my body, my athletic af, 5’9″ frame that has, what I like to call, linebacker shoulders, to the bodies of my 5’0″ friends who barely hit 110 pounds.  You know when the last time I weighed 110 was? 5th grade.

I was hardcore bullied throughout school for being so pale that I blinded people.  I’m a natural redhead, ya’ll. I’m really white. I get it. But I should still be allowed to wear shorts during a midwestern summer.  I manage to get a little tan, but I never try too hard because it usually comes after burning a few times.  So I didn’t wear shorts because I was too white, and then I didn’t wear shorts because I thought I had thunder thighs. No matter the reason, I was still sweating my ass off during summer.

It’s just bullshit.

I’ve been writing some poetry-esque stuff on my tumblr, and I wrote this thing the other day that I really connected with as it poured out of me.  It was basically about giving up bullshit, and I realized that THAT was the difference between the new and the old me.

I’m over it. All of it.

I’m a very blunt, sarcastic person who likes to poke holes in people’s logic and is a boss at Zelda and tbh, like most people, I’m really fucking weird.  Because that’s what makes us unique as individuals.  I dance, a lot.  I almost always have music playing and I’m always dancing.  I have conversations with my dog, and I’m pretty sure she knows what I’m saying.

Around March or so, maybe early April? I stopped hiding.  I started talking to people who I felt like I had something in common with. I started being more honest about who I am.  I started really getting into my workouts and appreciating the things my body is capable of.  I started loving myself unapologetically.

Fun fact: there was a point in time where I regretted my tattoos because I wasn’t sure that I could actually pull them off, and I felt like I looked stupid.  MY TATTOOS.  You know, the things that I got to mark significant events in my life and things about myself and who I am.  The fact that I have tattoos means I can pull them off.  Plain and simple.

Embrace who you are. Love your body, whether you’ve lost weight or you still want to. This isn’t about some transformation where I now love my body.  That transformation happened because I started to accept myself. Wear what you want, what makes you feel sexy, what makes you feel good. For me, that typically means wearing vans when everyone around me is wearing heels.  It doesn’t make me less feminine or beautiful. It just makes me, well, me.

Love yourself and the world will follow.  You don’t have to have it all perfectly together and know exactly what you’re doing. Embrace the unknown.  Figuring out what happens next is the fun part, because it can be whatever the fuck you want.

I thought I was out of vices to quit, turns out I had one left: bullshit.

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Thank You.

Today I finished my capstone paper.  I also submitted my final assignments for my theatre class. I have an exam tomorrow, and one next Monday, along with my final performance of my monologue from Gruesome Playground Injuries for my theatre final, and then, I am done.

So it’s just exams. Exams that I feel very good about. I feel finished. I know I’m not quite there yet, but that ridiculously long list of things I needed to get done is finally complete.

When I submitted my final assignment for my theatre class, the last actual homework assignment I needed to do, it finally hit me.  I’m actually graduating.

I understand graduating college is expected for a lot of people, and to some it’s not even that big of a deal.  That’s how I felt about graduating high school.  It wasn’t anything to be proud of.

That’s not how I feel right now, I feel like I truly accomplished something.

Spring semester of my sophomore year of college I attempted suicide. I fought all of my doctors and family members to stay and finish that semester because somehow, I didn’t want to admit that I had a problem, despite the fact that I had just tried to kill myself. The following fall, I took a medical leave of absence because not only was I not getting better, I was getting worse. Mental illness is a bitch, and Borderline Personality Disorder is the most tormenting, psychotic rollercoaster ride I have ever experienced.  I spiraled out of control for a solid two years before I finally got fed up and started the long climb up from rock bottom. Even when I started recovering, I wasn’t sure I would ever go back to school.  I wasn’t sure I could do it, I didn’t think I was mentally strong enough to get through it.

Well, here I am.

I had to transfer schools to get a fresh start, but I’m really glad I did.

I’ve met some amazing people here.  I’ve had incredible professors.  I’ve learned so much.

So, thank you, Mizzou.  For giving me a place to start over, and welcoming me with open arms.

Thank you to those who knew me before, during, and after all of the above mentioned shitshow, and still choose to call me a friend. I love you more than you’ll ever know.

Thank you to those who have assured me over and over that my past does not define my present or my future.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I am so grateful to be alive.

If you told me five years ago that not only would I be graduating college, but that I would also truly be happy,  I would have said you were just as crazy as me.

But here I am.  My life isn’t perfect, and I still struggle. Anxiety is a bitch. But I fought my own mind for multiple years and eventually relearned how to think and process social situations.  I don’t identify with BPD because I don’t meet the criteria anymore.  That’s incredible to me.  I honestly thought I would feel psychotic forever.

I’m still kind of in tears over this.  I feel so triumphant.  It took me awhile to get here, but god damn, I did it, and I’m a better, stronger person for it.

So fuck you, mental illness. You can’t stop this girl.

 

Vulnerable.

We have a tendency to overthink EVERYTHING.  Society has us all brainwashed that we need to act a certain way in order to not be weird or different.  I’m slowly getting to this point in my life where I just don’t care anymore. We’re all so critical and calculated when it comes to new people.  There’s all of these stupid fucking “rules.”

Don’t text too often.

Don’t be too forward.

Don’t be too much.

Don’t be too honest.

It’s all bullshit.  We’re all too busy playing these games that we’re not actually being authentic to ourselves, and we wonder why we wind up in relationships with the wrong kinds of people.  How are you supposed to meet someone you really click with if you’re not being your 100% true, transparent, weird, and wonderful self?

We’re all too damn scared. Of everything. And it’s ridiculous because we’re missing out on so much every single day because we have to be this calculated version of ourselves that isn’t too much and isn’t too boring and isn’t too weird.

We’re not as in control as we think we are.  No matter what our plans are, we have absolutely no idea when we’re done. We don’t know when we’re going to die. It could be decades from now or it could be tomorrow. Kinda morbid, but it’s true.

A couple of years ago, I built up my walls. I had my friends, but I was afraid to let new people in because I was so fucking terrified of falling apart again.  It’s still a fear of mine that I have, but I can’t keep hiding from the world because I’m afraid.  I want to live my life and meet new people.  My anxiety is hard to deal with sometimes, but I’m learning and I’m pushing myself out of my comfort zone.  It’s worth it.

I forgot how exhilarating feeling vulnerable is.  It’s terrifying to put yourself out there, with the possibility of rejection, but it’s also so fucking exciting.

So send the damn text. Ask them out. Say hello. Introduce yourself. Tell that person that annoys the crap out of you to fuck off. Tell someone you think they’re amazing or interesting or cool.

Just be real. What’s the worst that could happen?

Spheres.

I’m always trying to find new ways of looking at things.  More often than not, I’m the one in conversations to suggest a new viewpoint that the others hadn’t thought of. So many people want to look at things in two dimensions. There’s one side, and there’s the other. But what if there’s a whole other dimension to it? What if, instead of the situation being circular, it’s spherical?

This all comes from a conversation I had yesterday that I have not been able to get out of my mind (if you’re reading this, thanks, N), because someone that I haven’t even known for that long made me realize why I think differently than so many people that I know.  I don’t think they meant to do that, but the more I thought about the question, the more it made sense.  And I’m not even sure if I’ll be able to explain this well, so if you’re thoroughly confused, I apologize. This also isn’t exactly what we were talking about, but it inspired it, so oh well.

I think a lot of people assume I chose psychology because I wanted to help people going through what I went through, but it’s actually way more selfish than that.  I wanted answers.  I needed answers, desperately.  I needed to know what the hell happened to me, because it didn’t make sense. I had a semi-normal life, and then it all just spiraled out of control and I truly felt like I was going insane.  So when I chose psych, I was determined to find closure through knowledge. I read every chapter in every textbook and read countless research studies.  I asked my professors oddly vague questions in an attempt to get answers without tipping them off that I was once diagnosed with the disorder.  I learned a lot.

However, while I did find answers and theories that applied to myself and my life, I also gained knowledge that allowed me to understand others.  It’s not that I shrink people unintentionally, but I care more about their perspective and their experience.  I try to understand where they are coming from with their actions and behaviors.  There’s what they are doing (x) and who they are doing it to (y) but there’s also why they are doing it (z).  The why is the third dimension.

It’s weird for me to be so non-judgmental when once upon a time I was the Queen of Judgment.  When you start looking at all the aspects of someone’s behavior, it’s really hard to take it personally.  And let’s be real, not taking things personally just makes life a hell of a lot easier.

Being able to examine situations from someone else’s point of view is the final development stage, and apparently like almost half of the population never reaches that point, so maybe that’s why our world is currently the way it is.  Everything is too circular. We need more spheres.

 

Transparency.

So, I’m writing again. Which is interesting, because for the past year I haven’t really had any inspiration to write anything.  Yet here I am, back to my normal soap box about mental illness with my 13 Reasons Why post, and over on my tumblr I’m writing poetry because I met someone who inspires me quite a bit.  Which is weird.  I’m in a new place that I haven’t ever been before, and I’m going to write my way through it.

If you missed my twitter rant about my current mental health, let me recap: I’ve been slowly losing my mind with the last month of school.  My anxiety has been the highest it has ever been, and my mind has been spinning stories of failing to finish online classes and the internet crashing for a week, and I started losing sleep, a lot of sleep.  I maybe got 2 hours a night for about 12 nights.  It was rough.  The day after that 12th night of horrible sleep, I had to hand in a draft of my capstone paper, and present/lead a discussion on one of my sources.  My stomach was in knots, because as you all should know, I have horrible social anxiety and I hate standing up in front of people and talking.  Somehow, I managed to not only stand up there and talk about this research study, but I was able to do it well.  Really well.  I’ve sat through everyone else in the class giving these presentations.  You can always tell who really understands their study and who doesn’t.  You can also tell who is really into what they’re talking about and who isn’t.   Well, I knew my study really well, and my topic is one that I’m super passionate about: the positive effects of gaming.  The class got to the point where they started asking me general questions about gaming and what else my paper covers, instead of just discussing the one source I was presenting on.  I don’t think I’ve ever been that sleep deprived in my entire life, but I still managed to absolutely rock that presentation.  And, not to toot my own horn, but I got a 100% on that presentation. toot toot.

I’m still medicated.  Klonopin.  I get to add a new drug to the list of everything I’ve ever been prescribed.  Back in the day no doctor dared to give me a benzodiazepine, because of the abuse risk.  So I’m obviously making progress.  And this is just a short term thing to get me through the end of the semester without having a heart attack.  I’m actually a big fan of this low dose. It doesn’t make me sleepy. I’m just mellow. My stomach isn’t constantly in knots and I can actually think coherently because I’m not trying to focus on 1000 different things at once.  If this is how people without anxiety feel all the time, I am insanely jealous of all of you.

Social media is full of people posting their life highlights:

I’m so blessed and honored to announce that I have accepted a position at XYZ company!

I’m just kind of over it.  People struggle. With mental illness, with family, with relationships.  I want to be real.  That’s what this blog started as, and even though I was delusional at the time and writing things that didn’t always hold up to facts, writing here helped me, and I know some of the things I’ve written have helped others as well.

I’m two weeks away from what I’m referring to as THE GREAT UNKNOWN.  I gave my official two weeks at my crappy retail job today because I’ve been there for a year and I just can’t keep doing it.  If it were more fast-paced, I think I could, but being bored for hours on end is just mind numbing to me.

I’ve decided to stay in Columbia.  I was originally thinking about moving to STL and taking this great paying retail job at Neiman Marcus.  I turned it down.  I want more out of my life than that.  I want to do something that actually matters. There’s so much bad shit going on in the world right now and I want to help people in some way.  I want to make an impact.

I’m looking at graduate programs.  I’m not entirely sure where I want to go or what I want to do.  I’m very interested in neuropsych.  The human brain fascinates me to no end.  I know I want to do clinical work, because I’m not a lab rat. I need to connect with people and not just hole up in front of a computer reading data for hours on end. I couldn’t do that.  So I’m applying for clinical jobs, and I’m going to volunteer at various places.  I’m terrified, because there’s no solid plan here, but I’m happy and excited and I feel like for once in my life my past isn’t holding me back anymore.

For a long time I held back because I felt like the world was waiting for me to fail.  It’s so interesting the effect that time and self-reflection has on your perspectives.  I’m so indifferent about people that I once used to loathe.  Things change.  Time really does heal.  And people grow up.

So this is my journey into the great unknown.  I’m graduating college on May 13th, and then I’m just gonna wing it.  What else can you do?

 

Thoughts on 13 Reasons Why.

TW: Discussion of suicide, self-harm, rape, and mental illness.

I also relate a lot of it to my own personal experiences, so if you’re not familiar with my story, you’re about to be.

Aaand, spoiler alert for the show, I guess. Although I’m not sure why you’re reading this if you haven’t watched it yet.

I just finished watching 13 Reasons Why. Well, actually about twenty minutes ago, but it took me ten minutes to lower my heart rate from the brutal break down I had during the suicide scene.  A few days ago, I had firmly decided I wouldn’t touch this show.  I wouldn’t watch it. I didn’t want to wind up hyperventilating while sobbing hysterically during the rape and suicide scenes, like I knew I absolutely would (and I did).  Yet, all I’ve heard and read about lately has been this controversy. There’s a pretty clear split: people either love it or hate it.  I’m one of those people that likes to form my own opinion, especially when it comes to things that everyone is talking about, so I finally took a deep breath and began cautiously watching this show.

I have a lot of things I want to discuss in relation to this show, and I apologize if I go off on rants or tangents.  I’ll try to make my points eventually.

13 Reasons Why makes me so frustrated that I want to scream.  It’s decently close to really nailing what it’s trying to do, but the errors it makes in telling a story about suicide ruin the entire thing, even the good stuff.

As a writer, and someone who appreciates the art of storytelling, I think the mechanism it uses is really interesting.  Not necessarily something new, but still interesting. The tapes. Each episode is a different side of a tape, and through flashbacks and voiceovers, the story is told.  It’s intriguing.  It keeps the audience interested.  Who’s on the next tape? What did they do?

This entire concept is ruined by the fact that each tape is supposedly a reason why Hannah killed herself.  It’s an artistically detailed suicide note blaming those responsible for killing herself and overlooking the real culprit: mental fucking illness.

It’s 2017, so I hate that I have to state this, but mental illness is serious.  It can kill you. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.  Approximately 121 suicides occur every day, with 25 attempts for every success. Think about that. This is real. While other diseases weaken your immune system and wind up killing you with pneumonia or organ failure, mental illness kills you with suicide.  It’s the fucker that gets you to do the dirty work.

There’s a movement to start saying “died by suicide” instead of “committed suicide” because “committed suicide” makes it sound like it was an active, coherent choice.  “Oh, I think I’ll die today.”  People who have never been in that place call it selfish.  Weak.  Inconsiderate to your friends and family.  But until you’ve been stuck at the bottom of the rabbit hole for months or years, don’t try to tell me it’s a choice. It’s the glowing exit sign out of the dark hell your mind has been trapped in.  It’s the warm sense of relief that in just a few minutes, all of your suffering will finally be over.  It’s warped perception, because your mind doesn’t go there until shit is really bad. It’s bullshit. And to this day, I will still scream from the rooftops that it does in fact get better if you just stick around to find out.  Like Hannah, I needed someone to pick up on the fact that I wasn’t okay.  And luckily for me, someone did. That didn’t magically fix my issues, but it bought me a little more time to at least get my head above water.  However, I didn’t attempt to get someone’s attention or to get back at anyone.  It doesn’t work that way.

It’s not a place you get to just because people are shitty to you.  People being shitty to you amplifies already existing issues.  Bullying does not cause suicide.  Bullying can amplify the symptoms of pre-existing mental illness, and in severe cases, that can lead to suicide.  There’s a difference here.

Another massive issue I have: this show basically walks you through a successful suicide step by step with visual aids.  If it’s something a viewer is considering, lo and behold! A perfectly good way to do it.  You can tell the story of suicide without a step-by-step visual.  I have a lot of issues with exploiting trauma for views, and that’s what the suicide and rape scenes felt like to me.  Showing a violent rape doesn’t help the story in any way.  You can get the point of what happened across without fully depicting it.

The suicide scene fucked me up. My attempt was basically the same method, only I didn’t bother with the tub, and I only had enough time to do one arm before someone was banging on my apartment door.  While watching, I was hysterical and seriously considered fast-forwarding through it, but instead I just closed my eyes and tried to not pass out from hyperventilating.  Even though I knew how the scene ended, I kept wishing someone would knock on the door like they had for me.

One thing I really liked about this show is that it showed the aftermath of suicide.  The people left in its wake.  The scenes with Hannah’s mother almost always had me tearing up.  Her daughter is dead.  She’s trying to cope and figure out why.  I feel like Kate Walsh nailed this.  The desperation, the grief, all while trying to hold her life together and barely doing so.  The only unbelievable moment was when she found Hannah’s body, and her first reaction was a very quiet, almost nonchalant, “oh no,” like she left her phone in the car.  After that, the shock built and it became more believable, and I once again lost my shit over imagining my mother finding my body.

Early on, I was so annoyed by Hannah.  Her tone in the first few tapes is superior, like she’s happy to finally get her revenge on these people. But as the show continued to develop, and her condition begins to get more and more unstable, I began to see myself in her.  Which is interesting, because I know a few people that have the opposite opinion: that as she becomes more unstable, they find her more annoying.

As Hannah becomes more unstable, she begins to lash out more. She pushes people away while secretly hoping they’ll run back, and then is disappointed when they don’t.  She screams at Clay and tells him to leave, when she just wants him to understand that she’s been through some serious shit with dudes and has trust issues.  People cut her out because she’s a lot to deal with, and she winds up alone and isolated and contemplating suicide.

I actually overheard someone talking about the show today and they mentioned how crazy she was.  Boy, did that strike a chord with me.

The general public seems to be way more understanding with internalizing disorders, because to some degree, almost everyone has experienced some type of depression or anxiety, and they can easily wrap their head around the concept of, “Okay it’s like that day you were really in a funk but every day for months or years on end.”   People who don’t suffer from Major Depressive Disorder or an anxiety spectrum disorder can sort of understand that and try to empathize.

But as soon as symptoms become external, it’s a completely different situation. People can’t wrap their head around irrational thoughts or saying one thing and meaning the exact opposite. That makes no sense in their minds that are fully capable of rational thought. They don’t understand what it’s like for your mind to jump to conclusions so fast that you wind up with a version of reality that defies all logic. They don’t understand how crippling paranoia can be.  They just see you, yelling about something that doesn’t even make sense.  And all of a sudden, you’re difficult. Or a drama queen. Or overreacting.  Or crazy.  Or psycho. Insane. Too much to handle. The list goes on and on.  For some reason, people don’t want to recognize that those people need help too.

I’m not part of the intended audience. I realize that. Trauma survivors are not the intended audience.  But we still have to watch to see if they’re telling our stories correctly, and when they don’t, we have to call them out.  Because our stories matter.  Our stories help eliminate stigma and assure others who are struggling that they are not alone, and it’s okay to ask for help.  Our stories of rape and suicide and abuse deserve to be told correctly.

So I will end by restating my main point that prompted this giant rant.  The parts that 13 Reasons Why gets right are completely ruined by the overarching theme of the story: that thirteen people caused a girl to take her life.  I’m sorry, but that’s just total bullshit.

If you have thoughts of self-harm, seek professional help or contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If you have experienced sexual assault, call RAINN at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Thoughts on the Nintendo Switch & The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Alright, so I’ve been trying to figure out what platform I wanted to create this review for, since you know, I dabble in all aspects of the interwebs, but I decided that this was probably the best and fastest way to get it done.  YouTube would be good if I had gameplay footage, but I don’t, and the amount of editing that would have to go into using enough screenshots would take way more time than I’m willing to spend not actually playing this game.

So, without further ado, I present to you,

MY THOUGHTS ON THE NINTENDO SWITCH

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            We’re gonna start with the console and just get it out of the way, and then I’ll get to some general thoughts/fangirling over Breath of the Wild.

I preordered the Nintendo Switch, along with Breath of the Wild, about 24 hours after preorders went live.  It took some scrambling, because they went FAST, but I managed to snag the Special Edition bundle of BotW from Best Buy, and the actual console from GameStop.  Then I just had to wait.  They both arrived by UPS on March 3rd (release date) around 5 pm, and I dove head first down the rabbit hole.

The console has potential.  I’m not exactly someone who is big on portable gaming, so that aspect wasn’t a huge selling point for me, and to be completely honest, if Breath of the Wild hadn’t been the launch title, I wouldn’t have preordered.  But it was, so here I am, and my bank account hates me, again.

I played on the tablet for a bit because the Joy-Cons weren’t charged out of the box, but the tablet had a partial charge. When the Joy-Cons are attached to the tablet, they charge, so I did that for a while.  Eventually, the console started warning about low battery, and I switched (lol) to the TV.  After a little bit, the Joy-Cons were almost drained, because they hadn’t fully charged, so I wound up taking a break to make dinner and give my dog some attention. After about 45 minutes, the Joy-Cons were fully charged and I got back to exploring Hyrule.

I did not preorder the pro controller.  I went hunting for one on launch day and failed to find one at Walmart, Target, GameStop, Best Buy, or Toys R Us.  Basically all they had left were some screen protectors and some amiibos.  I managed to find one online at Walmart.com.  It arrived on Monday, March 6th.  So for the entire first weekend, I played with the Joy-Cons attached to the grip that comes with the console.

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I also want to throw out there really quickly, that the charging grip that you can order is completely unnecessary. Once the Joy-Cons are fully charged, reviewers have said that they’re good for 20 hours or so.  To be completely honest, I was logging about 15-18 hours/day (yes, I’m a piece of shit human being) and they weren’t even halfway drained by the time I finally decided my brain needed sleep.

The Joy-Cons are…different.  They are absolutely tiny.  I have decently large hands for a woman, and I felt like I was holding a child’s toy.  The grip does help, but it’s still an awkward setup, with buttons directly above or below the control sticks.  I wish the grip had more depth to the part you hold on to, because towards the end of my gaming sessions, my hands were actually cramping.

I did experience the lagging from the left Joy-Con that other reviewers have mentioned. It wasn’t full disconnection; it was usually just a lag.  Link would continue to run even when I had stopped moving the analog stick for another second or two, and then he would stop.  This was especially annoying on cliffs because he would run right off to his death. It usually occurred when I had made my way into an interesting position on the couch as an attempt to be comfortable despite spending my entire day sitting, or when I had my feet propped up on the coffee table with my legs being physically between the Joy-Cons and the console.  So we’re talking some sort of Bluetooth issue. Not entirely sure why it’s happening, I’m not that big of a tech person to try and speculate and figure it out, I’ll sound like an idiot, but it’s a thing that a lot of people have brought to the attention of Nintendo, and hopefully a patch will fix it.  Maybe hold off on purchasing extra Joy-Con sets for multiplayer games, in case it is a hardware problem.

I feel like the Joy-Cons have potential, and will probably be more relevant for titles being released sometime in the future, but for extensively long gaming sessions of Breath of the Wild, the pro controller is where it’s at.

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My pro controller arrived yesterday.  I played for a few hours after my work shift with it, and all I can say is, BUY IT.  I know it’s a hefty price tag ($70), but like I already said, it’s just so much more comfortable to play with.   I did not experience any lagging/disconnecting/Bluetooth issues with it whatsoever.  Also the layout of it just makes it more convenient to use.

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I have not experienced any blue or orange screens of death. *knocks on wood* Thank god.  I would probably cry.

All in all, I think it’s a cool console.  I’m really looking forward to see what else comes out for it. I’m stoked for Super Mario Odyssey.  I watched an interview with Miyamoto where he mentioned that they were going back to Super Mario 64/Super Mario Sunshine gameplay style for Odyssey, and that makes me so excited because both of those games are bomb.  Also looking forward to a new Smash Bros, Mario Kart, and I even think Mario Party could be really fun on this.

As a lifelong Nintendo fan, it makes me so happy to see them making a comeback.

Now, on to the good shit.

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If you’re a purist and don’t want to hear ANYTHING WHATSOEVER about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, turn back now!  I’m not going to disclose any main quest plot spoilers, but I am going to talk about some of my favorite aspects of this game so far, and might do a second post with plot spoilers because I NEED TO DISCUSS THEM WITH SOMEONE AND NONE OF MY FRIENDS WHO HAVE THIS GAME ARE AS FAR AS I AM.

I’m going to try and keep this as general as possible.  This is the main reason why I decided to blog this, because I can just keep editing it.  I tend to ramble in my podcasts, and I just post them completely unedited, so I feel like this is the best way to not only keep my thoughts on track, but to also not piss anybody off.

Brief background of my love for Zelda:

            The first game I played was Ocarina of Time for N64. It was released in 1998, I was six years old.  That’s actually a good starter game because it gives you most of the history and background and is just a solid starting point for the world of Zelda.  I fell in love. I played the rest as they came out: Majora’s Mask, Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword.  Eventually I found the original NES title and I played that as well.  I have not played the Gameboy Zelda titles.  [As I mentioned earlier, I’ve never really been big on portable gaming.  Pokemon Blue, Yellow, and Crystal are about the only games I’ve really gotten into on a Gameboy.  There have been others, and I distinctly remember how exciting it was to get a GameBoy Color (we also have the original grey GameBoy that’s an actual brick), but I’ve pretty much always been a main console kind of person.  It’s more comfortable for one, I’d rather stare straight ahead at a TV than stare downwards and screw my neck up.] I’ve played all the main console games multiple times, while sober, while drunk, while trying to see how fast I can beat them (Ocarina: 18 hours w/o massive skipping of cut scenes or hacking). Anyway, I’m a die-hard Zelda fan. I love the stories, the characters, and the lore.  So as soon as I heard Breath of the Wild was the launch title for the Nintendo Switch, I immediately knew I was ordering a new gaming console.  There wasn’t even anything to think about.  It was happening.

IMG_2737Size comparison.  No need for a giant case when the cartridge is tiny.

Open your eyes.

This game is a masterpiece.  And I do not say that lightly.  As someone who has played each 3D Zelda multiple times, I have a lot of opinions.  There are things I like, there are things I don’t like.  Things that are annoying, things that make me squeal in delight at how magnificent they are.  This is why I don’t really have a favorite Zelda game, because there are things I love and dislike about all of them. (Yes, even Ocarina, sue me.)  Breath of the Wild is magnificent.  This game is everything I have wanted a Zelda game to be since I first picked up that N64 controller back in 1998 and beat Ganon for the first time.

The open world is absolutely massive and I’ve spent so much time exploring. Just when I think I’ve checked an area out completely, I look at my map and I’ve only explored a quarter of that particular province.  It’s incredible.  Hyrule truly feels like a massive country with diverse areas and people.  Some familiar places exist: Gerudo Desert, Zora’s Domain, The Lost Woods, Kakariko Village, Death Mountain, and Goron City, just to name a few, as well as countless new villages and areas.  Provinces that were introduced in Twilight Princess (Eldin, Faron, Lanayru) combined with classic towns and areas create a version of Hyrule where the entire timeline makes sense.  It’s incredible.

This game is challenging.  I think it was Polygon’s review that said something along the lines of how this is a product of creators taking their audience’s intelligence seriously.  I don’t feel babied along. There are no tutorials, and very few explanations.  You figure it out by trial and error, and it’s so satisfying when you stare at a situation for so long and are completely dumbfounded by how to make it work, and then you finally figure it out.

The dungeons (not exaaaactly dungeons, but I’m not touching the plot in this post, so we’ll just go with dungeons) are clever as hell.  They are not your traditional make your way through, find keys, fight a mini boss, get an item, find the boss key, fight the boss-type dungeons.  They’re giant puzzles that eventually lead you to EPIC bosses.  The downside of this is that if you’re not entirely sure if you’re strong enough to be there, you don’t really find out until you get to the boss and one hit kills you. Then you’re like, oh hey, maybe I shouldn’t be here yet.

The good news is you can easily warp to the dungeons. If you realize that you’re not strong enough to fight the boss, you can go get stronger and then come back.  And it’s not like the boss is buried deep within the dungeon, like previous designs have been.  They’re pretty much waiting for you right at the front once you’ve unlocked them. So far, I’ve completed one dungeon that I’m pretty sure is the one you’re supposed to start with, just because I made it through the boss battle with it being difficult, but not totally impossible.  But I have another that I made it to the boss, and one hit was leaving me with about a quarter of a heart. So I’ve been hunting heart containers, and wound up starting another dungeon, that I’m realizing is probably the one you’re supposed to do second.  The non-linear quest thing really keeps you on your toes.

I’m going to try and wrap this up, because I realize this is getting really long.

A few final thoughts:

I really love the cooking/survival aspects of the game.  It makes it more realistic and requires more thought to go into what you’re doing and the decisions that you’re making.

THE WEATHER AFFECTS YOU. Oh my god, I love this.  If it’s raining, it’s reeeeally hard to climb mountains. Duh.  And you can get struck by lightning if you’re carrying metal weapons during a thunderstorm! I love it.

Your horse can die. This freaks me out so much. It shouldn’t, because it’s a game, but it does.  But you basically have an endless supply of wild horses to catch so it’s not the end of the world if you lose one.

The fact that your weapons can break is really frustrating, but again, makes it more of a challenge.  The Master Sword does exist though, because it HAS to, this is Zelda after all, and I just recently found it. Haven’t acquired it yet, but I’m assuming it doesn’t break. So I’m really trying to get it just because I’m so sick of my weapons breaking.

I think that’s about all I have for now without getting into the plot/pissing people off.

This game is really magical.  It’s hands down the best thing I’ve ever played.  It’s not a traditional Zelda game, and I know that’s making it a very tempting purchase for people who haven’t been into these games in the past.  If you’re on the fence about it, let me make it easy for you:

You need this game in your life.

Alright, that is all. If I think of more things, I might make a part 2, and I also might do more plot-related thoughts, because again, THE STORY IS SO GOOD.

Peace out.