when did i start becoming a prep

The PANEM Initiative, Chapter Twelve

Drawings and Chickens

I did already post this chapter, but I hated how it ended so I revamped it! Hope you like!

“This place doesn’t look so bad!” Henry slapped Peeta on the back, admiring his half of the dorm room.

“Yeah.” He smiled at his dad, hugging Katniss tighter to his side. “I was a little worried about getting all my art supplies in here.”

“When’s your roommate supposed to be here?”

“Not till tonight.”

Katniss wrapped her arms around Peeta’s waist as the reality of the situation started to settle in. They were just starting to get a handle on their relationship but now he was at school and as a freshman he wasn’t allowed to have a car. It didn’t matter anyways, between freshmen initiation and the art school’s beginning of the year events, it would be almost a month before Peeta could come home.

Peeta gave her a little shake, causing her to look up at them.

“Sorry?” she asked.

“You need to get going – dad promised Ryen that you guys would be home to help him prep for the Sunday morning madness.”

“Right.” She nodded as she let go of him.

“Have fun.” Henry gave Peeta a tight hug. “Call me if you need anything.” He pulled the keys out of his pocket and looked between the two. “You know, I really should go call Rye to make sure he doesn’t need anything…Katniss, take your time, I’ll be in the car.” He smiled at Peeta one last time before leaving them.

Keep reading


My SFCon Photo Op Experience:

I’m going to do a very long post on my whole experience later today but I just wanted to get into the photo ops first because, well … they tend to be the focal point of everyone’s con anyway.  Honestly, I was nervous as all hell for my photo ops. The only other experience I’ve ever had with a celebrity (as in, being that close to them), I basically went mute and nodded a lot. I couldn’t be like that this time—I had too much riding on my op with Misha … and of course, my op with Misha was going to be the first one I did.

So, on Saturday, we had already seen panels with Rob, Gil, Osric, and Felicia. We also had already experienced karaoke night, where I got to touch and interact with a lot of them … so I felt like I handled that well, and it gave me some hope for Misha. When we got to the theater on Saturday, we had the intro with Rob and Richard—they are fucking hilarious, by the way. I mean, we all knew that, but watching them bicker like a married couple in person? Oh my god!  I almost peed myself. They are so, freaking adorable! Anyway, I digress. So, we had the intro, a couple more panels and then … photo ops began. I had op-numbers 108 and 124. I thankfully, could take them both back to back so I didn’t have to get back in line. So, when they called for that range, I started freaking out. I had props and my book (for those of you who don’t know, I am writing a novel for Misha and I had the first eight chapters bound for him and I wanted to give it to him at the con) I still wasn’t sure if I would have time to explain properly what all these things were—or if the photo would come out right, or if I would even be able to give him the book at some point. Six months of work was riding on so much uncertainty and it was terrifying.

So, there I am in line and we finally shuffle through the doors … and there in the back of the room, is Misha fucking Collins. If you think the man is good looking on screen, it pales in comparison to him in person. Everything in him exudes perfection. I … I could go on for days, but I will put that in the next post. As I inch closer to this man that has become the world to me, I start to prep everything in my hands and go over what I want to say a million times. When they finally get to me, I am just too determined to choke. I walked up to him and handed him the signs (signs thanking the girls who helped me edit and beta read my novel). He looked at me a little confused. I held up the book and (I don’t even know if I said Hi first … I think I did, I hope I did) I said, “These two girls have helped me edit a novel I am writing for you, so I wanted you to help me thank them.” He nodded and we turned and took the photo, then as I was saying I have a second photo—he reached over and literally ripped the book out of my hands. He started flipping through it and then said “Oh, I really like the title!”  (which is “Gi’s Wishes” inspired by GISHWHES, of course). The he laughed and smiled, shook his head and said “I can’t believe you’re writing me a novel.” Then he turned and wrapped me in the hardest, tightest most genuine hug you could ever imagine. I don’t think either of us were really thinking about the second photo … as you might be able to tell because we look all squished and he looks like he’s going “Oh yeah … the photo”.  Immediately after, one of the convention volunteers was trying to pull me away but I hugged him again and he thanked me. I know at some point, I started to try and say that I had a copy for him, but I don’t think the words ever really came out. Anyway, I left smiling, then I got out of the room and I was shaking, and then I completely broke down crying. I was crying so hard that another volunteer came over to check on me, thinking something horrible happened. I ended up explaining to her that I wasn’t sad … I was just amazed that Misha took the time to look through my book, comment on it and then hug me, like he was really, truly appreciative of my efforts. She then started asking me all sorts of questions about my novel and made me feel even happier that I muscled through and got it done in time to show Misha.  Having that moment with him, was honestly one of the most validating and special moments of my life.

Okay … my Jensen photo op was more silly than anything. I wasn’t as nervous. I didn’t have a huge speech for him or anything to tell him about. I just needed to take a picture. Mainly, I just didn’t want to drool all over myself because of his profound beauty. By the time my op came around, we had already had our morning panel with Jensen and Jared (video to come). So, I got to see Jensen and melt into his reality a little. Then, I went in line for the photo op. Jesus Christ, that man is perfection. And his voice in person … so many, dirty, inappropriate things come to mind. Oh my sweet, baby Jesus. Anyway, I decided that I was going to do the pose I had originally planned for my second photo with Misha (but I was so happy to take the genuine hug from him instead). So, I walked up to Jensen, said hi, he said hi back and looked me with those amazing, beautiful eyes … and I asked him if I could hold his hand. He said “Of course” and smiled in a way that nearly killed me. Then he grabbed my hand, cupping it like a five year old … I quickly adjusted so I could lace our fingers together … because there is no way in hell I was just going to cup Jensen Ackles’s hand. He kind of smirked at that but that’s okay haha. We turned to the side and I reached over and held his muscly arm, and I felt his head tilt down towards mine … and I melted. I am so, so glad the picture turned out well and didn’t look like I was thinking dirty, dirty thoughts … because I was. I turned and hugged him after the photo, taking a moment to feel how incredibly firm he is. Oh my god … it was amazing. I was shaking after that, just staring at my hand, going “It touched Jensen Ackles! It held his hand! AHHHHHH!” Honestly, I still can’t believe it.

Then, later came time for my Cockles photo op. I wasn’t nervous, just excited. I was hoping Misha would recognize me as the girl with the book, because at that point, I had already had his autograph and he had already taken a copy of the book (more on that later as well).  I got into line and started chatting with my new friend, Megan spncancercare (I hope I’m remembering your name correctly, my dear. I am so bad with names.) We bonded while in line and talked about the boys’ perfection … obviously, a lot to talk about with that subject. Anyway, as we got closer, I thought about the pose I wanted them to do. I wanted Jensen to fold his arms on top of my head, lean across and kiss Misha’s cheek. When I got up to them, Misha was talking to a volunteer while I was explaining the pose. Then he came back and was like “Wait, so what’s the plan?” and Jensen started to explain but he kind of got it wrong and in my diluted mental state of realizing; ‘I’m actually talking to both of them at the same time’ I was like “No, see Jensen, you’ll stand like this …” to where I reach across his body and turned him physically (which felt amazing at the time but I feel horrible about now, since it was probably so pushy and rude) and then I said again, how he would kiss Misha on the cheek. Suddenly, a volunteer was at my side saying “No, we can’t do any kisses. That’s not allowed.” I was a little surprised, to say the least, and then I think Jensen turned me around and I kicked off my heels to snap the photo … I didn’t even know what pose we ended up with until I saw the picture later. I was still fairly, obliviously happy at this point so I turned and hugged Misha. As I pulled away however, his face just looked like he was so, very done. I started to sink … I realized right then, as the volunteer was pulling me away—I was probably “that fan”. I was that pushy, demanding fan who treated them like puppets I paid for instead of people who are generous enough to give me this opportunity. That so wasn’t my intention but I just felt awful. I walked out and talked to Megan a bit more, but as the time passed and the more I thought about it, I just wanted to cry. I decided, during the rest of the panels, that during my autograph, I would apologize to Jensen and hope that he passed the message along to Misha. So that’s what I did. I handed him my thing to sign and said “I think I really annoyed you and Misha during my photo op, so I wanted to apologize.” He just smiled a little and shook his head, finally looking back up to hand back my book and said “No … you didn’t.” I just “Oh … okay. Thank you … bye” and walked away. I don’t know if the pause he had in the middle was to emphasize the “you”, as in “you weren’t the annoying one; or if it was just a moment to try and sound convincing. Either way … I think he was just very tired at that point, so everything was probably getting on his nerves. Overall, I ended the con at kind of a low point because the last thing I wanted to do was annoy two people that are such, huge role models to me. I hope I’m just over thinking it. I know I didn’t get as crazy as some people get. I just normally, wouldn’t act that way and I’m angry that I did. I just hope that Misha didn’t recognize me now, because I don’t want him to think “the annoying girl” wrote him a book. I doubt he would ever think that … he was probably just exhausted overall. I know, I worry too much, but I can’t help it.

Anyway , I should say though, I had an amazing time. I loved my experience and met so many, new, nice, amazing people. All my photos turned out pretty damn good, so I’m very happy with that. In spite of the little low point, I wouldn’t trade my time at the con for the world. It was so awesome and fun. I can’t believe I was lucky enough to get to do that. Thank you to everyone who was encouraging and helped me along the way! I love you guys so, very much!


“J” should jump you past this personal note. It’s almost a cliche that studying a martial art can occasion deep personal introspection.

When I first started aikido, a major psychological hurdle was giving a committed strike. One of the reasons I came to aikido because I did not want to become aggressive. Knowing the reasons why it’s part of the practice (and why it was hard for me) made it possible to get through it. Eventually.

The seminar at the end of last month started an emotional roller coaster. Prepping for it, the onslaught of practicing with at least a hundred people took up most of my mind beforehand. Crowds, ya know? But I prepared, and my discomfort isn’t technically a phobia. The reality of it was more than I bargained for. I actually had to leave at one point, and even going on the last day was a challenge. But, I went, and I got to practice with a whole new range of people, and see directly what Osawa sensei is aiming at. Personal victory is still VICTORY.

But after the seminar, regular classes seemed to have shitloads of (fade) blocking, which is ordinarily a very small portion of the art. It was unleashing very disorganized and unpleasant childhood memories, and not understanding why did not help. Being triggered repeatedly is the opposite of learning. Me knowing what to do about it and being able to continue despite being on the verge of dissociating is NOT THE SAME as being ok.

If you phrase a problem correctly, you damn near have to jump out of the way of the solution running you over. After talking things over with my girlfriend (let’s just say WIS 18), I selected one of my elder siblings to speak with about some of the gruesome child abuse we experienced. I guessed right, because in less than an hour those recurring memories were slotted in place in chronological order with a full narrative, including the reasons they were disjoint in the first place. The reasons for the excercises triggering me became clear.

Over the next few hours my body started reacting.

My joints were flopping while my muscles feel like double marathons. I could not get enough stretching, and while it felt like it was having no impact (and who’s putting lactic acid in my food), I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m a half inch taller. Things just unloaded out of my physical body. Ovwer the past forty eight hours it’s eased up, but there’s probably lots left. And I’m looking forward to practice for the first time in weeks.

I am thankful for having #1 best girlfriend and stellar kin, and a dojo filled with patient people.

Transitioning from High School to College- Forensics

I thought that it might be a good idea of writing this after seeing the post about feelings of the transition

Okay… so I know some of you have just graduated or you’re going to next year. Some of you are wanting to go into college forensics and some of you are considering the idea. Some of you worry about the transition.

1) Get in contact with the coaches of the teams you want to join. Ask things like: 

  • What is the process for making the team? There are some teams that let everybody on and there are some teams with tryouts. And if there are tryouts, ask what they consist of.
  • What is the team dynamic like? You might not get along with a team that’s more aggressive or you might get along with them better. Only you know what type of team you’ll like.
  • What is the tournament schedule like? Does it have a lot of out of state tournaments? Is it a short season?
  • How many tournaments does each competitor on the team compete in? Some teams are able to allow you to go to every tournament and some will limit how often you’re able to compete for one reason or another.

2) Once you decide whether or not you’re going to do forensics in college and what college you’re going to you might have to do tryouts. I want to let you know that it’s okay and you’ve got this. Coaches are normally looking for potential… Not perfection on the first try. Be yourself and do the best you can. Don’t beat yourself up for mistakes.

3) If you make the team or there wasn’t a selection process you have to go through. CONGRATS! Also… you’re most likely a Freshman in college. You have a lot to get used to besides what’s going on with forensics. You are probably going to be a novice as well. This means that you’re chances of winning nationals is low since you’re getting used to a new format. Use your first year to figure out who you are as a collegiate forensicator. Try a bunch of new events and see what sticks and what doesn’t.

4) You’re going to have to deal with a team. You’re going going to get along with all of your team mates and that’s normal. Listen to the advice of the older competitors. You don’t have to take it… Just listen. They’ve been through a similar process as you and want you to succeed.

5) It’s going to be scary especially at your first tournament. Keep pushing through. It gets easier and you get used to how tournaments run. If you want to message us if you get nervous, that’s okay too. We might be at the same tournament and we’ll let you know and give you a hug or a pat on the back. We want you to have fun and learn.

6) Talk to people on other teams. They’ve been through similar situations and it’s always good to make friends. You have people to hang out with before and after rounds and sometimes y’all can compare notes. Most of my friends in real life are from college forensics since I see them so often during the year.

Transitioning from high school to college whether with forensics or for any other matter, it’s all about being open minded. You never know what may happen or what you might like.

Everybody has different experiences and different ideas. We aren’t going to transition the same way. You might not make the best first impression on the team but you can always turn it around. 

I started out only wanting to do policy debate but when I couldn’t join the team, I tried out for forensics. I have since learned that I like limited prep, radio, public address, parliamentary debate is amazing, and that interp could be interesting. I have become a Mama Duck and have 4 wonderful Ducklings. The transition was hard. I had a lot of policy debate habits to break, and I was the only girl on the team. I never did any speech events in high school. But in the end, I am so glad that I joined college forensics.

If you have any questions about transitioning from high school to college or anything else, just let us know.