Happy Thanksgiving

I don’t get days off, but don’t expect some long and poignant post today. Well, maybe you shouldn’t expect that most days. Today is Thanksgiving, a day that people set aside in hopes that it makes them feel grateful for everything that they have for at least one day a year. It’s a day that politics should be left out of. I’m sure Halloween has pretty gruesome history behind it, still going to celebrate that. It’s not about the past; it’s about where we move forward.

I’m thankful for every day. I’m thankful for my beautiful boys. I’m thankful for their successes and their struggles, because both make me a better mother and human. I’m thankful for my supportive family, who’s always there when I need them the most. I’m thankful for my husband, who always lifts me up when it feels like everyone else wants to take me down. I’m thankful that I have a house, food, and loved ones. I have a lot to be thankful of, which I’m very thankful for every day. We don’t need a single day to be grateful. We should be grateful every day.

If you are lucky enough to spend the day with family, remember how lucky you are. If you are working today, putting your life on the line to ensure the safety of others, thank you for your service. We are thinking of you, grateful for your selflessness. If you aren’t fortunate enough to be with family, be with the family you choose. Blood doesn’t mean family. Love does.

Happy Thanksgiving and remember the lessons of today every day of your life. Even in darkness, there is something to be grateful for.

Social Media Help For Esports

Some teams have an awesome team behind their social media accounts. As a Boston Uprising fan, I feel as though they have done an amazing job. The Overwatch/Overwatch League teams (and Blizzard team in general) also have a knack for getting information out and actively engaging with their fans. This is just one of many things that I personally love about Blizzard. The problem is that PR on the social media front tends to be a problem for these teams/stars, especially in the Overwatch League and apparently now their Contenders teams.

You may have heard that there’s a new team in town: the Toronto Defiant. I cried a little on the inside when they had Neko in their video releasing info on 2 of their new players. The reveal was well-produced and the hype around it was perfect. This was social media used in an effective manner to achieve awesome results for the team. Even though this worst kept secret was something some Boston fans were hoping was fake. (Which quickly disappeared when Neko referred to HuK as a lying bastard on the internet, but still some of us clung onto hope that Neko would be our fearless Zen/Ana once again.) The Neko incident of calling HuK out on and it going viral on social media is just one of many ways that the PR team has failed players on the social media front. I could go into real life examples of how social media can give people a negative impression on you without the polish of an experienced professional, but I really don’t like to talk politics on Gaming Day.

Way back when DreamKazper did that terrible thing, I pointed out that this was just one of a few examples back then that you have these kids who are impulsive and inexperienced socially (in most cases) who need help navigating the finer points of engaging fans and social media strategies. As an Uprising fan, I can point to NotE and Gamsu as evidence that when a player uses social media properly can grow a massive following without any drama. Gamsu posts images of the beautiful views when he hikes or hilarious images of him missing his flights. Then there is NotE who goes the puppy route and keeps up this wholesome and goofy image that he has. These are players that have either been coached properly on social media PR or ones who just are personable and relatable people with a talent for social media.

Then you have teams like, I don’t know, the Toronto eSports Club who went full nerd-rage on Twitter. “We were told we couldn’t have our name so we quit Overwatch”. They sounded like petulant children. Does it suck that they had to change their name because of the Toronto Defiant? Absolutely. I don’t think it was right that they had to change their name. Throwing a childish fit on Twitter? Probably not the best way to go about it especially if you want sympathy over the situation. Plus, I mean just flat out quitting the game and bashing how awful it is? That brought up a lot of concerns for Uprising fans (and potentially even their players/staff) of what this meant for them since this seemed like a rash overreaction one the part of their academy team. When HuK comes off as a reasonable party in a situation, then you know you’re wrong. This is another case where someone who shouldn’t have a Twitter account while representing other people makes everyone look bad. (Applies to politics today as well.) In case you’re wondering Toronto eSports doesn’t actually own the academy team, the Uprising do. So, this really means nothing.

These teams and players need better social media coaching. Fissure has an awful reputation due to his social media presence. xQc has a reputation due to his online persona where you either love him or hate him. Social media today can make or break your brand if you let it. In a lot of these cases, they are letting it break them. I’m no expert on social media, but I have done enough where I don’t utterly squash the brand I’m trying to build up. If you don’t have the funds or means to get social media professionals to manage the more difficult people, maybe it’s a good idea to at least train them better in these areas. In most cases, the Overwatch League players are freshly 18 with their own income, living on their own, coming into a massive fan base. It can be easy to get caught up in the fame, not realizing the consequences of your actions in the grand scheme of things.

When Talking to Your Child About Death

The first time I had to discuss a death with my son, it was my aunt who had passed away. He was still young enough where he didn’t exactly comprehend it and it didn’t ultimately have an impact on him. (I want to say he was 3ish at the time?) The second time I had to discuss a death with him, it was my paternal grandfather. This time he was in Kindergarten. Still, he was too young to really understand. I asked him if he wanted to go to school, if he wanted his birth father’s family to take care of him (it was just before his Christmas break started) while I attended the funeral. I missed the wake to take care of my son. I couldn’t miss the funeral.

My son, who even still is a lot older mentally than he should be, decided he wanted to come with because it was the right thing to do. I reluctantly agreed that he could go, thinking that he was too young to be at a place like this. But I figured if he was mature enough to ask and understand what was happening, that he was able to attend. He wanted to come up to the body with me. I held his hand and we prayed together while kneeling in front of my grandfather. We attended the Catholic mass afterwards, where people were crying and remembering my grandfather. I stayed stoic, as I tend to do. Probably why I have the reputation for being “cold”. I stayed stoic until out of the corner of my eye, I noticed my son was trying to be like everyone else. He asked for a tissue, and started dabbing his dry eyes because everyone else was crying. He started forcing sniffling noises while doing it. I didn’t want to laugh during a somber mass, but I chuckled. He didn’t understand what was going on, but he knew the motions that he needed to go through and he just wanted to make sure he was doing it right.

It was a long time later when I had to tell my now older son about a death in the family. This time, it was his biological paternal grandfather, a man he maybe met twice? I remember failing at this opportunity, making a joke because that’s who I am. “Dylan, you know what sucks more than your computer dying?” Yeah, you can finish the joke. I said it. I should be ashamed of myself, I know. But you have to be me and my son to understand. He didn’t react. He didn’t even really know the guy. He was confused as to whether he should go to pay his respects, be alone among a room of people who he didn’t even really know. Ultimately, he decided that it was better for him not to go. He was 15; that was entirely his choice.

My youngest son’s school was doing a project about Veteran’s Day. We decided that it would be cute to write about my maternal grandfather, who served in the Navy and passed away when my oldest son was about 2 or 3 months old. We named our youngest after my grandfather, so we thought it would be cute for our son to learn about him. It was cute until he asked why he didn’t meet my “Grampa”. I calmly explained to him that my grandfather passed away a long time ago. “He’s dead?” I nodded. “Did he die in the war?” I explained that he died of cancer and that cancer sucks. “What happens when you die?”

I stopped. What was my approach here? What do I say to him? Do I say what I believe? That he’s just dead and there’s a body in the ground and that’s really it? I couldn’t do that. I found myself saying the words I’ve learned through all my years of Catechism. “Well, he’s in Heaven watching over us to make sure that we’re okay. He’s protecting us.” My son went on. “What’s Heaven?” I found myself getting wrapped up in a lie that I didn’t believe, as parents often do in so many situations. “Well, it’s where good people go. And your great grandfather was a very good man.” He nodded, asked a few more questions, and that was the end of the conversation. Until he kept bringing it up. “How can he protect us if he’s up in Heaven?”

I wanted to say to  him “Mommy doesn’t believe in God or Heaven or angels, I just lied to you because the truth sucks”. There was no right answer here. I had to keep going with this lie to protect him. Just because I didn’t believe, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the right to believe if he wants to. It’s a loaded topic dealing with death, especially when discussing it with your kids. I worry about the day when I have to tell them that someone they were close to died because I’m the last person I’d want to tell me if someone passed away. The last. I’ve done it before. I’m not very good at it. I blurt it out without softening the blow. I answer questions honestly. I’m brutal and cold. I admit my faults. I have no idea how I would tell my child that someone they loved died. I could barely make it through a conversation about telling them how someone they didn’t even know died. Did my child need to know that my grandfather died of cancer? Was that too much to put on him? Did I screw up my oldest by telling  him the news through a joke?

I’m a mom trying to figure out this hard stuff just like everyone else. My way probably sucks and I don’t know how to fix it but it surprisingly has worked up until this point. I’m numb to the death thing and admittedly that has hardened me. My first thought it never “oh that sucks”, it’s always “okay, what needs to be done next.” I hope that I figure this out because as you can see, my gut instincts are not great here.

Overwatch League: The Summer Showdown Play-Ins

I could talk about the entire weekend, but there wasn’t too much that was shocking going on. I mean, aside from the Shock vs. Philly game. Not because I thought that Philly would win it, but I didn’t think they would get absolutely steamrolled by the Shock. Titans finally coming together wasn’t too shocking, because they had a late start building up their synergy. Instead, I’m going to (as usual) focus my trusty Boston Uprising.

The thing is, I still actually expected the Uprising to win against the Titans. We took Paris to Map 5 twice. Taking the Titans seemed like it would be a much easier task. Except it wasn’t. It so wasn’t that the Uprising got 3-0’ed by the Titans, putting them into the Summer Showdown Play-Ins. Against the Washington Justice, a team that has been struggling all year long. Who just had a major overhaul to the team, so surely this would be an easy match that we could roll, then prepare for the play-ins.

….Except as any Boston fan knows, this is never the case with our teams. Just because it should have been easy, doesn’t mean that it is going to be that easy. And despite a strong showing on Map 1, it wasn’t. And it wasn’t even that the Boston Uprising were necessarily outplayed. Every team fight went the way of the Uprising. They worked well together. They conserved their ults/built them up fast. They made some mistakes and whiffed ults, but overall they were the better team.

However Ttuba had a Genji, which seems to be the Uprising’s greatest weakness. Anytime he popped off, we struggled. We lost half our team (sometimes our whole team) to practically every dragonblade. Had we been able to handle the Genji, we would have easily won. That and actually touching the point, which is also something we’ve been struggling with. Now we get to sit around hoping that they fix the issue come next set of playoffs. Which may be easier, if Genji ends up in the hero pool for the start of the next set of matches.

What should we have done? Colourhex wasn’t doing it on Tracer. Sometimes he pops hard and gets those flashy plays. Other times he just seems to toss out a pulse bomb and hopes for the best. Maybe instead, put him on a Genji to at least challenge the other Genji. Or put him on a pick like maybe Echo, a hero that Colourhex did very well at. (I’m not saying we lost because of Colourhex. I’m just saying maybe put him on a pick he’s most comfortable with and just let him do him.) Maybe even switch to a D.Va for the sole purpose of harassing the Genji until he decides not to play him anymore. Not an ideal solution, but just sitting there and taking it wasn’t the play. The only reason they lost was because they don’t know how to handle a Genji. Or make goofs like not standing on a point or whipping a Genji up in the air when you nearly won the map, so that he could just jump over the roof and kill the entire team and secure the match win for the Justice.

What needs to happen before the next round of matches? Synergy is there. But there’s something with the morale that is hurting the team. Even before the match, they seemed mentally off. This team, which seems to get along well together, has to have some struggles off screen that we can’t see. Is it the coaches? Is it the culture that HuK brings to the team, which would be the common denominator with the past players who couldn’t seem to wait to get out of Boston? Maybe the team should start working on fixing the culture in the team, remembering that these are still kids/young adults, and they need some time to goof off. Maybe they need to start working on strats instead of doing the weirdest approaches, like tossing a Torb out there whenever things aren’t working for them. At that point, why not just cheese with a Bastion and just win the match?

Something needs to change and I’m not sure that can be accomplished before the end of the season. I don’t want to see any of the players gone. These are seriously talented players that just need the coaching staff to mold them into a great team. They need a culture that makes them feel happy to be there. Those aren’t things that are going to be fixed by the next set of playoffs or even the end of the season. This is something that will take the entire off-season to handle. And changes need to happen. Boston fans are loyal to the bone, even if their team is losing. But they won’t sit around and watch their team be a farm team or just look like they are throwing matches every week.

Navigating the Tricky Season of Preparing for School Next Year

The school district my boys attend had their last day of school yesterday. With another school district releasing their tentative guidelines for next year and the state releasing theirs, it has caused a lot of… mixed feelings. From uninformed people saying their kids are going to die of carbon dioxide poisoning if you make them wear masks and the others fighting about how selfish non-mask wearers are, there have been a lot of opinions on this topic. As usual, I’m here to share mine and I’m choosing to look on the positives.

For instance, the biggest positive is that I won’t have to do “distance learning” with my kid every day of the week. Sure, I’ll have to do it 2 or 3 days a week potentially, but I’ll take that over struggling to get them to do their work done every day. Those other days, they will have the teacher in the classroom helping them out as best as they can with restrictions in place. I’m sure their help, even as restricted as it may be, is going to be a lot better than what I’m doing as I frustratingly scream at my youngest saying “Just use a calculator, I don’t even care anymore.”

I have started “doomsday prepping”, if you will. I ordered materials to make masks for the boys for school so that they can comply, while being as cool as possible. I bought some Spongebob fabric for my youngest, and this really neat “peacock” colored fabric for my oldest. I bought supplies ahead of any announcement because honestly, I don’t want to be put in a place where I’m stuck without anything I need and I have to resort to “homeschooling”.

I will be sending my boys back, even if these strict guidelines are in place. My oldest is going to be a senior and he needs to have as much of this senior experience as he can. My youngest has his own set of issues and getting him back into the strict routine school offers is going to be the best thing for him. Will getting him to wear the mask be hard? Maybe. But as someone with a terrible immune system, I’m okay with having extra protections to ensure I don’t get sick. It’s fine when you’re a healthy person to throw a fit about making your kid wear a mask, but this is for as much my protection as it is his.

I think the smaller classroom sizes only benefit the kids, especially kids like mine with sensory issues. With less “noise” going on around him, he might be able to focus better. The teachers may not be able to closely interact with the students, but they are still going to get more individualized attention in the classroom instead of getting lost in the shuffle of 19 other students. The teacher will be able to take more time explaining things that other kids are struggling with.

People tend to always have this knee-jerk reaction of negativity, without looking at the positive. Like, now I get to send my kid back to school for at least some of the time and regain some of that “me-time” I haven’t had since March. If done well, this could be a positive thing for students. I have to start thinking about the positives because right now everything seems to be on fire around us in the world that we need to start looking at the positives in the situation.

Overwatch League: The Start of Summer Showdown

I do enjoy this exciting new approach to the season since the pandemic shut down the live events. This week went pretty much the way that everyone expected, but as an Uprising fan, I was very happy despite a loss. Why? Because they didn’t look like the same team that they were. I don’t think anyone expected a win against Paris, but I think most of us fans wanted to see something worth rooting for.

And I think that’s what we got. We didn’t get stomped in a 3-0 match-up; we took it all the way to game 5 in a thrilling back and forth match. We had things we rarely saw before: a substitution and adjustments. Wouldn’t you know that’s something that we needed to win matches? Or at least to not get rolled over every match. It was revitalizing as a fan to not walk away embarrassed. Punk is a great addition to the team and I feel much more confident with him as an off-tank more than I have since NotE. He’s flashy, but good, whereas Mouffin was flashy and mediocre. That fact that somehow we ended up with Mouffin instead of Punk to begin with confuses me. We could have had a much better record and I firmly believe that. The benefit of having such a godly off-tank? It can make up for Fusions mistakes.

I am actually looking forward to matches again. I wasn’t going to attend the homestands before because I didn’t want to spend an obscene amount of money to watch that nonsense they were doing before. But this is a team that I would pay to see now. This is a team that I’m proud to watch, even in the losses because the matches are close. They are showing that they are a stellar team and I think they are only going to get stronger as they get more used to each other.

Next week will be a rough one going against the Philadelphia Fusion, but they get tilted easily and can easily choke. They may even make the mistake of not preparing for us, though a Colourhex vs. Carpe tracer duo doesn’t make me too confident. But, anything can happen in any given match so it’s going to be fun to watch. I hope.

The Duty of Writers

Writers are expected to have moments of poignant insight that stirs strong emotions in our readers. We’re supposed to be observational. We’re supposed to offer insight and opinions, eliciting some type of response. We are the people that others turn to in order to forget about life for a while, imagining other lands, or just to help them process something that they were otherwise struggling with processing. It’s a heavy weight to have to bear sometimes.

To continue with my last post, I did want to discuss what went on last week and what is still going on today. Tuesday’s post was to offer disdain for the people who were complicit in letting things get to how they are today and how we can help to make things better by voting those complicit players out of office. I did try to make it clear as possible that I stand with those fighting injustice. Today, I wanted take a different approach. I wanted to make it clear that sometimes it takes a fire to start fresh again. These protests are the fire, both figuratively and literally, it seems. It isn’t just one race marching; it’s a rainbow of support across the spectrum. Fighting racism is no longer an “Us vs. Them” mentality. This is a matter that impacts us all. We could sit quietly, but that’s not how change ever happens. That’s not how the LGBTQ+ community earned their “rights” (I use quotations, because they are still struggling to get the rights they deserve). That’s not how women got the right to vote. That’s not how the civil rights movement started. It started from people who were willing to shake things up.

I don’t condone violence. Police are there to protect people, not harm innocents. You shouldn’t assault a police officer because of the uniform they wear. Bad officers deserve to actually get punished for their crimes. The fact that they aren’t is the sole reason why people have trouble trusting the men and women in blue who are supposed to protect us. It’s the same reason why many struggle with Catholicism. You sweep a problem under the rug enough times, eventually people are going to revolt. It’s an unfortunate consequence of terrible actions. Rather than face things head on with courage as they should, they ignore the problem. They defend the indefensible. Sure, I had my knee on his neck for nearly 9 minutes, but he was on drugs and had COVID-19 and had heart problems and how was I to know that when he went unconscious after saying that he can’t breathe that putting the full weight of my body on his neck was going to hurt him? My bad. Over a potentially counterfeit $20? That’s why people are revolting. How many cases of brutality from cops do we hear? Even more terrifying, how many don’t we hear about?

I won’t immediately jump on the “f- police” bandwagon. I’ve had family serve with honor. My son hopes to be in law enforcement, with the goal of helping injustice in the world. To do so, would be a slap in the face of those good officers who died on duty while serving and protecting. But I also think that people do need to rise up and fight against these injustices that are hurting Americans. This continued racism is passed on to other generations. I see that when my son wasn’t played with because he was a “little Chinese boy” or when he told me about how other kids think he looks weird. I’m not blind to what’s going on. And these are kids who learned racism was okay from their parents. Kids aren’t born to hate; we teach them that. Our choice is to teach them to love and to fight for what they feel is right. My oldest wants to change the world by tackling change on the inside. As skeptical as I am that he can make a difference, I believe that I raised him with enough compassion and conviction that he can be one of the many of the next generation that can create change. Because that’s what we need right now.

So it’s not “F” police; it’s “F” the institution that encourages the bad behavior and refuses to hold those so-called “bad apples” accountable. How many crimes do they get away with, while their brothers and sisters protect them at all costs? Those are the people you want to get rid of. Not the ones taking the time out of their shift to play soccer with kids or giving them a reward for wearing a helmet while out biking. You want to encourage the good and get rid of the bad. When that happens, when you stop allowing them to be the judge, jury and executioner, then people might start trusting the police. It’s their job to enforce laws, not make them up as they go or only enforce them when they feel like it. Police should have the compassion for dealing with people while being courageous to help those in need. They shouldn’t be killing people on camera with no soul in their eyes and let people say “Well, this was a misunderstanding…” Sitting on a neck for nearly 9 minutes isn’t a misunderstanding; it’s murder.

To sum all of my 2 day posts up? It’s the institution that breeds and accepts these awful incidences that are at fault, not every single man and woman in blue. It’s the media at fault for pushing the agenda that makes them the most money. It’s the politicians that remain in power because they have divided and conquered us, while we sit around and blindly follow them. We are the ones who can make the change. Through protesting to see changes in policing policies and fighting for true equal rights. Through electing these people out of office. By stop watching the mainstream news because they are lying to us anyways. Maybe losing money and ratings will encourage them to start being the honorable institution that they once were. These are just some ways that we can help turn this sinking ship around.

2020, Amirite?

Last week, you might have noticed that my blog was completely silent. I generally write about current events and parenting during my Tuesday/Thursday blog, depending really on how I feel. With the riots and protests last week (still going on this week), I couldn’t do it. Why? Because I’m a white girl from a middle class neighborhood that doesn’t feel it’s my place to discuss the plight of others. Why? Because I’ve never experienced an act of racism towards me. Aside from witnessing racist acts against my own child, I’ve never had to personally experience it so what right to I have to profit off an opinion on it? I stand by communities fighting injustice and somewhere I hope this means the world can start to change. I won’t hope too much because change is always a slow process. We promised change many decades ago, and look where we are today.

2020 has just been a dumpster fire. The year has only hit 6 months, just halfway through, and I feel like we should be celebrating New Years to just be done with it and start fresh in 2021. We should erase this year out of the history books, because there is so much that we should be ashamed of. I’m not going to say that having a democrat as president during these times would have made a difference, because who knows if it actually would have. But if there were a democrat in charge, I feel very positive that the people standing up with the President now wouldn’t feel as strongly about how great they are doing. Because they’re not. I don’t care what party is in office. What I do know is that we deserve a lot better than we are getting.

What is making this so bad? I think I’ll first put blame on the media. The left-biased options jump all over the President even if there’s nothing there. This stokes the fires of their base. The right-biased options consider him a messiah that can’t do anything wrong, which riles up the base to stand up for him when they really shouldn’t. If we had media that praised the good and held him accountable for the bad, regardless of political beliefs, things probably wouldn’t be so bad. The media on both side helps drive the wedge because neither want to stray away from their talking points. This is because rather than being the institution that held people accountable, they’ve become a business that just cares about ratings and money. They don’t care about silly things like facts. They pander to the masses and wonder why the world is going to hell.

This doesn’t mean that the politicians in charge are innocent parties. They are just as complicit when it comes to tearing the country apart. They work with the talking points (or even are the ones creating the talking points) for the media of their particular bias to further cause division. The President doesn’t help matters when there is a truth out there and he passes it off as “fake news” because let’s be honest, he’s lying and people just blindly follow. The minute that we somehow forgot the politicians lie and only want to benefit from their power was when things started to go downhill. I never take a politician’s word for anything. I wait for their actions to decide who they are. And I’m not liking anything that I’ve seen.

The people of this country are the only answer, but at this point, are we way past that? Have too many people been blinded by the people that most benefit from their ignorance? I really hope not. I hope that the sensible people that think independently and logically will start to become the voices of the next generation. We need less lemmings of a political party and more voices that speak out. Don’t just follow a movement because it’s cool; follow it because it’s right. Don’t follow politicians blindly because they honestly don’t care about you. Follow your own beliefs, even if they aren’t defined by a political party. That’s how we make the world a better place.

I’m sad about this. The people are revolting because of decades of fighting “the right way” have failed. I’d be mad as hell to if that were me. If that were my son, I’d probably set the world on fire myself. If you push people enough, they want to see the world burn. That’s where we are right now.

The New School Year

Everyone is already looking ahead to the new school year, anxious to get the kids back to school in a setting where they can see their friends again. Mostly, I’m just excited to have someone else fight with their child why school work is important, even if it’s going to kill them from boredom. My home OT sessions have gone similarly horrible. In fact, I would be lying if I said I was confident my children are going to go back to school next year and be able to keep up with their peers. My only real comfort is knowing that my kids aren’t the only one with the “worst teacher ever” right now.

If you’ve been on social media, you have seen everyone share those new guidelines from the CDC about opening up the schools. I definitely have. I read them. They seem insane, to say the least. Not that I don’t believe there should be some guidelines, but that I don’t believe they can accomplish what they want. Not in my school district, at least. 1 kid per seat on the bus and skipping rows? My oldest son’s bus has kids sitting 3 to a seat and that isn’t even enough for them. How is that going to work? Are we going to magically come up with more buses when we can barely afford to meet the needs of the teachers and students as is? What about expecting young children to keep a mask on all day? That’s not realistic at all. It’s not realistic. And aside from the mask policy, 90% of it probably won’t even be put into effect in most districts.

I get the point. I understand the point. I don’t believe in those conspiracy theories about fear mongering and how the flu kills more people just because your media told you that line once and you just believed it. Or because you heard it, wanted to verify it, then just ignored the 20 other articles that disprove this point and use that one article from the National Review to show that you’re right. You’re not right, if you read the actual science behind the numbers. Here’s a brief rundown, in case you’re interested: it all comes down to testing. Since the CDC can’t ensure that everyone who died of a flu-related complication was actually tested for the flu, they essentially estimate a number to what they think it is based on some algorithm that I probably wouldn’t even understand if I tried. I got this information from Live Science, then looked at several other articles that ended up sharing the same exact information. I could be wrong. I’m not unwilling to hear actual facts to prove me wrong. But, this is what my research has shown me. Even still, their estimate was around 62,000 people dying of the flu this year. Which is, for those who like math, is less than the over 90,000 people who died of the coronavirus-related complications.

What these 2 illnesses do have in common is that by taking the proper precautions, you can minimize your risk and the risk of others. I’m not saying don’t live your life. I’m just saying don’t be stupid. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

Back to the original point of the post: what about our kids? People around social media are in an uproar on the community forums. “I’ll just homeschool my kids.” I don’t know about anyone else, but I can barely keep up with my “I need money to survive” workload and the very, very, very basic remote learning things that I have to keep up with. If you’re already struggling with that, good freaking luck actually homeschooling your kids. You have to prove that you are competent by the school district’s standards to homeschool, have to essentially submit lesson plans/hours of instruction, and follow strict regulations based on your school district. You have to be in compliance with laws around homeschooling. Then, there are those other aspects of not having that socialization in the school environment and missing out on those activities they get to enjoy in school like goofing off on the bus during field trips or school dances. I’m not anti-homeschooling; I’m very much in approval of parents who do what they feel is right for their kids. What I do want to make people realize is that if you’re struggling now, homeschooling isn’t a viable option for you.

The thing is, this is just information based on what we know today. This is a new beast we are dealing with here. We might have better answers about it, more testing, and a vaccine by the time we send our kids back to school. No one really knows much about anything. But, what I do know is that I’m going to follow the people who are experts in science, specifically infectious diseases, to form my opinion. Not some hack job on the internet that is only spewing misinformation because for some reason people have an adverse-reaction to facts and misinformation can be very profitable. Keeping yourself educated with the latest, and I can’t stress this word enough, FACTS is really going to be the only way we get through this.

And We Start to Open Up Again

I don’t particularly care to debate whether or not opening up is 100% the right thing. Because honestly, it won’t ever be 100% the right thing until there’s better testing, tracking, and a vaccine. That’s just science. As someone who does get sick often and badly, I take a look at this in a more realistic way. Again, I know I could choose not to go out to stay safe and that’s my plan. I’m not living in fear. I’m living in protection. I’ve been bedridden by sinus infections before because they get so bad, imagine if I got this? My family understands that. My parents are in the high-risk category, so my kids haven’t gotten to hug or really see their grandparents aside from waving in the window. My husband wears his mask and takes as much precaution as he can to stay safe, but there’s no real guarantee that he won’t bring something home to us. That’s a risk that we’re supposed to be willing to take.

But just because they government is opening up the world, that doesn’t mean I’m going to participate. I watch the daily rises and falls in the numbers. Until they get to a much lower place, I’m staying home and no one is coming into my house. I honestly don’t care about anything except keeping my family safe, which includes taking the precautions I need to so that I don’t end up dead. Dramatic? Maybe. But I just want to make very clear that peer pressure doesn’t work on me and I’m not going to do something because crazies with a gun think I’m irrational and living in fear. If I’m the one living in fear, how come you’re the one with the gun?

I’ll probably lose friends along the way. I’ll piss off family members that already don’t agree with my decision. It’s not their decision to make. I’m not withholding my kids from anyone. People can call them, voice chat with them, but we already have such a short time on this earth. I’m not going to go out with tubes down my throat because someone thinks I’m trying to hurt their feelings. I’m not. I’m doing what I believe is the right thing and you’re not going to convince me otherwise unless you’re an experienced and highly educated medical professional. Because science.

If you choose to go out and let your kids run around in large masses, that’s what you think is the right move for the safety of your family. I won’t judge you for that. But I would appreciate not being judged for what I think is the safe and right thing to do for the safety of my family.

Something Amazing Happened with the Boston Uprising

Last week, I avoided Overwatch League talk as I would normally do during my gaming posts on Monday during the league play. I was tired of lamenting about the Uprising’s inability to adjust strategies and do something new. I was tired of talking about the same teams winning and losing. I’m not going to say I had given up on the Boston Uprising. I still watch them religiously, even though I go in without any expectations. Usually, I’m still very disappointed. But something happened this week that was shocking. And no, it wasn’t just that we won.

Prior to the match, I joked that it was only going to be a short and quick loss, then our family could just binge movies for the rest of the day. We saw CatBren pick Uprising as the winner. That wouldn’t happen. Poor Bren. The desk laughed. At least he was honest about the random pick, they said. But what happened was crazy.

It was like an entirely different team out there. Colourhex wasn’t forced on Mei. They weren’t forcing a meta. In fact, they showed us more flexibility than we had ever seen. They played different comps, not stubbornly sticking to the same exact strats and hoping for different results. They adjusted when they needed to. They put up a fight, even on maps that they lost. They looked confident out there. They didn’t look like a team that just wanted to bang their head against the wall for 15 minutes, giving up the loss as quickly as possible to end their own suffering. And ours, maybe.

It was a long 6-map win. It was a wild ride, but holy hell, even if they lost I would’ve been happy. They adjusted, even mid-map. They looked incredible. It was so nice to see their face cams at the end and seeing them all jump up and hug each other in celebration. It was a moment that brought me back to them.

I wasn’t lost because I hate losing teams. I’m a lifelong Boston fan. I’m used to losing. I’m used to being a joke. It wasn’t until recently that we knew the taste of victory. My problem is losing because they refused to fix a problem. And look what happened when they did. Was this a fluke because Mei was banned this week? Or did they finally realize that to win, maybe you need to make adjustments rather than sticking to a failing strategy and just hoping things will turn around on their own?

I’m not sure. I’m hoping that if this was a fluke just because Mei was banned that they will realize that things just work better when teams play to their own strengths rather than bowing down to a meta that they consistently fail at.

It’s Going to be Okay

That’s something I think we all need to hear these days. We’re all struggling. A lot of people have lost their jobs. Parents who still have to work through this are struggling to balance working from home and managing their children’s education at the same time. Or they are trying to manage finding daycare for their kids while they go to work, adding to their stress of worrying if it’s safe for their kids. We’re not mentally in a good place right now. Or at least I know I’m not. But, it’s going to be okay.

It’s going to be okay because you’re doing the best that you can. No one can expect anymore than your best. You’re always going to think that you’re not doing enough. But you are. You’re doing your best for that moment in your life.

It’s going to be okay because eventually things will start to feel some type of normal again. Whether it’s the new normal or getting back to what your life used to be. Normal is really what you make it to be, not what everyone tells you it should be.

It’s going to be okay because we’re meant to adapt, adjust, and change our approaches. We evolve at our own pace. Change isn’t something that everyone can accomplish at the same time. And that’s okay.

It’s going to be okay because someday it will be safe for kids to hug their grandparents again. We just have to keep reminding ourselves that this is all to make sure that we have our family as long as possible.

It’s going to be okay, somehow. Because we need to have some sort of reasonable optimism that we will get through this. That we are going to come out of this stronger than when we went into this.

Because that’s who we are.

So, just remember: it’s going to be okay.

It All Starts with a Character

There are so many current, relevant topics I could be discussing right now. Like how countries are seeing a resurgence in cases because they opened up probably way too soon. How if you need a 10 step strategy on opening up, it may be too soon to. People have the right to feel terrified because no one really knows anything about this virus, except for the fact that it’s death toll keeps rapidly rising and there’s no real treatment or vaccine to help people through it. Or how people who ignore these guidelines for staying safe are the reason why we’re still dealing with this.

But I don’t want to. It makes me sad and angry and all types of negative.

Instead, I will work through my brain’s struggle to come up with a story to start a series of children’s stories. I have a character that I so desperately want to see come to life. I have her personality in mind. I’ve envisioned what she looks like. But I’m not a children’s author. Aside from “Dear Child”, I’ve struggled a bit trying to get back to the genre because I know there are stories there. I know that my character is going to be a flawed character, but I want to send a message of empowerment not to just other girls, but to all kids. I have all these great hopes for the story.

Unfortunately, I have no story. I’m not sure if it’s my workload breaking into my brain’s creative side, draining any will of creativity out of me. I’m not sure if it’s anxiety over what’s going on in the world that is hurting my brain. I just know that I have a great character, but she’s just sitting there smiling at me through my rough sketches of her. It’s frustrating. I’ve never had this long of a dry spell in my personal writing.

It is probably a combination of being burnt out from writing due to my workload and the fact that with the kids home all the time with no break while juggling said workload as well as my new “school of mom”, that I don’t have that quiet time where ideas just flow from me. With everything going on, I don’t see that changing any time soon and that does make me a little sad.

Writing may seem like an easy task. But words are hard. Stories are hard. Having the will to type endlessly is hard. Writers don’t have an easy job. We are tasked with inspiring emotions and getting people to relate to a fictional character. We need readers to connect on some level to the story. And we don’t get the ability to tap into the nuances of body language and inflections that can often only be heard. We can try, but we can’t reach everyone and we know that. But you need to be able to reach someone.

Maybe over the weekend I can get the chance to sit down and work on something. Maybe.