Stuffed post.

I have just received two more of my “My Little Pony” Build a Bear stuffed ponies. They will be added to an ever growing collection. The two new ponies are from the MLP movie. When I get them stuffed and ready, I will share a picture of this collection.

I have gotten more than a few strange looks these last 7 years over my love of the “My Little Pony” show. I have gotten even more strange looks from being in the furry fandom for over 20 years. I have weathered them all with an understanding of being different. I have never felt the need to change. Why should I change what I like and enjoy because you are uncomfortable with what I like and enjoy. I don’t shove my fandoms in people’s faces so you are free to ignore me. I would rather you ask questions and try and understand.

I would have to say I have been an ambassador to those fandoms for a long time. Quite a few people have come to me with questions or to seek my opinion on my fandoms. I have never backed down from answering honest questions. I feel privileged that people trust me enough to ask about them. It gives me great joy seeing others who knew nothing about these fandoms show interest. If not interest, at least the understanding of why i, and others, enjoy them.

Stuffed therapy is also in that vein of being weird. I have been a proud advocate for this self therapy that I have seen help others. I have work panels, sat privately with people, even started a blog on trying to help people. Having something big or small, round or thin, fuzzy and soft near you when you need it. That little totem that grounds you.

Your stuffed little therapy.

And mine as well.

Find things that make you happy. Share that happiness with others. Improve yourself and then help others improve themselves. Share your love and passions.

#hugapony my friends.

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Love Letter

We all need love. As humans, it is something we all want. I want everyone on this blog to know that I love you. You read this blog and by doing so you show me love. I am called by my God to love everyone. I do my best and try to help those I love. I feel my purpose is to share love in this world. I feel my purpose is to help others. I have a wife whom I love dearly. I have two amazing daughters that I love.

And I have all of you as well.

 

If you ever feel like no one loves you, bookmark this page. Read it again. Watch an amazing video. Leave a comment (once or a thousand times), I will respond each time. Someone loves you always. I believe that by sharing love, we might be able to stop some of the hate.

I love you all.

#hugapony my friends.

Contentment v Complacent

I have been know to be complacent from time to time. I get caught in a rut and just coast through my day as best as I can. While not good, I have felt that it just gets me through another day and I am able to hope for a better one tomorrow.

Contentment is something I am striving for now. I want to be content in what I have and what I live with. Contentment is feeling happy regardless of your life at that moment. It is looking for the joy in your life and the small things that help make it through the day.

I find that a lot of people confuse the two. They are not interchangeable. Complacent is lazy. It allows people and events around you to control you. It forces itself on you. You become Complacent. Contentment is looking and choosing to accept what is going on around you. You can still have bad days and be content. It is a state of being.

I have tried always to go from a human doing to a human being.

I am by no means perfect. My wife likes to comment on how people try to be perfect and strive for that perfectionism; people who try, always fail at being perfect. I agree, no one will ever be perfect. But you can be content. People who are content live better lives with less stress.

Now please don’t mistake contentment with complacency. You can be content and still strive for a better life with more in it. Here is where people veer off and think that by being content they do not strive for more. Complacency does this. You accept your lot in life and that is all you can hope for. The cards dealt you a hand that is horrid and you got to play on through. Contentment is realizing that you might can win with your cards already but, if not, you get another round the next deal.

Complacency is stagnant.

Contentment is found joy.

I have had to do serious thinking about my life and my mental and physical health in the recent months. I have had to make choices that will affect my life. I have had to recognize my own complacency. I have just accepted my fate and I have to live with it. We all have to live my mental illness and disability. I am making those around me, nay, forcing those around me to accept me and my condition.

Selfish no?

I now acknowledge that I started that path. I am not proud of it. I am now working towards contentment. I am working on helping others; either through panels or my blog or even a phone call from a friend. In a most recent panel, I talked about how my life has given me a superpower, my condition. It makes me more aware and effective in helping others. If I can show compassion and help others, who else will it inspire? I am choosing to be a better person and be content.

So I ask you, are you content or complacent?

I choose joy. I choose to find joy. I choose my soft plush ponies to hug and help me through bad times and am thankful for them. I am thankful for my family and friends who accept me. I am choosing to be grateful for my life. Complacency is a breeding-ground for bitterness and bitterness helps no one.

What do you choose?

#hugapony my friends.20141024_131856

Helping hands.

I had a solo panel at Anime Overload in Austin, Texas this past weekend. I managed to speak clearly, not break down crying, and I hope I change some lives.

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It might not show it here, but it was an almost full panel with most of the chairs filled (including my thumb at the bottom right corner of the screen!). One of the things I do at this type of panel is close the door and make it a safe room. We keep what happens behind those doors safe and secure. Stories that are shared and experiences that happen are locked for only those in the room to hear.

I enjoy the help it brings to others. I have been asked to continue this type of panel for at least two other shows. It shows the growing need to talk openly about things like depression and other mental illnesses and give support to those who need it. I have been blessed to have people support me on this adventure and I am humbled to have been put in this position.

One thing I notice in this panel is the raw emotion that comes from the room. Being able to handle that and to deal with it has never been easy. I spent the first hour after this panel trying to keep to myself and deal with all the emotional energy that comes from talking/venting/sharing. I have yet to see a panel where at least 50% of the attendees did not cry (myself included).

Now this is not just a panel about openly talking about our lives but also how to help others and ways to deal with problems. I always invite people to share their lives and experiences with others to show what works and doesn’t work. I share my life and ways to help others. I push them to form a community of individuals to bond together and to build support groups.

At the end of the day I was able to talk to several people closely and give them some guidance in their lives. I was approached by the directors toward the end of the convention because someone (or more than one I am not sure) spoke out at a meeting requesting me to continue to do the panel. Again, humbled was just the first thing I felt.

I am drained at the moment but happy. I enjoy helping people and it makes me want to do more. It takes a lot out of me to speak like this but I hope to get better at it. If you were at the panel and want to leave a comment OR you would like to request a panel for a convention, leave a comment.

Leave a comment to just say hey if you want, I will respond.

Thank you all for your love and support.

#hugapony my friends

Panelling the walls.

I am on my way to a convention called Anime Overload to work, like I do at most conventions. I am also doing Another invisible disability panel. 

Fun times. 

I believe this will be a solo run, not that I haven’t done that before, so this will be interesting to say the least. Also, working and panels don’t always mix so again interesting. 

My, what an interesting life I live. 

Hope to see you out here.

Camp Kaboom.

Kudos to those who get the title. I am off serving as a leader for for church’s preteen camp. I am unsure as to if and when I can post. I will back this Friday so if nothing else, expect me then. 

If something changes, expect me earlier. 

I have a few things on my mind as I leave for this journey. I am not fond of the outdoors as I was in the past. I also get tired more easily in the sun. This will be my first overnight trip like this on my meds with people who have never been around me while not on meds. Lot of unknowns. It makes me a might twitchy. 

My love and prayers to all of you while I am gone. Know that while I cannot write, I will still be praying and thinking of everyone. Take care while I am gone. 

Until Friday,

D

#hugapony my friends.

Before move quicky

I am moving tomorrow and will be setting up internet later this week. Before I go dark for a few days, I want to share a photo.

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Themighty.com sent me a card and a shirt thanking me for my articles that they published. It is a small gesture with a mighty impact (see what I did there). I am beyond humbled and cannot thank everyone who follows and reads my posts enough.

#hugaplushie my friends

Akon Panel #1

I am just now being able to update my blog and I thank all of you for being patient with me in my time away from the computer. I am still in the process of moving and I am hoping and praying it is this weekend. I am quite excited. I am looking forward to having a place to my own with my family and being able to be settled.

I had a wonderful time at my first panel at A-kon 27. It was Middle of Nowhere, Smashed and Thanksgiving (Featuring Two men walk into a Bar). I was joined by my good friends Nick (from Knightengale Music Advising) and Ronin (From The Gigalounge) with special guest voice actor Kyle Herbert (From DragonBall Z and a lot more!).

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^Ronin and Kyle

And what a time we had!

We always have wonderful giveaways and prizes at our panel. This year we had a “beer” pong table for the attendees to fight over great things and had some awesome matches. I was given Surge (thanks Nick) which I had not had in 10 years or more. We also gave away this year’s poster to those attending.
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We had a dynamic conversation with great chats about the state of video game consoles to the introduction of VR into mainstream. Kyle got to try VR for the very first time!!

After the panel while we gave out the posters, the strangest thing happened. We had several people come up and ask us to sign the posters.

Wow.

Not gonna lie, I felt almost famous. I had never been asked to autograph something. I was flabbergasted at first and had the thought of “they don’t want mine”. Then a gentleman came up and said “Sign this please”. I told him the artist was next to me and he corrected me, asking me to sign on my character. I stumbled around and found a sharpie and then 4 more people lined up!

Holy crap!

All told it was some of the most fun I had ever had at a panel. I want to thank everyone there for coming and I look forward to more with my crew.

I will have my second (and much more serious panel) written in a few days, as I move again.

#hugapony my friends
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The quickest of post

I am packing as I write this. I had a few quick updates to share with y’all (i am from the south, it’s how we talk).

1. A-kon.

I will be at A-kon for the next week. If you see me out there, please introduce yourself and say hey. I will be working some of the time and I have 2 panels that you are asked to see me if you would be so inclined.

2. Themighty.com

I have be published a SECOND time on their fabulous website and I could not be prouder. I am so happy to be able to reach out and help others. I am truely honored and touched by kind words on all sides. Thank you all. Link is below.

http://themighty.com/2016/05/stealing-joy-leaving-comfort-zone-to-treat-anxiety-and-depression/

3. In the midst of all the madness, I am moving right after this convention, so there may be a lapse in post due to life, the universe, and everything. I will be doing short A-kon posts for the next week. Soak up all of me that you can.

#hugapony my friends.

The last day.

My computer has been out of commission the last week or so. I have finally gotten back up and running and lo and behold, I am back to share my stores with you, dear reader!

It was my last day in retail. That in and of itself was a shock and change. I was busy most of the day handing off keys and getting the new manager set up with what he needed. I ended up saying goodbye to my staff and customers.

This was all made tougher as they decided to move my Assistant Manager to another store as well.

My staff was exceptionally kind to me. I was given several gifts (all ponies!!) and I was touched beyond words. Seeing the kindness that was given to me by someone, anyone else is always a shock for me. I honestly had trouble accepting it. I couldn’t say anything to them of course as I would never want to offend or upset anyone. Its just the thought of someone giving me something that I didn’t earn ( or felt I earned).

I was just being myself.

The day grew rougher as it seemed every person I had gotten to know as a regular at my store came. I call to mind two instances that broke me.

The first was a husband and wife who were not on the young side (or as they put it, “We are as old as dirt and then some!”). They were some of the few that did not make it in but I felt I needed to call them. The wife had been going through chemo for months and is still one of the most spunky, strong, and enduring person I have had the privilege knowing. Her husband was the Ying to her Yang. They would walk in the door and I would say the same thing each time.

“Here comes trouble.”

And there never was. They brightened every day I saw them and I will always remember them.

And then came the final customer of the day, and my career there.

To provide background on this transaction I will explain. I had a mom and daughter who would come in to shop with me. They had been shopping with me since the time I had moved to be a store manager. The daughter had a few mental disabilities but it didn’t stop her from being nice to everyone. The mom worked hard to make sure they had everything. I knew what games they played and what they would want before they stepped out of the car.

When I had first met them, the daughter was upset because she had seen quite a few people come through the store already. I took the time to explain who I was and let her know that I would be taking care of her and her mom. She got to know me and my family and never forgot to ask how my girls were doing.

Now some people saw her as a burden or a bother in the store (none of whom lasted long at my store). I made sure to take a bit of extra time with them so they were completely happy when they left my store.

Now back to the last day.

I was about to call this pair of favorites as I could not leave without saying goodbye. I was in my back room explaining to the new manger who they were and the special requirements they might need. I happened to look out of the corner of my eye to my security camera and saw them enter. I took a deep breath and asked the manager to follow me as I wanted to hand them off to him as it would help the transition.

The daughter saw me and lit up (as always) cheerfully calling out my name. I greeted her warmly and answered her questions about how I was doing and how my girls were doing. I said they were well but they were busy. She asked why and I told her that it was because it was my last day and I was having to move for family reasons.

She broke down crying in the middle of my store.

The other manager had to step away in an effort not to cry as well. She asked me why, and I explained it to her as best I could. She gave me a big hug, still crying. I told her she would be OK and that I was leaving a few people she knew. She told me that it wasn’t the same. I said that I knew but that she was going to be OK. She took me to her mom, still tears in her eyes and told her. Her mom was in shock. Slowly the daughter explained it to her and the mom understood. I took that moment to introduce them to the new store manager. He did a great job introducing himself and making a personal effort to let them know he was there for him. The daughter, then was drying her tears, comment on some of the pins on his lanyard. This was a sign for me that she was now thatching herself to him.

My heart almost broke in all this. I even for a moment questioned myself leaving, still knowing I had too. I rang them out for my last transaction. I then went to back room to collect myself.

This for me was why I did customer service. This is part of who I am. I have tried to show kindness and love to everyone.

And it hurts sometimes. If done right.

And that is OK.

I soon handed over my keys, clocked out, and said the last goodbyes to who was left. I will never forget my time in retail. I honestly believe that everyone should work a holiday in it to understand just how to treat other people. Life lessons that carry over to everything else.

Here’s to my staff and customers. I will never forget you.

Hug a pony my friends.

I want to thank Shop girl at http://shopgirlanonymous.com/ for all that you have done. It has been amazing working in retail at the same time as you. Sharing stories was always a favorite for me. If you hadn’t yet check out an amazing blog that I plan on still reading.