I started out by saying my birth name, since, again, I am still in the closet as far as my daily day-to-day life is concerned. While I'll trust complete strangers on the internet with my secret, trusting people I actually meet face-to-face is much, MUCH harder, for hopefully-obvious reasons.
However, I might as well tell you the full name I have in mind for when I do eventually come out. Bree works great as a name, but I don't think it makes a good legal name, particularly when combined with my middle initial. (Well, I suppose it COULD, because that'd be BreeDL, which I suppose vaguely sounds like 'Brittle', making it a viable author name, but...for obvious reasons, not one I'd prefer.)
Instead, the plan is for me to have a legal name of Brianna Danielle Lewis, and to have everyone call me Bree as a nickname. I came from a suburb of Bellevue called Spirit Ridge, living a couple blocks or so from Spirit Ridge Elementary's rear entrance, and that's the school I attended...oh, I believe for Pre-K, kindergarten, and first grade. I'm pretty dang positive I've blogged about the awesomeness that was their lunchtime, what with the playground, the forest I entered from, and the access to computers. (Back then, it was mainly Oregon Trail that I played.)
My family moved somewhere in the 1999-2000 range in-between school years when I was six, and I've been living at my current home in the foothills between Snohomish and Monroe since then, in a 5-acre property of mostly forest. (Which, as children, we explored a lot. We have a pond above our driveway we used to swim in although it's since been overgrown, and a small creek that flows from it, and a big creek we had a path to on the lower driveway, and said path had in it a zipline and a couple of ropeswings. Children's paradise.) Though I briefly attended the hellhole of Dutch Hill, held back to first grade because my parents were concerned I'd be overwhelmed (keep in mind, they already knew about my less-than-sociable nature), I just couldn't stand it.
So I was dropped out, and come February of that school year, enrolled in Sky Valley Education Center (in second grade, mind you) where I attended it for 13 years: 2nd, 3rd, 3rd again (because my parents were still concerned), 4th, etc., 12th, and then super-senior, where I graduated just last year. The school's a hybrid one, meant for homeschoolers. In my case, mostly home- for the first half and mostly public for the second half. The school moved from the barn in Snohomish into Monroe's industrial complex (near where the Y is now before the Y was there, and staying until a fair bit after the Y had been there), and that's when I shifted from identifying as primarily being from Snohomish to primarily being from Monroe. (I fully stopped identifying as from Snohomish when I stopped Soccer, though I forget when that was.)
Three years ago, the school moved again, this time to be inside one of Monroe's older public schools that had since been built elsewhere (a middle-school, I think), so I attended school--however briefly--at all three locations it was in, a feat few can claim honor to. (I made reference to this in my poem/song I wrote for graduation, called Graduation.)
I come from a family of six, with an older sister, an older brother, a younger sister, and my parents, though I also have a significantly-older half-brother on my mother's side that we never get contact with. (He severed all ties, rather intentionally from my understanding--bad blood. Coincidentally, he's also bipolar like me, and has fighting experience because he did MMA fighting at a time, but his similarities to me pretty much end there.) My older brother moved out a few (at least 3 by this point) years ago, having graduated college at 19 and held an internship where he got his current job, and my younger sister is currently attending college up north in Bellingham, where she has an apartment. (She's a second-year student, having lived in dorms her first year.)
I have a part-time job at the Monroe YMCA lifeguarding. I attend college at Everett Community College, which the original of this message was typed for my only class this quarter. (The class is focused on job searching; my mother chose it for me, looking towards my future.) As far as my actual degree goes, I'm aiming for the ATA in CAD, essentially engineering drawings done on a computer, the type used from everything from parts in a plane (a particularly probable usage of my skills, giving Boeing's investment in my school; most of my instructors come from there and teach to Boeing standards) to building plans for buildings to civil engineering; it's a really flexible field with a huge job market. After my current quarter, I'll have the chance to take the one final class that I've been waiting to take since I had to pull out from it last year.
I told them one of the original reasons that I decided to go into the field, a reason that technically still holds true even though it's more and more a lie. That being, the reason I do CAD is because of the potential for a steady, relatively stress-free job that wouldn't kill me, which pays decently and has potential. (They, of course, don't know that by "wouldn't kill me", I mean "wouldn't drive me to commit suicide", thanks to my bipolar disorder and my anxiety issues and my general poor social skills.) I DO have a talent for it, after all, not having problems (at least, for the most part), so it's something I might be able to do for life. The lie comes in for the reason why I made the choice, though. It's TECHNICALLY true, that I want to have a job allowing me to support my various hobbies, but given that my parents are in no rush to kick me out, I could leech off of them their entire lives pretty much, if I wanted to.
The true reason, as I've said on this blog, is because I need to get away for my own safety. The whole transwoman in a bigoted household thing, and all that. For me to have any hope of happiness, I fundamentally NEED to be self-sufficient so that I can come out and not have it utterly destroy my life.
But anyway, I also told them that I do Tae Kwon Do, and I've been doing it for ten years. I'm pretty sure I've said that, and that I'm half-way to a black-belt, before, but no harm in saying it again, especially given how proud I am of my rank and my school. (When I get a belt, I've EARNED it.) I also said that I'm an avid square dancer and round dancer, since my family's been involved in the communities my entire life.
That doesn't even begin to go into the art and writing I do, which're the hobbies that I mentioned in addition to the above, plus all the myriad of different game types I'm horrendously addicted to. I might not play many console games anymore, but they used to be my life. My family owns at least one (if not two) PS1, at least two (if not three) PS2s, a PS3 (my brother has a PS3 of his own, and he also owns a PS4), X-box 360, and Wii (though we lack any games actually worth playing on the Wii and mainly use it for Netflix/Amazon Prime). Plus, the handhelds. Our family bought about half a dozen gameboy colors, with MANY different extensions: memory cards, lights, you name it. Then we also got a few gameboy advance SPs. I have fond memories of many of the better games in there, too, with some (particularly the LOTR games) inspiring me.
Then, there's the computer games I played. When I was younger, it was primarily Oregon Trail and similar. As I got a bit older, I got to expand outward: Age of Empires plus Age of Empires: Rise of Rome. Age of Empires II, plus Age of Empires II the Conqueror's expansion, which if you read my holiday blog you'd know is still a staple of my family. Majesty, and its Northern Expansion, are still frequent plays. Civilization3 I also played a LOT of, particularly exploiting the gold glitch. I play the expansion's expansion as well, which sadly closes the gap but makes up for it by having scenarios (similar to campaigns in Age of Empires, quests in Majesty, and the like, in that they're actually unique, playable levels with set points rather than randomness each time) that I managed to beat every single one of. I even remember most of my adventures in each, too! Portuguese, failed-french-switched-to-Russians, Commonwealth-save-scumming, Japanese-purple-then-brown(I think), and such forth.
Oh, and one that I also played was Zeus, plus its expansion Poseidon. Then there's Age of Mythology, and ITS expansion, too. Most of these games, I played with cheats as a kid but later as an older person tried to beat fairly, and succeeded in essentially all of them. In Age of Empires, there may be some I never finished, either due to lack of skill or lack of time. In Age of Empires II, any that I didn't finish were definitely lack of time, since I'm skilled enough to beat the computers particularly since I found out that the computers on campaigns will never attack villagers, allowing me to castle-spam any enemy to death. Majesty, I've beaten every level fair and square...except the nigh-impossible Legendary Heroes (I think it's called), That One Quest, where you've got the 30-day limit to destroy all the barrows, all of which unleash some of the strongest enemies in the game, frequently. One, easy. Time limit destruction I can do. Destroying powerful layers, can do. Overlapping the two...not so much.
I beat all the campaigns for Zeus and Poseidon fair and square, too. (I originally beat them with the drachmas cheat, but later went back and managed to get a fair-and-square economy going to beat them without help.) Add in that I'm currently playing Starcraft, and have the expansion levels of Brood War to additionally play, and you can see why computer games are an obsession of mine going just as much as console games. (I'd be here all day if I tried to list all the console games I've played and loved; the computer game list is at least SHORT.)
...But that doesn't even begin to go into my horrible, horrible online flash game addiction. (Plus a little online downloaded-hopefully-legally games that I've played, like an emulator for Chrono Trigger and Castle of the Winds.) The number of hours I've lost there is endless, and as any reader of my blog within the typical week will find, I'm ACTIVELY addicted to them. At the very least, I have two I spend an average of 2-4 hours per day on, those being Heroes of the Realm and Clicker Heroes, but there's more I have the urge to play. (More on that below.)
THEN we go into my obsession with the party game mafia/werewolf. If I didn't spend so much time playing it, I could probably be doubly as efficient in my efforts, such as, say, novelwriting. (Then again, if I didn't play it, my understanding of the human psyche would probably be halved, since a lot of the knowledge I have about humanity has come as a direct result of playing the game; I owe my talent as a writer to playing the game, and that's one reason I consider myself indebted to the site I primarily play on, and obligated to pay them back whenever I can. They gave me so much, so anything at all I can give back, I'm all too happy to give.)
But I do, and I love it. I call it the game of humanity, specifically BECAUSE of how much it gives an insight into human nature, which is exactly why it makes such a good game to play: you learn so much about yourself, and others, just by interacting with them, under the pretense of it being a game. Making long-standing, strong friendships through the social aspect of the game. I love that and try to emphasize the fun involved, though there's also the fact that I live for the thrill of the hunt; a good mystery has been something I've been interested in since a kid (the first books I read and truly enjoyed were mysteries), while as mafia/werewolf, I enjoy puppeteering and manipulating people: seeing how things work, the whole picture, and directing the flow as how I see fit. It's all so beautiful, so I've come to incorporate it into an essential piece of my life I don't think I could ever let go.
That, all before going into the communities behind some of these. In particular, ComicFury for my webcomic, and the mafia community I am a prominent member of. You'd be hard-pressed to find more accepting communities, once you get into them a bit and get through the initial impression of elitism. (A trait both sites have, albeit much weaker on ComicFury.) The friendliest, most accepting, open bunch of people you'll ever meet on the internet. (Mostly) civilized, (largely) polite, party-goers that just like to have fun, building years of history and layers upon layers of in-jokes that you love to be a part of.
And speaking of webcomics, that's something I also mentioned to them, that I both read and create them. In the case of me, I've started many (about 15 including failed collaborations if memory serves, around 11 otherwise), and have entirely devoted myself to one, albeit currently on hiatus thanks to the whole "wanting to finish college" first, thing, that I hate so much. (Because my comic's on ComicFury, you see.) By the way, juuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuust in case you don't know by now what said webcomic is, its current style is animesque/mangaesque, inspired by them, in large part because I come from a generation that's grown up watching those shows as a kid and still continue to do so via Toonami.
...All of that was typed mostly because I felt like it, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't also kinda sorta showing off. Because someone on the mafia site I attend told me they're explicitly following my blog now, meaning I actually have a reader! (Albeit just the one. For now.) Hopefully, I don't scare them off!
But I'm not quite done, yet. I want to mention a problem I've been feeling: conflicting feelings on what to focus on. Time is at a premium. I literally cannot do everything that I want to, and yet, something's gotta give yet I don't want it to be anything. Which...kinda sucks. Big time.
For a start, there's my novel. I want to maybe show off what I have written thusfar to my mafia-playing friends who'd maybe read it. If not to where I am, then at least to the end of the first part. I also really, REALLY want to keep writing it, because I want to get that baby published within a few years. Back in 2009 when I started it for NaNoWriMo, I was sixteen. I wanted to be Paoliniesque, except without the perceived suckiness, in that I'd get published in my teens...yet have it be GOOD. So while I knew I was not likely to get it published that year, I wanted it done within 2. 5.25 years later, and here I am...not even close to having it finished. Like, I know perfection is impossible, but there are glaring errors in the book that a third draft will need to fix simply because they're so bad that most publishers probably wouldn't want my book unless I had them fixed. So I NEED to get work done on my novel.
...While also remembering that I have schoolwork to do. Me posting the original of the above (because it WAS an assignment) is a step in the right direction, but nowhere near what I need to do. Now, I do have a limitation in that the book I need won't be available for pickup until next week, but that was mostly anticipated by the teacher anyway who has made the first week fairly survivable without it, meaning I have no excuse to slack off and should do the work that's there.
On a similar note, I haven't looked at my email in months, when I probably really should considering that it's important particularly for my work to do so. I've survived without it, mainly by paying close attention to postings, listening at staff meetings, text messages, and general word of mouth, but I still SHOULD be using my email even though I...well, haven't been.
Then, there's my leisurely activities. There's half a dozen mafia obligations I have, mostly me helping others by offering them advice. It's an easy enough task to do, but it's time-consuming and requires a lot of willpower to muster up, especially when I've got other things distracting me that I am rather prone to wandering off and doing.
I can't really talk too much about mafia activities for safety's sake (I err on the side of caution just in case there would be any possible breach), but needless to say, this doesn't even remotely to close describe the full array of stuff there that I should be doing yet thanks to the conflict...frequently am not.
It doesn't help that I've had a building urge to play Starcraft ever since putting up my holiday blog posts, an urge that I feel should be satiated. I'm thinking of setting aside time Thursday night to play it, but that's a little bit of a risk since Friday's family night, Saturday's movie night, Sunday's booked for work, and Monday's college and work. Why do I say it's a risk? For mafia, of course. Obviously, I'm not talking about specifics here, but just general sitewide meta is that there's time limitations on things. Prods are sent out after 2-3 days of inactivity, and getting too many or not responding for 24-48 hours will get you replaced if you're in a game. If you're running a game like I will be soon, you're not going to be around, either. That doesn't go into polls that are going on in the site right now I don't want to miss, and how being earlier in discussions is usually better than being later, and bundle-loads of other reasons. Simply put, there's a chance of a 5-day gap.
Yet I think it's a risk worth taking to get that blasted urge out of the way, since I'm planning on being more actively involved on mafia during family night than I have been.
...Which brings me to the last of my addictions, by the way, the most invasive of the thoughts that I'm conflicted with. That being...flash games. Now, my capacity to play flash games is somewhat-limited by the risk of injuring my hands, so I need to play primarily-mouse-oriented games, but the urge to play them is there. It's more than just Heroes of the Realm and Clicker Heroes I'm talking about. Those two are both, loosely speaking, management games. I'm talking about other games I'm getting the urge to play. In particular, RPGs. (Not single-person more-western-styled ones, either.) Most of which, I've already played, albeit primarily on my old computer.
The urge to play one of them won last night. I restarted Crystal Story II, getting into the fundamental basics of the game, accessing the town and getting my second party member. (This, in spite of not having beaten the original Crystal Story, even though I have a FAIRLY good idea of the ending, there, based off of the exposition in the second game--which is lies--and knowing from the first game why the lie is there because I got to the point where Hiro got knocked out.)
And...ahg. I hate having all those conflicting urges in my mind, and ultimately, choosing the ones which aren't even that satisfying rewards-wise (you have to put in a LOT of playtime into RPGs; that's one of the reasons I never beat 'em in the first place) and don't offer you anything except that wasted time.
I'm a horrible human being sometimes.