favorite things this week #2

A cool new EP! A comic series that isn’t published by Marvel! A manga series I thought I’d never read again! Enjoy.

1. Hayley Kiyoko’s EP, This Side of Paradise (iTunes | Amazon | Google Play)

I haven’t bought an album so quickly in a long time. Hayley Kiyoko’s (of Lemonade Mouth fame and one of the stars of the up and coming 21st century adaptation of Jem and the Holograms) EP, This Side of Paradise is fun and fresh, bringing together a mix of vibrant, infectious beats and some really, really good synth. I came across the first single off the EP, “Girls Like Girls” on Tumblr last week, and fell in love with it. Here’s what Kiyoko says about the song and the meaning behind it:

I wrote the song a little over a year ago and it kind of started in a very lighthearted place. There are so many songs about guys stealing other guys’ girls and all that kind of stuff so I just thought it’d be a really fun song where a girl steals another guy’s girl. I just loved that confident perspective that I feel like isn’t really out there as much. – Hayley Kiyoko (x)

Looooooooove it. The video is also very aesthetically pleasing (with soft, warm color palettes) and feels very Sofia Coppola-y. As of now, it has more than a million views on YouTube – a great success for Kiyoko as it was her first time co-directing a music video. Another great song on the EP (but let’s be honest, everything on it is great) is “This Side of Paradise” – the EP’s namesake. Please do check out her music! You won’t regret it.

HIGHLIGHTS: Already mentioned above, but I am so in love with the Sofia Coppola aesthetic – female centric, soft palettes (those warm tones woooow), even the song (“Girls Like Girls”) seemed like it could be in The Bling Ring or something. I don’t know, man, I love it.

2. Alex + Ada by Sarah Vaughn and Jonathan Luna, published by Image Comics

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I was looking for comics to add to my “Comics Wish List” on Amazon two weeks ago and decided I should branch out and read/purchase comics that aren’t published by Marvel. I’ve been interested in Image Comics’ lineup for quite sometime. My roommate, Ivy, introduced me to The Wicked + The Divine (which deserves a post all on its own when I get my own copies of the first two volumes), and I was hooked. I wanted to read more from this publisher, because they are pretty much the Netflix of comic publishers — and I love Netflix. (I will explain this some other time.)

Alex + Ada is set in the future where robots and artificial intelligence are essentially a part of our everyday lives. Alex is your average joe (…but in the future) who is going through the motions of his everyday life after a pretty devastating breakup. For his birthday, his grandmother bequeaths him with the latest in realistic androids, a Tanaka X5. Androids in the future pretty much eat, sleep, and can do the things normal people do, but they have more restrictions due to a massacre that occurred at an AI factory, Nexware, wherein an android killed people. Alex is a bit wary because, a) yeah, there was a massacre and androids are kind of scary when sentient, b) androids are not necessarily good company because they are androids.

I’m not going to spoil too much, but he realizes that she is definitely more than a robot and should make her own decisions, and he ultimately makes a decision that will change his and her life forever.

The art is extremely simple and beautiful, and explores what it really means to be human/real. I finished the entire first volume in less than 20 minutes because I was hooked. I’m definitely going to buy the second volume when my local comic book store puts it on the shelves.

COOL ANECDOTE TIME: Sarah Vaughan, one of the authors of the series, is married to Bryan K. Vaughan, writer of Saga, another fantastic series published by Image. ALSO, special shout out to the staff of my local Comics ‘N’ Stuff – y’all are great. 

3. Naruto Gaiden (Read on MangaMint

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a young girl named Samantha Andico told herself that she wouldn’t get sucked back into Naruto. Well, fast forward many moons later and here she is, reading Naruto again and nitpicking at it even though she hasn’t read the manga or watched the anime since she was 15. She will forever be Naruto trash. The end.

Just kidding. Well, I’m not kidding about the part where I kinda stopped reading Naruto for about six years. I did stop. I used to be extremely obsessed with anime and manga – and hey, that’s not a bad thing at all – but I stepped out of that phase, mainly because it seemed like Naruto wouldn’t end any time soon. I think I stopped reading during the arc after Sasuke forms Team Taka. Damn, that was a long time ago. Well, anyway, I found out that the series ended last fall, so I read the last chapter for nostalgia’s sake and cried like a baby (see my Parks & Rec finale post for more on this), got mad at things, thought of different ways I would have ended the series, and yeah, I basically went through all the motions one would after the end of a series that played a huge role in their life. And then I found out Naruto Gaiden was a thing and freaked out because it was a next generation thing (DAMN IT, KISHIMOTO, DID YOU GO ON FANFICTION.NET AND STEAL IDEAS FROM UNSUSPECTING FANS?) and of course, as I am a complete sucker for next generation stories and because I suck, I started reading it.

Basically, Gaiden focuses a lot on the next generation while still giving us little glimpses of our favorite characters and what they’re up to. Naruto is Hokage (finally), Sasuke is a dad (uh, I don’t even know what Sasuke is doing), Sakura is still a badass ninja and also a mom, everyone is married to each other (see “Highlights” section below), blah, blah, blah. For some reason, Konohagakure has become a lot like our world. They have cell phones. They have computers and tablets. What? I was mostly sucked back into this mess because of Sasuke, Sakura, and their daughter, Salad (a.k.a. Sarada. I just like calling her Salad) and the unnecessary drama Kishimoto has drawn up for the three of them. God, I love drama. Read to find out what happens next! Yeah! Believe it!

HIGHLIGHTS/WEIRD STUFF: I don’t even know what to put here. Oh, wait: a funny thing happened while I was writing this blurb. After typing Sasuke’s name for the first time in this post (paragraph three, to be exact), the inevitable squiggly red line of doom appeared under his name. I right clicked it and one of the spell check options was “Seasick”. I can never un-see that now. Also, InoSai. What the heck? I also read a very cute short about Akamaru and Kiba from Akamaru’s point of view. It’s gold. He says “F*** cats, I am a dog!” at one point in the one shot. While I do not endorse animals degrading each other, that line was pure gold. Good job, translators! Also, if you’re a fan of the manga, check out Kishimoto Masashi’s “Uzumaki Naruto: Illustration Book” – it was published earlier this year. I don’t think it has been released in the U.S. yet, but I managed to nab a copy at Anime Expo last week!

Also, I started re-reading Naruto again because according to my brother, I missed a lot. Oops. 

NEXT TIME: Fandom and the Pursuit of Passion / Anime Expo Day 1 Recap


favorite things this week #1: finals edition

Welcome to Finals Week, where procrastination rules and sleep is but a figment of your imagination. No one likes Finals Week. It’s that period at the end of the quarter or semester (whichever system your school follows) where you are either doing something or you’re not. I go to a school where there is no “Dead Week” (about a week between the last week of actual instruction and exams, designated for studying), and right after the last day of classes, we are thrown into the gauntlet.

And let me tell you: the gauntlet feels more like a slow drag through gravel. You either have in-class finals or take-home finals, or a nice and deadly combination of both. I have that combo this quarter. Take-home finals are the absolute worst. You either finish them right away or you take…days…to…finish…them.

To help me get through these tough times, I take many study breaks to make sure I don’t pull an Ultron and destroy the world as we know it. During these study breaks, I either read, scroll through my phone, or watch videos on YouTube. Here are some of those things – a.k.a., my favorite things this week:

1. Star Wars (2015) comics by Jason Aaron and John Cassaday, published by Marvel

AVENGERS...ASSEMBLE! Wait, wrong series.

AVENGERS…ASSEMBLE! Wait, wrong series.

It’s no secret among my friends that I am a huge Star Wars fan. I was that annoying kid who walked around the halls of her elementary school breathing like Darth Vader. I attempted to write a Star Wars play in the fifth grade with my friends and demanded I should play Luke Skywalker (the play never pulled through but I still have my dreams). When Disney announced their merger with Lucasfilm, I kind of got really excited because, hey, more Star Wars movies! A bigger Star Wars presence at Disneyland! Yay!

With this merger with Disney came the erasure of the Star Wars expanded universe developed between the original trilogy and the prequels and continued even after the Revenge of the Sith in 2005. Thankfully, I wasn’t too well versed in the expanded universe enough to have extreme emotions about this, but I was still really bummed that my favorite Clone Wars cartoon on Cartoon Network was no longer considered canon (I am sorry, Genndy Tartavosky. I still love you).

However, as Disney and Marvel are good friends, they released a new series this year written by Jason Aaron. There are currently six issues. This series takes place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. I always wondered what happened between those two movies. There are also two other series that are running concurrently with this one – Princess Leia (another great read) and Darth Vader (which I plan to read this summer). 

This is a big year for the Star Wars franchise (I MEAN, EPISODE VII COMES OUT IN SIX MONTHS. HOOPLA), and re-establishing Star Wars as a part of Marvel was a great idea. These comics are definitely a breath of fresh air and gives fans a chance to jump back into the universe. I felt like I was at home as soon as I saw the first two pages emblazoned with the phrase “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” and saw my favorite characters in action. The art and writing are spectacular. They’re just a great tie-in to the Star Wars canon.

Yeah, Chewie, we’re home.

HIGHLIGHTS & SHOCKERS (with some spoilers): Luke vs. Boba Fett (LUKE FIGHTS HIM AFTER BEING BLINDED BY A FLASH BOMB Y’ALL), Leia throwing Corellian wine in Han’s face, Sana Solo (I mean whaaaaaaaaat), Vader finding out that Luke is a Skywalker, Luke vs. Darth Vader, Ben Kenobi finally communicating with Luke before said battle before Darth Vader, HAN AND LEIA DRIVING AN AT-AT

2. Watching the “Disneyland: Forever” fireworks…on YouTube

'DISNEYLAND FOREVER' SPARKLES IN THE NIGHT SKY -- 'Disneyland Forever,' a new fireworks spectacular at the Disneyland Resort, illuminates the sky above Sleeping Beauty Castle. 'Disneyland Forever' transports guests into the worlds of beloved Disney and Disney•Pixar films through traditional pyrotechnics, innovative projection mapping technology and surprising special effects. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort)

‘DISNEYLAND FOREVER’ SPARKLES IN THE NIGHT SKY — ‘Disneyland Forever,’ a new fireworks spectacular at the Disneyland Resort, illuminates the sky above Sleeping Beauty Castle. ‘Disneyland Forever’ transports guests into the worlds of beloved Disney and Disney•Pixar films through traditional pyrotechnics, innovative projection mapping technology and surprising special effects. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort)

I’m definitely one of those people who cry while watching theme park shows. I don’t know – I just get overly emotional about them. The first time I watched World of Color at California Adventure, I was a sobbing mess. Thankfully, I got splashed with enough water (I was in the very front row) that my tears were obscured and I saved myself from embarrassment. I just can’t help it. I even cry whenever I watch the Shamu show at freakin’ SeaWorld.

That being said, I was a mess while watching the 60th Anniversary fireworks on YouTube.  Not even at the actual park–on YouTube. It’s a beautiful tribute to the work of Disney Studios, and everything about it from the projections on  Main Street and the Matterhorn to the fireworks is simply spectacular. The Imagineers really stepped up their game this year! Without spoiling too much, I just want to say that the Lion King and Winnie the Pooh parts are probably my favorites.

Other things: PROJECTIONS! The music! Under the Sea! RING. OF. FIRE. I really can’t wait to watch it live this summer.

I am always so floored by the extreme attention to detail at Disney Parks. If I were a computer engineer or visual arts student, I would definitely apply to be a Disney Imagineer…but I’m not.

SIDENOTEUnfortunately, I can’t really say the same about World Of Color: Celebrate (except for the Star Wars segment and other stuff). I mean, what was the purpose of “Let It Go” besides pandering to Frozen fans? I mean I am a fan of Frozen – I saw it four or five times in theatres, but really? In World of Color at a point where it is not even relevant to the overall plot line of the show which already leaves much to be desired? Let it go. Honestly, I know I’m gonna cry anyway when I get to see World of Color: Celebrate live because I am a huge sucker for heart-wrenching music and COLUMNS OF FIRE.

3.「ねこあつめ」(Neko Atsume, or “Cat Collector”) | (On the App Store & Google Play)



I am allergic to cats, but I really love cat-related things. While scrolling through Twitter one day, I saw a tweet made by one of my favorite artists, Kate Leth. She posted a picture of a cartoon apartment FILLED WITH CATS. I had to seek out that app immediately. Thankfully, someone posted a link to download it from the App Store, and I downloaded it as soon as I could.

Neko Atsume, or “Cat Collector” (thanks to my friend Anna for the translation), is exactly what it is: you run a small little cartoonish apartment, buy things that cats like (food and toys) using sardines as currency, and attract an array of adorable looking stray cats to your humble abode. One thing, though: the app is entirely in Japanese. I could read some of it (because I did take some Japanese classes before), but not all of it, so I pretty much guessed my way through the app until I figured out how to use it. You can even name all of the cats! Needless to say, I named them all after Marvel characters. I have all but four of the cats in the guidebook. I’m ALMOST THERE. Tiana, give me strength.

Puny humans. I named this one Thor, but now that I think about it...this should be Loki.

“Pitiful humans. Feed me.” I named this one Thor, but now, after some thinking… I think this should be named Loki.

There are so many different cats. There’s even a cat that looks like Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. It can only be summoned to your apartment with an expensive plate of sashimi and a gold and red hammock. Hilarious. Take a look:

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What a queen.

The main reason why I was so attracted to this app was because I used to be obsessed with an app similar to it: Kawaii Pet Megu, a modern-day alternative to Tamagotchi. It shut down last year. Rest in Peace, Kawaii Pet Megu. You were such a good app. I miss you, my Megu. Never again will I see you wear your perfect smile.

HIGHLIGHTS: Anna Wintour Cat, the really, really catchy music, the art of the game in general. It’s a good stress reliever, unless you are like me with my “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” attitude and really have to make sure you get all of the cats in the guidebook.

Well, there you have it – my first “Favorite Things This Week” post! Good luck on finals, quarter system people. May the Force be With You.

body positivity & educating others

Today’s post may seem a little strange with these two topics lumped together in one – but I thought they were relevant (okay, let’s be real here: they’re both related topics all the time), Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 10.38.52 PMparticularly in relation to Vine personality Jack Johnson and a little thing that happened on Twitter last night (right). Johnson tweeted:

I feel like I’ve seen a lot of girls use this “Body Positive” thing to post slutty (sic) pictures and not get called out for it (insert monkey say-no-evil emoji here) … But the true intent behind the campaign (the whole “Embrace who you are” notion is dope 🙂 … I’ve seen people not use it for its intended purpose is all I’m saying. And these are just facts.”

“And these are just facts.” Cue me cringing and falling to the floor, foaming at the mouth. Okay, okay, I’m exaggerating. I had no idea who this guy was – my friend sent me a link to the initial tweet and naturally, I got heated and the natural questions came to mind: “Why do people worship people like this?!” Thankfully, my aggravation was alleviated by singer Halsey’s responses to Johnson’s tweets. In a nutshell, she emphasizes the fact that it’s not anyone’s place to judge how someone presents themselves, and that body positivity is for everyone, contrary to what Johnson said in his reply to her.

Body positivity is for everyone – it’s a way for all individuals to be proud of who they are, whether they wear a crop top or a turtleneck sweater. That’s its intended purpose. Many people, no matter their body type, can feel insecure – and the concept of body positivity is so important to prove that everyone can flaunt their stuff no matter what and no one will judge them. Outwardly stating that an individual is a “slut” just because they are wearing clothes that show some skin is pretty rash, y’know (ugh note to society: please stop slut-shaming people, especially women). They are just confident in their skin and confidence is the key thing that is emphasized in the movement to embrace who you are. People who even post selfies/any types of photos of themselves are pretty damn brave in this world where some consider taking pictures of yourself a bad thing/a threat to society/a “millenial disease”. A selfie/picture of oneself in the way they CHOOSE to present themselves can be pretty damn empowering! Be who you are, young ones. FLY FREE. DON’T LET SOCIETY RESTRAIN YOU FROM BEING THE BEAUTIFUL BUTTERFLIES YOU ARE. YOU ARE NOT AN OBJECT. YOU ARE YOUR OWN PERSON.

It is so sad when body positivity is twisted into a slut-shaming vortex of horribleness and doom.

Ever since posting those tweets, Johnson has received a lot of flack from fans and non-fans alike. Which is understandable – anyone who says something akin to controlling how people should present themselves can cause ripples in typically calm waters. However, it is clear that while Johnson is all for body positivity, he is still wholly uneducated in the topic. Hey, I kind of even give him props for trying to communicate with Halsey.

However, Twitter is known to be home to the nastiest sharks on the internet. While I’m all for calling people out when needed, when people are young and clearly do not know what the heck is going on, you’ve got to sit them down (metaphorically, not physically in this case) and talk to them. I applaud Halsey for doing that! Sending threats and ultimately demonizing an individual is not the way to get your point across. You just make them jump even further away from the truth and avoid any conversation in the future or get apologies rooted in annoyance.

Be kind. Be understanding. Don’t jump the shark. Don’t demonize someone and drag them through the dirt when it is clear all they need is someone to sit down with them to help them comprehend what the heck is going on.

(People who are actual human garbage, unchanging, and uncaring are a different story, though.)

tl;dr: I will commend Johnson for one thing: he is a positive individual and is all for it, he just needs to be more educated on the subject. Body positivity is for everyone.

concert review: kina grannis @ porter’s pub (la jolla, CA) – 2/20/2015

kina grannis at porter's pub in la jolla (2/20/2015)

kina grannis at porter’s pub in la jolla (2/20/2015)

Kina Grannis of YouTube fame, and a SoCal native, serves as a breath of fresh air in a poppy world of spectacle. 

a quick little anecdote

I started listening to Kina Grannis in high school. The first song of hers that I listened to was “In Your Arms”. I managed to snag the music video when it was free on iTunes. Needless to say, I fell in love with her smooth, unique voice and the amount of detail that went into making the video (which took 22 months to make and 288,000 jelly beans). Here was an artist that was dedicated to her craft. I later discovered her song “Valentine” and pegged it on my favorite television couple at the time (Kurt/Blaine from Glee). After listening to many more of her songs, I became a fan, especially of her covers on YouTube. The rest is history. I followed her on Twitter and have come to realize that she is not just an amazing musician, but a very kind and passionate soul as well, always seeking to connect with her fans.

I bought my tickets for Kina Grannis’ La Jolla concert last December amid finals and a whole lot of stress. Instead of working on a study guide like I should have, I watched my desktop clock like a hawk, waiting for the moment it would be noon and I would be able to get my tickets. I managed to snag a general admission ticket and a VIP pass, which was pretty damn amazing. After months of waiting, the day of her concert came. My friends and I made our way to Porter’s Pub (an incredibly small venue on the UCSD campus) and split off as half of my group had VIP passes and the others did not.

Along with the VIP pass came a short acoustic set. When Kina came out, smiling, everyone was caught by surprise and in awe as she pulled out her guitar and asked us what we wanted her to sing. She sang her two hits “Valentine” and “Strong Enough” – and her voice, sans microphone, beautifully resonated in the little room. She put a lot of passion into her performance – eyes closed, body moving with the music, it was great to see an artist truly connect with her work. The meet and greet line was a little lengthy, but having the chance to talk to her for a little bit was truly rewarding and felt like everything came full circle for me as someone who is very passionate about music and performance. She’s the absolute sweetest. I say this about a lot of artists, but this wholeheartedly rings true for Kina, who takes the time to talk to every single person despite time constraints.

After Kina went to the back and the venue opened for non-VIP holders, her husband, Jesse Epstein (aka Imaginary Future) opened the show. His haunting, ethereal voice echoed about the room, hushing the (very) chatty audience. He performed a few songs off his album “Fire Escape” (which can be purchased HERE), and was absolutely charming and very earnest (“Some people say that my music helps them go to sleep or study…I don’t know what to say about that, but thank you for listening to my music,” he said during the show.)

He then welcomed Kina to the stage, and she performed a myriad of songs from her albums, Elements (her latest one) and Stairwells (her first one). She truly commands an audience, hopping around her mic and truly getting into her music. Her band also forges a deep presence on stage with her and you can tell that hours of work went into making this tour a success (HIGHLIGHT: her band performing a little parody of a song from Super Mario). Kina did say several times that this show was the last one of her tour, which made it a little more special than others. Tearfully, she described how much it meant that people actually listened to her music and followed her on her journey to success.

What stands out about Grannis is the fact that she is incredibly humble and down to earth, and as noted earlier – while she does command a presence, it is neither verbal nor physical – her musicality shines overall. The nuances of her facial expressions and body language are subtle, but hold a lot of meaning and weight. Her show isn’t full of spectacle like Katy Perry or Lady Gaga (who I both love – I would like to say that I am not pitting them against Kina as they are artists in a separate genre category – I’m just stating this in terms of the way their performances are presented. Spectacle can be good. Okay, back to the review. Sorry for digressing!) – it’s very grounded in reality as she also takes us into pieces of her life through her lyrics. This is even emphasized by the fact that she constantly engages the audience in conversation, and invites individuals on stage to sing with her.

Watching her perform is a transcendental experience – her voice resonates beautifully (whoever did their sound mixing was an absolute genius, for real) and her lyrics are very real and raw. “Little Worrier”, “Forever Blue”, and “My Dear” were emotional standouts in her raw set. Gratitude rings through every note she sings and you just know that music is her true passion.

She serves as a breath of fresh air in a poppy industry that mainly focuses on spectacle.

9/10 (While the concert itself was absolutely amazing, my experience in near the front was a bit blah at times as these two ladies behind me kept using the flash on their cameras. Who the hell uses flash at a concert where FLASH ISN’T ALLOWED? Anyway, it was, overall, one of the best concerts I have ever been to.)


my anaconda is not yours – it is mine (ESSAY)

Written for COMM120M – Media Stereotypes
I am super proud of this essay!! The task was to take two articles we read in class and use them to analyze a piece of media. The two articles I used are cited below. I am far from being an expert on this subject, but I love Nicki Minaj. There is no denying that.


Continue reading

in memoriam: parks and recreation (no spoilers)

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 9.54.39 PM

I. In Which I Find a New Obsession (Summer 2014)

Last summer, I started watching Parks and Recreation because I was bored. A lot of my friends were tweeting about it and constantly giving it rave reviews, so I decided to see for myself whether or not this would be something I could get into. The first season was a little choppy, and I wasn’t used to the whole “breaking the fourth wall” aspect of it. Plus, the main character was a little kooky, and not in a good way. As many know, it’s hard to kick off a show – especially one that is modeled after The Office. 

That being said, I remember thinking to myself, “Huh. So this is what my friends were talking about.” I recognized Chris Pratt from Guardians of the Galaxy (one of my favorite Marvel movies), so he sort of kept me glued to my computer screen. I even started falling in love with Leslie more and more – amen, amen I say to you, Mike Schur and Greg Daniels – thank you for your fantastic character development skills. I started seeing a little bit (more like a lot) of myself in her: we are both organized/detail-oriented, a little too lovey, weird as hell, love waffles, and are incredibly ambitious. Needless to say, I fell in love with the character of Leslie Knope.

Once I reached the first episode of Season Two, I couldn’t stop. I started watching. Two episodes a day turned into five, and five turned into ten (I had an excuse. It was summer break, hello?). I managed to finish all six seasons of Parks in about two or three weeks (I even asked my friend if I could use her Hulu account to watch Season Six, as it wasn’t on Netflix at the time). Well, crap.

I fell in love with Pawnee, I fell in love with every single character on the show – the show’s every little nuance, and all of its beautiful continuity. Most of all, Leslie Knope became one of my favorite fictional characters of all time. I am a little speechless right now. Never before has a character really resonated with me.

II. Thank You, Leslie Knope

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 9.52.57 PM

this is literally hanging right next to my desk for daily inspiration

Tonight, I watched the finale with one of my roommates and my best friend Ali (who called in on Skype). To be honest, I wasn’t ready. All day I was thinking to myself – is it really ending? The other day, I got extremely emotional finding out that Glee had finished filming (strangely, I am behind on the show and any news about it, so – wow), so clearly I was in denial that Parks was ending too–way before its time.

Unlike Leslie, I’m pretty flexible when it comes to change. If it’s good change, okay, then so be it! If it’s not – then, well, screw it, it’s not happening (or so I demand). Either way, I accept change in the end. Whether it is moving to another country, changing plans, making split decisions – I accept it all. However, pop culture is a little bit different for me.

Like Leslie, I am very sentimental. My life is always sent into a tizzy when something leaves/ends/changes. Everything changed when Harry Potter ended – many peoples’ lives changed as it was the story of my generation, when Cory Monteith passed away almost two years ago – changing my perception of life a little and how to live it; also questioning many choices I made my freshman year of college. I even felt a little twinge of sadness when my friends told me that Naruto ended even though I hadn’t read it since high school. All of these elements were a part of me growing up and changed me in some way, and they were all gone. I didn’t like it at all. I still go back and read old (quality questionable) fanfiction I wrote and revisit old social media accounts to laugh about how dumb I was at the age of 12. The things I loved losing their pop-culture relevancy in life — I mean, they’re still very prominent, yet not there anymore, you know — was a little scary. It showed that I was growing up, that the passage of time was faster than I thought. I eventually accepted that these things were slowly fading in the world, but would always be a part of me.

Parks and Recreation came to me at a time where I was questioning everything I did. I was doubting myself a lot – I just finished with my second year in college and I didn’t feel like whatever I was doing was enough, felt under-appreciated, and always stressed. I felt that I wasn’t, well, good enough for anything or anyone. It’s all a bit daunting when you’re alone with your thoughts for months on end (and boy, was my summer really f**king long) without being able to articulate them properly.

Leslie Knope showed me that despite all of my flaws, it is okay to brave them and be yourself. I’m not going to deny it – Leslie is a flawed character and that’s what makes her seem so real to viewers. She makes rash and bold decisions, and sometimes doesn’t listen when people try to give her advice. However, she makes up for these minimal “flaws” by being positive and being dedicated to making change happen in a town that didn’t really respond to her kindness very well. Despite the ignorant dweebs in her public forums, the bureaucratic mishaps, the patriarchy stomping on her – she proved that she could hold her own against the Mighty Boys Club Of Government. She was organized, paid strict attention to detail, and planned out her every move. Her self-assurance as a feminist, a woman searching for equality in this messed-up world, made me fall more in love with myself and pursue my goals.

She showed me that it’s okay to fall down because you can totally get up again. It’s okay to have a hectic, busy schedule because once you check off everything on your to-do list, everything will be so much better. It’s okay to be a woman with ambition in a world that doesn’t seem to play the right cards for you. Winning is the only option, unless you lose – so come up with a contingency plan. It’s okay to care a little too much, because who will? Eventually, everything will be okay.

Naturally, it was hard to say goodbye to Leslie Knope and all of the colorful characters of Pawnee. Watching the final episode and seeing all of the characters’ futures inspired me: work hard, play hard – in the end, everything will be okay. Nothing is ever calm and normal. The show proves that people, despite their differences can work together to make things happen. I only hope that my future holds something as colorful and inspiring.

After all, I’m ready.

Good things always come to an end, but they’re never really gone. Eventually I will accept this. In the meantime, there is always Netflix.

Parks and Rec, thanks for being my constant. Thank you for bringing me so much joy. I will love you and I will like you forever.