+1 Blog of Wisdom :: Level 2 Nerd

I’m a nerd.  I love lots of different nerdy things: video games, science, Lord of the Rings, Drizzt, math… so many things.  However, there’s always been one item on the checklist of nerddom that I have never been able to cross off: playing Dungeons & Dragons (D&D). Sure, I’ve played D&D-based RPG video games.  (For my non-nerd readers, “RPG” stands for “Role Playing Game.”)  I have read plenty of the Forgotten Realms books; I love Tolkien; But when it came to actually sitting down and playing a game, it just never happened.

Growing up, my mom thought it was “evil,” so that was out.  As I got older, I tried, but no one wanted to show me.  I asked a few folks if I could sit and watch a game so I could understand it better.  No one wanted to let me into their secret lair. One friend tried, once, but it wasn’t actually a campaign, so it didn’t really help me much.  Ah well.  Perhaps I just wasn’t meant to play.  Perhaps I was meant to stay at a Level 1 Nerd forever, and not move beyond the sewers and giant rats of my nerdiness adventure.  Or so I thought.

Fast forward to a month or so ago, when I went to a barbecue at my boyfriend’s friend’s house.  The guests there were equally as nerdy, and we quickly started chatting about all sorts of fantasy-related, video-game related, and science-related nerdery.  It was awesome.  The boyfriend and I were then invited to a game night at the same friend’s house.  As we sat around laughing, chatting, and playing “A million dollars, but…,” the topic of playing D&D came up.  My boyfriend and I mentioned that we had never played, but always wanted to. I mentioned how I’d asked others to teach me before and no one wanted to take the time.  Friend was aghast. After all, how can nerddom recruit new members if no one is willing to teach?

And so the ball started rolling.  Friend lent us the players guide, helped us create characters, and invited us to play in a campaign they were just starting – a low-level campaign with other newbies.  If you’re interested, I’m a half-elf ranger with an urchin background and the main personality trait of being blunt and sarcastic (I got that by chance, but it makes my character SO MUCH easier to play, since it’s basically me).  He’s also badass – with a ton of skills, proficiencies, and special abilities.  Heck yes.

Well, after all these years, it finally happened. Last Saturday, I got to play in my very first D&D game, and it was SO MUCH FREAKING FUN!  Friend was the Dungeon Master (DM) and most of us were n00bs, but luckily there was one other person who was a seasoned pro.  He helped move the game along and gave us hints when we were all like “WTF do we do now??”  Everyone was patient and there to have a good time. All questions were answered without judgment.  No one made us feel like we were dumb or clueless.  It was fun, just how it was supposed to be.  It was warm and welcoming and simply awesome. I was so excited.

It was one of the best times I’ve had in recent memory.  I felt like I belonged.  I felt like I was finally leveling up my nerdity.  Granted, I’m still relatively clueless when it comes to all the intricacies of gameplay, but that’s to be expected.  There’s a lot to learn and know in order to play the game well.  That will come in time.  For now, I’m just in seventh heaven finally being able to immerse myself in the world I love so much.  To travel to the Underdark and talk to characters from Waterdeep… or Neverwinter… or Baldur’s Gate…

My character isn’t the only one who’s on an adventure, I am, too.  I’m learning to be the person I’ve always wanted to be.  And while this silly, geeky thing might seem small to some – for me, it was huge.  It was one of those moments in my life that I won’t soon forget.

We are planning our next meeting to continue the campaign and try to escape the Underdark… it’s scary down there.  There’s danger around every corner and the light never reaches.  It’s depressing – and hopeless. Sometimes, though, when you’ve been under there for too long, it becomes comfortable.   It feels safe – like that’s all you know. But in the game, and in life, you need the light to survive – to thrive. I know that first hand.  You need to find the surface.

For so long all I knew was my own Underdark. The sunlight feels pretty damn good.


Introducing “Writing Prompt Wednesdays.”

I love Instagram. Sometimes it’s a giant dumpster fire that makes me want to throw my phone away, but most of the time, it’s full of gorgeous photos and cool personalities and a bit of escape from reality.

Along with fashion or makeup bloggers, Christian pages, bands, etc., I follow quite a few “word” accounts, @wordporm and @wordables to name a couple of them. These profiles are just a series of quotes or sayings that are sometimes inspiring, sometimes funny, and usually thought-provoking.  I love these posts and often share them to my story.

What I don’t do, however, is write about them.  I’ve decided that this is a travesty because they almost ALWAYS make me ponder and wax philosophical, but I never really use that thought process as a writing prompt.  I intend to change that.

So, for the foreseeable future, you will see a “Writing Prompt Wednesday” blog every week.

I will choose a quote that reached me, let you know the account from whence it came, and then use it as inspiration for a new blog post.  I’ll do my best to post not only things with which I agree or that are all super positive and energizing, but also some things with which I may not agree, or that may resonate on a less-than-positive level with some folks.  The point is to make people think a little, and hopefully, even discuss (civilly.)

Stick around, this should be fun!


The obligatory “about me” post

Look! It’s me!

Hi! I’m Julee. I was born in 1979 in a little city in PA, and I’ve been here (well, in the area!) since.

My life has seen many ups and downs. I have made good decisions and bad. I have had great successes and great failures. I apologize for none of it. Each and every decision I have made or thing that I’ve gone through has brought me to who, what, and where I am today. While I can’t say I wouldn’t change any of it, I will say that I have finally reached a point where I no longer lament the past, having chosen instead to move forward and embrace the future.  I am in a great place now in life and in love, and I couldn’t be happier!  I thank God every day for the blessings that have come to me over the last few months especially, and I look forward to sharing them all!

So how ’bout some buzzwords to describe who I am?

Jesus freak. Yep, I’m a Christian. My faith is what keeps me moving forward every minute of every day, and I will never apologize for it. I have no intention of trying to force you to share my beliefs, but I will not hide them. Also, despite what you might think, being a Christian does not mean I am naive, holier-than-thou, under the impression that I am perfect, hateful, antiquated, anti-science, a prude, or just an asshole in general. Some are. Most aren’t. Just like any other stereotyped segment of the population. Have questions about it? Please ask! I will be happy to share the Word with you, pray with you, explain why I keep the faith. Just please be as respectful to me as I will be to you.

Egghead. Yep, I’m smart. I’m not ashamed of that. I will not “dumb myself down” because someone thinks I’m “talking down” to them. I am not “talking down” to anyone. I speak the way I speak, I have knowledge and opinions that I will not tuck away because someone has decided that smart people make them feel inferior. Aspire to intelligence, don’t belittle it. Don’t fear it. (Yes, I stole those phrases from “The Newsroom.” If you haven’t yet, watch that show.) Spend time in the company of well-educated or intelligent people, and you will start to yearn for knowledge, I can promise you that.  My education, thus far, has consisted of a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and English Lit, followed in recent years by a bunch of post-baccalaureate undergrad coursework in Psychology, Neuroscience, and Math, and a Masters Degree in Accounting. I am returning to Grad School this fall for my MBA in Business Analytics. I am a perpetual student, and I love it. And yes, this is in addition to a full-time job. You have your hobbies, I have mine. My momma always said if I could find a job where I could go to school for free forever, I would never leave. So, here I am. God is good.

Body Positive. Yes, indeed. I am body positive. I am also trying to lose weight. The two are not juxtaposed. Being body positive means looking in the mirror and not beating yourself up for what you see there. It means loving who you are, and with that love comes the desire to be your best. I am not trying to lose weight because I hate what I see in the mirror. I am trying to lose weight because my health is important, and my weight is affecting that. I will never be “skinny.” I’ll likely get to around a size 16… a comfortable, easily maintainable weight that will help my health and stamina and allow me to enjoy life without watching every bite that goes into my mouth.

Plus size. BBW. Any other euphemism for “fat.” Like the previous paragraph says… I’ll never be skinny. I have embraced my curves. I love them. I will always have them, even if they get a little smaller and more defined. 🙂 I wear the titles proudly and happily.

Divorced. Yes, I am divorced. No, that doesn’t make me less Christian – or less anything, for that matter. Sometimes you need to remove yourself from something that is failing so miserably. I spent almost 2 years of an 8-year marriage being the sole source of strength and support for an institution that is supposed to have two people who work their asses off to sustain it. So, when I was asked to leave so he could deal with whatever was causing his downfall, I did as I was asked, and quite frankly, did it happily. We, as humans, have a limit. We have a point where we can go no further, try no harder, and we have to recognize that. After almost 2 years of separation and no changes, dissolution was the only way to go. I am now in the happiest, most stable relationship of my life, and I thank God every single day for the wonderful man who’s in it with me.

Metalhead. “OMG YOU’RE A JESUS FREAK AND YOU LIKE HEAVY METAL?!?!?! WTF?!?!?!” Seriously. Stop. Yes, I like Metal. No, not all metal is “evil.” Yes, there are some bands and/or songs to which I will not listen because of my faith. Either way, listening to a song doesn’t make you a satan worshipper any more than watching “Grey’s Anatomy” makes you a surgeon. Also, being a metalhead doesn’t mean I don’t like other types of music, either. A good song is a good song. A good band is a good band. End of story.

Libertarian. I value freedom. I’m not a very political person, nor do I really like either major party, but I am conservative-leaning on most subjects and will usually vote Republican. I support the 2nd Amendment. I am staunchly pro-life. Murder should not be a choice. I have no desire to discuss politics with anyone, I am simply giving you a rundown of who I am so that you have an understanding. As I said in the paragraph about my faith – put away any preconceived notions first and see me for who I am – kind, loving, accepting, understanding, and intelligent.

Other things I am: Happy, introverted, introspective, funny, kind, sarcastic.

Other things I like: Makeup, fashion, cooking, vinyl, Frasier, Big Bang Theory, Rocky movies, shopping, flirting (with my man!), laughing, Lord of the Rings.

Other things I love: Anthony, the man of my dreams =)  Yes, we are that couple.  No, I don’t care if it makes you nauseated. =)

My heroes: Jesus, Drizzt Do’Urden, Optimus Prime.

That should suffice for the moment. As life moves forward, things will change, and I’m sure I’ll be adding to this list of “I am.”  I hope you’ll stick around to find out more!