Welcome to Dakster's World

A long time ago…and it still hurts

A long time ago, when I was about 8 or 9, I showed some dance steps to a relative. That relative looked at me with a “you can’t dance” look in their eyes. They didn’t have to say anything for me to know from their eyes what they meant. This one experience has stayed with me since. Some might call that silly, others unforgiving but I say it was a lesson learned in rejection.

The relative who looked at me this way hurt my feelings in such a way, I have not danced in public since (with the exception of being in my clone trooper). Why is that? Why is it that I gave up doing something I love in public simply because of one person? I don’t understand it, but I guess it was my first taste of rejection. My first taste of doing something I loved and someone I care about looking at me as if I just wasn’t good enough in their eyes.

I know its been almost 20 years, but it still hurts when I think about that day. I don’t let it get me down anymore, but the memory of that instance hurts and the one who is behind it, will never know and even if they do find out (this is a public blog after all), I don’t think they will ever admit to it.

Ohh well. I might not dance in public anymore, but I have moved on to putting myself out there in other areas. Besides, when I have danced in my clone trooper, I will say that I’ve been given high scores on my dancing. 🙂

Why am I bring this up? I was given a writing exercise and this is what I came up with for it. I think it hits on the high points without dragging you into a long and sad story about my childhood. I could do that with ease, but its wouldn’t be fun to write.

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Anxiety and the Geek

Since I was a child, I have suffered from high anxiety. When I was growing up, it was just referred to as being shy. As an adult, I learned that what I have is not something you always grow out of. In fact, as an adult, it can get worse if you don’t learn how to deal with it as a child.

Over the years, I have figured out what my triggers are, and I have found ways to avoid them. Unfortunately, some of my triggers are things that I can’t avoid, such as social interaction and big crowds. TV and movies can be especially rough for me. This became a serious problem when my husband would want to watch his favorite show, Smallville. I would get caught up in the story to the point that I would have racing thoughts and panic attacks if it ended on a cliff hanger. Eventually, I started having “me time” where I would lock myself in the bedroom for an hour so that he could watch his show, and I could keep my sanity.

Over the past three years, I have dived deep into my geeky roots as a way to get some reprieve. In 2010, I joined up with the 501st legion. In 2011, I was welcomed by GeekMom as a writer. This year, I have found a new love in comic books. All of those things as well as learning how to meditate and surrounding myself with the love and support of all those I call family, have helped me achieve things I never thought possible.

The 501st legion has taught me patience and has given me a chance to make awesome friends. The children I have met will never know that with every smile, they gave me, my heart jumped. Trooping with the 501st has made me realize that even though I am just one person, I can still make a difference in someone’s life. I’ve learned that sometimes you have to ask yourself “What would MacGyver do?” and use some imagination to solve the problem at hand (anyone who’s had a costume piece break off just before a march knows what I am talking about).

GeekMom has given me a nice break from my regular job and allows me to write about what I love. I gain a little more confidence in myself with each article I submit (and with each comment, it doubles). Writing helps me focus my mind on something other than the stress around me. I’ve also met some amazing ladies here, and I am proud to be on the team.

The comic book world, starting with DC and moving into Marvel, has given me back my love of reading that I lost a long time ago. I currently visit the library every week looking for new titles to devour on my lunch. I’ve also learned how to handle cliff hangers a little better so that I don’t get overly anxious about them. When my anxiety is really high, I turn to my comic books for fast relief. It gives me another world to escape to and a story to get caught up in.

Learning to meditate has helped me when I feel a panic attack coming on or when I know I might run into one of my triggers during the day. At the start of each day, I take 30 minutes with my iPod and listen to some music. During that time, I meditate by focusing on the words in the song and letting any other thoughts that enter my mind just float on by. It’s probably not a method any Buddhist monks will teach you, but it works for me. After I leave the house, I continue to meditate on and off throughout the day by focusing on my breathing.

During a panic attack, I’ve learned to find somewhere I can be alone and I do my multiplication tables in my head. This helps bring me back into a logical state of mind and forces me to see what’s really going on around me vs. what the anxiety is trying to make me believe.

In the past few months, my husband has expressed his feelings, of how much I have changed in the last year. With over $1,000 spent on my costume and comics (99.9% of that was the costume), it has been a far cheaper and better therapy than me sitting on a therapist’s couch and taking medication. In addition, I use my iPad and iPod touch regularly to ease my thoughts with apps designed to help calm the mind.

Since 2011, my anxiety levels have dropped tremendously. I have gained friends and hobbies that when I feel overly anxious, I can run to. I wish I could say that I am anxiety and panic attack free, but I’m not. I still suffer occasionally at troops and at work. My mind continues to have days were my thoughts just don’t want to settle down and focus. What I have achieved are ways that I help me cope and a group of friends that understands and are there to help me.


Dear Superman…I Love You. Signed – Lois Lane

In 2010, Taylor Swift released her “Sparks Fly” album. Along with the album’s regular release, Target received a special 2 disk edition that included 6 never before released tracks. One of the songs on that disk is called “Superman”. Now unlike “Innocent” where the connection to Superman might not be obvious to everyone, this one is spelled out as clear as day. With some loving guidance from your’s truly, my husband put together a music video showcasing Superman and one of DC Comics leading ladies, Lois Lane.



A Trip Into Journeys…

The other day I went to Journeys by myself and I asked the sales clerk for a size 11 in “The Flash” style converse sneakers. When she brought me the shoes, I was surprised to see that she brought me a men’s size. Since I know the shoes come in women’s sizes I pointed out they were the wrong size and she quickly fixed the mistake. I could tell by her body language that she didn’t realize I wanted them for myself.

I started to wonder what made her assume I was buying them for a guy. If I had asked for Superman, would she have done the same thing? How about Batman? This started to get me thinking…female comic book fans get the short end of the stick.

In my local comic book shop or mall, I find it very easy to find my favorite characters on shirts. The only problem is 99% of the shirts are for guys. The shirts for the women say something lame like “I only date superheros.” or “My boyfriend is a superhero.” How about a shirt for the guys that says “My wife can kick Supergirl’s tail.” or “My girlfriend is a real Wonder Woman!” Umm…

I would like to see some equality for the female comic book fans. With a recent article I wrote, I got a lot of flak on Facebook for being a “newbie” and worse yet, a “woman newbie”. Some of the veterans were nice and welcomed me with open arms, but others were just down right mean. After I left my computer feeling beaten by a bunch of guys that I will never see or meet, I realized a few things…

I can read just as well (if not better) than some of the guys I know. Why would I not find the same story arc and artistry in comics just as interesting as them?*Spoiler alert*Just as the men like the looks of Wonder Woman and Power Girl, the women find Batman and Superman just as equally physically appealing (except for the Bat nipples…that was too far Schumacher.). Their looks and personality draw us in and give us the desire and need to learn more about them.

Comic books are great! They are just short enough to take up my breaks at work and let me relax. They have also given me something to relate to with my little brother (by little I mean he’s 2 years younger and is 6ft 1in). I really enjoy our quality comic book talk and trips to the comic book store. When I have a question about something I have seen in the cartoons, he hands me a graphic novel to understand more. Recently I started to read the DC New 52 and now I have gotten him into reading it. Now we both get excited every time a new one is released. I love debating the movies with my husband and brother. I tell my husband about what is going on in the comics and he gives his “veterans” opinion on it. Eventually I’ll see him sneaking on my iPad to take a look at the ComicsX app to see what I was talking about.

Although I am still a newbie to the comic book world, so was every veteran comic reader at some point. So to all of you grumpy veterans who attacked me online and trolled my articles, I say this…believe it or not the comic book world needs the newbies (male or female) just as much as it needs you to grow. We are here to stay, so get over it and move on.

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Comics from a newbies point of view

When DC announced their new 52 series, I was ecstatic. I have always wanted to get into reading the Superman, Batman, Justice League comics. What scared me out of getting into it was all the history I didn’t know. The new 52 gave me what I was looking for…a fresh start with all my favorite comic book characters. I would like to think I know a lot about Batman and the others, but the truth is I am a complete virgin to their comic book worlds.

As a child I watched Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League and Superman: The Animated Series. As an adult I fell in love with The Batman cartoon series. So for the most part in the realm of the cartoon series, I feel pretty well versed.

Most comic book lovers know that what you read in the comics and what you see on the cartoons are two entirely different things. The Joker for instance went from being a murdering psycho (comics) to just a psycho who was more of a nuisance in Batman’s side (animated series). My younger brother and I would have long discussions comparing what he was reading in the comics to what I would see on TV. The fact that one character could have so many incarnations still amazes (and confuses) me.

I have started to read The Justice League and Justice League International and I love them both. Justice League hit the ground running with the team not being in formation and Darkseid being the main villain. In the first 5 issues, they already have a majority of their team introduced, so from here on out I expect it to be about kicking Darkseid’s tail and eventually proving to the world that they are the good guys.

Justice League International started a little slower. I already see issues with how the team was formed. It makes me wonder what is really going on in the U.N. They have already kicked some butt but they have a long way to being a good team. The next few issues I think it will be more about Booster as the leader and how he gets the team to be more of a team. I also expect that the issues some of the U.N officials have with the team will come to light.

As for characters, my favorite character in Justice League right now is Barry Allen as the Flash. I have always preferred Barry Allan over Wally West because I feel Barry is more adult and mature. Wally was always a horn dog in the cartoon series. The words exchanged between Flash and the other members is quick and to the point. He makes a joke and moves on. It’s also nice to see him still have a friendship with a Green Lantern like in the Justice League animated series. Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) seems to be a prick with an ego. I don’t know much about him as a lantern so I don’t have anything to compare him to. I was warned not to see the movie so I read a book that day instead.

In Justice League International, I was taken back when it was announced that Booster Gold was the leader of the team. I know Booster briefly from the cartoon series and to be honest, I was not impressed. Another a big surprise to me in Justice League International is the strong presence that Batman has. It feels like the creators are using him to draw in the readers with a popular character. It worked. In this series though, Batman seems to have had an adjustment to his attitude. He acts almost like a big brother to Booster. He doesn’t lead the team, but he does give Booster little hints at what he should do. Don’t get me wrong, he still has that “don’t screw with me unless you want your jaw in 4 pieces” attitude. He just seems a little friendlier on this team than I remember him in the cartoon series.

All in all, I never realized how fun it was to read comic books. The only downside I have found is the comics themselves are not that long…Ohh well, next month the new one will come out and I’ll get my fix again.


Hello World!!

Hey guys! Hows it going? My name is Dakster and welcome to my blog.  This is my space to write and get things off my chest. I consider life to be one great adventure full of meetings and temporary partings.  I hope you find my adventures amusing, interesting, or at least read worthy. If you don’t, please feel free to locate the nearest Sarlacc pit and jump right in.

Image: Dakster Sulliva

Image: Dakster Sullivan