Self-Care Tips for fans of Geek Culture

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Art by Myles Rowser

I’ve come down with a case of being too woke and it’s starting to take a toll on both my mental and physical health. I’ve seen a lot of articles talk about self-care in relation to the #BlackLivesMatter movement and other oppressed communities and I think it’s important to take some of those self-care tips and apply it to the –isms and –phobias we also experience in geek culture.

Here are a few ways we can survive in a culture that’s sometimes hostile:

Find Your Community

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One of the most important things for you to do is find your community and safe spaces. This can be a group of IRL or Internet friends, troll-free online forums or meetup groups.

There are a lot community specific places online and in person that you can join. Geek Girl Brunch, Black Girl Nerds, Gaymers, Geeks Out and Geek Girl Pen Pals Club are just a few. Do some research and ask around about online and in-person communities that fit your needs.

Having a place where you can just be yourself and not worry about intolerance or hate is vital. Not just for the journey towards a more diverse geek culture, but for life. Finding a place where you feel comfortable may take some time, but never give up.

Do you know any other community specific groups or sites? Please comment and I’ll keep the list above updated!

You Don’t Have to Engage

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The second thing you should do is don’t feel the need to engage. If you’re like me, a lot of your feeds are filled with people sharing and talking about the latest injustice. I know sometimes social media can make you feel guilty if you don’t talk about the latest negative headline or don’t tweet out the newest hashtag. But remember, you don’t have to talk about it, and if you do talk about it you don’t have to reply to anyone.

It took me a while to really feel okay with just being silent on topics of injustice on social media. It’s only recently that I decided to speak up only when I really wanted to and not when I felt pressured to. It all comes down to awareness – make sure you’re fully aware of your actions and in control of them.

It’s also okay to not educate everyone, or anyone for that matter, about diversity, race, gender, religion or sexuality. It’s not your job. Explaining why representation matters and your own humanity is tiring and you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to.

I’ve also come to realize the similarities between talking about social justice online and dealing with street harassers. Street harassers will cat call and try to make you feel guilty for ignoring them or shutting them down, but you have to remember, just like social media, you don’t owe them shit.

Tune Out

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The third thing you can do is to get off the internet. Now I’m not telling you to cancel your internet and phone service, but I am telling you to tune out when your social media feeds and the news become too much. Switch on airplane mode for a few hours, play a game offline, watch a movie, read a book, go to the park and try your very best to not use your social media apps.

If you can’t tune out all the way, that’s okay! This is a judgment free zone. Instead, try muting and unfollowing accounts that often post negative news. If you run across negative media, think like Dory and just keep scrolling.

Go to your Happy Place

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Last but not least, when things are overwhelming go to your happy place and do something that you truly enjoy. It’ll (hopefully) cheer you up and it’s also a great reminder as to why you fell in love with geek culture. Because I won’t lie, sometimes we need reminders.

My happy place is shoujo manga and anime. The storylines are so innocent and sweet. I know the most stressful thing the characters will experience is a love triangle or holding their boyfriend’s hand for the first time. Even that stresses me out! But in a good way.

Whether it’s society in general or the pockets of geek culture that you’re apart of, it’s important to be mindful of your mental and emotional bandwidth. If things are literally too much for you to handle, please please please seek professional help. You do not need to go through this alone. 

Do you have any other tips that work for you? Please share in the comments!

Fangirl on a Budget: Cosplay Hair

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As I mentioned in the comic book edition of Fangirl on a Budget, being a geek girl can be pretty expensive, but being a cosplayer is even more expensive. Sometimes one cosplay can cost hundreds of dollars. Although it isn’t always easy to cut the costs of fabric and building materials for your costume, one way you could save some cash is with cosplay hair.

Wigs can be expensive and at times unavoidable. But, if your hair is similar in length to your cosplay character, but not color, try using hair chalk or comb-in hair color. I’ve been playing around with hair chalk since I’ve had my Rouge-inspired blonde streak. It’s a cute and non-permanent way to play around with hair colors. They wash out in about 1 to 2 washes and don’t damage your hair like bleaching and dying.

The products I tried in the video below are Creative Comb-In Hair Color (neon pink) and Hair Artist Hair Chalk (blue-green). The comb-in hair color pigment is vibrant, but keep in mind it can get a little messy since it is the like consistency of pudding and needs about 15 minutes to dry. The hair chalk isn’t messy at all and can be applied in less than 5 minutes. It’s like drawing on your hair which is kinda fun. In my experience hair chalk comes out bolder and brighter on light colored hair and is great if you want to do streaks or allover color. For dark brown and black hair I think hair chalk is best for streaks and highlights. The best thing is they both under 10 bucks.

I’ve been working with some fine folks from FYE on the reopening of their geeky pop culture store. If you’re in the NY tri-state area, check out the new FYE store in Woodbrigde Center Mall in New Jersey. They have lots of geeky pop culture clothes, toys and accessories. They’re even selling Her Universe! They have a beauty section where they sell hair chalk and other beauty products that are all under $10.

Advice on Finding the Time to Blog & Ending Bloggers Guilt

I’ve been asked a lot about how to find the time to blog, so I felt it was time to share my “advice” in a blog post. I have no idea why people ask my advice because I’m not exactly the model citizen for blogging frequency, but here I am sharing my advice.

The Practical Advice

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Get Real

Set realistic blogging goals. Every blog is different so what may be a lot for one blog, may not be a lot for another. Figure out your sweet spot. Back when I was a baby blogger I wanted to blog once a day… I was obviously crazy. As time went on I aimed for 5 times a week and that was still crazy for me. Then 3 times a week, which was less crazy but unrealistic when you add work and social life in the mix. Now I’ve come to my senses and I try to blog once a week but even that doesn’t happen sometimes.  But you know what? That’s okay.

Blog on the go

I have a long commute and sometimes I get an itch to blog on the way home (usually because of happy hour drinks + Wednesday comics). I usually write the posts in an email draft or the notes section on my phone. Blogging platforms have apps you can use as well, I prefer drafts or notes on my phone because I’m usually underground and don’t have service to save the posts. (I literally wrote this post in my email drafts on the train.)

It’s the little things

Try to take advantage of free time after work or school for little blog stuff. And by little, I mean little. Try short blog posts, answer emails, research, etc. 30 minutes of blog time after work here and there can add up. The best part is you’ll still have time to binge on some Netflix for the rest of the night. Win/win!

The Weekender

I get a bulk of my work done on weekends. I try to spend a few hours in the morning and afternoon on Saturday or Sunday for blog stuff. But if I have weekend plans, a wrench can easily be thrown into my routine. This happens a lot, so if you know you’ll be out of the house most of the weekend, try to work on your blog during the week.

 

The Psychological Advice

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Live Yo Life

Learn to be okay with not blogging as much as you’d like. This is so much easier than it sounds, but repeat it like a mantra. Family, friends, school and work take up and chunk of time automatically. But when it comes to being a geek, we also have to add all the time we spend watching, reading and playing things as well. Don’t feel guilty about that! All of those things are part of your life and make you who you are. If you’re a geek blogger, you need to watch, read and play these things for stuff to blog about, right? So do it! And be happy about it. There’s nothing worse than feeling guilty about doing something you love. Never lose that passion you have for these geeky things. If you do, your blog will feel like a job.

I blog because it makes me happy and I hope my experiences can help others. Never lose that happiness and always remember the reason why you blog. You need to go out and live your life if you plan to come back and blog about it. If you stress out too much about blogging it won’t be fun, it’ll show in your writing and that won’t be fun to read.

When I made the conscious decision to not blog as often, it was also because I decided to blog about what I really cared about. That’s why even though I wasn’t doing several posts a week (or month if I’m being honest) at least I was happy with what I had done because it meant more to me than just writing something to fill up space. This won’t happen overnight, it took me 2 years to be okay with not blogging often. But I also didn’t have anyone telling me to do that. So here I am, telling you to do that.