Brand new episode of When a Nerd Starts Over! We discuss love with a gamer couple and date nights at the Pokemon gym.
Brand new episode of When a Nerd Starts Over ! Kali Grant from the No Ordinary Nerd podcast joins me as we discuss marriage and the importance of “self-dating.”
New episode of When a Nerd Starts Over!
We talk about getting married again, sliding into DMs, and Ryan Gosling?
New episode of When a Nerd Starts Over! Please listen past the first 30 seconds of radio fuzz and sound checks….it was live!
Something wasn’t right. And no it wasn’t the fact that less than 24 hours earlier, a dentist was pulling two teeth out of my mouth. I woke up the next day and felt fatigued. As I got up to do my morning routine, I noticed a bit of a cough developing.
“What the hell is going on?” I quickly grabbed my inhaler and took a puff of sweet relief.
But as the day progressed, the cough was getting worse…and I was using my inhaler more. I started to feel light-headed and my hands started to shiver. I looked outside and saw the bright sun shining into the store.
“It’s freakin’ 90 degrees…why am I so cold?”
I popped a couple of pills in my mouth and waited for them to do their job. I noticed that it took a lot more energy to do the simplest of tasks. Yes, I barely exercise….yes I love food…but I wasn’t this weak. I needed my energy because I had a busy weekend ahead of me. And by sunday night, my voice felt weak and more “kermit the frog-gy” than usual. This was not a simple bug that I could get over it. That’s one thing I have noticed in this whole “getting older” process.” It takes a lot longer to recover from everything. And I don’t necessarily help myself by replacing daily vitamins with Skittles or M&Ms.
Every day that passes by I realize how “mortal” I am. When you are younger your body defies logic…you can stay up all night and eat twinkies and ho-hos…and still get an A on that test that you didn’t study for. But, when you get older, just one twinkie flips your body inside out. I discover new weird pains in my body.
“What? Why does THAT hurt?” I haven’t used THAT in a while.”
I never do anything to prevent anything. I am an asthmatic so I am constantly living on the edge from one asthma attack to another. But, this day was another reminder of how stupid I am.
My breathing was laboring. I was choking on every cough. I couldn’t lie down to sleep because I couldn’t breathe. And the chastising began:
“Geez…see? You dont take care of yourself and look what happens? Can’t breathe again…and can’t see a doctor for another 9 hours. How are you going to sleep? Just lay here and cough the night away?”
I felt helpless. It seemed like an eternity til the moment when my doctor’s office opened. I called right at 8:30.
“…*pant…pant….deep breath…short breath..* Hello? …..I need….*short breath* to see….*cough cough COUGH COUGH* a doctor.”
The receptionist knew the situation was dire.
“How far do you live from this office? Only 10 minutes? Get here now.”
I put on whatever articles of clothing I could find and looked in the mirror.
Gray wool sweater…and blue Nike running pants. Definitely not Next Top Model type stuff and more like a dad in his 50’s going out to water the lawn. I didn’t care, I needed a breathing treatment ASAP.
I pulled into the doctor’s office and they took me right in.
“Daniel….please step on the scale….ok, step off.”
“Wait, how much do I weigh? That can’t be right…cause you know…im wearing this hat. And these shoes are really heavy, plus this wool sweater….this sweater alone is probably like 15 pounds. I mean, wearing this is basically lifting weights. Can we try the scale thing after all of this…”
She pointed to a room and told me to wait. A few minutes later a man came in and asked me the usual questions.
“Ok. Daniel…so let’s take off your shirt so we can check on your breathing.”
“Wait what? The whole shirt, what if I untuck the shirt so you can slip the stethoscope in there…and you know.”
“No, it’s best if we take off the shirt.”
I took off the heavy wool sweater….and the shirt underneath and sat there. I felt so naked. The doctor continued his checking of my breathing.
“Ok…deep breath. One more…deep breath”
I kept looking at myself and my exposed chest and belly.
The doctor left and I reached for my shirt.
“Oh…no. Keep that off.”
He left and came back with two other people. Two people who were assistants, each with their very own stethoscope.
“Great, more people to see my belly.”
I had three stethoscopes on me in various spots.
A few minutes later, they left and closed the door. Again, I reached for my shirt.
“Wait, I’m sorry. Not quite yet.”
And this time 2 more people came in, a total of 5 doctors and interns, each with their own stethoscope.
“See, listen right here in the bottom right quadrant of the left lung…it’s moist.”
I looked behind them and the door was left wide open….and the whole lobby completely filled stared as 5 doctors turned my flabby chest and belly into a learning session.
“Yes, it’s pneumonia, you are gonna need time off of work.We need to get you on antibiotics.”
I said nervously…”Do we ALL need to be in here?”
“Oh I am sorry, yes. These are students and this is a learning opportunity.”
“Well, I’m all for learning and everything…but now the whole office has LEARNED about my issues with pneumonia and from what they see, all the cake and cookies I eat.”
One doctor looked at the door and quickly closed it.
“Thanks, I guess. I think I might have ruined those people’s days…they can’t un-see what they saw.”
Today’s one word daily prompt is “Natty”, and that means clean and fashionable. Now, I wouldn’t consider what I wore to this doctor’s office as Natty, but if you know me, Natty is the complete opposite of how to describe me.
I’ve suffered and struggled with depression and anxiety nearly all my life. I hid behind a smiling face that spit out joke after joke to try to mask the pain and attempt to slow down the constant anxiety in my head. I focused on what people “saw” and what people thought of me. But, I found peace in video games. It was the one constant thing in my life. The thoughts that raged in my head at a hundred miles an hour crawled to a snail pace as I focused on whatever game I was playing. In college, it was a constant battle between partying and video games. And the playstation won most of the time. I wasn’t anti-social at all but I just loved video games more. People hurt me….but video games never did. Yes, it sounds silly but its the truth. Over time my love of video games gave me the opportunity to meet others who suffered the same plight. But, those types of connections disappeared once it became time to be an “adult.”
Yes, video games were still around but those connections with people who suffered from anxiety like me were gone. Fast forward to a few years ago and something happened. I became friends with a co-worker and we agreed to meet for coffee to discuss project she was working on.
“You should do a podcast.”
“Me, no…I hate my voice…it’s Kermit the Frog-like.”
“No…think about it…you could have me on as a guest.”
And that’s how No Ordinary Nerd started. The struggle that I had to connect with others who suffered like me is gone. I meet and talk with people who deal with the same issues every single day….and I meet new people with the same plight every day. This podcast has given me an opportunity to share and heal with so many others. For example, this podcast gives me a chance to attend and cover conventions all over the state.
And it has exposed me to so many aspects of nerd culture that I never knew existed. This past weekend, we attended a convention in San Jose called Fanimecon. I’ve attended many conventions but nothing like this. The amount of cosplay was a bit overwhelming. The costumes are elaborate and extremely detailed….and in some cases extremely revealing. Seeing fit people basically in underwear was unsettling. I remember walking through the lobby and accidentally getting stuck in a group of shirtless guys who obviously live in the gym and thinking..
“Whoa…I definitely don’t belong in this group.”
I imagined someone across the room staring in my direction and seeing me in this group.
“….yeah, that guy is definitely lost.”
“Look at the pudgy guy stuck in the middle of that mess of buff guys…right there.”
Each convention gives “nerds” an opportunity to meet with others who love the same things that they do….and “belong.” That’s what I love about this community. Everyone is so accepting. There is no judgment, its all love. And honestly, this community is the most polite group of people I have ever met.
But, this convention was much more for us, it would be the first time we would be hosting a panel. A chance to present and reach out to others in a more formal ways. People take time out of their day to attend panels that could be about their favorite show or meet actors, artists , and writers from shows they like.
We pitched our idea….and waited for a response.
This was new ground for us. Yes, we discuss our stories and nerd culture every week on our podcast. But, to do it in front of others was a whole different ball game. Plus, each person on this panel suffers from anxiety….so yeah, but people who suffer from anxiety in front of people who suffer from anxiety also, good idea?
“What if like…no one shows up?”
“What? Why would no one show up?”
“Well….look what people have to do to go to our panel. They have to leave the actual convention….walk across the street. Walk across this park. Enter this mini mall…and into this hotel.”
“Geez, if you look at it like that….that’s a lot of exercise. And I only exercise if I know food will be in the general area after all the exercise. Like running after the ice cream man. I might run just to catch him/her…but that’s because I know I will get a choco taco at the end of it.”
It looked and sounded bleak.
We shrugged it off.
“Hey, if one person shows up…it will be easier. Less stressful. More intimate.”
The day of our panel came and I had trouble sleeping the night before. I was imagining the sound of crickets after my jokes or freezing up with no sound coming out of my mouth. But, I tried to hide my nerves from my team. I knew they were nervous already so seeing me freak out would only make it worse.
We had an hour to wait because a panel was currently in our room so we stood near our room. We could hear laughter every few minutes.
“We have to come in after all that? All that joy and laughter?”
“How do we compete with that?”
“That’s the least of our worries…look at the front of the room. No line. No one waiting for our panel.”
Time inched by and we had a half hour to freak out. But, something happened. We watched someone walk up and sit on the floor next to our room…then another.
“Dude…that’s two. That’s officially a ‘line’.”
“Wait, maybe they are just waiting for a friend thats watching the panel in their now?”
That wasn’t true. Just like that, the line started to wrap down the hallway.
This was happening. We walked in and that empty room we were scouting was filled with people to hear what we had to say and share.
It was awesome. One by one, my team poured out their hearts and told the crowd about their issues with anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, and personal trauma. And then shared what saved them….and what has helped them cope. And I looked into the crowd and saw sympathetic eyes. I saw nods in agreement, people who were going through the same thing. It took all my being to not cry at how beautiful it was.
I grabbed the mic near the end of our hour.
“We are all in this to share and heal….and grow together. You are not alone. Does anyone want to share anything?”
And suddenly someone stood up and walked to a microphone standing right in the middle of the audience. And another person….and another…..and another. It gave me goosebumps. Each person shared their experience with mental illness and what saved them. We ran out of time. I looked at a worker who gave me the dirtiest look that said:
“You need to get out of this room….your time is up. In fact, your time HAS BEEN UP.”
I grabbed the mic and told the crowd to meet us outside so we can continue the discussion.
And the healing continued for an hour after our panel. We met and took pictures with people who were in the audience and told us their experiences. It was a reminder of why we need to do what we do. To take the pain we suffered and use it to connect with others and heal together. Mental illness affects us all. But, once we learn that we are not alone, it becomes easier.
See you at the next con!
(Do you suffer from depression or anxiety? Please don’t hesitate to contact me. Let’s talk about it.)
Today’s daily prompt is the word “buff.” This word can be used to describe “waxing and making shiny.” Or if you want to get nerdy, it is a word to describe using spells or potions to make you or your character strong or give them extra abilities or powers. But, in this case, I use it to describe how my team felt after our panel….almost as buff as the mess of shirtless guys that surrounded me after I left the bathroom.
Do you ever wonder what people “see” when people see you? You have this certain impression of yourself. You look in the mirror and can confidently say:
“Hey, I’m ok. I’m decent looking. I’m a nice guy. I think I am mildly funny. Yeah, my head is a weird egg-ish shape….and my glasses seem to look crooked sitting on top of my nose. And I’m not sure where I got that bump near my cheek….is that a mosquito bite? A pimple? Wait…what is that?”
Well, maybe that’s just me.
But, we worry about the impression we leave on others. I always wonder how my friends “see” me. Am I the funny, easy-going guy who has a joke about every single thing? Or the over-anxious guy who is paranoid about everything?
Am I the guy who is well-versed in Nerd Culture and video games with a big heart?
Or the guy who is “way too into Harry Potter and Taylor Swift” who is naive and way too nice for his own good?
Yes, that stuff worries me. But the person who I want to leave the biggest impression on is my daughter.
I wish I could look into her eyes and heart and see the way she sees me. Am I the fun dad who makes her laugh all the time and takes her to all these conventions where she gets to play dress-up and learn about Nerd-ish type stuff? When she sits in on my podcasts, does she think they are cool? Or are they boring to her?
I could look at my childhood and honestly say I didn’t know much about my father. Yes, he was abusive. Yes, he was a terrible father in every way imaginable. But beneath all that…who was he?
What did he like to do? What were his hobbies? What was his childhood like? Did he have a favorite movie or tv show? What kind of music did he like?
I don’t know any of the answers to those questions. That’s sad. Your child should know some of these, they should have an impression of you.
That’s one thing I can be confident in, that my daughter has an impression of me. She sees what I love, she knows what I love to eat she knows I love Taylor Swift, she knows what my favorite things are. Those are all traits I can visually show her.
But, what about my heart? Does she see whats in my heart? What makes me cry….what I am passionate about…what drives me to wake up every day. The important traits that need to be passed on.
I will never know this until one day when I see her mimic that behavior.
Today’s daily prompt is the word “impression.”
But, seriously…what is that pink bump near my cheek,
Want to participate in the daily prompt?
Life has been uneasy lately. But, honestly, when is life easy? We always have worries, we may not be vocal with what worries us or makes us uneasy, but they seem to linger…just like that basket of laundry I refuse to wash cause I don’t know to wash one particular item in that basket. Sometimes, we can take an internal inventory of ourselves and look at what we are comfortable or stable in just to make sure.
“Job?….pretty stable. Parenting skills?….meh. Health(look in the mirror)…no comment. Loved?…..yes, for sure.”
And we take those answers and find ways to strengthen or stabilize them. We seek affirmation from our jobs, our kids….and our loved ones. We might not admit it, but we need that feeling of belonging and recognition. Some of us do not know how to approach that need…we may brag about ourselves to others to feel included or get praise…or we may keep it all in and hope its handed to you by peers or loved ones. People who know me, know that I need affirmation….daily. I didn’t have parents who told me they were proud of me. I’ve been in traumatic and abusive relationships, so I probably need more affirmation than a normal person. That need has hurt my relationships, past and present. It comes off has needy and annoying. But, one good thing about that is that I probably share a lot more than I should. It’s that constant need to explain why I may be acting a certain way. That’s why I believe you should praise people every day…tell them how awesome they are…tell them and show them that you care.
Today’s daily prompt is the word “qualm.” I’ve heard this word many times in my life, but was always unsure about the true meaning of the word. In a few words it means “doubt, worry, anxiety about one one’s conduct.” That’s my life in a nutshell…especially now. Ever since the divorce, I have felt my life was being more scrutinized. Every single snapchat meant something…every single hashtag on a social media post meant something.
“What? He’s taking another picture of pancakes? Who made those pancakes? What? Did you see that glass of orange juice in the background? He doesn’t drink orange juice…oh man, that means something. I definitely see him wearing a different color of jeans, he doesn’t wear jeans like that. Something is going on.”
I hear that a lot. But, I even do it myself.
“Does my daughter seem more quiet than usual? Is something wrong? Is it something I said? Is it because of the divorce?”
It’s ridiculous I know…but it will probably never end. What keeps me confident in myself is although I may be unsure about my internal inventory…job, parenting skills, health. I will always be sure about love. I will never have qualms about love. How I give love…how I show love…and how much love I feel. That’s the only thing I really have control of and I have peace about that.
Want to participate in today’s daily prompt?
(I’m really excited about the next few episodes on the “When a Nerd Starts Over” Podcast, future episodes will be about dating sites, falling in love, saying NO to marriage, and revisiting the “friend zone” topic. Find all our episodes on itunes, Spreaker, Tunein, and everything else in between. If you want to be a guest on the show, please do not hesitate to contact me at:
Brand new podcast episode on When a Nerd Starts Over! This week we talk with Special guest Chris Panama from No Ordinary Nerd! We discuss the struggles of being a Nerd in single life and falling into the “Friend zone.”