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Bakuphoon’s Anything and Everything Blog: A “Forget-Me-Not” for Memories and Musings

InfiniteBakuphoon

battered, but not broken, bakuphoon
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Bakuphoon’s Anything and Everything Blog:
A “Forget-Me-Not” for Memories and Musings

by InfiniteBakuphoon
Welcome! This here is a place where I’ll be recording life recollections and random thoughts about random things (“memories and musings”) in my head that might normally either disappear instantly or fade away over time if left to their own devices. Both are very transient yet also very precious things indeed, as anyone who’s had trouble remembering things can attest to, or anyone who’s had an idea or thought at the tip of the proverbial tongue but can’t quite get it out for some reason. As someone who has ideas constantly swirling in their head and who spends a lot of time reminiscing on many things, I can definitely relate to all of that as well. And as a writer, I’ve been taught that the best way to ensure that one’s thoughts and ideas don’t disappear or fade away is to write them down as soon as possible, no matter what they are or what it takes to do so. And so here we are with this blog: my “forget-me-not”, so to speak.

Meanwhile, there’s another dimension to all of this as well. All too often people have thoughts and ideas that are left both unsaid and unrecorded, left to be buried with their owners. And if there’s anything that certain things that I’ve been going through as of late have taught me, it’s that you’re never guaranteed time to do what you want to do, or to say what you want to say. You can look as this blog as “insurance”, then; the kind that ensures there will always be some record of me that says that I existed, that I was here, and that I had thoughts and ideas to share with the world: a “forget-me-not” in another sense, you could say.

…or, you could say that this is simply my contribution to the ever-popular and growing list of personal blogs here at Bulbagarden, and that you can pretty much expect to see, well… anything and everything here, all posted pretty much whenever. Yeah. Whether you see these kinds of blogs as serious business or if you’re just looking for something fun and interesting to read, I hope you enjoy reading the random things that I have to say about random stuff!

(Comments are welcomed and encouraged, by the way! Within the bounds of forum rules and basic human decency, of course.)

Five most recent entries (from latest to oldest):
01. [2022/08/04] Anniversaries, Part 1
02.
[2022/06/29] Sanctuary (below)

Index of all entries (from oldest to latest):
 
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InfiniteBakuphoon

battered, but not broken, bakuphoon
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[Entry #1 — 2022/06/29]
Sanctuary

Anniversaries can be really funny things sometimes, can’t they?

…well, at least for me they can be. To those of who you have jumped in and taken a chance on this blog: hi there, and welcome! Oh, and know one thing above all else: I’ll be talking a lot about anniversaries and such on this blog, haha. Today, for instance, I’ll be taking a deep dive into one momentous occasion that happened around this time a few years ago, marking the beginning of a very special and important time in my life.

To begin this little “story” here, I’ll suppose I’ll begin with a little backstory, starting all the way back to my college years (and even a little bit before that). During this time, I had something of an awakening after spending an extended amount of time — mostly high school — being largely checked out of the things that previously made me happy, and made life worth living beyond just surviving. “Surviving” meaning such fun necessities like getting good grades, earning enough scraps at your minimum-wage job to have at least a little taste of financial autonomy, and so on. To use a frame of reference that I’m sure that of many of us here can relate to, one of those “happy” things that I ended up losing happened to be Pokémon. A series that had defined the better part of my early childhood as I sucked up the games, the anime, and eventually the larger fandom in the form of fanfiction and other things. All of which soon disappeared out of my life — along with, again, many other things that I loved — after real life demanded that another part of me take over in the name of securing my future in the tough, merciless, and — in retrospect, rather ridiculously so — high-stakes world of high school. But college, while also being quite tough in its own ways, offered a few breaths of fresh air that allowed me to explore things about both myself and the wider world around me that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to otherwise. As part of these little “explorations”, I took a look backwards and discovered just how much of “life” I missed during my high school years; a different kind of “life” than the one that most of the adults in my life at the time would be referring to when using the word. The kind of “life” that actually made life worth living, bringing me happiness during times both bright and dark while fueling the creative and passionate sides of me that my life once proudly revolved around before the cold reality of the my soon-to-be-adult future forced them out of focus.

Despite this, however, my “awakening” wouldn’t be nearly as rosy as I’ve would’ve liked during that critical transitional period between college life and that of the real world. And perhaps more importantly, my living situation with who I’ll simply refer to here as “my relatives” (as my family as a whole is a bit weird regarding, well… closeness to other family members; I’ll just put it that way) during those trying times was… tense at best, and often flat-out toxic at worst. The details of that would be something that I’d expand on another time — should I indeed ever choose to go there in this place one day — but to summarize things in the most abridged yet descriptive way that I can: I didn’t feel like I could truly be “myself” there; not without consequence, anyway. That’s not to say that there weren’t good times with my relatives, of course — for all of their shenanigans, I do love them, and they’re not exactly complete evil or anything — but most of my truly happy moments in that house were never with them during the day. Rather, most of them came under the cover of night, where I would spend many late hours on my computer and on the internet exploring what had become my true passions in life without fear of some passive-aggressive expression of contempt from one of my relatives, if not flat-out hostility from them towards the things that I valued that they… let’s just say, did not. Or alternatively, said moments would also often come when they left the house on the odd weekends to go elsewhere, leaving me alone for just over 24 precious hours to do whatever. Which, in that case, included everything from breaking out the speakers that I had bought for myself (“for when I move out one day,” so I justified to my relatives) and blasting out my favorite music, or making a movie night for myself on the 4K TV that I had also bought for myself (also “for when I move out one day”, invoking many instances of “alright, Bakuphoon” from my relatives), or even just going outside for a walk through our rather lovely neighborhood, sometimes while bringing something back with me from our city’s “restaurant row”, haha, that I could have as part of a special breakfast, lunch, or dinner that I wouldn’t have been able to do as freely otherwise.

As you can imagine, for all of the joy that I was able to eek out of the rather unpleasant situation that I was in, all of the stress and secrecy wore down hard on my soul after dealing with that for what ended up being four and a half whole years since I graduated from college. Lots of very important milestones did happen within that time, though, namely me joining Bulbagarden (arguably the single most important thing that I did during that time — or even ever, actually — for reasons that I’ll elaborate on in other entries), and — eventually, after a painful year of failed attempts — getting a job. That last one was key, because while I was living under someone’s else roof that whole time, it did have one major benefit: the ability to save massive amounts of money. Indeed, even with the somewhat lower-than-average wages that I earned at my job, having nothing of necessity to spend it on meant that by the end of the three years that I ultimately spent working there, I had, let’s just say… a very substantial amount of cash in the bank. As in enough money to move out even with my lower-than-average-paying job, substantial. And after, again, four and a half years of dealing with a lot of crap under my relatives’ roof, I was more than eager to do that post-haste. The only problem, then, was actually finding a place: one that was decent in quality yet also wouldn’t completely fleece me, either. I worked very, very hard to find somewhere that I could call my own — my “sanctuary”, if you will — calculating numbers in my head for hours on end and touring all sorts of places in secret: after work, on the weekend, and everywhere in-between. Despite all of that, however, I found myself unsuccessful at actually securing a place, given that everywhere that I liked was either unavailable or hideously expensive for someone like me. With the months flying by and the pandemic having now arrived at this point to tear its way through everything, my future seemed pretty dire…

…until, through what appeared to be a moment of pure serendipity, a certain apartment just… showed up, pretty much, at the perfect place and at a seemingly impossibly perfect price. Opportunity had just struck out of nowhere, and through all of the work that I had done previously, I just happened to be completely prepared to snatch it right up right then and there.

And so, within less than two weeks I had gone from being someone living with relatives and being completely at their mercy — except when I wasn’t, at great personal and emotional cost on my end to achieve such reprieves — to standing right in the middle of a place of my own place with keys in hand, documents signed, and deposits paid. At long last, I had found my sanctuary, and everything that I had dreamed about doing in my life was now possible, all without anything — or anyone — holding me back.

For the “youngins” in the audience here: if you’ve never had the experience of having your own “sanctuary” where you can do things however you want and live life however you want to live it, there’s nothing like it. You may or may not have a pleasant enough relationship with your parents now, but trust me: there’s always somewhere in a young person’s heart that wants to “break free”, to to speak, and do things that their parents would either do differently or… not do at all, let’s just put it that way. After all, you’re all different people! And there’s nothing necessarily wrong that, so long as boundaries are respected… yes, on both sides! Even with that latter point in mind, though, one fact will always remain: when you’re living in someone else’s house, they’re the boss, with everything that implies. Again, this can become… tiresome, even in the best of circumstances, and flat-out toxic and draining during the worst of them. There’s perhaps a debate to be had about the balance of power in this scenario between parent and child, host and guest, and everywhere in-between. But in any case, there’s only one way to be completely free to do whatever you want to do and be whoever you want to be, and that’s to step out on your own and find your own roof to live under.

And for the most part? Oh man, was life good under my own roof! In fact, I can say with confidence that the one year that I ended up spending in my “sanctuary” was probably the single best year of my life up to that point. Yes, even as I was living alone. Yes, even in the middle of a pandemic! It really is amazing how a simple change in scenery — and company — can change things for the better, and I was definitely much happier here in this “sanctuary” of mine. All of the nagging I got from my relatives about how I was so wrong for doing things a certain way soon became a distant memory, as I now doing things my way and, what do you know, the world didn’t explode when I did things like that! And all of their little comments about how the things that made me smile or laugh or otherwise make me feel “more alive” basically sucked soon felt like the nonsense that it all was, once I was able to indulge in those things freely and think about nothing else other than how happy they made me feel. There were even random little moments where I would just stop, look around, take everything in and say to myself: “Wow, I can’t believe that this is actually my life right now! I can’t believe that actually got to this point!” Because of course, the relatively blissful existence that I was living at the time is no guarantee for most people in this world, not even for the more fortunate or otherwise well-off of us. After all, just as much as you can live on the street and be miserable, you can live in the nicest place in the world and feel the same. And so I felt so happy that — after a long time feeling not nearly as good about my life than I deserved to — I was finally in a better place both literally and figuratively, with nothing but the promise of even better times ahead.

And yet, in a weird way, now that I had all of this time and freedom on my hands in a beautiful place that I could call my own, I can’t help but feel, retrospectively, that perhaps I didn’t take quite as full advantage of the opportunity as I could’ve. I mean, when I was living under my relatives’ roof, I went to unimaginable lengths in to gain even the smallest amounts of joy in the things that I loved in an environment where achieving that often seemed impossible, and where it was indeed often extremely difficult to do that. But now that I was free to do anything I wanted, it all — in a funny kind of way — almost began to lose some of its luster, you could say? I mean, certainly, I did take many opportunities to do what I wanted to do before: watch movies, blast out my favorite music, take long walks all sorts of places, and eat copious amounts of delicious food from both outside and inside my house, and all of that. And I did also become exposed to all sorts of new things that gave me purpose, spoke to my spirit, and soothed my soul. On the other hand, there were also many weird moments where I felt rather lazy and lethargic, content to simply bounce around idly on the internet or just basically sit around and do nothing. Which is fine and all in moderation — I certainly earned at least some of that — but I definitely could’ve made a more active effort to go down the long checklist of things that I’ve always wanted to do. I certainly had the means — provided by both my sizable “free funds” and all of the free time made available by what was otherwise a horrific pandemic — but what ever happened to all of that drive?

Unfortunately, I was never able to address that while I was actually in my sanctuary, for a darkness would soon loom over my life and threaten to destroy everything in its wake. As the saying goes: “You never know what you’ve got until it’s gone”, and I was about to learn that the hard way with one of the single most precious things that I had: my sanity. To this day, I’m not exactly sure what happened to cause such a sudden and staggering mental decline in me. But to summate what I ultimately ended up going through: the things that I was able to do that I completely took for granted for pretty much my entire life basically became no guarantee at best, and at worse they were completely eliminated as even the simplest and most innocuous things both in my mind and in the outside world — including my house — constantly triggered me into a non-functional state. What was once a sanctuary had become a trap: one that triggered the most paralyzing and traumatic impulses in what was now a highly sensitive and vulnerable mind: one that was one the very precipice of total collapse. And so, with great difficulty and disappointment, I had no choice: I had to leave my sanctuary. Leave there, and then run back into the arms of my relatives, as there was no one else for me to turn to at the time in my moment of need.

But after a very long period of all kinds of struggles that I can’t even begin to describe with any justice in this one blog post, I’ve managed to crawl my way back to some semblance of functioning and normalcy. Not enough to be at 100 percent, no — I don’t even know if I’ll ever truly get back there again, really — but enough so that I’m at least able to make decisions and, well, make things happen, period. Because yes, somehow, I’ve managed to keep hold of my sanctuary for this long, when I could’ve easily lost it as my funds — once a vast ocean of dollars — get closer to zero, even as I’m typing this right now. Having perhaps been reminded more than a little over the past year why I wanted to move out in the first place, the tables have now turned once again: my sanctuary has returned to becoming, well… my sanctuary, and my relatives have once again become, well… let’s just say people who I’d rather keep my distance from at this point after some particularly questionable decisions on their part, to put it lightly. Decisions that, had I allowed them to go through unquestioned, would’ve probably destroyed me. Sadly, I do not exaggerate there: those were exactly the stakes that I was facing. And knowing that full well even in the deepest throes of what I’ve been going through, I’ve done everything in my power to protect my sanctuary, so that whenever I was well enough to return and actually view it as my sanctuary again, I would be ready.

And at long last — and at great cost on multiple levels — it seems that I’ve finally won. For now, that is — because there are still many, many challenges ahead for me in the immediate future regarding both my sanctuary and everything else in my life — but even a single victory, big or small, is still a victory nonetheless. And with what I’ve been going through teaching me above all else to be grateful for the little things, that’s something that I should definitely feel happy and proud about, indeed.

Oh, the stories I could tell about what I had to do to protect my sanctuary! How I could express just how close I was to losing it multiple times, and how I could describe the strength that I had to pull out from deep within myself to protect the future that it represented, not just figuratively but in very real and practical terms. But those are stories for another time, should I one day choose to tell them here. For now, though…

…I’d like to instead conclude this early by reminiscing about that day when I first visited my sanctuary, having signed the lease and did everything else that I needed to do not long before. That day when I walked into that empty apartment with no furniture or belongings or anything; just bright windows shining their light on nothing, and the promise of it all one day becoming something beautiful under my ownership. That day when I felt the AC blow on top of me as I entered, almost as if greeting me as it cooled me down from the long walk that I had taken outside on that warm summer’s day. That day when, having went through so much just to get here, I walked over to my empty bedroom, sat on the floor near where I knew my bed would be not too many days later, relaxed myself up against the wall, and just took everything in as the sun shined brightly and beautifully from the open window, a clear blue sky visible from my vantage point on the bare carpet floor below.

This, at long last, was my home now. This… was my sanctuary!
 
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InfiniteBakuphoon

battered, but not broken, bakuphoon
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[Entry #2 — 2022/08/04]
Anniversaries, Part 1

Anniversaries, again, can be a really funny thing sometimes. And yesterday’s events in particular are making me look back at memories from a certain other anniversary, as I make memories now that will no doubt become an “anniversary” of its own many years from now.

Back in May, for instance, is the anniversary of when I got my second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine back in 2021. Or more specifically, the anniversary of when it reached full efficacy in my body, and thus when I actually effectively “got” it. Sounds like kind of a silly thing to recognize the anniversary of, but remember that this was back in the earlier days of the pandemic when things were quite a bit scarier and less certain than they are now, given that the concept of a vaccine for the virus was still relatively new back then. This was also the point when the vaccines had only just been released to those in the younger age brackets (essentially, people like me), which made it something to look forward to (because not dying from a deadly virus is definitely something to look forward to, haha).

I had gotten the second dose roughly two weeks earlier on a Friday that I took off, which I did so that I could have the weekend to just lay in bed and rest during the widely-reported period of symptoms that many people experienced after getting each dose of the vaccine. In my case, the first dose’s symptoms weren’t so bad, being basically equivalent to a mild cold without the sore throat; in other words: annoying but not unbearable. The second dose, however, pretty much knocked me the hell out for the better part of the weekend, with a pounding, unpleasant headache now in the mix along with a general feeling of just being really tired and not wanting to do anything. On both days, I made an effort to take it easy, which basically meant staying in bed and watching TV all day, all while doing a few special things for myself when I did (for at least one of the weekends, that meant a egg-sausage-biscuit-and-orange-juice breakfast, a favorite of mine on an indulgent day).

Meanwhile, actually getting the vaccine was quite the adventure. Due to circumstances related to where I live, I had to travel basically halfway across town by train in order to get to the vaccination site assigned by my insurance provider. For most people, I’d imagine that such a journey would be an epic pain in the ass to take, and I wasn’t exactly happy that I had to do so. But because I generally kind of like the experience of just traveling around my city on even a random day, I didn’t mind the trip quite as much as I otherwise would’ve. I was actually more worried about being around a bunch of people — including those without masks — but I figured that I was going to take the risk, then I might as well take it in the name of what was probably the single most important thing that I had to do for myself at the time.

The vaccination site itself was very interesting, as far as how they did things and how many people were there. Regarding the former, it basically boiled down to tents on top of a parking garage in a very makeshift yet also still fairly professional-looking setup: something very much reflective of the times. Meanwhile, the whole operation was very well-organized both times I was there, with social distancing and all of that practiced without fail (thankfully); the only real issue I had was that it sometimes wasn’t clear which of the two tents I needed to go to (leading to some mild embarrassments on my part). As far as the latter went, there were quite a few people there from pretty much every demographic you can think of (with perhaps a tad more older and middle-aged people than young people around my age). That was for the first visit, though. The second visit two weeks later, however, was much more empty (and again, with a bit of a skew towards older and middle-aged people, perhaps more so this time).

It was a rather cloudy day on the Saturday that came two weeks later, to the point where I was somewhat afraid that I was going to get rained on during what was supposed to be a carefree day, haha. Nonetheless, when I stepped outside for the first time knowing that I was vaccinated against the virus and that I could effectively do whatever I wanted (relatively speaking, of course), there was a kind of liberated feeling in my spirit that I hadn’t felt in a very long time. Or, to put it more realistically, it felt so good to be able to be more comfortable about doing some of the “normal” things that I had put on the back burner out of fear of, well, being exposed to a potentially deadly virus during those dark days where the ever-changing facts about the virus weren’t always very well-communicated by the powers that be.

One of the first things that I did on that “free” Saturday is take a long walk around my neighborhood, again even with the risk of rain hovering over the proceedings like a cloud (no pun intended, haha). In my case, walking through said “neighborhood” basically boiled down to “taking a stroll through the city”, given my unique — and in my case, favored — living location at that time. It was about a third of the way through my walk that I just stopped and took everything in like, “wow, isn’t this just so incredible that I’m able to do this now?” Again, there was a lovely liberated feeling that I had at that moment, even as I of course knew that the pandemic was far from over and that I still had to be very careful in order to avoid slipping up and catching the virus anyway (or giving it to someone else) even in its lesser, not-so-deadly form that I would’ve encountered as a (then-)fully vaccinated person.

(It did ultimately rain on me, by the way, but I managed to find a nice patch of cover where I stood idly for several long minutes, just observing the sheer beauty of the rain (being someone who actually likes rain, so long as it isn’t accompanied by thunder and lightning which I absolutely do not like, to put it mildly). I believe that was as far as I went, more or less, before I turned around and went bace home.)

The only thing I really remember doing after that was spending some time with my PlayStation 2, on which experienced some of a game that I had recently acquired: Tenshi no Present (or Angel’s Present), a Japan-only sequel to one Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure (a name that you might be more familiar with, or perhaps La Pucelle or Disagea, its much more well-known spiritual successors). The relatively cute, charming, and light-hearted nature of that game — including some of its music that I was also really anticipating taking a listen to — ended up being a fine way to continue what ended up being quite a special morning.

The rest of the day was pretty much just me chillin’, doing what I typically did on Saturdays as far as I can remember (the days in general kind of tended to blur into each other back then). It was an overall very pleasant day, one that’s unlikely to leave my memories any time soon.

And now, we fast-forward to today, where my life circumstances are very different than what they were back on that fateful Saturday in May, to put it lightly. And when it’s just now that I’ve went ahead and gotten my first COVID-19 booster shot. “Bakuphoon, what the hell is wrong with you?” you might be asking at this moment. Well, a lot of things, haha, but let’s just say that I wasn’t exactly in a position where I could get something like that done without also feeling as safe and comfortable as I should’ve been with such an important and monumental thing. But now I am, so at the first opportunity that was given to me to get that taken care of, I just went ahead and did it.

This time, of course, was quite a unique experience compared to a year ago, as much has changed regarding the pandemic — and more specifically, people’s handling and attitude about it — since then. Whereas I had to take an epic journey just to get to a vaccination site previously with many people in line before and after me doing the same, today I simply had to walk a few blocks down the street to an extremely convenient vaccination site where I met exactly no one on my way to the vaccine itself, which was administered to me in less than three minutes, if that. As kind of eerie as such ridiculous ease was compared those iconic last times a year ago, I definitely did appreciate just how easy it was for me to get back up to speed on something that I needed to do for quite a long time at that point.

Some other things were done on that same day, since I figured because I was already out, why not? Perhaps the single most important long-term thing that I was able to do is get my new medication, which I’m hoping will help flatten out some the anxiety that’s kind of been bearing down hard on me for the past few months, and especially during the stressful, uncertain patch that I’m going through right now.

Other notable things included going to the store and picking up some much needed food on an ultra-tight budget (money is not the most stable thing for me right now, haha, to put it mildly) and as dire and kind of embarrassing as that situation was for me, there was a weird part of me that almost had fun seeing how far I could make that dollar stretch (weirdness or coping mechanism in a crappy situation, you decide). I was able to get enough stuff for me to make dinner for at least a week (pasta, a favorite of mine), as well as some awesome indulgent sugary drinks (strawberry lemonade is the best!) and some random things that reminded me of home (turkey sandwiches with fries and an… unusual yet very tasty kind of condiment for both; essentially salad dressing with many fine uses beyond its original intentions). Finally, I was able to get some stuff for my ultimate favorite: banana bread (a family recipe, kind of, that I’ve myself made into my own), which I plan on making enough of to last for several days of what’s often uncertain breakfast. The only thing that I disliked about the trip — besides it being more stressful than usual due to the kind of anxiety that I’ve been dealing with — is freakin’ inflation, geez! Being basically the first time that I’ve bought food for myself for a while now, I definitely felt it as I was forced to budget for myself instead of other people paying for me (and, again, with a crazy low budget). If there’s any doubt from anyone reading this, I assure you: it’s real, and it sucks, like highway robbery for a lot of things that were already quite spendy to begin with (even as there were still some deals too, including a few that saved my ass when it came to some things that I really wanted or needed).

(Oh, and I got pizza, too! Because pizza is always fun. Who doesn’t like pizza? And yes, I still have some left even now, although it certainly won’t be there by the end of tomorrow, haha.)

Now, as far as the inevitable vaccination side effects go, they’ve again been highly unpleasant so far. A headache and a really ominously warm feeling throughout my body – the kind that you feel when you’re sick — have been ever-present and ever-annoying not unlike last time. Although it’s actually kind of leveled out even as I’m typing this, probably thanks in no small part to a much-needed nap that I took a little while back. I’m not sure how much worse it’s going to get from here, but as usual I’m hoping that the symptoms will go away pretty quickly, or at least enough that I can reasonably function tomorrow. I’m optimistic!

And now I conclude this post and my tales of the little adventures within. Now, yesterday might not have been quite as interesting as last May, surely, but I take all of the victories that I can with what I’ve been going through all of this time. And I’m sure that I’ll remember this time almost as fondly as I did the others, in a unique way (regardless of what may or may not happen with me afterwards). I’m certainly looking forward to the kinds of memories that I’ll be making two weeks from now, and I’m hopeful that I’ll find some kind of beauty to appreciate on that Thursday, just as I did on that Saturday.
 
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