How Books Can Bring Happiness

I think it’s safe to say that a lot of us deal with some form of mental illness and we all have different ways of coping with said mental illnesses. One of those ways for me is by shopping. Now, I know this isn’t always the best option in dealing with my illnesses, but if it’s something that brings me temporary joy when I’m feeling otherwise deep darkness, I’m going to do so. Of course, I often regret those decisions right away, but I usually end up with something cute or useful or a book or something… It all evens out, right?

I was just thinking about this and wanted to talk about how reading helps with depression and anxiety, at least for me, and how art is a huge stress reliever.

I know we all joke about how we love books because they destroy us, but is that really a joke? What is it about our emotions being pulled this way and that that make us feel happy? I love to read fluffy stories because they’re super feel-good and cute and they just make me want to swim in a rainbow of daisies, but I also love to read dark books that deal with a very different side of humanity because it’s always interesting to see how they affect me and how I think afterward.

I think that no matter what kinds of books we read, unless we actually hate or dislike the book for whatever reason, it brings us some form of happiness. It lets us feel like there’s more inside of us than what we had before and that’s a feeling that’s very euphoric and hard to let go of.

I haven’t really read any novels this year, but I’ve been reading a lot of manga that’s been making me feel good or giddy or happy. Of course I’ve read some darker things with a lot of action and blood and death, but I find that those stories, too, are just as valuable to me as those that are full of cute romances. When I read novels, it’s the same thing, and I get that feeling of excitement and anticipation when I’m reading. It’s like a light at the end of that dark tunnel that’s trying to keep me trapped inside. I reach for that light and I find hold onto that small glimmer that makes me happy again.

Books are powerful. They have the power to change our emotions and instill in us something other than what we were expecting. And that’s amazing.

And even though I have probably over 200 books that are on my shelves waiting to be read, I know that they’ll still be there, waiting for me no matter my mental state that day, and that’s such a wonderful comfort (even though I’m running out of space ahhhh).

The same goes for art. Art is a super stress reliever for me. I find that when I’m drawing, I can be doing it for hours and not feel hungry or depressed or anything other than focused on what’s in front of me. I’m creating something that I’m happy with (hopefully; the end result is always negotiable in that regard) and something that brings me joy, and that’s something that I wouldn’t trade for the world.

I just want you to know that if you’re dealing with your mental illnesses to remember you’re not alone and to not give up. Find the healthy things that make you happy and latch onto them in those moments. Who knows, maybe they’ll be just what you need in that moment to turn it around for the better.

Let’s Chat! ^w^

What books bring you happiness when you’re feeling down? I’d love to hear any recommendations!

Finding Joy in Art

I’ve always loved to draw. From the time I was young to now, I’ve always had a creative spark in me. I find it to be extremely fun and relaxing (even if I’m annoyed with how the product is turning out to look like).

I’ve been drawing almost every day for about a week now and I’ve found myself to be so happy and lost in a world that I haven’t visited in a long time that I crave more.

I haven’t had this feeling in so long and I need more.

But then I wondered to myself, “What is this feeling?” Don’t get me wrong, I’m really glad to have it, but what is this actual feeling? I thought about it and then I came to the conclusion: joy.

Now, if you knew me personally and some of the things going on in my life, you’d know that I haven’t experienced joy like this in quite some time. Yes, I find pockets and moments and those are of course just as precious and important, but this feeling of doing something I’ve always loved and had stopped for one reason or another to only pick up again and see myself improving and having fun doing so?

Yeah, that’s joy.

And I kind of just wanted to talk about that today because I don’t know about you, but I feel a lot of my generation is having a lot of trouble finding joy in life. Like, actual, pure joy. Something that makes our hearts sing and makes us feel so happy and content in the moment that we want to continually go back to those moments over and over and over again.

Finding what you love to do and actually finding the time to do so can be two wildly difficult things to accomplish. I’ve been searching for a purpose for quite some time now, trying to pinpoint something that can bring me happiness in my stressful world, and I found it once again in art. It’s great having people appreciate my art, complimenting me and telling me I’m improving, giving me tips if they’re artists themselves on how to improve a bit more, and then just people who like my art for the art itself. I find joy in that feeling of bringing other people happiness, for sure, and I want to continue to grab it.

And then there are the nay-sayers. The ones who will say, “Oh it’s great that you have that and everything, but what about real life?” I know of one very significant person in my life who is like that, and I let their words affect me all the time. I don’t think that you should put the things that you love so far on the back burner that they become a distant memory. In fact, I hate that with every fiber of my being. I know I’ve stated in a post before about how I put off art for some time and that each time I did draw I would feel this incessant urge to continue to draw and create more and more and more, but I never really hooked myself on that. I never took that step to really sit down and do it.

And now that I have been, I don’t want to let it go.

See, now, I’m the kind of person that puts everyone before myself. I’m still a selfish brat, but I still put others before me in almost all things. So when I say that I’ve been thinking about wanting to do art full-time, or at least start part-time, I get scared. Not only will it affect me, but it will also affect my husband. I’m afraid that if I were to pursue this kind of thing that it would be just too much all at once. He says I should just Shia Labeouf it and JUST DO IT, but it’s extremely difficult for me to do that without taking SO many things into consideration.

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And then there’s the part of me that looks back at that joy and that feeling I get when I’m drawing and I think, “Yeah, I want to do this. I really, really want to do this.” I want to improve my art skills, become better at multiple mediums, really showcase my style and show that I’m better than mediocre. I want to be able to have fun and do something I love in life that isn’t just a hobby, that isn’t something I just come home to from a job I couldn’t really care about.

I don’t know about you, but finding that joy and latching onto it, is such a beautiful thing. I know that I have obstacles to overcome (like the biggest one that every artist ever faces: comparing my art to others, ughhhhh), a lot of research to do, and a lot of saving up to do, but this is something that I’ve been becoming more and more serious about as time passes. And frankly, my happiness should really start to be coming first.

Anyway, that’s what I wanted to talk about today. My thoughts are probably all over the place, but I needed to express it somewhere and what better place than here, right? Also, if you want to check out my art, you should check out my art instagram!

Let’s Chat! ^w^

Do you ever face these kinds of problems of finding joy in your life in something you love to do, but not really doing anything about it? Do you consider it just a hobby or do you wish you could make it something you do day in and day out? What are some of the things that really bring you joy in life? Tell me all the things!

Attack on Titan Season 2 & Boruto: Naruto Next Generations – All the Questions!

There will most likely be spoilers in this post, so please go forward with caution!

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YES. Attack on Titan season 2 FINALLY aired (over a week ago) and I am SO PUMPED about it! When I first watched Attack on Titan a few years ago (because, you know, it’s been FOUR YEARS since the first season was released), I didn’t know if I was going to like it. I mean, I’m all for action, blood, saving humanity, all of that fun stuff, but I wasn’t expecting AoT to be so… intense? I think that’s the word I’m looking for. I mean, it’s an anime about humans who have been cast off from the world because of Titans – huge beings that look like very disproportionate humans that feed on humans. And then one day, the first wall that this particular group of humans puts up is beaten in by a Colossal Titan? Scary. Lots of death, lots of blood, lots of crying and screaming.

But I was so hooked and I needed to watch more.

And then once I finished watching it with my husband, we immediately went online to look at when the next season was going to be released. And guess what? THERE WAS NO RELEASE DATE.

I mean, why? WHY!? So many fans’ cries could be heard across the world. It’s fine.

But then, I saw the news about it literally a week before it was released: Attack on Titan season two was premiering on April 1st. And we watched the first episode.

AND I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS.

Did it live up to the hype that we’ve been waiting for? Hell yes. It picked up right where the last season left off. We see Eren, Mikasa, the rest of the Survey Corps, and then… Titans. And more specifically: the Beast Titan.

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Like, WHAT IS THIS THING? Why can it talk? Who is it? Why does it want to know more about how they use their arsenal to get around the Titans to kill them? WHY IS IT COMMANDING THE OTHER TITANS!?

And then the art is just up to the same quality as it was back with the previous season. It was smooth, had harsh lines when needed, beautiful coloring, and everything looked like a lot of time was put into it.

Of course, this season is only going to have 12 episodes and follow one specific story arc because many people theorized that the anime company was just waiting for more material to come out before making more quality content, which I personally appreciate and think was the right choice because, let’s be real, there’s a lot of hype and fandom around this series and it needed no less than the best. [For more explanation I found akidearest’s video to be really good as to why we waited so long.]

I’ve got to admit: I don’t remember much from season one because it’s been a while since I watched it, but after watching the first episode of the second season, some of those memories have come back (I just can’t remember character names to save my life, haha). I have so many questions, and I haven’t watched the second episode yet so maybe a few of my questions will be answered there, but for now? SO MANY QUESTIONS.

And then we also got: Boruto: Naruto Next Generations!

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My husband and I have been watching Naruto Shippuden and slowly making progress (of course I had to watch the last five or so episodes because I’m NaruHina trash hahaha…ha…) and then I heard about Boruto and thought, “Well, that’s one way to make cash.” I honestly didn’t think it was going to be any good, but then I thought, “You know, give it a chance, maybe it’ll surprise you.” Because I’ve been seeing a lot of people talk about how Boruto is just a copy of Naruto and doesn’t have his own personality or anything because they were judging from Boruto: the Movie.

Well, guess what? I watched the first episode and FREAKING LOVED IT.

Oh my God, I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did. It felt fresh in a way I didn’t think that they’d be able to pull it off because not only does it include new technology for the world (trains and other electronic equipment) but it also focused on the kids of the Hidden Leaf Village and it not only showed those who were going to be part of the Ninja Academy, but also those who wouldn’t be able to join, which I thought was interesting because we never really got to see that in previous seasons.

And Boruto? Yeah, he’s not a copy of his dad. Yes, he does some of the same stupid things that Naruto did or even crazier things (like, you know, crashing a train cart into the side of the Hokage’s stone face…), but I thought that he felt different from Naruto, even at that same age. I found it interesting that he’s so mad at Naruto for never being around because, well, Naruto’s the Hokage and is in charge of the whole village, but that he also loves his mom, Hinata, more than anyone – and also Himawari, his little sister.

The animation style, too, felt a lot more clean and sleek, as if the animation is trying to follow the times of the Village and advance along with it. I thought that it was very beautifully animated, personally.

And then the plot of the first episode and how it was focused around Boruto going into the Ninja Academy, but it also focused around Boruto sticking up for a kid, Denki, who ends up getting possessed by some mysterious snake… thing, which Boruto sees when his eye changes, kind of like Hinata’s byakugan.

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I love the way that this anime series seems to be going, and we’re only one episode in. Also, THAT INTRO!? I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS! Because it happened years later, when Boruto’s a teen and it hints that Naruto’s dead (which I really hope not) and there’s a mark on their arms and Ninjustsu is gone? I DON’T KNOW, I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS, THOUGH.

Also, another important question: WHO MARRIED ROCK LEE BECAUSE THEIR CHILD IS ADORABLE. Shh, no one ruin it for me, I want to figure it out myself.

Let’s Chat! ^w^

Has anyone else watched these episodes yet? What are your thoughts and theories with the series? Also, if you’ve read the manga and have gotten ahead of the plots, please don’t ruin them! Thanks!

The Future of My Blog & Upcoming Changes

Well hello everyone. How are you all? I haven’t blogged in almost a month and it’s been kind of nice to be away from the blogisphere, I’m not gonna lie, but it also felt weird because I’ve been blogging steadily for over two and half years, and to suddenly stop felt so foreign to me, but I think it was definitely needed.

I’ve seen it said and heard many times that once something, like YouTubing or blogging or even reading, isn’t fun anymore, that you just stop doing it or you need to change something about it so it becomes enjoyable again.

I’m going to be honest here: I’ve read one novel (text-based book) so far this year. One. That’s it. But, I have read a bunch of manga (picture-based books) this year, which has brought me more joy than a regular novel has. And you know what? I’m 100% okay with that. I’ve been a huge fan of manga since I was 12, and I stopped reading for a while, so to get back into it as much as I have? Yeah, that’s a great feeling.

Anyway, that’s an entirely different topic, so let’s just talk about what I wanted to talk about today:

What is the future of this blog going to look like and what changes do I have in store?

I’ve been thinking about it for a while now and I’ve talked it out with my husband and other people, and I’ve come to this conclusion:

  1. I’m tired of just talking about books and book related topics. Don’t get me wrong, books will always be part of my life and this blog, BUT…
  2. I want to talk even more about my other hobbies and passions and likes and interests than before. I want to review anime episodes (because I’ve been watching a LOT of anime lately) and I want to review movies like the live action Beauty and the Beast (which was A-MAZ-ING) and I want to talk about art and my emotions including depression and I want to talk about my desire to travel and conventions I want to go to and cosplay and so, so much more.

It’s not that I’d stop reviewing books or talking about book related things, but I’d be introducing and talking about a LOT more than JUST books on this blog.

And honestly? It’s my blog. I can do whatever the hell I want with it.

If I want to talk about all 76 of my emotions that I felt while watching the first episode of season two of Attack on Titan, then I’m going to do that. If I want to review a manga series like I’ve done in the past, I’m going to do that. If I want to discuss a video game, an art project, or whatever, then I’m going to do that. If I want to do a regular novel review or discussion or tag post, then I’m going to do that.

As this is my own small corner of the internet, I want to include what I love here. This used to be my happy place for a long time, and that changed somewhere along the way. I’m not happy with the content I’d been producing and I want to be able to discuss and do more as a result.

So, what are the upcoming changes that will affect the blog?

Other than what I stated above, I’m contemplating doing a few things:

  • Changing the layout/design of the blog.
  • Changing the name of the blog, as well as the URL.

If anything I would change it to “Rayna Reviews” or something so I can keep the RR logo, but I also might not even change it at all. I’m still a reader, and reading and books will most likely still be my primary focus for the blog, but I just wanted to let you all know of just what I’ve been thinking and why I haven’t been around almost all year thus far.

So thank you all and I hope to still see your lovely faces around even with the changes.

Let’s chat! ^w^

What do you think of the changes? Do you care that I’m going to be introducing these things into my blog? What are your thoughts? Talk to me!

The Guilt of Not Reading

Today I wanted to talk about something that’s been on my mind and heart lately, and that is the guilt I feel when I don’t read.

If you haven’t noticed I’ve been on kind of a hiatus for the last two months. I’ve done blog posts here and there, participated in events and all of that, but I’ve barely read anything and I’ve barely blogged outside of those events and such. I needed time away from the reading and blogging worlds for a while and that’s really because the book community has become kind of a scary place as of late. I mean, that’s a whole other topic in and of itself, but it needs to be said. I’m glad people are speaking their minds and everything, it’s just very tense in many places right now and I have enough of that in my personal life right now that I don’t want it to be in something that I’m so passionate about.

I’ve noticed other readers and bloggers have said the same thing when they take breaks: that they feel guilty – or would feel guilty – when/if they take a break from the reading/blogging world. As readers we’re reading almost everyday, trying to get in as many pages, books, genres, etc. as we can. We want to explore what the world has to offer and we want to explore the different kinds of books that are out in the world. We love reading and being able to share that love and those experiences with others.

So when we’re not reading, that guilt starts to set in.

For some people they don’t feel guilty and they can just go about their lives doing whatever they want, but for a few of us we feel like we have almost an obligation not only to our audience, but to ourselves to read all the time. I know I’ve been feeling this way, personally, and I’ve talked with a couple other people the last few weeks that said they’d probably feel the same, too.

Why is it that not reading makes us feel guilty? What about not blogging makes us feel like we’ve given up an obligation?

So let me tackle the two questions I presented above.

1. Why is it that not reading makes us feel guilty?

The obvious answer is that we’re readers! We read because we love it and it’s very hard for some of us to just stop and take breaks once in a while. There are some people who read over 100 books in a year, so reaching those goals means they’re reading constantly, while other people may only read a handful in a year, and for them that takes time that they might have to squeeze in somewhere in their schedule.

I think for me I’ve been comparing my life to what it was a year ago, when I had a lot more free time to myself and I was able to read to my heart’s content. A few months ago my husband and I moved back in with my parents for personal reasons and it’s been much harder for me to find that free time again. Emotional distress aside, I have a much longer drive home than I used to from work (I used to live only 10 minutes away, and now I’m 50 minutes away from work), so I’m usually exhausted at the end of the day because of that, and I have other obligations where it’s been leeching me of any motivation to read.

But since I’ve barely been reading (and I miss reading, trust me), I’ve been feeling the guilt set in, which leads me to the second question:

2. What about not blogging makes us feel like we’ve given up an obligation?

I personally feel like blogging is a second full time job for me. I’ve been faithfully blogging since the summer of 2014, and I’m just really happy doing it. I sincerely love it and it makes me so happy to have an audience who’s interested in my words and thoughts and opinions. So not really putting in much effort to blog these last few months has really been putting a strain on me, I think. I miss you all because I love you all and you rock. Feeling guilty for not reading leads to feeling guilty for not blogging for me because I’ve been doing this for so long and it’s such a fun job for me to do.

Of course it’s not a “job” and I’m not really “obligated” at all to be doing this. I could just up and quit one day and no one would probably notice. And that’s fine, but because I love doing this so much I don’t want to stop putting in the effort to blog or to read. It’s part of my life – a huge part of my life – and I don’t want to give it up anytime soon.

I do want to say, though, that so, so many of you are so supportive of me taking a break because, let’s be real, we all get burnt out from time to time and need that time to sit back, reflect, relax, and enjoy ourselves outside of something for a while. But I want to come back to this and I want to make an honest effort to do what I can each month.

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

Have you ever stopped reading/blogging for an extended period of time? How have you felt as a result? Did you find it easy to get back into it or was it harder than when you first started? Tell me all of your thoughts!