Hello, Buzz Kill readers.  I’m Michelle and I’m new.  At some point I fully intend to entertain you with my unparalleled wit, amazing observations, and keen insights into life and culture.

jossToday, however, I would like to start off my first article for Buzz Kill by telling you about myself and how I ended up where I am today.  I enjoy things like reading and knitting.  I love video games and Disney movies.  I adore the horror genre in any form.  Joss Whedon is my lord and master.  I’ve met Terry Brooks, author of the Shannara series, twice and he’s an amazingly gracious man.  I used to work the Arizona convention circuit in various capacities and I was incredible at my job.

I am still most of those things.  I embrace all that interests me and I’m not afraid to talk about it.  Loudly.  But I am also more than my hobbies.  I have been so many people and I’ve had so many roles in life.  For instance:

I am a theatre graduate of Slippery Rock University.  I moved from Pennsylvania to Arizona right out of college because I was terrified of getting stuck in my hometown.  I am a former English teacher who lived in Himeji, Japan for almost a year, teaching Jr. High and elementary students how to introduce themselves. Mostly, however, I just sang karaoke, drank a lot, and shopped for clothes and shoes.

As a 30-year-old woman, I have never quite found my calling.  I’ve worked in various fields such as retail, education, food service, and even religious education.  The happiest I’ve ever been in a job is when I worked for Phoenix ComiCon as a programming coordinator.  My specialty was the Whedonverse and I was responsible for all Joss Whedon content.  There was no pay for this, so it was a labor of love and I loved deeply.

Sadly, I am a divorcee.  At one time, I thought I’d found the love of my life.  I thought I was happy and that the problems we had were normal.  When I realized they weren’t and that I was only going to be miserable, I made the decision to leave.  I lost a lot of friends because they never bothered to hear my side of things.  I fought with my parents because I was too scared to tell them the real reasons behind my decision for fear they would be disappointed in me.  I had let myself get into a situation that I’d always promised myself I would be too strong to ever tolerate.  But, I put on my big girl panties and did what was best for me.  I still hurt over it, but it was what needed doing.

For most of my life, I have had insomnia and struggled with depression in one form or another.  In the last year, I’ve nearly been beaten by it.  In the middle of 2013, I had a bit of a breakdown and my doctors diagnosed me with depression and anxiety disorders.  I’ve been unable to work since the breakdown because for a long time, I was too anxious to even leave my house.  It’s been a hard battle, but I’ve made a huge amount of progress.  I’m off my meds and doing well.

Somehow, I find that I am a very lucky woman.  After my divorce, I fell in love with my best friend.  He had been a rock for me during one of the darkest periods of my life.  He didn’t judge or try to fix things or tell me what to do.  He listened to me and took me camping when I needed out of the city.  He held me when I cried and promised to always be there for me.  He treated me the way every person dreams of being treated: with love, respect, and as an equal.

ringDuring a trip to Italy in September of 2013, at a medieval castle, he got down on one knee and presented me with a little treasure box.  “It’s dangerous to go alone,” he said.  “Take this.”  He opened the box to reveal a ring designed off of Zora’s Sapphire from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.  We’re getting married on my family’s farm this May.

Finally, I am a fighter.  I am a warrior woman.  I am scared, but I will not let my fear define me.   When life in Phoenix got to the point where I couldn’t function, my fiancée and I packed up with little notice and moved to Arkansas to be closer to my parents.  Getting out of a giant metropolis has done wonders for both of us.  I still can’t believe I did this, sometimes.  I always considered myself a city girl, but now I just want to live in the country.  I want water all around and the color green.  I have that, now.

I am ready to continue moving forward.  It’s time to pursue the dreams I’ve always been too scared to go after.  I was offered this opportunity to write for Buzz Kill and it’s the first step towards becoming the writer I’ve always dreamed of becoming.  I’ll be writing about many different things for my column.  I’ll touch on my hobbies and all the fun geeky stuff that I love.  I’ll write about life and how awful and wonderful it can be.  What I’m most excited for, though, is the days when I’ll be posting original stories.  I have some ideas and I hope you’ll like them.

Thank you for visiting and sticking through to the end of this article.  If we’re lucky and if I’m good enough at this job, perhaps you’ll come back and stick with me a little while longer.  If nothing else, I will always continue to fight forward and I’d love for you to be there with me.