Waking the Walker

A mother's quest to survive her son's "zombie" years – aka his teens.

Tag: Norman Reedus

GUILT – Motivator or Inhibitor


One morning this lovely month of October the challenge to get my Son up and moving in the morning was amplified when he missed the bus. If you are a regular reader, you know this is a long-standing problem, and one in which I have exhausted every possible idea as to how to change it. I have told my Son he has to find a method that works because when he’s in college I won’t be there to constantly push him to move. Basically he has to be part of the solution not the problem. It’s obvious this has not quite sunk in yet.

On this particular morning though, I was coming off a bad day the previous day and was not feeling well, so I was not a happy camper to begin with when my Son reappeared at the front door after I had warned him his lack of speed could result in missing the bus. This meant I had to hurriedly finish getting myself together and leave 10 – 15 minutes earlier than normal so I could get him to school on time.

Note, I could have taken him late, but he is up for National Honor Society and too many late/tardies will go against him.

Needless to say I had a few choice words, which my Son did not appreciate, even knowing this was the direct result of his lack of action. Trust me, I know yelling is not the answer, but how long is it going to take for my Son to realize his actions or lack there of, effect other people? He’s close to being 17 and even though he can see this in other people, he doesn’t seem to see it himself. At times he has also tried to throw the blame onto others, including me. This infuriates me, but part of maturity is taking responsibility for your actions, which he does more often than he used to, but in this case, he did not and tried to throw it back on me.

29571713 - illustration of a mother and son arguing

How you might ask? I went to push his hair out his eyes as he was leaving and he paused to look at it in the mirror, wanting to be sure I didn’t mess it up. So, because I made him pause, it was my fault. This took just a matter of seconds. The extra 10 – 15 minutes he lost dragging his butt out of bed certainly had more bearing on his late exit than those seconds. Once those words came out of his mouth he quickly regretted them. My tirade escalated with this and I pointed out that this was all on him.

I was not at all surprised when his next words were “why do you always make me feel guilty?” In this case he most definitely should feel guilty, but by saying this he was indirectly attempting to throw guilt back at me. Again, very much the wrong thing to do in this case.

Guilt is a funny thing. Sometimes it pushes us to go over and above to make up for whatever indiscretion brought that emotion on. While other times, it makes us feel less than whom we are, thus holding us back from fully developing. Or, it pushes us into making excuses for not following through. “I’m not good enough, why bother?” I’ll never add up to anything, so why bother?” A defense mechanism to ease the pain that comes with the guilt.

GUILT is defined as “a bad feeling caused by knowing or thinking that you have done something bad or wrong.”

When we know we’ve done something wrong, whether it be through our words or actions, it can haunt us until we make things right. We need to own up to our actions and accept the consequences. It’s not easy, but it’s the “grown-up” thing to do.

27389644 - erase your guilt concept illustration design over a white background

The thinking part on the other hand can really wreck havoc with our lives. We can play head games with ourselves, over analyzing our words and actions. Believing we did something wrong that directly caused pain for another, when in actuality the other person may not have been phased. Or, we read into something that was said or done and believe the other person was directly blaming us for whatever occurred. When again, the other person has moved on and not given it second thought.

I know for myself I have done this on more than one occasion, particularly since becoming a parent. I have at times beat myself up if I felt I was too hard on my Son or got angry and yelled when staying calm would have been the better tactic. I have most certainly worried that some of my actions may be why my Son may not be achieving all I believe he can.

Classic Parent Guilt I suppose, but you can’t help yourself. You want your kids to be all they can be, so when your kid tells you “you always make me feel guilty” even when you know he’s just trying to throw the blame, you can’t help but step back and wonder if your child might be right. Read the rest of this entry »

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Can You Feel the TWD Love Today?


As the energy built for the release of “The Walking Dead” Season 7 Trailer on July 22, 2016 at the San Diego Comic Con, the TWD Fandom Community was and still is all a twitter. The countdown for the Season 7 Premiere on October 23rd has officially begun.

Trailer Tease

There are many other Fandoms out there, but I don’t think any can equal the camaraderie and love between the TWD Fans. Except maybe the Supernatural gang, but their fan base is predominately of the female gender so there is really no comparison.

Unless you’re a Walking Dead Fan, you’ll never understand the bond we all have. I have never experienced such a tight community even though we are all over the world.

My son and I recently attended our third Walker Stalker Con in Edison, NJ and it was a breath of fresh air after the rudeness we experienced in Disney World while chaperoning my Son’s school marching band last April.

Yes, fans of a zombie apocalypse show are hands down nicer and friendlier than any guest I encountered in the Magic Kingdom.

At the Con there were thousands of people, all ages and from all walks of life, who descended upon the convention center to see the stars from their favorite show, “The Walking Dead.” You have couples, families and best friends, all coming together for a weekend of everything “The Walking Dead.”

It was a TWD Love Fest indeed!

Some are cosplaying, dressed as their favorite characters, while others show their love by the t-shirt they chose to wear, or even with a tattoo or two. We gather to not just meet the stars, but to say thank you for all they do to make our viewing experience an amazing one.

We stand in line, sometimes for hours, but at no time do we complain. While we wait to see our favorite actor/actress, we discuss the show and compare our thoughts and feelings about some of the most gut wrenching episodes. We also get to know each other and often make new friends.

We are most definitely making memories that will last a lifetime.

And the stars reciprocate this love. Welcoming each fan with a handshake, a hug or both, as we come to their booth to get autographs, selfies or both. And, even a brief Meet and Greet for those whose budget is tight or have come baring gifts, which was me the past two conventions. Handing out t-shirts to promote this blog and much to my surprise, at this one, Iron E. Singleton was wearing the t-shirt I gave him at the last Con.

On a side note, please be aware that although Meet and Greets are allowed, if they get excessive, the powers that be will limit them to late in the day or cut them off all together. So please don’t abuse this fantastic opportunity. Remember these stars are giving up their weekends to come to the con. Some coming right from the set, taking red eye flights, and heading back late Sunday for an early set call on Monday. Yes, they are doing what they love, but they still deserve time off.

What an amazing feeling it is to chat with the stars about the show, your family, their family, past projects, future projects, whatever it is that you might want to discuss. For anywhere from 5 – 10 minutes, some even longer depending on the situation, it’s just you and your favorite actor/actress. This is most definitely the highlight of the convention. You cannot put a price on this.

For me though, in addition to that, I can’t put a price on this time spent just my son and me. It wasn’t until we got home Sunday night after the con that I realized how much these conventions truly mean to me. We were barely in the door and my son was on his computer, chatting with friends and playing games. I know, he’s a typical teenager, but after such an amazing weekend it would have been nice to have the camaraderie between him and I linger on, even if just for the rest of the day.

As my son gets older and slowly pulls away from me in search of his independence, these conventions become two days to have my son all to myself. These times are beyond special. Our day-to-day schedule can be so full, with the only time we have together being dinner, and even that can be filled with conversation about what needs to be tended to, so time away from home, doing what we both love, brings pure joy to my heart in more ways than I can count.

As I’ve said many times before, who knew a zombie apocalypse would help me make it through my son’s teens and allow me to get closer to him.

Walker Kills

When my Son dragged me into the apocalyptic world of “The Walking Dead” back in 2013, I never thought the bond it created would be one that would be so valuable. At the time it was just something fun for the two us to do together. We would watch the show and discuss the episode. Since he reads the comics he always had/has insights that I would not pick up on. It created an open forum for discussions that sometimes would lead to subjects beyond the show. An open portal for territory we might not otherwise have discussed.

And here we are 3 years later completely immersed into the TWD Community, loving every minute of it and still going strong, if not stronger.

We are planning on heading to Georgia next Summer to do a repeat TWD Summer Road Trip, just as we did in 2014, but this time taking more time to explore. Hopefully my Son will have his license by then and can help with the driving.

Of course we will do all 3 Big Zombie Tours and include a visit to Nic and Norman’s, the restaurant opened in Senoia, AKA Woodbury, that is owned by Greg Nicotero, Norman Reedus and four additional producers. A TWD trip would not be complete without dining at this fine establishment. Who knows, we may just run into someone involved with the show?

TWD Road Trip Collage

I’m getting all a flutter just thinking about going back to Georgia. Planning this trip will bring light into the grey Winter days of January and February.

We have also decided once my Son turns 18 we will volunteer at one of the Walker Stalker Cons so we can experience things from the other side. This will take us up the end of my Son’s High School Years and usher in the next leg of his journey, College.

A journey that will most likely challenge both of us for different reasons. Let’s just hope the challenges are not of apocalyptic proportions.

I believe though, the toughest phase of the “Waking the Walker” Journey is still ahead of us. Dealing with all that’s involved in ones Junior and Senior Years of High School, plus all that goes into the process of selecting a career and college suited to get you prepared for that career, will most definitely test our stress and anxiety levels. Which in turn could pit us against each other, although I’m hoping the closeness we’ve achieved while bonding over TWD will help us sail through these years unscathed and create an even stronger bond.

Memories

The next two years will prove to be the real testing ground for my “TWD Apocalyptic Parenting Tactic.” Will it pass or fail is yet to be determined, but I can say so far it’s looking pretty good.

Why? Because I can most certainly feel the TWD LOVE, not just tonight, but every day!

 

© Mariann E. Danko and Waking the Walker, 2016. All rights reserved.

Photos from my Personal Collection

http://walkerstalkercon.com/

http://atlantamovietours.com/tours/big-zombie-tour/

http://atlantamovietours.com/tours/big-zombie-tour-2/

http://atlantamovietours.com/tours/big-zombie-tour-3/

https://www.facebook.com/nicandnormansofficialpage/

http://www.scifiphotoguys.com/

 

 

 

 

 

The Consequences of a Bad Decision


As a writer (yet-to-be published, produced, or paid) discussing the storyline of a TV show, movie or book is one of my favorite things to do. I love to hear writers, directors, producers, and actors talk about their craft, about bringing characters to life and the path those characters take or could take along the way.

Turns out my son has inherited this gene and although for many years has fought the writing thing, I found out recently that he now considers English not only a favorite subject, but one of his better ones, plus, lists writing as a top skill. You can only imagine what joy this brought to me when I heard those words.

Writer

My son’s imagination is like no other I have come across. His ideas go far and wide and I have always told him to write them down because one day his mind will be cluttered with so much real world crap he may forget these brilliant sparks of creativity. He has yet to do this with all of his ideas, but he has over the years kept a file on game ideas, which all evolve from a storyline, so he’s got that much going for himself.

Needless to say, him and I can get into some serious discussions about story lines and characters, especially when it comes to “The Walking Dead.” Since he has read the graphic novels the show is based on, he often gets very excited when things play out according to the book or when a new character from the book is introduced. I saw a lot this over the past season, especially the closer we got to the season finale.

Whether you have read the books or not, if you are an avid fan of the show, you are aware of the notorious barbwire wrapped bat wielding villain Negan (Jeffrey Dean Moragn) (evil personified) and the anticipation of his arrival on the show was making book readers in particular salivate.

I myself was dreading it because along with his arrival brings the departure of a beloved character in an extremely brutal way. The key question was whether the writers of the show would stay true to the book or deviate, which is often the case. And, how on earth would they show this horrific scene (barbwire covered bat connects to victims head multiple times) on regular TV?

Lucille

My son and I had many speculative discussions leading up to the season finale, each with our own ideas about where the writers may take the story. My son believing they will stay true to the books, and me feeling stronger that they would switch things up. Turns out they ended the show on a cliffhanger, so we will have to wait till Season Seven to see who became Negan’s first victim, but, we both feel that the cliffhanger did not detract from the brilliant story telling in this finale. (Note, we are in the minority here.) Read the rest of this entry »

Finding Peace in Being Alone


Kind of ironic that in the month we celebrate “love” I’ve been pondering the ever-present fact that in the not-so-distant future I will be alone. I mean really alone, just me at home. These thoughts were triggered while writing last month’s post when I touched on the subject of the inevitable day when my son will leave home for college.

Pondering being alone

I have been single the whole time I’ve been raising my son, but I always had the company of my son. Plus my Mother on weekends, and one of my sisters, who helped care for my Mom the last two years before she ended up in a nursing home in December of 2015. So, being single never really bothered me.

Add to that, between home and work I didn’t have the time for much of a social life or to dedicate to nurturing a romantic relationship. My life was full and I was content.

In reality, the idea of being alone began to wander through my mind after my Mother’s passing last April, but it really only hit home with my son turning 16 and the serious discussion of college.

To be honest, I’m actually OK with it. There’s a certain sense of peace I get with this solitude. Which is probably a good thing, considering I’m pursuing the profession of writer. A lot of alone time required when writing.

Vacation

Read the rest of this entry »

Apocalyptic Hygiene


Mother Nature Shower

Mother Nature’s Shower

Considering how heavy the past couple months posts have been I just couldn’t resist lightening things up a bit this month.  What better than apocalyptic hygiene to serve that purpose? The opportunities to thoroughly bathe are far and few between when living in an apocalyptic world on the run from zombies and humans who just might want to cook you for dinner. Something we take for granted is a luxury in this world.

Bearded Rick

Bearded Rick

This was extremely evident as Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) band of survivors in “The Walking Dead” finally landed in the Alexandria safe zone. Although they may be having trouble settling in and assimilating there, they certainly were thrilled to have hot, running water and toiletries. Upon arriving in Alexandria, all but Daryl didn’t waste any time taking advantage of the opportunity to shower, brush their teeth and in Rick’s case, shave. (Definitely like the clean shaven Rick better than the bearded one. Love that chiseled jaw line.)

Clean Shaven Rick

Clean Shaven Rick

If you think about it, I’m sure the humans don’t smell much better than the rotting corpses roaming the lands. Something tells me if this show could be viewed in smell-o-vision it would not be as popular. That’s real sweat on the actors from the ever oppressive Georgia summer heat. After 10 hours in that heat I’m quite sure their deodorant isn’t working that great any more. If we could actually smell how ripe all the survivors are, I would think we would all be turned off. In addition, I don’t think the female fan base Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Rick have would be quite as large as it is. Let’s face it, there is nothing sexy about an stinky, unbathed man, especially one that hasn’t bathed in days, weeks, or months. There is absolutely nothing appealing about running your fingers through greasy, uncombed hair. Could you actually run your fingers through greasy, uncombed hair?

Sweaty Survivors

Sweaty Survivors

Considering all the life threatening situations the characters of TWD face, thinking about their hygiene may seem like a trivial thing, but there are days I feel like my fifteen year old son believes he is living in apocalyptic conditions and his life would be threatened if he paused to take a shower. Getting him in the shower is as much a challenge as getting him out of bed in the morning. You’d think I’m making him donate an organ or a limb. Once he’s in though, I can’t get him out, and he uses up the hot water.  There is no happy medium with him. Read the rest of this entry »

RESPECT


Even with a new year, some things never change. For me, it’s my struggle to wake my walker in the morning. As a matter of fact, the older he gets, the worse it gets. He is definitely cocooning in his new loft bed. In lieu of dynamite, I knew I had to find another tactic. Turns out that tactic came in the form of Sgt. Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) from “The Walking Dead.” With the clock ticking away and my frustration building because my son wasn’t getting out of bed, I found myself standing at the bottom of the steps yelling “MOVE!!!!” as loud as I possibly could. After a week or so of this, I realized I sounded like Sgt. Abraham Ford from “The Walking Dead” Season Five opening episode. Once I made this connection it was all I needed to take it to the next level.

Sargent Abraham Ford

Sargent Abraham Ford

On the extremely tough mornings, I stand at my son’s bedroom door and in my best Sgt. Abraham Ford style voice and infliction I state “This is Sgt. Abraham Ford reporting for my new mission. It’s time to get up soldier. Don’t make me yell. Do I have to remind you what your job is?” By this point my son starts to groan and pleads with me to stop. The Sgt. informs him he will only stop when he gets up. He has a mission to complete and will be relentless until it is accomplished. My son gives in and gets up, slowly, but he still gets up. The Sgt. is fulfilled, his mission is completed, at least for that day.

I’ve found now that sometimes just the threat of sending in the Sgt. is enough to get my son moving. This made me wonder why a military style approach would have more impact than all the others? The only thing I could link this to was respect. In general, most military officers command respect just by their presence, so even though the Sargent in this situation is fictitious and Mom’s impersonating him, by ignoring his orders my son was being disrespectful. Granted, this could be a far fetched concept, my son could just find this so annoying it motivates him to move, but it made my mind meander to the topic of respect. Read the rest of this entry »

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back


By the time I post this, we will be a week into summer vacation and my son’s middle school years will be a blur in my rearview mirror, so, I thought it would be the ideal time to evaluate the impact my new “TWD Apocalyptic Parenting Tactic” has had on my son and myself. This experiment, as I like to call it, really just got off the ground in January, so I’m only pooling from five months, but, knowing that summer and high school (UGHHHH!) will bring on new challenges, I figured it would be good to review what works and what doesn’t. So, here we go. Note, if you haven’t read any other posts besides this one, the next couple paragraphs won’t make much sense, but hopefully they’ll inspire you to read my previous posts.

First I’ll start with the concept, “TWD Apocalyptic Parenting Tactic.” Knowing that I have hit a nerve with my son on more than one occasion, pretty much seals this as a valid method of parenting, at least for me. Plus, having “The Walking Dead” as a bonding factor has helped our relationship grow in ways I never thought possible. As a matter of fact, my end of middle school gift to my son was a trip to the Philly Wizard World/Comic Con, where we had our picture taken with Norman Reedus, AKA, Daryl Dixon in “The Walking Dead.” Then, later in the summer, we will be road tripping to Atlanta to do the Big Zombie Tours by Atlanta Movie Tours, Inc. These are tours of areas in and around Atlanta where “The Walking Dead” is filmed. I don’t know to many 14 year old boys who would be excited to spend their summer vacation with just Mom. It’s amazing what these zombies have done for us.

Carl in AMC's "The Walking Dead"

Carl

“What Would Carl Do?” worked well at first, but, when Carl’s character became a smart aleck brat teen in the back half of season four, the last thing I wanted was my son looking to him as a role model. Carl did start to redeem himself by the end of the season, but, until I see where the writers go with him in season five, I will back off a little on this one.
Read the rest of this entry »

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