Of Misunderstandings, Ineptitude, and Frustration

Hello, readers.

It’s the start of a new week and I don’t know about you, but mine is looking grim. As the end of the semester approaches professors are scrambling to get in everything they want to say and tensions are running high. And though it seems like everyone is working together in order to get to the end in one piece, that is definitely not the case.

I’m currently dealing with the worst group project experience I’ve ever had in the unnecessary amount of years I’ve spent at the university. It’s one of those things where no one quite gets what the other people are saying, so it takes forever to get a consensus. Then even after you reach a consensus, people kind of go do their own thing anyway. So, in the end, the hours you spent trying to reach an agreement were wasted. Absolutely wasted.

It’s a problem when people are so sure that they’re right all the time, that they can’t see exactly how wrong they are. I’m not saying I’m perfect, not even saying I’m easy to get along with or work with. But I’d like to think I can accept when I’m wrong, that I can back down and let other people who know more have their say. Maybe I’m blind to my own shortcomings and should apply this to myself. However, this isn’t about soul searching it’s about writing shit out so I don’t go out into the world and say things I can’t take back.

There is still time before this project is over and done with and I still feel like leaving the group and doing shit on my own. Especially when I think about the fact that we all get the same grade. I’m frustrated and unhappy and frustrated some more. End of the semester will do that to you. And all you can do is shut your mouth, suck it up, and get shit done. Also you should probably stop writing blog posts and pay attention to class.

I’m gonna go do that. Until next time, readers.

Rangent: On Being Better

Hello, dear readers.

Wednesday rolls around yet again, all smooth curves and shiny trails. It’s 6:14am and I’m sitting in bed thinking about being better. Sometimes you fall under the impression that you’re doing things well, only to realize that you’re not. Not even a little bit. In fact, it’s kind of a hot mess that misses it’s purpose.

Heat was applied to it. So. Fucking. Messy.

Usually those moments of realization come with crippling anxiety, overwhelming frustration, and anger born of persistent feelings of inadequacy. And, while it’s true that some of that still remains, I’m surprised to find it’s coupled with a sort of calm acceptance and, most incredibly, a plan. There side by side with a jittery need to be better, I found concrete things I could do to get there.

And I know this all sounds like bullshit. You have a problem, you find a solution. Blah, blah, blah. Except, sometimes the anxiety and frustration can be blinding. It makes it really difficult to see past them and into what can only be called the light at the end of the tunnel. (It could be called many other things, but it’s 6am and I’m having an epiphany. This is no time to challenge clichés.) And sure, after it all subsides, you still get to a solution so you possibly end up in the same place. But now I feel relaxed about the whole thing, rather than landing on a solution after a panicky struggle.

Am I explaining this well? No, not at all. Is it still important? Yes, yes it is. To me it is at any rate. Because it means things are changing and they could possibly be changing for the better.  It means maybe this new and improved (Leave my clichés alone.) version of me could possibly have some chill, some zen, some “right thing at the right time” situations. It’s a nice thought, right?

Anyway, this self-serving post is brought to you by the knowledge that things are changing. Whether the changes will stick, whether they’ll be good or bad, whether this is all an early morning hallucination, that’s all crap for another story (read: another post).

Have a good one, readers. Until next time!

Rangent: YouTube Binge

Hello, hello readers!

Monday comes again like the promise of death and almost as cheerful. It’s been a weird, funk ridden weekend. I was meant to spend it with friends, but I had to work so I ended up spending it pretty much alone. I making it sound more depressing than it was, I promise.

I worked, which is always good when you’re as broke as I am. I got some reading done, the fourth book in The Hollows series is down and I’ve moved on to the fifth. Some studying was done. Most importantly, I’ve YouTubed. And having done so, I’ve decided to share my three favorite videos with you!

1. Affection – Cigarettes After Sex

I found out about this band because one of its members is the guy behind Short Story Thursdays. Now, if you don’t know what that is, SST is a weekly dispatch where you receive a short story from an often forgotten writer in history. Pretty cool stuff, if you ask me! I might start writing about them, so something to (possibly) look forward to. Anyway, they do cool ambient rock. Have a listen.

2. Unravel Gameplay Trailer

I’ve talked about video games before, most notably Firewatch. Which, by the way, came out last month! This is another game that came out recently and I’m really excited about it. You play as Yarny, a character made from a single thread that unravels as you move along. According to the website, the story unfolds entirely without words and the environment is inspired by Northern Scandinavia. It’s beautiful and somehow sad.

 

3. Joseph Speaks to Mary – Gage Wallace

This is an old favorite of mine. I really like slam poetry and there are certain poems I always return to like Accents by Denise Frohman and The Period Poem by Dominique Christina. And this one. This poem where Joseph speaks to Mary and promises all he is and all he has. Definitely worth a watch.

 

That’s it for today, readers. Hope you’re having a good day!

Rangent: The “Real Woman” Issue

As a person who spends an unseemly amount of time online, I keep coming across the phrase “real woman” . Men say they want to be in a relationship with real women, women say that “sluts” and “airheads” tarnish the name of real women who respect themselves. Like having casual sex or multiple partners, cancels out your womanhood. Like only monogamous, alluring, supremely confident females have the right to call themselves women.

We’re so quick to dismiss, to turn our faces when confronted with women who don’t uphold the values of the great, real woman. And I say we because I’ve felt that desire to cut all ties, to say ‘that person saying stupid things does not represent me’. But what gives us the right to define womanhood when we can’t even define ourselves? What makes us think we can label anyone as fake, as less, as non-womanly .

That Real Woman who is poised and affectionate and “values herself too much to sleep around” isn’t real at all. She’s the person we’ve all been taught we should be. The fake idol that keeps us up at night and makes us feel ashamed when we laugh too loudly and snort, when we’ve had more than a socially acceptable number of sexual partners (whatever that means). She’s a body made of gossamer and lies that we’ve tried to make our truth only to find we don’t quite bend that way.

We can’t be her. And we complain about the ones who seem to have become here because who are they to achieve something better than ourselves. Because we can’t see how that isn’t necessarily better through the haze of our self-hatred. Then we turn up our noses at the rest because at least we’re trying and surely that makes us better. Even though we have nothing to define “better” by. And in the end we’re all screwed, hating ourselves and each other in a scramble to uphold ideas we’re not sure we should be believing in anyway.

So, we tell ourselves to be better. We tell ourselves that we’re all real. We stop calling women sluts. We develop strength of character and look for the best in people, rather than the worst. We persevere in our efforts and pinch ourselves every once in a while to make sure we’re not a dream…

 

Destination: Christmas #17

This Christmas series is brought to you thanks to Book Riot’s Literary Advent Calendar. It’s a combination of poetry, short stories, and essays. I’ll be posting every day, some days twice to keep up with my regular posts. Click the story title for the full text. Now, let’s get this Christmas show on the road!

Day 17

Who named these guys wise men? by Dave Barry

Good evening everyone!

My apologies for skipping out on last night’s Christmas post. As I’d mentioned, my best friend got home yesterday and last night we spent it together. Drinking and playing Jenga because what else do you do when your other half returns to you after a two month long separation? You drink. You play Jenga. You laugh at ridiculous things. You’re giddy. And then you go to sleep because all that laughing takes a toll. So, that.

The article slotted for today is meant to be cute, but falls so far from the mark that you’d think it was on purpose. Something about wise men bringing Christ terrible gifts. About how by now women have bought and wrapped a million gifts and men are still scratching their balls trying to figure out what to do. Chuckle, chuckle, cut men some slack because we’re adorable goofballs. Such is life. Accept it.

What?

That’s insulting to both men and women. Are you telling me that men are incapable of picking out good gifts? Of being thoughtful enough to choose something that the people in their lives will enjoy? And then, are you also, in the same breath, telling women that they have to grin and bear it when their partner puts absolutely no thought into a gift for her after she took the time to choose some he’d love?

Your dick doesn’t excuse you, guy. And it doesn’t excuse the men who think like you. Being thoughtless is not cute or funny, but it does make you a jerk. And it does a disservice to the men who actually do take time out of their lives to take stock of who their partner is and what they would enjoy as a gift. There is no need to cut you some slack, but there is the need to cut you away from the notion that it’s acceptable to generalize men and women into this mass of endearing thoughtlessness and type A nagging OCD.

And while we’re at it, let’s stop shoving women into this 1950’s perfect housewife mold. Your wife or girlfriend or mother or whoever has wrapped a million gifts because you’re a jerk who’s perfectly ok with not helping. But, and bear with me, she might not have done any of that. She might still be looking for the perfect gift a week before Christmas because women were not born with a handy “Shopping guide for everyone” guide. And she’ll wrap it hastily or maybe not at all. She’ll give it to you and you’ll probably love it. Because she’s listened to you going on and on about all the things that you feel passionate about. But you also might not, because women are imperfect too. This is an attempt to make men seem like these trembling, puppy eyes messes that just want to make you happy, but actually it’s just trying to make doing the bare minimum seem cute.

How about you lower your expectations of women and get to know your partner well enough to buy her a decent gift that won’t upset her. Or, you know, just ask her what she’d like, you lazy jerk. I promise it’ll be better than a Weed Whacker.

Rant over.

Rangent: Mixed Signals

Middle of the week ranting tangents? Let’s do this!

I don’t know about you guys, but I hate mixed signals. Maybe it’s just cultural? Bleurgh. I’m going to backtrack for a sec, so you can get the full picture.

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While I was traveling I received a message on OkCupid (Yes, I online date.), from this really adorable Israeli guy. I was traveling though, so not much could be done about it. I figured nothing would come of it, I barely had wifi so it’s not like we could talk. Except, when I got back home he messaged me again asking how my trip had been. We talked and decided to go out.

This date was one of those almost straight out of a movie dates. He came to pick me up, opened the door for me, refused to let me pay for anything. He was funny, charming, smart, well traveled. I’m telling you, it was a pretty great date on paper. On paper.

After the second beer we decided to go for a walk and ended up sitting somewhere looking at the water, surrounded by stars and dim lighting. We were talking and suddenly he starts going on about how he recently broke up with his girlfriend. He’s just looking for friends because he gets lonely.

Gee guy, isn’t this something you should’ve said before? Just sayin’. Alright, I’ll go with it. That’s fine. He’s cool, so we can be friends. Except he keeps asking me on outings that are clearly dates. It’s like dating someone without all the sexual benefits. Ugh.

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I realize that it’s probably me overanalyzing things and being annoyed because I want to make out. Butt fuck it. I just want him to organize himself.

Hope you’re having a more sensible week than I am! Stay cool, readers.

Rangent: On Censorhip, Comedy, and Fat Shaming

A couple of hours ago, I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed as you do when you’re procrastinating. And I ran into a Buzzfeed article, about a YouTube video that’s been making the rounds. A few days ago, comedian Nicole Arbour posted a video called “Dear Fat People”, where she attempts to make fat people realize that their habits are making them sick and will only lead them into a premature death. She drops that “truth bomb” in the hopes that people will be motivated to change their lives. The video was censored and her account was removed, only to be reinstated later, presumably because she hadn’t actually broken any rules. Arbour stands firmly behind the fact that the video was meant to be satirical and that the purpose behind it was concern for those viewing it.

I don’t think her video should’ve been censored. She has a right to her opinion and her particular brand of comedy, which people seem to appreciate. If we start censoring things left and right just because they leave a bad taste in the mouth, we run the risk of censorship becoming an acceptable method of coping.

Let’s be honest, it’s not like we’re that far from it to be setting even more precedents. Everyone views comedy differently and there is a chunk of the population who think what she said was hilarious, accurate, and inspiring.

I disagree.

I’ve been fat my entire life. I’m not entirely sure when or how, but somewhere along the way comfort food became an actual comfort for me. I remember one time, I must have been 8 or 9, a nurse told me that if I didn’t lose weight social services could take me away from my mom. Throughout the years people have told me how beautiful I’d be if I just lost some weight, how free I’d feel without all that fat anchoring me to the ground, how sick I’d be if I kept it up. All this to say, I’m not a stranger to Nicole Arbour’s kind of concern.

The thing is though, that concern only serves to remind you of everything you feel is wrong with you. There isn’t a fat person who hasn’t felt the shame of feeling trapped inside a body everyone goes out of their way to tell you is disproportionate. I’ve felt self conscious about my thighs in shorts and my stomach stretching my shirts for as long as I can remember. I’ve learned the tips and the tricks to camouflage, to hide, to make people think that there is less of you than there actually is. In the end though, you start to believe there is less of you, less to love, less to value.

It has taken me years to see beauty when I look in the mirror. To see someone who might be desirable. To look, really look, at myself and not feel ashamed at the stretch marks, at my arms that are bigger than some girls thighs. To stop hiding long enough to see how great my ass looks in a well fitted pair of jeans. How kickass I can look in knee high boots, draped in jewelry and sporting a crop top. To realize that I can be flexible and strong and fabulously fierce. I guess what I’m trying to say is…

Fuck You, Nicole Arbour.

Fuck you for painting over your prejudice and your cruelty with shades of health and concern. There are a whole bunch of reasons to lose weight, but none of them include being disgusting. It’s not that people can’t handle how much “truth” there is in your jokes, it’s that people can’t handle the amount of cruelty a person who claims to be smart is unaware of.

Depression and self loathing don’t understand comedy.

Concern never feels like shame, it never feels like making you want to crawl out of your skin. Concern feels like love and understanding. There were so many ways of starting a conversation, so many beautiful and thoughtful ways. So many ways to use your influence to truly make a change. The way Grace Helbig and Whitney Way Thore chose to do. Instead you decided to put down those you sought to help and made jokes at their expense making yourself into the victim.

I’m not sure how many people will read this or how many people will care. However, if you’re reading know this. In the end, you’re the only person who can determine your value. I hope you decide you’re worth a thousand times your weight in gold. Worth more than numbers on a scale. Being fat should not keep you from believing in and loving yourself. It shouldn’t keep you from laughing at the things you do wrong, from feeling beautiful and attractive. I promise you can do anything. I also promise it will be hard, but that’s because everything in life is. You should wear what you want and say what you feel and act in the way that makes you the happiest.

After all…

Stay beautiful, readers. Until next time.