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2015 in Review

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2015 was a weird year. I’ll say that up front. It’s been weird, and long, and ridiculous, but it’s also been, on the whole, a good year.

I went from being engaged to being, well, not, and have spent the last 11 months of my life figuring out what it means for my life moving forward. To be honest, that’s still nebulous, and I feel like it probably will be for awhile. I’m okay with this, though. My relationship was very much what I needed at the time, and I don’t regret a day of it.

I graduated from college in May, which was more of an accomplishment than it probably should’ve been for all the physical and mental health complications that have arisen over the past few years.

I got into graduate school in Boston, at the premier school in the country for my program, despite all my set backs and, really, my failings, proving that there really is more to a student’s worth than her GPA.

I moved to Boston in June, with no idea what I was stepping into. I was graciously housed by my cousins (my grandmother’s first cousins, so whatever that makes them for me)​, who really saved my life in more ways than one, and have been more than helpful in this new stage of my life.

I finally got to go to Warped Tour, after 10 years of failed attempts. I went to a handful of other brilliant shows, discovered at least a dozen (if not two) amazing artists, and discovered that Spotify isn’t anywhere near as obnoxious as it used to be.

I moved into an apartment with three girls I had never met, terrified that it was going to be a disaster, and was instead pleasantly surprised.

I got a REAL job, a “Big Girl” job, as they say, working as a content curator for TripAdvisor, which has been invaluable and amazing, and brought me into contact with a couple dozen really interesting individuals whom I’d otherwise never have known.

And I survived my first semester of graduate school. Despite the chaos, the madness, the stress, and the sleep deprivation, I made it through intact and, actually?, happy.

Posted in Sociopolitical Commentary, Uncategorized

Unpopular Film Opinion

As I was attempting to shop for my boyfriend’s Christmas gift just a little bit ago, I was confronted with a series of shirts bearing faces, quotes, and imagery from a few of the films that are hailed as Great American Classics (insofar as they’re cornerstone films, not because they’re really old enough to be considered “Classic” in any way), like The Goonies, Sandlot, The Christmas Story, etc.

And just looking at the face of the one kid from Sandlot, you know, the one who pretends to drown so that he can kiss the oh-so-sexy lifeguard he has literally no chance with?, I was immediately hit with a very sudden clarity about that moment.

That, my friends, is an instance of sexual assault that is branded as this really cunning, really fantastic and hilarious move by some nerdy underdog kid. It is looked upon and remembered as some perfect plan of success, but has anybody thought about how absolutely horrible this plan actually was?

I don’t know what the lifeguard situation looks like out here in the Northeast, or in Boston more specifically (since that’s where I am now), but back home, all of the lifeguards were high school kids. It was just a summer job. They were our classmates and siblings, friends, applauded athletes, etc.

Try to imagine, if you will, being a lifeguard, whose job it is to, you know, guard lives, and seeing some kid drowning. It doesn’t matter who this kid is, whether you like him/her or not, what they’re like outside of the pool. Nothing matters except the fact that you are positioned to make sure nobody dies and now there is a human in your immediate vicinity who is on his/her way to doing just that. So, anxiously, you get up from your place and dive into the pool to rescue this at-risk human and now, back on the pavement, s/he isn’t breathing. Shit, you think, because you are 16, maybe 17, and you have never seen somebody die  before, let alone let somebody die, and it’s your job to make sure that this doesn’t happen. So you start doing life-saving motions for this person, attempt to get them to restart breathing, and no matter how calm you might appear to on-lookers, your heart is pounding and your gut is filled with dread because somebody’s child might die and it might be partially your fault. 

Now, assuming you’re still with me, imagine that this human who is raking your heart over the coals and making you sick with worry suddenly, and obviously without warning, starts sucking your fucking face off because HA HA HA YOU PUT YOUR MOUTH ON MINE IT WAS LIKE YOU WERE ASKING FOR IT.

Tell me it’s still funny.

Tell me it’s funny with a straight face, in all seriousness. Can you do it? I certainly hope not, because then you would be telling me that sexual assault—not to mention trivializing both your life and the job of a lifeguard—is funny, and it absolutely  isn’t.

The lifeguard is furious in this film, as she should be, and drags the kid out by his ear none too gently, but this isn’t enough. The fact that people still think it’s hilarious, cute, funny, clever, and/or harmless? That isn’t okay.

Some of you probably think I’m overreacting, that something like this doesn’t deserve so much passion when it’s been over for so long. But here’s the thing: Sexual harassment is not always violent. Even sexual assault is not always violent, although the nature of the word “assault” implies that it is.

Let me tell you something: As a person who has been on the wrong side of more than one situation, violent or not, a non-consentual sexual act is always an assault. Always. Whether or not you physically wound a woman is irrelevant, because she will carry a psychological wound with her for a very long time, if not the rest of her life, and that is assault.

So do not watch The Sandlot and this scene with this shitty little nerdy kid emotionally and then sexually assaulting a lifeguard and think that it is funny, that it is clever, that it is harmless. Watch this, and any other moment like it, with a seed of disgust, and open the conversation about internalized violence toward women.

Open a conversation about internalized patriarchal ownership over the bodies of women, because this child did not care about who this girl was, he did not care about how she might feel; all he cared about was owning a part of her body for however a brief period of time because, after all, she had nice tits. And every time you watch his actions and laugh, smile, or even allow his actions validity, you are contributing to the oppression of your female peers.

And that is not okay.

Posted in Uncategorized

Emperor

This is one of my really good friends, who is seeking a career in professional writing. With poems like this coming from her pen, I would say that she is well on her way to brilliant success.

Literary Accidents

I.
Temples, brothels, barracks —
all built on the backs of my former lovers.

The brick? Their bones.
The mortar? My blood

The city was worthy of gods;
the sacrifice was great.

This architecture once pleased you,
the whores once pleased you,
the cavalry once pleased you.
I once pleased you,
nodding as if every word you spoke was
Gospel truth

And now you sulk in your chambers,
drunk and full of wrath.

Am I not the goddess
my father promised me to be?

II.
When they called you a barbarian, I
wiped the blood from my lip and put them to death.

Yet it was you
who slayed the innocents,

the virgins,
the children.

Your fury never waned.
Your sword never dulled.
Even Ares seeks reprieve.
Even Eros slumbers.

When you brought your bloodlust home
and wrapped it around my throat,

the city trembled.

III.
I have no gods.

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Daily Prompt: She Drives Me Crazy

It makes me crazy when people wear their shoes in my house. What habit/act drives you crazy? How do you prevent it from happening? —http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/prompt-drives-me-crazy/

Bad grammar drives me up a friggin wall. People who say things like “I seen” or “Your welcome” grate on my nerves more than anything else. I also really detest the use of “u”, “r”, and “y” in place of real words. “Hbu”, “asl”, “omw”–none of these are acceptable. I realize that some people can’t spell, and although misspellings bother me a little, they are much less annoying than unnecessary abbreviations and blatant errors. Apostrophes do not belong in plural words. “Welcome”s are not possessions. The list goes on.

I realize that typos happen. I’m certainly not free from the periodic typo. We are human; we err. So it goes. But for the love of all that’s holy, can we please learn how to string together a proper sentence–or at least hire an editor who does?

Unfortunately, the only thing I can do to prevent getting irritated by horrid grammar is to not talk to people who can’t hold a conversation at the level that I demand. I’ve been known to neglect to message people back simply for being incapable of sending me a decent message. Does that make me a snob? Yeah, probably. But if you can’t take the time to actually talk to me, then I guess I don’t really figure I should be required to take the time to talk to you. It’s pretty simple, really.

I like to think that demanding more from people would inspire them to be more on a regular basis, that offering the correct grammatical structure (or spelling, in some cases) might actually help a person get it right the next time. I’m not trying to point out your errors so much as I’m trying to save you from making the error again. It rarely works, for the record, and consequently I’m frequently disliked because of it. (The friends I do have are intelligent, though, so at least it works as a filtering process.)

 

This all makes me sound like a really terrible person, doesn’t it? In my defense, I do have friends I’ve decided are lost causes, and I do still talk to them. I just sit and stew in my irritation in silence because it doesn’t do any good to say anything. Personally, though, I think that if you’re in college, you should at least be able to string together a grammatical sentence. Clearly you’re smart enough to get here; you’d probably better speak like it.