Hero

This has been running through my mind for the last few days.

Ladies and gentlemen, listen up please, I don’t want to be your hero.
No, I am not open. Parts of me are broken.
Do yourself a favor; save yourself. Don’t pick me, find someone else.
Why’d you want to bother? Find yourself another.

- Darren Hayes – Hero

I’ll leave it open to question as to whether I’m thinking about myself or another because honestly I have no clue. I don’t like to think of myself as broken, but I’m starting to believe that it may be so.

Something else that’s been spiraling in my mind: if this is what we owe each other, just let us wipe the slate clean because I don’t want to see you again next lifetime. If this is what you call love, if this is what you call devotion, if this is what I have to expect from such declarations, then I want no part of it. Just leave me alone. The darkness is safer than you ever were.

I wavered about it, but I decided I’m going to do this, this one time, and then I’m going to be done. I’m going to write it and forget about it until maybe one day I have cause to remember it. Remind myself to never give out more than you’re willing to lose forever.

I’ve always tried to adhere to the ideal of “love like you’ve never been hurt and will never be hurt” because life is honestly too short to punish myself and other people for the sins of others.

The fact that I’ve been reconsidering that stance lately breaks my heart more than anything else I’ve ever encountered, but I cannot budge from the ledge I find myself on.

I’ve been called stupid by all of my female relatives and most of the men too and what burns is that I’m agreeing to it. What I did, that is not something I would ever condone someone else doing. If someone on Quora asked me about it, I’d be all “get the fuck off that crazy train before it crashes and burns in loony town”.

Ex boyfriend owes me nearly 2k. This is all stuff like his portion of the utilities, his take-out food that accidentally got charged to my card, various other sundries, and almost $300 of it was when he charged his meds to my card (without asking beforehand, by the way). He’s really dragging his feet on figuring out his finances and returning it, despite knowing that right now I have absolutely zero income. I’m currently living on my parents’ dime and sufferance and I have absolutely no spare cash in the bank. If I want to grab a snack or a book, I have no wherewithal to do it with. It’s not only stressful, it’s also humiliating.

I have no cushion because of a variety of reasons, not least of which is because we only just paid back the last of the credit card debt amassed under my name to the tune of nearly $16k due to a blend of our poor spending habits, my retail therapy, and two semesters of his college tuition. It’s also because my ex was sending me some money each month to help cover my expenses because just my income wasn’t cutting it and he quit doing that about the time he realized I was serious about moving to Taiwan because of my health issues. So there were about two to three months near the end where I was coming up short and had to dip into what little reserves I had.

I can’t begin to describe the icy feeling in my chest when I think about what that means in terms of how much he cares and how he cares.

To be clear, ex was helping with the bills because, as he put it, “you paid for my living expenses and bills for months while I didn’t have a proper job and was a regular raider in WoW; it’s my turn to pick up the slack”. So in case that needed more clarification, technically, he owed me, by his own admission.

Thene pointed out that the promise was made when we were assuming “in terms of an ongoing sharing of support” and that “originally he was doing it so you could build a writing career that would later contribute to household support” and that ” now your writing is not going to ever contribute to his household in the future, it doesn’t make sense”.

I find that hysterically funny in the “oh god, do you ever know someone?” sort of way.

For one thing, it was never verbalized like that for me. It was always phrased to me as “you took care of me once, let me do that for you in return”.

For another thing, if all this sort of thing got wiped clean at breakup, then divorce lawyers would all be out of a job.

For yet another thing, it’s not in me to withhold a promise or support or affection just because our relationship changed. The more fool I, I believed him when he said we were best friends, that he still loved me, that he still cared about me.

Well, so much for that.

I could have been fine if he was going to go with the non-amicable breakup. Just let me know that you don’t want to be friends, that you don’t care anymore, that you really couldn’t care less if I were plummeting to the depths of Hell in a handbasket. I’m a big girl; I could have dealt. What I cannot deal with is the lies. Ye gods, the lies. Stop lying to me and stop lying to yourself.

Let me just be very clear: I would never treat a friend this way and if this is how you treat your friends, then I don’t want to be your friend.

I would never have left a friend in the lurch the way he did. If I had promised to help support someone, in return for their previous support no less, I would have kept on with it. I know this because back when another friend needed a place to crash for a few months, I just sucked it up and dealt with it because I had promised. That was even without owing that friend anything except my word and back when it was a significant hardship to do so. Nice to know that ten years of supposed love isn’t worth jack in the end.

I would never, ever, ever keep money that I owed a friend from them, especially when I knew that they needed it. The fact that he apparently absolutely doesn’t care that I’m in this sort of a bind says volumes about how much he values the friendship. Lovely to know that he gives no shits about how humiliating it would be to have to ask my parents for money for personal stuff.

So he can talk for hours at me about his new girlfriend, ask my advice about dating the new squeeze, but then play least in sight when I poke him about my money? Not really giving me any warm and fuzzy feelings here.

I don’t want to give him the power, but it’s a struggle because now I have this cynicism about love and friendship and promises that I never used to have. To be fair, it’s not just him, but a confluence of other factors and other people. But ultimately, he held most of my trust, if nothing else, because I believed that ten years of loving and fucking someone had to have some bearing, but no.

It’s fine. I’ll be fine. Like I said, I’m going to write it down and then I’m going to move past it. There was this, this marker, and then nothing more. Past the broken promises. Past the graves of wishes past. Past the dreams of yesteryear.

Next time going in, I’m going to be a little more careful. Never bet more than you’re willing to lose. I bet too heavily and I lost in more ways than just this, but if this was the price of admission, then consider the tuition paid.

If this emotion is what I owed you, then consider us even. You’ve broken my heart enough for a lifetime. If you owe me now in tears, then consider us square. I do not want to be entangled with you any more. Not this lifetime and certainly not the next.

As for the money, I need it and I want it, but honestly, if that’s the price of seeing someone clearly, then I suppose it is what it is.

Oh Quora…

So many feelz today. I haven’t left the house almost at all and I’m exhausted with the feelz.

To start off with, the questions I’m being asked on Quora seem to be getting exponentially serious business. I’m not quite sure I’m equipped to be the one to give answers and it’s frightening to think of what I might or might not be affecting.

It all started with:

My girlfriend said I cheated on her for talking with my best friend (I’m a girl) and I told her I’m not cheating on her and she doesn’t believe me how do I make her believe me?we were only talking about my new game i got.

So, of course, I go:

Anon, if your girlfriend doesn’t believe you when you say you weren’t cheating — this might not be a winning relationship for either of you.

If you genuinely weren’t cheating on her, then the fact that your girlfriend isn’t okay with you having friends with mutual interests is a big red warning flag. You never want to be in a relationship that starts cutting you off from other social contact. That way lies abuse and co-dependency and crazy and other bad things.

If your girlfriend isn’t capable of trusting you, then honestly, this isn’t a good relationship for her to be in either. If she has trust and possessiveness issues, I’m going to venture that there’s not going to be a relationship she’s going to be happy in, but at least you don’t need to be involved in her misery.

I’m sorry if this wasn’t the response you were looking for, but I’d really suggest taking a good hard look at your relationship and deciding if it’s really something fixable rather than trying to patch it up.

Having been on the receiving end of a lot of unwarranted and hysterical jealousy, I can tell you that it’s a battle no one wins.

Next day, literally, I get this from the same person:

My girlfriend stabbed me with a fork because she thought I was cheating on her (I’m a girl) the reason she thought I was cheating is because my friend hugged me so she thought I was cheating on her was she in the right or was she in the wrong?

Me: 0___o oh my fucking god. Honestly, this should have been my cue that I was out of my depth, but seriously, I’ve never been the sharpest knife in the drawer.

I answer:

1. Even if you did cheat on her, stabbing you with a fork was completely wrong. Now, if you’d given her a STI, then maybe it could have been justified, but still wrong.

2. You’re allowed to have friends. You’re allowed to have relationships outside of your relationship with her. You’re allowed to have, in fact, intimate, relationships that involve non-sexual hugging and kissing outside of your romantic relationship. This is not cheating. She’s in the wrong to be controlling about such a thing.

Also? It would probably be in your best interests to break up with this woman and stay far, far away from her.

I haven’t really started thinking hard about this yet, you know? Because this is all like, it feels like crazy drama, the sort that is super loud but doesn’t come to anything. I guess this is where I totally was using my own life as a benchmark without really thinking about the number of women who get killed by spurned lovers every day.

Then, she responds with:

i read your commet how can i stay far away from her and break up if i really do love her and i dont want to leave her.

My response:

If you don’t want to, I guess you can’t. It’s just my non-professional opinion that you will probably have an easier and better life if you don’t need to live in fear of a crazy girlfriend stabbing you with something worse than a fork just because you had a friend. I’m not saying “if you don’t want to, you can’t” glibly – I’m saying that the only way you will really be able to let her and the relationship go is to realize that this is probably not the best/safest thing for you and that you will have a better life without her. Your heart might break and it might really suck for a really long time, but there are other women out there who are sane and who will not stick pointy things in you.

Still not really thinking about this as a big deal, you know? Because to be honest, I didn’t really expect her to take my advice. And yeah, part of me was like “oh, a fork? Not that bad then…” without really considering maybe it would have been a knife if that had been closer to hand rather than someone being all tsundere.

Anon: Yeah your right i guess you have a point it better to be with someone who wont stab me with a fork.

Me: *headdesk* I mean. This needed to be said? And she guessed I had a point? I mean, should this not be self-evident and something all parents or caretakers teach their children? “Thou shalt not be in a relationship with someone who stabs you with things when they’re angry.”

But I go:

It really is better. Trust me. The next thing might not be a fork.

Later on, when I get back from swimming, anon:

Hey um i dont think breaking up with her was a good idea she is pretty pissed she just attcaked me like if i tried to kill her and then after she was done she threatend to kill herself

Me: 0___o
Okay. This really freaked me out. Again, I genuinely wasn’t expecting her to take my advice. And I felt like this was my bad, where my complete non-experience with dealing with this sort of thing completely comes through. I should have told her to break up with her in a public venue where the girlfriend couldn’t be violent without other people there and I probably should have warned her to be careful of extreme violence when breaking up. But no, I didn’t, because, again, NOT TRAINED. OMG.

Me:

I know it doesn’t feel that way, but you are NOT responsible for what she does to herself. Let me repeat that. You are NOT responsible for what she does. And can I reiterate that continuing to date someone who “attacked you like if you tried to kill her” is …probably not safe? And can you even really “love” her if she’s doing all this? Can you truly feel safe and secure around her? And if you can’t, what kind of relationship is that for you and her?

If you fear for your safety, I would suggest talking to the police or someone in authority. Try not to engage with her in private and don’t let her into your home while you’re there alone.

So I was imagining that she had her own place or she was still living with her parents because honestly she didn’t sound all that old and the talk about games threw me. But then this came in and really freaked me out:

i see but like when she asleep do i sneek away from her to go to my parents house because know i really dont feel safe.

Oh my fucking god. She lives with this person? And she’s still in the same house as this person? What the ever loving hell?

I promptly whip back with:

If you don’t feel safe, GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE. Do not sleep in the same house, do not live in the same room with this person. Get the hell out since you have a place to go. Just leave. Now.

Really, I’m really seriously not trained for this and I’m deathly afraid that something I say will end up having devastating consequences.

So that wasn’t great. I’m just hoping for a good response from anon at some point to say that she’s safe.

Then, Ilona Andrews has a post in which someone goes:

I am writing my book, (epic fant. not urban) and I have come to a pivotal part where the prince marries his princess. It is vital, because her murder will be the threshold event which propels my prince to action.

Problem: I can’t seem to write the chapters I need about their marriage and sudden love (arranged marr.). I am finding the subject of love pedantic and cliche, no matter what I try to write. Has this happened to you? How do I find inspiration to write parts I’m not really interested in, so I can get to the adventure parts I really want? Thanks for your time!

Complete tangent: And this is why Ilona Andrews is a complete class act and why I love her so much as a person. This was the update, after she gave an awesome post on writing for this dude: When I post writing advice, it’s not an invitation to criticize the story. The story is being written. It’s very fragile at this point and this is the stage where the writer needs encouragement and perhaps guidance. Comments are now locked. B., so sorry about that. My fault entirely.

Yeah, I saw this because my gut reaction was to rush over to the site and be like, way to fridge the girlfriend and go with cheap motivation. Well, maybe not in those particular terms. But something like that. I didn’t even think about how it might feel to someone to have someone be all “I hate your premise because it’s sexist and misogynistic and lame and cheap and lazy.” Well, again, not quite like that, but that’s the gist.

The thing is it’s something I’m growing to hate. You see it all the time, all over the place. Want to be a dick and motivate the hero? Kill the girlfriend!

Part of it is that it offends me on a visceral level. Women aren’t just plot devices. Enough women are killed every year due to completely crazy reasons (see exhibit above) that I just don’t want to see it anymore. Sure, fiction mirroring life and all, but since it’s fiction, surely you can find some less lazy way to do this. What does it say about the prince as a person that whatever he wants to do, he will not do until his wife is murdered?

And this whole “love is cliched” thing. I feel like I kind of want to beat up Tolstoy for his “all happy families are alike” because I feel like that’s at the root of this sort of “love is cliched and boring” thing.

How can love be boring?

Hatred is boring. Hatred is easy. Someone is different than you, better than you, has something you want — boom, easy hatred. Hatred is hardcore easy mode. Yes, I just strung those together. Bite me. Or not, really. I might bite off a piece in retaliation with the mood I’m in.

Love is hard and icky and complicated. Especially if you’re talking about two people from two different countries with theoretically different political backgrounds and with possibly different motivations for wanting the marriage…

Love is stomach flu, no sex for two plus months after giving birth, pregnancy hormones and pre-eclampsia, dealing with someone else’s sleeping habits, eating habits, in-laws, and all the rest. What exactly is boring about this?

Think about how easily most people hate and how high the divorce rate is and the fact that a person can easily go through life without meeting that one person that they would be willing to lay down their life for (which is essentially what this prince is probably going to have to do if it’s going to be epic fantasy involving revenge) and tell me that describing how two people finding their ways to each other and within each other to love each other so deeply is “cliched”, “easy” or “boring”.

Seriously. God.

Part of my ire today is possibly because I read this on Quora:

I have a problem with push-over guys who are too nice. I try and help train my pushover guy friends to be a partner and not a puppy dog in their relationships with girl friends (notice: girl friends, not girlfriends). “If she’s not putting out for you, then don’t move her furniture.”

Translation: if she’s not your girlfriend yet, then don’t give her all the boyfriendly services of letting her cry on your shoulder, taking care of her car repairs, or helping her move apartments. If she doesn’t think you’re the epitome of physical male perfection, why should she date you when she already gets all your services for free?

Just, what the fuck, dude? So, if I’m single, I should just suck it up and hire movers if I need to move? Really? Or I should just suck it up further if I’m broke and do it all myself? Should I be praying for four or five loving brothers next lifetime if I come back as a female again?

I’m so sick and tired of this whole “I will do x and y and z for someone I’m fucking but not someone I’m just friends with”. As far as I’m concerned, if I’m fucking you, then the only thing that I’m doing for you that I will not do for a friend is — fucking. That’s it.

So does this mean I should stop wining and dining my friends? Or I should clearly not be there as support because that’s now “relationship” territory. Or maybe I should turn off my cell phone to all of my “friends” when it hits 9pm because only the person I’m fucking gets to be able to reach me after bedtime. Clearly my friends don’t deserve it because we’re not giving each mutual orgasms.

Just friends?

Can we remember that we go through life with the help of one significant other and (hopefully) a multitude of friends and family?

To me, nothing is sexier than a man who is confident enough in himself that he’s giving, loving and compassionate – all without asking for more than the same in return. 

It’s insane to expect that one person can do it all for you. At some point, (the question involving the guy who wants to run away from his wife and newborn twins spring to mind), you’re going to want your tribe around you; you’re going to need more than just two people to get over what this world throws at you. It’s in fact insanely stressful to expect to do it all just as a couple. Never before in human history have we ever hewn so closely to this insanity and it’s to the detriment of everyone’s happiness. Don’t be part of the problem.

Also? If I don’t feel a spark for you, you withholding help from me is hardly going to make me like you more. Jesus. I’m hardly going to prostitute myself for fucking moving services or for a shoulder to cry on. I have real friends for that. Jesus H. Christ.

Today might just not be a good Quora day for me. I saw someone refer to their uterus as their “lady berry”. Now I totally need to just work that in somewhere because wtf?

Weird social anxiety ahoy

I loathe being that crazy person who is making everyone else uncomfortable, that person giving you this niggling thought that the nut is about to go off the deep end and oh my god please make the fallout easily contained and cleanable if it’s not avoidable.

But I did. I so did. I so totally was that person.

And I’m laughing now, half in self-disgust, half this almost hysterical hilarity about the depths of my insanity, but part of me is cringing in fear-anticipation about the next time.

The terrifying thing is that I knew I was being crazy, I told myself I was being crazy, but fuck if I could make myself stop being crazy.

What happened?

I went downstairs to go swimming. You know. Like I do. Nothing special, nothing to trigger crazy, right?

Nope. Sorry.

There was this guy, presumably the lifeguard, except he was dressed in a loose orange shirt and red board pants. Makes one wonder about how effective he was going to be if anyone actually needed rescuing. Clothing drag, anyone? IDEK!

I wasn’t expecting anyone there, so I kind of froze. And I had a little bit of a tummy today for some reason, this little roll of pudge hanging over my bikini bottoms, so I wasn’t feeling great.  I don’t usually have a little roll. I just have thick waist. So this was making me kinda squerky already.

And I just wasn’t feeling great in general because we’d gone to the cell service provider today and I’d felt like such a foreigner, which I totally am, but I felt so inept and so very bumbling and I was just reminded viscerally of how awkward it was when I first came to Taiwan as a child after pretty much growing up in the States. So I was already pre-disposed towards feeling awkward and seeing this fully dressed dude just wandering around the place when I was expecting it to myself just kind of fire-bombed my composure. By fire-bombed, I mean if I was slightly crazier, I would have just turned around and gone straight upstairs.

I hurried into the water and started doing laps, hoping he would go away. Laps. Lots of laps. Then I tired, but he was still sitting there, kinda sorta not really staring in my general direction and I was just caught in this paralysis of “I do not fucking want to get out of the water while he’s there”.

Which is insane! You don’t need to tell me it was insane. I fucking walked completely nude out of the ocean in Spain. This shouldn’t have been an issue. But it was!

So I went and stood at the far end of the pool from him, doing some arm exercises and just hoping, praying, wishing he would just fucking leave.

No luck. Well, of course, no shit, duh, no luck because he was supposed to be the lifeguard.

He moved around a bit, clearly bored out of his mind, and he went into the spa section for a moment and I thought he was going to the bathroom and so I quick-walked toward the other end of the pool to the exit, thinking I could get out of the pool before he came back.

Then he came back out and I oh-so-awkward-nonchalantly stopped in the middle of the pool and went back to arm exercises. I wanted to sob-laugh at the insane parody of that childhood game where you tried to run up to tag It while It had their back turned and froze when they turned around. But you know, I couldn’t, because part of me was oh-so-very aware of the complete crazy I was indulging in.

I felt terrible because I really wanted to get the fuck out of the water and stop being that crazy chick(en) just sitting in the water, but I swear, I simply couldn’t make myself do it.

Or maybe I really could have. Physics says that was the case, in fact. I just really, truly, deeply didn’t want to. By really truly deeply very, I mean that it was only about 1:30 or 2pm when I went downstairs and I was almost ready to commit to staying in the water until his shift went off at presumably 5. Like I said, insane.

So he finally went back into the spa section to sit in front of the fan (dude was really clearly not wanting to be there and hated his job AFAICS), so I lunged for the end, whipped up the steps, and wrapped my towel around myself before beating it out of there. Rolling my eyes at myself the entire fucking time, of course.

God. The insanity. I’m not even sure what the hell was going on in my brain. And all I can think of is that if I have such issues being under scrutiny, then maybe I’m really not cut out for stuff like conference interpretation. Which, yay, since that was what I was thinking about taking classes for, so much for that idea.

Just. Some days I hate myself. Today is one of those days where I both hate and despise myself.

 

Shall we dance?

I twirl around the room, my skirts flaring around my ankles, arms held as if I held a lover, my lover, within my hands. I close my eyes and melt into the music, spinning, stepping in time to the beat of my heart. If I blur my mind, I can almost see him, almost feel the soft tickle of his hair against my left hand, the heat of his fingers and the thrum of his pulse in my right.

I turn faster, ignoring the ache in my arms, my legs, my feet, the pain far less than the open wound in my chest. The world spins, the fragments of my dreams slide along the floor, carried along by the breeze of my skirts. Weariness flows through my veins and I slow, knowing that what I’m doing is unsustainable. Untenable. Like so many other things I’ve forced in the past. Stop. Now. Pivot. Shift. Then once more, again, but slower.

I open my eyes, my fantasy shattering back into empty space. The thing to do, the only thing I can do, is to open myself again. Open myself to the music, to the possibilities that simply are, to a strange world that became stranger overnight. What else is there? What else can there be?

Lifting my chin, I let a small smile curve my lips, my hands turning and cupping the air, sketching out an invitation, waving to the dark. Come. Come here. Closer. Closer still.
The rhythm changes, shifting up tempo, a trickle of sweat sliding between my breasts as I stare into the space before me and issue it an unmistakable invitation.

Come to me. Take me. Lead me on an adventure. Find me. Fight for me. Love me.

The music slows, soothing my heart and bruised feet. I raise my hands again into the classic dance position, this time for her. She smiles at me, full of fey glee, tawny eyes daring me to take the lead. Her fingers entwine with mine, so tightly I can’t tell where I begin and where she ends. I grin back, answering her taunt.

Perhaps. Perhaps I will, tomorrow.

I’m not a catch, love and neither are you

The above brought to you, courtesy of E.

Okay. This pissed me off. It pissed me off a lot.

Let’s go with hypotheticals here, shall we?

Let’s say we’re looking for a reasonably attractive, reasonably fit, reasonably employed, reasonably decent man – what about this hypothetical man puts him out of our reach?

As I ended up shouting at E, stop listening to the fucking patriarchy.

She blinked at me and asked what the patriarchy had anything to do with it.

Oh girlfriend, what don’t they have to do with it?

Let’s set me aside for the moment because I’m standing in a weird place right now, but E is reasonably pretty, has tits and ass men would fall all over, has a job and is able to pay her share of the bills, can carry on an intelligent conversation on topics ranging from politics to biology to pop culture, has a compelling wit, has a decent sense of humor, and is capable of adulting in things like cooking, baking, canning, quilting, and knows how to do chores around the house.

What the hell is wrong with this world that a woman like her thinks that she’s not a good catch?

As for myself, I’m reasonably attractive (babies don’t cry at my face although the amount of double takes I get in Taiwan is truly non-plussing), reasonably fit (I might not be able to run a mile, but I can and did hike all the way up to the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu), I have fairly nice tits and ass as vouched for by Thene and her husband (hrm, that sounds kinda wrong. Oh well!), can speak two languages fluently, can speak a Chinese dialect enough to get by, can carry on intelligent conversations about most things not involving mathematical equations or quantum physics, and I know how to cook/bake/drive/change my own damn flat tire and certain other adulting things. I also have fairly good spelling and grammar skills and I’m not afraid to use them.

For those snickering, I’ll have you know that being able to spell and punctuate correctly on the internet is akin to not walking out of the house with your skirt hiked in your panties in real life.

I also throw a mean dinner party and I hands down win at tea parties.

What exactly is there about me that makes me a bad catch? Well, okay, the health issues and the lack of a paying job are kinda big deals, but seriously, I can charm and wit for my supper, can’t I? No, don’t answer that. It’s fine. Leave me out of this.

Look, as I said to E, if she were holding out for a billionaire with the looks of fill in the blank movie star, the body of a sex god, the endowment of a porn star, the brains of Stephen Hawking or fill in the blank favorite brainiac (I really like Neil deDrasse Tyson), and the ability to fuck a woman blind — sure, that’s the point where as a good friend I would have to step in and be all “oh honey”… but that’s not where we’re at.

And no, I’m not just bitter. I might be bitter, but I has logic as well, fellow internetters.

This has everything to do with the patriarchy.

We’re talking about a society that supports the myth of scarcity for women. Only so many good men to go around. Only so many good jobs for women. Only so many positions open on the Supreme Court bench for humans with a uterus and vagina.

A culture that doesn’t believe women can or should have it all. Academia that punishes women for getting married, corporations that penalizes women for having children, governments that believe women shouldn’t have control over their own damn fertility and whether they get saddled with an eighteen plus year responsibility, and a media that believes that we should be whores in the bedroom, leashed tigers in the boardroom, aces in the kitchen, handsy with a powertool, and still manage to be up for mother of the year awards after all that.

Yeah.

And oh yeah, I’m getting personal now.

A culture that is totally okay with men whose only contribution on T-day is yelling out game scores. One that looks askance at stay at home fathers and is perfectly okay with men who put the brunt of baby-raising on their wives. One that chuckles and says, “oh boys will be boys” about husbands who don’t do jack around the house except take out the trash and grudgingly at that. One that doesn’t see anything wrong with the idea of a pig-sty bachelor pad but would get all pearl-clutchy if a group of women were to have the same house with the same amount of disarray. One that slut-shames women who have more than a handful of sexual partners (and even that’s too many) but winks at men and their “prowess”. Yeah, about that prowess. How about instead of marking off the number of hot chicks a man has banged, we start tallying by orgasms given? And yeah, no, faked ones don’t count. One where the woman is expected to be the hostess, to be the one to prepare the hostess gift, to be the one to remember all the cards and phone calls over the holidays. Where the daughter is almost always the one taking care of the elderly parents.

If it is true that there are not enough good men to go around, which, hell, it might very well be true, then how is that not the fault of our society? Numerically, we shouldn’t be facing a shortage of men. If it is true that the good men are picky and look with disdain on normals such as E, then how isn’t it society’s indoctrination that teaches them that just being a decent adult and human being entitles them to much more than the average?

I abso-fucking-lutely refuse to believe that I don’t deserve a man who will put forth as much as I do into a relationship and who is average levels of attractive and fit. Just not gonna believe it because the day I buy into that Koolaid is the day I fucking jump off a bridge with both wrists slit up the street.

I’m not buying it, okay? Hands down, not buying it. And neither should you.

Upon such weighty matters as …trying to lose fat

Yes, yes, I went there. Why, yes, I do think I’m funny. Thank you so much for noticing.

Anyway. I hate everything about talking about weight because it’s nothing but a mess of feculent maggots, so this post is probably going to be very profanity and sarcasm laden. Unlike my other posts, you see.

So, I’m trying to lose fat.

I’m currently 64.7 kg, which is about 142.6 pounds. I’m about 154 cm tall, which makes me a hair taller than five feet. That’s a BMI of 27.4, which puts me squarely in the “overweight” camp. Of course, if I’m tallying BMI based on Asian body types, that actually puts me in the obese category.

Part of the maggoty problem is my issues with trying to justify wanting to lose weight with the whole “don’t let the crazy society win!” thing. It feels a bit like selling out, a bit like being anti-feminist, a bit like I’m drinking the koolaid and the next thing I know I’m one of those crazy Asian pod girls.

Yes, I went there. You know what I mean. If you don’t, I’m not explaining it because then that’d be racist.

Step one in wrangling the maggots: justifying the weight.

I have severe sleeping issues. Chinese traditional medicine practitioners have told me that I have sleep apnea. This is not quite substantiated, but considering that I routinely wake up gasping for breath and feeling like I just escaped death… probably true. The terrible sleep patterns mean that I really don’t do well in terms of energy – in fact, I often wake up in the morning feeling like someone beat me with a flotation noodle and I’m usually yawning all throughout the day. This means multiple things for the weight issue, not the least of which is that not getting adequate sleep is known for causing weight gain. Not having sufficient sleep can also mess with your hormones, causing, yep, wait for it, weight gain. Even if that weren’t the case, not having sufficient sleep means that I don’t get enough energy for doing things like — exercise.

I also have anxiety issues, which contribute to my stress issues, which contribute to my hormonal issues, which contribute to …yep, the weight issue. And oh wait, let’s not forget my old friend, depression. Yeah, guess what’s comorbid with depression too?

I don’t eat a lot of sweets, I don’t actually overeat that much and I don’t drink stuff like soda or juice.

So my weight is almost certainly pretty solidly in the “health issues” camp. I need to just own it and be fine with it. It doesn’t matter if no one else believes me or if everyone else believes that I just need to yank myself up by my non-existent bootstraps and lose the weight. Whatever. It’s just something I need to deal with.

Step two: untangling reality from crazy.

The thing is, the whole wanting to lose weight thing is also bound up a bit in my rebellion against my relatives. I keep feeling like if I give in to wanting to lose weight, I’m giving into their crazy against me. It feels a bit like a self-betrayal, like admitting that they were always right about me.

My dad called me “fat lass” for years. My mom would pick at what I would eat, constantly saying “are you really going to eat that?” whenever she ate with me, no matter if we were in public or not. One of my uncles once told me that he was using me as an object lesson so his daughter would know what to fear becoming. My aunt told me it was better if I didn’t laugh because it made the fat on my cheeks bunch up to look really unattractive. My other aunt told me that my boyfriend at the time looked “out of my league”. My brother’s been mostly okay, but he’s let a couple of things slip where I’m pretty sure I don’t fit his aesthetic standards. Which, no, I’m not a perv. I’m just saying. No one in my family likes the way I look and it’s kind of …super depressing. Yeah, I know, the kind of and the super don’t really go together, but whatever.

But you know what? I need to stop fucking punishing myself for their crazy. The fact is that I am overweight right now and I do want to lose fat for my own sake and I really shouldn’t cut off my nose to spite their face.

Step three: identifying the actual problems.

I feel fat. I can’t really walk for decent distances without the small bones in my feet complaining. I cannot sprint. I despise the rolls of flesh around my tummy that make it harder for me to bend over. I hate that when I do shoulder stands in yoga, I have this big huge flump of flesh that hangs in my face.

Step four: number your goals.

I would like to be able to sprint to leave behind zombies when the apocalypse happens. Barring that, it would be nice to be able to run down someone who snatches my purse or to run away from normal danger. I want to be able to hike the Inca trail without wanting to die. I want to be able to haul myself up flights of stairs and do DDR without killing my knees. I want to be able to haul around my own luggage. I want to be able to clamber up a 5.11 wall with ease. I want to be able to swim twenty laps in the pool without becoming winded. I also can’t easily buy cute clothing in Asia, but really, that’s a hardcore first world problem. Well, so’s being so fat that your bones hate you, but hey. I want to feel sexy and comfortable in my own skin.

No, that is not a bid for any of my friends who read this blog, all like one of them, to tell me that I’m sexy in my own right.

It doesn’t matter. I haven’t felt sexy in years. Maybe ever, because the last time I was at peace with how I looked, I was twelve. So that was pretty hardcore in the “nope, nope nope not sexy” age.

Also? Kinda crazy admission? I love being picked up and cuddled. I want to be a light enough weight that that is possible. My ex could do it, but my ex also had weird muscular capabilities and was about a foot taller than me. It would be really nice if whoever I dated next was able to pick me up for a cuddle and I’m going to try and facilitate that.

Step five: list what you’re gonna pay.

I’m currently on 1176 calories per day on Loseit. Theoretically my base metabolic rate is 1410 calories per day and with light exercise about 1-3 times a week, it’s about 1824 per day. So math-wise, this should work. And 1176 should be high enough that my metabolism won’t decide to crash and burn. Theoretically.

One of the doctors I was seeing put me on a draconian diet of no rice, no noodles, no nothing that involves starchy things. I think even legumes and stuff like potatoes was out. Yeah, think Atkins.

You know what? Fuck that shit.

When I’m not on my period, I aim to do water aerobics/swim for at least 30 min a day. I’m going to make an effort to do 15 min of walking after lunch and dinner. I’m also going to try to keep doing my sun salutations first thing in the morning, if my damn body can just stop with the crazy sleep problems. When my energy levels pick up and/or when my weight drops enough, I’m going to go back to doing at least 10k steps a day and work myself up.

With that amount of activity, it’s insane to consider going completely starchless. So I’m not. Besides, I’m in Asia. Land of noodles, rice bowls, and where stuff like fried rice as an entree originated. It’s just not really possible to eat out here without giving in to some form of the hated starches. I could just not go out, but I really don’t want to be the crazy dieting recluse. The other thing is, I’m really not going to go for a diet that I cannot keep to. I believe in creating good exercise and eating habits and going starch free just isn’t in the cards. No way.

So yeah.

That’s the plan. Let’s see how hard the gods laugh at this plan. I still remember how they harshed my plan for writing, so we’ll see.

But you know? I’m done fighting myself. I really am. I do think I’m overweight and I do want to lose weight, but fuck everyone who wants to rain on my parade. I’m gonna do this steadily and I’m gonna do this in a safe and healthy fashion and everyone who wants to tell me that a 600 calorie a day diet is the way to go can sit on a morning star and twirl.

Should I tell my best friend that I love them?

I get this question a whole lot on Quora and it’s getting to the point where I feel like the thoughts warrant a blog post. I think about it a lot, not just because people are asking me this question, but because I’ve been thinking about a variation of that question for a while.

The question of, do I regret telling my best friend that I liked them or not?

I fell in love with my best friend and we had a relationship for ten years. We lived together in the same house, shared bank accounts, the whole shebang. In the end, we parted. There was no happily ever after, not in the romantic sense and not in the friendship sense, probably because it wasn’t one of those “we knew each other for ever and ever and then we got together things”.

That was said somewhat tongue in cheek, but I suppose it’s true in a way.

We were friends, yes. We clicked to an almost alarming extent, to the point where we were finishing each other’s sentences within days of meeting. We were best friends and then we were in a romantic relationship. All within the span of about, what, three months? Less? I don’t remember, but it was fast. Maybe too fast.

I guess we’ve never had a chance to see what we would have been like as just friends. So when we took the romantic component out, maybe that meant that we were set adrift with no real idea of how to behave and how to treat each other.

Some days I wonder if I wouldn’t be happier if we had never taken it to the next level. Maybe I’m deluding myself about that possibility. Two of our friends took him aside and talked to him, because as one of them put it, “the pheromones you two put off could fertilize the eggs of passing birds”. Wrongly constructed analogy aside, perhaps we never had a chance in that way.

I wasn’t really ready to move on, to shift gears, before the decision was essentially taken out of my hands. Maybe I never would have been ready. Maybe I would have been ready after more thought and relationship building. Maybe that would have meant the difference between whether or not we could stay friends now or not. We’ll never know and I try not to think about it because it’s a useless train of thought.

But yes. We’re probably no longer best friends. We’re probably possibly not even going to be friends anymore.

I shouldn’t be surprised. There are too many questions from men on Quora asking, “we’ve broken up and I agreed that we could be friends, but do I have to talk to her?” for me to think otherwise. And I’m not.

But I am disappointed.

This is someone who I told everything to, who was my confidante for ten years, someone who I allowed in me, bare, in ways more than just the physical. This is someone, who if science is to be believed, might have left his DNA in me, who might therefore have changed me fundamentally in small but certain ways. To think that our ways might just part now… it hurts. I’m not going to lie about that.

But was it worth it?

I think so. If not just for the experience, then at least for the truth that I gained. I don’t have to daydream and wonder if it couldn’t be one of those fairy-tale endings where you fall in love with your best friend and you get to spend the rest of your lives together, in perfect love and perfect trust, with a baby or two to love and cherish. I’ve tried it and now I know.

I know what it was like to be loved by him. I know that we ultimately don’t suit, not in that way. I know the pain of loving someone and being loved in return and understanding that love sometimes isn’t enough, for either of you.

The funny thing is, we could probably be better friends now that almost all of the questions have been answered.

But back to the question of what to do and best friends and what if things are ruined.

The answer is that nothing will ever remain the same even if you say nothing.

Would a friendship between a man and a woman be the same after one or the both of them marry? Would it even be the same after one of them starts going steady with someone else?

My ex had a best friend, one he took multi-hour long transatlantic phone calls with, one he knew since he was fourteen. A woman who knew him before I did and who would always know a part of him that I wouldn’t, secrets and shared experiences that I would never share.

I was lucky. I wasn’t jealous and all I wanted to know was whether we could be friends in turn.

My ex introduced us and I fell in love. I loved his best friend for the same reasons I liked his personality, his wit, and his ability to make me laugh.

Again, I was lucky.

Maybe she was lucky too. Heavens only know what he would have done if I had tried to make him choose. At that point, he probably would have chosen her, but maybe I could have swayed him by using his hormones against him. But even without that level of crazy, I could have made it difficult. I could have refused to have any part of her, to see her as competition and to try and wedge her, ever so subtly, from our shared lives.

I’m lucky. I haven’t felt the bite of jealousy yet and I hope never to, but I know that some people aren’t similarly blessed. I know it’s possible for perfectly non-sexual friendships to shatter under the scrutiny of a significant other. I knew a woman who freaked out because her boyfriend would ask after the day of another woman, claiming that “asking about people’s days” is something that only lovers shared.

But it’s not all insanity, anyway. I understand how it goes.

How would his girlfriend or wife feel if I cuddled against him when we sat on the couch? How would she feel if I fell asleep in his lap during a boring movie? Physicality aside, how would she feel if I kept him as my confidante, running to him every time I wanted to cry? Would she be okay if he was the first one I called when I wanted to celebrate? Would she be fine with my asking him to go traveling with me to all the places that I want to go? Could I drop by on the weekends, cake and drinks in hand, just to hang out and watch TV?

I know better than to do that. Of course I do.

In fact, my ex demurred from helping me with my website issues in the future because “wouldn’t it be weird?” so I know better than even to ask for normal friend things lest it be…weird.

But those things are what I would do with a best friend. Which means, if I can’t do it anymore, then that means our relationship will have shifted from its original course.

And as a woman, I’m not going to bet on having a boyfriend or husband who will be okay with me cuddling with another man, snuggling into his lap for a nap, or hugging him for long minutes in greeting or farewell.

I could do it, without sexual intent, just as friends. I’ve done it, in fact, towards the end of our relationship where it felt more like a friendship than a romantic relationship. But would people believe it? Even more important, would any significant other in our lives believe it?

Even separate from that — what relationship stays static forever? One of my best friends asked that and it’s true. The only thing to rely on is change itself.

I was best friends with a woman for eight years and it ended in fire despite everything we tried and possibly also because of everything we did.

There are no guarantees in life. All we can do is choose the path that leads to the least regrets.

Compartmentalization: self-medication or self-drugging?

I like compartmentalization. I adore it, in fact.

I have at least three Twitter accounts and I’m thinking about creating another one just so I can rant about my life without my friends knowing it’s me.

Now, the question is why?

Having an author twitter makes sense — theoretically it would be for updates, news about book releases, with just enough personality to keep things interesting.

Having a personal twitter for my friends makes sense too – those nsfw comments and pictures have to go somewhere after all.

So why a third? A fourth? Why does my brain feel this is necessary?

In the end, is it about sensibility, about keeping parts of your life separate for clarity’s sake, for everyone else’s convenience, or is it about safety?

Every sentence I say, every action I perform – how many of those come out completely without artifice? Even if it’s as benign as tact, as sensible as not making an off-color joke in front of authority… isn’t it, in the end, about keeping yourself safe from consequences?

I’m not saying that’s bad. It’s just good policy and …well, sensible.

But where is the line between being sensible and penning yourself up in far too many identities to keep yourself safe from other people’s judgement and possible disdain?

I don’t know, but I’m ready to start taking down the walls. If I end up letting in the ravening hordes, at least I’ll die a more complete person.

In that spirit, this blog is about to get huge influx of posts from my old blog and I’ll probably be somewhat less circumspect in future posts.

Throw open the doors. Let the rain and wind come.

 

Uphill, in the snow, every day, both ways…

I saw a tweet today where someone was having a moment about Kickstarters for “Help me Fund my Novel”.  According to her,  you can write novels for free and if you need money, you should get a job.

*blink*

Well, okay.  Not a technically incorrect statement, but I was curious as to why the judgey. As an author herself, I was a little surprised to see that amount of vehemence and pissy.

So I tried fishing for the reason behind their statement:

“I dunno. Go a bit the other way and people start arguing that writers should write for free, too.”

Which, I stand by that statement. Once you start talking about in which cases people should or should not be allowed to charge for their work or how and how not…it’s a slippery slope straight to “well, if you really loved doing it, you’d find a way to make it happen and to provide it for free”.

I’ve seen it — it gets ugly.

They responded with:

“Absolutely not. That’s entirely different. You write your novel yourself. You sell it for money. That’s how it works.”

*blink*

At this point, I’m both amused and a little non-plussed by the vehemence and the almost dictatorial tone.  So, there’s a correct and incorrect way to do it now?

Personally I’m not usually one to spend money on Kickstarters of that ilk, but I’m not against them either. In my opinion, if someone is capable of selling their unwritten book in such a way that makes people want to give them money, I don’t see the problem.

I wonder if she’s all right with people self-publishing — is there a correct way to do that too? Or is it simply incorrect because the gate-keepers have not opened the pearly gates of Author-dom to them and they have burrowed under the gates illicitly?

She responds with:

“Every writer I know wrote their novels while working a day job. We didn’t ask people to fund us. We just wrote and worked.”

…at this point I’m wondering if there’s some sort of “I did it the hard way, therefore everyone else should too” mentality going on and if their “how things should be done” extends to housewives/husbands who don’t have a day job and stay home and write.

Also, seriously? That’s a lot of able-ism going on.

Just because you managed to pull yourself up by your own damn bootstraps doesn’t mean everyone else should be obliged to. Especially since it’s not even like welfare or food stamps where her taxes were going to pay for it.

I have clinical depression, anxiety and a list of health problems — I find it really hard impossible to cope as a working adult, much less managing to write on top of that.

When I work full-time, the job gets done, but laundry/feeding the self/cleaning doesn’t necessarily happen. If I magically find enough spoons to make sure that I’m behaving in an adult fashion, writing is simply not going to happen.

Even during the summer when my job goes on hiatus, I can either write or I can be an adult who gets her chores/laundry/cooking done. I do not have the energy to do it all. If I had children, I don’t think much of anything would be going on at all. The child would get fed and changed and that’d be all.

I find it offensive for someone to make blanket sweeping statements like that and to be so judgmental about what other people can or cannot do with their lives.

Life’s short; you never know what is going to happen in the next moment. Is it truly so unacceptable to say: “I have a dream to finish a novel / write full-time and I’m not currently capable of it on my own while I’m engaged in subsistence living, so I’m going to ask for help”?

I would never presume to tell someone, so long as they’re not hurting anyone, that how they’re choosing to prioritize things in their life are wrong. Besides, I kinda wanted to come back with: “So, what if it was a cancer patient who has only so long left to live and they don’t want to spend the time in the rat race and instead wanted to fulfill their dream instead”? And if she’s okay with that, how is that different from anyone else?

A plane could crash into your house. An earthquake could collapse your life. You could get hit by a car crossing the road. You could choke on something and die.

Nothing is guaranteed. Nothing. Especially not life and what you get to do with your time.

I mention something about patrons and she comes back with: “I would never ask anyone for money to do something I know I can do for free.”

SWEEPING GENERALIZATIONS ARE SWEEPING, GAIZ! There are many things one could do for free. It doesn’t mean that asking money for it shouldn’t happen, especially when holding someone up at gun/knife point isn’t happening.

So I ask her: “Do you have a similar reaction to people who live off their partners while attempting to create art?”

She responds with: “As long as they’re not crowd funding something that costs no extra money to create, then no.” and “Simply this. You don’t need someone else’s money to write your book. It makes zero sense to crowd fund it. It costs nothing.”

At this point I really don’t know what her problem is. It is increasingly seeming like she just really doesn’t like the idea of someone having it easier than she had it.

Also, lady, opportunity cost is still cost.

Also, your partner’s money is …your partner’s money? Not yours?

Me: “JOOC, how is one more morally/ethically/whatever acceptable than the other?”

Her: “A private decision between couples and crowd-funding a novel which is free to write seem different to me. I don’t get the question.”

… this is where I get the impression that this conversation is not going to go anywhere useful for anyone at any point. My thought is that if she objects to someone being supported through creating art by someone else, then she should theoretically also object to someone staying home and writing instead of getting a day job.

Apparently not, because despite the Kickstarter not somehow magically roofie-compelling people to pay them money, it is less acceptable despite Kickstarter backers probably have a less emotionally fraught relationship with the Kickstarter owner.

I’ve seen people get emotionally manipulated into doing things “for love” and I’ve seen people who emotionally abuse the people who depend on them while creating art and so I’m really not convinced that one is a “cleaner” concept than the other.

She then comes back with: “I’m sure these people who work from home and write are also doing other things besides writing. Like raising children.”

…not always? And does this mean she’d judge those who didn’t have children and had the gall to stay home and  write eat bonbons all day?

Her: “Simply this. You don’t need someone else’s money to write your book. It makes zero sense to crowd fund it. It costs nothing.”

….okay. Again, opportunity cost is cost. And again, what is easy/possible for you isn’t necessarily easy/possible for another.

We then go back and forth a couple more times where I ask her why one is morally acceptable and the other isn’t and she says it’s not about the morality of it.

Well jeez, if right/wrong isn’t involved, why are your panties in a bunch? Do you go around policing people on how they raise their children, do their job, wear their clothing, etc? Or do you get similarly pissed when restaurants mark up soda from the pennies it takes to make to a couple of dollars?

Finally, from her: “It’s not necessary to crowd fund something that costs no money to make. The end.”

I let her flounce because it wasn’t going anywhere and I didn’t/don’t actually want to get into a pissing contest online. Before, I genuinely just wanted to figure out what her rationale was and once it became clear that she wasn’t anything close to being logical about it, there was no point in getting riled about it.

It’s just frustrating the same way it’s frustrating that feminists/moms can’t get along.  I thought the whole writer divide re: self-pub and trad pub was silly enough, but this is just depressing.

This whole conversation makes me really, really sad. I would have thought that a fellow artist would have understood the value of allowing someone their dream, irrelevant of what/whether they end up producing as a result.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

All right. *deep breath* I’m going to try and tackle this because I feel like this is something I have to say. I feel a bit like stepping off into the abyss of privilege and ignorant obliviousness, but…

I’m not disputing that Eleanor & Park has certain aspects of it that are troubling. I do not dispute this at all. Wendy Xu has a great summation of just what was wrong about the handling of the subject matter. Laura’s take on it is also brilliant and brings up much needed historical background about that time period that sheds some light on the portrayal of Park’s life. 

I agree with 100% of what they’re decrying about the execution of the book.

What I disagree with and what I expect will get me tarred and feathered, is that I disagree with the opinion of some that this book should never have happened.

The self-hatred, the obsession with height and looks and all of that — that is something my brother went through and still deals with now. It doesn’t matter how much we tell him that he’ll find someone who will love him the way he is and that how he carries himself is more important than his height — it’s something that has made him voice thoughts like “I wish I could hit reset on my life and start over with a new body”.  It’s been a month or so since I read E&P, so I can’t recall if Park just wants to be taller and have more masculine features or if he actively wants to be white. The two I feel are different and it’s important which. One is a basic rejection of what he is and another is a very teenage “I wish I were skinnier, had tits, have a lower voice, bigger eyes” thing that I see as a phase that many go through while figuring out how to be comfortable in their own skin.

As Mike Jung says:

I love Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park. It moved me tremendously, and there were moments when I was flabbergasted by the existence of a character whose inner life so closely resembled mine, in ways I’d never found in a book before. I’m not mixed-race (although both my children are), but I spent my middle school and high school years as one of the very few Asian kids in an overwhelmingly white community. I was, and in many ways remain, deeply alienated from my Korean ancestry, and I became as thoroughly assimilated into the privileged culture of white suburban America as I probably could have been.I was confused, and I grew more psychologically distanced from my extended family by the day.

My feelings of self-loathing weren’t rooted solely in my disengagement from my racial and ethnic heritage, but they weren’t separate from it either. I think Park is a character with more than a little self-hatred, a deep sense of alienation from his own racial and ethnic roots, and a very compartmentalized, incomplete understanding of himself. And some part of me fell back and sang out in relief that a book had captured those old feelings of mine so truly and so well.

Of course, he also goes on to discuss how his feelings have since become more complex once the racism was pointed out.

I feel, for some, it might be comforting to know that they are not alone in their complicated feelings about themselves. I feel that for some, it might give them some hope that somewhere out there is a person who will love them as much as Eleanor loves Park and find them attractive for what they are, not despite what they are.

I feel that the measure of comfort that might be derived from that is worth the existence of the book. Barring that, I believe that if we say white authors aren’t allowed to write POC characters unless they get it completely right will just continue the trend of having too few books with POC characters rather than helping it. It’s like every author’s debut novel — you do the best you can and after a certain point you need to put it out into the world, learn from it, and then do better next time. And I’m not saying the first ever book you write as an author. I mean the one that’s actually worth publishing and has had more than just your friends and family’s approval.

I’d rather more people tackle POC issues than not. I just would. I believe that slightly damaging perceptions are still better than nothing, especially in this case where I believe the intent is good. Art and the improvement of it doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

Some might argue that Park’s self-hatred and Eleanor’s exoticising of him reinforces racial stereotypes and feelings of self-inadequacy and might be harmful to kids’s psyches.

I would say, yes, maybe. But then maybe we shouldn’t write novels involving the thought of suicide, depression, anorexia and a whole slew of other things.

No, maybe not entirely the same, but on the other hand, isn’t it?

They’re teenagers. The question of whether we infantalize our children for too long is not something I want to address here. I’m saying that it’s not impossible to imagine teens being that oblivious, that ignorant of the historical context of things (I especially bet most teens now won’t know the historical facts that Laura laid out), to consider their blinding Romeo and Juliet passion as something understandable if not laudable.

I do wish that Park had worked through more of his problems, but to be honest, I believe that Eleanor’s love for him helped. She let him see that he was attractive to her and that was important. Yes, she was othering him the entire time, but I saw that othering as part of the fact that he’s essentially the fairytale prince from another land come to bring light into her life. Which is not great, but if we’re going to allow Prince Charming stories from Disney…

Which, yes, I’ve heard arguments against that too.

But I believe that if our children read broadly and deeply, this isn’t going to damage them. At worst it’s going to be some of the same bullshit we see in media, but then we can’t keep them in a bubble of perfectly rendered input forever.

The only way to work toward perfection is to try and fail and try again.

*throws up a shield against rotten tomatoes*