Category Archives: Observations

“Crazy women are better in bed.”

It seems to me that the stereotype that crazy women are better in bed is really just the fetishization of women who, due to trauma and/or mental illness, may feel like they’re not allowed to say no (often precisely because they don’t want to be labeled “crazy” like so many women are the second they reveal that they have needs and desires that don’t match a man’s).

For the record, fetishizing a lack of healthy boundaries is creepy as fuck. So is taking advantage of someone else’s compromised mental state for your own ends, then discarding them when it no longer directly benefits you — but the attitude that this is okay to do to someone is sadly prevalent in our culture. It’s particularly odious given that people with mental illnesses are more likely to be victims of abuse and violence than perpetrators.

So think about that before you talk about a “crazy” person being a “wild ride”. People with mental illnesses are not here to be your amusement park.

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Filed under Assholes, Tramps, and Thieves, Observations

It’s been a long time. How have you been?

It’s been forever since I’ve posted to this thing. 2012 was . . . quite a year, to put it mildly. I didn’t believe in all that “end of the world” nonsense until I was about halfway through the year, when I started seriously questioning whether there was something to the idea that 2012 was the end of the world as we know it, if not a literal apocalypse. Just about everything got shaken up, and not only for me — it was a trend I noticed in the lives of damned near everybody I know. The old order was thrown out, and a new order established itself.

I know it’s awfully late for a 2012 summary post, but these thoughts have been percolating in my head and trying to get out for almost a month now, and, well, better late than never. The condensed explanation for my absence (from this blog, anyway) goes like this: major abdominal pains beginning in February, an unnecessarily drawn-out process to figure out what the problem was that included two major surgeries, the removal of two cantaloupe-sized tumors engulfing both my ovaries (which also meant removing my ovaries, along with my greater omentum and appendix, both of which had pre-cancerous cells on them) in May, healing up all throughout June, finding out that a beloved former voice teacher of mine also had cancer, a couple of cancer scares with a couple of friends, health issues with other family members, quite a few people whom I either knew personally or know people who were close to them dying of various causes (cancer being the cause for some of them, because apparently 2012 was the year for cancer-related issues), close friendships of mine that had lasted for years suddenly splitting up with no warning, jobs coming and going, and my heart getting broken way too often for way too many reasons.

So yeah, I haven’t exactly had the energy to do much more than post things on Facebook, as far as the Internet has been concerned.

Nevertheless, I learned a hell of a lot last year. And as painful as some of those lessons were, I’m better for having learned them; I certainly know more about myself than I did before, and quite a bit about how other people work, too. So here are some of those lessons that I either learned for the first time or had reinforced, in no particular order:

– When you’re suffering from a major, potentially life-threatening illness — like cancer, for instance — you find out who really gives a damn about you.

– Unfortunately, you don’t find out about some of them until after it’s over, and that’s when it can really suck.

– I’m not the politely tolerated burden to my family that I always thought I was.

– It’s one thing to be betrayed by your blood family. To be betrayed by your chosen family, however, is infinitely more painful.

– The grass is not greener on the other side.

– Every single time I ignore my intuition, I get into trouble. Every. Single. Time.

– Intuition and lizard-brain paranoia look and feel very similar. However, if you’re trying to find reasons to stay in a situation instead of finding reasons to leave it, there’s a pretty good chance it’s your gut trying to tell you something, not lizard brain freaking out.

– Ignoring a couple of red flags here and there is not a good idea. Ignoring or trying to rationalize red flags for years can only end in explosive disaster. When you’re one of only a couple of people who’s stuck around after literally everybody else has headed for the hills, mostly independently of each other and all for the same reasons, you should probably start seriously thinking about why that might be happening. Hint: it’s probably not because you’re one of the only people who truly understands the person or thing to which you’ve been loyal.

– Being treated badly by someone really makes you appreciate the people who have treated you well.

– My boyfriend may drive me batshit crazy sometimes, but he’s still the best partner I could have asked for, and I will never take him for granted.

– “All charming people have something to conceal, usually their total dependence on the appreciation of others.” — Cyril Connolly

– Some periods of time — years, for instance — are about moving forward. Others are about battening down the hatches and waiting for the storm to clear, about simply enduring.

– However, doing your best to endure is no excuse for thoughtlessly hurting other people. You either give a damn about someone besides yourself, or you don’t. And there is not a single thing that can excuse the latter.

– That being said, certain first offenses are more forgivable than others, and someone who actually cares about you as a person should be willing to work it out. If said someone isn’t willing to work it out the first time you hit a bump in the road, that’s a pretty good indication that zie wasn’t worth getting so worked up over in the first place.

– Some offenses really do cross the forgiveness event horizon. They’re few in number, but they exist. At least, they shouldn’t be forgiven, unless your greatest aspiration in life is to be hurt over and over again.

– You really are the company you keep. Guilt by association isn’t always complete bullshit.

– I’m at a point in my life where I need stability a lot more than I need excitement or perfect fulfillment. This is especially true for my career goals: as much as I love bartending, I’m not at a place in my life where I can deal with the general instability of the restaurant/bar industry without putting the rest of my life on hold — including school. Maybe that will change in the future. But right now, my needs are what they are, even if they’re not what I wish they were.

– I need to play more video games. My geek cred has been slipping over the past several years. And quite frankly, books and movies can only take you so far into another world (much as I adore books!); there are times when being an active participant is far and away more satisfying than being a passive observer.

– While I wouldn’t say I’m a passive observer in the rest of my life, I could stand to be even more of an active participant in it than I already am. Letting go of my nigh-paralyzing fear of inconveniencing, burdening, or steamrolling other people will be a good start.

– Sometimes, even when you do everything “right”, you still get fucked over. There actually are cases in which one party is entirely at fault for how things went down, and searching for some measure of equality by finding reasons to blame yourself in fact only perpetuates the unfairness of the situation. There comes a point where it’s okay to stop asking what you could have done better; sometimes, there really is nothing.

– Endings are frightening as fuck. But “frightening” is not always a synonym for “bad”.

– Even when you’re better off for something having ended, you’re probably still going to mourn it in some way. You might mourn a single aspect of it, or some aspects, or all of it. You might mourn in a subtle way, or in a far more encompassing way. All of these ways of mourning are okay, and beating yourself up for not being able to completely move on within a certain timeframe will only prolong the process.

– It’s okay to want justice, no matter what your religion, somebody else’s religion, or popular opinion says to the contrary. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should try to serve it yourself, but wanting it and hoping for it are not wrong. To want justice is to affirm your belief that the forces of good should ultimately prevail.

– Still, some things — and people — don’t deserve to be held onto.

– You don’t have to have faith that the bastards will get what’s coming to them, because it’s not a matter of faith, but of probability: you can’t be shitty to person after person after person without eventually pissing off someone who will make you pay for it. The bastards might even piss off the wrong people over and over again, all the while wondering why on earth everything keeps going wrong for them. This fact has helped me sleep many a night.

– It’s worth figuring out whether you’re reacting badly to another person because you’re seeing someone else who hurt you in them, rather than because they’re actually mistreating you.

– People who say “I’m not afraid to be honest” to excuse being rude and hurtful to other people are actually cowards. They’re deliberately rude because it’s a more socially acceptable way of taking out their aggression than straight-up punching their targets in the face. Even though, you know, punching people in the face is more honest than trying to pass off unnecessarily blunt comments as “having the courage to be honest”. (Not that I’m advocating punching people in the face. What I’m advocating is not being an ass to other people in the first place.)

– Haters gonna hate. When they hate, it about them, not you. Do your best not to take it personally.

– When the truth hurts, it becomes all the more imperative to deliver it with as much compassion and concern as you can possibly muster. Piling more hurt on top of what already hurts can only backfire.

– 2012 was especially hard on a whole lot of people. None of us are alone in having suffered.

– Even when you feel like you’re all alone, no one is ever alone. Sometimes it’s a matter of putting yourself and your pain out there, so that the people who share in your pain will see you and come to you. And sometimes it’s a matter of letting yourself see that you’re not alone, of not resisting the people who are with you.

So I’m still here. 2012 tried valiantly to break me, but it failed. And two weeks into the new year, the whole world feels lighter, cleaner, freer.

Let’s all make 2013 a better one, shall we?

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Filed under Assholes, Tramps, and Thieves, Bartending, Lessons Learned, Love, Observations, Philosophy/Musing, Things I Know Now That I Didn't Before

Because it’s Valentine’s Day, have a blog post I wrote last year that didn’t make it onto this blog.

I was inspired by this post on The Oatmeal, because The Oatmeal is awesome like that.

You know why I hate Valentine’s Day? Because every year, I have to listen to half the people around me talk about how much they hate Valentine’s Day, and how it’s such a stupid and insignificant “holiday” that they’re going to take time out of their day to talk about how stupid and insignificant it is.

Seriously, folks — can we all just stop finding bullshit reasons to be unhappy? You guys are the ones who say “It’s just another day,” so act like it. Talk about something else. Maybe find a reason to be happy instead, connected to your significant other or lack thereof or the millions of other reasons to be glad for whatever place in life you’re in right now, rather than dwell on the first reason you can think of on any given day to be unhappy. Perhaps the world would be a brighter place if we actually pursued happiness, instead of waiting for it to come to us and then bitching and moaning when, big surprise, it doesn’t.

If Valentine’s Day doesn’t matter to you, then act accordingly and do something you want to do on that day that will make you happy. It really is that simple, folks, and if I can do it, so can you. You see, the only reason I remembered that last Monday was Valentine’s Day was because half the posts I saw on Facebook that day took special care to bemoan the fact that it was Valentine’s Day. And that negativity in turn made me feel negative — until I went out and did something that made me feel good. The people who sat around griping on Facebook about Valentine’s Day probably would have done better to do the same, quite frankly.

Shit happens in our lives. We lose jobs, we have days at work that almost make us wish we would lose our jobs, our relationships end, our kids get sick, we get sick, those of us who are biologically female suffer from PMS (or PMDD, which can range from worse to OH GOD PLEASE SHOOT ME IN THE HEAD BEFORE I DO IT MYSELF), our families have drama, our friends have drama . . . and all of those things are worth being upset about. Valentine’s Day is such an unimportant thing in comparison to the rest of the shit sandwich that life feeds us from time to time; yet we choose to be unhappy about it anyway, rather than giving it all the notice it deserves: none. And really, people? I mean, really? Are we really doing this right now, when the world sucks as it is and we need to start thinking more about what we’re actually grateful to have in our lives?

So next year, if you don’t need Valentine’s Day to show appreciation for the people you love, then don’t. Don’t mention that it’s Valentine’s Day, if it’s really so unnecessary. Just tell people that you love them, same as you would any other day. After all, you would do just that on any other day of the year, right?

Right?

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ETA 2/14/2012: So, it’s Valentine’s Day.

To those of you who can’t stand V-Day for whatever reason — you’re single, it’s all a capitalist plot by corporations to make money, etcetera — here’s an idea: celebrate Valentine’s Day, but treat it as a celebration of love, period. Love for your significant other(s), love for your friends, love for your family, love for your pets, whatever. Yeah, it makes perfect sense to have a whole day set aside for focusing on love in all its forms, because you know what? There’s little enough love in the world as it is. The world is a cruel place that has more cruel, heartless people in it than there ought to be — especially lately, it seems. Let’s hang on to and celebrate all the love we can find.

So happy Valentine’s Day to my friends, my family, and this guy. I love you.

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To the guy who approached me in the sushi restaurant while I was enjoying a meal alone:

It should have been perfectly obvious by the fact that there was nobody sitting across from or next to me that I came to Kai’s in order to enjoy a meal alone. If I had wanted to socialize with other people beyond having my order taken by the waitstaff, I would have brought somebody else along with me.

The fact that you approached me completely unprompted was bad enough. That your opening line was “Wow, that must be really good, if you’re licking it off your fingers” was even worse, because A) it’s just sauce from the unagi, dude, get over it; and B) if I had been a man, or if a man had been sitting across from me, you wouldn’t have said anything at all to me, sexually suggestive or not.

So, congratulations! You’re officially an asshole and a creep!

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Also, a metaphor

It occurs to me that loving someone else is a lot like sewing.

When I was a teenager, I learned how to sew from my mother and grandmother, on their sewing machines. It wasn’t long before I got a sewing machine of my own, and oh, did I ever put it to use. I knew how to sew, in the sense that I knew how to stitch a seam, stitch backwards, make a zig-zag stitch next to straight seams so that the fabric wouldn’t fray, cut pieces of fabric using a pattern, pin the pieces together, follow the pattern, sew a rolled hem, etcetera. I even knew how to hem a skirt by hand and sew beads and pearls onto something.

That didn’t mean, however, that my first several garments looked all that good. In fact, some of them, for all the time and energy I’d put into them, looked downright atrocious. There were all these little tricks for making a seam, hem, or bound edge look good that I had yet to learn; but more than that, I had yet to develop patience. I was content to take shortcuts, or to leave something that could have been ripped out and done better the way it was. And then I wondered why the garments looked so shoddy.

Of course, once I grew up enough to become committed to doing things the right way, rather than the “good enough” way, the look of the finished products improved dramatically. Investing just a little bit more care into each step made the biggest difference.

So it is with love: many people know how to love, in the sense that they understand the basics — the feeling of being in love, the time spent together, the physical things, and so on. But it’s the extra care we invest — putting the other person’s needs above our own desires (or fears); taking care to communicate in better ways, even when it’s not exactly convenient; being there for the other person not just when it’s easy, but also when it’s hard; best practices, so to speak — that turns the end result into something truly amazing.

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Filed under Lessons Learned, Observations, Philosophy/Musing

Youth of the nation

I’m beginning to wonder if the news stories I grew up with — the Columbine massacre when I was nine, Xiana Fairchild’s disappearance and murder right in my hometown when I was ten, 9/11 just a few days before I turned twelve, all the kids who got very publicly kidnapped and/or murdered since then, and so on — have had more of an effect on me and my generation than I had previously realized.

“Expect the unexpected” has been my modus operandi for most of my life. I have to be prepared for changes and threats, at all times. I always have to have my cell phone with me, even when I’m sleeping, just in case I get a call at three in the morning from someone who needs my help or is trying to warn me of impending danger. I’m always trying to plan ahead for everything from death to breakups to job losses (both my own, and those of people around me). And yet, I can’t watch the news anymore; all that talk of all the terrible things that could happen but never do, whether it’s the next killer pandemic or the Rethugs finally yanking unemployment insurance or Social Security away for good, nevertheless makes me feel too uneasy (not to mention the seeming glee with which reporters whip the public into a frenzy, which I find deeply disturbing).

I’ve grown up with a seemingly endless litany of tragedies, and all the “new normals” that followed — safety drills at school to establish how we were to respond if somebody were ever to roam around campus with a gun; airport security reaching new levels of paranoia; being taught from an early age to watch the vehicles that passed me on the sidewalk, in case one should start to slow down next to me; and so on. And I don’t know if I’m just particularly sensitive to all these things, or if most people in my generation feel similarly; but in any case, this has been going on for so long that I’ve only just recently noticed how hypervigilant I am in comparison to the generations that came before me.

I can’t help but wonder: is this “the new normal” for us? Will it always be this way from now on? And if so, will the generations that come after us be better-adjusted to it than we are . . . or won’t they?

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