Let’s Debunk: Normalcy & Dysfunction. 

When I went away from college, I decided to leave any problem or issue that happened at home, at home. For four years, I chose to focus on myself and what I was doing and where I was going. What I didn’t know at the time was that at the end of those four years, that was exactly where I’d end up: back at home. So imagine my surprise upon entering my old room and realizing that the place where I was at that moment, was no longer the same place I left.

There was an odd air of tension; not unlike those moments when you walk into a room and realize that the people in there were just talking about you. It wasn’t that I felt victimized, it was more like a huge battle had happened and I so happened to walk into the scattered remnants of bodies and cannon fodder. It didn’t feel right. It didn’t feel like the home I once knew.

For weeks after, I would go on mini rants about how this “new” home I somehow wandered back to was dysfunctional and “not normal.” The entirety of my college career, I could calculate that I went home no more than thirty times and the home I would come back to, was unchanged. A façade. Smoke and mirrors. If you would like more cliches, I’m sure I can fabricate some. The wools were pulled over my eyes (there you go). I’d walk through the garage door to happy faces and welcome back hugs, completely unaware that anything had happened or anyone had just fucked up big time.

This blissful ignorance kept me in check for four years. It held itself together in the form of a dam, keeping the waters of “dysfunction” at bay until I found myself in a semi-permanent position. At that point, the employees quit and the dam was demolished. The waters of truth overwhelmed me in one fell swoop and I had to learn how to swim in less than five seconds.

I’ve been home for a little over a month and what I realized was that the idea of a normal family is just what society wants us to believe a family is (I know i’ve written on social constructionism before, but at the time of this realization, it had decided to take a backseat). Every family has to be The Brady Bunch; no drama, no fuck ups, no bumps. Then you realize, no family is The Brady Bunch. I’m just upset that it took me so long to realize that not one family is really exempt from this. Everyone is affected. It doesn’t make my family any less of one than my neighbors and it doesn’t make me any happier that someone else out there probably has a much dire situation than my own. Fact of the matter is, in this world, normalcy is having dysfunction.

Anything functioning is simply a façade.

Let’s Rant: Whose Last Name is It Anyways?

One day, I want to get married. This much is true.

Being twenty-two, I am of course pondering this as a legitimate possibility. Having a husband to hold with whom I can begin a family; what twenty-two year old isn’t thinking of that (hint: most twenty-two year olds aren’t thinking about that, so let’s call me a special case and move on)? It hasn’t been until recently that I have seriously delved into the thought of marriage. Up until a few months ago, I hadn’t even received equitable rights if I were to marry someone. Now that I have the option and the freedom to do so, I have one serious question to ask: Whose last name do we take?

It’s a silly thing to wonder, isn’t it? For most people, it’s simple: take the last name of your husband. Done deal, sign the license and get to your honeymoon. But when both of you are the same sex, what then? Do you hyphenate? Do you switch? Who gets the honor of being before the hyphen? Does it all matter? The idea of marriage has only recently become progressive that the inner workings are still a bit traditional. My thought process began there and proceeded to creep its way through the crevices of my brain and plant itself deep within the hippocampus, too stubborn to move and too strong the leave me alone. The idea that the woman has to take the last name of the man is about as regressive as it is archaic. Even now as a society, we are barely grasping the idea that we can do what we want. If Zoe Saldana’s husband can take her last name, why can’t we do the same? Why not pull inspiration from the ‘They’re Just Like Us” spread of your favorite gossip magazine and make an attempt at being different? Why not disregard tradition?

There are so many things society is willing to abide to for the sake of tradition. That being said, what constitutes a tradition and are those bylaws allowed to be broken? Just because your mother and father did it one way, are you supposed to be attached to the idea that you should follow suit? I feel like traditions should be seen as suggestions as opposed to strict rules. This newly imbued malleability allows a person to pick and choose what they feel is relatable to them. If you don’t want to jump the broom, don’t do it. If you want to have sponsors at your wedding, have sponsors. Don’t be confined to such limitations and obligations set within one word.

Where was I again? Oh yeah, whose last name would I take?

Seriously, whose do I take?

Fuck it. I’m hyphenating…

Let’s Avert Our Gaze: Attractive People.

Aren’t people just so damn attractive?

Let’s just, for the sake of this post, leave our knowledge and notions of the male gaze at the door and ride along the stream of consciousness. Buckle in, we wouldn’t want anyone to fall overboard.

I’m about to get extremely candid with you, dear reader, so be warned. If you are a family member who doesn’t mind or has a strong stomach, keep reading. If not, then, well, it won’t be so bad. I’ll try to keep it PG-13…R, at the highest.

When I first meet an attractive person, I can never make contact. I haven’t fully deciphered the reasons why, but here are three that I have come up with so far:

  1. Their beauty is actually a special ocular repellant made especially for my eyes.
  2. Little me in the southern region is calling my eyes lower, because he wants to look too.
  3. I am simply not worthy of their presence.

This always happens and it’s what I’m patenting my “Radar of Sexiness.” In the event that I go blind upon encountering someone, please make sure they marry me because he needs to pay for taking my sight. I first realized the actions of this radar when I went to Trader Joes with a friend of mine. We were about to check out when I caught eyes with this extremely attractive man working the cash register next to ours.

He was tall, pretty athletic looking, and had hot pink hair.

Okay, that last part probably had some deeper meaning attached to it. Maybe he was involved with Susan G. Komen or was really into switching up his looks. Both of these unsubstantiated truths are ones that I can get on board with, so I am sticking to them. Regardless, my eyes darted straight to the contents of the cart and I immediately pulled my friend in and said, “Holy shit…I can’t. I just can’t.” With no further context clues beyond those words, she understood me perfectly.

However, with my luck what happened next seemed almost too appropriate. He came over and asked if he wanted us to move to his line, which was now open (a fact I didn’t bother to realize because he was too good looking for my own good and I just can’t look in his general direction). My friend, after a five second pause, told him we were good and we went on to pay and leave.

All that being said, I feel like I should’ve just bitten the bullet and gone to that line. Said “Hey. When are you off? Want to grab a drink? Want to go to the restroom and not rest?” Then again, those are only phrases I would write out and never say out loud to someone. I mean, what good would that have been if I actually said it? If those words were uttered, they’d be to the card scanner as I entered in my PIN number. I feel like that’d be very awkward considering I’d rather have sex with the pink-haired adonis and not some machine that gets swiped every five minutes.

Am I alone in this? Does anyone else avert their gazes at the inconceivable beauty of random strangers? Or am I doomed to this radar-related curse?

Better yet, I should just learn how to properly talk and flirt with a man. I think that’d be best. Until then, you can guarantee that if you spot me looking at the ground, someone very attractive is near.

Let’s Weigh In: Body Shaming, Privilege and the Platform of the Internet.

This being my first foray into becoming involved in the omnipresent drama of the Internet, I would like to say that I feel concerned about said involvement. Everybody has an opinion of some sort and whether or not an individual is personally affected determines how loud their opinion is spoken and heard. While I originally contemplated tweeting something out, I then realized that 140 characters is nowhere near enough to encompass a preface to this opinion, let alone an entire post.

I feel like by now, the entirety of the world wide web has been privy to the fat shaming video created by a YouTuber named Nicole Arbour. While hiding behind the guise of “comedy,” this content creator went on a rant (although one can classify it as an ‘attack’ or ‘inadvertent asshole-ism) about how those who are overweight are:

  • At fault for their weight.
  • Playing the victim card.
  • Take their body for granted.

Not only is she wrong, she doesn’t really bother to create a dialogue about it. Claiming that she is the “ride-or-die friend” who tells it like it is and hopes her words are like “shrapnels” that bury themselves deep within the souls of her friends and will help them realize the “error in their ways” (not a pulled quote, just being sarcastic). As you may have already guessed, in order to write this I did have to watch the video (for the sake of journalism integrity, it is linked here). And, yes, I did manage to waste six minutes of my life watching it because it did absolutely nothing for the betterment of my being. If anything it added ten tons of fuel to the ever-burning fire of hatred towards inconsiderate people.

In the deep doo-doo that is her logic, I do understand her use of YouTube. As new or as old as it is, the site lends itself as a platform with which to express your opinions; at its very depth, that’s what this video was an opinion.

But what people don’t always seem to get is that not all opinions have to be said. Not all opinions are important. Not all opinions matter. Sometimes you have to think about what you say, before you say it, and then ask yourself: “Am I harming others?” That’s just the cardinal rule of not being a total asshole.

“Stop being fat,” she claims in her video and, while not being on the same side of the coin (a topic I’ll write about in the near future) that is Body Image Issues, that comment isn’t conducive to anything but furthering someone’s issue with their body image. You can’t stop being who you are anymore than you can stop the sun from shining or from having Starbucks charge $6 for a cup of coffee that has pumpkin in it! From how she appears in the video, I cannot confirm nor deny that she had any sort of body issue growing up or at present, but who am I to pass judgment on her? I certainly can and just call it an opinion, but then I remember that I should stop myself and think: “Am I harming others?”

Chances are I probably could. So i’ll keep my opinion of this sad, lowly person to myself (most of them anyway). What this is in its entirety, is a matter of someone speaking on a topic, in which they are privileged not to have encountered and by those means, should not be speaking on it.

With great power comes great responsibility. 

With privilege comes responsibility.

This post was partly (or hugely) inspired by those who have already spoken out (content creators Grace Helbig, Will & RJ of Shep689, and Meghan Tonjes). Watching their videos made me realize how important it truly is to combat the negativity that is circulated every day around us. Too often do we just sit on the sidelines and watch them go by, commenting on their uselessness but doing nothing about it. I am aware that the written word is dated and, at times, exhausting to pore over, but this is my outlet for now and I’m sticking to it. I want to thank these amazing and inspiring content creators for giving me the encouragement to weigh in on this topic and I can guarantee that it won’t be the last time I say something about it.

Let’s Have A Candid Conversation: Anxiety & Me.

It’s worse in the morning.

I’m not entirely sure why, all I know is that there’s this feeling in the pit of my stomach, almost like you’ve disappointed someone without having done anything. I get up, almost reluctantly, and head downstairs for coffee in hopes that caffeine is the solution to whatever is digging itself deeper into the pit. A temporary relief flows over me, like a morning affirmation saying that everything is going to be okay and that I shouldn’t have to worry.

“This is all temporary.”

“You’ve survived 100% of your worst days.”

“Something good is going to happen”

The same three statements are  repeated one right after the next until the words sound so distant and irrelevant that they’re almost foreign to my tongue. I go through the day mostly okay, attempting not to think about anything. In turn, I think about everything.

  • Jobs
  • Friends
  • Relationships
  • Jobs
  • Loans
  • Jobs
  • My lack of a social life compared to those around me who have the means to perpetuate the type of life I wish to lead one day but cannot seem to manage at the present time
  • Jobs

All of these things take the shape of a hanging, nagging finger of obligation that follows me around from day to day. I’d probably be insane if they hadn’t taken the weekends off.

Eventually, I feel the days become shorter and the amount of tasks that I had completed match in length.

Sometimes I never truly know what’s wrong; all I could pinpoint was that I felt like crying. It was like I was writing a book and decided to stop because I was at a loss for words and kept staring at a half empty page.

I’m never sure what clicks in me but, in spite of the emptiness of the page and the hollowness of my gut, I always continue writing.

-X-

As far back as I could remember, anxiety has always been my nemesis. Imagine that, being twenty-two years old with a nemesis. Especially one that isn’t corporeal or technically alive. You see, anxiety isn’t something that’s fun to deal with nor is it something that’s interesting to have. I feel like popular culture tends to portray characters with anxiety as “fidgety” and “dorky,” when in reality it’s something that’s crippling and debilitating. Some shows tends to get it right (and I thank the skies that they’re doing it justice) but there’s still so much left unsaid and unheard from the realities of it. I get it, it’s not exactly marketable, but when you’re in the business of telling the truth, not everything is going to be able to be presented in a nice little bow.

What helps me make it through is the thought that my anxiety is actually a piece of me. It’s a part of me that is controlling and annoying, but it doesn’t define me. It can hold me back, but I know I can make it through. I know I can because there’s still so much out there to see and I want to be able to seek it out.

I still want to grow.