One, Two, F*ck You

Senior Prom.

**WARNING: Angsty teenage girl venting session**

The one thing that media over-does and makes it seem like the epitome of everyone’s teenage years. The “night we will always remember.” A glorified homecoming. An expensive party.

For me, planning for prom has been the biggest nightmare of my life. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. I started looking for a dress 5 months ago and I had to get it online on Monday because I couldn’t find one anywhere, and it won’t get here until 2 days before prom so my mom spent $160 on a dress and I don’t even know how I’ll look in it or if I’ll have time to get it altered. People keep dropping out and back into the group, and it somehow became my burden to handle the expenses of the limo so my family is down $900, relying on many people I don’t know well to pay us back. The restaurant that was a God-send for everyone to agree on actually takes an hour to get there to and fro, and an hour and a half to actually sit down and eat. If there are unexpected dilemmas, we get to prom late and spend $65 to go to a party we’ll only attend for a little over an hour.

I am under an incredible amount of stress, for an event that will take up no more than 7 hours of my life.

I have eczema. I have a sh*t immune system. When I’m under an incredible amount of stress — as psychology has proven — I get horribly ill. My skin is swollen and bleeding all over. My face looks like it was rubbed with sandpaper. I’ve been taking extra pain meds and muscle relaxers to calm my body down from all the stress, but they haven’t been working. Today I threw up once and got dizzy and almost fainted twice (which I’ll partially accredit to the 90 degree weather).

The only word to describe this situation is “ridiculous.”

What’s worse: This is a social convention. Do we need the limo? No, our parents can drive us. Do we need to go out to eat?  No, it’s just fancier that way, but there’s food at the actual prom. Did I need a new dress? No, I have a million and this is only adding to the collection.

Psychological experiments have proven that cursing under stress reduces pain. I don’t think cursing until I die will cure me of this stress.

It’s worse because I’m the perfectionist type. This kind of event is big, and it takes a lot of preparation. I’m leaving school early, spending $100 and an hour and a half on hair and makeup, and all that other good stuff. An event this big, I want every moment planned to the second.

Lots of my Debbie-downer-non-Prom-goer friends have been saying, “Why go then? Just stay home and watch movies or go to dinner and nothing else.” Yes, that’s true. It’d make my life a lot easier. But the thing is: I WANT to go. It sounds like fun! Riding in a limo, eating at a hibachi restaurant, dancing all night with my friends looking fabulous. That’s my kind of day. It’s just, preparation. //cries

Prom is a week from tomorrow. So far no detail for my group is set in stone. I want to curse at everyone and tell them I quit, but I also wanna look fabulous and have a good time. Life is rough.

Society makes life too difficult. Stay tuned for my next post on the joys of Amish living! (not a joke, I spent the weekend in Amish country and I have stories to tell). ❤

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The Difference Between Vanilla and Honey

**TRIGGER WARNING: Sexual Abuse**

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, but I kept getting side-tracked. Now that I have a paper due tomorrow, I figured now’s as good a time as any.

Vanilla is sweet. It’s gentle but obvious, and it’s pleasing without being overbearing on the tongue. It’s plain but can be used to make all sorts of great things (chocolate and red velvet both have healthy doses of vanilla). It can be used in many different ways and compliments whatever it goes with: it accentuates other flavors without overpowering them.

Honey is very strong. It’s thick and hard to swallow. It’s got this strange sweet-yet-somehow-also-sour taste. It’s sticky and gets caught in your throat, and it’s a bitch to get out of your teeth sometimes. It takes a long time to wipe away, and it often gets stuck on whatever you try to clean it with.

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Ryder, opening his heart to the unfavorable environment.

In the Glee episode from a week or two ago, things got intense. In the heat of the moment, Ryder revealed something that he never spoke of up to that point: He was molested by his babysitter when he was 11. He claimed that she had come into his shower one night and started playing with him. You could see on his face that he was embarrassed and devastated. The teacher offered to report her, then Ryder said that she had already been arrested for doing it to someone else. All the girls were horrified, but the men?

“I’d have killed for that!”
“Why is that a crime?”
“That’s hot!”

Ryder was obviously upset, but the insensitive comments from his friends made him close whatever box he decided to open, and probably hide it somewhere deep inside having his fears come true. The box opened, and monsters came out.

Consensual intimacy is fabulous. If it’s wanted, and it’s with someone you care about, then it’s great. You’re in control of the moment, and you’re free to do what you will. You’re in control of your body: you can speed things up, slow them down, mix things up, or if need be, stop it. Sweet, sweet, vanilla.

Non-consensual intimacy is not fabulous. It’s rough and painful — yes, painful. It’s like having a monster crawl all over your body. It’s like having little critters crawl all over you, and it fills you with shivers and chills. Once it’s over, it’s not. The memories don’t fade — they never fade — and sometimes it’s hard to be intimate with someone else. It’s like your body is haunted and you don’t want anyone near it. Slow, painful, lingering honey.

After hearing his friend’s comments, Ryder understood the position he was in. He put on a smile, stood up, high-fived his friends, and left. That was the end of that. Never mentioned again, not even a PSA at the end with an emergency hotline number.

I saw lots of commentary after the episode. Some were saying that it was horrible and that the reaction would’ve been completely different if it was one of the girls. Others said that it was a “good” ending because it was realistic — that’s what happens to actual victims: they keep it inside, and even if they speak up it doesn’t mean there’s anything anyone can do.

This upset me.

Story time:

I’ve been molested. Repeatedly. By a family member. It was mostly when I was young (8-12 years old). I didn’t understand what was happening back then, but I knew it was wrong. But I was also too scared to speak up. There was always this fear of getting in trouble, or no one caring, or them caring too much and I ruin the family. The fear never leaves.

When I was 13, I was asked on a date for the first time. After the boy — very nice, a good friend — asked the question, I hated him. I hated him so much. I wanted him nowhere near me, because I didn’t trust him. I didn’t want him thinking about me or looking at me, or touching me. This pattern continued for the next handful of gentleman callers.

When I get intimate, there are always times when his face turns into his face. When his hands turn into his hands. There are moments when I can’t do it.

Though it was “realistic,” it wasn’t the ending I wanted. It’s fiction, for Christ’s sake. They’re supposed to make a happy ending: that’s what we watch for. The ending only reinforced this feeling of helplessness that I’ve been carrying in my heart for so many years, and that I will continue to carry for the rest of my life.

For the U.S.:

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-784-2433 or 1-800-273-8255

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1−800−799−7233

Like Ryder, I swore to myself that I would never speak of this. I lasted 6 years without saying a word. I’ve called all of these hotline before. It doesn’t sound like much, but sometimes all you need to do is talk. It’s a lot easier to talk about this with someone you don’t know.

You are not alone.

The Not-So-Great Gatsby

**SPOILER ALERT**

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Leonardo DiCaprio was actually perfect (as usual).

Of all the books I read my junior year of high school, The Great Gatsby was probably my favorite. It wasn’t particularly because of the plot, or the characters per se, but rather the ending.

“The truth was that Jay Gatsby of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself.”

For the bulk of the novel, I thought Gatsby was like another Ahab. A monomaniac obsessed and driven to achieve one thing in life. But near the end I found out I was wrong.

Many believe Jay Gatsby is just another man crazy for a woman. It’s true that all his insane and extravagant actions were to attract Daisy, but a stalker isn’t all there is to him. He’s strong, and a fighter. He ran away from his poor childhood and fought to be a gentleman. He wanted something better for himself and he took action right from the start, long before he met Daisy Fay. It’s true that he became fixated on her, but she wasn’t his entire life. It’s not like he made his decision to become a sexy beast right after he met her; that was already in play. She wasn’t the one thing that pushed him to awesomeness, she was just a contributing factor.

Gatsby is a symbol for hope and optimism. He was a dreamer and a worker, which is why he was able to become successful (despite his questionable methods). At the end of the novel, before my baby was violently brought to his untimely end, he was drifting in his pool on a mattress. The love of his life had just abandoned him, but there he was, cool as a cucumber, floating in an archetype for life and rebirth.

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“I have an idea that Gatsby himself didn’t believe it would come, and perhaps he no longer cared.”

The “it” being referred to is a phone call from Daisy, though he knew she had already left. The beauty of the ending is that he didn’t die a creepy stalker: he died a regular guy that had gotten his heartbroken, and was in the process of moving on. He didn’t pull a New Moon Bella Swan and lock himself up, he was out there floating in the pool not giving a damn. He wasn’t wallowing in depression, he was chilling. He was killed in that pool, free from Daisy’s spell, swimming in proof of his own hard work and success.

The reason I was so angry about the movie ending is because they took the beauty of this moment away. Instead of calmly heading towards the pool, he orders the butler to take the phone downstairs, and keep all lines open in case Daisy calls. Instead of drifting very dream-like in his symbolic rebirth, he dived in, and mid-dive the phone rang. He quickly swam to the edge, and half-way out was shot through the chest. The last thing he saw before he died was the green light, and the last thing he said was Daisy’s name.

See how these two endings provide completely different impressions? One portrays him as a man that can move on: someone strong enough to live and let die. The other portrays him as a more active but just as crazy and obsessive Bella Swan. My frustration stems from the generation of people that will watch this instead of read the book, and will never be able to understand that Gatsby is so much more than they think.

The rest of the movie was fantastic though. I was worried they would focus too much on the romance, but it was actually extremely well done and spaced out, and it kept the focus as a clash between the classes.

Well I won’t say anymore about it, but I give the movie 4.5 / 5.

“It was the only compliment I ever gave him, because I disapproved of him from beginning to end.”

I wonder what Nick would think if he could read this. Hmm.

Kill Me Once, Shame On You

In response to this blog post, I feel like writing a post about the popular and highly controversial topic: the death penalty.

What has Moby Dick, Sasuke Uchiha, Hamlet, the Count of Monte Cristo, Wuthering Heights, and every other novel and authority figure in this world ever taught us growing up?

Revenge never fixes anything.

It may make you feel better for the moment, but moments are fleeting.

Story time:

My uncle in the Philippines was a beautiful man. He bought his wife flowers every special day and took care of his kids. One night he was in the wrong place in the wrong time, and he witnessed a neighbor get mugged and beaten to death by gangsters. He told the police, and they took in one of the thugs. The next week, he was shot down on the street on his way home from work.

My uncle was the sweetest man. He did nothing to deserve the death he had. Do his shooters deserve a horrible death? More than he does, that’s for sure. But at every hearing and every testimony, the gangsters’ families were there crying for their kin on the hot seat. They did get the death penalty. Did I think they deserved it? Absolutely. But not for long. I didn’t feel sympathy for them, but for their families. The tears and the pain and heartbreak of loss: I felt that too.

Another story:

Another uncle of mine was almost done fixing up his house. It was the house his wife and he had always dreamed of. With 3 kids and good jobs, it was the perfect time to go for it. A few more renovations and it was done. Before he could finish, he had to go back to work. In Algeria. In the oil field. He was kidnapped and was another casualty of the Algerian oil hostage situation. The terrorists promised he wouldn’t be harmed. The lone Filipino survivor said that when they were on the move, he gathered everyone’s hands and tried to calm them down. My uncle made everyone have good faith, and they prayed together. He was their calm before the storm. This beautiful man was used as a human shield, and was sent back to his beautiful home in the Philippines in a box.

Let me admit that for the longest time, there was nothing I wanted more than his captor’s head on a stick. I’m sure that’s how a lot of people felt. Now that it’s been almost half a year and my nerves have died, I don’t want revenge. I want my uncle. I want him home, finishing his beautiful home, happy and able to watch his children (the youngest of which had just turned 6) grow up.

Whether their murderers are alive or not, it won’t change anything. It won’t bring them back. It’ll only add to the number of casualties.

Every day, we are overwhelmed with news showing us horrible people. Monsters, even. But we can’t let everything get to us. We can’t sink to their level.

In all honesty, I don’t hate these people. I don’t wish for anyone’s death. Nazis, terrorists, Westboro Baptist Church. I can’t. Because they’re all doing what they think is right. They all think what they’re doing is for something better. Even if it’s dead wrong, and it wouldn’t hurt for them to die, it doesn’t mean we should be the ones dropping the guillotine. In my opinion, it’s the same as when I tackled a kindergartener down as a second grader and spit all over his face. He pushed my baby brother down and spit on him, so I did the same. Did I feel better? No, I made a little kid cry, scraped his arm, and lost a sticker on my good behavior chart. I feel as if these people — these vigilante assholes, these monsters, blights on society — are stuck in that same mindset.

I’ve been hurt. I’ve been hurt more times than imaginable in this relatively brief life I’ve been living. But I won’t hurt others. I won’t kill others, nor will I wish for the death of others.

If we don’t keep our heads level and our hearts strong, we’ll be just as bad as the rest.