Six Feet Under

I’ve been wanting to make a post for a long time, but I never knew what to write about. Long-distance relationships, feminism, maybe a DOMA repeal celebration, but the words never came.

Two events happened this week that led me to what I’m about to write about today.

1) I was at the mall with my 10 year old little cousin. We were looking at movies on my iPhone and passed by the movie Bully, about a kid that gets harassed constantly. She looks to me and says, “That’s so stupid. A person shouldn’t kill himself just because he gets bullied, that’s so selfish. Didn’t he realize that he can just ignore them?” I tried, with great difficulty, to contain myself. I told her not to talk about subjects she’s not yet old enough to understand, and bought her ice cream so she wouldn’t speak.

2) Today I watched episode 1 of Six Feet Under with my friend. *SPOILER ALERT* In it, the elder brother of the family complains about how stupid formal funerals are, and about how fake they are. He ranted about how stupid it is that it’s improper to cry in public, and about how it’s not healthy and it’s all a charade.

I’ve written several posts about my friend B before. For those that don’t know, B was one of my best friends that killed himself Valentine’s Day of this year, because he was bullied for being gay by his peers and family.

Not a single day goes by that I don’t think about him. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss him. Not a day goes by that I don’t wish I could call him and hear about his day, or tell him about mine, or ask him to come over and hang out and just sit next to me. I want to hear him breathing, and laughing, and talking, and singing. Not a day goes by that I don’t shed a tear for him.

His picture is hanging in my room. His face is the background on my phone. A piece of him is in every song I listen to and every dance I learn (being the musical and creative person he was).

Suicide is a horrible concept. It can be thought of as selfish, I can understand why. A person is in pain, and takes themselves away from the world and all their friends and loved ones to escape the pain. I hear it all the time. “Suicide is selfish.”

Every time I hear that phrase, I think, “Who the fuck are you to say that?” [Trigger warning: opinion] As someone who has dreamed of committing suicide since she was 7 years old, as someone who has tried to commit suicide, and as someone who knows someone that has committed suicide, I can say that it is selfish to call people that kill themselves selfish. In my experience, only a person who has wanted to end their life can understand my point of view.

B was in pain. He was tortured everyday by peers and family. He was taken out of school, away from the few people he trusted in the world, to be home-schooled by his super religious and super abusive family. Every waking moment was a living hell. Who wouldn’t want to escape?

After my beautiful friend ended his life, that was the line I heard a lot going around. “How selfish.” And I wanted to punch all of them in the face. How the fuck would you handle the situation? Would you have been strong enough to go through what he did? When you see a dying animal on the street after it gets hit by a car, people think, “Put the poor thing out of its misery.” That’s what B did. He took himself out of hell, and in my opinion, he’s in a better place.

I have one friend that is in a similar situation to B’s. (If you read this, pardon me for mentioning you.) He’s strong. He looks to the future. B always wanted to meet you, and I wish with all my heart that it happened, and I always think that if you had met maybe some of your strength could have rubbed off on him? But that’s wishful thinking, and too little too late at that. In my English class we read The Stranger and learned that there are different kinds of people in this world. There are those strong enough to cope, because they have faith in a better tomorrow. B was not one of those people. He believed that the only way to end his suffering was to end it all. He did not think the future had wonderful things in store for him. Not everyone has enough strength for today and tomorrow.

B belonged to a baptist family. From what I understand, instead of Wakes like in the Catholic religion, they have what are called “Celebrations of Life.” From what I was told, you are not allowed to cry. Death should be celebrated, because the soul is joining Jesus and Mary and God and who the fuck ever in heaven. It was the most painful 3 hours of my life. Watching people walk up one by one talking about how close they were with B and how great he was and how he’s with Our Lord and Savior and he’s so close to God now whoop-de-fucking-doo. It was a celebration, tears were not allowed. I thought I was going to die. So much pressure and tension in my chest. There were pictures and videos of him everywhere, all these stories about how wonderful he was. It was a fucking nightmare; like my own personal Holocaust museum or something. All I wanted to do was scream and hit stuff and fuck shit up and cry and let it all out, but I wasn’t allowed to. It was 3 hours of sitting in silence while my emotions were slowly setting my heart and soul on fire.

At my funeral, I don’t want anyone holding anything back. I don’t want anyone that didn’t know me there. I want everyone to bawl and scream and cry and break shit. I want them to let everything out, and I’ll be watching from wherever the fuck I am nodding and saying, “Hey, I miss you too babe, just let it all out.”

4 months and 13 days. That’s how long my B has been six feet under. It feels like it’s been years though. They say the wounds heal, but they never do. Not really. They scar, or scab over, but the slightest brush makes them fresh again. 4 months and 13 days and I’m still sitting here crying. I’m still sitting here sobbing and cursing and wishing for him to come back.

Maybe one day I’ll be able to talk about suicide openly. Maybe one day I’ll be able to think about him and feel no pain. Maybe one day the scars will begin to heal.

But that day is not today.

The Sun, The Sea, and Feminism

Ouran High School Host Club may very well be my favorite anime of all time. A brilliant young girl, Haruhi Fujioka, after an unfortunate event, is forced to attend school as a boy and work at the school’s notorious Host Club to pay off an 8,000,000 Yen debt.

I could go on and on about this series, but for now, there’s one episode I’d like to discuss.

The Sun, The Sea and The Host Club! episode 8, part 1 season 1 (the only season, unfortunately). The Host Club takes a trip to Kyoya-senpai’s private beach. They take their “customers” with them, and later in the evening a group of girls gets harassed by a pair of drunk boys that stumbled on the beach. Haruhi confronts them, and gets tossed off a cliff in the process.

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Tamaki-senpai jumped in and saved her. *swoon*

Quite a heroic deed, correct? After Haruhi was pulled out of the water, Tamaki-senpai (the blondie) scolded her, furious that she confronted 2 boys instead of asking any of the other guys for help.

Tamaki: What were you thinking? Why did you confront them? What made you think you would stand a chance? You against 2 boys?

Haruhi: It doesn’t matter that they’re boys and I’m a girl. I was there. I had to do something, there wasn’t any time to think.

The first time I ever saw this, I was furious. I couldn’t understand why he was so mad at her either. Haruhi did what she had to do. Girls were getting assaulted by drunk men, and she tried to protect them. That’s good, right? What’s there to be scolded for?

I’m going to college. My mom freaks out every day that I may get raped or murdered or kidnapped. She always tells me I can’t have as much liberty to play around in college like my older twin male cousins because I’m a girl, and it always makes me angry, but I can see why now.

I haven’t seen this episode in almost two years. School has kept me away from my beloved anime life. But I watched it again last night, with refreshed eyes, and I saw something different.

I saw a small girl. Really small. Haruhi is an absolute pipsqueak. She spots trouble in the form of 2 big drunk men. There are 6 boys she came to the beach with (two of which are nationally ranked martial arts champions), all within her vicinity, all much bigger and stronger than her. Instead of turning around and calling for one of them, she confronts them herself. Was it a noble thing to do? Of course. Was it the smart thing to do? No. What was the consequence of her noble deed? She got thrown off a cliff and almost drowned to death.

I’m the type that hates the simple fact of life that it’s easier for men to build muscle than it is for women. I missed getting a perfect score on my Health final in the 10th grade because I refused to answer “True” on the T/F question: Men are generally stronger than women. It’s not fair. It makes me feel inferior, which I am not. I feel fear going on my evening jogs and walks by myself, I’m not allowed to be out late in a group of all girl friends, and I can’t open the peanut butter jar by myself.

I am Haruhi. I think I can do a lot of things when in actuality, it’s very dangerous. This world is dangerous, and for some reason, the statement is more so for females. This fact of life breaks my heart every day.

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Kyoya-senpai looks hot without his glasses.

Later on in the evening, Kyoya-senpai tries to prove Tamaki’s point. When Haruhi stops by his room, he pins her on his bed, threatening to take advantage of her. She stays calm, and tells him he’s just trying to prove Tamaki’s point. And he stops, and walks away. (He’s a good guy people, don’t judge him from the one scene if you haven’t watched!)

A similar situation happened with one of my guy friends a couple years ago. He’s a pretty big guy. He came over to play video games. Earlier in the day, I told him it was unfair that my mom wouldn’t let me go to a video game competition because it was attended by predominantly males. While we took a break from playing, we decided to arm wrestle. Instead of just pinning my arm, he pushed me back on my bed and held me down.

“What are you going to do now?”

I didn’t know. I just laughed and said, “Quit playing.” And he did. But I knew he was trying to make a point.

I am Haruhi. I’m a small, weak girl. I couldn’t defend myself from my equally-sized 13 year old female cousin if I tried (and I have).

I am also stupid. I will never stop acting like I am physically equal. What point is there playing the part of an inferior? I will never stop trying to make myself stronger, and I will never stop fighting for the day when women can leave their homes by themselves with a peace of mind.

Update: I’ve signed up for a class called R.A.D. – Rape Aggression Defense. I will learn how to escape from attackers. I will build strength and go through simulations of escaping a group assault.

I will never stop fighting.

Plain & Fancy

I love a good paradox.

Last weekend my family and I went on a mini-vacation to Amish country in Lancaster, PA. When I told my friends, they all gave the same reactions — Poor thing. Why are your parents putting you through that? Sounds lame. The truth is, they did it to surprise me, because I love the Amish lifestyle.

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Amish food is literally the best food I’ve ever had.

My fascination with the Amish started the first time I went to Pennsylvania when I was in middle school for a snow tubing vacation with my family. It wasn’t Lancaster, but there was still a lot of Amish merchandise in the stores, and I had no idea why. I asked my mom to buy me Amish jams (literally every flavor available in the store) and I had croissants covered with the stuff pretty much every meal for the rest of the trip. After that I researched about the Amish lifestyle, and I thought it was fascinating.

Close-knit communities where everyone knows each other. A faith in God that keeps them pacifists (the Amish mafia is a myth, why would you trust a TV show on the same network that plays Toddlers In Tiaras?) Close families that work together to keep the day going.

Yeah, air conditioning and indoor plumbing are nice, but to me, the simplicity of the lifestyle would be worth it.

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Here’s me in a (handmade) woman’s Amish bonnet. I couldn’t resist the little cherry print.

Everywhere I went, there were signs that said the same thing about the Amish — “Plain and Fancy.” At first I didn’t understand, but after a while it all made sense. Yes, the Amish life is a very plain one. They wear essentially the same things everyday, they can’t own jewelry, God mandates them to have a million kids, and their days follow pretty much the same routine. But in all of these tasks is something special, because everything they do is by themselves. Their houses and furniture were built by the town craftsman, the food is slaughtered / cultivated / grown and cooked by themselves, even some of the books were handwritten. The authenticity of everything made it very charming — fancy.

When I left, I was told the same thing from family and friends. You’ll come back with a greater appreciation for what you have now. That was both true and untrue. True: I love my individuality. I love being able to do what I want with endless possibilities. I love wearing short skirts and baring cleavage, and having an education past 8th grade. I love all my technology, and I love going to the bathroom without seeing what the person before me did. Untrue: I’m almost 18. I’m going through a horrible time of stress and uncertainty. I have no idea what my future holds, and it scares me. I’m going through a horrible amount of anxiety that’s been tearing me apart for months without pause, and it scares me. I’m jealous of the decisiveness of Amish life. I would do the same thing everyday, I get married to someone my family chooses, and I live a comfortable life with my family doing the job of every other woman. There’s no stress over moving out and going to college, or getting a job or finding a soul mate or anything that’s been killing me right now.

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Amish dolls.

Honestly, before I left, I did think I would be able to live the life of an Amish woman. All this stress, every problem that’s been eating away at me for so long, would just vanish. But when I thought about it, that’s because all the problems would’ve been solved by my husband, while I stand in the background nursing our youngest of 9 while cooking dinner with the help of my married 17 year old. Look at the picture above and tell me what you notice.

I’ll give you a second…

That’s right! How can you carve a face like that out of wood The girls are much less detailed than the boys. They’re much smaller and don’t have faces. Personally, I feel like this shows the extent to which the Amish value humility and de-individuation, especially of the women. When I went on a tour of Amish farms, I noticed that the women would always keep their faces down. The front visor part of their bonnets were long enough to cover their faces. I’m not sure if it’s to protect against the sun or to hide their faces, but after seeing these dolls, I fear it would be the latter…

Do I wish my life were as simple as the Amish? Hell yes. But I love being my sexy pro-choice, LGBTQ, atheistic Satanist self (all of which would get me exiled and burned on a stake in Amish country).

For now, I’ll just keep admiring them from afar.