Purposive

Now that everybody’s done sharing their tentative New Year’s Resolutions with their online social circles, I think i’ll finally reveal my plans to make myself a less-shitty person than I was in 2015.

 

Though I love the person I’m developing into since my faith crisis, nose-dive into feminism, and increasingly curious mind, I find myself becoming exponentially more cynical, which is something I hate about myself.

I find myself often looking for reasons to be pissed off, which makes it really, REALLY hard to be the happy, energetic ball of sunshine I once aspired to become, but will never be, due to my chronically sarcastic and brazen personality. Indeed, since I’ve been exposed to a whole new world of liberalism, I seem to have the tendency to search for things that people do that strike me as problematic, and will consequently set me off.

There are specific groups of people that are extremely hard for me to get along with (i.e. meninists, anybody who still subscribes to traditional gender roles).  I totally feel justified in avoiding individuals who fall under this category completely, but I also feel that I am much too hard on people.

For example, my dating life is a literal train wreck. Most of my interactions with men are terminated by me giving them a lengthy, wordy lecture about how sexist it is to not be interested in a girl who can’t cook, or won’t send a racy snap-chat after the first date.

I feel like I’m constantly having to defend my feminist views; nothing flips my bitch-switch faster than when a gentleman i’m dating says anything that could be seen as sexist, even if you have to flip it upside down and squint with your left eye.

So i’m going to work on that. Perhaps instead of ripping his head off every time a suitor says something I don’t agree with, I can calmly present my point of view on the matter, and then change the subject as I squeeze the hell out of the stress ball I just bought.

This resolution’s due date might extend into 2063, but it’s all about progress, people.

Additionally, I am going to get out of my own way when it comes to relationships with other people. This is a very poorly-defined goal, but I have very specific quirks that I use in order to build sky-scraping walls around myself, thus protecting my isolation.

First of all, I have got to make peace with my relationship to food and to my body. I’m talking about my obsession/preoccupation about eating in a manner that will cause me dramatic weight loss, and dutiful, religious, nauseating exercise. When one is as engrossed in the aforementioned activities as I have become, there is little time or energy left to spend on stuff that matters significantly more, and after 6 years of eating-disordered behavior and body dysmorphia, I’m tired, damn it. And ready to invest myself in building some meaningful relationships and kicking ass even harder in school.

This problem is never going to resolve itself, so I’ll have to look back into going to therapy.

I always complain about how pathetic it is that I’ve attended my current university for two years, and haven’t made a single friend, but if I’m being honest with myself, I have never once initiated any kind of effort to make friend at college. So this year is going to be different. I am going to focus on becoming more inviting, friendly, and talkative. I am going to take some risks, start some conversations, hell, even ask out a hot guy from my Stats class (after checking his finger for a ring, obviously. We have lots of super young, married folk where I’m from.)

In addition to all of these resolutions, if I have time to spare, perhaps I’ll attempt to kick my caffeine addiction.

Just kidding, I’m taking 19 credit hours. There is no way in hell I’m decreasing my latte consumption.

So there you have it. An outline of how I am going to go from a shitty person in 2015 to a noticeably less-shitty person by the end of 2016.

Happy New Year!

M.

 

 

 

 

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Benefits: Denied

 

I have had it up to here with the hook-up culture that we millennials tend to participate in.

Yesterday, I got mighty close to  going out on a date with, what I had initially perceived, was an exceptionally attractive, intelligent, and thoughtful young man. But, as we all know, some things are just too good to be true.

We’d begun texting about a week ago, and it seemed to me that we had a lot in common. He seemed genuinely interested in me and my own interests, asked a lot of insightful questions, and had some very interesting perspectives to share with me, as well. Score, right?

Additionally, he proposed the idea that he and I go to the zoo to speculate at the holiday lights that are on display this season. I excitedly accepted his offer.

Unfortunately, my excitement was in vain, because this dude decided to suck as a person just hours before we were supposed to depart on our journey to see the lights.

It was about 3 PM, and I was just about to begin readying myself for the festive evening I was about to have, when I received a text message from my would-be date.

Him: “Can I be honest? I’m not looking for anything serious. If that’s a problem, I understand.”

Of course it wasn’t a problem! I wasn’t looking for anything serious, either. I was just excited to see me some Christmas lights.

Me: “We’re just  going to see some lights, it’s only a problem if you’re expecting physical stuff from me.” 

Now, i’m not naive. I know that when men ask women out, they do so with the hope of eventually being rewarded physically, whether that be a kiss or the whole SHA-BANG. And hey, if I had a good time with a guy, and felt that he had the desire to get to know me and make sure that I had a good time with him, I’d be more than happy to give him a smooch at the end of the evening. The only thing I take issue with, is when these men go into a date with the expectation of getting some action.

Thanks to the modern technology that is the iPhone, I have screen-shotted the rest of my conversation with this dude for my own convenience:

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I will say this: at least this specific guy had the decency to reveal his motives BEFORE putting me in a situation in which I’d have to reject him in a face-to-face manner. Props to him for that.

However, I find this particular instance especially frustrating, because initially, this guy came off as someone who was genuinely interested in getting to know me, the person with thoughts and ambitions and a personality, rather than me, the person with lips, boobs, and a butt.

Also, his last text message about made me throw my phone out the window of a moving car. “Let me know if you change your mind.” Really? REALLY?

I get that the whole “friends with benefits” thing is appealing to a lot of people. And hey, if both of y’all are on the same page, the more power to you.

I personally find it offensive to express genuine interest in a person, leading them to believe that they are about to go out on a splendid date of talking and getting to know one another, only to shoot them in the foot by proposing a “friends with benefits” relationship. What that says to me is, “Despite all of the things i’ve learned about you thus far, your physical appeal is the best thing you could possibly offer me, so let’s do this thing where the only reason we see each other is to hook up” which is dehumanizing, disrespectful, and wrong.

Sadly, this scenario happens all too often in my own anecdotal experience, though not all of the other guys that have had this same motive in mind have had the decency to explicitly express it.

I guess what i’m saying here, is that if you are looking for friends with benefits, please do the other person a favor by expressing your intentions from the get-go, in order to avoid participating in douche-baggery.

Also, everybody i’ve shared this story with has given me the typical “you deserve better” response, which I fully agree with, but I’d just really like to know where these “better” people (and by that, I mean people who don’t just want to date a girl to get in her pants) hang out. Because obviously, I’ve never been there.

The most detrimental consequence of this entire event is that now I have nobody to see the Christmas lights at the zoo with. Any takers?

M.

 

Dogged

2014 is finally coming to a close. This year, in my life, anyway, can be described best as the Bella Swan year. And by that, I mean, I spent most of it whining about how badly my life sucked and did virtually nothing to make it suck less. Actually, if anything, I probably made it worse for myself.

I think that the whole “New Year, New Me” theme that we have going on with the conclusion of a calendar year is sappy and a bit lame, but my own little rebirth just so happens to be going on at the same time everybody else is vowing to go on the photosynthesis diet, or spend less than they earn and put it in a savings account to be binge-spent later.

I have a resolution or two for myself that I will be implementing in the immediate future. No “one last donut, and then i’ll start my diet” mindset for me. I’m gonna get a little sappy up in here, and drop a bunch of cliche’s that cause me to face-palm myself hard in public, but without further ado, here are my resolutions.

1. Get Back On the Straight and Narrow

I’ve mentioned before that I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. However, ever since I graduated high school and was relieved of any sort of familial pressure to attend my church meetings, I have become rather inactive. My conflicting personal beliefs (i.e. feminism) mix with my church’s beliefs like oil and water, so needless to say, attending church leaves me with the bad taste in my mouth that is internal conflict. I’m not excusing my lack of church attendance, rather, I amd simply explaining my thought processes.

I resolve this day to begin regularly attending my church meetings, as my job permits, and even though it begins at 9:00 AM. If I ever find myself in a discussion in which I find offensive, oppressive, or simply disagree with, I will do one of three things:

  • 1. I will raise my hand and vocalize my opposing opinions, regardless of what others might think.
  • 2. I will reverently excuse myself from the meeting and scroll through Pinterest on my phone in the hallway until the next meeting begins, and maintain an open mind for the next meeting.

I am going to focus my thoughts and energies on the aspects of my religion that I do agree with, and strive to follow Christ, which means learning to accept and love those who are and think differently than I do.

2. Self-Tolerence

I have this cute little habit called Perfectionism, and it drains my happiness. It’s no secret that i’ve been seeing a therapist for the past few months to help remedy my slightly self-destructive behaviors, and let me just say, it has done wonders for my mental well-being. My expectations for myself are completely unattainable, and when I inevitably fail to reach said expectations, I am simply merciless. I resolve to accept my shortcomings, and even try embracing them. I am not superhuman, unfortunately. So I will settle for my humanly, flawed, best efforts.

3. No Comparision

One of my favorite quotes in the history of forever is “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I have no idea who said that, but he or she was one deep individual. I am guilty of comparing myself to others, and all that it does for me is make me unhappy with the life I have. I’m not resolving to stop comparing myself to others, as that would be breaking my previous resolution of demanding perfection from myself, but I’m sure as hell going to try my hardest to not let it ruin me.

4. Be Present

Lately, I’ve gotten a lot better at living in the “now” and enjoying life as it is. I’ve stopped wishing away my time, eager to tackle the next task on my pathetic, little agenda. I’m learning to fully immerse my attention into what I am currently doing, and that makes everything seem more enjoyable, even work! Yes, work. In order to continue this upward spiral, I am resolving to immerse myself in my relationships with other people. I’m a people-hater, the type that loves to be alone, selfishly locked away in my room, keeping people, and emotions for people, at bay. This will not be the case any longer! I’m gonna start being a person who people want to be around. So there.

5. Lose the Jiggle. 

Yeah, right! That’s like asking me to bow down to the patriarchy, to which I say, “Over my untoned, dead body!” I do want to get healthier, though, and will begin attending the gym as it fits in with my schedule and mood. I’m already a permanently psycho health-freak anyway, thanks to my good friend Anorexia.

6. Stay True To My Beliefs, and Stay Out of the Defensive Zone

I am very “stuck in my ways” when it comes to things i’m passionate about. Yes, especially feminism. I struggle to give suitors the benefit of the doubt in their courting efforts, and tend to assume the worst out of each one. Hmmm, makes me wonder why i’m single again. Anyway, I’m not changing my beliefs in human equality for anyone, no matter how many abs he has or what kind of car he drives. But I am going to stop looking for reasons to be pissed off by those trying to date me and give people a chance.

So there you have it, my six resolutions for self-improvement.

Have a safe and fun new years eve, people! Do something crazy, and kiss someone attractive.

Cheers!

M.

Assign

You know how in cartoons, a giant lightbulb appears over one of the characters’ heads when he/she has an epiphany or suddenly solves the issue at hand? I swear to goodness that’s what happened to me on my last day of my Intro to Literature class. My giant lightbulb was caused by an epiphany. An epiphany as to the real reason why I declare myself a feminist.

On our last day of class, we were assigned to present a chapbook of poems that all relate under a central theme. Naturally, my theme was “Self-Representations of Women.” I actually thoroughly enjoyed this project, as I found multiple poems that I could completely relate to. Anyway, my epiphany hit in the middle of my presentation when I began slipping into the unscripted abyss that is a college kid’s Intro to Literature Chapbook Presentation.

At some point, I had said “The real problem at hand is that we assign virtually EVERYTHING a gender. It is either masculine, or feminine.” That didn’t really resonate with me until after i’d finished my presentation with the words “Smash the patriarchy!” with blushed cheeks and returned to my desk to find a hand-written note from a classmate that was seated nearby.

His note applauded me for presenting feminism in a way that had never occurred to him before, and he concurred that it is extremely problematic to assign everything from character traits to colors of the rainbow to a category of either masculine or feminine. I suggested hie look further into feminism, and we parted ways.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how this binary mindset our culture has ingrained in us limits us to who we think we are allowed to become. Unfortunately, femininity is considered the lesser of masculinity, giving most feminine things a negative connotation when compared to more masculine things.

For example, math and engineering, toy trucks, and football have all been deemed “masculine” and “boy activities,” and those who are not masculine are discouraged from engaging in “masculine” interests.

On the other hand, cooking, sewing, dancing, and hair-styling have all had the word “feminine” slapped to their foreheads to ward off masculine intruders.

This is problematic for dozens of reasons, and it affects all genders. Rather than allowing each individual to choose his/her interests, we steer them toward what we believe will be most fitting for them, based on their sex. This holds true not only for interests, but for emotions and personality traits, as well.

Women are supposed to be weak, submissive, gentle, soft, and nurturing. If we’re not, we’re considered masculine women, and what could be worse than that?

Men are supposed to be strong, athletic, assertive, and smart. If they’re not, they’re considered ‘femmy,’ which is even worse than being a masculine woman, because, after all, masculinity reigns supreme in the realms of the patriarchy.

I am a feminist because I don’t believe that everything a person can be needs to be assigned to a gender. Society is shaping who we are going to become, and we are playing right along with it. I am sick and tired of the “pink is for girls” and “blue is for boys.” Because I like blue, dammit. And superheroes. And math. And tacos.

Stop gendering everything, people.

M.

Absentee

On today’s episode of M’s Beautiful Life, M skips school because, well, she can.

The first snow has fallen in Utah today. I had to wake at the crack of dawn in order to take care of some personal affairs before class, and aforementioned personal affairs caused me to be late for my 9 AM lecture. For today, I’ve adopted a “screw it” attitude, and have decided to completely bypass my university lectures.

I’ve never felt so alive.

The first item on my spontaneous agenda of Hooky Day was to take an impetuous drive up the canyon. As I mentioned earlier, it is snowing, rather intensely, I might add, so this drive up the canyon ended up being a drive up a fourth of the canyon due to personal fears of swerving off the road because my Camry is good in the snow, but not completely trustworthy. Neither am I, as a motorist.

Then, I returned home from this adventure to document my activities for you fine folks. I’m on my third cup of coffee and am sipping from a chevron-patterned mug, and am sporting my very favorite sweater. I will be carrying on in this manner for the next hour or so.

Next on my unbidden schedule is Target. I am going to go roam Target and “pop some tags,” in the words of the legendary Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Once my funding runs dry, but not before the guilt of spending my entire paycheck sets in, I will go to my favorite cafe (which I luckily have a gift card for) and enjoy a cozy, culinary experience.

After my tummy has been sufficiently filled, I will attend my therapy session, because I couldn’t possibly sluff off all of my appointments for the day, and also these sessions are rather expensive. Then, I will go to work like the diligent, dependent worker my resume says I am.

I’m the kind of badass that skips school to blog and go to Target. YOLO.

M.

A Fractional Indemnity

Today, I experienced a situation that caused me to feel like a hypocritical, shallow imbecile. Partially.

I shall now set the scene for you. *Clears throat.* AHEM.

There I was, draped on a barstool, my legs resting on the adjacent chair (let’s be honest, I’m not lunching with anybody. No, really, I am eating alone.) in the university’s cafeteria. I snatched the Ziploc bag from my backpack and began self-consciously scarfing down my Mayo-less turkey sandwich on Sara Lee’s 45-Calories-And-Delightful Bread. (Cuz screw you, patriarchal fat-shamers, for making “getting fat” one of my biggest fears in life.) Mid-bite, I was approached by a fellow student-perhaps my age, maybe even a few months younger, but the opposite gender.

This fellow had on an untucked flannel shirt and jeans that were a size or two too big. He had on glasses-the kind that morph into sunglasses when you walk outside, and hadn’t quite yet changed back to glasses-glasses, giving the lenses a bluish tint. His skin was as clear as sand, and he had a “baby face.”

“Excuse me,” he said as he approached my lonely lunch table of one, and I jerked my head away from my sandwich, half a chunk of lettuce hanging out of my mouth. I sheepishly covered it and forced the giant leaf of lettuce down my throat.

“Ooops, sorry, bad timing on my part.” the lad said, apologetically, as if it were his fault that I have yet to figure out how to consume edible substances in a socially acceptable manner.

After I’d finally swallowed a mouthful of dry sandwich (more a chore to eat than anything else), I shot him one of my winning smiles, baring my slightly-yellowed-by-excessive-green tea-drinking teeth.

“This is going to sound weird,” the boy continued, “and you can say no, but, um, uh, can I have your number? You can say no.”

My social skills are a bit impaired, and I could feel all the blood in my petite body rush straight to my cheekbone-lacking face.

I let out one of those nervous half laughs and hesitated just a beat.

“I actually have a boyfriend…” my mouth said before my brain could give it the O.K. A flash of disappointment came over his spectacle-covered eyes, his thin lips curving into a gentle frown.

“Oh, okay, I understand,” he managed, “I hope you have a great day. Enjoy your sandwich!” and with that, he took a step back from my table, down the hallway of rejection.

Again, my tongue reacted seconds faster than my brain ever could, and I turned and blurted, “thank you, though! I am so flattered!”

My brain’s only thought was, “I hate myself.”

I remained there, a solitary slump of a girl in a Victoria’s Secret hoodie with a half-eaten sandwich in hand, letting guilt take over my mood, and in awe of my own hypocrisy. I couldn’t believe that I had done just exactly what I’ve been demanding our society stop doing-qualifying a person’s value based on his/her external appearance. I had become, in that instant at least, the epitome of what I have been working so hard, (via this website and my own personal behavior) to advocate against. I had lied to this boy about my relationship status simply because the way he presented himself did not appeal to me.

But then, good old feisty, feminist M crashed this guilt party.

Wait a second, boys and men are allowed to have preferences on the type of person they find attractive. On Tinder, it is not uncommon for men to post in their “description” section indications of physical preference. (i.e. “Blondes only. “Cup sizes C and Up.” “Real Men Like Brunettes.” “No Whales Allowed.*”) I highly doubt that these online heart-throbs ever have episodes of guilt for their own displays of shallow behavior. So why should I? I like what I like, and I know what I don’t like.

Granted, I should not have lied to this boy with the cliche “I have a boyfriend” line. Why do I owe him any excuse at all? I don’t demand a reason why “real men prefer brunettes” on Tinder. I don’t owe this boy an explanation for not reciprocating his feelings of attraction for me. But honestly, what were my options for gently rejecting this boy?

I have found a couple of societal pressures that I theorize could be the cause of the “I Have a Boyfriend” Phenomenon.

1. Assumption: 

     “Assuming makes an ass out of “u” and “me,” the saying goes. I assumed, (probably rightfully) that this boy inquired for my cell phone number in order to initiate some kind of romantic relationship with me. Because rare is a boy and girl who share a strictly “No, Really, We Are JUST FRIENDS” relationship. Which is rather discouraging, seeing as I’ve always wanted and older brother figure in my life. But then we get into the whole “friend zone debate” which is an entirely separate argument on its own. Point being, had I given this kid my number, we could have possibly become dear friends, although the odds are slim as rice paper.

2. Justification 

As I mentioned earlier, for some reason, (girls especially) feel like we have to apologize for everything. It’s a scientific fact-they made a Youtube video about it. And we all know Youtube is the all-knowing, 100 percent reliable, online video database on this world wide web. In this particular situation, I was apologetic for not being physically attracted to this boy as I assume he was to me. What is there to be sorry for, though? Why is it so hard to simply say, “no, thank you, I’m not interested.” I can think of a couple of reasons. First of all, some people seem to think that no means yes, so they persist until they finally get what they want. (In his case, a seven-digit number granting access to instant communication with me) which would make each time I had to reject his inquiry harder than the last. Second of all, I was trying to be considerate of his feelings. Rejection is hard. Nobody wants to be told “no,” which is why I linked an excuse on to my rejection to soften the edges a little.

In conclusion, I stand by my decision to withhold my phone number from this boy. I did not want to give it to him, it’s as simple as that. However, I do regret the method in which I avoided giving it to him, and am working on alternative strategies for the “boyfriend excuse.” If y’all think of anything, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

M.

*I got this horribly offensive quote off of a T-Shirt from my dearest ex-suitor, “Derek,” which is one reason amongst a dozen others as to why I am okay with his terminating our relationship. What an ass, amirite? (See  Prevaricator  for that whole story.)

Insolence

Lately, I’ve been feeling a lot more angsty and sassy than usual, which is frightening for those of whom I come in contact with on a day-to-day basis because my personality is slathered with both angst and sass, even on a good day.

Anyway, I’m in a creative writing class at my local commuter-university (which I LOATHE, literally a third of my fellow classmates grew up with my PARENTS) and we are currently working on our poetry unit.

I am no poet. I used to be, back in grade school. I spit out a poem about some old tree I could see through the entrapping window by my desk in the third grade, and wound up winning some statewide poetry contest. And 25 bucks, which is practically making it rain for a nine-year-old.

Needless to say, I spent every penny of it at Baskin Robbins. Sigh, those pre-anorexia days were good.

As the years passed, so did my lyrical, poetic writing abilities, as you can gather just by reading a post or two of this lovely blog of mine. My writing style is a direct reflection of my ever-increasing sarcasm and blunt ways of saying what goes on in my never-silent brain. As you can imagine, this makes it rather difficult to get in touch with my inner Poe.

But, for my grade’s sake, I was forced to give it a shot. Our prompt was, “Write a poem in the format of a letter to someone.”

I love how specific writing prompts are.

As per typical me, I put my own spin on this prompt, and decided to write a poetic letter to my alma mater, my high school. The way this creative writing class works is that each student writes his/her poem, submits it online, and the rest of us get to play critic and (both literally and figuratively) tear each others’ works to shreds.

Luckily for me, I have some pretty thick skin, and don’t really give a damn about what other people think about my work.

Here are some of the comments I received on my poem:

“I think that some lines were a bit too harsh and mean-spirited.”

“It’s unfair to say that (insert “unfair” segment of poem here)”

“Maybe you could change it to something softer and less-harsh?”

I am in a class full of sissies.

So now, I present to you the final draft of my poem, and am calling all readers of my blog to give me their honest critique.

Dear High School,

 Now that I’ve had a taste

Of that real world you claimed to have prepared me for,

I hope that you’ll take a moment

Of your bell-dictated time

To accept this, a grammatically proper token of my

Reluctant gratitude

For without you, I may never have known

 

That sitting by myself at the lunch tables with a tray of reheated mystery meat

And a fixed frown is absolutely the most solitary state I will ever be in.

 

That if you can “get with the cool kids”

Life’s problems will pass over you, after all

The lamb’s blood of today is popularity.

 

That looks are everything

And the girl with the blonde hair and size-two waist will always get the guy.

 

That the possibility of getting marked tardy will not

Get me to set my alarm any earlier,

And that Mrs. Teacher keeps a running tally of each one

In Sharpie,

But that’s okay, because “three strikes-you’re out!” Right?

 

That due dates are not do-dates

And that unpleasant assignments can easily be avoided by sluffing a day or two.

 

That the dress code was not a tyrannical act of oppression

Because showing my shoulders will force boys to lose focus on their own work.

 

That if it weren’t for your forcing me to run a mile every Friday during Gym class

I would not have the active lifestyle I lead today.

 

For without you, I may never have known

 

That every test is closed-book, and we all have differing

Answer keys.

-M.