Wednesday, July 30, 2014

An interesting thing happened yesterday

I was out with Zoey, Marissa, and Freckles, and we were waiting for our food at a restaurant. We were talking about things, and somehow Zoey ended up bringing up something uncomfortable.
"Who was that guy you liked in middle school?" she asked. "You know, that one you were like, obsessed with? Who was he?" and then she was asking Marissa and Freckles and I just panicked and sat there saying "Can we not talk about this, please? No, it was a really long time ago?" and finally I just said "his name was asshole mcbuttface, and that's all there is to it." And then we moved on to something else.

I could take this as a sign that I'm really uncomfortable with that whole thing, but I'm more seeing this as a sign that I'm really done with all of this. I don't want to talk about it. I don't want to bring it up like it's just a fun memory, hahaha. It wasn't fun. It sucked. I don't want to talk about it anymore, can we all please move on, thank you.

It's like for them it was just me having a huge crush on a guy, and maybe that's what it was, maybe I'm just crazy and making it into more because I want sympathy, but he was still a huge dick to me for no good reason and I'd rather not dwell on it.

I think this is part of how I move on, making it clear to other people that no, I don't want to talk about it, and we should not talk about it no matter what. It's not worth talking about. He's not worth talking about. Neither were the rest of his gang, and they still aren't, and they never will be.

I know this comes off as a little hypocritical because I posted about this a few weeks ago. But, that was a few weeks ago- it appears I have since changed my mind about how I want to handle this. Besides, I realize that Zoey had no way of knowing that I didn't want to talk about it. It's not her fault. I just... I'm done. I need to be done. I need to put it in the past, and by put it in the past I mean literally never talk about it like it did not happen. Of course it did, but I don't want to talk about it.

Not now, and I think not ever. Maybe someday it will just be less sucky. Who knows.

yer pal,

Sunday, July 27, 2014

"What would you do if you weren't afraid?"

God, I hate it when people ask me this. But, let's see.

I think I'd go ahead and get my PhD in biology. Even the brief wikipedia readups of the antibodies/"primaries" that i have to put on the westerns fascinates me. cancer is fascinating. The ways in which it proliferates and sustains and spreads are vast, but that also means there's a lot of potential to take it out. The other day I was reading about DNMT3a, which is DNA methyltransferase 3a. Typically thought to be involved in the methylation of (I think?) CpG sites in DNA in early development but maaaybe also later when methylations are copied (transferred- things in science seem to actually be named very simply and to-the-point) during DNA reproduction. It was so cool. Plus, there was a girl in the lab who did her PhD defense last Tuesday, and for some reason I got really excited for her, imagining how hard she would have been working to get to that point, to get her doctorate. And I think that's when I knew that biology was where I was meant to be, and I was going to get my PhD if it killed me.

But then again... if I wasn't afraid of it, I'd also be a doctor. Doctors are important. I know I am fully capable of getting myself through med school, if I put my mind to it. But the problem is that med school really doesn't appeal to me, because I'm kind of scared of the work. I'm also kind of scared that I'd hate the work after school. Although this didn't stop me from daydreaming about being an MD PhD the other day. The best of both worlds, really... although the guy I was reading about was a pediatric oncologist, and I can't imagine that job must be fun.

I would also write more. I think maybe I don't write because I'm scared. Or maybe because I don't want to. Either way, I hate that I made such a big deal out of it because now everyone still acts like I'm prolific when the reality is I don't write anymore. I don't. I don't want to. It's exhausting. It's hard work. I don't want to be a writer anymore. I don't know why. It kind of feels like something inside of me either shriveled up and died, or just left- I hope it's the latter, because then it can come back.

I think I'd also have gone to visit my boyfriend at one point, and my other friends in my uni city. I'd have gone down to the nearby national park only an hour south of me to hike and enjoy nature. I'd have invited friends out to the cabin.

I'd also look more into doing a semester abroad.

I'd probably quit EPASS. lord knows I've been thinking about that for a long time. But I feel so guilty about it, like because my parents donated a bunch of money to the fundraiser and it is good volunteering experience and the people I've met in the group are so nice and they really do need help, but honestly... space is cool, and so is this project, but I kind of feel like... I dunno, like I'm not helping, like I fell behind on reading because the reading was really boring to me, like there's maybe a reason I don't check my emails nearly often enough, maybe a reason there hasn't been a newsletter for over a month? Mom and Dad said that they only donated as much as they did because I was involved, which does not fucking help with the guilt. I feel like I signed up for this, I need to keep at it. I'm also scared that if I were to leave, the people in the group would hate me, which is actually completely unfounded because those people are not shitty people. I'm sure they wouldn't be happy about it, but I'm also starting to wonder if someone else can't do my job better than I can. Someone who cares more than I do. I feel so horrible about not caring, when I've been given this opportunity. And aren't you supposed to take every opportunity? Isn't that what I'm supposed to be doing right now, snagging every single one that comes along? That, to me, feels like it would leave me overloaded.
I seriously need to make up my mind on this. On the one hand, if I did end up leaving before returning to uni, my parents would know and get mad. On the other hand, if I waited until I got up there, I'd have to do it face to face and idk if I could get through that without crying. Maybe I'll see how many new recruits they get from the clubs fair? If a bunch of people join, I'd feel less bad about leaving... ugh. This has been tearing me up for weeks. I feel like the shittiest club member in the world, and I don't know why, since it's a free country and I'm allowed to leave if I want to. It's not like I work for them.

I think I would travel more. Alone. If I wasn't afraid of being approached by strangers because I am small, naive, and female. If I wasn't afraid of trying new foods.

Honestly, I think I'd probably eat differently, too. The other week I got in a seriously debilitating internal argument over a bag of chips which ended up with me deciding to start working out, which has actually ended up in a dramatic reduction of sad feelings which is totally not what I was trying to get out of it at all but kind of is what I'm trying to get out of it now (seriously, being home has really made me sad, which makes absolutely 0 sense).

And also, I would probably have more sex. I mean, not that I'm currently HAVING any, but you get my point. I think we would all do that. Come on. I HAD TO PUT THIS IN HERE. It's the truth. If I wasn't so afraid of getting pregnant...

I'd also probably take more dance classes and be less worried about it being a waste of money. Dance makes me happy. It always feels like something I can be good at and something I was born to do.

I don't actually know if all of these things are good ideas, or if doing them will improve my life or make me happy. Some of them, probably. Others, ???

I think this question is still worth taking the time to answer, though. You can learn a lot about yourself.

yer pal,
swegan :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The thing about relationships

( I am talking in the romantic sense here, since I have been having some thoughts lately).

Recently it's become very interesting to me how different my first relationship was from my second (and current) relationship. The first time around I felt guilty for wanting attention- physical affection, mostly, things like hand holding, kissing, hugging, etc. I also felt mad that I was the one who had to initiate conversation and communication outside of school. Probably a lot of these problems were from the fact that we were young and didn't know how to be in a relationship, but still. I also felt like expressing my desire to spend time with him and to be alone with him would sound "dumb" and "girly" and so I never said anything. Once he even got angry at me because I was trying to talk to him and he was trying to play video games. That really bothered me, enough that I started crying and felt horribly guilty. I didn't want to make anyone unhappy.

This time around, I am kind of still in that state. I feel more comfortable discussing what I like/need in terms of physical affection and closeness, and I've found someone who enjoys a similar level of those things (we are very snuggly people, and spending time in each other's physical presence is important to us) but more importantly, I feel valued this time around.

It's really nice to be in a relationship with someone who I feel like actually WANTS to be in a relationship with me, too. Someone who doesn't communicate because they have to but because they actively want to, someone who spends a lot of time with me, someone who admits to being close to me. Someone who doesn't ever make me feel like the things I want or need are stupid or unimportant. I feel so happy now, in this relationship, that I am able to get what I want and give in return, that we are able to find a balance and make each other happy.

There are still times when I worry about bothering him, but this time around it's nice that when I bug him when he's playing video games, I don't get "the sound of you sending messages just gets a little annoying and distracting in the middle of a game", I get "sorry, I was busy, and I like reading what you write when I finish playing something." Obviously the first response was understandable, and not totally unreasonable, but I do actually like the second one better. I still try not to bug people a lot when it seems like they're busy, but it's nice not to get "you were being annoying" and more "no, I was just away, that's why I wasn't responding."

I just... I feel like I know better now. Obviously I don't know everything because I'm young and inexperienced, but I know more. I know how important communication is. I know how important physical affection and intimacy are to me. And I got to learn that from a really positive relationship experience, and I am still learning from it.

The best part is that when we have gotten mad in the past or fucked up, we've talked through it honestly, been willing to admit our own faults but also been able to recognize where we were not wrong, and been committed enough to continue the relationship to make it work again. It's really nice to feel cared about and loved. I still doubt it because of how my last relationship went, and sometimes I think just because it almost feels too good to be true.

Gah, I feel young and stupid and happy. Thank god for this exercise kick I just got started on. I feel like it's finally giving my brain enough dopamine and endorphins to see the happy without it feeling stupid. But that's a post for another time.

yer pal,
swegan :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

I'm mad about twilight again


One of my favourite lines from the videos of the "Feminist Frequency" channel on youtube was something along the lines of "it's important to remember that it's still possible to enjoy media while being aware of its more problematic aspects." I'm aware that twilight is problematic. I'm aware of the toxic relationship standards it suggests and promotes. And yet I'm also aware that it's everyone's favourite thing to hate.

Look, even I get a bit uppity about it sometimes. Some parts are kind of... ehh, but then some parts in EVERY book are like that. Just look at the first chapter of Harry Potter, for crying out loud! Seriously, I cannot get past that chapter. It's all exposition, and honestly, it bores me. I can't read a book unless it hooks me in in the first chapter, and that one didn't. But whenever Harry Potter is criticized on the internet, it's done so in a thoughtful way, in a way that fosters discussion and learning. And whenever twilight is criticized, it's "wow this created a better love story than twilight" and "wow it's sad when twilight does something better than you" and "jesus this book is sad and a piece of crap."

I don't really know what my point is anymore. Yeah, there's horrible elements in that book. The relationship is abusive. There's an instance of sexual assault somewhere in the third book that I never even read as sexual assault until someone pointed it out to me that way- but hey, Bella was pissed about it, wasn't she? She was mad because he disrespected her boundaries, and her father disrespected them further by encouraging the assault b/c it was the lesser of two evils- not from her somewhat creepy, possessive boyfriend, who was really only mad about the whole thing because she was kind of his property. Christ, he forbade her from visiting a friend... who, albeit, later turned out to be the friend that sexually assaulted her, but jesus fucking christ, you're going to sit around and call this character weak and stupid and shallow and pathetic? To a certain degree, it kind of feels like she's caught up in shit, and btw, the way I did read her creep boyfriend defending her from the friend that decided kissing her when she said no was okay was that she called him knowing that at least he would get this guy away from her. That's clever. She knew. She knew.

And that doesn't say anything about other characters in the story who happen to be excellent characters.

Look, I'm just saying, the entire book isn't a shitstorm, okay? Besides, the only reason I stick by those books is because they got me through a period in the beginning of high school where I had no friends. Reading them again takes me right back there. It's a comfortable place, a safe place, where I wasn't lonely, where I was somewhere else living someone else's life, having someone else's adventures. I read all those books in less than four days.

I guess I can understand that some people are mad b/c this book is heralded as genius by some teenagers who don't see the darker parts of it, the parts that aren't that great, the parts they should shy away from. They see it as a piece of problematic, sexist media that's being marketed to teenage girls yet again. And I'm mad at that part. I'm mad that those things happened, because at the end of the day, I liked the story. I did. I got into it. I was a part of the world. I went on an adventure. I had fun. I enjoyed a cast of good supporting characters (including some pretty great female ones btw). And it really sucks to see something you love get absolutely shit on everywhere on the internet. It's worse than that thing about reading a book where there isn't a fandom, because at least then there aren't people who are going to treat you like you're stupid for liking the series.

And god, for the love of all that is holy, stop making fun of teenage girls for liking this, okay? Teenage girls get enough shit for being rabid fans of things. Leave them alone. Especially you, teenage boys (and girls!) who think it's okay to make fun of your peers because they like the series. Leave them alone, too. Just let them be. Clearly they're happy, okay? They aren't vapid, or stupid, or idiotic. They like. A book. Series. Leave them. The fuck. Alone.

I guess I kind of know what my sister means about the whole one direction thing. I haven't been fair to her about that. So you know what? I'll take that cause up, too. I may not be a fan of their music, but god, not being a fan of something doesn't give you the right to make fun of the whole fanbase for it. And please, please, can we stop with the "this isn't real music" YES IT FUCKING IS. It's just a different kind of music. Please stop telling me the Beatles are better. Just because you don't like bubblegum autotuned boyband pop does not make it a lesser choice.

(And yes, I am aware that saying a lot of this makes me hypocritical in certain respects. I'm still learning, too).

yer pal,
swegan :P

Friday, July 4, 2014

Pro-lifers piss me off

NOW BEFORE I GET STARTED. I know there's people out there who genuinely aren't comfortable with abortion personally, but are adults and recognize that other people have the right to make choices about their own health and life, and that their own personal opinions on abortion are not mandatory for other people. I like those people, because they recognize that abortion is a personal choice, not something for other people to intrude on, and while they may categorize themselves as "pro-life", they are not included in my category here.

I think what's really hypocritical about people who claim to be pro-life is that they say they want abortion numbers to decrease, but then they also don't want to support things like birth control coverage in health insurance plans (I'm looking at you, Hobby Lobby and supporters of it) and think places like Planned Parenthood, which to the best of my knowledge offer far more than just abortion procedures, should be shut down.

Let's throw some logic at this whole scenario, okay? You want to bring down abortion numbers. That's great! Unfortunately, the number of abortions performed is never going to be zero. Let's just accept that, right now. Even if abortion becomes illegal, women will find a way. There is no such thing as a world without abortions. There just isn't. Don't even try to argue with it, because you can't win. What we have here are worlds with safe abortions and worlds with unsafe abortions. Being pro-life means you are a supporter of a cause whose end political goal (make abortion illegal) will result in a world full of unsafe abortions (which means you cannot call yourself pro-woman, btw, because guess who suffers from unsafe abortions? WOMEN.). But back to the original point- you want to decrease the number of abortions, having accepted now that it will never be zero. That's great! I want to decrease those numbers too, and you want to know why?
Abortion is what happens when someone has an unwanted pregnancy and is able to be rid of it. Whatever your reasons, be they medical, financial, life-plan-involved, whatever-- that pregnancy is unwanted. Usually these are the results of oopsies, or in horrible cases, sexual assualt or incest. Sexual assault can be prevented by ending rape culture- not blaming victims, lessening the sexualization of women, altering masculinity so it is not so wrapped up in violence, domination, having power and not being able to be a victim (although men as victims of sexual assault is not the issue when it comes to abortion, b/c men can't get pregnant), etc. I'm not really sure about incest, but I think the same principles apply (I really haven't thought about it much so forgive me there). As for oopsies... guess what prevents oopsies?
That's right, it's comprehensive sexual education and easily accessible contraception and family planning! If you teach people how to have safe sex (in the heterosexual sense here, b/c that is the kind of sex that produces pregnancies) and give them access to tools to help them prevent pregnancy, there will be a LOT fewer pregnancies! I don't see how that doesn't make sense.

But I think the problem most pro-life people have is that in addition to being pro-life and thinking they have ANY business dictating other people's medical choices, they also don't like contraception, comprehensive sex ed, or family planning services of any kind. Want to know why? These are the kind of people that don't like sex.
I've never had sex (well, typically speaking), but I feel like people who don't like it are either a) asexual, b) have been through a traumatic experience, or c) crazy. What's not to like about sex? It's all good times as long as everyone's up for it, so what's the big deal?
To me, there is no other explanation other than these people don't want other people to have sex. They don't want them having safe sex, they want sex to be a tool only for procreation.
Well, I've got news for you. Remember when I said that the numbers of abortions performed could never be zero? The same principle applies to sex: people are never just going to do it for procreation. People. Like. Having. Recreational. Sex. They will find a way. And if you make it as hard as possible for them to find the safe way, they'll just end up having unsafe sex, which is how you get a) sexual assault (if sex ed isn't comprehensive, it probs doesn't talk about consent which is really important and also really mandatory ok) and b) unwanted pregnancies! ding ding ding ding!!!

So for me, pro-lifers don't give two shits about all those unborn fetuses. What they care about is people, and in the case of abortion, women, adhering to bizarre gender roles and societal norms that say YOU MUST NOT HAVE SEX FOR FUN EVER. This leaves women with no choice but to either a) stay abstinent or b) run the risk of becoming pregnant (like, I'd think nature made it relatively easy to get pregnant b/c we do have to continue the species somehow). Like, seriously, if you were really against abortion, you'd support things like Planned Parenthood and not things like the Hobby Lobby decision, because the former prevents unwanted pregnancies and therefore abortion.

I DON'T GET WHY THIS IS SO HARD TO GRASP. Like, do you even logically think through your problems? Seriously.

And in the end, if you realize that that is the way to fewer abortions, I would like to say another thing: I'm not writing this post and saying I want the number of abortions to go down b/c I'm pro-life and think abortion is some horrible sin. I'm saying I want the number of abortions to go down b/c I want the number of unwanted pregnancies to go down. I don't want  the number to go down in the pro-life way, meaning I want lots of unwanted children brought into an already overpopulated world. That position doesn't make any sense to me.

yer pal,

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

"You're too young to be have physically intimate relationships"

Well excUuUuUuUuUuUuUuse me! I might be young, but the law still says that I'm legally an adult. You know what that means? I get to decide what happens to me. If I want to totally abstain from everything and not even kiss people until I'm married, that's up to me. If I want to have lots of casual sex, that's up to me. If I want to be physically intimate with one person at a time, that's up to me. Your only concern should be about the spread of STDs and my risk of pregnancy, which I'm already concerned about.

I don't think my parents get that they actually raised me to be smart. I know, I know, I get that there are risks involved with this. But I'm also educated on how to mitigate those risks. I know that I should always have sex with a condom, yadda yadda. It just gets exhausting when my parents keep insisting that "everything should still be covered at this point." *awkward cough* um. Sure. Okay. As if your opinion has any bearing on this at all.

Although I have to admit there were two surprises that I found when I started to become physically intimate with my current boyfriend: 1) it increased my confidence like 500%, and 2) intimacy is a spectrum. Allow me to elaborate:

1) confidence-- well, obviously this was a big jump for me as I've never really done much of anything with anyone in terms of intimacy. But once stuff actually started happening, I actually found that it was really... empowering, in a way. I knew what I was doing and I knew I had control over how much of it could be done and when (the importance of consent, people), and I liked it. It was fun. Plus, having someone appreciate your body is kinda nice, just sayin'. The combination of feeling like I had control over what happened to my body and that somebody thought my body was really fucking attractive was awesome. Could I have gained this confidence other ways? Definitely. But I gained it this way, and I'm proud of it.

2) the spectrum-- this one mostly comes from tv and movies and other media involving teenagers in physical relationships. Most of the time what I see is that their relationships involve "typical stuff"- kissing, hand holding, makeout sessions where the guy tries to go farther and the girl always stops him (seriously, that stuff is getting old- altho there were occasional gender-role-reversals in there, not gonna lie), but nothing more. Those relationships would then either stay that way, or jump straight into full on penetrative sex. This is what I thought real relationships were like.
The problem with this model is that it completely negates the whole realm of other stuff you can do with someone without risking pregnancy and still having fun. That was I think the best part about this whole experience for me, was discovering "OH THERE ARE OTHER THINGS!" I mean, if you just want to stick to making out and leaving your clothes on, go right ahead. But believe me, there's more than just plain old heterosexual sex beyond that. I don't know why this didn't occur to me sooner, but it has now.

I apologize if this post was a little bit, er... explicit. Although I suppose it's not like I'm going into any great detail or anything. For the record, about 88% of what Ptarckas and I do is just straight snuggling. I'm not even kidding. Which is fucking awesome, because snuggles are the shit and I would say anyone who says otherwise is lying but I get that there are people who don't like snuggling or stuff like that, and that is just fine.

I suppose I learned one more thing, though: there are people out there who want what you want. Or, at least, will negotiate with you. I sort of went off to university believing that boys didn't like snuggling, or hand holding, or mushy stuff, and that nobody would want to be in a relationship with me because I was pretty uninterested in having sex (and I still am- the pregnancy risk is too high for me), and that my unshaved legs and strong interest in feminism would deter potential boyfriends. While I may have found someone my parents don't entirely approve of, he has proven all of those things to be false (at least in his case)-- at one point when I was telling him about my mother's many warnings to me that boys wouldn't want to date me because of my hairy legs, he grabbed my shins, pulled them into his lab, and just started casually... augh, what's the word... stroking them? And also proceeded to say "there is nothing wrong with your legs" which just made me all mushy. How could I not love someone like that? Seriously.

Anyway, I just find it stupid that my parents think I'm too young and immature to make good decisions, which I probably am some of the time b/c I don't know anything, but in other respects I think I know what I'm doing. I might fuck up a little along the way, but the point is that I'm still proceeding with caution, and only with people who understand consent and make me feel respected, safe, and happy. (this of course comes with the mandate that I also respect them and make them feel safe and happy- if someone says they don't want to do something, or are not in the mood, the other person has to respect that. This is not optional).

yer pal,

p.s. sorry if I seriously weirded out any of my friends that read this. ILU GUISE. FOR SERIOUS.