Saturday, August 23, 2014

I did not want it to come to this

I just unfriended my brother on facebook.

Now I know some people won't think that facebook is even a big deal at all. And I'm sure other people might think "How could you do that to your own brother????" BUT, neither of those people read this blog... I think. I'm fully aware of how low my readership is but... ehh. that's not the point of this post.

First things first: My brother. Is. An. Asshole.

I mean, I love him, but god, he's an asshole. He is! My own mother has confirmed it. She won't let me swear ever, except when I am calling my brother an asshole. He's impossible to deal with. I don't like having him around because he aggravates everyone. He posts offensive things on facebook (hence why I have unfriended him). I don't want any of my friends to meet him. If I ever get married, I don't think I want him at my wedding.

All of this sucks. I don't like it either. But he seems hell bent on offending me lately, posting these horrendously offensive things because he knows they piss me off. I've listened to my mother describe his behaviour and that of his friends in the past, and it sounds exactly the same.

Just... we had him out at the cabin last week, and not only did he not offer to help with dishes or dinner ANY of the nights he was there, he also made a big scene at dinner by just... having annoying opinions that are really offensive and continuing on and on AND ON while my sister's friends had to sit and watch it, and it was so embarrassing. Later, when my sister's friends all decided to sleep together in one room and have a big sleepover kind of thing, he thumped on the floor when they were maybe giggling a bit too loud (this was at midnight, too- not even late). Passive aggressive much? He could have, I don't know, gone downstairs and asked them to be quiet?

He has a problem with everybody, and I'm sure he's only going to get worse now that I've unfriended him, but I don't care. My plan for the future is to avoid him as much as possible. I know my mom feels the same- she hates it because she feels like a bad mother, but shit, it's not her fault he's decided to behave this way. The only person he'll even listen to anymore is dad. NOT TO MENTION when we went to Ireland (a trip on which he paid for NOTHING, by the way) he started ranting about how "disrespectful it was" for mom to show up late for dinner. I was like, excuse me, who paid for you to be here? Of course I didn't act that way outwardly, I was an awkward mixture of trying to diffuse him (we were in a nice hotel and I didn't want to make a scene) and trying to agree with him (I have my own grievances about mom making me late, which I have acted on perhaps not so nicely in the past- and probably here, and frankly, I'm embarrassed about it). Another one of my sister's friends had to witness that, and she later said it was weird.

Honestly... dealing with him is like dealing with a 4 year old, only worse. He doesn't know how to be an adult, he doesn't know how to make polite conversation, and having him around is a liability since he's bound to embarrass us all at some point.

Most of why I've unfriended him is due to not wanting to see his offensive shit anymore (seconds before I did it, I commented on a selfie of his that I really enjoyed his facial expression, which was pretty great). I want him to be a part of my life, I do. I want to talk to him regularly, I want to be close to him, I want to want him at family events. I want to be close to him, but he makes it impossible. My family continually invites him to Christmases, birthdays, and on family vacations, and he continually acts like an ungrateful ass. Honestly at this point I'm embarrassed to be related to him, and I hate that I have to say that because I love him and want to have a relationship with him. He's my brother, for crying out loud.

Of course, I'm now afraid he might come by the house and blow up at me, call me a bitch to anyone who will listen, or ... shit, I don't know, slash my tires. What does it say about him that I wouldn't put any of that past him?

They say you're supposed to cut poisonous people out of your life. My brother has become a poisonous person. Because I love him and because I still want to have a working sibling relationship with him, I will hold out hope that he can change or at least learn to bite his tongue, and I will take him back if he proves he is willing to grow the fuck up. I want that to happen. But I can't do it for him. He has to change for himself, and I'm not going to sit around and listen to his shit while I wait for that to happen.

I'm sorry, brother. But this is what it has come to.



It certainly has its issues.

I think a big part of that depression earlier for me was tumblr feminism. It's so... cutthroat. I constantly worried that I was doing things wrong. I'd watch tumblr feminists tear apart people they disagreed with at the seams, and I was so afraid that might happen to me if I toed out of line, so I spent my time arguing with people close to me, pushing their manifestos and refusing to back down. It was exhausting. I mean, I get that those people have either experienced a lot of oppression personally and that that has made them angry and jaded to the point where they lash out, or they have developed a complex where they feel they have the right to do that... I'm not going to sit around and argue that fat people, non-white people, trans people, and lgbtqa (that is the correct acronym, right?), and women don't have their unfair share of difficulties, but still.

This isn't to say the community on tumblr is bad. I think it's done some great things- like providing a safe place for people to vent their frustrations, especially if those people aren't very "mainstream" and feel worn down by everyday life. I think that's important, that people who aren't lucky like me who are born with immense privilege (with the exception of my being female, which, thankfully, due to the part of the world I live in, hasn't held me back much... yet, anyway) have a space to vent, to feel validated, etc. That is definitely important, and I support that.

But I also feel like at certain times, that community cannot handle criticism. Whenever somebody makes a point that, while perhaps not entirely correct, still raises an important issue, people who have created those communities can get really defensive. We're not doing anything wrong, you're just persecuting us because you can get away with it. Maybe that's the case, but I think there are some issues with that community sometimes.

I know it's ridiculous to ask for inclusion in a community created solely to provide a haven for people who aren't included in the mainstream. But the mainstream sucks, and some of us get that- and we'd much rather stick with the people who say "screw the system" and try to create a better way. But I think sometimes that message of "we have a better way" is their way of saying "it's our turn." My problem is, equality doesn't work like that. You don't take turns having the advantage- that's not equality at all.

What Ptarckas suggested when I brought this up with him was that those communities can prioritize. Take feminism, for example. It is completely unreasonable for feminism as a movement to focus entirely on the ways the... we'll call it "the mainstream", has affected women and women only. In order for this movement to be inclusive, it must also discuss the ways men are affected. The exception here would be that feminism can prioritize women's issues. While both women and men are negatively affected by the mainstream (I guess feminists would call that patriarchy, and it is a word I have used before, and I still stand by that- but I'm trying to reach a wider audience here), women have had it far worse, and while men can choose to benefit from the system that's in place, women cannot, or at least not to the same degree. So to me, prioritizing women's issues above men's while still making time to discuss their issues as well is the best way forward. Or perhaps there are people who prefer to focus solely on one or the other, and that's fine. I think as long as men's issues don't overshadow women's, or interrupt discussions of women's issues, then that's okay. I suppose the reverse has to be true as well, but I still think a priority on women's issues is more than fair.

What really brought this issue up with me today was a post I saw on tumblr (obviously). It was an ask where someone had asked what the user thought of "skinny shaming" in Nicki Minaj's song "Anaconda." (The "skinny bitches" thing seems to be becoming popular with the body-positive community- and I really don't like it). The user's response was that "skinny people should stop listening to her song and go watch TV or read a magazine to see their body type idealized and praised." While I don't want to say this one user is the only problem- I'm sure plenty of people have this attitude- I really don't like that statement.

I know it's ridiculous of people who have been held up as "normal" and "beautiful" by beauty standards to ask for inclusion in a community created for those who did not fit those standards and have suffered because of it, but that is what I am asking for. I'm asking that the body positivity movement recognize that you cannot call yourself inclusive unless you include everybody. I'm not asking for my issues to be discussed- at the moment, I don't have any, beyond the "skinny bitches" attitude which I really hate (some people are just naturally thin- while that does give us privilege, it doesn't give you the right to stereotype us all as "bitches" that subscribe to mainstream beauty ideals).

I actually DO think the body positivity movement has been one of those movements that's been really good about being inclusive, about saying "you cannot have equality if you exclude one group of people." It was really just this one incident, in addition to the fact that all "body positive" songs that have come out recently that I've seen have included a line about "skinny bitches." I mean, I get that a lot of skinny people do subscribe to mainstream beauty ideals, do put down others for it, and I can understand why people who've felt like they've been excluded their entire lives, who have felt shamed and teased and bullied, wouldn't want to include people in their group that fit so well with their... bullies, I guess. I get that- it is part of why I was so defensive of feminism being a place for women's issues only for a long time. But, I think part of trying to start over means you have to try and trust those from the old group who come to you asking to be included. I think it means you have to be the bigger person sometimes- not all the time, but sometimes. You have to be the more mature one... and it sucks. It really does.

What was hard for me in all of this is admitting that I think I took things a bit too far sometimes. I still think what I was saying was important, I was just ... somehow saying it in a way that was too extreme. This is not to absolve the blame of others, either, just myself.  Besides, being that hardcore was no fun, and I'd like to think I've backed down a little. That's not entirely fun, either, but it's working out for me better than before.

Anyway. I'm sure if someone on tumblr finds this I'll be torn to shreds, have the words that describe my privilege used against me as insults, and that will not be fun... but I'd like to think I'm getting somewhere here. I'd like to think someone will think I have a good point, that I have something valuable to say.

Social justice movements cannot call themselves inclusive while excluding the group that excluded them. I get that that doesn't seem fair, but someone has to be the bigger person.

You know, coming from me, I can see how that sounds like a threat. "Someone has to be the bigger person"? I get it. It sounds exhausting, and a little bit patronizing, and unfair. The mainstream group should be being the bigger people. I know that, but they're not, and there's all these movements starting up that I see that are doing way, way better that I think are more viable alternatives at this point. And this doesn't have to happen fast. I'm just asking that this "skinny bitches" shit in the positivity movement is removed. Also, that the people who used to make me feel guilty for being from a family with money realize that that's not really much better than making people feel guilty for not coming from a family with money. Nobody can help who they're born to, and I have never been a bitch about money. Ever. The family I come from doesn't make me better or worse than anybody else, and I am incredibly aware of that.

yer pal,

Sunday, August 3, 2014


I'm really not sure how else to bring this up with people.

So I'm sure some of you have read the hyperbole and a half comic about depression ( (part 1) (part 2), for those who have not), as I did about a year ago. I really liked it- I found it funny, but I also found it a really different explanation of how it feels to have depression, because at the time, I was still very stable (if not a bit burnt out by all the work I was currently doing) and happy and I felt pretty normal. The problem is that now, I see myself and my current behaviour in the beginning of the comic.

This year hasn't really been the easiest, and I don't know why.

I mean, autumn was great. I started at a new school and did well and then it was my 18th birthday and i was making friends, i got asked out, i began a relationship, i was living away from home for the first time and thoroughly enjoying it. That was great. And it wasn't the living away from home part that got to me, I swear- yes, I missed home, but I'd also started accidentally calling the building I lived in "home" sometimes. The food was great, the people were good, my room was very comfortable. Making friends was tricky but I was doing all right and doing okay in my classes. In fact, the whole fall semester was just fine. I really liked it. University was great. Still is- I can't wait to go back.

I think it was around the winter semester that it started. I started having trouble getting out of bed in the morning- that was it. Once I was up and out the door, I was fine. But almost every morning until the reading week break, I didn't want to get up and go to class. I saw no point. But I made myself get up anyway, and then I felt fine. My dad called me in the morning a few times, both to make sure I was up and to make sure I was feeling okay. It did help.

Reading week break, I think, propelled me through the rest of the semester. I got a chance to do sfa and do it somewhere I really love to be, and somewhere I am right now- the cabin. I'm always at my happiest here. I feel so lucky I have this place to come to. It's a godsend, really.

I think by finals again I was pretty tired, but I was also excited to move home (and also sad about it), not to mention excited to be done. And then I was home for May, applying for jobs, until I actually got one (a miracle given how late I applied for lab jobs) and for the past two months, I was working.

I think it really began in June, a week or so in. I felt really sad, but chalked it up to hormones and just let it be. When it was two weeks in, I told mom that I had been feeling really sad lately. Her response was that "when I feel like that, I just need to force myself to think positive thoughts" which of course wasn't really that helpful. Oh gee, just try thinking positive! Gosh, why didn't I think of that before? (This isn't meaning to get mad at my mom, of course- I know she was just trying to help). I figured it was probably nothing, and kept going.

At one of our summer cabin visits (god, I know how rich I sound when saying that. Sorry), I got really upset about something- I think missing some EPASS emails (which was something I later cleared up). I was talking to ptarckas- as I usually am- and I admitted to him that in order to try and get myself back together from crying over the guilt of missing all these emails and disappointing people, I had slapped myself in the face and scratched the sunburns on my shoulders and arms. It sounds ridiculous. It still does.

Ptarckas, of course, was distressed to learn about this, and asked that I please stop. He called it "self harm" and that was the first time I ever saw it that way. It's not like this was the first time I'd attempted these things to pull myself together- slapping myself in the face, banging my head against the wall, pulling on my hair, scratching myself really hard. This usually happened when I started to get upset about something- like when mom had said I could paint outside or clean the car, and I had picked clean the car, only to get outside at the same time as Freckles and have her claim the painting job, leaving me the option of sitting in my room all day uselessly or making money doing work I didn't want to do. I decided to clean out the car. However, I had to find a vacuum attachment, and kept complaining to my parents that I couldn't find it in the hall closet where it should be. Mom came with me to help me look, and I was poking around, not seeing it, but doing the typical terrible-search-job-of-children and getting frustrated. Mom told me to take things out and look, which I didn't want to do because it created the work of putting everything away, so I slammed two bottles down on the floor. Mom said to me "if you're going to be like that, go and sit in your room, because nobody needs this." I promptly went into my room, sat in the closet crying, "pulled myself together" and came back out and buried my attitude. "Nobody needs this," I told myself. "Nobody wants it. Act like a fucking grownup. Be happy, because that's the emotion they want, and your emotion is stupid and babyish anyway." I cleaned the car.

Ptarckas's reaction kind of made me realize that I shouldn't really be "pulling myself together" that way. And in the weeks since then, I have noticed a lot of urges to do so, mostly occurring whenever I get sad again. "Quit feeling sorry for yourself," I'd think. "If you're sad, fix it. Don't blame the world for your problems. This is nobody's fault but your own. Work harder, be better, be happier." "Quit feeling sorry for yourself" is something that I heard a lot as a kid whenever I would cry and I wasn't physically injured or bullied- basically, if nothing had been done to me that would justify crying.

This "fix your sadness" attitude turned into me writing things down on scrap paper at the lab when I had to wait for something to finish, hiding them so nobody would see and want to talk about it. Also, I have not been... I don't want to call it self-harming, but I guess that's kind of what it is. I just sit and ignore the urges until they pass. They don't last long. It's harder to get myself back together to hide this from my family, who I really don't want to tell given mom's reaction, but I figure it's worth it.

The sadness itself comes and goes. I feel horribly guilty about it. Who in their right mind wants to deal with somebody who's sad and crying and feeling sorry for themselves all the time? After a certain point, I worried, it would seem like I was just trying to be a victim on purpose to gain sympathy points. I was convinced nobody would want to deal with this. Hell, I'm surprised at how ptarckas reacts, given that he's still the only person I've talked to about this. I keep waiting for him to get exhausted by me constantly breaking down and getting violently upset by stupid little things, but instead he just sends me virtual skype-hugs, tries to make me feel validated, and tries to help calm me down.

Which is why I'm writing this (don't know if I'll post it, but if I do I guess you'll know my decision). I need to know if anybody else ever feels like this- like you're suddenly way too sad all of the time and exhausted by having emotions and beating yourself up for feeling sad in the first place. I need to know if this is something that a lot of 18 year olds go through and it's normal and okay, or if this is wrong and something I need to get help for.

The sucky part is that this is making being a feminist on the internet more difficult, because I just can't deal with something that exhausting right now. Having those opinions feels like a constant parade of "can we please not talk about that" and "you're wrong" and honestly that really fucking sucks, and it's difficult enough for me to deal with (since I take everything so fucking personally) even when my emotions are somewhere stable.

See, this is where it sucks. I just suddenly feel like "oh hey you haven't been writing either" and it's like the world just keeps taking things I care about away from me, but then I'm like "no, you can't blame the world for this, this is your own damn fault for not working harder" and I just don't want to do anything about it and it's too exhausting to feel like this as much as I do.

For the record, since I know people are bound to worry: I'm not suicidal. I'm sad a lot, but I still want to keep existing. Very much so. Existing is important to me. I want to get my uni degree, my masters, my PhD, heck, even my MD. I can't do all of those without existing. Plus I am still okay enough to know that this probably has an end point.

I just... I'm really not sure how to bring this up with people. Maybe I am taking the easy way out. Who cares? I don't owe the world the moral correctness of bringing this up in the "right way".

yer pal,


I think people tend to expect this of each other. I was scrolling through the "feminism" tag recently, and there was a lot of criticism in there- fair criticism.

The feminist movement is not perfect. It never has been. It probably never will be. Neither is its opposition, and nor will it be. Criticism is fine, yes, but sometimes I feel like it takes the vein of imperfections in a movement being used to work against it and to claim that the movement is useless, not working properly, or full of shit (especially when those criticisms aren't even valid, but that's another can of worms).

I think I have been especially guilty of this. I don't take criticism well. I never have, but I'd like to think that someday I will. I take everything too personally. It's one of the things I don't like about myself and is my biggest stumbling block.

The reason I was thinking about this was because of those posts that say "don't bully anyone, being mean to anyone is wrong!" because on one hand I think people who apply this attitude to feminism are massively missing the point but on the other hand, I still feel like some part of their argument has validity. This is mostly because of the kids in middle school who thought it was okay to make me feel like shit because I came from a family that was well off. While I can understand that my being bullied about this was not the same as facing disadvantages that actively held me back (b/c coming from a family that has money to support me gives me advantages and thus privilege, which I am immensely grateful for), I can still acknowledge that what they did was not cool and they shouldn't have been doing it. I'm still not sure how to apply this to feminism, but I'm sure it has its place.

Perhaps it's that actively making men feel bad for being men is a bad idea? I'm not sure if I do that as a feminist- I really hope not. Obviously there's nothing wrong with being male, my problem is with the societal ideal (and the one you see commonly presented in media of all sorts) of what it means to be male. I think a lot of people subscribe to that ideal and that worries me. And then obviously there's real men who have been shitty by living out that ideal (and by, say, being abusive) when they're smart enough to know better. Men aren't stupid, and I guess perhaps feminism doesn't give them enough credit. I think perhaps it's important to recognize the line between shitty masculinity and shitty men, or something along those lines?

It's late. I'm not entirely sure what I'm talking about, and I've been listening to a mix of pop songs I made on youtube for the past two hours. It's fascinating how all these songs from different time periods in my life comes together to present an amalgamation of something that resembles how I see myself.

yer pal,