Tag Archives: Life

25 things that will never make sense

Lately, I have been struggling to make sense of the world around me. Granted, this isn’t anything new, but what is new is that some of these things hae knocked me off balance and made it so that I can’t organize my thoughts enough to talk about them clearly.

See, as an educated person I often struggle with knowing the “why”, and “how” of things, understanding how they may make sense to others but also grappling with the moral issue of how these things in an “advanced and civilized society” have ever been allowed to happen continuously. And like I said, some of these things have been really messing with my head lately so because I don’t have the full ability to make sense of them – I’m doing this list instead of a full form post this week. Hopefully this will start some conversations in your own life and hopefully once I get my wits about me I can come back and write on these topics with a cooler head.

[Some of these things will have explanations some won’t and I certainly won’t be covering them all today but feel free to add to the list in the comments. And be sure to have these conversations with the people around you because they’re incredibly important.]

  1. The fact that Webkinz ever went out of style
  2. Starbucks prices (I don’t care how artisinal the caremel whatchamacallit crunch is)
  3. Bounce Houses especially the watter feature ones
  4. Kids born after the 2000’s – specifically kids born after the 2000’s that don’t have a healthy fear of their parents because this generation doesn’t have the same healthy fear of their parents that me and mine did and I don’t know if I am jealous or proud or…
  5. Living in the past – we’ve all done it. But it has never been as dangeroius as it is now and in the context of the conversations we are having today.
  6. Alcohol: Back in the times of the ancient egyptians beer was used as payment to workers because it provided some sort of nutrition. As someone in their 20’s I feel like alcohol is so much a part of our social lives but it also is killing us all slowly. Not saying I’m going to or need to stop indulging – but this is weird to me.
  7. Minimum wage – it took me 26 years, 10+ of which I was in one or more workplace, to realize that my skills and my time were far more valuable than what I was being paid and how I was being treated. (in some cases)
  8. Sexual harassment in the workplace this one is only speaking to my experience in the service industry. I don’t think I have ever worked in a service industry related job where I haven’t been subject to some sort of sexual harasment type lines being crossed and 9/10 times I didn’t say anything because I didn’t think I could or because I knew it wouldn’t make a diference.
  9. Anyone who disrepects anyone in the service industry or in retail – or anyone who disrespects anyone who in general is just trying to help you.
  10. Weaponizing children in times of war. The number of contradictions this world has when we claim to want to protect our youth and our future but then subject them to even a small percent of what we do is dumbfounding.
  11. Relying on the declarations of individuals who have been dead for 400 years. or even valuing old dead white men and what they said 400 years ago more than we value women today or of any time.
  12. Overturning Roe (it’s 2022 and we are still talking about a decision made 50 years ago)
  13. Disrespecting others in the name of God or Jesus or the Bible – when that litterally contradicts the very foundation of the teachings of that religion
  14. The assumption that any VIABLE HUMAN BEING could have less value than (a.) another human being. or. (b.) a clump of cells – in other words if you think a 12 year old incest and r*** victim should carry the product of that assult to term because that “baby” didn’t be asked to be created that way then you need to go way back to health class because you have zero fundamental understanding of anything relating to the creation of human life, viability, or basic human rights.
  15. Anyone who isn’t a feminist or who doesn’t believe in equal rights or believes that equality implies that one person getting more than they currently have will give you less. Life isn’t a pizza party, if anything it is a race and some people got to start at the gun and others weren’t able to cross the starting line until the first group hit mile 1 – letting them run with you won’t make the trail smaller, it won’t cause you to trip – it will only give them a fighting chance in hell of keeping up.
  16. Racism
  17. Homophobia
  18. Mysogony – internalized or externalized
  19. Transphobia
  20. Bi-phobia
  21. Disagreeing and in turn hating someone for who they are and the very things they can not change. (10-14 aren’t political items, they aren’t a topic of discussion, they aren’t things to disagree about or to quote scripture against. If someone subscribes to these they are ignorant. Point blank period.)
  22. Religious Philosophies being warped to opress others
  23. People who whole heartedly believe that the Insurection was just, police brutality isn’t a thing, that Donald Trump didn’t lose the election, and that we shouldn’t be supporting Black Lives Matter because “all lives matter”
  24. Slavery, both in the context of the 1800’s and the present day where young women are sent into sex slavery and children are trafficed in the most hanus of ways. It makes me sick how anyone could ever justify OWNING PEOPLE but it’s happened in the past and somehow it continues to happen with different storylines.
  25. Life, the Universe and Everything – if there is one thing that I will never for the life of me understand – it’s everything. I will never have a full working knowlege of how things have come to be or what is going to happen next or if a plannet will live or die. I am not a god. OBVIOUSLY. But I will also never live under the delusion that I am meant to know it all. All I can do is my best to understand others and give people and myself grace and do everything I can to survive this big floating rock for as long as I am given to live on it. I think as an adult I am meant to be confused and conflicted and fluid and learning. I am not meant to know it all at once but I can do my best to understand those around me and try to make the world a better place for those who come after me.

To Summarize

As a working list with little to no context, I understand how this may not fit the usual subject matter of the awkward and adulting brand. But in truth I think a big part of growing up is understanding that the world around us does not subscribe to the same morals as we do. That the things that other people do and believe don’t always make sense – and while in some cases that can be ok – lately, and in a lot of cases it really isn’t. There are going to be people that claim to have “opinions” on things like race and gender and identity and while I have never been someone who will blatantly say “no, you’re wrong” I am sorry but this world has taught me that there are some people that really need to check themselves and be told that they are. We can’t afford to compromise or be polite anymore when it comes to certain issues.

As a country, we are at a crossroads. Not in the sense that some people agree with others and others do not but in the truest sense that the choices we make now and the things we stand for now have the potential to define us and our country for the next 50 years. And I think the reason this has me so speechless is that we, the people, are fighting for a future that might be set off track by the ignorant few – and that, above everything else on this list is something I will never truly understand.

a now spoken rule of 4

this is the story of 4 and all its multiples

When we look at the most formative and transformative periods in our life and more specifically our young adult lives, I have found that most things follow a connective rule of 4’s. And although experience is measured with a minimum of 2 and bad/good things occur in patterns containing 3, and 5 is the best number of years to earn you above an entry-level position. 4, like most even numbers seems to be the rule when it comes to things like balance, and education, and frankly, all the walls of all the boxes we allow ourselves to be put in.

And since patterns are mostly in our heads – and since this one is most definitely mine – let me open the door and invite you in for a bit…

My unspoken rule of 4

4, the number of years it takes to survive high school (barely).

4, the number of years in college (traditionally).

4, the number of wheels on your first car (hopefully).

4 the number of people in what was once considered an atomic family. 2 parents, 2 kids, and the promise of a picket fence. But for all the things that require 4 – why then is it that we more often think of 3 as the magic number? Which brings us to 3 –

3, the number of “adult” jobs I had after college before I found lucky number 4.

3, the number of medications I tried just to manage the depression that those years and those jobs cost me,

3 the number of members in my family since April of 2010 (excluding of course those with 4 legs).

and 3 the number of 4 year periods since my family became a party of 3.

Which brings us to 12. The number of days until the same number in years since my father lost his fight with cancer. (and no I didn’t think of that when I started writing this today.)

Loss is (you guessed it) a 4 letter word

Most often, when we talk about loss, it’s hard to keep our own selves out of it. “I – lost my dad,” “I – lost someone I loved” “I,” “I,” “I,”and after a while all the I’s make it less about the life they lived and more about the life that them being gone “took” from you. So it comes with a sense of entitlement more than what it actually is – grief and loss and a massive change in perception of what life and family should look like.

See perspective is a funny thing because if you take “I” out and replace it with someone else’s pronouns the narrative shifts and you get “He never got to walk me down the isle” “He wasn’t at my graduation” “He didn’t teach me how to drive” but the problem with that is that it wasn’t something he could do or controll. It wasn’t something he could be there for – and while that in itself is another loss – it places blame that, in most cases, that person doesn’t deserve. It sucks, yes – but at least in my case, it’s not his fault and its not my fault and it isn’t about him and it’s not about me. IT JUST IS.

Because in the grand scheme of things – things don’t happen to us, they just happen. and it’s really easy to make it about us and put ourselves at the center of it but that doesn’t mean that’s how it works. There’s no one keeping score, there’s no tit for tat, things just happen and you can spend all the time you want hating it and blaming others but at the end of the day – some things are just out of our controll.

Professionals will say 7

If you ask a professional they will tell you that there are 7 stages of grief. (and I have definitely felt all of them) That you can feel more than one at once or intermittently feel them etc etc etc. But if you google it the first thing you’ll get is a 7 bullet list with a whole bunch of synonyms crammed in. Which is fairly accurate because grief puts you and your emotions all over the damn place BUT since neither number is a multiple of 4, the reason I bring it up is that on a certain level and as the above heading (Loss…) suggests, most days I feel like I’ve done the work to accept things – and that doesn’t mean I 100% have or haven’t but that after 12 years I can confidently say that while it doesn’t hurt less it does hurt different. (Which is sometimes a good thing)

Maybe its not a rule but a suggestion

Ok so maybe the whole “rule of 4” thing was bs. Maybe I was just feeling poetic and feeling like patterns could heal me a bit because frankly, I have been feeling it a lot lately. And maybe in 2 years I will look back on this and pull something crazier out of my hat like “remember when I said ‘rule of 4? well 14 has a 4 in it!” and maybe then we can laugh. Or maybe we can just laugh now.

You know, because it’s kind of funny, every year on here or on instagram or on something I continue to tell some version of this story. It’s always true, it’s always from the heart and its always durring this month. And I used to think that I wrote it just to help some kid going through what I did and I used to think to myself that if it helped even one person that would be enough – but as much as I do still love the idea of helping others, I will never understand their loss or their story as I do my own. So maybe I was never writing for some random kid, and as predictable as it would be to say that I was writing it for me, to make my own sense of it, I can’t say that’s entirely true either. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I wasn’t writing for some kid and I wasn’t writing to this version of me. But maybe I was writing to the kid I was then – the one that needed the most healing to get to where I am today; and maybe that’s progress because now, instead of being the sad, poor little girl that lost her dad at 14 – maybe I’m just me at 26, looking back with a smile and telling her that I will always fight for her (and her ludacris rule of 4)

So in honor of her victory and mine – I give you the now spoken rule of 4

4, the number of years in high school when I thought about giving up but didn’t

4, the number of years that I had with my 3 best friends making memories and learning how to heal.

4, the number of years since I graduated undergrad with my family by my side and my dad on my shoulder.

All leading to 12 –

12 days to 12 years without him.12, years I’ve grown and stumbled and somehow figured a bunch of things out about me and the world and my family.12, the number of years until I was able to realize that I didn’t have to walk away from that part of me to be happy – I just had to set a better pace to walk with it.

Great Expectations

Hello, and Happy Friday Friends! So I know in the past I have talked about the pitfalls of media and how my generation developed a certain propensity toward toxic masculinity in our teens thanks to some rather alluring vampires. And while I still stand by those sentiments – I think there is much to be said about the concept of expectations and love and how it evolves in great and terrible ways as we grow.

“Turn me on like a lightswitch” – Charlie Puth

As a newly minted 26-year-old woman who has spent far too much time putting together her own puzzle pieces in the past few years, there are few things that surprise me when it comes to self-discovery. But something I never expected when I was growing up was how high my expectations for other people were and more so, how much they would continue to grow.

For example, as a teenager I wanted a gentleman (preferably a protective vampire with old and proper values), someone who respected me and my ability to make my own choices, but also took charge because I secretly wanted someone to want to take care of me [in a respectful way]. Then, in my early twenties, that trope took a deeper twist because despite my expectations for respect instilled by the men in my family and in my life, I often found that a nice face and arms could forgive quite a few sins. Which, as you can imagine got me in a bit of trouble from time to time.

Now, luckily, this is most certainly no longer the case. But unluckily, now I find myself wanting someone who reads and can hold a conversation and is passionate and respectful and outspoken and the list could go on or I could just tell you that I am in love with Anthony Bridgerton (a fictional character, from the show Bridgerton.)

Whoever writes my life story has a flair for playing games with my heart

For any of us who gained an addiction to tiktok in the past year or two, a lot of us have developed this aptitude for complaining about the writers in charge of the plot we all have been living. Variations of this sentiment include, pretending to be a deity and pouring water into a bowl saying what characteristics (that we have) the given pour represents – usually this tackles queerness or anxiety or depression but my favorite thought is the one that portrays the idea that in each of our lives we exist under a writers room that determines where our story will go next.

And, of course, all of this rambling is just leading to the fact where I tell you that my writers room has lead me to fall for another person/character/actor that I will never meet and that even if I did and even if I managed to intrigue them – blah blah blah – In short, it’s no surprise that I’d be perfectly infatuated by a stunning gay man playing a straight viscount who perfectly portrays an enemies-to-lovers storyline rather than being interested in someone or anyone for that matter I could actually manage to date. Which leads us to — the people I could actually manage to date?

Fact: Sex Sells – but jeans and oversized hoodies shouldn’t be trifled with

While I can’t speak on behalf of anyone but myself – I can admit that throughout my twenties I have experienced a shift in how I interact with potential love matches and (let’s say) the characteristics they portray.

[I’m going to preface this anecdote with the background knowledge that when I walked into one of my favorite liquor stores yesterday I was wearing maroon supra high-tops, straight leg jeans, and an oversized hoodie and I had just gotten done with a physical at the doctors. Nothing I was wearing matched, I had no makeup on and I was in no condition to be interacting with any humans let alone plausibly attractive men]

For example, yesterday while at the liquor store I was followed around by the clerk who I was told didn’t like a certain brand of beer because it openly supported black lives matter and that brews shouldn’t have a hand in politics, among other things that the “democratic media… (ergo – strike one).

Now in the past, I will admit, that my “gossip girl” and “sex and the city” based education sought out to teach me no more than those penguins in madagascar did (“smile and wave boys, smile and wave”) and part of this is because my impression of myself and how I physically approached relationships gave me the impression that I had fewer options that I would have liked to believe I had. [newsflash, I was playing myself]. And no this story doesn’t end with me saying that I started a fight in the liquor store, I am much too classy for that. (and they’re the only place I know that carries the selection of beers I like…)

So why am I telling you this?

A few reasons. 1. I learned the terrifying fact that apparently, I am attractive to republicans [shudders in democrat] — which is not only problematic but must defy all kinds of laws of physics considering I carry a damn “alphabet mafia” card in my wallet. 2. I needed to write the story down because its 2022 and when you tell someone you can carry your own beers to your car 7 times, they really should have listened by 3. and 3. (to put it plainly) The interaction only solidified my ideas of wanting to be courted like the ladies in Bridgerton [which does not mean I want to live anywhere near the time period of corsets and non-existent women’s rights, but that if “Shondaland” was a town – I’d relocate in about 2 seconds flat] rather than mansplained Sour Beers in an isle that is no thicker than 2ft.

All is fair in love and … tinder?

Look, I have told you all before that I was giving up dating sites – and I am not going back on my promises – in fact, I have had a couple really awesome interactions with people in the past month in real life and real-time (IRL as the kids say) but that doesn’t curb my desire for something more.

Because frankly, all I have learned from apps like Tinder is that maybe my high expectations need to be pushed up a few more notches…I mean come on, what does a girl have to do for an enemies-to-lovers plotline like Anthony Bridgerton and Kate Sharma!?

Truth is, I think the problem with expectations like mine (and constantly wanting everything and anything I cannot have) is that I can sit at my desk and create this a le carte interpretation of what I want my love life to look like, and sure it may be portrayed on a tv show where a bunch of talented writers get to toy with our emotions, but life doesn’t work like that.

I can’t sit here and pick and choose the perfect partner and manifest them into existence any more than I could have willed myself into marrying a Salvatore at 17. And that’s not because I can’t imagine what a good life with someone would look like, but because I haven’t yet experienced what I could possibly have in terms of a life with someone else

So while I can’t sit here and contend with fantasy – I can try to live and work toward a reality that meets me halfway – because in the past month I have met the kind of people who valued my mind first and called me beautiful and RESPECTED my boundaries (which shouldn’t have been as exciting as it was.

Expect the Unexpected

I guess the takeaway from all this is that I am not going to give up on my expectations but I will continue to expect more from people than I have been given in the past. And I am also going to do a better job at meeting my expectations where they realistically live and not allowing some off-topic attitudes to sway them.

So, in other words, I won’t strive for Brigerton’s and settle for vampires, but I might aim for a Bridgeton and maybe meet someone (not a raging republican at a liquor store) living a more simple and properly respectable life. Because maybe I can learn to expect the unexpected, rather than constantly expecting the unrealistic fantasies I constantly see on screen.

The one about the goldfish being fed too much in a small tank

When it comes to all living things, we all pretty much need the same stuff to live and thrive and whatever else… food, water, shelter and love if you’re looking to break the curve. But the funny thing is – not many people seem to want to break the curve.

Lately, and always, conservatives are so quick to get on their soap-box that liberals and their “brain-washing institutions” breed these wild thinkers with crazy ideas where boys can be girls, girls can be boys, and my house plant can identify as a damn apache helicopter [but of course “we can’t say apache because that is racially charged and these snowflakes can’t handle history”. But the problem with this [there’s a lot more but this one is for today] is that “liberal institutions” like college – merely allow young people to see the world outside of the context they were raised on. And often, these points of view lead young people to believe that, “hey, that stuff they were teaching me about black women being able to handle 12x more pain and all the gays are trying to steal and brainwash my kids… maybe that’s not actually accurate.” And for the record… both the “gay agenda” and racially charged inequity in medicine are both majorly misunderstood issues.

Truth is – some of this country is outgrowing the tank it was born into, but others are so used to the tank that they have that they will continue to ignore the fact that they can’t continue to grow without cracking the very core ideals that their entire existence is encapsulated in – and as bad as it sounds, we can only hope that they just grow too big for their tank until they will have no other choice than to move out of their current digs or die holding on to the idea that they are the perfect size for where they live.

Step on a crack break…

Let’s be honest – boiled down, our country is more built on prejudice than it is freedom. Both in the literal sense of the United States exploiting immigrants and slaves and foreign countries to achieve their goals and also in the figurative sense that most, if not all of our systems are inherently broken or excessively corrupt. In short, prejudice is the foundation of our country; and while that’s disgusting to say – until we can accept the cracks in our foundation, our house will only continue to crumble around us. [But – of course- going hand in hand with the fish tank analogy, we choose to focus on what makes us “great” because we also teach a level of systemic denialism that is dumbfounding at best and lethal at worst.]

“Ahhh – she’s having one of those days… – the ones where she uses big words because she hasn’t posted in two weeks.” and to that I say, yes, but also no.

Phobia means “fear of” – but let’s call it what it is

With trans day of visibility yesterday and the supreme court hearings the last few weeks, and the now famously moronic “don’t say gay” bill being passed recently – I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about homophobia, transforbia, and the irony of certain political parties who use violence to achieve their goals while also condemning people who don’t crack down hard enough against crime. And while all these topics are light and fun and a joy to speak of on a friday morning… [smh] lately I have been less fixated on the actions surrounding these topics and more on the words that we address them by.

See my boy Willy Shakes once said, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” And while I would NEVER attempt to overwrite “his” words, I can’t help but think of that concept in opposite terms because HATE, by any other term will still breed most foul and despite the fact that it is 2022 we still label hatred as fear or disapproval and call it a day.

Hate by any other name

Although it may be controversial, I personally don’t believe people are born evil. That said, I also don’t think it takes all that much to turn someone hateful or sour and in cases of the worst of the worst that mankind has to offer I do think we like to let ourselves believe people are born evil because we want to dehumanize them and further separate them from ourselves.

There’s this proverb, I believe it’s origin is from the indigenous people, and it states that we are born with two wolves, one good, one bad, and the one we feed is the one that we become.

So yeah, I don’t think people are born evil, but I do believe that we are all capable of it and that given the proper motivation and disposition anyone, no matter their age can do terrible and horrible things. [and I’d also like to note that people who specifically misinterpret text with the intention of condemning and dehumanizing others, whether it be legislative or spiritual, only broadens the basis of hate and ignorance that often does more bad than good].

Out-growing the tank

I’ve probably said something like this before in a different font and at a different time, but we are at a turning point. And this applies to the country and its individuals because more than ever before we are receiving knowledge and feeding our beliefs [ and our disbeliefs ] and we are outgrowing our tank today and everyday. So as you swim through these times, make sure you pay attention to your growth, but also pay attention to your tank – because at the end of the day, you get to decide the bounds you are held in and the people you are held by. And it may not always be easy, but sometime it’s better to outgrow your beliefs than to let them suffocate you and crack the world around you.

Taxes (blech)

Hello friends, it’s Friday and while I was originally tempted to talk about fugue states – today I want to jump on my soapbox and talk about taxes.

So, as most, if not all of you know, it’s tax season – which is fun for some but miserable for the rest of us. Why? Well, simply put the government undoubtedly knows how much they owe each of us but instead of cutting checks, we are sent to calculate a bunch of numbers and deductions and pray we don’t get them wrong, and if we do, we can get in trouble…

Anyway, this year I am using H&R Block – again – because they don’t charge me extra to do my own math online (this is not an ad). But last week I got a message that they would b charging me if I didn’t get my stuff finished by today.

And before you freak out – no, you didn’t miss a deadline – I’m just lazy and started the forms like a month ago and got so discouraged that I haven’t sent them in yet. And, while this would be the opportune time to tell you all not to procrastinate, the fact that I am using this time to write this blog rather than finish that paperwork, somewhat exempts me from being a rational voice in the conversation. And should I get busy today and not meet the deadline, I suppose next weeks blog can be about doing better with my time management.

Adulting is Hard

Look, in my early twenties I definitely had this grand idealistic mindset that lead me to believe I’d have my life together by 26 or 27. And in my head, if I didn’t reach this goal I was a failure. In my head, by 26-27 I’d have a nice boyfriend, a stable job, properly managed healthcare and mental healthcare, I’d live in a nice apartment or house or – anyway… in short, I was completely and utterly wrong. And while I am usually one to blame myself for this and everything else, what I am realizing is that it’s ok not to know everything by 27. Especially because we are so ill equipped to manage most of the things we have to figure out in our early to late twenties.

Fact: No one taught me how to do my taxes growing up – so how was I supposed to know where to start with it? And don’t get me wrong, over time I did figure it out, but it has been and continues to be a process because being an adult is hard.

And look, while I could twist this piece to talk about the rich and the poor and who gets away with less taxes and how that isn’t fair or how it’s a man’s world because I feel like I always bring up the same topics of men and mortality and yada yada. Honestly, today’s feelings are just cut and dry. Being an adult is dumb and taxes are dumb and half the time the world we live in doesn’t make sense with the way it works.

So… if you’re still here, and you’re like me – equally confused and upset about the process of being an adult and doing your taxes, know that today, you are not alone – and that, at any age, you are allowed to not know what you are doing all the time. Because Adulting is Awkward – and day by day, we’re all just trying to figure it out.

Preach Don’t Practice

Have you ever noticed that the most vocal pro-american, pro-freedom people are also the first to decide how to limit the rights of others? That these “Americans” are the first to decide who is allowed into their mostly all boys club – and that the people they let in, rarely reflect the world as it truly stands.

Have you ever noticed that as one of the largest and most formidable world powers we don’t actually lead anyone toward progress or rank well in matters concerning education or welfare?

Have you ever noticed that people are much quicker to preach, than they are to practice? And if you have noticed these things, do they ever bother you?

Does it both… Yes

It’s no secret that the world has been a mess lately. Covid got demoted to an Endemic, but still affects millions, Putin started a war over in the Ukraine because he was bitter and bored, and the United States of America continues to stand divided when it comes to our most basic promise of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness for ALL american citizens. And while the first two issues get me heated, the third has been really boiling my blood.

Don’t say Gay…

In the past couple weeks multiple states have been criticized for the creation of bills that target children… and yes you heard me right… children.

So to start I am going to give you a bit of an aside to tie a couple things I mentioned above–

In the Ukraine right now there is obviously a war going on with the Russians, but one of the first things that societies do in war time is protect the women and children. They do this, I assume, because their children are more vulnerable, but they are also their future. Their children are the ones to carry on with their beliefs and practices and legacies. So in war we protect them the most.

Similarly, when we look at crime, in the United States and in the world, one of the most dangerous criminals to be incarserated as is a pedofile – because even amongst murderers and thieves, crimes against children are inexcusable and if the court won’t find justice, the criminals will.

As terrible as it is to say, in our world, there are an infinite number of ways to damage or hurt or break someone. In fact, for centuries men have been finding new ways to perfect the art of hurting one another. So much so that some of the only things we, as human beings can agree upon is that certain methods of harm and certain methods of killing are to inexcusable to use, even in war time. But for all the laws forbidding crimes against humanity and all the rules preventing chemical warfare, psychological harm and domestic violence are still issues that continue to run rampant everyday, and for what? When will we stop classifying people as worthy or unworthy of being treated with decency? That’s the question we should be asking.

Anyway… Bills, Bills, Bills

In the past month or so, multiple states have been creating bills that target LGBT children. In one iteration of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill there was even a clause where florida teachers were to inform a students parents that their child was gay within 6 weeks of finding out that they were. Other bills in multiple states forbid trans youth from getting healthcare or playing organized sports, and almost all of the bills in question focus on limiting what students learn in the classroom when it comes to race, gender, and sexuality.

Similarly, these bills will force educators to create a full school year of lesson plans by June so that PARENTS can weigh in and determine what their kids will actually learn, and if these parents don’t agree with the lessons or are made uncomfortable and the teacher still chooses to educate on these topics, then the teacher can be fined a crippling amount.

Excuse my french – but this is bull shi*

Let’s get one thing straight

LGBT concerns aside — Teaching is not a group project, even if education is.

Let me explain.

When it comes to our education as a whole – there are hundreds if not thousands of people that get a hand in what we learn. Friends and family teach us love and how to pursue our passions, they teach us about what is socially acceptable and that maybe you shouldn’t pick your nose…? Bosses teach us best practices at work and relatives teach us about our histories both shared and personal. But when it comes to the classroom – teachers are the only ones in the room who have been trained to educate us on specific things and themes.

Sooo….

Teaching is not a group project. But I am not surprised that it is the one place that people (who have zero experience in the field) think that they can reach in and do the job. Because you definitely wouldn’t try to represent yourself in court, and you certainly wouldn’t want to perform heart surgery on grandma – and in most cases you wouldn’t jump onto the field if your favorite quarterback was having a rough day – but you have no problem telling a teacher what they can and can’t or should and shouldn’t teach.

Practice more Preach Less

Look, at the end of the day I really didn’t even scratch the surface with this topic. But it’s not my job to teach you as much as it is to start the conversation and practice the kind of acceptance I preach. And while I used some pretty strong examples to try and get some thoughts across I hope in this ending I can pull it together well. So here we go.

In a world where so much has been going wrong, in a decade where so many lives have been lost already, and a modern age where we still exist amongst so much hate, the last thing we should be doing is isolating children from their identities and giving teachers one more reason to pack up and pick a new profession. So, if you got anything from what I am saying today it is that we need to stop fighting the wrong kinds of wars. And protecting our kids from the wrong things. We need to stop fighting over territory and the belief that only one type of people deserves respect and we need to accept that our history is an equal a part of our story just as we know our future is – and the more we waste time ignoring where we’ve been and limiting growth and holding ourselves back with false promises the more we are going to prevent our future from rising to what we know it and they can be.

Death, Dickinson, and Daddy Issues

Because I could not stop for Death — he kindly stopped for me — The Carriage held but just Ourselves — And Immortality.

EMILY DICKINSON

So this week I turned 26, and while my mother did not receive a goat or cow or horse in exchange for my hand in marriage, I can fairly say that it’s been a rather productive week – and I believe that productivity is, in part, due to a question I asked myself and a question I would like to ask you all (my fearless readers) now.

At what age did you stop chasing death, only to realize you had to start running from him?

I was 14, His Name is Death, and I could have loved him but I didn’t

I was 14 when I met death, but it wasn’t until I was 18 that I stopped chasing him.

I don’t remember the exact day of course because it wasn’t a stand out performance kind of day. There was no epiphany that lead me to want to stop dying inside and get to living – I guess I just finally started to find moments where living was less of something I had to do for others and turned into something I got to do for me.

That said, if I had to pick a moment it was probably around June of 2014 – I had just graduated high school and I was in Florida (of all places) on the back of a 4 wheeler, clinging to my best friend, drinking bud light, caked in mud and getting bitten by fire ants. And admission of underage drinking aside, I guess it was just a moment where the scales tipped for me. Where living felt lighter and more free than dying.

Anyway, So yeah I was 18, which I suppose is fitting, because most people chasing death are the ones who think that they have the power to escape it – but by the time we become adults with the freedom and aggression and resilience to fight the good fight — well I guess that’s when we all usually and finally realize that we cannot out run death, but we can certainly make it harder for him to keep up.

When it comes to Death, I look to Dickinson

Emily Dickinson was a prolific writer but she was also an outcast for much of her life. Mostly because her vision and her ideals existed far outside the limitations of her time. AKA she was super wacky.

Now, while I certainly cannot compare my writing chops to Emily’s I could argue that my friends and I have a similar strangeness to us. Why? You may ask. Well, because like young Emily Dickinson – Death is a popular topic of conversation between one of my friends and I. And before you call a therapist, please allow me to explain.

For many, death is a frightening topic because we, as humans fear the unknown, I mean look at all the time spent creating narratives to explain what we can’t and know what we may never know.

ANYWAY – I find it strange that in a world that mostly clings to a fear of uncertainty — the thing we fear the most is inherently certain and unarguably unavoidable.

three things cannot long stay hidden, the sun, the moon, and the truth

TEEN WOLF

Truthfully, death doesn’t scare me because I used to chase him before he thought to chase me. I mean, don’t get me wrong, he did scare me at one point, but, in most ways I am more afraid of what happens to the ones I love after I am gone – but in terms of whatever the universe has in store after I am, I’m not all that concerned. Which again, is why I believe that Emily Dickinson’s poems always resonated with me – because like her and like Wordsworth, I realize that there are more paths to immortality than those that have to do with escaping and avoiding death.

His name was Death, hers Dickinson, but in their love story — everyone just blames the Daddy Issues

I think we all reach a certain point in our lives where we become desensitized to loss – and don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t stop the hurt, but it does – slowly – begin to hurt a bit less.

We begin to fear it a bit less. Because Death is not a bold or dangerous man.

Now, personally, I experienced a lot of loss at a young age. And because one of those major losses was my father, people assume I must have “daddy issues” – but I don’t (at least, not in the traditional sense of the term). These days, media plays the game of selling girls with daddy issues as commodities, and while I believe myself to be quite valuable, I am also not for sale.

Yet another reason that I exist in multiple states of inherent contradictions. But that’s besides the point.

And arguably I lost the point like three headings ago so here it is.

In all of our lives there is a time when we realize we have been taunting death – most blame youth for this, but I’d argue the opposite. I think this fear has a trickle down effect. That those closer to death, fixate on it more and thus they hide it from the ones who are younger – which in turn allows them to forget that he exists – and so in those moments we chase him and the ones he takes – because we are too young, by comparison, to be taken too.

When we are kids we believe we can live forever because everyone around us is big and grown and free and alive – so we chase that dream. But when we grow, the ones we love die and because we have always followed them we lose all sense of direction. And then by the time we find it again – we turn around and chase death again. So when did you start running? And who will catch who first?

No Buts

I know it’s ok, but…

I know it’s ok, but I’m not where I thought I’d be by now.

Its psychological you know

When it comes to expectations, we approach them from what we already know and what we see and experience around us. So, we can’t actually picture what our life will look like – yet society and pinterest tricks us into planning it all out and pretending that the best we can do is white weddings and trips to the hamptons with our two and a half beautiful babies. Big houses, and little league and – clearly I grew up very lucky because I know how much privilege comes with those dreams.

And it’s funny because these expectations, they aren’t unlike how we view happiness because subconsciously we all have a level of happiness that we can rise to, before we believe it’s “too good to be true.” So we expect what we already know to happen again, just as it has, and when it doesn’t, it jars us. We grow up expecting what we think we deserve, but at any age we are still learning what we deserve based on our own developing definition of worth so — in short, we can’t fathom what the future looks like, but we honest to goodness believe we can. And then we get disappointed when it doesn’t happen.

Back then I had it all figured out

Or at least… I thought I had it all figured out. Typical youth dilemma, I know.

Anyway…

Lately I’ve been excessively retrospective, telling my friends that “I had a better idea of what 26 would look like when I was 16, than I do now.” Which is somewhat a lie, because back then I didn’t think I’d make it this far but also true in that – when I skipped to this part of my story, being an adult and having freedom etc. it did look a lot less complicated. But back then, so did life.

A decade ago, in 2012, my future looked a lot less complicated and a lot more straight-forward. And despite what you may assume, it wasn’t because I was young. It’s because the world we know now, was just getting started.

[Insert HUH?]

Let me explain…

In 2012, I was 16 years old, just over 3x the age of the first iPhone, which was made in 2007. And this was also the year, most of us thought the world was ending, not because we had real proof, but because at least 4 movies came out saying that it was going to based on a calendar that was thousands of years old. In 2012, the music industry was much harder to get into. Like a lot harder, and it wasn’t because the talent wasn’t there but because the technology needed to make an EP was much less accessible than it is now. In 2012, I was still watching the Disney channel… and all the shows were still irrefutably iconic and High School Musical wasn’t a remake it was still a story being told for the first time. In 2012 I was binging the vampire diaries, and writing the first draft of my novel. I was grieving, and living with it, and praying to a godless sky that I could find answers that I knew wouldn’t come. In 2012 I had no possible idea of what my 20’s would look like beyond fiction and fantasy – but in that way, I suppose a part of me then, knew more than I do now. Because that’s exactly what the concept of our twenties is before we actually get there… it’s fiction, and fantasy, and excessively hormonal teen dramas with all the sex and none of the quarter life crisis that we all inevitably go through.

So yeah, a decade ago I had a more clear picture of what 26 would look like, but 5 days out from my 26th birthday – I have no recollection of what I could have been thinking at 16.

I know it’s ok… but – no buts

I know it’s ok, but yeah, I’m definitely NOT where I thought I’d be by now… and that’s hands down the best gift I could have given myself this year because when I say “I’m not where I thought I’d be” it’s not a feeling of inadequacy, and, surprisingly, it’s not even a feeling that I’ve fallen short of my own expectations, because frankly those would have been with me, buried 6 ft in the ground or scattered across the lake that my dad and his siblings grew up on. Truth is, if I had ended up where I honestly thought I’d be now, at 16… well let’s just say I’m really glad I didn’t. And this life, it’s not a fantasy, and it’s not a show on HBO and I don’t have a super sexy vampire boyfriend [or girlfriend] – but I am figuring it all out, day by day, and on my own time.

So yeah… when I say, “I know it’s ok… that I’m not where I thought I’d be,” I mean it. Not because I never wanted to be somewhere else, not because I never wanted someone else’s life, not because I wish I had become the princess of Genovia living in a castle with Sandra O answering the queens calls [although, that would be pretty damn cool]. I say, “it’s ok” because I’m here. Because I made it. Because I kept picking points on the path to run to and telling myself, “Rachel, if you make it there, you can stop. If you make it there, it’s not giving up… but also, keep going.” And honestly, the more I think about it, I love that I am not where I thought I’d be in my imagination ten years ago, because when things get hard now, and when someone tells me it’ll be ok… I believe them. And the rest? Well, that’s all just part of the ride.

Getting Honest [With my Watch Lists]

Most people take their honesty hour with a side of 4 vodka crans, but today (and since its not mid day) we’re gonna do this one with water.

Dear Netflix,

I am sorry for my false promises. Sorry that I have lead you to believe that I could consume the amount of content I have saved – I realize now, that I could never maintain the rouse I have created for myself. I am sorry. Please forgive me. Or don’t… Look. to be honest, I’ve never said that follow through was a strong suit. I mean look at this blog… on the year I had barely anything to keep me from writing I avoided it like the plague. Back then I just thought I had nothing to talk about – or, at least, nothing I felt really comfortable sharing. ANYWAY, I am getting way off track so — reeling it in. I’m sorry – I probably won’t do better, but who knows… maybe this is the year I grab my watch list by the … titles? And finally tackle some of the shows that have been building up dust. [but like probably not…]

Some could call it a gateway drug… but… that’s definitely too dramatic for this context…

It all starts with a peak into the rabbit hole

Look, you don’t need to be ashamed, we’ve all done it. We’ve all been scrolling through social media or on netflix and clicked the little (+) or the “save for later” bookmark – and then never revisited that page ever again. Hell, I mean, are you actually alive if you didn’t once have an entire pinterest board dedicated to fancy recipes that you NEVER actually made. [or maybe that’s just me….?]

Point is, it’s easy to get drawn in by the exciting trailers and the rave reviews, but sometimes time and follow through are just hard set realities that we all have to deal with… and if no one else has told you lately. It’s ok, I accept you.

Talk about toxic

I often joke that my longest relationship is with Netflix, which is fitting because as someone who was typically afraid of relationships – it would make sense that the thing I was in bed with, was also in bed with most of America (and beyond). Now, despite our differences and daliences (I can’t blame netflix, I understand that it is their job and we both knew that they wouldn’t and even couldn’t always meet all of my streaming needs. So, while unspoken, we both understand that I have had to step away from our relationship to pursue others with other services like Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Apple Tv, and even HBO… but upon recent reflection, I suppose my major discretion is not how I juggle these platforms, but rather the false promises I have made to each of them. False promises, in the form of… my watch lists.

Jokes aside

No, but on a serious note, let’s talk about this, because I know I cannot actually be the only one that has dozens of titles in their watch list that they added in the moment, but later realized that they would never get to it (or even that they didn’t want to). And as I get older it’s less about having all the time in the world to explore these things and more about developing the ideas of what I actually want to explore and what I’m trying to convince myself that I want to explore.

And this would be fine if I didn’t also do this with shopping carts on websites because while my mother thinks that I have a lot of packages coming, there is a whole other world of impulses I have proudly (or maybe shamefully) talked myself out of. But that is an aside that will have to be dug into on another day.

I’m not indecisive, nor loyal, I just don’t want to have to click through everything to remove them from my list. (so, basically, I’m just lazy)

Anyway, so look, I get it. People change. We grow, and for some of us – especially me – and my ADHD, I grow and I change but I also often struggle with object permanence (aka. if I don’t see it, it doesn’t always exist,) so, if I am being honest, this issue is usually out of sight and out of mind. I mean, these days our streaming services cater the experience to us and our habits, so half the time I don’t even think to look at my list to figure out what to watch next – it just shows me something fun, hot shiny, or new and whoop! off we go…

Maybe it’s just me

When it comes to lists, and old scraps of paper, and yes, even my streaming services. Those histories can tell us a lot about where we’ve been. Looking back can help us remember those times we needed someone, the times we didn’t, it shows date nights and nights in and even times when we thought we could stay up all night — but definitely shouldn’t have.

And sometimes, like last night, I spent 30 minutes (probably less) adding old disney titles to my disney watch list because seeing them again gave me a boost of nostalgia. So sometimes things are there not to actually be seen, but to just trigger old happy memories. Which is crazy and probably another cornerstone sign of a mentally ill person but hey, if “the fox and the hound” makes me smile – who is to say I shouldn’t embrace that?

And sure – it’s trivial but it also speaks to something bigger. Like, universally bigger. It speaks to the fact that there are few types of people in this world, the least of which may or may not contain – people who have watched everything they’ve saved, and those who really have not. And I for one am someone who most definitely has not and most likely will not. But at least that has taught me something about how my brain works and hopefully it’ll continue to teach me that time spent with ourselves and with others is and always has been about choices. That it is and always will be a question of, will this add to my life, or could this time be better spent somewhere else – and for learning that, I place no apologies… but on a completely unrelated note… I fully intend to do some decluttering this weekend, you know, just because I can.

“The Greatest in the World”

“Last name greatest, first name ever…” but when it comes to living in this country, we rarely, if ever, used to ask – but at what cost?

Unpopular opinion: the United States isn’t the greatest country in the world, nor do we, as citizens have the most freedoms of all the countries in the world. So unless you go by the United States definition of “Great,” we aren’t the “Greatest” we’re just the most powerful, and the most likely to defend our ego and our position as the most powerful, at any cost. That said, why am I coming at my country’s throat today? Easy, because this week another state, South Dakota, has passed a bill banning transgender athletes from participating in school sports. But I’m not upset for the reason most people would assume.

“Let the kids play”

So when it comes to the transgender athletes in sports I have no stake in the game. As a cis gender female myself, I obviously cannot speak on behalf of the trans experience… but neither can cis male legislature! And yet they continue to do so. And personally, I think that’s wrong.

Look, as someone who grew up playing sports, someone who lost a incredibly large part of her identity when she walked away and aged out of sports, and someone who genuinely believes and supports the ideals only taught and learned in organized sports – I can completely understand why lawmakers and coaches and athletes want to continue to compete on a level playing field. But the problem they are addressing isn’t genetic advantage, the problem isn’t what genitalia the participant has. It’s bigotry. And it’s transphobia and they are simply hiding behind false platitudes and the fact that trans people aren’t a represented and they aren’t a part of the conversation.

So Rachel, are you saying you think men should be able to play women’s sports? No. But I’d also argue that most male lax players (for example) wouldn’t want to play women’s lax because it’s a much slower and very different game.

But trans women are… They’re women. So they aren’t men playing women’s sports, they’re women playing women’s sports.

But don’t they have different bone structure that would give them a clear advantage? Maybe? I mean there are women in different countries born with different builds that give them a clear, genetic, advantage – so the issue wouldn’t be bone structure or body type it would be estrogen/testosterone levels, and sports test for that when athletes reach a certain level. I mean there are even cases where women who had too much testosterone were not allowed to compete because of it. Truth is, there are exceptions to every rule. So if your best argument is the age old – men are stronger, faster, etc. than women… then I’d just suggest you open a book, because even if the fastest woman in the world is slower than the fastest man, odds are she is still stronger and faster than quite a few men.

Ok… but what about women who want to play mens sports? If that sport isn’t accessible to them, yes. That’s what title 9 is for. But if you meant to ask, can trans men play mens sports? Yes, let the men who train and qualify for that level of play, play the mens league sports.

So this is just some feminist bs? Not at all. It’s debunking the idea that men and women are trying to cross boundaries when it comes to playing sports, because all this legislation says is that they don’t accept trans men and women are men and women and thus it’s not about sports it’s about transphobia. And at the end of the day it’s not about what we as cis people believe or don’t believe. It’s about respect – and not just for our fellow man. But for the game as well.

Show your work

I am going to say this once and I’m going to say this loud. If you don’t understand someone’s experience, and you haven’t made every attempt to within the bounds of your existence to walk a mile in their shoes — You have no right whatsoever to make decisions on their behalf.

There’s no grand plot to indoctrinate your kids to the queer or trans “agenda” there’s no law that says – if we give them more, we get less. Or if “they” compete, we will lose. And from my perspective, people don’t transition so they can get a leg up, they don’t transition to be olympians – they do it to finally and for the first time in their lives have the world see them in a way they have always seen themselves. And I’m sorry if anyone disagrees with that — but frankly, it’s not about YOU.

RESPECT – the basics

If you don’t have a uterus, you can’t understand the cost of carrying or birthing a child let alone the decision whether or not to terminate.

If you are not trans and have never spoken to someone who is, how can you begin to understand what decisions they might want to make, let lone now incredibly difficult that journey toward becoming their true selves actually was.

Are you religious? Don’t apply your theological interpretations to someone who follows a different faith. And if you don’t believe in God – don’t invalidate someone who does.

Are you straight? Then why do you spend so much time thinking about how wrong it is that someone might be gay, and why assume that their love for another person is different than yours? Or that your faith will condemn them, when they may believe in something entirely different. Stop looking at love from a purely sexual lens because news flash. There’s more to relationships than who and how frequently you sleep with someone. And stop pushing your beliefs at someone who has developed their own.

Understanding nuances

Look, I know that this is a polarizing topic. I know that my opinions are probably unpopular ones. But I’m not being unreasonable by wishing for a world that allows people to freely represent themselves as a genuine part of the conversation.

I’d love to believe that everyone could live and coexist with one another, I’d love to believe that this country wasn’t built on the blood of immigrants and the bones of natives AS WELL AS the backs of people who fought for our freedoms in various capacities. I’d love to believe that we could all simply respect each other and that people could believe in all people being created equal. But I know that’s not true. So I can’t be surprised that this is happening. And why be mad when it’s not happening to me? Well that much is simple. It’s not about me – it’s about keeping those whom it does concern out of the conversation because frankly, no one should decide who gets to be heard and who gets silenced. And if the United States was actually the greatest country in the world. Maybe we’d do a better job at acting like it.

Morals of a story

Growing up a writer, but not a reader, I have always had a disjointed view of stories and the vocabulary that describes them. For me, people weren’t broken into protagonist and antagonist [people are too layered for that] and sentences were almost always improperly punctuated, not for lack of knowing how to but because my cadence and the way my brain flowed, never followed traditional rules. In my head sentences don’t start and stop. They just move. Fast.

So I guess, [to be a narcissistic stereotypical writer for a second] In more ways that one, my stories were never meant to be read off a page, but rather heard and felt and seen. But maybe that’s why I often find myself stuck. Maybe that’s why the main character in my stories was was never really me, but my braver and more self assured contemporary.

My contemporaries and me

When it came to storytelling I was always good at building the scene, but when it came to characters, I wasn’t the best at delving deeper than skin deep. Characters always followed the typical tropes of popular shows and movies. The conflicted jock, the boy broken, the promiscuous girl who wanted more, the nice ones, the mean ones, and all the ones that were always understood more easily than I felt I was.

I fancied myself an enigma, and it took years to figure out that’s something I never was.

Which, I guess, is why I found it oddly relatable when I recently heard an interview where Halsey talks about being young and thinking we’re the main character of everyone’s story.

“You are not the main character”

But I guess, back then, when it came to my stories on paper, I thought I was.

Just Rachel

It’s wild to me, the way life works. The way we are raised to create a sense of self, but also a self that fits into the mold of others. We are meant to be unique, but often only within the bounds of what others find palatable.

And while society is slowly growing away from this, for most of us, it is still very much an issue of who am I, (vs) who can I be? In certain spaces.

“It’s a hard concept to understand in your twenties…”

It’s sometimes strange to think that things don’t happen to us. But things do happen in proximity of us and because of us; and that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. And yet all the while it’s still up to us to take accountability for the things we do and accept that we can’t change the things that are beyond us.

“the most important and difficult lessons to learn in your twenties, you are not the main character of everyone else’s story.” She said. “You’re the main character of your story. But not everyone else’s.”

Halsey

And as someone in my twenties, obviously this resonated with me, I mean, duh, I’m writing a whole blog around it. But also, as a human being of any age, I think this is something all of us need to hear sometimes. Because we all find ourselves a bit too self important sometimes. And we all have things that we refuse to change.

The funny thing is that for most of my life I often haven’t felt like the main character — of my story or anyone else’s. And on the times when I should have or was meant to, I really didn’t want any part of it. But then again, maybe that’s a tell tale sign that we are because sure, I’ve been selfish, I’ve made things about me. I’ve taken anecdotes too far because I think something I say could help and beyond that I’ve even taken something personally when it really wasn’t about me.

I’ve been the girl that thinks she’s important.

But I’ve also been the girl that was shown she wasn’t. (And at the time I accepted it)

Or at least I’ve wanted to be important. And who hasn’t? Ur maybe the difference between a sense of main character syndrome and just wanting people to know you exist is that you need to learn to matter to you, so you don’t feel the pressure to matter for everyone else – because you won’t and you can’t always be that for them.

Moral of this story

Truth is, I don’t really feel like a typical 20 something and I certainly don’t feel like main character. And more than that I stopped pretending to be a hero in my stories a long time ago. So I guess at the end of the day I don’t want to be the main character right now, and I don’t really wanna be the hero either – but I’d love to explore being the villain for a little while at some point…. But I feel like that’s more of a story for next week.

Knowing, Not Knowing, and things to Unlearn

Before we get started here’s your fair warming that this piece might be part one of a saga. Self awareness is hard so, should you choose to stay, bare with me.

Subconsciously, we’re all geniuses. Consciously…. Not so much

Alright I want you to think about your kidney, think about where it is in your body. Think about what it does and all the crap it has to deal with. Now, most of us have no conscious clue of where our kidneys are – but in order for our body to work, our brain has to subconsciously know where each vein and muscle and piece of tissue is. In other words our brain knows, because our brain has to keep everything working, but if our brain knows, why don’t we? If our brain knows, and we don’t, then what else are we lying to ourselves about? How much do we know, not know, and need to unlearn?

Sight, truth, and knowing

Now, think about your nose. How much of it can you see if you really try and think? Not much. But that’s a trick. Supposedly, we can see all of it, but our brain blocks it out and tricks us, because we can’t handle it. And so this got me thinking. How much of me, the way I think, the way I act, the way I scrape my teeth with my fork when I bite into food, how much of this is instinct? How much is conscious choice? And how much of who we are, is simply attributed to our “factory settings?”

Nature vs. Nurture

Now, I know what you’re thinking. That factory settings are the same as what we’re programmed with and how things change over time. And to a mild extent you’re night. But when I talk about factory settings I’m more looking at life through the scope of conscious decision making and how most of us gaslight the hell out of ourselves to negotiate what is true and what we can’t handle if that truth was true.

So as an example – is straight the base line natural setting of sexuality? Or is straightness the factory setting that we adhere to even though sexuality about is meant to be about what feels good and society is just to blame because it determined that keeping people in boxes is more digestible. In other words, there’s nature, there’s nurture, then theirs society. And while not all of us choose to 100% get in boxes and conform – some of us have to work to understand and even unlearn the factory settings that were molded into believing.

Learning and leaning away from “Factory settings”

The idea that we exist similar to that of an IPhone IOS update might strike you as odd, but taken in the context of internalized misogyny and internalized homophobia, in insecurities and the seemingly continental United States ideal that all of Africa is huts and hungry people (which it’s absolutely not) – it isn’t insane to assume that many of us have been programmed via nature and nurture alike to condemn ideals and hold tight to others. It’s no surprise that after being gaslit in our most formidable years that we continue to believe the voices that hurt and condemned us. But it is surprising how few of us dive in and do the work needed to reset and reboot ourselves because, frankly, It’s not insane to, at a certain point, question… am I doing this for me, or am I doing this to get by. Do I actually like x,y, or z or was I trained to respond to these things in these ways. And while the obvious examples are the big ideals in prejudice, like race and sexuality it’s also as simple as asking the kid in class who misbehaves, “what did you do this time” rather than, “why? Why did you do this?” It’s as simple as changing the narrative from – I endured this, so you can survive it too – to – I survived this so you wouldn’t have to… and luckily I think some aspects of our world are starting to warm to that idea, but we are definitely still very far off from making it common practice.

My point? Assumptions are dangerous. Bias is dangerous. Prejudice is and can be deadly. But there’s nothing more dangerous than settling into assumptions you’ve made about yourself because yes we all create a narrative of who we are, but we also allow others to flip the script and write it for us too and the fact of the matter is, they don’t know us like we do… then again sometimes we also allow ourselves to revert to “factory settings” and in the end, that doesn’t really benefit anyone either.

The reboot

So, like I said earlier – sometimes I wish my brain had a check engine light. One that could tell me when I need servicing, when I’m out of gas, when I need an oil change or my tires rotated. (None of this is sexual innuendo so.. mind and gutter need to detach.)

Look sometimes I wish I had someone or something in my brain that could check me and tell me how much of my personality has been updated or upgraded and what is still just adhering to the factory settings. And yes I could go to therapy… but realistically and as a millennial, that’s more expensive then avo toast and frankly it’s not immediately gratifying enough.

Sometimes I just want to see my nose

Look, most of us have heard the forest through the trees argument. And all of us, knowingly or not have fallen into habits of believing what’s easy over what is right and believing what makes us fit in over what could make us truly happy. (And if you don’t believe me just find any tiktok lesbian because a lot of women figured a lot of things out in the past year and most of them aren’t in their early years.) being able to identify what you know, what you don’t know and what you need to unlearn ISNT EASY – and it’s also not concise or succinct, so I apologize.

I guess what I’m trying to say, in my own just Rachel way, is that I’m in this process of working with my settings. I’m trying to be more intentional with my actions in relationships and in friendships and in the work I do here and at the place who pays my bills. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m trying to do the work and trust me it sucks, but it’s also really great to feel like I’m developing the kind of relationship where I can actually trust myself.

So I guess to wrap it up, for now, I’ll just say that my advice is to ask more questions. Especially when you don’t think you’ll like the answer. Because it’s about time you make conscious decisions in terms of what you want for yourself and not just what others want for you. I guess it ties in to that stuff I said about changing you to please them.

And honestly, at the end of the day, it’s just about working on what you want and resetting your expectations – because sometimes it’s not worth lying to yourself – and it’s never worth it to gaslight yourself just because it’s something you were conditioned to do.