Hanging In There

Hello!

I’m pleased to report that not only has Clark stopped sulking about his situation, but is actively searching for alternatives, including trying to talk his money savvy father into letting him take out a small loan (because even with the extra few thousand dollar load per year, Clark is getting an incredible deal with his education here). So he might be able to stay! Although I know not to get my hopes up too much, I’m still overjoyed, hopeful, and feeling a lot less stressed about everything, after having a test and major presentation yesterday. I’m glad that I managed to avoid an anxiety attack in the midst of the chaos this week. So life is looking up.

Now onto the next obstacle- Clark’s mother is going to be in town this weekend! It’s the first time I’ll meet her in person, and I hope she likes me. I always speak defiantly of his parents, and promise myself I’ll stick up for my beliefs, until I come face to face with them, and then I compromise a bit. It isn’t a bad thing, I’m glad that I feel the need to soften my extreme liberalism in the presence of his parents, I just don’t want to betray my dignity or causes either. I haven’t been pressed on anything, but when I am, I pray I will have the courage to stand my ground, even against my future in-laws. Human rights are not to be taken lightly, and I know it would take a while to forgive myself if I let them dictate my actions. I hope I can find a happy medium where I can politely state my beliefs and be accepted anyway.

I hope everyone is having a great Tuesday! Rachel

Rapid Changes

I forgot how much I hate bombshell changes. Having to adjust my plans to fit life frustrates me greatly. There’s been too much change in the last few days and I’m struggling to cope.

Clark got some bad news from his father, and long story short, Clark doesn’t have enough money to swing going to our current college. As of right now, he is planning to do community college next year to improve his grades and get his feet back under him, and then finish his degree in Math Education at a different college. They are both nearby, thank God, but that doesn’t take the shock away from such a drastic change. When I heard over lunch, I was so surprised I shed a few tears without realizing it. This throws off my plans that I laid down, naively and in good faith that Clark would remain here, with me, and I find it hard to re-evaluate my plans and how this is going to work. It’s hard to think about right now, but I know we will make it work, one way or another.

That, combined with yesterday’s friend fiasco, Clark’s birthday on Friday, Clark getting a job on Thursday, my sister’s birthday on Wednesday, and Clark’s mother coming to visit next week, makes me feel completely overwhelmed. There’s a knot of anxiety at the pit of my stomach that won’t go away, and I know it’s because my life has been shifting so quickly that I feel panicked and out of control. These are the times where I wish I had some sort of anxiety medication, because I don’t want to risk an anxiety attack.

It’s hard for me to focus on my schoolwork, despite the fact that I have a test and a large project due tomorrow. It’s all I can do to keep calm and sit here, self medicating with Oreos. I wonder what’s going to come up next.

Life is Too Damn Short: Letting Go of Lukewarm Friends

Today, I had a friend breakup.

It had been on the horizon for some time, exacerbated by lack of communication and flawed character traits, from both myself and her. It didn’t hurt like I thought it would, I felt more relief because this ex friend of mine hadn’t done me right. And I let her.

I must take responsibility and shoulder part of the blame because I never spoke up about my feelings when uncomfortable situations occurred. I complained to Clark and some of my closer friends when my ex friend would plan something with me, and then ditch me without so much as a sincere apology. I made excuses for her when she basically took something of mine, and ‘forgot’ to pay for it (until now, nd that’s only because my sister spoke up about my feelings of frustration and resentment). I brushed off her half truths about money being tight despite knowing that she has champagne taste. I listened patiently when she had relationship struggles, and never gave her real advice because, honestly, she intimidates me.

I was as much to blame for this as she was. And for that, I owe myself an apology. I should have cut off the friendship when it became clear that I was being taken advantage of, and that this girl had no respect for me, our friendship, or my time and money. I tried to justify her behavior to myself despite the fact that I knew it was wrong, and I never spoke up for myself until today, and even then, it was after prompting from my sister. And I have to say, it feels like a weight from my shoulders. I should have done this ages ago. I held back because I felt the need to try to be kind to her despite her character flaws that made her a bad friend to me. I abstained for the rest of our friend group, but I neglected myself in the process. This will not happen again. I don’t care if it makes parties awkward, or makes waves- I deserve to have loyal friends who I know will not try to manipulate me, guilt trip me or take advantage of me.

I am making a promise to myself to not let anyone take advantage of my compassionate nature again. I spend so much time speaking up for other’s rights and advocating for decency that I forgot that I deserve the same respect from my friends and those that I surround myself with. I failed to note how much time and energy I was spending over worrying about this stupid, fruitless friendship when I should have been spending quality time with my other great friends and my family. And now I’m kicking myself for feeding my anxiety disorder with this girl’s antics.

Don’t make the same mistake. Friendship is a two way street, so invest in people that will invest in you. Spend your time with the people who love you, not people who want something from you- emotional gratification, money, favors, whatever it is- if they have an angle, leave them in the dust. Life is too damn short for me to waste my precious time with insincere people, and I understand this now.

I don’t like to call it quits on anything, because I’m stubborn, but I can’t save her or fix her, and I was drowning myself in the process. I refuse to be a doormat in my own life anymore. I hope she has a great life, because I know mine will be amazing, especially that now I don’t have to walk on eggshells.

Chalk Another Victim Up to Society

This evening, I was on an LGBT chat. There was a young man on there, a female to male transgender person. He asked me if I liked trans guys, and I answered honestly and told him I wouldn’t mind because it matters more about what is in his heart and head than the fact that he is transgender.

He told me he worried that he would be forever alone, because no one around him seemed to like transgender guys. I asked how old he was, expecting an angsty teen. The answer he gave me shocked me.

He was 12. Just 12 years old, and already worried about lacking a partner. I quickly told him that yes, there were girls out there who would accept him and love him for who he is, but he should be focusing on his friends and his schoolwork because 12 is too young to be worried sick over one’s love life.

I am saddened by this in many ways. Society has already scared this poor child into thinking that just because he is different, he won’t ever find anyone to share his life with him. That is horrifying in itself, with devastating consequences for any LGBT people, along with any people with disabilities or minorities.

The next thought that I had was that society is persuading our young people- our children, really- into behaving like irresponsible adults from TV. These actors don’t have negative repercussions for their actions, and younger relationships are glorified, causing children to start becoming interested in sex and love much younger than they normally would. I doubt this young man I was speaking to had even gone through puberty yet. There is no way that someone so young can maintain a healthy relationship at that age- I know I wasn’t mature enough for it at 12, and every single other 12 year I know isn’t ready for a relationship like that. Why do they ‘date’ so young, then? This is society’s negative influence on our youth. More and more students are experimenting with sex in high school or even earlier, middle school. Top that off with the crappy sex ed the US has (mostly abstinence based), you get spreading of STI’s and an explosion of teen pregnancy. Some of these young people who are having babies are barely out of their own childhood.

Society is doing these kids wrong. Society does nearly all minorities wrong, and now the younger generations? They are confused enough with hormones and understanding social etiquette and finding themselves- but you have to throw this into the mix? No wonder we have LGBT people who turn to suicide. No wonder we have teen mothers galore. No wonder our police think it’s okay to shoot unarmed citizens due to their skin color.

Something has to change. Something has to break soon, and it won’t be us. It starts with me reassuring a scared young boy, and reassuring another scared child, and educating children on tolerance, sex education, and compassion for fellow human beings. Others will follow my lead, and we will change the world into a place that is kinder and more inclusive.

But for now, I’ll reassure this child. I’ll tell him he will be loved, and he is already. I’ll tell him to better himself and be patient. I’ll tell him that he is valued for who he is. And by doing that, we win this battle and push antiquated notions back a step. Those who have not listened before will open their hearts just a little.

And I swear I will get in. I will make everyone understand the importance of loving each other. I will work tirelessly until I am no longer afraid and outraged for children- my children and yours. And I understand both sides.

I understand the underdog. The different one. I was that child at one point, and I wish someone had picked me up and told me that someone valued me. I am still the different one, but now I have a chip on my shoulder that refuses to let this happen again.

I may not be able to save them all, but if I can save just one, if I can make this one child feel good about himself and look forward to a bright future, my second chance at life won’t ever have been in vain.

How to Deal With Boyfriend’s Uber Conservative Parents???

Hello guys! Before you read, this is me asking for a bit of advice. From everyone else out there on the blogosphere.

My boyfriend, Clark, is having a “talk” with his super conservative dad in a few days. It could be about his financial situation, or it could be about little old me. I don’t post very often on my facebook, but when I do, it’s mostly articles about LGBTQ rights and feminist causes that I like. I posted a few weeks ago about the fact that my university has voted to update their policies regarding LGBTQ professors. (Links to more information provided here and here.)

Clark’s parents are insanely Christian and very conservative. The type of people that don’t really tolerate my sort of antics. I haven’t come out as bisexual fully, and am careful about who I reveal my sexuality to, so I hope they haven’t found out- because they are the type of people who would make their son break up with a girl because they ‘don’t think she is a good influence’. Which they have done before to Clark. Granted, it was when he and the girl were in middle school, but I’m scared that they will try to do it again. Although I keep my facebook toned down compared to my blog (because I’m friends with his family, and mine), I do post articles and comments on activism for minorities, LGBTQ and women’s rights. It terrifies me to think that Clark’s parents could try to separate us for this reason!

If they found out I was bisexual, I guarantee they would give Clark an ultimatum- break up with me or else. And Clark would say no, and essentially lose his funding for university as well as his family’s support. If they found out Clark and I are sexually active, I’m sure they would at least insist that he break up with me, if not completely disown him. I already told him that he will be finishing college, and loans are not a bad way to go, but things would be easier this way. (It’s kind of a shock to me that Clark didn’t turn out the way his parents are, but he is shockingly and refreshingly liberal compared to them.) If they found out I am Clark’s pet- dear Lord. They might just maim me for life for corrupting their son.

Not to mention, I want them to like me. Despite being essentially forced to hide certain aspects of myself from them. It’s been a year and a half, and I want to get along with the love of my life’s family. But if they challenge me on this, or call me unnatural, I will have no choice but to give them a thorough tongue lashing. They can be judgmental, and I will take it on myself to remind them that it isn’t their place to judge. I hope it doesn’t come to that, though, because if I let loose my little Rosie the Riveter activist inside of me, their perception of me will be forever altered (and rather badly, in their minds).

I would love some advice. Or some comfort. This is giving me some anxiety, and the pit in my stomach is beginning to form. I just kind of feel threatened by this, and sort of offended- I should not have to defend my own actions and words to people who don’t know me well. But I don’t want to jump to conclusions: I just hope I am not the main topic during the talk.

Help me out, please. Rachel

The Best Definitions from Ambrose Bierce’s ‘Devil’s Dictionary’

Interesting Literature

The funniest and wittiest quotes from Ambrose Bierce’s comic masterpiece, The Devil’s Dictionary

We’ve read the whole of Ambrose Bierce’s wonderful The Devil’s Dictionary and, below, have distilled the book into 25 of the very best entries in this classic lexicon. The only stipulation we set ourselves was that the quotes we selected had to be short and pithy – preferably no longer than one sentence – to ensure maximum quotability. We hope you enjoy our selection.

Admiration,n. Our polite recognition of another’s resemblance to ourselves.

Barometer,n. An ingenious instrument which indicates what kind of weather we are having.

Clairvoyant,n. A person, commonly a woman, who has the power of seeing that which is invisible to her patron – namely, that he is a blockhead.

Comfort,n. A state of mind produced by contemplation of a neighbor’s uneasiness.

Consult, v. To seek another’s approval of a…

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