write+read

HOW TO BE A WOMAN!

Hey, so, I’m not one to berate other women, but when you’re putting the feminist cause back, like, 50 years, I’m gonna need ya to pipe down.

So when I found this intensely infuriating Thought Catalog entry titled “50 Ways to Be a Woman,” I wanted to scream “HAVE A VAGINA?!?! OR NOT?! IT DOESN’T REALLY MATTER BECAUSE IF YOU IDENTIFY AS A WOMAN, YOU ARE ONE!!!!!!!!!”

But instead, I thought I should give public, livid, and perhaps humorous retaliations to all 50 pieces of advice on how to be a rEAl WomAn!*~ You will actually have to read the prior-mentioned demeaning piece of journalism to understand my responses, but if you don’t have the time, that’s cool.

1. Practice good personal grooming habits because we are all humans with noses, and it’s kinda nice to not make other humans vomit because you smell like toe cheese. Also, “take care of your body ’cause you only get one” is probably the best reason to wear sunscreen and bathe.

2. Dress however the shit you want.

3. Fashion staples are a basic thing in life if you care about style… but not having them doesn’t make you less of a woman or a man or an alien with 25 purple heads.

4. Say thank you all the time because that’s how the world works. You don’t have to go through some elaborate song-and-dance to do so. Do whatever shows appreciation for the person at hand.

5. Don’t sit on your ass and let shit happen that sucks.

6. Don’t spend your money like a child whose just won the lottery would.

7. Don’t talk about things you don’t know about aka get an education, and don’t let anyone tell you one type of education is less than another.

8. Hold your ground when assfaces try to sway you from yourself.

9. For some reason, there’s more about education here. I think the best way to be educated is to be in-the-know about what’s offensive as fuck to women of all types if you’re going to write an article about them.

10. Apparently women can’t handle their liquor so they should either be cool drinkers or non-drinkers. NO MIDDLE-GROUND HERE, LADIES. WE’RE EITHER LUSHES OR WE’RE SAINTS!!!! Jk, drink what you want, how you want as long as you’re being healthy and if you need help, ask for it.

11. High heels make you sexy so walk in them or something. Or don’t or something. How about you wear whatever you want to wear, okay girl? I don’t care if you can’t walk in them. Whoever does is a dick.

12. ALERT, ALERT: THE ONLY WAY FOR A MAN TO TREAT YOU LIKE A HUMAN SHOULD TREAT A HUMAN IS TO ACT LADYLIKE! …… except that if a human doesn’t treat you like a human, that’s on them, not you. And even though I am far from always being on my June Cleaver, my boyfriend is still doing things like opening the doors for me and respecting me and treating me to dinner, soooo… theory of gentleman-hood disproven, Catilin?

13. Yeah, you should keep your business to yourself, especially if you have weird opinions about what “being a woman” is. You’ll have a happier life that way. But what does that have to do with being a “real” woman? NOTHING, BABY; NOTHING.

14. No, you won’t agree with everyone. Yes, you should avoid conflict. But when someone is an asshole, spreading their gospel like it’s fact, you should definitely say something to them. Or, if you don’t know them, you should write a blog to say “HEY CAITLIN, I HAVE AN ISSUE WITH YOUR PATRIARCHAL-INDOCTRINATED VIEW OF WHAT WOMANHOOD IS!” Don’t be a doormat just to look “lady-like.”

15. Share whatever the hell you want on social media. You’re smart enough to figure out what will fly and what won’t with the people in your circle. Some of us don’t really care if it flies or not; that’s no mark of femininity.

16. Yeah, ask for help…. from anyone, of any sex, gender, non-gender, race, orientation, religion, etc. That’s, uh, how humans survive?

17. Answer your phone how you want. Answer your phone at work differently. If you hate the phone, don’t answer it. Glad we got that one handled.

18. Be kind to humans because the struggle is real. All humans. Of all creeds. Not just women.

19. Find faith or don’t, brah, just don’t push it in anyone’s face.

20. HAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAAHAHAHA. Ah, sorry. This is the one I found funniest. It was about not confining yourself to gender stereotypes but not “defying them for sport.” I dunno about you, but this is extremely offensive, and I refuse to acknowledge it as a thing that a human would actually say.

21. Don’t be a sore loser, like when you write an article that is an epic fail.

22. Be who you want to be so you find yourself fun. Fuck anyone who thinks you’re uninteresting; your life is about YOU.

23. BE THE HERO THAT GOTHAM DESERVES! Wait, what? I got confused.

24. This is another thing about not being a doormat. I’m reiterating it because it’s good to not be a doormat, especially if you’re being told you’re not a “real woman” because you don’t fit some arbitrary, bullshit list of criteria.

25. Leave your legs wide open. Cross them so tight you can’t uncross them. Shape them into a pretzel. Lift them above your head. Do whatever you want with your own god damn legs.

26. Another repeat–this is the third pair–about not lowering your standards. You shouldn’t, but remember: to be a woman, there are no standards!

27. Do what you love. Don’t waste your life doing stuff you hate.

28. Follow the rules or don’t, just don’t hurt other people.

29. Oh. My. God. DON’T talk about Becky’s butt. That’s mean body-shaming and no one likes you. But if you do, that doesn’t mean you’re suddenly a bearded dragon instead of a female.

30. Don’t let your sig other define you, but also don’t assume that everyone is straight and has a “boyfriend” or “husband.” Open your eyes to the beautiful spectrum of people in this world who love each other.

31. I don’t think a woman has gone to college actively seeking a mate and a mate only in a solid number of decades, so for this one I will say: don’t repeat old adages (that aren’t technically adages anymore) as fact.

32. *See #20 for my reaction to basically the same offensive statement.

33. There IS a time and place for everything… like not EVER telling the whole Internet that you only view women who do {insert weird, outdated list here} as women

34. Laugh. Most importantly at this woman’s awful advice.

35. Find beauty in every day by finding the beauty in all types of women, not just women who wear pearls and cross their legs.

36. Be happy if you can. If you’re not, that’s okay, too. Some of us are depressed and need drugs to help us feel happy which is apparently “unattractive,” but it’s okay. We all know by now that this list is the biggest pile of malarky since Joe Biden called Paul Ryan on all of his in 2012.

37. Yes, please do put yourself (and whatever version of a woman you are) first.

38. Ah, the old stay-at-home versus career-woman debate. I knew it was coming. Either one is fine. In-betweens are fine. Completely different things are fine. What you do does not a woman make.

39. She actually caught herself on #38 and tried to remedy it on #39. Yay?

40. YES, RESPECT YOUR FELLOW WOMEN, EVEN IF THEY DO NOT FIT YOUR PICTURE-PERFECT DEFINITION OF WOMANHOOD. RESPECT WOMEN OF ALL RACES, ORIENTATIONS, RELIGIONS, CREEDS, ETC. RESPECT WOMEN ENOUGH TO NOT PUT THEM IN BOXES (or binders, as Romney would say). RESPECT YOUR FELLOW WOMEN ENOUGH TO CALL THEM ON THEIR SEXIST BULLSHIT SO THEY CAN BECOME MORE ENLIGHTENED HUMANS.

41. No, you shouldn’t be afraid of being a woman or wearing pink, but I fucking hate pink. So I will still embrace my femininity by wearing whatever I want. I will also embrace the chosen level of femininity my fellow women do or do not feel comfortable with, whether that has jackshit to do with the color PINK.

42. Uh, yeah, I think we all know by now all the women who independent throw your hands up at ‘Yonce. But there’s not a specific thing that makes someone more independent, really. For some, independence is just being able to walk on their own, so check yo’ privilege. (Also, WHO ARE YOU THAT SOMEONE IS TRYING TO PUMP GAS FOR YOU SO LATE IN YOUR LIFE? WHERE IS THIS PLACE? PLEASANTVILLE? WHERE ARE YOU? DO YOU NEED HELP?!?!)

43. This is a reminder (uh-hum… repetition) that you shouldn’t spend your money like a dickweed.

44. HELL YEAH, DO NOT BE AFRAID TO SAY NO! There you go, gal. Now you’re getting somewhere. Say no to things you don’t want to do as furiously as you would say no to unwanted sexual advances from another human. You have every right as a woman to say no to AN. Y. THING.

45. I think #44 is where this girl starts realizing the entirety of what she just wrote was incredibly horrible, because this is about being a fortress against manipulation. Then again, this implies that we are easily manipulated, sooooo…..

46. “BE AN ADVOCATE FOR OTHER WOMEN. WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.” Now Caitlin’s talking. We are in this together, which is why I felt so incredibly cut by this article. I thought of my friends who had never felt good enough before thanks to men or other women or non-gendered folks, and it made me furious that a woman would… AGAIN… be shooting other women down with her impossible (and not truly applicable) standards. So Caitlin, I’m sorry if this bites and stings, but you have to know that what you wrote is the OPPOSITE of this, THE most important number on your “real woman” list.

47. I think the best thing to say here is never let a human make you feel inferior, and never let other humans make others feel inferior as well.

48. YAS, BITCH, YAS! Be a role model for other women. Be a role model for men. Be a role model for every different kind of gender and sex and all the in-betweens we have. Start by not being a douche, then take it from there.

49. Ugh, Caitlin, NO! You had made so much progress. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to be a mom or a Sunday school teacher or the first female pope or a dinosaur on Mars, you have no one to answer to but yourself about how you live. Yes, care about what your choices will do to you and the people around you you give two shits about, but other than that, if you look too far down the road, what stories will you have to tell your kids or students or the Martians when you’re old? Be you, and don’t worry about your mistakes. Everyone, even women, makes mistakes. Don’t let them rule you or your decisions.

50. RESPECT YOURSELF……. but also respect others and the way they live their life. Respect the life they were born into and the lives they have created. Respect women from all walks of life. Respect women who are transitioning. Respect women who are struggling. Respect women with vaginas. Respect women without vaginas. Respect women enough to never, ever, ever tell them they are not good enough.

You’re welcome for my sage advice. Also, you’re a woman if you feel you are, end of story! You don’t need 50 rules from me or anyone else. Now go on girl. Do yo’ thang. xo, Reyonce

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Bad Romance

One of the things I will whole-heartedly admit Gen Y has radically fucked up is romance. We all want love, but somewhere along the way marketing fed us the idea that it “wasn’t cool” to settle down. Be a rebel, ride the breeze, run away from everything!

Don’t get me wrong: it’s pretty awesome that we actually have the opportunities we do. If we DO want to live a life of random hookups, open relationships, no relationships, or polyamorous relationships, we have the choice in a way not many generations did before us. Sure, there were summers of free love and sexual revolutions past, but the stigma of non-tradition in romance is starting to fade.

That being said, for those of us who do still decide to search for love, who do want to settle down against our animal nature, who maybe still naively believe in some kind of soulmate or fate or destiny, we are doing it all wrong.

We are having these weird relationships that aren’t relationships: “Oh, her? She’s not my girlfriend. Yes, I took her to meet my parents, and we only sleep with each other, but we are NOT. DATING.”

We are all about some friends-with-benefits: “He’s nice to me, we have everything in common, and we have great sex, but I could NEVER date him!”

We have no qualms with the on-again, off-again idea. We run when we’re scared instead of sticking around. We play strange games with each other, but last time I checked, this was a planet and not a massive chess board.

We truly make everything more complicated than it should be. If you’re one of the Gen Y’ers who wants to engage in monogamous romance, stop what you’re doing and listen to me: Just. Be. Happy.

It’s really that simple. Stop letting the hangups in an age of worry keep you from something good, something real, something that might be… dare I say it? TRUE LOVE!

Oh, and because I know I myself have the attention span of a fruit fly thanks to years of information overload, here’s a handy list for navigating the murky romance waters:

How to Know You’re In Love, or “Quit Bullshitting Around & Just Be Happy, Moron”

  1. If you were on a crashing plane and had time for one phone call, and your significant other/ex/f-w-b/on&off again/etc. is the last person you’d want to speak to, YOU ARE IN LOVE.
  2. If you have had a shitty day and your person does special things to make it better, like buys you a DVD of “The Avengers” or yells at someone for you, and that action makes you feel all tingly inside, YOU ARE IN LOVE. (You are also lucky.)
  3. If you look like you just stepped out of a jungle or a Quentin Tarantino film, but your person still thinks you’re smokin’ hot, YOU ARE IN LOVE.
  4. If you can survive a road trip of 5+ hours alone together and still like each other, YOU ARE IN LOVE.
  5. If you can genuinely enjoy watching the same TV shows together, YOU ARE MOST DEFINITELY IN LOVE.

I’m sure there are some more romantic, less neurotic ways of knowing you’re in love, but take that plane crash scenario for example. If you give it the thought it deserves, it has some serious weight to it. I can tell you who my person would be right now without reservation. (I’m lucky he has the bravery to put up with my “if I were dying in a plane” anecdotes without jumping out of the nearest exit.)

If you can tell me your person, too, go Lloyd Dobler them while you still can. It’s never to late to be crazy in love, Gen Y. (And not in a Christian Grey/Anastasia Steele kinda way.)

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Dirge for The Dreamcast

Oh, ye gracious game system, how I will miss you so.

It wasn’t an easy decision to let you go. In fact, I had to ask my sister all the way across the Pacific if she was ready to sell you, our second childhood system. I was reluctant and needed her blessing to go through with the disposal. She, too, found it hard to come to terms with the fact that we have, well… outgrown you.

Nay, this simple fact doesn’t discredit your meaning to us. In fact, it just means we’re ready to pass along the joy you brought us to others because we survived the struggles of life between acquiring you and letting you go.

I remember first playing you. We got you fairly soon after we moved into a new home. I suppose it was supposed to be a cleanse-like purchase, perhaps a consolation for uprooting us from our childhood home. We both sat in C’s bedroom, she on the bed, I on the floor. We played Sonic for hours, never getting past the first level and never caring all the same.

I’m sure we squabbled as young sisters do, debating our hearts out about whose turn it was and why. However, I just remember the sunny days spent playing a game about a blue hedgehog with my baby sibling.

Perhaps you weren’t as great as I remember you being, a fact I quickly noticed when I rescued you from under C’s bed and plugged you up to my first generation plasma TV. Sonic was buggy and only the first two levels were fun. After that, everything was glitchy and weird. Maybe we were never meant to get past those first few levels back then. We weren’t ready for them, just like we weren’t ready for teenagedom.

But now we are. Hell, we WERE; we’ve already made it through the rough sea of teen life and segued into some semblance of early adulthood. Sonic just isn’t fun anymore. Keeping you around is only a reminder of simpler days, but with or without you, those simpler days would still exist.

The memories are with each other, not with you, Dreamcast of yesteryear. And so it is with bittersweet confidence and simultaneous nostalgia that I will be taking bids for you from all around until I find someone who appreciates your worth.

Someone who isn’t yet ready. Someone who needs you.

{Check out my sister’s coinciding post written to our Dreamcast. We wrote them without seeing each other’s first; the sisterly similarities are CREEPY!}

Champagne Talk

Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed by things I can’t even really identify. I had an amazing day at work, and then the further I got away from the parking lot, the more lonely I felt.

I thought maybe it was the idea of coming back to an empty home, but I got here and I was comforted to see my digs and hear my dog whining for me.

I thought then that maybe it was because I’d missed them–my home and my pup, so I spent some time wandering the grounds with him and felt at ease, but still found no relief.

I thought perhaps it was that I missed my other half, but then I talked to him and though my loneliness was alleviated, the emptiness remained.

I thought maybe it could be that I haven’t seen too much of anyone in a while because we’re all growing up, moving out, living life… but then I realized that I don’t want to see some of those people, and those I do, well, I’m happy we’re all making and thriving in our own spots in the world.

I thought it was that my students, who have become family, are graduating in less than a month, leaving me with this vastly empty nest. And while I think that’s most of where this feeling of being a lone island stems from, there’s still this lingering sense of longing I can’t brush away.

I don’t know what it is. Maybe I’m not living my dream, not reaching my full potential. Maybe I’ll never know.

Whatever it is, even the champagne can’t quench the loneliness it brings.

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