Awakening

If you haven’t read The Awakening by Kate Chopin, you should. But you probably won’t so let me give you a quick synopsis. A Woman, living in turn of the century New Orleans finds herself stuck with two children she cannot stand and a husband who pretty much ignores her. She hates her life because it wasn’t one that she chose. One summer while her husband and children are away she takes up a lover. Her lover leaves her, as most men do, and she is unable to return to society – so she drowns herself.

I read the book for some class in high school. No one understood it. They thought the main character was a soulless she devil who should have shut up and been grateful that she wasn’t a seamstress. Even at 15, I got it. I never wanted to be that woman. I vowed never to lock myself into a life that someone else had chosen because it was the “appropriate” option. Now, at 25 I’m realizing that I have spent all of my adolescence and early adulthood doing exactly what I wanted to stand up against.

I feel an immense amount of pressure to be in a romantic relationship that’s going somewhere and to have a career that’s on the fast track to take me places. But I don’t know where I’m supposed to go or, where that somewhere is. I never took the time to learn myself or what I really wanted from life. So here I am, working in customer service, online dating, and continuously floundering through life.

I’m terrified to pursue writing, or music, or anything that makes me really happy simply because I do not know how. I have spent my entire life following directions and therefore never learned how to take the lead. I’m lost.

I made it to New York – I did that. I live under a train and beside a Popeye’s in a less than desirable part of Brooklyn, but I made it. I view the wealth and glamour of the city from my fire escape but I am not a part of it. I’m still the same shy little girl who never got asked to play kickball. I’m just watching from a far, fantasizing that I’m part of the game. I know, it’s disgusting that I’m sitting here wallowing in my own self pity – woe is me and so it goes. But I’m trying to understand what’s behind it. Why didn’t I just ask to play with the other kids? Why don’t I just try? Why is my fear of failure and rejection so crippling that I have spent years attempting to settle into a life that wasn’t meant for me? We could blame it on me, being a millennial, an upper middle white class girl born and bred in suburbia – I never had to try so I simply don’t know how. That however, is just a piece of it. The simple fact is, I never knew being my own person was an option – so I just chose to ignore the urge. I pushed it down and stomped on it until it was nothing but a squashed little dream.

“You’re not traditional, Liz..” I can still hear him say it. He stood behind me, zipping up my bridesmaid dress, gently wiping the sweat away from my neck. “You can find someone else, you can get married, you can have all of this…but I just don’t think it’s for you.” Hot little tears welled up in my eyes and I stared at the ground and then back at him. “I get to have this…I get to be like everyone else.” It came spilling out of my mouth so fast, that I didn’t comprehend my own words. On the outside, I had been a perfect daughter, friend, and suburbanite. I deserved to have what all of the rest of them had – a shiny rock on my ring finger and a man who would take care of me and impress my family. Someone so smart, tall, and perfect he could distract everyone from all of my flaws. A man to make me a lady – a partner to ease my family’s fears.

I am coming to terms with the fact that I may never have that – because it is never what I really wanted. I will never be successful at working 9-5 pushing papers, processing orders, or planning holiday parties because it is boring and I actually hate it. This is my awakening. I am opening my eyes and greeting a new way of living – one that I alone have chosen. I am accepting that the life I want for myself is untraditional and that my path is unpaved. I am taking in and coming to terms with my own expectations of myself – I am getting comfortable with the uncomfortable and using my fear to move me forward rather than shying away from it. I will be a writer with a voice that offers support and ignites change – I will love late in life and know that when I do it will be on my terms. I want something different and that is okay – I am okay. I am coming late to the party but I have never been one to be on time.

 

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Great Expectations

I stood at the train station in Bristol, PA and reminisced about the night before. Remembering back to the bourbon, the cigar smoke, and the half blow job in the bathroom of the speakeasy. I came back to reality only to notice a suicide prevention sign glaring at me from across the tracks. I wondered solemnly how many people had to throw themselves in front of trains before someone decided the sign was necessary.

When the train finally came to take me back to New York, I was glad to see it. I watched the landscape roll by outside my window. Autumn is never as beautiful once the last leaves fall. Everything on the eastern side of the states becomes a shade of brown or grey. The sky and the dead grass seem to merge into one ongoing horizon. Homes which once stood tall and gallant were now crumbling in and bags of dirty diapers and recyclables lined the unkept yards. Suicide suddenly made sense against the un-charmed backdrop. I’m sure a town like Bristol sees their fair share of suicides.

I was only there for an evening, for a boy – of course. He was tall and large and his beard reminded me of a cartoon character’s. He was quiet, yet also not, in a way I can’t really understand. He moves slowly and eats like a horse. I gave him a hand job in the back of an uber and we had sex on a basement couch. It was messy and childish but I liked it, despite my best efforts not to.

Dating has gotten ever stranger since moving to the city. There are no rules, or expectations, and very little romance. The fantasy that prince charming will show up to sweep me off my feet met its sweet demise years ago. Hope sometimes lingers, but only when I’m in the mood to dream. There is something really great about breaking ones own expectation of what love is supposed to be. It’s opening me up to loving myself more and needing others less. Which actually isn’t as sad as I would have thought it to be. Where I come from, marriage and babies is the end-all-be-all. It’s what you do to prove to yourself you are an adult and worthy of praise and success. Here, love and children are optional and they mean so much less than I ever expected.

I finally buried the dream weeks ago. He stood in my doorway clutching his things, and I mine. I wished him a happy Thanksgiving and began to make my way up the stairs and into my apartment. “I thought you would want to talk about this.” He said, trying hard to hide his frustration. Everything had been said and we had gotten to the point where we were just speaking in circles. Fighting for nothing more than the sake of it. “I’m fine.” and I didn’t look back, not even to watch him walk away. For the first time I was the one to leave – and it felt good.

I took a bus to meet The Beard in Philadelphia. We ate oysters and drank too much whiskey. We talked about traveling and threesomes and our crazy families. When he danced his feet moved fast and his gigantic tree trunk like arms stayed still in place. I laughed loudly until small tears ran down my cheeks. It wasn’t romantic but it was fun. It was exactly what I needed.

I was never satisfied constantly comparing my life to some romantic comedy. Always forcing the people in my life to love me the way that I wanted to be loved. It was a shoddy plan that crashed and burned every time. I have learned to put down my arms and let go of control. It was easy once I finally gave myself permission to give up and walk away from my great expectations.

 

Cool Story, Bro.

It was a quarter past two when we left the bar. I had been drinking with a friend from work and his roommates. Alcohol can play tricks on the mind and at that point my beer goggles could have made Gary Busey look like Channing Tatum. This may have been the reason why I agreed to leave with my friend’s little brother. He was, of course, an unapologetic bro, complete with a cut off tank top and a backwards hat. He wasn’t my usual type but after a long night of tequila and cherry bombs my standards had dropped tremendously.

I don’t remember what we talked about on the long walk to his house. For all I know we could’ve been walking in complete silence. Although, I was probably talking he may have only been responding with grunts or nods of agreeance that said, “I don’t care, but I look like I do.” In reality, we would have had nothing to say to each other. I’m a free thinking modern feminist and he well, likes to wrestle when he’s drunk. The first time I met him I was taped to his best friend. We were playing edward forty hands and our hands were taped together around two forties of warm Budweiser. He was on crutches because he had recently had some kind of surgery. He hobbled up to me, lifted his crutch up off the ground and poked me in the crotch with it. He didn’t even blink as he continued to crutch me in the crotch. He just stared at me for a moment before putting his crutch back on the ground and hopping away. I must have forgotten this strange little incident when I decided to go home with him.

When we got to his house, things got weird. He didn’t say much, he just walked straight to the back of his house, found his dog, and hugged it for a very long time. I started to feel uncomfortable, as if I was intruding on some shared romantic moment. I walked into the kitchen and asked the first person I saw if I could use a cup for water. He looked at me and said, “Well we don’t have any clean cups, but we have bowls.” So there I was, standing in an unfamiliar space drinking from a bowl and watching this guy practically make out with his dog.

We stumbled up the stairs and upon entering his room he announced with great pride, “Isn’t my room great?” He was being serious. “Uh, yeah.” I managed, fighting back the laughter, “It sure is something.” Still reveling in the glory of his bachelor pad he turned on his speakers and proceeded to play dub-step at max volume. Nothing dries me out faster than wompy beats and base loud enough to rumble an entire house. I was sitting on his bed trying to keep my head from exploding as he stood with his back to me. His arms were stretched out horizontally with his hands clenched into tight little fists as his head bobbed up and down to the music. It was easily one of the strangest things I had ever seen. Just when I thought he might stand there forever, he turned around and ripped off his shirt. He stood there for a moment and stared at me. No one had ever made me feel like prey the way this kid did. With out blinking his eyes seemed to say, “You ready for this?” and I know mine must have been saying, “Oh god, no.” He grabbed a condom and jumped on the bed.

With the condom still in hand he kissed me. He kissed me until someone kicked open the door. It was his roommate, “Hey dude, you got any rubbers?” “Here, take this one!” I offered up the one in his hand. “Oh damn, you’re not using it?” He winked at me, “nice!” I explained to them both that I actually needed to leave because I had much more important things I could be doing at 4:30 in the morning like, not having sex with this gorilla. His roommate left and he looked defeated. “Are you serious? That’s so dumb.” He wined. “Yeah I’ve got to go but thanks for having me!” Before I could even sit up he was on his feet standing at the side of the bed. He dropped his pants and began to move his hips in a semi-circle which sent his penis wagging back and forth. My mouth dropped. “You don’t want this girl? Are you sure you don’t want some of this?” Oh yes, I’m quite sure I don’t want that. I was absolutely speechless. I’ve witnessed men do a lot of strange things but this one took the cake. If this was some kind of strange new dating ritual I wanted none of it. He must have noticed the disgust on my face because eventually he stopped and pulled his pants back up. He laid down on the floor and began to pout. I tip toed over him grabbing my jacket and then my shoes. When I bent over to grab my purse he stuck is arm in the air and grabbed my left butt cheek. He started slapping and grabbing it. I jerked my head around to look at him and still he continued, with out blinking and with out emotion. Okay, this is getting weird. This guys a psycho and I have to get out of here. He was still laying on the floor when I jumped over him and scurried out of his room and into the night. It was warm so the mile and a half walk wasn’t bad. I was comforted with the thought that at least I wouldn’t be sharing a bed with a horny robot.

The next morning his brother called me, expecting I would still be at his little brother’s house. When I explained that he had terrified me with his wiener dance so I left, he seemed hurt. It was a how could you not fuck my brother kind of disappointment that I was unfamiliar with. I don’t know what turned me off more, his actions or the fact that his eyes were glazed over with a brain dead haze the entire time. Either way, this experience begs me to ask the question: What is wrong with young men? Seriously, why do they think they can just run around like horny animals all the time? It’s sick, but what’s even sicker is I’m sure there are girls who actually sleep with guys who act like this. When did the college sexual experience trade in a mutual exchange of pleasure and emotion for 5-7 minutes of mindless jackhammering, or is this the way it’s always been? My point is that most young men seem like they could care less about making the woman they’re with feel good. Sex has become less of a partnered act and more of masturbation with the help of a vagina. So ladies, next time you’re standing at the bar or waiting around a party clenching your red solo cup and a beefy guy in a pink polo catches your eye, keep walking. You can do better, and you are no bro hoe.

Love & Life: It’s Complicated

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“What do you want to be when you grow up?” I always had a different answer for this question. One week I’d proudly tell adults and relatives that I wanted to be a psychiatrist and just days later decide that I was meant for the stage and I was made to be an award winning actress. I never had a strong hold on what I wanted to do with my life. The thought of doing one thing forever and ever sounds a bit mundane and passionless. In college, I changed my major three times, coming up with one new plan after another. Even at 23 I can’t really tell you what my ideal job would be because my dreams don’t really work like that. There isn’t just one thing I want to get up and do every day but more of a cause I long to stand for.

I was made to heal women and girls. I know this. It lives inside of me and continues to grow stronger and stronger as I become more engaged in feminist activism. There have been a handful of women who have entered my life at the exact time when I needed them the most. When I look back at where I’ve come from I imagine these women as a mile markers in my life’s journey. They guided me, pushed me forward, and gave me the hope and strength I needed to soldier on. I know what I was made for; I just don’t know what that looks like yet. I don’t know what form it has to take in order to be at its most effective.  So that’s what my life looks like. A long, winding, intricate, path that is leading me towards self-discovery.

His life isn’t really like mine. Well, it is and it isn’t. His purpose has a shape, has a name, has rules and guidelines. His career is already a fully formed idea. He’s an athlete so his career and his job are the same thing, whereas mine are not. I have a 9-5 position at a 3 million dollar a year non-profit in central Ohio. I have a salary and benefits, I even have a brand new car that I bought all by myself. He doesn’t have these things yet because sports don’t work the same way that a day job does. There are all these risks involved, make-it-or-break-it deadlines, fast transitions, and it can all be gone or it can all be up for grabs in the blink of an eye.

To me, his life seems terrifyingly unstable. On the upside, he has a dream that he can see. He is an athlete—he wants to be the best one, that’s tangible. He doesn’t have to go searching for a dream the way that I have to, but the downside is that he has to fight for it. He has to go where the money is, always chasing down the chance to advance, the chance to have control over his team and his life. Making plans is meaningless when everything is uncertain. So how could I, realistically, plan to move across the world with him when he asked me to? And honestly, I wanted to—I still want to. But I can’t leave my life, the life that I’ve created here, to live in constant uncertainty.

At first it seemed perfect—another undeniable sign that the two of us were meant to be together. Of course, I need to keep reminding myself that my life is not a Nicholas Sparks novel. When he told me about India I was in the middle of reading the national bestseller Half the Sky. I was drawn to the women in the book and I felt compelled to stand up and be a voice against sexual slavery and trafficking. When the opportunity to go to a country known for its mistreatment of women and girls arose I knew that this would be the next step in my journey and being beside him was where I needed to be.

But something went awry. In the midst of our excitement we stopped listening to one another. Somewhere between stress and hope we let communication spoil. Being a part of his life requires me to be able to pick up and leave whenever we have to, to stay in hot pursuit of his dream. I guess I didn’t realize this—that whatever kind of home I made there I would have to leave behind. I imagined working for centers that take in women who have escaped from brothels, setting up a make-shift school in a small backroom and teaching their children how to read and write, count and dream. I couldn’t just leave that behind and I couldn’t move to a country so hungry for change and keep my mouth shut, my eyes covered, and my hands at my sides. Once there, I would need to be involved and stay involved until I was damn well ready to move on.

This idea for my life doesn’t coincide with his. Because he’s never held a “normal” job he can’t quite grasp the restrictions mine has on my life. Professionally, I need to give my agency 6 weeks’ notice before I resign. If I quit without giving any notice then they have to struggle to find someone new to fill my position as quickly as possible. In the time they spend looking for a new hire my work would be piling up on the desks of my associates. I can only imagine what my next job interview in the states would be like….”What was your reason for leaving your last job?” “A man.” “Oh, I see.” It’s hard enough for a young woman in the workforce to be taken seriously, I don’t feel like adding “I’ll abandon my job for my boyfriend” to the list.

But did I mention that I’ve never wanted anyone more than the way I want him? The thought of being with another man just seems laughable and sort of sad to me. We’ve been at this semi-relationship-thing for a long time now but still the very sound of his voice in my ear gives me butterflies and starts Cee Lo’s Fool for You playing on repeat in my head. It’s the kind of infatuation where I could be a hostage in a convenient store shoot out and if he called I would shyly look up from the floor and kindly ask the masked assailant, “Can I take this?”

A couple weeks ago I met a boy. Well, I guess he’s actually a man. Clean, interesting, with a charming smirk. I thought about how easy my life would be if I was with him instead of the athlete. If I could throw my phone in the Olentangy and rid my mind of India and greatness and just kiss him instead—everything would be so much simpler. Ignorance is bliss but I’m not ignorant. I can’t unlearn what it’s like to be with a good man, one whose dreams and goals are as big as your own—a man who doesn’t just want to take a bite out of life but wants to consume every last crumb of it. So I turned away from the boy knowing that he’ll never be enough for me.

So that’s all of it—my big dilemma, my wanting to have my cake and eat it too scenario. I want our lives to intersect without having to make changes to either of them. I’ve known women who have thrown away their dreams to chase men—men who didn’t love them for long and who eventually threw them away. I’ve also heard the other story, the one with a woman who chooses her career over her lover and still wakes up every morning thinking about “the one who got away” even as she wears another man’s ring on her finger. For the first time in my life I don’t have a plan. I don’t have an answer to that daunting question of what I want to be when I grow up. I have found myself at a crossroads that I wasn’t at all prepared for. As I think of my path and the places it’s taken me and the long road I still have left to travel I take a look at the crossroads and wonder, “which way should I go?”

Rape: A Year in Review

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It’s been said that every two minutes someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted. In past years maybe this bit of statistical information would have been unbelievable but lately it’s become more obviously so. Maybe it’s because every five minutes there’s a new post, article, tweet, or controversy regarding rape. Honestly, between “comedian” Daniel Tosh’s less than hilarious rape jokes to the Steubenville teens who raped and urinated on an unconscious sixteen-year old girl, 2012 has definitely been the rapiest year yet. And it’s not because there have been substantially more rapes this year than the last. Quite the contrary, it’s because rape is finally emerging as a real issue. No more hiding it behind closed doors or stuffing it under our beds with the rest of our dirty laundry. We are talking about rape while challenging those who perpetuate it and I believe that’s something to celebrate.

Earlier this spring Daniel Tosh made some rape jokes. Of all of the things to chuckle at he chose something that directly affects 1 in 5 American women not to mention the countless men and children who have been sexually assaulted. Did he really think that would go over well? I never got a chance to properly address the witless comments left on my Facebook status which read, “Hey Tosh, rape jokes aren’t funny!” So, to respond to those who believe standup comedy is an art and rape jokes are just artistic expression, I say this: No, some things aren’t funny. It wasn’t funny when I lost my sense of self. It wasn’t funny when I’d cry myself to sleep thinking that somehow I was responsible for my own rape. By laughing at atrocities like rape we clearly continuing it. When we laugh at something we get comfortable with it. We allow it to come into our homes and sit down with us on the couch. Laughing only separates it from its own ugliness because after all if something makes us laugh than it can’t be that bad. Ending rape culture is more important than five minutes of half-assed standup.

Right wing politicians sure had a lot to say about rape this year. They even went so far as to take personal experiences and divide them into different “types” of rape. There was forcible rape, rape-rape, Legitimate rape, and of course emergency rape! Like, um excuse me but when isn’t rape a fucking emergency? Listen, anyone with half of a brain will tell you that categorizing rape is completely asinine but just in case you’re not sure, rape is when a person has sex with you without your consent. This can happen out of force, unconsciousness, inebriation, intimidation, or manipulation. I hope this simple definition cleared it up for everybody but if you forget just try and remember that rape is rape is rape is rape.

In December a 23 year old Indian woman was out with her boyfriend after 10pm and was raped. Some will try and argue that this is the very reason why she was raped. “What was she doing?” “Why was she out so late?” and the victim blaming will go on and on like this. Victim blaming is prevalent all over the world and India is no exception. However, this case was so undeniably horrific that it got people talking. Jyoti Singh Pandey was attacked by five men who gang raped her with pipes, leaving her completely disemboweled. She survived the encounter but died some days later in the hospital. India, a country where sex is so stigmatized that victims of rape are often shamed into marrying their rapists, is pissed. They are finally getting angry at rape and demanding that the perpetrators of this crime be brought to justice. From this ghastly incident rose a voice that is insisting rape be taken seriously. What happened to Jyoti was nothing short of tragic but if a conservative country like India can stand up against rape than why can’t we?

Oh, Steubenville just a little town with a big problem. Steubenville, like most of the United States, glorifies its high school athletes to the point that they are sure they can’t be rapists. Just like they’re sure these rising football stars didn’t rape an unconscious girl and then urinate on her at a party. You’re right coach. That little tart was just trying to bring down your team for her own selfish reasons! Err wrong. That’s most definitely not how that works. Sadly, this story is constantly repeating itself. For some reason Americans can’t come to terms with the fact that standing up for a rape victim is considerably more important than standing by the athlete who raped her, go figure. This time things turned out differently for the small town story. It made the national news and it’s still being talked about. Of course that little video of Steubenville teens referring to themselves as “the rape crew” Anonymous leaked last month sure didn’t help keep it out of the headlines.

So, there it is. We’re finally talking about it. The conversation has started without any intention of stopping. Rape is a truly insidious action and the fact that we can’t turn on our computers or pick up a newspaper without seeing it on a headline doesn’t mean the world is getting worse. It means that instead of pretending it doesn’t happen we’re finally addressing it and holding perpetrators accountable.  This year we’ve seen politicians, entertainers, athletes, and entire countries face this controversial topic. Finally, it’s the majority who’s standing up against rape. As advocates we are no longer the minority. In 2013 my only hope is that we can continue the conversation so that rape and rape culture can meet an ultimate end.

Merry Christmas, Ya Filthy Animal

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And on the 12th day of Christmas my true love…shat on my heart. Proving that all men are created equal; equally shitty. That’s right kids, gather ’round for a truly memorable holiday tale filled with sex, lies, and full blown douche-ary. This is the story of Christmas – Girl’s in the Boy’s Room style.

“Why are you trying to have a relationship with me if you don’t have time for it?” It was the third time in a month I had asked him that. Still, like the times before he responded only with a long pause and an exhausted exhalation. This was his way of saying, “I’m trying my best” but of course his best proved ultimately to be half-assed. In just 9 weeks my “gentlemen in Burberry” had become a tool in tacky diamond studs. Our conversations had gone from talk about life and love to endless ranting about his soccer career and his dreams of being part of the 1%. No, I’m not kidding. He is actually aspiring be part of the group that holds all of the money and power and well – doesn’t fucking share. Right, because that’s what you should’ve taken away from the Occupy Movement. I’m sure you’re all dying to know how this “star athlete” was planing to spend his money. Feeding starving children? Helping to pay off the national debt? ERR wrong. He wants to live in a castle, build a mote around it, fly around in a rocket ship, and pay his friend to drive him around in a Ferrari. THESE ARE HIS REALISTIC GOALS. First off, anyone who flies around in a rocket ship simply because he can, eh em Richard Branson, is completely environmentally irresponsible. We need less of you flying to mars, and more of you investing in green energy. Thanks! Finally, I want to add how gracious it is of him to consider his friend’s livelihood. Focus on your own career goals? Psh, no I’ll just pay you to drive me around and be my ride bitch. He’s so considerate.

This is all I heard for weeks after he received a rejection from an indoor team in Baltimore. He returned to Tampa with his head low and his faith shaken. We agreed to make it work no matter the distance because having a relationship over the phone was better than not having one at all. Things began to change rapidly. He called less often and when he did he no longer seemed interested in my life. The focus of our conversations almost always consisted of him detailing his plan of attack against the soccer world. Plotting and visualizing where he would be and which team he would play for, with me standing on the sidelines, agreeing with everything he said and assuring him that everything would work itself out. Then, when he had run out of things to say he would casually ask, “How was your day?” and even as I began to describe board meetings, and event marketing I would sense how uninterested he was and stop talking. It’s exhausting trying to be someone’s cheerleader when you receive absolutely nothing in return.

Waiting for him to change back into the person I had fallen for was hopeless. Most times I would hang up the phone feeling empty. I had waited all day to talk to a person who it felt could care less about talking to me. He rambled on about his ex girlfriend from time to time, something that should have been a HUGE red flag. He tweeted angrily about her, used our precious talk time to curse her name, and posted poorly executed rap songs about her on his already faulty sound cloud page. Cool! More and more I began to see why she broke up with him. He was self-obsessed asshole.

Still I soldiered on, dreaming of Christmas when he would be back in Columbus and we could finally be together. One thing you should know about me is that I take the holiday season very seriously. I truly believe it should be the merriest time of the year. Baby Jesus  and over gifting aside, Christmas is an opportunity for old friends to return home, families to be reunited, as well as an excuse to over eat and drink! This Christmas would be the best one yet. I would finally get to spend it with someone I truly cared about. I spent most of the autumn months convincing myself that everything would be perfect. Of course everything really went south after I purchased $60.00 worth of gorgeous Victoria’s Secret lingerie to wear for him on Christmas. As soon as I cut the tags off the clouds rolled in and shit hit the fan. The second his plane touched down at CMH he started ignoring my calls. When my messages went unanswered and my calls were directed to voicemail I’d start to think about every time he told me he missed me, every time he told me he was excited to see me, and my heart would fall into my stomach. We spent almost three months talking about seeing each other and when it was finally a possibility he was no where to be found.

We saw each other once. He came over late. I was surprised by his stature, I had remembered him taller than he was.  He talked about himself as he gulped down my wine. We had sex which was empty and meaningless though I tried my hardest to pretend otherwise. I woke up early the next morning and looked over at him as he laid there sleeping. I thought seriously about kicking him in the head but instead I slept with him once more before taking him home. After three months he showed up empty handed. Arriving without flowers, condoms (way to be safe bro. You’re 24, get it together), or any hope of repairing our dwindling love affair.

When I agreed to make it work, I meant it. I don’t run out on promises that I make to people and when I say I’m going to do something you better know damn well that I’m going to do it. This is because I’m an adult. I’ve transitioned out of my selfish college years and have become a real person of substance. Unfortunately this isn’t where he is in life. arrogant and unable to see how his actions, or lack thereof, effect the people around him is a clear indication that he hasn’t quite gotten it together yet. So, when he blew me off AGAIN I decided that the only sane thing to do was to tell him to kick rocks.

This Christmas I won’t be standing under the mistletoe or kissing anyone on New Years Eve. I’ll be alone, again. But I’ll be happy knowing that I didn’t hang on too long and that I finally stood up for myself and walked away from someone who wasn’t able to give me what I needed. I’m not happy with the way that it ended, but I’m completely elated that it’s over.

For those of you who may be wondering: No, I did not actually burn his soccer shorts. Although I did run over them a couple of times.

Pubes; Should They Stay or Should They Go?

Ah, pubic hair what a wonderfully uncomfortable topic! So uncomfortable in fact that I can guarantee that at least one person scrolled past this post and let out a big “EW!” in annoyance. But regardless we’re talking about this, it’s happening.

Tragically, I realized that everyone in my circle of friends had decided to liberate themselves from the shackles of pubic hair before a pool party. It was the summer going into my freshmen year. We were all changing when a snarky blonde and my worst frenemie cried out, “Oh my God, you don’t shave?!” Wait, what? I just got these though. I looked down at what puberty had thrown my way and felt completely humiliated. However ashamed I may have felt I also remember being unutterably pissed. I had waited for womanhood and now that it had arrived I had to go back to being twelve? That’s like going out and buying spike heels and the second you put them on everyone around you is shaking their heads and saying, “No. Take them off; flats are totally in this year.” So I picked up a razor and bid womanhood adieu because I’m a spineless lemming.

Okay, so yes it may seem awkward or ridiculous to discuss these things but they actually carry quite a significant role in women’s lives. Doctors in the 1960’s used to shave women’s vaginas before they gave birth because women’s (not men’s) pubic hair was seen as unclean. Excuse me, but what the fuck does that even mean? This naturally occurring hair on my body is somehow dirtier than a man’s? So dirty in fact that my child can’t pass through it? This is just one example of how the medical field has medicalized women’s bodies leaving them “othered”. A term used most often when a dominant culture or group looks at another and says, “you’re different than me therefore you must be wrong and we must fix you.” So there it is, white-male OB/GYNs were tired of looking at bushes all day so they made up a reason why they didn’t have to. Perfect, as if it’s not already agonizing enough to heal from giving birth, let’s throw razor burn into the mix!

The 1970’s brought with it disco, cocaine, and of course an explosion of pornographic films. It’s as if everyone was just tired of fighting after the civil rights movement and made a unanimous decision to just say “Screw it” and start a party. More pornography meant a greater visual of the vagina which it was decided had to be altered to be more ascetically pleasing. Throughout the decades as the popularity of pornography grew so did the notion that hairless vaginas were beautiful and more desirable than ones covered short and curlies. This phenomenon expanded so much so that now it even affects men. Ever slept with someone and feel like there was something missing that you couldn’t quite put your finger on? Yeah, it’s because like anorexia more men are adapting this catching trend as well!

So what does it all mean? Well, whether we like it or not rejecting pubic hair posts two problems. One being, that we are altering our genitalia to resemble that of a pre-pubescent child and two, that we accepting that our bodies must be changed in order for us to be beautiful or presentable. When we make the claim that being bald is brilliantly sexy, what we’re actually doing is sexualizing children. Seriously, I’m sure Nabokov’s character Humber Humbert would have been absolutely enthused by the idea of grown women running around with baby vaginas. Sexualizing children doesn’t stop at Holister or Abercrombie, where young girls are being prompted to buy miniskirts or bikinis in order to impress their male counterparts; it stays with us into adulthood. Women are constantly being forced to adopt trends that may seem harmless now but actually began under some very degrading circumstances. Patriarchy has medicalized our bodies countless times throughout history but the fact that this practice has roots in pornographic film making makes it even worse. That’s right ladies, when has porn helped us out? I mean really. Is anybody else tired of hearing “Can I cum on your face??” Um, no and you just completely ruined the moment.

Now, I get it. Letting it grow poses some problems too. The number one problem being that it is seriously uncomfortable. Or perhaps you’re afraid to be categorized by your partner as “that weird art girl” or the ever popular “feminazi” I get it. At least get educated about your body before you decide to alter it. Know exactly what it means before you pick up your razor, and above all else if you choose to shave, shave it for yourself not for your partner, because I’m sorry ladies but if you’re man has a serious problem with hair then it’s time to accept that he’s probably a pedophile.