I’m roughly halfway through, and I have to admit, I’m a little disappointed how little of the book is actually from Winter’s perspective. With her tenuous grip on sanity, she’s such an *interesting* character. And I, personally, find her quite compelling. I wish we could get more from her.
Well, that’s a nice and melodramatic title. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), it’s also pretty accurate.
I’ve been wanting so badly to get back into writing lately, and I’m making some of the right steps–my friend Sally and I are starting to work on projects together (well, we’re showing each other our projects), I’m getting back into reading more and taking more time for words, I’m listening to writing advice podcasts (hello, Writing Excuses!), reading writing tips (and here comes Wattpad with their Just Write It guide), but actually putting pen to paper–or fingers to keyboard–and getting something out?
Nothing. The words just keep piling up in my head, but I have no real outlet for them. I’m thinking myself into circles, but when it comes to actually shoving the words out of my head, I haven’t gotten to a full typed page in a week.
Soooo I think I’ll just start writing about what I read–at least that forces me to not just think about words, but think about words in the context of a story, and think about story in the context of its achievement.
At the moment, I’m struggling between Carry On by Rainbow Rowell and Winter by Marissa Meyer. Both are not new, which means they’ve been read dozens of times by hundreds of people, but be that as it may, I have to start somewhere! I just finished Fangirl and so I’m really keen on sticking with Rainbow Rowell, but I’ve been waiting for Winter for forever–I’d originally thought I’d wait until the paperback release, so that I have all of the set in paperback, but then I learned it wouldn’t be coming out until November of 2017; not okay.
So far (less than 50 pages in) I’m finding Winter to be a much more intriguing character than I’d thought I would. And I love love love that her romance is seemingly already established; established romances allow us to focus more on the action and plot and ass-kicking, rather than focusing on the relationship and its beginnings. I always think it’s interesting to see an established relationship under stress anyway–sure, they know each other, and they love each other, but can they work as a real team in a crisis?
An optimistic start! But now, to work. Volunteer management doesn’t manage itself.
I got on here expecting to write a love note to my boyfriend. Silly, I know, but I’m so awful at being expressive that it’s truly necessary.
What’s awful, I feel like, is the familiarity.
I don’t like that’s it’s disrupted thoughts of who I love because of the guilt and despair that I can’t help but feel. My Mema, whose white lily I put lipstick on before sending it down to rest with her for eternity–or, at least, however long it takes for the bugs to eat it–would never have approved of the amount of moping I’ve done lately.
She was a very proactive woman–the sort of woman I feel my boyfriend fell in love with, though maybe not in the way he originally suspected:
He says he fell for my heart… and my ass, though I’m pretty sure he means that one figuratively. I believe him. I wouldn’t still be here if I didn’t, and it helps that most of the time I think he’s right. I think, though,
Sometimes I worry. I worry about us both forgetting what’s important to us, about
Love you. That’s it. I don’t think we forget. I think we’re sometimes slow to remember. But it’s there. And I’m not worried.
We put so much faith in our bodies, which is actually kind of funny, because they’re such sorrowfully flimsy things. A bundle of sinews and bones, a fluttering pulse, a damp, rolling eye – we’re really not made of much. We might be built from star-stuff, but we lack the sturdiness of stars, the predictability. It takes a huge gravitational collapse to kill a star; it takes tens of thousands of years for a star to die. But a human body breaks so swiftly and unexpectedly, and there are so many ways for a body to break.
A body can be broken with a spiny virus to small to be seen by the naked eye. A body can be broken by a handful of cells gone rogue, or a heartsick sadness, or a screeching collision between flesh and something hard and intractable, like concrete or metal or time. All bodies break eventually – they shatter…
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Well, I’ve officially had what feels like my first huge failure at work.
I went into a meeting knowing exactly what I needed to say, and I went in there knowing that what I had to say was in the best interest of the child. I had my convictions and the knowledge that we were only asking for this kid’s team to put her in a place where she could be successful. But what did I do?
I didn’t say a word. In fact, I stopped the advocate I was there to supervise from speaking on more than one occasion.
This particular advocate is absolutely right in her concerns, but misguided in how she approaches them–I don’t think I was necessarily wrong in wanting to do the speaking for the agency, except I didn’t fucking speak for the agency.
I feel like I have failed this child so utterly that I’m almost reassessing my presence on the case. This is the first time I’ve lost sleep over a case in the year and a half I’ve been working here. I have another opportunity, and things aren’t completely ruined, but I have got to get a stiffer spine. I can’t let my need to be civil and my hopes that people will work towards logical conclusions out on their own prevent me from speaking when I know I need to. I’m sick over how that meeting played out, to the point where I’m dreading going to my book club tonight because I know they’ll ask me how work is going, and I’m afraid I’ll burst into humiliated, angry, and guilty tears.
I’ll admit that part of my issue was not wanting to talk about the kid’s limited capabilities in front of her, but even that is wildly misguided. She knows her functioning is limited, it’s not like this is some big secret to her. My whole job is to help my advocates stand up for what is in the best interests of the child, and I failed at that.
I have to do better.
This post really grabbed my attention, because as a feminist-in-progress, the name thing is something that I know I’ll get the most push-back on. I waver back and forth: “It’s just a name, but it’s MY name, but does ANY name really define me?” And it was something that I really just left at that, focusing more on crimes against women and other patriarchal relics, until back in March when my boyfriend, who is a self-proclaimed feminist himself, said that he really would be offended if a woman didn’t take his name.
Now, we’ve been dating for all of seven months, so this was definitely more of an abstract conversation. But a small part of me was just crushed by that statement, and while I adore this guy, it’s something that’s been weighing on my mind since. My own views on name changes are somewhere in the vicinity of watery feminism, but to have a guy that I have so much respect for tell me that he’d be offended by a woman keeping her name? It was a little upsetting. I haven’t revisited the conversation (again, only seven months), but reading this has really helped me navigate the murky waters in my own head, so when it does come up again, maybe it’s something I can get to the bottom of.
I’ve had a lot of diaries, journals, and blogs in my day. I even had a brief attempt at vlogging (it only took about five minutes for me to realize that vlogging was not a medium for me; all evidence has been deleted). The problem is, I never stick to it. Starting a blog is like an exercise in futility, usually inspired by my inability to process some sort of major emotion. I try it for a while, thinking it’ll be cathartic; sometimes, for a short time, it is. Then I feel idiotic and shut the whole thing down and pretend it never happened–and that, friends, is my problem.
Feeling idiotic shouldn’t be a problem; being an idiot is being human. I ask you: what the hell is wrong with being human? Nothing–at least, there shouldn’t be. I’ve been slowly realizing that I’m really an extremely self-conscious, self-critical person. I know, I know–join the club, right? Billions of people the world over are that way. The problem is, I spend an inordinate amount of time reading feminist articles telling me to love me for myself and damn the societal beauty standards set on me, or to not care if I look like an idiot and just dance if I want to (and leave my friends behind… yeah, I went there). Every time I read one of these articles, I’m so inspired that I just can’t hold it in. Damn the beauty standards, I don’t need no stinking makeup! I’m going to dance if I want to! Somebody play some appropriately thematic music!
Then reality sets in, and I’m reminded of just how painfully self-conscious I am. I put the makeup on because I’m terrified that I won’t be listened to or taken seriously as a female without it. I sit on the sidelines and watch everyone else dance (that part I don’t mind as much, because I really don’t like dancing all that much; I’d rather sit and talk to the people around me) even when my friends push, hard, for me to dance. I never run, jump, skip, or play because I’m afraid my lack of coordination will show. I don’t make any potentially competitive statements–largely because I’m just not competitive, but a small part of me is afraid that I’ll fail.
This reminder of just how afraid I am of judgement and failure is a double-edged sword–I want desperately to be an empowered female, and for the most part, I’m good at playing the role. Every so often, though, you can see the mask slipping. The fact that I still laugh awkwardly when my boyfriend gives me a compliment because I don’t know how to respond, or the fact that I’ll let myself be late somewhere in order to make sure my face is appropriately made up so that “people will take me seriously” (which is its own can of worms). My inability to be truly honest in a blog because of fear of judgement from people I don’t even know, and will probably never meet.
So, this time, instead of using this as a form of catharsis, I’m using this as a self-tracking method. Blunt honesty, at least once a week, regardless of how stupid it makes me look/sound/feel. Because being human shouldn’t be a weakness, and I’m tired of feeling like it is. So here’s to normalizing being human!
… I’m glad I already have a therapist…