Archive | April, 2015

I Downloaded An App To Help My Insomnia, That’s Where My Terrifying Nightmare Begins

21 Apr

There is always a night that you just can’t get to sleep.

Thought Catalog

Flickr, Luke Andrew ScowenFlickr, Luke Andrew Scowen

What do you do when you can’t sleep?

Everyone has those nights. You get in bed, try to find that perfect spot for your head on the pillow, close your eyes. Wait for that slow haze of darkness to creep into your brain and let you disappear from the world for a little while. And wait. And wait.

It doesn’t come. You start to worry about how much time you have left before the sun comes up, which ironically makes the whole thing worse. Now you’re aware of the fact that you can’t sleep and your whole body feels like it’s tensing up. All this stress is counterproductive, you’re hyper-focusing and it’s making you crazy, all you can think of is how the night is slipping away from you one awful sleepless moment at a time…

But that’s just been my experience. Who knows. Maybe it’s…

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Don’t Get Raped

11 Apr

It seems like a simple enough phrase: “Don’t get raped.”

Really, though. It is quite the opposite.

Those 3 words conjure up feelings of spite toward rape culture, of dark alleys filled with men waiting for a girl to unknowingly walk through, of the act itself. The only time I’ve found myself saying this phrase to anyone, whether male or female, is when I’m being facetious. This comes from the same place that causes me to both be very aware of my surroundings, but also not fear them. My choice of advice when a friend is leaving is actually “don’t get murdered.”

Same amount of usefulness, but it suits my style a little better.

You see, saying don’t get raped isn’t very useful on the surface, and people get all up in arms about this phrase because we shouldn’t be advocating don’t get raped we should be advocating don’t rape. Saying don’t get raped somehow puts the blame on the victim of such a crime making it somehow his/her fault, which is obviously untrue.

Just like saying don’t get murdered saying don’t get raped is actually a much more loaded phrase than we think it is. It means “watch your surroundings”, “make good choices”, “don’t get into a windowless van with a stranger”. It embodies all of those things in just 3 words, because if it was as easy as teaching people to not rape, rape wouldn’t be a thing anyway. The kicker is that people who rape, or murder, or commit serial crimes have problems that extend beyond the simply telling them to not rape. They don’t care about consent because they crave the power that comes without it. I’d love if someone could post some statistics in the comments (that’s what you get when you blog with a poor internet connection), but I feel like rape and murder have to be statistically similar.

I also want to point out that because of the mentality that is commonly associated with rape and murder and such crimes, telling someone before they go out on the town “don’t rape anyone” automatically casts blame onto the recipient. They go from feeling like a normal person to feeling as though the person giving such advice truly feels that they are capable of such a crime. I know that “no means no” and if a friend of mine told me in all seriousness to not rape someone, I would be extremely offended. The phrase don’t rape assumes the worst in someone, and that isn’t okay either.

My advice is to use better word choice when teaching young people about consent, such as “no means no” and that coercion isn’t okay and that you are never entitled to someone else’s body, regardless of your relationship to them.  We should also gravitate toward using phrases such as “make good choices” because even if rape disappeared entirely, you can still have a lot of bad things happen to you from point A to point B. 

“Make good choices” is also an empowering phrase, that brings us out of this vicious cycle of rape culture. Because really, while I have a very unpopular opinion of rape and sexual assault, I’ve never met a single soul who really thinks that rape is caused by the victim.

Make good choices, folks.

Do you agree that “don’t get raped” is a much more loaded statement that just being about rape? Do you agree that “don’t rape” is assumptive and negative? How do you think we should teach kids about sex, consent, and relationships? Does “make good choices” perpetuate rape culture, too, and if so, how do we not perpetuate rape culture?

Adult? Myth.

9 Apr

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Just today, I sat down to my computer and I saw the above picture was on my Facebook feed, provided by a really great woman I’m friends with. Despite its simple assemblage of words, it was meant to be provocative. While I concur, I really doubt that the thoughts it has provoked in my mind are quite what was meant when someone taped that piece of paper to that window.

My first thought kind of bypassed everything and while I don’t consider myself someone who exploits men sexually, I do find that I’m just as distracted by attractive men as men are by attractive women.

Once I posted my self-designated “awkward comment”, I started to realize that more than a glance was needed to decipher this piece of paper.

Right away we are setting ourselves up to believe that this male-stereotype is true, and perpetuating ill-will toward men. All the while, the author sets us up to feel that women are seen as sub-human and sexually exploited.

I feel sad for woman-kind if I’m in the minority with this sentiment, but I’ve never thought to myself Michelle…that person is trying to sexually exploit you. Ever. I’ve never felt sub-human, either.

The same women who tell me that feminism isn’t about man-bashing (when I tell them I’m not a feminist, I’m an equalist) are just perpetuating the belief that all men want sex and only sex. These same women are telling us, via this picture, that men never get slack about their bodies.

While I wish someone on this fair planet could say no one has ever had a problem with their body, it just isn’t true. Let me tell you a quick story from 7th grade…

Once upon a time, I was sitting in class with my less-than-favorite teacher and a classroom full of other 7th graders. A boy in my class was wearing a t-shirt with the sleeves cut-off. It looked a little something like this:

Unfortunately for him, guns were against school policy in more ways than one, so he was told he needed to change. Much to everyone’s surprise, when the horrible witch secretary told him this, he retaliated. You see, she, too had the guns out that day. Her shirt looked a tad like this:

Unfortunately, no one listens to a 7th grader’s logic, so even though what he said made SO much sense, he had to change anyway. She didn’t have a good response, other than she was a woman and he was a boy. 

Catch my drift? And if you still don’t believe that men are sexualized then go to Google and drool over some male underwear models.

Once you’re done with that…see what I did there? Drool. Degrading men with my eyes again. Case and point – just stop with this “men never…women always…” or “men always…women never…” stuff. It isn’t making the case for feminism any better because nothing is 100%.

Now that I’ve made that point, I always felt provoked to tell you about sex. Not in the birds and the bees kind of way…but in the I’m-a-sexual-creature-and-I’m-okay-with-that kind of way. Humans. We are all about the sex. I’m an intensely sexual being and so are you. We look and we enjoy. We indulge. For some reason, we are stuck on this whole idea that it is okay for me to look at a man without a shirt on and ogle but it isn’t okay to ogle at a girl who is (I can only assume based on this picture) working out in revealing clothing (sports bra and short-shorts, perhaps?). You might read that and say…”well, that isn’t true at all!” but yes, yes it is. We hide it by the fact that we say we don’t consider men as visually stimulating sexually as we do women, but that is just a huge lie.

I’ll save my rape culture rant for a different day, because this is already a pretty hefty blog. That brings my to my final point, which is the namesake for this blog…

The definition of an adult is fictional. The author of this provocative speech on a piece of paper on a window is speaking of sexualizing young girls, but just as I am a sexual being now, I was a sexual being at the age of 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. The only difference between my at 13 and me at 25 lies in the fact that I now have to buy my own food and pay bills, along with some actual hard and fast sexual experience I found along the way. My pattern of speech may be more polished now, but had I not been probably too-logical about love and lust at such a young age, I would have totally gotten it on with anyone. Middleschoolers. Highschoolers. College guys. They were all super-sexy and I lusted after all of them. If our government didn’t have this arbitrary line that says you’re an adult at 18 (ish), I firmly believe that people would reach “adulthood” at their own paces. There is precedence for 13 and 14 year old girls getting married off, and while I bet they would have liked more say in the matter of who, I could say that I knew who I was and what I wanted at that age.

We get jaded as we get older. The bills and the work and having to wear pants…it screws with us. We forget that we have been horny over-sexualized little beings since we hit puberty. 10 years later, friends can’t tell the difference between pictures of me now and pictures of me at 15, and what does that tell you? That sexualizing me now is also sexualizing me at 15, which is apparently wrong? I can’t say on good conscience that finding a 16 year old girl physically attractive is wrong. The only thing that could be wrong is what happens next.

Do you firmly believe I’m crazy yet? How do you feel about that simple, yet extremely provocative sign? Adulthood…do you think its a myth? Why must we put men down in order to bring women up?

Harnessing the Artist

3 Apr

I’m not positive that any of my readers know this, friend or otherwise, but this girl considers herself an artist. I tend to post raw, unedited stories and memories and persuasions, but only because I don’t feel the need to edit myself. Whether it is music, or clay, or paint, or words…the facets of art live within me.

As an artist, I find I suffer from the same tragedy that, say, comedians do. My best work is done when I’m at a low point in life. When I’m down, and out…anyone who has ever read a story I’ve written knows that I can’t do happy. Happy endings don’t exist in my writing, no matter how hard I try. I’ll write horror, and suicide, and abuse…and that could very well be due to the state I have to be in for the creative juices to flow. Believe it or not, I’m pretty handy with a pencil when I’m at that low point to…put on the music, get in the zone, and draw it all away.

The hardest part about being an artist is finding that inspiration to make art when you’re happy. I have so many ideas for short stories (I don’t think I could ever write a novel), that my head swims with the ideas. I just can’t put pencil to paper (or fingers to keys) when I’m happy, though. When I try…the quality is crap.

But I don’t want to trade in my happiness for a gift, no more than I want to trade in my gift for happiness.

Writers, painters, musicians…artists out there…have you found a way to harness that feeling of inspiration, even when you’re out of your mood?