Category Archives: writing

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PTSD

This is an essay I wrote in July 2013. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was the exact moment when my world imploded. I’m happy to report that I have since rebuilt my life with the help of family, friends, medication, and extensive therapy, and I am stronger and better for it.

The first step in that process was finally acknowledging and opening up about my experiences with sexual assault. In sharing this essay with an increasingly wide net of friends, I have learned that almost every other woman in my life has had to deal with sexual harassment and violence in some measure, but almost none of them talks about it. That is why I am publishing this essay at long last.

I believe that as a society, we need to hear the voices of more survivors of sexual violence. The taboo surrounding discussion of sexual assault, rape, and abuse is too strong to prevent it from happening, and it is too strong to help victims heal. If I had felt more comfortable talking about my own history, I don’t think I would have become as sick as I did. But I also believe that no individual survivor owes it to a single person to talk about their experiences. So that leaves me. My own voice.

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weird-internet

Felicia Day, Fear, Failure, and Me

This past Thursday, I finally read Felicia Day’s new book. Well, technically, I listened to Felicia Day’s new book, for specific medical reasons. But we’ll get there.

To say that I enjoyed You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) would be an understatement. I’d like to think that most people would at least enjoy this book. It’s funny and poignant and extremely weird–all the things you would expect from a memoir by Felicia Day. But I’m not convinced that most people would love it as if Felicia Day and the universe at large conspired to write and publish this one specific book to be found and consumed by one specific reader at one specific point in their timeline.

That’s the degree of my love for this book. It was only a couple days ago, but I’m pretty sure this book changed my life.

Continue reading Felicia Day, Fear, Failure, and Me

cows and st andrews

A Love Letter to Scotland

A few weeks ago, I was talking with a good friend who is also a trauma survivor and has grown to hate the ubiquity that is trigger warnings. My own feelings on such disclaimers are very ambivalent at the moment, but I guess all I’m trying to say is: this piece is going to go to some very dark places, but I promise we’ll come out the other end ok. Consider yourself warned.

Yesterday, I celebrated my 27th birthday, or rather, my last day of being 26, by walking along the Fife Coastal Path between St Andrews and Kingsbarns. The Coastal Path is a 117-mile stretch of trail that runs along the edge of Fife, roughly between Edinburgh and Dundee. It is my favorite thing about living here. I took my sister and brother-in-law there last July, and I remember my sister saying, “anywhere you live after this is going to be incredibly disappointing in comparison.” She is not wrong. I would run along the path in spring and summer, and I used to do eight to ten mile walks along it with a group of friends from my graduate program. We’d take the bus to our starting point and make our way along the coast to the next town. I’d bring scones, and we’d stop often to lay in the sun or watch dolphins and seals in the sea. After one trip, I badly Photoshopped some dolphins (and myself) into a group picture. Hilariously, some people on Facebook thought it was real.

Continue reading A Love Letter to Scotland

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Resolutions

Two years ago tomorrow, I started this blog, partly in an effort to convince my best friend that she and her boyfriend should really start their blog about cooking alphabetically through the UN member states. Since then, some things have changed, but many have stayed the same. For starters, F and her now husband, Mr. F, STILL DO NOT HAVE A BLOG. In fact, I can no longer even LINK you to the sad sham of a blog they used to have because the website no longer exists.

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Five Ways British Television Is Simultaneously Awesome and Infuriating

Recently, I’ve received a lot of complaints that my blog is not being updated frequently enough. Several of you have expressed concern that this is because I’ve dumped my loser blog for the cooler, more popular blog, Forever Young Adult. And indeed, I have been doing some writing for them, and also, designing some sweet T-shirts for their new store. But do not blame FYA for my absence! The real problem is that nothing is happening in my life. Or at least, nothing worth writing about.

At first, I tried to make Things happen. I thought that Ladies’ Night at the hardware store was a sure thing! But, while drinking wine next to the snaking demonstration was both fun and informative, it was not particularly blog-worthy. Normally, I bring chaos with me wherever I roam, but I somehow managed not to knock over any displays, inadvertently light myself on fire, or put my new-found snaking skills to the test with a broken sink the next day. Instead, I just left with some free but unremarkable swag and got drinks with a friend. I’m as surprised as you are!

The more recent problem is that I’ve stopped leaving the house. After traveling for most of December and January, I kind of just want to loaf around in my pajamas. And I’ve been extremely successful at it, thanks to a little friend I have called British television. If you’re going to blame anyone for my disappearance, blame British television. In the past week, I’ve managed to catch up on an entire season of Misfits, and then an entire season of Downton Abbey. If you are not familiar with either of these shows, you probably shouldn’t start watching. In fact, you should probably avoid British television altogether, because ignorance is bliss.

Five Reasons British Television is simultaneously Awesome and Infuriating

Shorter Television Seasons
I have an incredibly short attention span. I can hardly stick to any American television shows for more than a season, and I’m about to murder the creators of How I Met Your Mother because at this point, I’ve already invested far too much of my life to not find out who the mother is, but SERIOUSLY? HOW MANY MORE EPISODES MUST I WATCH?

This is one of the reasons I love British television shows! You’ve barely started and then suddenly, an entire season is over! Skins has ten per season. Downton Abbey, seven or eight. Sherlock only has three. THREE! It’s glorious!

It is also horrible, however. Thanks to Netflix, I’ve cultivated an expectation of instant gratification around television watching. I’ve been known to watch entire seasons of television in one sitting. It only took me three and a half weeks to get through all 64 episodes of Veronica Mars. At least with American shows, I’ll watch three episodes and there are still 21 left in the season, an insurmountable task for a single evening.  If you watch three episodes of a British television season, you’re already halfway finished. There is absolutely nothing that can keep me from watching the remaining three to five episodes until 3 in the morning, even though I have work the next day.

Accents
American accents are fairly lame. British ones sound so fancy! Except when they don’t. And suddenly you need subtitles.

 
Vulgarity
As far as I can tell, you can show just about anything short of actual pornography on British television. The upshot of this is that shows can get away with some pretty funny but extremely vulgar humor. Nathan from Misfits might be the world’s most repulsive television character, but you love him for it. The show manages to walk the fine line between hilarious and straight up offensive.
Some shows, however, are not as adept at knowing their own boundaries. Skins frequently crosses this line to its detriment. Sometimes they throw in extremely gratuitous plot-lines featuring drug use and graphic sex just to seem young, edgy, and cool, and it doesn’t work. I skipped all of Generation 2 for precisely this reason.Also, it can be super embarrassing to get caught watching those episodes. I recently got EG hooked on Skins, and at one point during the season two episode “Tony,” she became extremely concerned that we would hear the episode and think she was watching porn in her room. It’s that bad.Better casting

I don’t know if there are better actors in the UK, or simply better casting directors, but the casting on these shows is AMAZING. Especially with the younger shows like Skins or Misfits, the demographic equivalent of a CW show in the US, perhaps, I just don’t understand where they get these kids. They are so good! Whereas everyone in American shows seems to be cast based on attractiveness rather than talent, British shows are clearly cast for skill rather than looks (though often, for both).

Here is the problem, though. These actors are so convincing that I am unwilling to believe they are anything but the characters. With Downton Abbey being so popular now, it’s hard to avoid seeing interviews or pictures of the actors in their real life clothes and personalities. IT’S HORRIBLE. Lady Sybil once showed up on Misfits as a brainwashing, religious zealot villain and I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF. I want to keep those actors in a character-specific box and never take them out again, which is problematic because they are so good that I’m sure they’ll get cast in lots of other things.

Cassie, I want you to be successful, but I refuse to acknowledge
that you have any facial expressions besides this one.

Watching British television makes me feel both insecure and proud to be American
In sum, British television is better than American television. This depresses me and makes me feel unpatriotic.

Then I remember that, for all our bad television, including the worst of the worst of American Reality TV, at least we are not responsible for The Only Way Is Essex:

By the way, this show won a popularity award over both Downton Abbey and Sherlock at the BAFTAs last year. Thank you, people of Britain, for once again allowing me to feel superior to you.

 

Happy First Birthday!

via KS
My blog is officially one year old today! Last January 3rd, I started my New Year’s resolution of blogging once a week. I did great until mid-August, when everything went to shit. But hey! 8 months is a pretty solid timeline for a New Year’s resolution! I have real concerns about that kind of longevity for mine this year: eat real vegetables every day. It’s harder than you think! In fact, I already broke it, when I only ate things that can be purchased in gas stations yesterday, following an unfortunate roadside incident wherein R and I watched her boyfriend change a tire in the snow. NYE 2012 FTW!

Anyhow, I’m going to try to bring back the 1+ posts/week rule to my blog this year, if for no other reason than maybe my friends’ parents will stop harassing me about it at church (hi Mrs. E!). But right now, let’s step in a time machine and see where my blog took us last year… [Cue wibbly lines, soft focus and harp music]

Last year, I blogged 56 times and racked up a little over 18,000 page views. I’m pretty sure 16,500 of those belonged to K, who has promised to throw me a party when I hit 200,000, so keep up the good work, K! My most popular posts have been, far and away, my Neville Longbottom series (which hopefully I will bring back when I get a little more free time for reading (after January?), and, worryingly, this post about Jedward. In fact, “Jedward” is the most popular search keyword that leads to my blog. Thanks, Google.

The Search Keywords section of my blog stats is actually my favorite part of blogging. At first, it was mostly people looking for porn, who would disappointingly end up at my Korean Spa post after searching for things like “women naked in showers together,” but as I posted more, they varied and in July, I started keeping track of my favorites in a little segment I like to call “Search Term of the Day.” Here are my favorites from 2010:
  • they told me i could be anything i wanted so i became a god
  • Do Black people go to Spa World?
  • married neighbor hitting on me
  • jedward фото
  • gilbert blythe is my imaginary boyfriend
  • buffalo check Wikipedia
  • mike the headless chicken
  • Food choice gives me anxiety
  • i had to poop in a bag
  • jedward without stupid hair

They are less exciting now, almost exclusively relating to Jedward, Harry Potter, and Dima Bilan. But I still get that friendly reminder when I log in that people on the internet have filthy, filthy minds. Here is a list of today’s terms, for instance:


I don’t even know what regalia vodka is.



It makes me a little sad that my Jedward and Neville Longbottom stuff is so popular, because the posts that I like most from last year are not the most popular, nor the ones that were carefully planned and edited. Rather, these were spontaneous reactions to semi-disastrous situations, like the washing machine flooding, or my pet fish dying. You can’t plan for that shit! Sometimes, life just happens, and the best thing you can do is to laugh about it with everyone you know.

I can’t say that I hope that 2012 brings as much excitement as 2011 did, because I’m really, really tired right now. But when it inevitably does, I’ll be here to tell you about it.