i am actually capable of doing things myself

Horizon Zero Dawn and Cultural appropriation: A very different view.

For the first time EVER, I’m sitting on the other side of a discussion about appropriating native culture.  Why?  Well, let me lay the framework.

First off, I’m not a guy who “knows a Native American” or has a “Native friend”  I am a 100% Anishinabe (Ojibway) dude who lives on reserve and has fought racism, stereotypes, pan-Indianism, and cultural appropriation fiercely for as long as I can remember. I’ve been the victim of horrendous racial violence as a child, adolescent, and adult, and I’m also a gamer.

I am the first to point out anything that smacks of any of the above and after I saw the Dia Lacina essay on “Horizon: Zero Dawn” being culturally insensitive and appropriating Native culture, I felt for the first time in a situation like this that I had to say something in rebuttal.

Lacina takes issue with the use of the words Tribal, Primitive, Braves, and Savage being used in the game (fyi they’re used to describe predominantly white people in game and they’re White words we didn’t use to describe ourselves thus I claim no ownership of, nor want to, anymore than I want to be a redskin, Indian or Wahoo)  

It seems (IMO) that most of her beef comes from an apparent belief that numerous aspects of generic tribal culture that appear in the game (making clothing from skins, hunting with spears and bows, living in a Matriarchal society, etc) are the sole domain of the Native American and just to be safe and cleverly keep her POV less subject to scrutiny, she applies it even more broadly to indigenous people world wide (I will just refer to us in particular as NA cuz I’m lazy and I also don’t refer to myself as a Native American) and basically that anything that is remotely “tribal” shouldn’t be used in gaming without our or someone else’s permission.

 In fairness, I don’t know if she’s actually played the game but as someone who is currently in the midst of doing exactly that, I can tell you that I have a pretty good idea of what stuff triggered her being upset and why, and while I absolutely respect her right to get offended by whatever she likes, and she makes excellent points about some other games, I am going to point out that there are flaws with this logic.

First of all, the basics: HZD is set in a post-post-apocalyptic future where people are living in tribal groups in a very destroyed world.  Machines exist but as hybrid animal/dinosaur type creatures and technology is pretty much non-existent in day to day human life.  

The heroine of the story is a red haired, white girl named Aloy who lives as an outcast with her adopted father, Rost.  Without giving a lot away, they are fiercely shunned by the local tribe for something Rost did and also the fact that Aloy is motherless.  

Impressively and rightly, though somewhat dismissively remarked upon by Lacina, is the way women and especially women of color are portrayed so positively in-game as this particular tribe is a total Matriarchy run by elders of various ethnicity.  African, Asian, White, and a variety of undefined people of color are common everywhere in the game.  (The leader of one band of warriors is a very fierce, commanding, intelligently portrayed black woman with a powerful presence.)  It reflects a fairly global society from a “skin color” perspective without any horrible accents or broken speech.

They worship an “All-Mother” goddess and their culture is (at least how I saw a lot of it) fairly heavy on European i.e. Celtic, Germanic, Scandinavian, etc type symbolism and the rest is filled in with mostly generic tribal-ish stuff that you could find in countless cultures around the world.

 I really didn’t get a “Native American” vibe off the game.  Of course, I don’t automatically presume to claim sole ownership of things like tribal life, hunting with bows and spears, and worshiping spirits of various elements solely for my own.  Random fact: Because there are over 500 distinct First Nations in N. America, we, believe it or not, didn’t all ride horses, live in tipis, use bows and arrows, tobacco and sage, and worship Eagles and Wolves.  Why? Well…use your brain.  Tobacco and Sage don’t grow EVERYWHERE, horses came over with the Europeans (and if you saw where I live you couldn’t have and cant for the most part get a horse through the bush if you tried) Eagles and Wolves don’t live EVERYWHERE….get the point?  Anyways….

If you examine Rost, he like most of the men has a braided beard and other seemingly Viking/Middle Ages inspired features, is white, speaks clear, unbroken English, and is a loving, protective and very positive role model for the girl.   Aloy for her part, is also fairly Viking-esque (to the point of looking incredibly like Lagaertha from the show Vikings but with red hair) also Egrit from GoT, and is no damsel in distress who needs men to save her. NOWHERE in the game have I encountered any Tipis, wigwams, Sweatlodges, or Non-White people speaking in stereotypical “Me smoke-um peace pipe, He go dat-a way” fashion.

The  opening cinematic is very touching (and long) as we see the orphaned Aloy as a baby in Rost’s care being carried around in a bundle on his back (which pretty much every culture did in one form or another at some point in time) and him ultimately taking her to the spot where a child of the tribe receives it’s name.

I really liked this idea as it isn’t often portrayed in a lot of mediums outside of stereotypical “Dances With Wolves” bullshit. Also, naming ceremonies are not the sole domain of NA people and what occurs bears zero resemblance to any NA ceremony I know of.  (It was actually a little Lion King at one point lol) But it’s a powerful moment in the beginning with much more that occurs during it but I won’t spoil that either.

Aloy herself is a pretty complex character.  She’s extremely independent, defiant, and questions pretty much everything about why things are the way they are and wants to do something about it.  You actually begin playing her as a 6 year old which is pretty unique and even then she’s tough and fearless and determined to explore her world.  

She is in no way hyper-sexualized (I’m looking your way Overwatch) Her clothing and everyone else’s, is utilitarian and appropriate for the environments she lives in, and so far, I have not encountered anything with her or any other character that made me go “WTF?”and trust me, my radar for that shit is HIGHLY SENSITIVE.  This isn’t Avatar, people.  It’s not John Smith. It’s not The Great Wall or Pocahontas.  This isn’t white dude shows up and saves the helpless non-white people while helpless native woman falls in love with him stuff.  It’s a fictitious future where we maniacs blew it up, damn us all to hell!

But here’s the more annoying thing for me as an actual Anishinabe.  I don’t need people speaking for me or getting offended on my behalf.  I am very capable of doing that myself. I am also in no way writing this claiming to be speaking for any other NA people or persons. It’s based on my observations from actually playing HZD and examining the various fictional “cultural” elements in the game.

If you see a skin tied inside a hoop and automatically assume it’s a dreamcatcher” ripping off “our culture” (FYI Dreamcatchers are a 20th century thing whose popularity was a result of pan-Indianism that exploded in the 70s.) or if you see feathers on a spear or as part of a costume (nowhere is anyone wearing a single eagle feather in the back of a beaded headband or a Dakota looking headdress either) and automatically presume it to be ripping off NA culture, you’re REEEEEEEEEEALY reaching.  If you think caring for the environment, obeying matriarchs, worshipping elemental spirits, or making your own clothes is solely the property of NA culture, see previous statement.

By all means get offended.  Get offended by Chief Wahoo.  Get offended by the Washington Redskins.  Get offended that thousands of Native women have been murdered or gone missing and nothing’s been done about it.  Get offended by Johnny Depp or Robert Beltran playing Native people instead of actual Native people getting those roles.  Get offended by shit like Adam Sandler’s “Ridiculous 6” where a native woman is called a “hot piece of red prairie meat” or Depp’s “Lone Ranger” movie.

Get offended that my family was destroyed by the Residential Schools and that the 60s scoop took babies away from their families and people, that forced sterilizations took place and mass graves of dead Native children exist at former Residential School sites.

Don’t just jump on the I’m offended bandwagon because you saw some feathers or skins or spears or bows in a game and immediately grew indignant and wanted to claim them as OUR culture.  They’re not.  They’re almost globally universal in numerous cultures at various points in time.  Get offended, as she rightly mentioned, when the game Overwatch sexualizes the shit out of almost every female character and takes West Coast tribal art and makes a costume out of it.  

THAT is appropriation.  White people holding powwows in Europe (powwows are also pretty much not traditional and are extremely pan-Indian, not to mention full of us appropriating each other’s Native cultures ie. Dakotas wearing Jingle Dresses, Ojibway wearing Dakota regalia, etc) is appropriation.

This game……I’m just not seeing it the same way.  And I’m nobody.  I have no ties to Guerilla or anybody other than myself and my community.

Reminder: executive dysfunction is real.

I have a horrible, horrible time with it. I hate myself every day because of it. And I know it’s real, like medical research says it is, just like ADD, depression, and anxiety (all of which I also have). 

But I am terrified I will never be able to internalize that fact. I have spent my whole life feeling like a lazy failure and a piece of shit. Thinking I just don’t try hard enough, or apply myself enough. I can’t see how I’ll ever truly believe otherwise.

So I want to remind anyone else that has any of those: it’s real. You’re not a piece of shit. (At least not in this way.) I know it feels like your failing, but it’s not. I’m saying this because even if I’ll never be able to internalize that any of my mental illnesses/disorders are real, I can hopefully add to the effort to reinforce the truth. 

I’m also saying this because all of the above are primarily diseases of capitalism. Our society defines “illness” as “a thing that keeps you from producing economic value”. When the sole value of a structure (ie capitalism) is profit, even human beings are reduced to this. Who cares if you have valuable skills that aren’t monetizeable? Who cares if your disorders actually make you really good at some things, just not things you can get paid for? Unless you’re capable of producing economic value, nothing about your life is worthwhile. This is the culture we live in, and this is part of why there’s so much resistance to seeing mental illnesses as “real”. 

So, piss off a capitalist, and believe that the things you experience because of mental illness/disorder are real. 

anonymous asked:

im pretty sure the LGBT post Is an exasperated joke on how people focus on just the gay and lesbian part and forget all about bi, trans etc people :0

Hey there, Anon. Gee whiz, you’ve opened my eyes to what you’re “pretty sure” is going on there. Thanks for splaining, I clearly never was bright enough to realize. My bad, and I apologize on behalf also of every other person who ever felt discomfited by this, we are Wrong and you are Right.

Not to snark off at just you specifically–this is a trend I’ve noticed repeatedly, and your message is simultaneously an example and an opportunity to respond/examine.

Basically, every single time I express individual dislike of something–be it a character, a meme, piece of media, etc–some person feels the need to crawl out of the woodwork and tell me that I just don’t *understand.* Clearly if I understood, I’d agree with them and be amused/fond. The only possible reason for me (a grown adult with a strong identity and advanced degrees) to have an opinion different from someone else, is that I am 2 Dum to comprehend the object a lot of people enjoy.

People have agency. They have preferences. They have backgrounds and viewpoints. Not every decision is so very cut-and-dried that the only way someone could disagree with you is if they are stupid or ill-informed.

Rest assured, dear friends. I am capable of reading comprehension and contextual interpretation. I also know my own mind well enough to decide for myself that I don’t enjoy this meme even if other people do (and that’s fine! have your damn Babadook! Enjoy it! Fun is good!), and since explanation is to y'all’s minds required for every little thing, let me tell you why I dislike it, besides sheer boredom.

Yeah, this post that you think and suspect is probably not actually anti-bi/trans inclusion (you aren’t, like, sure, but you feel the need to come to my inbox about it Sooooooo…)? If it IS deliberately meant to highlight and protest the frequency of my erasure (debatable), it’s doing so not by parodying or interrogating it, but by enacting it. In a seamless fashion which is identical to the ways in which the #LG community at large pretty often does it “for real”. (What makes it real versus unreal? Performative versus factual? Where do you get to decide the division lies, in your personal guesses?)

Or, as my partner would put it… “You’re calling attention to the thing by doing the thing.”

It is on a literal level removing what you refer to as “etc” just as much as us “etc” are usually removed, and don’t even get me started on how my Q, A, and other “etc” are frequently dropped from everything as well. This creates an ambiguity which makes it cease to function as commentary–because how are you to say that we, the multiple queer people reblogging with the comment that it makes us uncomfortable, and the mutliple others that I’ve spoken to about it, aren’t “really” being excluded from this community joke about excluding us?

Yes, even if you are a queer person within that “etc” who likes it. Fine. You are allowed to like it. It’s not a law or a purity test.

But this queer, bi person isn’t compelled to agree with you.

And that’s not even touching the other part of it–the other day when I complained, quietly, on my own blog, about not enjoying seeing my letter given to an actual literal monster, a person decided they needed to splain me about the Very High-Level Niche Concept of queer monstrosity and its long history.

(If you don’t follow me, folks, my blog is basically one long parade of queer monsters, as is my fiction both fan and original.) 

I know that queer monstrosity is a thing.

Yeah, sure, Gay Babadook is a play on queer monstrosity. But think about “Gay Babadook Is The B.“ I personally felt, and feel, disappointed because to be supplanted in this particular manner reminds me of the fact that we bisexuals are often made into monsters among the monsters, disliked and mistrusted in the community we are perforce a part of. It’s not critical of that stance.

Frankly with this conversation, I’ve seen more people fussing for the Very Important universal acceptance of the Babadook meme than for the universal acceptance of the small subset of queer folks who have quietly mentioned that we feel disappointed and alienated by its specific usages relating to us.

Like that. Thank goodness you’re all defending the entity that matters with your #jokes, I guess. :-/

What I’m finding lately is that if my mind is not otherwise occupied, I frequently find myself getting caught up in the current of my inner monologue. I have a lot of trouble not running hypothetical scenarios. I catch myself playing out conversations and situations in my head constantly. I replay moments from my day, imagining different outcomes. I even think of things I would like to do or places I would like to visit and imagine what it would feel like to be there. I work through decisions that I need to make in this way too, ruminating over all possible consequences. I have to actively realize that I am doing it, ground myself and try to quiet my mind of the noise. If I’m not careful, I can spend hours in this state. While I actually quite admire my ability to see things from many different angles and the scope and capabilities of my innermost thoughts, I sometimes wish that I was able to live more in the present and be in the moment instead of imagining all that has been or could be.
—  Submitted by mailboxslayer
Star of Discovery Tarot Spread

The Star of Discovery is a spread from the book Tarot Shadow Work by Christine Jette, and as you can imagine, it’s geared toward discovering your shadows. It is designed to be used with the twenty-two major arcana cards. The significance of the card positions are as follows:

Position One - Denial: What negatives or positives do people point out to me that I have trouble accepting? This is where you will discover denial. What does position one represent in your life? What problems or conditions would you rather avoid? What are you afraid of discovering? What might be your “blind spot” that blocks growth? What talents and abilities are you hesitant to develop? What are you holding back? What compliments make you uncomfortable? 

Position Two- Anxiety: When do I get nervous, anxious, touchy, or sensitive with others? Here you will discover your anxiety. What loss do you fear? 

Position Three - Inferiority: When do I most lack confidence? Here you will discover your inferiority. What does position three represent in your life? What event or situation from the past may have caused this shadow to grow? Did your parents play a role in this feeling?

Position Four - Anger: What qualities do I most dislike or have the most difficulty dealing with? The answer is the key to discovering your anger and/or rage. Anger is fear in disguise and you may find yourself most uncomfortable with position four. 

Position Five - Secrecy: What do I rarely talk about with others? What are my secrets and my family secrets? What do you fear people will find out about you? What is your deepest, darkest secret? Would your life change? What from your past are you trying to hide, if anything? What secret does your shadow reveal?

Position Six - Self-Loathing: When I am most dissatisfied with myself? What do I need to discover? Did anything in childhood teach you to dislike parts of yourself? How often do you think/speak of yourself in a negative manner? 

In the book, there is an appendix that lists the concepts associated with the shadow aspect of each card, but referring to the card’s reversed meaning offers very similar elaborations. 

Keep reading if you’d like to see how my spread went with the Animalis Os Fortuna deck, which did a wonderful job by the way.  

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

i know this is probably weird but i really /really/ appreciate the way you frame and talk about Snape's abuse and how it affected the way he interacted with the world around him growing up, just thanks tbh because i see a lot of my younger self in snape, it's refreshing to see someone talk about a "bad" victim like they're likable and redeemable

there’s a lot of weird and problematic rhetoric surrounding abuse victims - in real life and in fandom - which perpetuates the idea that abuse somehow makes someone kinder/more compassionate because they suffered so much…. and implies that the abuse is somehow a GOOD thing because it makes that person kinder/more compassionate. and i so rarely see abuse victims in fiction who are what a lot of abuse victims can be in real life - mentally ill, stuck in the cycle, emotionally stunted, unable to form connections, and so on. abuse doesn’t make you pretty or good - it fucks you up. and if you grow pretty and good that’s honestly a miracle and it should be celebrated…. but it’s important to recognize that people who are still fucked up because of their abuse aren’t just “bad people”

because that’s the implication? that if you can’t recover or you relapse or you show that you were treated so terribly by someone that it still affects how you react to the world, then somehow you’re inherently bad because you couldn’t grow past your abuse. (the thing is: no one really does. some people just manage to hide it better than others.) and that’s such a toxic way to treat abuse survivors and such a terrible way to talk about a subject that’s already terrible. 

which is why - listen, i love harry potter. i would die on a battlefield for harry potter. but he is the child abuse story that’s familiar - the kid who gets abused by his relatives but is still so Good at Heart that he is kind and compassionate despite that. (and, some people might say, because of that.) and we see glimpses, here and there, of the affect his childhood had on him, but it always gets shoved down. 

but snape is the man he is because of his background - because of his abuse and his bullying. he didn’t grow away from his abuse - it’s still clearly affecting him and his behavior. and that’s so necessary! not just because we need to see more examples of people who don’t get nice because of their abuse - but because snape still manages to do good things - great things! - even though he’s not a “nice person.” snape was such a beacon of hope for me when i was a kid because i was just… mean and angry and petty and i couldn’t see anything light in myself. but snape was mean and angry and petty and he still was able to do good things. i needed a reminder that even at my worst i am capable of goodness. and people who haven’t “recovered” from their abuse in the “proper” way - i imagine that they need it too. 

i get finding snape problematic or reprehensible but i feel like fandom does such a great disservice when they don’t recognize how he can be not just a role model, but actually like… a good role model for kids who need someone who isn’t good or compassionate or kind. 

and i guess…. i’m not an abuse survivor. so if i ever tread on the topic in ways i shouldn’t, i’m happy for someone to let me know so i don’t make the same mistake again. 

To Ward haters

You probably shouldn’t read this if you know you are right about that Nazi douchebag who got what he deserved.

But if you want to hear why someone (in this case: me) might like him, relate to him and be still hurt over his death eight months later (disclaimer: not excusing), feel free to read.

To everyone else:

DO NOT READ THIS, PLEASE, IF YOU ARE IN A GOOD MOOD OR DO NOT WANT ANY UNNECESSARY DRAMA IN YOUR LIFE.


This is personal and was brought on by that Anti Ward post.


Do you ever scream in complete hopelesness and helplesness because you kind of wish you never watched this f*cking d*mn show - because then I could have stayed that naive and blisfully ignorant still?

Ten months ago I didn’t know a thing about victim blaming, rape apologists and double standards. Ten months ago I didn’t know a thing about “social justice” and “social justice warriors”. Ten months ago I didn’t know what “white cis male” meant and why it was an unforgivable crime to be born one.

I didn’t know that world was irreparably divided between “white” and “POC” - and Heaven forbid you dare to think otherwise. I didn’t know that world was even more irreparably divided between “men” and “women” - and Heaven forbid you dare to think that equality means, you know, equality.  (And if you think I’ve never been called names for my race, nationality, religion, gender and skin color, you’re wrong - I just never thought that all the people sharing the nation with the ones who offended me were the same. I have never thought in terms of “us” vs. “them” and no pursuit of social justice is going to convince me otherwise. I didn’t learn English language to be lectured about what and how I should believe in.)

In the last ten months I learned more than I wanted to know about abuse, brainwashing, cults, indoctrination and gaslighting.

I found out that humans can be capable of vicious bullying, tormenting and attacking all under the guise of having moral high ground. I found out that humans can be capable of not having even a shred of compassion, mercy or just plain any brains at all.

And no, having compassion is not equal to excusing, understanding is not equal to hand-waving the committed crimes, relating to someone is not equal to whitewashing the ugly and horrible things they do.

And yes. I relate to Grant Ward. No, not because I have suffered abuse or anything of the sort.

No, not because he’s hot and I’m silly fangirl ready to brush off everything bad he did. No, not because he’s a poor mistreated woobie and I’m a sucker for tragic sob stories™ and Freudian excuse™. No, not because he’s so misunderstood and I’m stupid to think that bad boys can be redeemed with Love™.

Have you ever had to admit that you are weak and you were wrong?

Have you ever felt shame and guilt - and known that a “sorry” can’t fix it?

Have you ever been so ashamed of yourself you couldn’t do something as simple as just apologize because the words were stuck in your throat and you wished you never existed?

Have you ever felt regret - and have to live knowing that you will not be forgiven and don’t have even a chance to try and apologize?

Have you ever went along with a peer pressure - and you despised yourself for that cowardice - and you were terrified when you asked yourself “what else am I capable of doing - in just the right circumstances and with just the right persuasion?”

Have you ever thought that 

you weren’t worth anything, that what you said or did didn’t have any meaning?

Have you ever felt hate? Not anger, not rage, not fury, hate? The one where you wanted everyone to suffer just so they would understand? The one where you wanted the whole world indiscriminately to burn? The one that left you unable to breathe, to sleep, to enjoy life because somewhere that person simply is?

Have you ever been despised and had people be disgusted with you? And you did what you could to turn their contempt into hate - because it was more bearable that way?

Have you ever despised yourself - but wished more than anything, wished despite knowing that you don’t deserve it that someone will be able to understand you? Not excuse, not forgive, just say “I understand”?

Have you ever hated yourself - for all of the above? Hated for even having this kind of thoughts, this kind of feelings? Because good people don’t have such thoughts, don’t have such feelings. Good people forgive, good people stay good no matter their hardships, good people always choose good, good people are above such behavior.

Have you ever been told to handle it, get a grip of yourself, you don’t even have an excuse of having trauma to be like that, you think you’ve suffered - don’t be ridiculous, it’s whiny little kid’s complains compared to what other people lived?


Sometimes I think I would have been better off have I not watched this stupid show. And haven’t found out that people can be so blind and self-righteous in their judgment and deciding who gets to be called good upstanding moral heroic people and who gets to be called Nazi apologists, rape apologists and generally horrible people who should be locked away from normal people.

My faith in humanity was destroyed then I’ve first read the anti SWW posts. I’m totally serious. I had a nervous breakdown and spent a month in a haze. Since then I had to rearrange my whole worldview and I’m sure I haven’t exactly succeeded.

*you can start laughing now*

Then again

at least one good thing came out of it. I met Grant.

And SWW. And I found out that I’m actually capable of forgiveness, that I’m capable of letting go of my decade-long grudges, that I’m capable of being who I am, that I’m capable of accepting myself, that I’m capable of forgiving myself for being human.

And it’s all because of him. You know, that Nazi thundercunt who died alone on an alien planet, died slowly and painfully and hated by everyone.

So, if liking Grant Ward makes me a horrible person, Nazi, misogynist, racist and whatever else it was, please, do continue thinking so, be my guest.

But you can’t make me feel ashamed for liking him, finding something worth respect in him, finding something worth in him, period.

I believe in Grant Ward.

And it doesn’t matter that he’s dead.

Real talk about FE14

I can’t believe people are freaking out about being able to marry “your siblings”.
Okay let’s get one thing straight. Let’s say I was playing Nohr and I want to marry Marx, so I do. I , a living person with the capability to distinguish reality from fiction, know that incest is wrong on so many levels. I see the avatar as myself, as most people do, and I am not related to anyone in the game. I am just someone who finds attractive characters with certain personalities marriage material. Those characters may be part of the two Royal families in the game, families that I am actually not a part of because I don’t live in this fantasy world.

NOBODY PLAYING THE GAME IS RELATED TO ANY CHARACTER WHAT SO EVER. Stop trying to ruin other people’s fun by telling them that marrying someone from the Royal families is wrong.

5 Things (6/28/15)

1. I’ve gone off my antidepressant. About three weeks ago, I talked to my therapist about giving it a shot. It was never the plan to be on them forever, but use them to buoy me why I practiced other ways to manage my PTSD and grief. My therapist agreed that we could give it a shot noting that should this go poorly, the medications would still be there. I could always go back if I really needed to go back. I stopped taking them. 

So far, so good. 

Two and half weeks off my meds, and the biggest problem I have is not being able to tell if I’m “normal sad” or “girl-grab-them-pills sad”. I don’t remember the true weight of all of my gears. Were my legs always this heavy when I got out of bed in the morning? Did I always love cooking this much? Since when do pictures of my brother make me cry? 

My therapist says some of this is normal, the way any person would react to everyday moments in their very stable life. Sometimes she says, “Ashley, there’s no such thing as the cup of coffee or the perfect amount of sadness.” I challenge her and say I’ve had the perfect cup of coffee. I’m lying. I prefer tea. She ignores me.

“Take your time, and live your life this way. You’re doing everything right. You’ll know when or if it gets too bad, and you’ll know what to do. Pills aren’t always the answer. There’s no perfect pill either.”

2. Last week was the busiest, most productive, but awful week I’ve had in a long time. There were so many assignments, and I took them all on. I’ve been full-time freelancing for two months, but I’m still finding my limits. I had a long text conversation with a friend about my fear of disappointing people, and what to do when it inevitably occurs. She gave me some good advice about accountability and being careful of my reputation. 

I’m trying. I am not always succeeding, but I’m trying. I could make a list of all the things I don’t do enough, and it would be a long list, but it would also be the wrong list to spend my time writing. So, I choose to focus on what I’ve done right, and lucky me, there’s always been at least on thing I’ve done right. Even it’s 1 thing in a100, I cling to to that one thing and remind myself I did good once. I am capable of making a good decision. Everyone once in a while, it actually works.

3. Today, I spent an hour in bed writing down what I want in the second half of this year. It was an indulgent list. I am learning to indulge myself. You are welcome to join me.

4. Read this.

5. You know what kind of pisses me off? When people say they don’t cheat on their partner because they “couldn’t live with the guilt”. What is that statement, really? I mean, fuck your guilt. We’re all capable of doing terrible things and convincing ourselves that our actions were justified. Everybody has something deep and dark and buried, something they’ve convinced themselves no one could know and still love them, something they forgotten whether or not it actually happened because they’ve been lying to themselves for too long about. Victimization is not a feeling, but if you convince yourself you were the victim, the ghost of that feeling might visit you in your sleep, and the memory of the dream might linger. 

Rationalization is our most human superpower. It is easier than you think to tell a lie and not feel guilty. It is even easier to lie, feel the guilt, and let it pass. You’ve done it before and you will do it again, only hopefully, not over something as bad as cheating on the person you love. So no, it won’t be the fear of how YOU would feel if you cheated that keeps you from doing it, it’s going to have to be your fear of what THEY would feel that keeps you in check. 

Listen, you don’t really trust yourself. You know yourself. You know every fucked up thing you’ve ever done. You know what you’re hiding, and you know that most days, it doesn’t feel that bad at all. You barely remember. But the person who loves you–if they’re the right person–trusts you. They trust you in a way you could never trust yourself because there’s always something they don’t know you’re capable of because you can’t even admit it to yourself. You don’t cheat and you do it for them. You don’t cheat because there’s a chance they could find out, and no matter how you feel about yourself, you’d never want to take that trust away from them. 

I’ve been cheated on once, and I’ve cheated once. 

Ask me which one hurt the most.

In college I was at my heaviest weight and I used to basically only eat fast food like it was cool, I would joke about how I didn’t get my body eating carrots and that water was for the fish. I would always moo at myself and I thought it was funny and my friends always told me I shouldn’t treat myself that way but I laughed it off because I basically thought that I was just a big fat funny cow.

I look back now and can’t believe I ever hated myself that much, or that I actually thought I was doing myself a favor by being so self deprecating.

I have so much more confidence and self love now that I am smaller but surprisingly enough that’s not because of my size at all. It’s because I have totally surprised myself with how capable and driven I am. I can do things, physically and mentally now that I never dreamed I could and that has so much more power than the size of my clothes.

I wish I was as self aware then as I am now. I feel like I cheated myself out of some great memories. People think I suddenly became happy and positive the day I fit into a single digit clothing size but they have no idea the amount of effort that went into changing my own mental state.

Skinny doesn’t equal happy. Putting hard work into something, believing in yourself and accomplishing a goal will tho. I used to think I wasn’t good at anything, that I had no talents and was just another person in the world.

Now, I feel like there isn’t anything I can’t do if I want it bad enough.