Four Small Words

Recently, my little state of NJ I call my home had a blizzard. Ah, got to love the strangeness of the seasons. I thought January was the dead of winter.

I was scheduled to work on that day and still had every intent of going. Some people didn’t exactly agree, however. No one in my household supported me going. Two questioned why I’m willing to endure a snowstorm to attend work, but not school (because my job pays me), and one even had the nerve to say something is wrong with me (this same person had to stay home from yesterday night because he got sick from being too drunk, and that’s not the first time; you can guess how seriously I took his opinion). The last of those three tried again to make his vague threat of not picking me up or dropping me off. A threat is not really a threat when you can get around it.

Yes, I know the weather was bad and potentially dangerous. I’m not suggesting they didn’t have a point (though they could’ve made it more tactfully). A small part of me felt bad for going because, as it turned out, if I’d stayed home, the manager on duty could’ve closed the store since I was the only cashier who came in (yes, we still got customers). Whoops! The joys of still learning how retail works. On top of that, she’d told me on the phone I didn’t have to come in, but I somehow missed that part. All I recall her asking is if I’m still coming in. If I’d heard her tell me I didn’t have to, I would’ve stayed home. Plus, I really would’ve loved to have stayed in bed like just about everyone else was probably doing!

So, why was I hellbent on going to work? I wasn’t. But I genuinely like being at my job, not so much because of what I do or how I get paid, but because being around my co-workers is a lot more pleasant than being around my family members. In the end, I worked for 9 1/2 hours that day (I was scheduled for 4 1/2), and I have no regrets because of one thing I got to hear from one of my (now former) supervisors: “I’m proud of you.”

To give some context, since the store was open, that supervisor decided to still come in. A broken down car resulted in him being two hours late, but he still came. I’d say he’s even more determined than I was because while a snowstorm wouldn’t stop me, my mode of transportation being dead would’ve been where I called it quits because I wouldn’t have seen another way. Anyway, when he came in, he came up to the register to see how I was doing and I mentioned I’d been there since morning. He already knew. I wasn’t surprised he knew I was there because he’d called the store three times and I’d answered every call. What I didn’t know was he knew how long I’d been there. Apparently, the first manager had told him. What followed was the quoted sentence.

It’s certainly not the first time that particular supervisor has praised me for what I’ve done, but in those situations, I’d asked for his opinion because I was anxious about if I’m really good at my job or not. On this occasion, I hadn’t asked. I was shocked to hear that come from him, especially since there wasn’t much of customer service to run since we had only a handful of customers. But it made my day and, besides the pride of doing my job, hearing him tell me that made enduring that weather to come to work worth the effort. Few times have I been so happy to have been born with a stubborn personality.

Maybe I still am crazy for going. Maybe people would call him crazy for still coming, in spite of having a broken down car. Maybe everyone who still worked that day is crazy for showing up. I can say with certainty if that ever happens again, I will opt to stay home, if only to let everyone else stay home too. But I really cannot say I wish it hadn’t happened or I regret I went. What he told me is going to stick with me.

Four small words. And they meant everything.

I’m Not Leaving

The last time I made a post like this, it was in December 2013, and I’m not linking it because all but one of those things are completely and wholly untrue now.

Recently, I started thinking about Disney’s upcoming, new Disney Princess, Moana. I plan to see it in theaters with my boyfriend and it will be the very first Disney Princess movie I’ve ever seen in theaters. What crossed my mind was if I’d acted on any of suicidal thoughts I’ve had in the past, that wish wouldn’t be becoming reality.

In truth, I have those thoughts more often than I feel comfortable admitting. I suppose it’s not really bad, but aside from my boyfriend and my best friend, the things I list are usually small. Video game series, television ones, art and stories I’ve created, even this blog. I’m happy to know these things. While I still hold the belief I’d prevent my existence if I could go back in time to do so, since I’m already here, I don’t want to leave.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with my self-worth and value as a member of society. I very much do, as I’m sure I’ve made evident. Even as I type this, those thoughts of if I’ll ever be more of a contributor than a tax burden are going through my head. Every so often, those thoughts do take over and become very powerful, but the upside is it usually passes within about two days. A very mentally painful two days, but two days nonetheless. It’s not enough to make me wish I wasn’t an adult or make me miss my childhood.

This past weekend, I was with my boyfriend and I realized I frequently call his house “home” when we’re together (“Are we going home after this?” “Who’s home?”). In the latter example, it might make sense because I’m asking who’s at his home, but the former example is obviously including myself. He’s fine with it, but that was the first time I caught myself doing that. I do feel at home with him, not only in his house, but in the state and city he lives. Not so much I’d dare venture around it alone, but enough to have no anxiety about ever going out there. If it were possible and I knew for sure I wouldn’t become homesick for the city I live in, I’d stay there for a week if he and his family allowed it.

I don’t have everything I want in life, but I’m happy because I do have what I wanted more than anything as a kid. I wanted to be surrounded by people who love and care about me. The “surrounded” part doesn’t exist in a physical sense, but I feel it’s there. I never cared if it was a huge team of people. Him and my best friend really are enough (although that doesn’t mean I’d be closed to more). I wanted to go on trips like I did as a kid. I go out of town, out of state, to visit him and it’s a lot more fun than the same museum five times in a row. I wanted another place to call home. I found it.

I’ll keep trying, particularly since I can’t do much else, but I’m not completely unhappy with where I’m at now. I understand things do happen slowly. It certainly took a lot of friends to find my best friend, and a lot of bad dates and relationships to reach my boyfriend. It only makes sense it’ll take a lot of missed jobs to finally find one. I still did score an interview, so that’s something. At least, I know I’m worth being considered.

I’m not happy to be alive, meaning I’d still have preferred not existing to begin with, but I am happy to have things and people in my life that make it not so bad.

Lying Versus Lying

Not all of my family members know I have a boyfriend, and the few who do have never met him. The reason for this much of my family is racist and I don’t feel my boyfriend deserves that. This means more often than not, I’m not honest with them about where I may be going with him or what I’m doing. In short, I lie. Yes, I know lying is wrong and I’d never claim it’s not. However, while I’ll admit my own lying is as wrong as others, it seems some people disagree.

What prompted this post is I had a certain relative told me if I have to lie to do something, I shouldn’t do it. The problem here is this same relative also regularly lies and has been doing it for years on end to keep multiple relationships hidden, not from family, but from the people he has those relationships with. When I brought that up on one occasion, his argument was that’s a different matter. I’m not claiming to be any less wrong than him, but I fail to see how lying to double-cross people is better than lying to see your partner and keep them away from your family.

In fact, to one of my family members, my boyfriend’s race does not exist. To him, there are white (Caucasian) people and black (African-American) people. That’s it. No other race exists to him. He refuses to acknowledge there are many more than two races in existence. I do not feel guilty about keeping my boyfriend away from him, even if it is through lying. While I’m on the subject, this same family member is also guilty of lying for the purpose of starting family drama and getting other family members angry with each other.

I’ve had some people tell me I should be honest anyway and my family would come around, but I know this is not true. My best friend shares the same race my boyfriend does, my family has known her for five years at this point, and they continue to be hateful and distrustful of any person of that race. I’ve had to stop them from making racist comments within earshot of her because they believe being in the next room means she can’t hear them. If meeting my best friend multiple times in five years isn’t enough for them to come around, why would meeting my boyfriend be any different?

Another reason I know this is purely about race is when I was with an ex who is the same race, my family had absolutely no objections whatsoever. None. There was no care for where I was going or what I was doing with this person. Only the time I’d return would be in question and that’s merely because my family knows it’s unlike me to stay out after night falls. They never met him because that relationship was short-lived, but I told them everything and got no arguments. Yet the second I mentioned my boyfriend’s race to answer where he’s from when they asked, suddenly, there were a thousand terrible things about him. They didn’t even know his name.

Sometimes, I’m not sure if I will ever tell my family the truth. They may not ever meet my boyfriend and while that does make me sad, it’s a possibility I’m okay with. Maybe it’s the behavior of a teenager, but I’d rather keep our relationship hidden than let him be exposed to that. I’ve told my boyfriend about their racist beliefs, so he knows why I refuse to let him meet them and he’s unsurprisingly fine with it.

When I think about this and read all of this post over, I feel like I’m justifying my own lying, which is the same as what the relatives I mentioned above do. Perhaps I am justifying it and excusing myself. I can’t say I don’t feel like it’s justified, if only because I’m not trying to cheat on my partner or start family problems where there are none. Yet, aside from the one time I tried to explain the hypocrisy, I keep my mouth shut because I still don’t feel I’m right in calling them out on their lying when I also lie.

Life Is Hard…Isn’t It?

Yes, it is, but for the sake of this question, let’s say it’s more in the middle. It’s not easy or hard. It’s just average.

When I was a pre-teen and starting to drift into adolescence, there was a time I feared becoming an adult. After spending every year of my life from the time I could speak complete sentences spouting how much I can’t to be grown up, that desire turned into one of fear. It seems when you’re a teenager, people love to pound into your head being an adult spells the end of any amount of fun in your life. That’s not an exaggeration in the slightest. I lost count of how many adults told me as a teenager, and a very impressionable one at that, how 18 essentially marked the end of any fun, pleasure, and joy. Telling me I had no choice in the matter, despite it already being a fact, did not help either. That only served to make me paranoid and further push me into a depression I was already struggling with.

I view it similar to how some people may speak about parenthood. Similar to the above, I heard countless times that having a child meant your life was over. Yet, the same people who said this either already had a child or asked why someone else didn’t want any. Gee, why wouldn’t I want any kids after hearing for 5+ years they spell the end of my life before I could even feel like I lived it? Yes, I know why people say this to teenagers, but the memory of those words don’t exactly vanish after age 18.

My frustration here is it’s apparently mature to make your life as hard and joyless as possible and I want to know why. Why do some adults push children and teenagers into believing adulthood means you never have fun again? Why is 18 treated as a magic age where you’ll suddenly know all the answers and you’ll do a 180 into an all-knowing, always serious person with no joy or empathy? I heard so many times during my adolescence that nobody cares about your hardships as an adult, yet I find more people care now than when I was a child! More people listen to me now! Not everyone, but more.

More so, what’s wrong with not wanting your life to be hard? Many people see someone who doesn’t want a certain responsibility – parenthood, the top of a career, etc – as lazy, lacking ambition, and a perpetual child. Why? Would it be better if they did those things and screwed it up? Why is a relatively lax life seen as a bad thing? If life is not supposed to be a competition, why the need to one-up someone else with who has it harder? If everyone is doing what they need to do, making their way, and managing in life, who cares who’s more tired than who? Everybody’s tired at some point. Go to bed.

Now, I’m not saying people shouldn’t be acknowledged and appreciated. If someone has worked 72 hours in a row, I’ll have more sympathy for their exhaustion than someone whose only exercise was getting out of bed once a day for the last week (assuming said person is mentally and physically healthy). I’m saying if life is hard, why make it harder if you don’t want to? Where’s the maturity in pushing yourself to the brink of exhaustion everyday because someone sees you as a child if you don’t? Most of all, where did this “adults don’t have fun” concept come from to begin with? If adults don’t have fun, why do R-rated movies and TV-MA rated shows exist? Why do bars and wineries exist? Why do nightclubs exist? I hope no kid is plastered on the dance floor at 2 AM!

The reverse is true as well. Adults also make Disney, toys, and video games. What I described above is not my favorable scene, so I stick to PG-rated fun. My bedroom looks like a child’s paradise and society can have my stuffed animals when they pry them from my cold, dead arms!

Unless your goals in life amount to being an axe murderer, or something similarly heinous, whatever you want to do with your life is fine. Aiming to travel to all the continents in the world? Good luck! I hope you get to them all safely! Comfortable in your hometown and like spending your days off at home? Cool! Me too! It feels great to kick your feet back, doesn’t it?

Unless you have the luck and privilege of being born into a very wealthy family, life is going to be hard in some way. Unless you want to, don’t make it harder than it has to be. Really, it’s not necessary.

Dreams Change

I feel like I may have talked about this already, but I can’t find it in my archives, so maybe I haven’t.

Something I’ve noticed happen to me over the years is many things I used to long for aren’t desires anymore. In fact, most of my long-term desires are very simple. I’m not sure if it’s happened because I’ve become a cynic or if it’s a result of growing up and learning to be more realistic about both my own limits and life in general.

The best example of this is from when I was a child. One of the most common questions children are asked is, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” My answer was always, “I want to be an animal doctor.” When I learned how to say “veterinarian”, I would answer with that to sound more adult-ish.

Naturally, as a child with a very limited view of the world at the time, I assumed being a veterinarian was little more than checking ears and eyes, and occasionally giving shots to animals just as my doctor did to me, a human. I thought the only difference between playing “doctor” with my stuffed animals and being a doctor of real ones would be the animals are alive.

That childhood dream only lasted until 7th grade, when I finally learned being a veterinarian, and a doctor in general, is much more complicated than it looked in my childish eyes. You have to go to school for a very long time and it’s not cuteness and cuddling the pets most of the day. Of course, nobody told me that before I learned it from science class and the internet. Many people would deem someone cold-hearted, at least, for potentially crushing a child’s dreams. I can’t say if being told earlier what I learned later on would’ve been better, but I’m certain I would’ve recovered from the shock.

I’ve had several other dreams and desires change or fall away entirely due to learning the realism of them: owning a house, having a huge career, having children (yes, I did want children at one point; before I hit 12), certain jobs, and even having a garden, which I previously wrote was my biggest dream.

Some people may say it’s lazy or lacking motivation to change or not go after your dreams for reasons like not wanting to continue school, but I think it’s smart. Let’s face it. Everyone is not cut out for everything. It’s not so much I no longer want these things as it is I now know what I’m capable of handling and what I’m not. To use the veterinarian example again, I’m sick of school. Absolutely sick of it. Graduating high school felt like being released from a 14-year long prison sentence. I was so fed up with school, my family had to put constant pressure on me to attend college and while I did go, it didn’t work out since I had no clue what I wanted to study nor did I want to be there. It would make no sense to put myself through 8+ more years of schooling when I’m so fed up with school, having the debt I’ve obtained is preferable. Add to that I’m very squeamish, sensitive, and get disgusted at the sight of fictional blood and waste, and it wouldn’t make any sense whatsoever to pursue any kind of career in medicine, let alone one as a veterinarian. Let’s also not forget schooling is very expensive. I’d wring myself out like a towel if I went through even one year of medical school and realized I wasn’t cut out for it.

Does that mean I’m not willing to work, and work hard, for anything? Absolutely not. There are some things I still want, despite knowing what it’ll take to get them, and am very much willing to work toward. In fact, I have one of those things. At some point, I decided I was ready for and wanted a relationship, and after two years of bad dating and a little bit of luck, I found a very happy one with a wonderful person. Considering the stories I’ve heard, it seems I got off easy with that, but I sure don’t feel that way, especially since my naïveté led to me having the worst sexual experience of my life.

It only means I know myself better and I’ve discarded dreams that are not reality as I believed they were. I know the difference between the fantasies in my head and what I’ll need to do in reality, and have decided the reality isn’t worth it. If whatever path I go down leads to some of those discarded dreams returning, I’ll reconsider them and for that reason, I stay open to the possibilities. For now, however, they are not active desires, and the desires and dreams I do have remain much more simplistic and generic.

Drama-ix Club

It’s funny now that I’ve left the Winx fandom, I have so much to say about it. Granted, it is all related to my own experiences.

Since I began talking to my friends within the fandom, I’ve been considering rejoining the fandom. I do miss having a lot of people to talk with about the show and I miss when my main Tumblr blog was about 75% Winx posts. I surfed through the archive of that blog one day and at one point, I was regularly posting things related to Winx Club. I made a lot of small edits and took a lot of screenshots just for the sake of having fun and posting in the fandom. I can’t deny it’s a period I miss.

However, I’ve ultimately decided against returning. It’s a little lonely without the fandom, but it’s drama and stress with them. Now that I’m out of the fandom and looking at it from the outside, I’m beginning to wonder if there were some warning signs I missed that the fandom was beginning to tumble. One example from the top of my head is a user who would get angry and offended if you made any comment about the show they didn’t agree with that happened to be on a post of theirs. I once commented the group’s new style of civilian wear hadn’t yet grown on me and this person snapped at me. I still don’t see how “This style still hasn’t grown on me. I hope it does eventually,” is an offensive or even negative comment, but apparently, it is. I’ve begun to feel like that should’ve been a hint for me something was changing in the fandom.

It’s a way I used to behave as well. I grew out of it over time, but supposedly, the Winx fandom is composed of older fans, so maybe it is acceptable within that fandom. That’s odd to me because I recall someone saying they hope the nostalgic people will welcome newcomers to the fandom and while it’s only my opinion, I’d be more inclined to turn away from a new fandom if I saw people accusing others of being hateful, blinded, or biased because of nostalgia than because some people didn’t like the newer stuff. Some Disney fans don’t like any Disney movie beyond 2010, but I’m still part of the Disney fandom, to the point I wish Moana would hurry up and be released already! 😆

Speaking of newcomers, that’s another problem that’s recently come to mind. The people who make the “nostalgic and biased” argument assume anyone who likes the older seasons best (1 -3 or 1 -4) only feels that way out of nostalgia, but what about the fans who did not grow up with the show? I first saw Winx Club at 10 years old, but I didn’t watch it regularly. The most I saw on TV were a few episodes from the middle of the second season.  Yes, I liked the show and thought it was cute, but I didn’t really get into the show so heavily until I was about 16 or 17 after I’d watched all of the available seasons at that time on the internet. I’m now 22 years old. How the heck can I “grow up” with something in five to six years, especially considering the show wasn’t airing in America for two or three of those years? I’m positive I didn’t jump out of my mother’s womb as a teenager in 2010 unless I was somehow reincarnated and all my memories pre-2010 are from a past life.

Some of my friends are also friends with those people in the fandom and that’s probably the biggest reason I will not rejoin. I am not a homewrecker. I’m not going to make waves, potentially get into arguments with those people, and possibly put my friends into the awkward position of who to side with or, worse, staying neutral about it (you are only allowed like the old and new stuff if you prefer the new stuff over the old stuff; there is no neutrality or equality. You must pick a side and if you pick the wrong side, you’re toast). That’s why I’ve also decided to let go of that incident that happened back in March. I hate that person for what she did, but she’s the friend of one of my friends in the fandom (something I didn’t discover until recently). My friends’ other friendships mean more to me than my feelings and I refuse to risk wrecking someone’s friendship because their friend wronged me. That doesn’t make me any better. I’d only be hurting someone I care about for the sake of getting revenge on someone else. That’s not how you treat your friends!

I’ll keep asking periodically what’s going on and if there’s anything new because my interest in Winx hasn’t diminished, but rejoining the fandom is out of the question. If this whole “you only dislike the new stuff because you’re blinded and biased from nostalgia” blows over, I may reconsider. I was even thinking about creating a “holding blog”, so to speak, in case I ever do change my mind. For now, however, the answer to whether or not I’ll rejoin is an absolute no.