If you’re reading this letter, it’s time to say goodbye. And as this time has come, there is so much I want to say to you.
Early days Katrina
Since you’ve first come around, hard shell and full of layers, you were the person I always felt I wanted to know better. The mystery behind your serious demeanor made me wonder “who is that woman?” And, oh, Katrina, am I glad to have had the chance to find out, to have seen your fierceness, your strength, your vulnerability, your intelligence, your kindness, and, most of all, your loyalty.
Katrina, do you even realize how relatable you are? From everything like your migraine crisis to only having had one serious relationship that you broke both of your hearts, to putting you goals above everything else in life, I could see myself. As the girl whose life could never stop — who went through high school, college and grad school with migraines (and people would always stare and wonder how I wasn’t hidden under a blanket with the lights out) — and it still doesn’t, because, I swear on whatever’s sacred to me, I am writing this with my head throbbing after a day of sitting with my father during chemo, doing yoga, RPG, a doctor’s appointment — seeing you get through life and live it despite your crisis made me feel like less of an alien for not stopping everything because of it, it made me feel normal and inspired and it made me root for you even more.
Katrina ready to fight
Katrina, do you even realize how powerful you are? How with each layer of yourself you uncover you become more of a human we want to be best friends with? With your perfectionism — and I so wish we could have had time to see where that came from — your drive to succeed and your fierce fierce loyalty. Your personal moral standards and ethics above all — even yourself — but not above your friends. Do you realize how powerful that makes you? Someone who fights for the well being of others at all costs, even of herself?
In all these years, no one has deserved to have that name on the wall more than you have. From the time you were Louis associate, and when you worked for Zane, and then back at your firm, no one has shown more integrity. No one has shown more focus, more determination, more ethics. No one has set a clearer line they’re not willing to cross — and stayed within its margins — and yet, still managed to be the best lawyer, the best senior partner and the best friend anyone would want to have on their corner. You’re the one everyone respects!
You can try, but you won’t catch her by surprise.
Listen — now that you’ve got this — remember to give yourself the chance to live for yourself as well. All these years you’ve put your work, your friends, your conscience above your own happiness. And you know what? You deserve to be happy, too. This is merely a single step into a long life of happiness — that I hope you’ll allow yourself to have. Of success, but also of joy and dance and laughter and… love.
Katrina Bennett — no one — and I repeat no one — has worked harder to have their name on that wall. No one has sacrificed more for it. So, enjoy having BENNETT up on that wall. No one deserves it more than you do.
A lot can happen in that time. In 18 seconds a heart pumps 1.260 liters of blood. 77.4 babies are born. 43,881,462 emails are sent. Bill Gates earns $4500. (Source: https://www.omnicalculator.com/everyday-life/every-second).
In 18 seconds, you can fall in love. In all my skepticism that surrounds real life, I think it’s ludicrous to believe you could ever know someone enough to love them in such a short time. But with a world of life-like fictional characters? Yes, that is all it takes.
It took me 18 seconds of Scott Foley sobbing to a romantic comedy for me to love Whiskey Cavalier. I know because I looked. I wanted to know how long it had taken. By minute 24, I was sure: this was a show I needed in my life forever.
These shows don’t show up often. Sometimes, tv shows grow into becoming your favorites. Rarely, you start watching something and you feel that warm and fuzzies inside, the feeling that everything is as it should be, both in the show — which likely has characters that work together to create a perfect balance and an engaging plot — and outside it, in your own life, even when everything is very not.
When Whiskey Cavalier first came on air I was having a horrible reaction to a medication, one that made me have unbearable anxiety and daily panic attacks. This is something I never want to feel again and watching the show was the first time in a while I felt okay. I didn’t feel like the world was falling apart around me
Soon I took it to Twitter and I was met with such grace. I didn’t know how famous Lauren Cohen was until she replied to me like she was just a mutual. Ana Ortíz and Josh Hopkins — the two cast members I actually didn’t know before — were always so engaging and present — and David Hemingson, the creator, so great and thankful to have us with him.
My story doesn’t end there. It’s been 11 episodes, and they carried me through a suicide attempt and the aftermath of it of a close family member, the migraines that followed my lasik surgery that so many times incapacitated me to the point of not being able to stare at a screen (and I had to mostly stop live tweeting, which sucked), it was there with me through a huge personal accomplishment I can’t wait to share with you all.
11 weeks. Some of the craziest 11 weeks of my life. Some days I didn’t even know how I would get through them. I didn’t know how to get through the hour. My life has been so inconsistent that’s been terrifying. But they were there. Frankie. Will. Susan. Standish. Jai. Ray. Freaking Ray. Did we know we’d love him that much?
Sometimes, when I feel like I’m too emotionally exhausted to keep going, I try to listen to Susan’s pep talks in my head. I try to tackle life with Frankie’s badass fighting moves (Susan’s too — in heels). I try to handle every day with Will’s annoying positivity and Standish sense of humor. I try to do my art, my craft with Jai’s precision and talent. When I feel I’m failing, I focus on my shot of redemption like Ray.
If this isn’t giving life, what is? If this isn’t teaching, what is? If this isn’t what really what really matters, what is?
For the past 11 weeks, Whiskey Cavalier has been consistence. I’ve found a home, friends and solace in its existence in the world. At 24 minutes, I knew I wanted it forever. 13 weeks is not enough. I have so much more to learn. We all do. Life is hard enough for us not to have the shows that give us joy. It’s hard enough for all the darkness that’s out there. Whiskey Cavalier is light, and I’ll always fight for light. For fun. For laughter. For family.
So, Warner Bros. studios. Please, Renew Whiskey Cavalier. Now that ABC has canceled it, someone else, pick it up. For all of us! Follow the hashtag #SaveWhiskeyCavalier. It has so much strength. It has taught us endless ways to be strong. We talk about it. How it taught us to live and to fight. We’re fighting because it matters. For every single one of us.
I’m glad you’re able to read this letter. It means you’ve survived the whole virus-time-travel-red forest-basically end of the world ordeal from the last four years. Four years that I bet felt like five or six lifetimes, didn’t they?
Jennifer, as I watched your story unfold, as I cheered on Team Splinter and waited for the outcome, I yearned for your happy ending as much as I yearn for my own. Have you yet realized how you’ve always been the heart of everything? How you’re the actual protagonist of the whole story?
We saw every step of your path, as you struggled with your inner voices and demons. And how beautiful you handled them. How gracefully you kept living everyday, never, ever giving up.
I can’t even imagine the burden of being a primary, but I’ve seen in your journey the pain you’ve carried. The pain of being trapped inside your own head, the pain of not being taken seriously and being taken for granted — until you become a part of a family at last — the pain of not knowing whether you’re too powerful, too crazy or a little bit of both.
Do you even realize how much an inspiration you are? I’m not even talking of all the cheesy — but always amazing wisdom you share — but your survival in itself.
It is, you know, exhausting being crazy. I know, because in so many ways I’m also trapped in my own mind. I feel things — I have a world perspective greater than my own — that I wish I didn’t have to deal with. It’s obviously nothing compared to having scrambled visions of past, present and future, being under the constant threat of, you know, being murdered, but still, it’s constant pain. And it amazes me, astounds me how you go through every day with joy and grace.
You could have made all the wrong choices, you could have let the voices and the pain destroy you. But you carried on and through. You’ve stared at your own death fave to face (and how I sobbed) and you chose life every time. You were abandoned for years in freaking France and you’d still give your life for your friends without a beat. And you did.
Jennifer, you said that there are many endings, but the right one is the one you choose. You chose life. You chose to fight for your life, your friends and your happy ending, even when the odds were against you. Even when all forces — external and internal — were against you. You never gave up. On anyone, especially yourself. You’re my inspiration. If you can do it, so can I.
Even in your darkest moments, you’ve always been light. You’ve always been heart.
Jennifer, no one deserves this happy ending more than you do. Enjoy all the unicorns rides. You’re free now.
First of all, whew! If you’re reading this, it means you’ve survived. I’m so glad you did! I mean, I’m glad everyone survived, and everyone got their happy ending, but no one is more deserving of that than you. To people reading this letter, and they might, since it’s an open letter, they may grunt and scoff butshesacrazybiestandtriedtokilleveryone so she surely doesn’t deserve a happy ending, right? After all she’s done, she gets to just sail off into the sunset like everyone who’s been good and fair all along?
Oh, dear Adalind, how I wish everyone could understand the beauty and the complexity of your being. You’ve brought something else to the everlasting debate of nature vs. nurture that so many people often forget are also part of the equation: opportunity and choice. With humans, I think, the line between being born actually evil or good is a little more gray than with wesen, but, you, a born Hexenbiest, never had a choice to begin with. Your nature to surrender to power and take pleasure in destruction was all you ever knew from the start. And being raised by your Hexenbiest mother (bless her heart) nurture was a fiery and mortal as nature. Not only there was immensurable evil power inside you, you were never taught to repress or contain it.
Being a mother changes things, doesn’t it? It’s maybe the one instinct stronger than the biest inside you. Surely you hadn’t known love like that before, worth giving your everything for, even your deepest and most tresured part of yourself: the biest. Weren’t you fortunate that along with the immense love you had for your children, you also found… friendship? And… romantic love? And, then, just then, for the first time, the biest was literally dorment and you could feel emotions that didn’t come from her, but from the most human part of your soul. And when presented with that choice, for the first time in your life, you chose to fight the biest. You never batted an eye, you blindedly and fiercely chose love.
And we all saw your battles and your path. We saw how hard you’ve had, it, too. I imagine it’s probably hard to look back and see all the evil you’ve done. I see a lot of people saying you don’t deserve a happy ending and you don’t deserve forgiveness, that there is no excuse for what you’ve done. They are wrong, you see. You are not the biest, and maybe had you been taught that from the start, as you will surely teach your daughter, you would have learned to control her. We all know fighting a Hexenbiest and her power isn’t easy. It’s not easy fighting one from the outside, let alone the one which lives inside you. I think even us, human, who live with darkness and battle our human monsters understand that. Sometimes, we need power inhibitors, too. We need the endless support of friends. We need to find love and purpose to understand what really matters in our lives.
I just want you to know, I’m so proud of you. For the last six years, I’ve seen you change and grow and turn your life around. I’ve seen you choose life over death. You know, not only you were Nick’s first, but you were our first, too. I think we were all a little afraid of the biest at first. We all hated you at some point. You probably hated yourself. But seeing you now, there are few I’ve been prouder of.
So, dear Adalind, enjoy your happy ending! Enjoy your twenty plus years of love and happiness with Nick, Diana and Kelly. Enjoy your friendships with Monroe, Rosalee, Wu, Hank, and even Juliette and Renard (the fact that you don’t hold a grudge against each other, and are, ultimately, willing to die for each other — maybe not Renard — means everything). Enjoy beautiful Portland that you made a part of our lives. Know that every one of your choices have led you to this moment, have made you who you’ve become. And that is a good person. You’re forgiven. You’ve more than paid back your share of sorrow. You’ve earned every bit of happiness life has bestowed upon you. Enjoy it, my dear, and may it last forever!
And the Light among Darkness
It was my birthday weekend when I first watched The Librarians, so, last May. My mom was in the living room browsing through Netflix (I live in Brazil) and she was just starting the first episode. “You’ll want to see this one,” she said. “Yeah, I’ve been told I’d love it.” So, we started it together.
From the very beginning, I got that feeling. You know which one, it’s that unique feeling when you watch a tv show that speaks to you so deeply, that has all the things you need in your life at that moment in time and space, is that show with that perfect balance of all your favorite things in the world, and you get that feeling. That you want that show in your life forever. That it will make you and everything around you better. And even though you watch so many shows, this feeling is rare. And feeling it instantly instead of growing it overtime, even rarer. I can count on the fingers of one hand. But there it was. #BecauseMagic
It wasn’t just that the show was funny and eccentric, not to mention that that it involved magic, traveling through doors as portals and friendship, but it was the outlook of the show and how it portrayed the world we live in that truly got to me. I’m sure we’ve all realized we’re living in times of darkness. In a way, it seems that fiction started to get dark before real life did, as we now say reality mimics some quite recent dystopian fiction. Still, it seems that every that, the world we live in, that we walk, talk, breathe, eat, work, sleep is escaping from our control. Sometimes, it seems that the darkness from the fantasy that sorrounded it has escaped out to the world. Often, it seems like we’re powerless to fight it.
How can we fight back the darkness? With light! And this applies to all areas of our lives. We fight evil with good and we fight unfairness with justice. We fight chaos with stability of the elements that are in our control, hoping that together we have enough control and power to make society whole again.
Everything about The Librarians is light. And when I mean light, I don’t mean shallow plots or unidimensional characters, I mean it brings light into a world of darkness. From the photography of mostly day and colors to the personality of the characters, to a fair batter of good against evil, it gives us exactly the hope that we need: that there’s good in the world, that there’s redemption and and there’s salvation.
From Eve, we learn that fighting for justice and for equality is paramount and that discovering a world that you didn’t think was possible shouldn’t faze you, but rather make you willing to learn and adapt. That the best way to guide and protect those we love is to encourage them to develop their strengths, work on the weaknesses, without letting themselves be held back by them, and be by their side to help fight their battles.
From Ezekiel, we learn that self-confidence can make or break us, often both. That sometimes, we need to toughen up to ger through the hardest times and it may take a long time to let other people in, but it shouldn’t keep us from knowing how to work with a team. And that despite a painful past, we can rise and shine.
From Stone, we learn that we don’t have to follow the oaths chosen for us in life, that we don’t need to conform to our community or society, that we should go ahead and do whatever drives our passion, what makes us burn inside. That we’re not just brain, muscles or heart, we can be all of them.
From Flynn, we learn that intelligence and perseverance can take us a long way, that determination can help us find litwrally the impossible, but himility is what will give us love, friends, trust and a place to go home to.
From Jenkins, we learn that chronological age means nothing, that our hearts and our minds are stronger than we think. That knowledge, loyalty, strength go hand in hand, and that even though living can get tiring, you can find a purpose, a calling.
From Cassandra, and this is the hardest, because it’s so hard to look at her without seeing myself, we learn that the best way to fight the darkness is with light, the best way to fight death is with life. That when your days are numbered (and all of ours are), all you can do is live them to the fullest. With Cassandra, we learn that science and magic walk hand in hand, and they’re everywhere, in their world, and in ours. We learn that every little thing is a reason for joy and excitement. From Cassandra, you learn that all your senses are one with another, and now, with other people’s, and trusting them is the best way to know yourself is the world around you. And that although embracing your gift can be scary and fighting it and hiding yourself in underachieving positions may seem like a better choice, once you find your true self, you’ll find things you’ll never thought were possible.
Last, but not least, from the Library we learn that there’s a fine balance between good and evil, and, as a society, we’re always walking that line. Once in a while, we tip one way or another, and it’s up to us to be the heroes and fight evil, darkness and keep the good always in the forefront, restore that balance. From the Library, we learn that everyone can be a hero, that they can be anywhere and very likely not realize that they are. Sometimes, all they need is a little push, a qord os encouragement, a little training or a friend. We can be any of those and all of those, any time.
To fight the darkness that spreads so quickly through hatred, injustice, anger in today’s world, we need light. We need to spread messages of light, hope, justice. We need to spark the light, the will to fight, to do better. We need heroes to know they are there, they are a part of it and they are not alone.
And that’s why we need The Librarians in the world right now. Because they shine that light that brings up a spark. Like visual magic artifact, created to make people shine.
I can see you cringing on your chair right now. And you must be thinking, “What the eff, Barbie?” But, you know, to this day, I get weekly random hits on my suicide post from Google searches. It’s by far my most viewed and popular post. Why? Because there are some things we just need to talk about, as uncomfortable as it may seem for us. And rape is one of them.
In the United States, April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Which is awesome and it makes me ashamed that we don’t have something like this in Brazil — or if we do, it’s so under-divulged that in my twenty-five-almost-twenty-six years of life I’ve never heard of it. Because that’s one of the huge problems with rape: No. One. Talks. About. It.
So, I will.
The lack of talking and information is what makes it such an underreported crime. No matter how much statistics try to be accurate, they’ll never truly be when we take into consideration the amount of rapes and sexual assaults that will never be make known to the world. Or to anyone, for that matter. Not even one’s closest friend. Because not talking about rape makes it dirty and shameful and the victims’ fault. And isn’t it what the perpetrators want?
That’s why we need to speak out. The more people talk about it, the more we make sure it’s okay, the more victims and survivors will talk, and the more rapists will know that they can’t just get away with it — even if they still do so legally. Did you know that 97% of rapists will never spend a day in jail? And there are so many reasons for that: one is that most of the time, rape isn’t reported. Victims are afraid and ashamed to speak. And you know why is that? Because even when they do report, they still have to fight to prove a crime actually happened, which is utterly absurd, because that shouldn’t be the victims’ job.
But it is. It’s 2014, and it’s still the victims’ job to convince something happened to them. It’s perhaps, the most obvious application of that famous “innocent until proven guilty” cliché. Because we live in a sexist world, and rape culture and victim blame are very, very much part of it.
If you’re from Brazil like I am, you’ve surely seen all the controversy around the survey on sexual assault in which the great majority of people claimed that “if women knew how to behave, there would be less rapes”, and if “women are dressed inappropriately, they deserve to be assaulted”. To say I’m ashamed to live in a country that most men and women have this kind of mentality is an understatement. That people still believe that what a women wears has anything to do with the fact that she was assaulted and that she could be in any way to blame for being raped. That she would be, as society views, getting herself raped, instead of being violated.
(If you’re not Brazilian, you can read about it in this HuffPo link and see our girls’ protest!)
And you wonder why women won’t speak out?
Today, in the United States, is Denim Day, which came from a ruling from the Italian High court that said that a woman couldn’t have been raped because she was wearing tight jeans — so, how could she have been raped? She must have helped the guy take her jeans off. Women are encouraged to wear tight jeans for awareness today. I like these little acts of awareness that, even if people aren’t screaming out loud, they’re showing revolt.
I know talking about rape is hard, awkward and uncomfortable, but if we don’t do it, how are we supposed to help those who need our help? How do we even know who needs our help, if people are too scared and ashamed to ask for help? Maybe some of you are reading this and thinking, “This has nothing to do with me, I’ve never been raped. I don’t know anyone who’s been raped.” Guess what, fella, you do! Statistically, you do know someone who’s been raped. More than one person, most likely. You just haven’t a clue about it.
I was reading about Rape Statistics for this and I came across an old link, and countries like France and the US had a much higher number of rapes than South American and African countries. And it made me think of something I always hear, “Wow, there are so many rapes in the US.” As if we don’t have an equivalent (or even higher) number of rapes here. What they have that we don’t is AWARENESS. They have an awareness month, for crying out loud. What about us? They have “more rapes” because more people report it and they have more accurate statistics. In countries in which no one ever, ever, ever talks about rape, a country in which you go to school and barely have sex ed, but rape is not once mentioned, you don’t have awareness, campaigns, sexual assault centers, who’s going to talk about it? Who’s going to be there for people who need it? Who’s going to reach out for help?
So, I speak out in my humble blog, even though it’s not much, it’s still awareness.
Now, like in my suicide post, I’d like to debunk a few rape myths, if you guys are still with me.
Only Women are Raped
False. One in five men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. If you think it’s hard for women to come forward with a sexual assault, can you imagine what it is like for a man? Our society expects men to be “able to protect themselves”, and if a man is raped, he’ll often feel like he failed to do that most basic thing. The rape of men are even less reported, because they’re so filled with shame and guilt, that men feel no one will ever understand how they “let that happen”. The truth is, men are raped, just as women. When someone is in a position of fear, of terror, it doesn’t matter how strong they physically, it doesn’t matter how brave they are, it doesn’t matter their gender, they do what they have to do to survive. Sometimes they fight, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they’re threatened with weapons and sometimes with physical force. In any, in no case at all, rape is ever the victims fault.
If you feel any sort of pleasure, it means deep down you liked it/wanted it.
False. The human body is a beautiful machine and it does everything it can to protect itself. If someone feels any sort of sexual pleasure during a rape — and this is actually very common — it means two things: their body is functioning the way it’s supposed to by responding to stimuli, and their body is protecting itself from pain. Because by having sexual reactions, the body gets itself ready for sexual intercourse, even if unwanted, to prevent any more pain. That is normal, and it doesn’t mean it’s willing or wanted. Having a physical reaction during a rape is one of the greatest causes of shame and guilt. But that isn’t anyone’s fault. The body is a machine, and it, really, acts on its own.
If you were drinking/partying/doing drugs/wearing tight clothes, you facilitated your assault.
False. That’s the thing about rape: it doesn’t matter who you are, what you’re wearing, how wasted you are, where you are or who you’re with. Unless you’re with someone consensually, unless there’s agreement on both parts, if you didn’t want sex, it was rape, and it wasn’t your fault in absolutely any way. The only person at fault is the rapist and if someone thinks tight clothes or wasted women (or men) are some sort of invitation for sex without their consent, they’re the ones who have a problem, not you. Never you.
Rape can be prevented.
If you’ve been the victim.
False. Whoa, wait, what, Barbie? You’re going too fast. No idea what you mean here. Okay, I know, let me lay it out for you. The thing is, rape CAN be prevented. By me, by you, by us as a society, by talking about it, by spreading awareness, by talking to children and teenagers about it, by teaching young boys what’s respect and what’s right and what’s wrong, by enlightening our society of the dangers of a sexist society, of a prejudiced society. But you can’t prevent rape by wearing a certain type of clothes, by not going out, by not doing… whatever. Because rape isn’t your fault. It is the rapist’s fault. And, the way I see it, it’s the society’s fault, for making it such taboo and so difficult to talk about it and reach out for help.
A Few Things I Want You to Know
- Like with my suicide post, I’m not going to ask any questions or incite comments. What I ask you to do is: share this with your friends, you probably have no idea who needs it. And I truly mean it. Okay?
- If you want to talk about something, you can hit the comments, of course. You can talk about anything. And if you need to talk about something in private, you know where to find me — if you know me personally 🙂
- If you came here by Google Search and you need to talk about having been raped, there are some amazing resources out there. In the United States, RAINN is probably where you’ll find the most resources. If still, you just want to talk to someone, and you feel you have no one, if you feel alone, I’m no expert, but I can hear you, you can talk to me. My comments need to be pre-approved, so, no one will see anything you have to say and I can get back to you if you leave any information.
- I don’t know who you are. I don’t know if you’re my close friend, my classmate, an acquaintance or a complete stranger. But if you have been raped, I want you to know it was not your fault. It doesn’t matter what happened, when it happened or how it happened. It wasn’t your fault. Never your fault. Hear me? No? Want me to say it again? It. Was. NOT. Your. Fault. I can promise you that.
As a teacher, my job is the most fascinating of all. Teaching isn’t the best part of it by far. It’s the conversations I have with my students, what I learn from them, about them and about life that make me go back every day. I’ve taught students of virtually all ages, and though children and teenagers are my favorites, I’ve warmed up to some young adults, too. It’s all about the stories I get to hear, the fact that I get to be there for them, with them, to see them grow, as students, as people, as human beings.
Of course, I don’t want to break my students’ trust by any means, and I’m keeping this anonymous. But there are stories I want to tell. Stories only someone who’s been in a classroom hears. They’re beautiful, fascinating, heartbreaking. In each of my students’ eyes, I look for their stories. Maybe because I’m a storyteller, and a reader, at heart.
From a ten year old, maybe I’ve heard the one I’ve felt the closest to my heart. Not the most important, because I don’t rate them. But the one I could truly identify with, even if our circumstances were somewhat different. Teaching English to E, she told me, among “I dos” and “I didn’t knows”, that kids at school shunned her out. They didn’t exactly bully her per se, but mostly excluded her. I asked her why, and she told me she doesn’t believe in God. I asked why doesn’t she, not as a reprimand, but out of pure curiosity, especially because E went to the same catholic school I went to. She told me her father and her sister don’t believe in God, either, and she didn’t see how it made sense. She explained me very eloquently in her ten year old words, why she didn’t believe in the same thing everyone she knew did. “That’s how they talk about me,” she told me. “You know E? Yeah, the girl who doesn’t believe in God.” And that stuck with me. Because for years I felt left out in my catholic school. Not that I don’t believe in God, but because I don’t believe the same.
I explained to E that at ten years old, it’s very hard for kids to understand different beliefs and why they exist. It’s very difficult for them to respect and include those who don’t participate in the same kinds of activities. And, even as I did tell her that as you grow up you realize that what feels now to be such fundamental difference doesn’t really affect all your friendships in the future, you kind of always feel a little bit the odd one out when you see the world differently from most people you know. It’s hard to find people who believe like you do. But we’re lucky, I said. We have our families. And once in a while, we find someone, I said. “Like you?” she asked me. “Like me,” I told her.
Twelve year old M told me her mother had told her God was the most important thing in her life. (I’m not following a pattern, I swear. It’s just an interesting story), but she didn’t know what she believed in. I asked why, and she said she didn’t know. I told her what I believe in, which is in spiritual evolution, communication with spirits, reincarnation — in short. She told me she didn’t believe me in spirits because her best friend had died in a car crash and she had never seen her ghost. I stopped short on my tracks, trying to think of a smart thing to say. I had none. I told her I don’t believe that’s how it happens, that seeing someone who passed away isn’t healthy to neither the person who passed to the ones who stayed. But I don’t think it helped.
Once, I told my eight year old student she was very cute. She said, “I’m not cute, I’m ugly as a cow.” I had absolutely no response to that. I muttered an “of course you’re not.” but I have to confess that’s when I’ve been the most speechless. I debated telling her mother that she felt that way, or expressed herself that way, but I didn’t feel I was intimate enough to do so.
Once, I was sharing a personal story with a student I had befriended — I will do that sometimes — because I happened to be upset that day. She was older, almost my age. Twenty-four at the time. We were talking, but she was the one who told me that when she was a teenager, she got to weight 80lbs and no one noticed. “The hardest thing in life,” I told her, “is living with someone, waking up, going to school, working, coming home, sharing meals, everything, and them not noticing how much you’re hurting.” She cried. And said I was the one who ended up helping her.
A sixteen year old student told me once she wanted to save herself for marriage. I told her she felt that way now, but just wait until she met a guy she really wanted to be with. Chances were, she wouldn’t. She would change a lot, and she would see that saving herself, despite idealistic, wasn’t really a great practical idea. She’s still saving herself (I think!)
I think about my conversations with my students often. They make me a greater person. They make me a greater teacher. I love that they trust me to be part of their lives. (And I hope they don’t mind me blogging about them — all anonymous, I promise, guys!) ❤ It reminds me of when I was a student and I shared my life with my teachers!
What about you, guys? Any great students stories you wanna share? What about you guys who aren’t teacher? Ever had a great moment with a teacher? Share away!
Throughout the day, this HuffPo link has been posted in my timelines more than once:
It’s the post from an author called Amy Turner about how she feels “cool” girls die alone. She has an interesting theory, really. Except the problem with her text is that cool there is interchangeable with self-sufficient, well-educated, tough, with nice jobs. It’s her belief, it seems, that women like that need to be in control. “Control kills intimacy”, she says. And having both things aren’t possible. She talks about buying a home (contrasting with hard-working/well-earned women who have money to buy their own homes) is something that is worth it when you share this home with someone. Can we say “awwww”?
The woman has an idea there, except she’s got it all mixed up. Maybe I’m a hypocrite to be writing about this literally just a couple this after talking to my friend about how I’d end up alone because I just don’t connect to people and how all I’ve ever wanted in my life was a great and satisfying job, but hear me out.
What I’ve always believed — and I blogged about it just the other day! — is that we go through life and we meet people who make us happy in different moments of our lives. There may not be one single person for us, but there’ll be different people who will be there, throughout the years, the decades. And the way we go about life, how we see it, and doesn’t make us unable to meet these people. It just changes the sort of people we are going to be involved with.
Amy Turner talks about buying aprons and making casseroles, as if that aspect of a homey life makes any woman more of a wife/girlfriend material, as if that makes anyone more lovable. Dude, I’ve had two grandmothers who were married their whole lives. One of them never stepped into a kitchen. Both worked out. One was a lawyer/banker/historician (most awesome person ever), the other was an engineer. And this was the 1950s! They were both loved, cared for, and one of them died surrounded by all the love in the world.
We’re in 2013 now. The idea that being tough and cool and career-focus and in control of yourself and your body and your life keeps you from being sweet and kind and and warm and from giving yourself completely to someone else is sort of unimaginable. I’m sorry, Amy Turner. But you were talking about going back in time and giving up power. You don’t need to give up anything t be loved. You don’t need to give up femininity to have a full time job, or motherhood to work out. You can make casseroles in aprons (personally, I love baking instead), and you can go out and do your job, and come back, and build a home. I don’t see, and I can’t see, why they’re mutually exclusive.
The idea that control kills intimacy is worrisome, and it worries more that is being sold out there. We all need to have control over something. Of course we do. Who’s gonna have control over us, then? Over our bodies, over our lives. That doesn’t mean we can give love, and care, and parts of ourselves to others. It doesn’t mean we can’t make ourselves vulnerable. Of course, some people have issues and can’t get past something that happened and give themselves up. But you can’t generalize it. In this century, most women will work out, have emotional, financial, physical power over themselves and still be able to live full happy lives with someone else.
If not, then what are we living for? Also, ‘control’ means knowing when to keep back and when to give up. Women who have control over themselves are the ones who let themselves go, who are emotionally mature and ready to fall in love, to be intimate. They’re the ones who aren’t being controlled by their past, their failures, their insecurities.
So, I disagree. I think once you have control over yourself, your life, your career, then you’re ready for intimacy, for sharing that with someone else. Someone you can let go of the control and let yourself be. Isn’t that just awesome?
So, what do you guys think? Do you think ‘Cool Girls Die Alone’? Do you think girls who have control have a harder time having intimacy? Talk to me! 🙂
With my graduation just around the corner in three weeks, it’s hard for me not to feel like I face
impeding doom, a deep dark hollow , extreme uncertainty in front of me, as I leave University, and have to ask myself: what’s next? Of course, I have a few things lined up, but that will depend on whether or not I’m good enough they will work out, if things will arrange themselves, you know life. Fact is, though, as of this minute, if I were graduating today, I’d have no job, no future, no nothing. It kind of makes you freak out.
And question every decision you’ve ever made that led you to this place, which, apparently, it’s a normal place to be when you’re graduating University. (Except most people graduating are much younger than twenty-five-year old me because they didn’t waste two and a half years at Law School). As you can see, I’m in a bit of a life freaking out right now. Which leads to my post.
In my last vacation, just as these feelings of
total despair confusion started to settle, my friends suggested that I watched this tv show, which turned out to be one of the best things I’ve done all year. Possibly in my life, because it completely changed me. The show is called Being Erica, and it’s not only the best show I’ve ever watched (sorry, Charmed, I still love you!), but it’s exactly what I’ve needed this year, as I go through all these stupid confusing messed up growing up changes.
Let me catch you up: the show is about this woman, Erica Strange, who’s thirty-two years old, and about as underachiever as one can be (Hello, instant identification!). She’s smart, she’s funny, she’s beautiful, but she holds a low class job, she doesn’t hold on to a guy, and she’s super insecure. And she blames it in her past choices. Fine. We’ve all done that (right?). In an especially bad day, in which she
a) is fired from her job, b) is dumped by a guy she’s dating, c) suffers an allergic reaction and almost dies d) all the previous answers, Erica is approached, a the hospital, by Dr. Tom, a therapist that claims he has the only therapy she’ll ever need: results guaranteed.
(Follow this link NOW and watch this Being Erica trailer and go watch the whole show! It WILL change YOUR LIFE! and if you’re thinking: “But I don’t want my life to change.” That’s where you’re wrong!)
And that’s where she show really starts. Dr. Tom’s brand of therapy is hardly traditional: he does Time Traveling Therapy, which allows Erica to go back in time, revisit her past mistakes/bad choices, undo them, and change herself and her life. But that’s the best thing about the show, though: it falls far away from the cliché, because as Erica goes back in time, changes her past, her actions, her mistakes, her present hardly changes. Very, very little of her current life is actually changed by changing the past. What truly changes is the inside of her. What her trips to the past truly offer her is perspective on what’s happening, on how she came to be the person she is and how she could change and improve that person. And that’s what makes the show completely amazing. Because if it was touch and go, change and done, there would be little to learn from it.
Also, you have to give huge props to Erin Karpluk, the actress who plays Erica, who’s about the most relatable girl in the world. She’s gorgeous, but not in an Angelina Jolie sort of way, more like, “Wow, if I really took care of myself, I could actually be as pretty as that girl.” She feels so real, and her face has about the most beautiful shape in the world. And, I have to say this, no actress ever cries as well as she does. It’s like she’s feeling everything Erica is. It’s amazing.
So, I watched this show, and as I saw Erica grow and change, it really inspired me to go after what I want to. But, if you know me, I’m about as insecure and underachiever as they get, too (basically, I AM Erica Strange, without the being gorgeous part and having all the hot guys around me). Of course, when a show had this much impact on me, it’s hard not to wonder, how would I do Time Traveling Therapy? What would I change? What are my regrets?
Maybe that’s the greatest difference between Erica and I. She has tons of regrets, while I have very few. I mean, she has these huge regrets, and and mine are mostly very silly things that would hardly affect the way I view life and the world. Like, the first thing I can think I really regret, from the top of my head, is not going to the Spice Girls reunion concert (in Vegas or Los Angeles) when I was in Reno. I mean, such a missed opportunity, right? But it hardly changes my life. (Although, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to forgive myself for that one. It’s the Spice Freakin’ Girls!)
Still, my regrets are few. Do I regret the two and half years I spent in Law School that stalled my life? I don’t kn0w. If I weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have started Linguistics and Lit when I did, and I wouldn’t have met all my friends and my professors. So, how could I?
Do I regret not being more involved in University from the beginning? Yes. And No. Because I promised myself I wouldn’t go through another University Hell like I did with Law School. And I didn’t find myself in anything at school until my last year when I discovered Sociolinguistics. Being more involved before that would have meant putting myself through something I didn’t want to. So, I don’t think I regret, not really.
I guess what I mean is, Time Traveling Therapy would be an amazing idea to gain perspective from the past, to see how things could have been different, to have gone to that concert!!!!, but, in the end, I don’t know how that would work for me. (Not that regular therapy is all that great either). In the end, what I really did learn with Being Erica was to go after I wanted, to break away from my insecurities, to be strong, be myself, be kind, don’t give into pressure, don’t be so hard on myself, that you can love someone and they may not be the right one for you, that you can be in love with someone, but not sexually attracted to them, that family is everything and so are friends, that time and space do matter when it comes to love, and that I want it all for myself some day.
My point is, I wouldn’t change much about my past, because it made me who I am. That’s how the show works anyway. She changes the past, and she still needs to change the present anyway. So, what I need to change, is me. From now on. Here and now. Today, tomorrow and the day after. Next year. Even though I feel I’m going to be swallowed whole by life. And I have no idea what’s coming. And I’m scared as hell.
So, my question for you is: if you could go back in time, do Time Travel Therapy, or maybe just once, would you change anything? What would you change? Do you think changing your past would change your present?
ALSO, GO WATCH BEING ERICA! 🙂