Tag Archives: Life

Do “Cool” Girls Die Alone?

Throughout the day, this HuffPo link has been posted in my timelines more than once:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amy-turner/cool-girls-die-alone_b_4400215.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

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! 🙂

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Filed under Guys, Jobs, Life in General, Love, Polemics

What’s Your Fairy Tale?

As most little girls, I grew up hearing fairy tales, in which the prince and the princess get married in the end and live happily every after. And, from the time I was a little girl, I would see my little friends dreaming about their prince charming and the day he would scoop them up in a white horse, have a beautiful wedding and ride together into the sunshine.

I’m not sure when I realized there was something wrong with me, that I was different from my little friends, but it’s been a long time. While, for most of my childhood years my friends were dreaming about Leonardo DiCaprio and how he was the King of the World, I was thinking about how I wanted to be an actress when I grew up.

Or a detective. An archaeologist.

And then, an author.

But from when I was very little, my dreams never, ever consisted in getting married and having a family. It was always, always about having a job that I loved. And that was something very hard to grow up with. Honestly, sometimes, it still is. I remember having my friends being guy crazed and talking about guys all the time. It’s not like I have anything against guys — guys are awesome, I love guys! I liked talking about guys, too. But not all the time. I definitely didn’t like talking about future plans, because mine were so differently from theirs. Theirs were about meeting the love of their life an having a great family. Mine? I just want a job that makes me feel whole.

It’s not that I want to be alone, of course not. But… I never saw being with someone as something essential in my life. I have this friend — and she knows who she is — who tells me she needs to learn how to be alone. That she’s never been alone since she started having boyfriend at the age of thirteen. She says she feels she needs to be with someone, always. For me, that’s never been the case. In fact, I kind of feel better alone.

Maybe it’s because I’m a product of a “broken home” (I’m using the term sarcastically, in case you couldn’t tell), but I’m one of those kids who never dreamed of getting married, but has always wanted ex-husbands, just like my mom (hers are the best!). I say this jokingly, but this is kind of the spirit.

The way I see it, though, is that A LOT of people I know see life a this thing where you have one soulmate, someone who completes you and makes you whole. I just think that life is a very long time to be with someone. I think there are many people out there who can make you happy. I think many guys can make me happy, for different reasons, at different times of my life. I want to meet these guys. I want to be with these guys. I don’t need to be with one of them forever or have a piece of paper to prove we’re together. I just want to enjoy the time we have.

On the other hand, there’s the job  thing. Of course, when you think about it, there could be a lot of things that make you happy. But could there? The way I see it, when you find something that makes it worth it, you hold on to it. When you find something that makes you wake up every day in the morning, you hold on to it.  When you find something that gives you a burning passion, you better damn well hold on to it.

But, Barbie, you ask me, don’t all these things apply to a person, too? My boyfriend makes me feel that way! I say great for you. But this stimuli  for you to feel this way cannot come from someone else. Not from a husband, a boyfriend or children. It needs to come from you, for you. Or you’ll have a wonderful family and still feel emotionally and personally frustrated. You’ll feel like you have everything, but you’re missing yourself and your passion.

When you have passion, though, you can find everything else. That’s what I believe anyway. You have an awesome job that you love? Your life is made, sister. You don’t need anyone else  to be successful and whole. Once you are, then everything else is just complementing this.

I’m twenty-five and my friends are not boyfriend crazed anymore. They’re wedding crazed now. All they ever talk about is weddings, engagements and everything in between. Sometimes, I feel like the only reason they want a stable job is so they can have  good income so they’re ready to get married.

Me? I’m still trying to get to my passion. To that burning force inside of me that makes me whole. No one else can do that for me. That’s my fairy tale. I wish the movies, the books, the stories would show that more often. One of the most amazing movies I’ve ever seen was a romantic comedy in which the girl doesn’t get the guy, she gets the job of her dream, which, to me, is the perfect ending. I can’t imagine a better thing to get.

Now, I ask you: What’s your fairy tale?

Answered the poll above? Awesome! Tell me why! What did you dream of when you were a kid? Did you dream of getting married? Having an awesome job? Both? Did something/someone make you change your mind? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

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Filed under Guys, Jobs, Life in General, Love, Movies

Let’s Talk About Suicide!

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, so, I decided to write a blog post talking about suicide. Suicide is one of those things that talking about it is the best way to prevent it, but no one ever actually talks about it, because it’s such a taboo subject, even though we’re in 2013 and most of us have lost someone close to us to it. Maybe people still feel it’s contagious, that it’s something you can catch by talking about it. Or maybe it’s because it’s often associated to mental illness, which has its own social stigma linked to it. But the fact is, it’s not something groups of friends will just gather around and chat about.

But it’s important, you know? To talk about it, and especially to demystify it.  There are so many misconceptions and so much ignorance when it comes to suicide, which is spread and leads to prejudice, and more not talking about it, and more people feeling like they have no other way out other than ending their own lives. That’s what I would like to do, talk about it a little, clear  some things up. As most of you know, I’ve lost close people to suicide. I’ve had some personal experience with it. I’ve read a lot about it. Will you hear me out?

Let’s talk about the ‘Most Common Misconceptions’ concerning suicide, shall we?

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Write love on your wrist for Suicide Prevention Day

People Who Kill Themselves Don’t Announce It.

False. Bull. Freaking. Shit. I’m sure that in some cases, sure, people don’t go around saying “I’m going to kill myself.” but this misconception leads to the effect of people thinking that people who talk about killing themselves aren’t actually going to do it. And I know this to be false, because both people close to me who killed themselves talked about it multiple times before doing it. And, with one of them, I know for a fact that people in her life thought she would only say it for attention, and she only attempted it before for attention, “because people who really want to kill themselves just do it”. In fact, people who want to die, who feel they’re lost and overwhelmed, often want help and support and care from those who love them. And, sometimes, these people just can’t see how much they’re needed. It’s not their fault, really. We’re talking about hundreds of years of history here, about misconceptions, about personal fear of having someone you love actually wishing to die. So, the person who is suicidal feels that talking about it and trying to hurt themselves is the way to call out to you. No one talks about suicide without actually having it in mind or just “for attention”. If that’s their way to call attention, in the very least, they have some kind of serious issues. If  someone you love is talking about dying, saying they wish to die, LISTEN. Maybe they do want your attention, so, give it to them. It may hurt. It may be scary. But they need you. And, you know what? You probably need them, too.

People  Who  Commit Suicide Are Selfish Bastards

False. When someone kills themselves, especially someone who’s a public person, the first batch of comments will be something like: “How could they do this to their family and friends?” “How could they be so selfish?” Now, I ask you, have you ever had the chance of reading the thoughts of someone who’s committed suicide? I have. A whole journal full of them. The one constant in them was how this person was getting in the way of the people they loved. This is how the mind of most people who kill themselves work. And maybe this isn’t that much of a comfort for those  left behind, but in their confused, lost mind, they truly believed their loved ones would be better off without them. And for those people here, especially those who have never been anywhere near that place of  pure despair  and nothing else, it’s hard to understand that, but for them, this is done out of love, a way of making life better for those who mean the world to them.  When they feel worthless and unworthy and that their life has become a  burden, for them, it truly feels like the world would be a better place without them. This is selflessness. Not selfishness. I know this is hard for most people to understand. Just give it a thought.

People Who Seem Happy And Make Other People Laugh Don’t Commit Suicide

False. You don’t have to walk around moping all day to be thinking about suicide. People often think that even though someone’s depressed or Bipolar or whatever, if they’re fun or funny or they *gasp* laugh and  make other people laugh, that makes them instantly suicide risk free, because, obviously, if you’re laughing it means you don’t want to die, right? I know this may sound ridiculous, but  I swear to you there are people who think that. Again, I think this probably has to do with denial that people they love may be going through such pain, but for some people, as long and you laugh and you’re living, you’re not thinking about dying, which is completely not true. How often do we hear about someone who committed suicide “Oh, they were always making people happy, I wish they could have been happy themselves.”? Way too often. That’s something to watch for. If someone, even jokingly or casually talks about dying, it doesn’t mean they don’t mean it.

Suicide is Preventable.

True.

By You.

False. If you’ve lost someone to suicide, you’ve inevitably felt guilt up to some point. You’ve wondered: “Was there something I could have done to prevent it?” Your mind must have gone through every possible scenario of what ifs, why nots, and what elses. The truth is, suicide, although preventable, is not  preventable by you, not really. When someone reaches the point when they want to take their own life, though they really do need the love and support of their family and friends, they can only be helped by themselves and by professionals. Noticing the signs someone is suicidal, though important, is something subtle and most people will probably miss it, even because we’re surrounded by stigmas and misconceptions and a whole lot of denial. You can’t change the mind of someone who’s suicidal simply by talking to them or telling them you love them or they’re worth it. It’d be lovely if it was that simple. When someone commits suicide, they come from a place of a lot of pain and darkness, that needs treatment, time and effort. Some people are impulsive and commit  suicide on a whim, some people plan it for a long time. But that doesn’t mean you could have stopped them. Ultimately, it was their decision. You have to know that. You have to know you’ve loved your best. You have to know hiding is what they do. I mean it.

A Few Things I Want You To Know

  • Today I’m doing things different here. I’m not asking a question or asking people to engage. I know suicide is an uncomfortable subject and most people don’t want to talk about it. It’s fine. What I’m asking is: SHARE THIS WITH A FRIEND. Maybe someone who lost someone to suicide. Maybe someone who may need comforting words. I don’t know. Just share.
  • If you do want to talk about something, feel free to hit the comments. I’m open to suggestions, comments, if you want to share a story, if you want to say anything, I’m all ears.
  • If you came here by Googling suicide and you’re in crisis, talk to someone. Reach out. There are people who are willing  to listen. I promise. And if you feel you have no one, talk to me, I’m here.
  • If  you know someone who’s suicidal, who talks constantly about dying, about killing themselves, even as a joke, even if  it feels uncomfortable to you, talk to them? Ask what’s up? Maybe they need someone 🙂

And, last, but not least, thank you for reading. This is important. So, so important. Love. Live. Reach.

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Filed under Life in General, Suicide

The Teacher Becomes You

I’m not sure how it happened. You know how it goes, don’t you? When something sneaks up on you and boom, takes over your life, your being, your heart and your soul. That’s sort of how it was for me. One day, I was just me. Next thing I knew, I was someone who was beyond myself and out into the world.

Because that’s what a teacher does. They give a part of themselves to the world. Every time they get into the classroom, they leave something of themselves behind (and, kid yourself not, they take something with them — and many times, I feel I learn more than I teach — for teaching is also learning), they leave a little bit of knowledge to a world of so many unknowns.

They leave words, sentence, numbers, strategies, laughs. Being the daughter of professors, I could never have imagined teaching was passed through the blood. I could never have imagined, as I struggled through Law School and Philosophy, that the teaching fever coursed through my veins. But it doesn’t make me ill, it makes me alive.

Sometimes, as I look at my students, who often remind me so much of myself, and I wonder what I would have done then, if a beloved teacher had told me: “That’s who you’re going to be.” (I’d probably have said, “You’re out of your mind!”)  But I was the one who was out of my mind, then.

But I seem to have found my way. Or rather, my way seems to have found me. Because one thing I’ve always heard about teachers is that you don’t become a teacher. The teacher becomes you. And, boy, once it does, there’s no turning back.

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Filed under Education, Life in General, Teaching