A List of Things that Have Left Me Emotionally Scarred

  • WWI
  • The Cambodian Genocide
  • All Quiet on the Western Front
  • The season 2 ending of Torchwood
  • My relationship with my best friend from high school
  • His relationship with my ex-girlfriend from the summer I turned 14
  • High school
  • Being the tallest girl I knew
  • My relationship with my best friend in middle school
  • The depressive episode I experienced from ages 13-14
  • The moments during that time when I was physically incapable of getting up from the floor because my entire existence hurt too much
  • Stepping off the curb on the way to school between the ages of 13-14.
  • The times when my emotional state makes it impossible to get out of bed
  • The times when my emotional state makes my entire life feel unbearable, including and perhaps especially, the things that make me happy.

This has been a public service announcement.


I’m halfway through an article about cyborgs and partaking in a binge to watch as much Criminal Minds as possible, and I worry sometimes that I’m neither daring enough nor smart enough (or accomplished enough, depending on how kind you’re feeling) to achieve the kind of greatness that inspires and captivates, creates and means something.

There are so many things in this world that are interesting and worthy and exciting, and there is no way to do them all. There is no way to see and feel and touch everything that exists in this world. There is no way to start your life over again and again until you’ve tried every philosophy and explored every political thought and tasted all the food in the world.

I can’t wake up every morning and dream up a new person and pour myself into that body and experience what it means to live as a model or a punk rocker or photographer or a software designer. I don’t have time to learn to slaughter animals, and speak Russian and live in Morocco, and still have enough time to visit Hong Kong and eat caterpillar burritos in Mexico and to live in Greece long enough to really be able to say that, yes, I am Greek. I don’t have the guts to have someone cut my finger open without anesthetic to implant a magnet so that I can feel the subways of New York City, which I don’t have time to live in and become a part of, move beneath my feet.

I haven’t figured out how to shed the things I don’t need so that I can live without being hemmed in by stuff. Because I haven’t figured out what I’m prepared to live without.

I read about soldiers going to war and coming home and people who don’t have the option of telling the difference and I cry and I worry that I’m not strong enough to ever go to those places, to live beside these people and tell those stories.

I don’t want to be an FBI agent and yet must find a way to live with the knowledge that I’m not smart enough or driven enough for them to even want me, that I’ve never proved myself to be anything more than a middling average.

How do people make decisions to do or be anything, how do you become out of existing? I can feel the energy and the excitement crackling under my skin, but I can’t figure out where to direct it. There’s so much out there, and I don’t know how to reach out and touch it.

Last Rape Stats, &c. Post (for now)

Possible trigger warnings within:

I was reading this article on Huffington Post, about Angie Epifano, the girl who blew the lid off Amherst College’s tradition of silencing rape victims, back in October. This was one of the instances that really kicked off my article for my paper, for my class, at my school. (I attend the large public university next door, who some weeks before her story was published, had to cope with the gang rape of a freshman girl by four young men from her town. A story that made it all the way to the UK’s Daily Mail, which I had not known.)

In the HuffPo article they mention,

The Victim Rights Law Center in Boston told Epifano they’d been trying to change Amherst for years, citing 10 sexual assaults on the campus in 2011, and in the past 15 years, reports of multiple serial rapists who have raped more than five girls.

And there was a very important word in that quote that stood out to me, particularly with regards to the critique of the graph that went viral (here at the Washington Post), called “The Saddest Graph You’ll See All Day” (about rapists, arrests, convictions, and false accusations).

The critique points out that

The graphic assumes one-rape-per-rapist.

And that that isn’t true. She quoted a number (6% of men are rapists) which she got from here, which adds that the repeat offenders in the surveys tended to average around (and it’s this fun!) around 5 repeat offenses. Continue reading

Feminism and Rape

The slow work on the article continues, but I have found myself mulling over the following frustrating question:

How do I reconcile my (young, hip) broad, traditionally feminist definition of rape with the grey areas that are incredibly apparent to me?

Because, yes, there are times when adolescents do stupid things (don’t ask for permission in times and places where they should), and depending on how things go from there, people may or may not get hurt. That is, the study performed by Dean Kilpatrick in 1992 that said that 1 in 8 women is raped had a question that many people who contest that number take issue with. That question was:

4. Has anyone ever put fingers or objects in your vagina or anus against your will by using force or threat?

Which would, and seemed to often (many of the respondents that were listed as having been raped by this study said the incident occurred when they were 17 or under), include instances of adolescent heavy petting where things went further than one party wanted them to. I find I have to agree with one blogger when she asks “Does that make the young man a rapist?” Well, no. I don’t believe he should be incarcerated for however many years for something this complicated. Do I believe he may have done something destructive to the young woman whom he penetrated against her will? Well, yes. Continue reading

Passports 1 (ceramic)

When you walk into a coffee shop, you rarely see everyone drinking or eating. Mostly, they’re all occupied with their work; laptops, notebooks, textbooks open, pens in hand. There will be a cup or a mug or a plate beside them, half-full or untouched, definitely ignored.
Sometimes you find people sitting next to or across from each other, conversing, their hands will be wrapped around their cups, or their fingers will play with the rim, and they’ll take a sip when the silence stretches awkwardly, or when it seems like the other person has become enamoured of their line of thought or their own voice, at least for now.
But the cups, the mugs, stand there, on the tables, sentinels and wards against having to leave. As long as the cup remains, so does the patrons right to stay. Who hasn’t felt uncomfortable lingering after a server at a “bus your own plates” coffee shop has come by and picked up their ceramic? Continue reading

Truth, writing, and journalistic practice

Due to the previously recounted writers block that was in full effect yesterday (an obscene amount of whining about and a rather, uh, heated discussion about content and ultimately some organizational suggestions from my parents has allowed for progress), I found myself discussing writing with a friend of mine. As I have not read anything of hers, of late, that wasn’t an email I can’t tell you exactly what kind of writing it is that she does, but I’m fairly certain it is of the personal essay kind (when it isn’t directly for school).

Earlier today I was reading an essay in an old issue of The Believer, July 2003, in fact. Protesting All Fiction Writers! by Tom Bissell, wherein he discussed the Underground Literary Alliance, who sound thoroughly crazy and often rather unpleasant. You can find them online (or you could back then). At one point he gets into the fact that writing is a solipsistic endeavor. Here’s the quote (I found it!):

“…the problem with novels is that they are written by novelists, all of whom necessarily share a basic similarity of foundational experience: bookishness, self-absorption, perceived alienation. Oftentimes, this can lead to shrunkenly personal work…”

Here is the note I made in my journal/bound pieces of scrap paper after reading that line:

Are journos (journalists) less self-absorbed than novelists? Is the outward goal of journalism, the banality & REPORTING a different drive from the novelist? Continue reading