Shake It Off

Welcome to 2015, my wonderful dear readers!

A new year for many means a new start, including myself. I apologize for my lack of writing, I hadn’t felt very inspired to in quite a while. I did draft a couple posts, but never got around to editing or publishing them. One was about harassment, inspired by the Sam Pepper scandal and the Hollaback catcalling video. The other was on the recent death of transgender teen Leelah Alcorn. Maybe I’ll still post them? They’re not very uplifting topics, but I think both are important discussions to be had. I’ve been in an activist mood lately. Would you expect anything else from little ol’ me? Gotta keep those brains of yours exercised with my informative rants.

So what have I been up to in the past few months? If only the answer was traveling the world, having passionate love affairs, and drinking margaritas on the beach. I did do some of that mentally, but being a poor college student doesn’t allow for much globetrotting. Definitely did enjoy a few margaritas though. Wink wink, nudge nudge. One new thing is I’ve gotten into reading again! My poor tablet, I’ve worn it down with all the books I buy now. Books are the best escape to me, aside from music. My growing collection consists of a lot of mysteries and thrillers.  Oh, I have a major weak spot for historic fiction too. I also went on a date recently for the first time in forever, to say I was nervous would be an understatement. It went nicely and was really enjoyable though. I thought I did pretty well and was put under the impression it was going places. Then life pulled the “other woman” card on me. Thank god for my good sense of humor and the barbwire fence surrounding my heart. Otherwise, I might be crying into a carton of ice cream right now.

What else? My mental health was vastly improved since last time I wrote on here. So hooray to that!  Also, I’ve tried to find coping mechanisms for my anxiety. I bought this really cute stuffed kitten that makes a calming heartbeat sound when you squeeze it. It’s working so far, I bring it to my job and hide it under my desk. There’s this horrible foreboding feeling in my gut that my boss is going to catch me with it and ask what the hell it is. That will be a fun conversation. My next step in life is sticking to my resolution of working out and eating healthier. I have been doing pretty well about eating salad, an apple, and yogurt almost everyday. I’ve been drinking tons of water too and sneaking in tea when I can. Small steps, but progress.

Well that’s it for now, guys. Look out for those other two posts soon! How has your new year been so far and what are your resolutions, if any?

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Girl Meets World

I’m back again and you guys better buckle in because I’m about to school some people. That’s right, this post is about the dark and frightening topic of feminism! [Insert distant screeches and organ music here.] 

Yes, if you weren’t aware or I’ve never mentioned before – I am a feminist. Oh, the horror! The female empowerment and sometimes women-centric atmosphere should give you a hint to that. Hold it right there, fellas! I can hear your mouses heading to the ‘back’ button through my computer screen. There’s nothing to fear. A general standard I try to maintain on my blog is a hate and judgement free zone. Everyone is welcome here and I try my best to make you guys feel comfortable. Even if my opinion on certain matters might differ from readers. So don’t be scared off, you can make it through this post. You might be wondering what brought this on, well a fairly popular actress had the following to say this week:

No [I’m not a feminist] because I love men, and I think the idea of ‘raise women to power, take the men away from the power’ is never going to work out because you need balance.                                                                                -Shailene Woodley (x)

ImageOh, honey. That statement is just so wrong on a kebab of mess. First thing first, let me just pull out my handy dandy dictionary real quick-

fem·i·nism
 (noun)  the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

Long story short: feminism = equality. That’s it, plain and simple. Equality amongst the sexes. The fact that so many people, including Shailene,  seem to equate it with hating men is disturbing. That is not what feminism is or what makes you one. Feminism is about equal rights and opportunities for all sexes. It’s about allowing women to choose who and what they want to be without prejudice, persecution or pressure. It’s about evening out the playing field to give all people the same chances, no matter their gender or race or socio-economical class or sexuality or whatever. Here’s a real doozy – men can be feminists too.  Don’t let the ‘fem’ in feminism fool you, it can apply to everyone. For me personally, I also think feminism is about giving women the choice to become whatever kind of woman they want to be. To allow them the space to define themselves and their own womanhood. Whether it’s to get married or not, to have 3 kids or none, to stay at home or work their whole lives, to wear dresses & makeup or shun everything girly, or to only answer to Khaleesi and become a dragon queen . That is the woman’s personal choice and right.

A younger and more ignorant version of myself probably would’ve scoffed at my sister, who had a kid at 26 and decided not to work. Then my current self would hop into a time machine and smack younger me across the head. No, past Ariana! Bad past Ariana! Don’t you see what you’re doing? You’re going against the very thing feminism is about. You’re telling women what roles they should fit into and what makes a “true and real” woman. The naivety of my younger self pains my heart. Feminism is not about guilting women who choose to be wives and mothers or shaming those who do the opposite. And the notion that feminism intends to make women all powerful by getting rid of men? Sweetheart, it’s in the definition. “Political, social, and economic EQUALITY to men.” Equal standing on all fronts. You don’t fight to change an imbalanced social and power system by replacing it with another one.

As a side note, mainstream feminism really needs to include the voices/stories/struggles of WoC and transwomen! Get on that, feminism. You really need to be inclusive to every kind of woman, not just a select few.

 

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Weekday Blues

Hello again and welcome to a new week, readers! Hope everyone enjoyed their short time off, whether it’s from school or work or both.

Let me tell you, Mondays are the bane of my existence. Whoever created them should be chased down the street by a pitchfork-wielding mob. Or at the very least step in a puddle with their socks on!

How I spend 90% of my Mondays

Wait, you mean I’m supposed to do actual work and not spend the whole nine hours trying to remain semi-awake? Oh….Well shit.

Let’s just not mention that to my boss. Of course, I totally get stuff done too! Important things like googling gifs of animals falling asleep, obsessively liking posts on Tumblr, and determining which genre best fits my mood for the day. Am I more of a House, 90s R&B or British rock today? I’ll take sassy Pop girl power anthems for 500!

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What I do the other 10% of the time

So how do you spend your Mondays? Do you dread them like me or are you a bizarre specimen that actually enjoys them?

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She’s Up All Night for Good Fun

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As I’ve grown older, many of the childhood possessions I once held dear have lost their value. There’s usually one of two outcomes for those lost relics – the trash or gathering dust in a  forgotten cardboard box. However, a few things I still cherish just the same as when I first got them – my video games & consoles. God, my Nintendo 64 is sitting in my closet along with all of its original games. Same with my PS2 and Nintendo DS! Unfortunately, my Gameboy got lost along the way somewhere and I’ve never been able to find it.

Video games have always been a significant part of my life for as long as I can remember. I can still see my little 8 year old self opening that brightly-colored box that contained her Nintendo 64 as clear as day. Video games were a way of exploring new worlds, becoming whoever I wanted to be, living out stories and adventures. I would sit in front of my television engrossed for hours, rush to the store when the newest game came out, play on the video game stand at Toy R’ Us while my mom shopped. I loved video games just as much as the next kid and continued to as I grew older. Of course though, gaming has its fair share of troubles too. Mostly, due to the fact that I’m a gamer who also happens to be a woman. Seeing as it’s a regular occurrence for fellow gamers of the female gender to experience, I think it’s important to touch on. That being the treatment of female gamers and the term “girl gamer.”

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Many women who love video games are met with either utter disbelief and treated like anomalies or forced to prove their gamer credentials. Personally, I’ve had a number of guy friends question how much of a gamer I really am. (When said friends only play Call of Duty. I’ll let that speak for itself…) Not to mention, the lewd remarks I’ve gotten while playing on Xbox Live or any MMORPG’s/MMO’s. To be perfectly honest, it kinda sucks being a gamer sometimes. However, you have to not let those downsides lessen your love of it.

Regarding the term ‘girl gamer’ and everything that goes along with it,  I can’t stand the word. I have never and will never call myself a “girl gamer.” I’m a gamer. Anyone who has a problem with that shall be doomed to a hell of dusty cartridges and rings of death for all eternity! The only thing that usage of “girl gamer” does is try to discredit females in the gaming community and make it a ‘boys only’ club. A gamer by definition is “a person who plays a game or games.” Therefore, it applies to any person regardless of age, gender, sex, race, or orientation.

Enough of that though! Presently, I’m probably more into gaming than I ever have been. Just one of the bonuses of having your own money. I got a new Xbox 360 for Christmas and have been addicted to it. My current best friend is the used games display at Gamestop. Don’t get me started on my Steam problem either, which is fairly large. It’s not my fault it always has so many sales! My current collection of games includes: Portal 2, The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, Assassian’s Creed, Fable, Arkham City, Tomb Raider, Dragon Age, Borderlands 2, BioShock, etc. Yeah, I have a lot of games I need to finish…like a mountain of them.

At the end of the day though, it’s all worth it. There’s just something so vastly different about games than movies or television or music or books. You’re able to get much more out of them than any other medium of entertainment. Video games put you directly in the role of the artist and narrator. The world and characters might already be set for you, but it’s you that control every aspect of where the journey goes. Instead of just consuming a finished product, you’re a participant. I think that’s why video games have such a dear place in my heart- they allow my imagination to run wild and the ability to actually live it out.

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Insane in the Membrane

Do you ever have those instances in life where so much is happening that it’s hard to keep track of? Those times when you just want to apologize to your brain for all the insanity?

I’m having one of those days.

Work is out of control, school is out of control, my mental health is out of control,my sleep is out of control. My life is such a headache.

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Me right now

I’m trying to reel it all in though. Slowly.

I need a plan if I’m every going to get anywhere and I need one fast. Yeah, I’m only 21 and that’s still young, but the hourglass only has so much sand.

So at the start of this new year – this new beginning – I want to make some progress. I want to grow and not be stuck anymore. I don’t want to avoid life and my future any longer.

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Whoopsie Daisy

Oh dear, I went and did it again.

I completely forgot to set aside time to sit down and write. So here we are – 2 and 1/2 weeks later…. again.

Hey, stop shaking your heads and grumbling at me like that! I can hear it through my computer screen. I promise I have a good reason for disappearing.

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Okay yes, I did watch the special, but that’s not the only reason I-

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I might have done some of that too, but that’s besides the-

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I…..uh….

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Shut up, blog! Who asked you anyways!?

Joking aside though, quite a lot happened to me in the past few weeks. So things in my life have been kinda chaotic which hasn’t left me time to write. Like seriously, every area of my life is spiraling. My family, my job, my schooling, my future.

Sometimes I wish life had a pause button, just so you could have a little breather.  But alas, we have no such luxury and you just have to keep chugging along. Or cling onto your raft while you’re tossed around rapids. Tomato, tomatoe~

I’m going to be making it up for all of you though! Later tonight I’ll be writing a more serious post and then a light-hearted one. Just for my loyal and fabulous readers! You guys deserve it after sticking with me even when I go M.I.A. every once in a while.

I’ll be talking to you all later!

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Daughters

Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers

I wasn’t going to write about this in-depth because of just how personal it is, but I’m going to try. Last week was extremely difficult for me, both emotionally and mentally. I’m still reeling from all the unearthed memories and feelings that I had to relive. All the thoughts about what my family had to endure, all the pain we felt.

I found out last week that my dad, who I’m estranged from, was arrested for rape.

I was beyond shocked and disgusted. Even worse was having to see his face again. To have to read his name everywhere. It was like being stabbed in the gut over and over. I never wanted to have to look at that man again, I didn’t want to know where he was living or working. I just wanted him to disappear from my life entirely.

Unfortunately, life usually has other plans in mind. So instead, I was treated to days of anxiously waiting for someone to message me about it, heart-wrenching conversations with my sister, obsessively refreshing webpages, and inner turmoil. Once again, this bastard has disrupted my life. He is like a leech, sucking you dry until you’re an empty shell. Until you’re as hollow and ugly on the inside as him.

The strangest part of the whole situation was seeing strangers talking about him. People who had no idea about what I’d suffered from because of him. Every single one of them hated him. I almost wanted to chime in and say how he has a history of violence against women. How he mistreated his former wife and 2 daughters. I didn’t though because it would’ve ended badly.

The thought that I share half of his DNA makes me want to vomit. I am the product of that monster. I could have turned out like him, I had the capability. It makes me feel like I have poison running through my veins. That no matter how far I run, I’ll never escape him fully because part of him makes up me.

Most of all though, it makes me angry. Once again, he has terrorized another female and destroyed their life. That’s his legacy – the trail of destruction he leaves in his wake. The tears and torment of the unlucky women he targets. My mom, sister, me and now this girl.

Enough. 

I hope he is locked away for years and they launch the key into the sun. No more people should have to suffer because of his black heart.

My wish for what people can take away from this is always be good to others. I don’t care if you’re having an awful day, never intentionally hurt another. Embrace love and understanding, shun all the negative emotions. At least as best you can. Life isn’t easy and there will always be trying times for everyone, but still try.

And to any fathers – please treat your daughters with respect, with dignity and love. Never let them have to go through what my sister and I did. Word of advice – your daughters are people. They aren’t and never will be your possessions. So treat them as such, as people.

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Kicking Ass and Taking Names

Get your killer heels, sneakers, pumps or lace up your boots. Representing all the women, salute, salute!

Afternoon, my dear readers. I hope all of you have had a good week so far. Mine has flown by really fast, I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday! That’s not a bad thing though because last week was kinda rough for me. In spite of all the old feelings that certain events have brought back to the surface, I wanted to have an uplifting post. So this is going to be for all the other women that need a pick-me-up too. That’s right, we’re having a girl power post! Settle in and embrace your awesomeness, ladies.

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I remember back in the 90’s the major buzzword for the better part of the decade was ‘girl power’. It tried to tell girls to embrace their femininity and be proud of it, this message bleed in all over too. Every facet of my life was filled with fierce women who radiated strength and confidence. Whether it was The Spice Girls singing about female empowerment, the Sailor Scouts preaching female friendship, Buffy being unapologetic about who she was, Kimberly being both girly and kickass; the list could go on for days. The point is though, everywhere you looked women were embracing themselves and wanting others to also. It was an inspiring time to live through as a young girl.

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Those influences helped shape me into the person I am today and how I view my womanhood. It has never been something that made me feel like the lesser of two, instead it helped empower me. I may be a very sensitive person or slightly insecure sometimes, but my strength in being a woman makes up for it tenfold. My previous posts will probably give you that impression…I’m a very passionate person.  It’s one of the things that has keep me going through my various struggles, especially in regards to the men in my life.

So put on your warpaint and go seize the day, ladies. And anyone who has a problem with that? Off with their heads!

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What Goes Around

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So I turned on my local news today and saw a familiar face pop up. I don’t know what to feel right now. I’m angry, disgusted, mortified, humiliated, relived; just a whole mess of emotions.

Part of me feels vindicated though. That scared girl who had no escape from her tormentor has finally been freed. Someone finally listened to her, saw what she had been screeching for years until her throat bleed.

Finally, it’s over.

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This Woman’s World

I remember my vision of my future when I was a young girl, it was filled with lace-trimmed wedding dresses and little brunette daughters running around. It was your typical expectations for one’s future – get married and have kids. That’s just the normal progression of life, what you’re supposed to do. Or is it?

Fast-forward years later to the 21 year old woman that girl became, things might have changed slightly. Just a tad bit. Now my dreams are no longer full of swirling white and lakeside vows, instead they contain helping hands, dedication, and a singular not shared future.

My views on marriage and children have changed dramatically over the years because of various reasons. I’ve been pretty steadfast on my current stance since high school though – that being that I don’t want children or to get married. No thank you, have a nice day, send me a postcard.

Of course, I always hear the typical responses, even from my own mom and sister. These are the usual reactions for the preferred spouse-less:

  • “So you want to be alone for the rest of your life?!”
  • “Don’t you want to be with someone? Fall in love?”
  • “Are you like asexual or something?”
  • “I could never be single the rest of my life.”
  • “Won’t you be lonely?”

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With comments about not wanting kids sounding like this:

  • “You’re still young. You’ll change your mind.”
  • “I felt that way too when I was your age.”
  • “But kids are the future!”
  • “Give it some time, you’ll want them later on.”
  • “But you would make a great mom!”

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I’ve encountered pretty much every opinion one could on either topic. One thing that always stands out to me though is the conclusion that “not being married=not wanting to be with anyone.” This is so far from the truth though, in fact I would love nothing more than to fall in love. Just because marriage isn’t a must for me doesn’t mean so is not being with another. Yes, having a partner isn’t my top priority anymore but it’s still up there.

If you had asked me about marriage two years ago though, I would have passionately told you – “Never. Never ever ever. Not for me. Never never never.” My feelings have relaxed since then and now if I do end up getting hitched in the future it won’ t be the end of the world. Things happen and circumstances change.

Now children? Sorry, not going to happen. I’ve always been open to adoption, but I have no desire to have my own. Pregnancy looks like no fun and you can forget birth. Not my cup of tea to suffer for 9 months and then spend hours trying to expel another human. Yikes! I have tons of respect for the women that choose to endure that. You guys are hardcore. Women are weak? Please, nice joke there.

One thing to note though is that there are more roles for women to have in life than just mother or wife. I think that’s why when some choose to differ from those expected routes, people freak out. Women are so boxed in by society that if they aren’t a mother or wife, others don’t know what to make of them. They become enigmas. With all the opportunities available to women now, we should be allowed to explore and find what roles suit us. One woman might want to focus solely on her career and that’s it. Another might want to be a stay-at-home mom with a husband. Maybe some want to be married, but be childless. Or have children but only be partners. Whatever the outcome or choice, all are acceptable.

As for me, whatever my future holds is alright with me. Whether that includes a wife or husband and kids. As long as I’m happy and loved then the rest are just minor details.

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