I don’t know if I love you anymore. They say if you have to ask yourself whether you love someone or not, then you don’t. But, I don’t believe that. I believe the heart lies. I believe feelings lie. I believe we think and feel things based off our beliefs and sometimes our beliefs are soured by the world. Sometimes our beliefs have turned against us. Sometimes we’re living on autopilot without even knowing it, no matter how self-aware or steadfastly devoted to self-growth we are. Sometimes we can have a feeling based off a sour belief for years and then, one day, feel different.
I’m afraid of regretting losing you. What if I lose you and then I realize I always wanted you? How would I live within the ghost of our love if I know I’m the one who killed it? You love me so surely and so certainly and so completely and I want to love you in the same reverence you love me. I want to bury myself inside my psychosis and find the errant belief which keeps me from loving you completely. I want to know why I chase pain. I want to know why I love people who don’t want me and I discard those who do. I want to know why I’m such a fuck-up and I want to stop being a fuck-up, but I also don’t want to stop because who am I if I’m not an emotional fuck-up?
Here’s the thing I know about me: I’m a survivor. If you leave me or if I force you out, I will be okay. I’m not worried about my okayness. I will shift my thinking and I will acclimate to a life without you there. I will do it. It will not be easy, but I will do it. I will burrow myself in the comfort call of that loneliness, that barrenness I felt before I met you. I will remember how to live without someone to cling to at 3am.
My worry isn’t whether or not I will be okay without you. My worry is simply: what if you are gone and I realize I was wrong about us? What if I date other people and try to find your laugh in their laugh or your face in their face or the way you wrap me in your arms in the way they wrap me in their arms? What if I lose you or leave you and then I look for you again my entire life? What if I go in search of something different, but all I end up wanting is you? What if I search for a greater love only to realize you were the greater love?
“Open-mindedness,” I would argue, is a term that has become synonymous with people who identify as politically liberal. Contrary to some of the feedback I sometimes receive from the audience on this site, and indeed some of the spaces and environments I find myself in, I am not politically liberal. Some might even argue that some of my views are on the conservative side of things. However, I have never obliged others in explicitly terming my political views perhaps other than in giving contradictory terms such as “radically moderate” or in claiming to be a “freethinker,” or something of that sort. Still, I enjoy politics or at least political theory – it was my second major in college. But I do not enjoy the state of politics and in particular, political dialogue or rather a lack thereof, in this country.
I am always up for a debate – ask anyone who knows me. But I have learned over time that debate is an art and a science, and not one that many people have particularly learned well. Ad hominem attacks, exception-to-the-rule arguments, refusing to truly listen to what the other person is saying, and most importantly these days I think, the policing of other people’s viewpoints with the reasoning that the person or people in debate who disagree with you, are not “open minded.” And it’s not just in debate this occurs but in general conversation in which a person may express their like or dislike for something; particular tastes and viewpoints are perceived as open-minded while other viewpoints are not.
And what often grants these particular “open-minded” tastes of which mostly includes things that are is in vogue, is that there are numerous and often powerful people in positions to support and side with a thought, an idea, anything. Now I do not support the notion that all views simply because they are somebody’s views, are of equal value in conversation. Not because of any elitist positions I may take due to education or class, which are admittedly always present. But rather because some have experience or particular forms of knowledge from the many ways in which knowledge is obtained, that is objectively greater than others. For example, being in conversation with an astrophysicist, it may be best for me to listen to his views on the physical world and how quantum mechanics laws shape it, than to challenge his knowledge based on the idea that “I have basic knowledge too.” Granted everything is worth challenging. But like Mark Twain, I often think it’s best to know the accepted facts before attempting to challenge them.
And I do challenge what people have to say and I absolutely prefer to be in (respectful) conversation with people who know how to argue, and who hold different views from me. I firmly believe that it is the best way to learn because you do not learn as much when you only converse with people who already believe in the same things you do. But I think the art of conversation and the relationships we build during them become poorer when we feel the need to agree with people, lest we be told that we are not “open-minded.” Open-mindedness has become a slippery slope ideology that is used to above all, police argument.
That said, I do not entertain every argument as a matter of sanity, and a belief that there are objectively bad arguments and objectively poor morals. And at the sight of these, I have learned to leave people to their own devices; some people are best left to their own devices. But I am also quite frustrated at the speed at which people will call an argument that they disagree with, one that is not of the “open-minded” stance. And I have found that it is often politically liberal people who are fond of calling their politically conservative counterparts this term. As a bystander to both camps, I still find it frustrating.
Ultimately, I think open-mindedness means that if I choose to engage in argument with you, I am thoroughly open to what you have to say. But it does not mean at any point in conversation I, or anyone else, has to adopt your views or be convinced by you. And those who are fond of labeling people as not open-minded simply because they have different views, need to take a hard look in the mirror and re-think the term. If one doesn’t care for being open-minded, then this argument and conversation is pointless anyway. But if one does care, the start of being able to authentically claim that label is having the courage and prudence to recognize that being open-minded doesn’t mean the people you choose to be in spaces with, have to agree with you. It’s a tough stance to take and a tough way to live, I think. But anything that is worthwhile, always is.
When it comes to Halloween two things become abundantly clear — you now have an excuse to buy and eat a whole bag of Reese Peanut Butter Cups, and it’s that time of year again where guys get an opportunity to don fake blood and crazy, goofy outfits while us girls have a pick of sexy nurse or sexy school girl costumes. Of course, there are always a select few creative females who make cute and culturally relevant costumes that make the rest of us look like unoriginal skanks, but (and I’ll speak for just myself here), “ain’t nobody got time for that.” Because really, who has time to go to Michaels, and Joan’s Fabric Store and (inevitably) Spencer’s in the mall to build your own DIY costume; all so you can get asked a million times, “What are you?” while the rest of your friends scurry around in lingerie? Hard pass for me on that one.
So starts the dilemma of deciding whether or not you’ll go as something scary or sexy. About a week out from Halloween you grab your closet gal pals and head to some previously abandoned warehouse to try on a bunch of overpriced dresses with garter belts and cheap accessories. Because we’re a fat shaming society, female Halloween costumes come in size small, medium, or large — and that’s it. Your inner brain will try to tell you that this is stupid and you are too old for Halloween because you will see pictures of your 16 year old cousins and friends of your younger siblings dressed as if they’re shooting a Maxim cover instead of going out for Halloween. You’ll also run into the problem of having already been every cliche sexy Halloween costume there is already. Those facts, coupled with that you’d would much rather be spending you Saturday in your sweatpants, makes you want to leave the store immediately.
You decide to pick a few things that are sexy but also appropriate enough that if anyone from work saw you in it they wouldn’t wonder why you were dressed for a Playboy party. The dressing rooms are just sheets hanging from metal bars but you manage to squeeze yourself into, what seems to be a 10,000 piece costume before pulling back and taking it all in. It looks ok. You can foresee several “likes” in your future when you post a picture of yourself (much drunker than this I might add) in said costume. You are only moderately irritated to hear the college girls next to you talk about how they need to go to Zumba everyday this week to fit into their costumes even though their about a size 0. They are going as a group costume of sexy M&M’s. Gross.
For a minute you debate going as a decapitated zombie like the little boy running around as you wait in line to buy your sexy scientist outfit (hey- it’s still feminist). You realize that as much as we blame male society for creating this sexualized idea of Trick-or-Treating that it’s kind nice to have a holiday where you get to express your sultry side. You’re tempted to say empowering before you realize you need to stop at Target for a new push-up bra and immediately recant your sentiment. In front of you is a little girl with a simple princess costume like you had when you were young and you smile at her and ask her what type of Princess she’s going to be. “Queen Elsa.” She says with a “duh” expression on her face.
You somehow manage to get out of the store spending more than you thought. You try on your costume again only to see a small hole in it – figures. You end up spending the day before Halloween at Ross throwing together a sexy cowgirls outfit before calling it a night and swearing you’ll do better next year. If there is a next year. Fuck Halloween.
1. Having to eat your food elsewhere for fear of judgment.
The majority of the girls in your class are usually pretty fit, or just plain skinny. Because of this, you freak out that someone is going to judge you for eating your bag of hot Cheetos you love that are over 50% calories in fat. So you hide in your car or move over to the next building where the bio majors won’t care.
2. Dealing with the vegans that force their principles and beliefs on you.
Don’t get me wrong, I love me a vegan meal; however, there is a time and place for your vegan stances and a group project is definitely not one of them. You’re constantly hiding your burger in your backpack, or getting the look of disapproval when you tell them there’s meat in your salad. Whoops, my bad.
3. Holding your tongue.
You get placed in so many situations where people start preaching about certain diet fads, and you just have to grit your teeth to avoid an argument. Or you’ll overhear someone saying, “OMG carbs are so gross, I never eat them” and want to yell “You’re ridiculous!!”
4. Everyone asking you to make their meal plan.
Being in this field must mean that you know anything and everything about eating, so after people find out your major they’ll quickly follow up with, “Can you concoct a diet for me?” “…no.”
5. Always being hungry.
Talking about food — even if it pertains to diseases — will always make you hungry. You’re constantly looking at pictures of food, learning about different recipes and cooking that you just want to eat all day. Just shovel that parfait into my mouth and keep it coming!
6. Worrying about your body image.
Most girls that go into this field of study typically have some sort of eating disorder; I’m sure I do too. When you’re stuck with a classroom full of skinny girls, you start to think that you should be just as slim, and constantly question what you eat. It makes getting through class a lot harder.
7. People mistaking you for a nutritionist.
Nothing is as insulting as when someone calls a registered dietitian a nutritionist. A warning: don’t do it.
Choosing to go into a creative career is one of my constant love/hate feelings (99% of the time I can’t get enough of it). I get to write for hours and develop new ideas. Being weird is completely accepted and honestly a little encouraged. It’s still considered working when you put your feet up on the desk and talk about TV shows, movies and vine compilation.
When I tell people I’m a writer, one of the first things people say is, “I wish I was creative enough to do something like that.” The truth is, though, anyone can be taught how to think creatively and I’m here to teach you how in 9 easy steps.
1. Loose the fear of being wrong. Anything and everything goes. Say it or write it. Get all of your ideas out of your brain. Even the bad ones. And let’s face it, there are a lot of bad writings out there. I’m lookin’ at you, Yahoo articles.
2. Watch a lot of movies, read a lot of books. Put a bunch of ideas in your brain and allow them to mold together. Also, who doesn’t like watching a documentary about puppies for “research”?
3. Welcome the creative block. Know when you need a break. Being creative can be tiring and you need to look away from your project so you can clear your head and recollect your thoughts. Procrastination is a glorious thing and allows you to be very productive with tasks just as painting your toes or watching all 8 seasons of your favorite show on Netflix.
4. Pound your head against a wall/table/any hard surface available when the block won’t go away. Sometimes those pesky little ideas just don’t want to come out of your head. Help them by repeating this process until they are abused out of your brain.
5. Master the skill of deciphering notes that you made at 3 a.m. Great ideas like to strike in the middle of the night. Learn to read late night scribbles (aka jibberish) when you wake up to remember what they were. Trust me, “Blue cow. spaghetti. sequins.” is a valuable list… probably.
6. Drink black coffee. This probably doesn’t do anything, but it really helps you create that angsty writer ambience.
7. Wear all black. Your coolness factor sores through the roof and again it’s all about the ambience.
8. Have a support group. If you don’t have someone in your life that’s willing to change all of your social media passwords so you can actually get some work done you should really reevaluate if you have the right kind of friends in your life.
9. Have some fun. Go to the park. A museum. Play a board game. Creativity comes from enjoying yourself.