Ten Thousand Things, Part 1

1. I have noticed recently that the hours of time I spend alone directly correlates to the amount of existentialist philosophical musing I am apt to do on any given day.

2. However, conversely, sometimes being with other people just causes me to think about the ephemeral nature of life and the complexities of our larger universe that I will never quite understand.

3. Summer is a strange time of year in which I spend most of the time feeling both elated and desperately sad at once for absolutely no reason.

4. I wonder if the rest of the year I truly have a different experience or if I only pretend that I do.

5.  Sometimes it really bothers me when people leave off the periods at the ends of their sentences, and sometimes it doesn’t.

6. It bothers me an awful lot when people write letters but don’t sign them.

7. “It hurts to want everything and nothing at the same time” are lyrics from the song “Goodbye to You” by Michelle Branch. It is probably one of the most relatable phrases I have come across.

8. Realizing you don’t love someone anymore, and that you still care deeply about them but that you just can’t care about them in the way that you used to, is probably one of the scariest things there is. And it happens really slowly and you don’t notice it at first, and then you do but you pretend you don’t, and then one day you’re sitting in the rain with a girl who wants to kiss you and all you can think is “the tree across the street looks so beautiful in this weather.”

9. It’s like the way things fall apart sometimes— so slowly and subtly you don’t know it’s happening until you’re looking at the remains of what you thought your life would be.

10. But endings are just a different kind of beginning, really, and destruction and creation are so linked together that sometimes it’s impossible to see which is really going on. My go-to answer is usually both.

11. If I look back on this two years from now I am going to wince and call myself a pretentious little shit

12. I don’t know if the degree to which I immerse myself in fictional realities is worrisome or not.

13. I’ve grown up being a lover of books and movies and stories. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It has led me to some of my deepest friendships, fostered my creativity, and informed the way I move through the world. Fictional reality has taught me how to be brave and be individual and how to laugh. But I sometimes wonder if I am hiding in other people’s stories so I can avoid living my own.

14. Then again, they say reality is just a different kind of fiction.

15. When we say “they” do we ever know who we mean?

16. And also with the word we?

17. Whoever has made the argument that fiction doesn’t hurt as much as reality never had to suffer through realizing Harry Potter was over.

18. Wanting is a really weird emotion and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it.

19. I am definitely going to regret writing this later.

20. Have more of a heart, Future Self! Be more flexible!

21. I hope people write just as many letters to their selves of the future as they do their selves of the past.

22. Being able to relate to things is one of the coolest feelings in the world.

23. I think I’m sad right now, but I can’t really tell because whenever I get sad I also get philosophical and confused and try to remedy it with as many books as possible.

24. I really need to start accepting the fact that things end.

25. No one moment is ever the same as any moment before or after it, and instead of feeling sad about that I should recognize the beauty in the uniqueness of time.

26. I need to stop putting off the end of things.

Thoughts From the Crossroads of Self Identity and Religion

 

NOTE: Today I will be broaching some very serious, potentially triggering subjects. Read with caution lovelies.

If I somehow haven’t made this clear before, I’m really really gay. I mean, really gay. Ellen Page in this video gay. But I’m also a Christian. Specifically, my congregation is a part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, though of course I believe religion is interpretational and not exactly the same from person to person. Both these parts of my identity are very important to me but do not define me, as with anything else, but sometimes, people from both communities try to make them.

I was in fourth grade the first time I really believed in God. I’d been struggling with anxiety to the point where I couldn’t go outside without hyperventilating, and I spent my days feeling like I was fragile enough to shatter into a thousand pieces at any given moment. Whenever my parents left me at home alone for a quick run to the grocery or to pick up my brother from a friend’s house, I’d sit in the same place the entire time, shaking, still. Unmoving because the creaks and noises I heard didn’t just sound like burglars and monsters–they were burglars and monsters. The scariest kind. If it wasn’t that, I’d be afraid my body would give out on me with no one around to keep it from falling apart.

Our culture prioritizes hiding, and I knew I’d have to keep these things hidden deeper than anything. What I didn’t know was how to hide.

So I started praying, not as a means of hiding, but to calm myself down. It worked, mostly. I found myself truly believing the things they told me in Sunday school about a God who loved me, who looked out for me, who held me accountable to myself. I prayed to Her whenever I felt too afraid to continue. I’d hear a storm outside and tell Her I would help save the environment one day if the thunder and lightning passed. When I felt a pang or ache in my side and worry it meant my inevitable decay I promised Her I’d write those books I’d always wanted to. It helped me breathe again and get through my day. Eventually the pain would pass but the fear lingered. To this day it lingers.

My faith has since come in phases, like the waxing and waning of the moon. I’ve had many moments of doubt and I never stop questioning my beliefs, but I think both doubt and questioning are integral to the understanding of one’s faith and oneself. I have had more moments than I’d like where the world has gotten me so down, when I feel so guilty about the things people of my faith can do, that I have stopped believing, or tried. As I grow older I find it harder to rationalize my faith as the world screams “religion defies logic” with one fist and “religion promotes hate speech” with the other.

It’s true. Religion is not logical. Some people use it to condone vile actions that I will never uphold and never support. That is most of the reason I am writing to you today.

Leelah Alcorn was a teenage trans woman who committed suicide this week because her conservative Christian parents could not accept her for who she was and, among other brutalities, isolated her from her friends and sent her to conversion therapy. I won’t go into detail because I do not know all the details and do not believe they are mine to comment on, but her story needs attention, as do the stories of hundreds of thousands of others. Roughly half of transgender people will attempt suicide before they’re 20. And some people, some Christians, are perfectly okay with this, or are in denial about it. Leelah’s parents claim their daughter was caught in an accident.

So many people have so many better words than me about this, and I invite you to read them (tumblr is a start because many people have thoughts on this issue & links to charities you can donate to and helplines, some of which I’ll link below). I am not transgender, and I am not Leelah, and therefore I have no authority to speak on this other than to report what I know to be the facts and send all the love I have to Leelah, to transgender youth, to all who struggle with being someone the world tells them they’re not supposed to be.

Many things about both the facts and the response trouble me. No parent should put their child through that. No one should put any other human through that, or drive a human being to take their own life. And no one should do all this in the name of a religion based on love and acceptance.

I’m lucky. I have lived in a setting where I have not needed to fear my parents’ reactions to my sexuality, nor my friends, and where in fact many of my friends are queer themselves. My church openly accepts members of any sexuality or gender identity. I am so fortunate, and so grateful, and thus the things I write come from a place of privilege. Remember that. The queer community has always been accepting and is one of the first places I felt a true sense of belonging. Yet I find it harder to come out to my queer friends as Christian than I have found it to come out to my Christian friends as queer. I don’t know many religious queer people, and many of the queer people I associate with make remarks on a regular basis about how the planet would be better off without religion or how the Bible should be banned. I understand that these things do not come from a place of intentional maliciousness. It’s easy for us to blame religion as being the root of the problem because it means we don’t have to blame the culture we’ve helped to create. Religion may be that root some cases, but does that really mean it is inherently evil and should be wiped out?

I am not with any of this saying that religion in general does not have flaws, because like any system it is full of them. I am not excusing the actions of people like Leelah’s parents, or religious organizations that proudly promote discrimination. I am saying that religion is meant to help, and it is people who use it to hurt, and therefore we shouldn’t dismiss all religions as worthless. If you can say with confidence the world would be a better place without religion, you are saying that the world would be a better place without me, and others like me.

I struggle with my faith. I struggle with believing in a God who could let what Leelah’s parents did to her happen, who could let any number of atrocities in this world happen. But the God I believe in is not the scary condemning monster of a God the rest of the world presents to me.

My God is more of a force than a concrete being floating on some cloud while the world burns. My God is loving above all else. My God works in tandem with science and logic; She but another facet to these explanations. My God creates the perfectly flawed, because our flaws bring destruction but ultimately they bring us beauty. My God accepts all and does not condemn people to hell for who they are. My God does not condone actions of hate made in Her name.

The time I felt the closest to God I’d ever been was this past July. It was my fifth night at summer camp, the last before I had to return home. I was surrounded by teenagers of diverse sexualities and gender identities who were Christian like me, for the first time in my life feeling like the queer community accepted me for my religion and my religion accepted me for being queer. That week had been a slice of paradise–dance routines and music and gluten-free food and joking around with friends and in-depth discussions about God and gender and sexuality. I’ve never been able to grasp the idea of heaven in the contemporary sense of the word, but for the first time, I could see how a place like it could exist. By the dying embers of our last campfire, I prayed harder than I’ve ever prayed before or since. And now I pray again.

I pray for LGBTQ+ teenagers who feel alone, because it is so easy for teenagers in general to feel isolated, particularly when half the world is telling them they’re wrong. I pray for trans women, and that cis people will truly, genuinely listen to trans people. I pray for the parents of Leelah Alcorn, because they live in ignorance of the grievous injustice they have done. I pray they will stop denying their wrongs and start to live with open hearts and open actions. And I pray for Leelah. I pray that she will find the peace the world didn’t grant her.

Praying may not be everyone’s cup of tea. It doesn’t have to be. But prayer has helped me in the past, and I’m not going to stop. My faith gives me strength.

These are my thoughts, based on my personal experiences. Some people have different experiences that cause them to hate religion because of brutal things very religious people have done to them. I am in no way trying to discount or delegitimize that. But I do urge you to think before generalizing all religions and religious people as the same, as hateful and worthless. It is a strong belief of mine that a vast majority of religions are meant to promote love, and it is us people who use them instead to promote our own discriminatory agendas. And not having a concrete religion, or any religion? Perfectly okay. Demonizing religions practiced in peace? Not okay. I say do not ban religion. Ban hate speech people make on behalf of a religion that in all likelihood would be appalled at that behavior in the first place.

As always, I am not an expert, only a girl with a keyboard and some thoughts. Please call me out on any inaccuracies you see.

~Links~

Organizations to support/donate to:
Trans Lifeline–http://www.gofundme.com/TLLCreatingChange
Trans Youth Support Network–http://www.transyouthsupportnetwork.org/
Trans Women of Color Collective–http://www.twocc.us/
Trans Student Educational Resources–http://transstudent.org/
Kaleidoscope Youth Center–http://www.kycohio.org/

Support Groups:
Pathways–http://pathwaystg.org/
Other Trans Support Groups–http://iamtransgendered.com/SupportGroups.aspx

Helplines and resources:
LGBTQ Hotlines–http://www.glbtnationalhelpcenter.org/ http://www.lgbt.ie/get-support.aspx
Transgender Helpline–http://www.transgenderzone.com/transpanic.htm
Gender Support Lines–http://www.supportline.org.uk/problems/gender-identity.php

 

 

My Hero Monday: Nancy Garden

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Oh hi octopi! Today I am finally logging back onto the blogosphere to bring you My Hero Monday, an invention of Chloe at A Girl’s Voice. (To find out more about My Hero Monday, click the link above or in the image, it’s super awesome.) Due to scheduling miscommunication I was slated to go on the 10th but was told I’d be posting on the 17th, so I apologize for any confusion that may have caused. This month’s November linkup is being led by my friend nevillegirl and, in honor of NaNoWriMo, is themed as female authors. I chose Nancy Garden.

nancy garden
 

Nancy Garden

Date of Birth:

May 15, 1938

Current Age:

Nancy Garden died on June 23, 2014. She was 76.

School(s):

She earned a B.F.A. and later an M.A. from Columbia University School of Dramatic Arts.

What books has she written? Which one is your favorite? Why?

I never liked picking favorites. I haven’t read nearly all of hers yet, but here’s a timeline of (most) of her fiction:

  • What Happened in Marston (1971)
  • The Loners (1972)
  • Vampires (1973)
  • Werewolves (1973)
  • Witches (1975)
  • Mist Maiden (1975)
  • Fours Crossing (1981)
  • Annie on My Mind (1982)
  • Maria’s Mountain (1983)
  • Watersmeet (1983)
  • Prisoner of Vampires (1984)
  • Peace, O River (1986)
  • The Door Between (1987)
  • Lark in the Morning (1991)
  • My Sister, the Vampire (1992)
  • Dove and Sword: A Novel of Joan of Arc (1995)
  • My Brother, the Werewolf (1995)
  • Good Moon Rising (1996)
  • The Year They Burned the Books (1999)
  • Holly’s Secret (2000)
  • Prisoners of Vampires (2001)
  • The Case of the Stolen Scarab (2002)
  • Nora and Liz (2002)
  • Meeting Melanie (2002)
  • Molly’s Family (2004)
  • Endgame (2006)
  • Hear Us Out! (2007)

Out of these, my favorite is still the classic, Annie on My Mind. It’s one of the few romances I have read and actually enjoyed, for several reasons. For starters, it doesn’t ignore the existence of queer people. Often called one of the first books to feature lesbians in a positive light, it’s a welcome change from the breathtaking world of heteronormative romantic fiction, particularly in YA. I also like that she doesn’t jump into the romance portion right away–she allows Liza and Annie, the main characters, to build a friendship first, then lets that develop further. I love how she really maintains the tension between them, because I’ve seen plenty of novels that have failed to do this. It’s also super relatable, and I can see myself in the characters of both Liza and Annie. It’s one of those books that says what I’m feeling before I even realize I’m feeling it.

When did I first hear about her?

I honestly can’t remember the first recommendation for one of her books that I got, but it was somewhere around the time I was discovering my own queer identity. I’d heard great things about her writing but never actually delved into it, but then one day I was hanging at the library for a couple hours when I found Annie on My Mind on the shelves, and the rest is history.

What makes her one of my heroes?

Nancy Garden had guts. Being a lesbian in the 20th century was never easy, and being a lesbian in the 20th century writing about lesbians in the 20th century was bound to draw controversy. But Garden didn’t let this get in her way. She repeatedly spoke out for LGBTQ+ youth, both in her writing and speeches. She dared to pioneer the genre of lesbian fiction with positive representation, a genre that even today needs more substance, and even after her books were burned and banned, she kept going. She didn’t just write YA, either. She wrote picture books, middle grade, horror, serious literary fiction, and even non-fiction, holding genuine respect both for youth and youth fiction. She was an out woman who stayed with her partner and stayed with her passion, regardless of any dissenting voices that crossed her path.

Quotes:

“I like children and teens so much and feel they’re important, special people. There’s something very exciting about a person who’s in the process of becoming, of forming his or her identity. I think another reason is simply my love of children’s books–and Y/A books, although there were no Y/As as such when I was growing up. Some of the best, most exciting, and most innovative writing, I think, has always been in the children’s and Y/A field.” – Nancy Garden

“Don’t punish yourselves for people’s ignorant reactions to what we all are. Don’t let ignorance win. Let love.”  – Annie on My Mind

“But what really is immorality? And what does helping someone really mean? Helping them to be like everyone else, or helping them to be themselves?”  – Annie on My Mind

“It was her eyes I noticed most. They were as black as her hair, and they looked as if there was more behind them than another person could possibly ever know.” – Annie on My Mind

” ‘Gay,’ Sally said softly. ‘Oh, Liza, what a sad word! What a terribly sad word. Ms. Baxter said that to me and she’s right. Even with drugs and liquor and other problems like that, most of the words are more honestly negative – stoned, drunk out of one’s mind…’

I think it was at that point I did take hold of Sally’s arm – not to shake her, but just to shut her up. I remember trying to keep my voice from breaking. ‘It’s not a problem,’ I said. ‘It’s not negative. Don’t you know it’s love you’re talking about? You’re talking about how I feel about another human being and how she feels about me, not about some kind of disease you have to save us from.'” – Annie on My Mind

And that’s it! Check the schedule below for past/future posts that you should definitely go read. And, as always, I appreciate any book recommendations you may have, or your thoughts on the books I listed.

– –

November 3:

nevillegirl @ Musings From Neville’s Navel

Cait @ Notebook Sisters

November 10:

Bridget @ Nerds Inc.

Mawa Mahima @ All Things Wordy

Artgirl @ Alien Cows

November 17:

Charley @ Charley R’s Leaning Tower of Plot

November 24:

Orphu @ A Mirror Made of Words

Wrap-up by Engie @ A Girl’s Voice

Because It’s Time I Corrected Myself

My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit.” -Flavia Dzodan.

A few months ago, towards the end of May, I wrote my first post blatantly acknowledging my feminist viewpoints. While I stand by the general points I made in that post, e.g. women are people too and deserve to be treated as such, there are a few things–and one main thing–that were problematic about this article. I apologize.

I wrote the article in a way that suggested that, while women are not treated as equals, we are treated equally. There may be truth in this to some extent, but the problem with my writing is that feminism goes beyond just sexism. I would love to live in a world in which all women have the same rights, but that isn’t the world we’re living in.

Because every woman faces her own unique experience, and feminism doesn’t just have to do with sexism, it has to do with racism and classism and ableism and homophobia and transphobia and so many other things. Because a white woman faces different oppressions* and societal expectations than a woman of color than a white queer woman than a trans woman of color than a trans queer woman than a Christian queer woman of color than a Muslim woman who uses a wheelchair. Because the privileges in our society have many platforms and there is no way to examine one without taking into account and examining the others.

Oppression takes many forms, not just one, forms that bleed into one another and shift and intersect, none acting independently of one another. There are many interrelated forms of discrimination, and that’s why feminism needs intersectionality.

I’m still learning. I am by no means an authority figure on intersectionality or any social justice issues. I have privilege many don’t have and I face discrimination others do not. I am sixteen. I am young, and I am imperfect, and I make mistakes, and I’m still learning. My posts on the subject of intersectional feminism, and other subjects, will not be perfect and will probably be flawed in many ways. Call me out. The best way for me to learn is by fixing the mistakes I know I’m bound to make.

I’m a white queer middle-middle class abled (physically, at least, mental health issues are a topic I hope to tackle more in-depth) Christian cisgendered woman. There are many things I cannot understand because of the privileges I have. And that’s really difficult for me to come to terms with. But I have to. And I have to keep trying. I can never fully understand the discrimination many people face, but that just means I need to learn and grow and do everything in my power to work towards that understanding even harder. It goes beyond just solidarity. It’s about immersing yourself in problems regardless of whether you directly are affected by them, because if they are affecting someone else then they are affecting your world, and the world is in everyone’s hands, not just yours or theirs. It’s about acting, rising up together in acknowledgement of intersectionality and understanding that you may never be able to understand one another completely but standing together anyway.

It’s about however you choose to fight, be it peacefully or rather less than, and having the courage not to fight alone.

*When I say oppression, I do not mean it in the sense that groups who face its forms are lowly or meek or underpowered. I use oppression to mean injustice, to mean the systemized discrimination and cruelty against people, and to demonstrate the disparity of privilege within society. Oppression affects different people in different ways but it does not mean you are any less awesome and desirable and kickass.

P.S. I’ve been nominated for a couple of blog awards, which I will be doing the posts for shortly, in case you’re interested/wanting another post/grumbling at me for not having gotten to them already/turned into a squirrel. Just kidding about that last part. Maybe. Maybe squirrels care about intersectionality too.

How to Survive a Heartbreak

Don’t worry, readers-mine, it’s a mini heartbreak. Sort of. Not really. But it’s not the great, wallowing, my-life-is-over kind, fear not. It’s more the type of heartbreak that happens when you, I don’t know, spend a half an hour slow dancing with a girl you’ve had a huge crush on since first semester and she tells you that you look pretty and it’s like this weird more-than-friends-but-not-dating thing you’ve had going for months is finally going to sort itself out when a week later she tells you she has to sort out her own emotional things and that a relationship wouldn’t be fair to you so you’re just friends now. Not that that happened to me, or anything. Maybe.

I don’t really have an emergency kit for this situation (even though I should) so really I’m coping off the top of my head. Here are some of the ways I’m handling it:

1. Lie in bed having a Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon while eating chocolate chips (in lieu of actual chocolate) that you took illicitly from a cupboard in the kitchen.

2. Find ways to be home alone and once you are sing your heart out to sad songs and then angry songs and then breakup songs and then “Let It Go” from Frozen because for some reason it makes you feel empowered and less sucky.

3. Put on lipstick, try on your outfit for Pride, and then tell yourself that there’ll be tons of queer girls your age at Pride and you look mighty fine and you’ll get someone’s number and then you’ll totally hang out and that’ll show your former non-girlfriend how you’ve moved on…

4. Sit on the floor tapping your foot impatiently, waiting until everyone is gone and you have the house to yourself, not even because you want to sing so badly but because right now you need to be as far away as you can get from civilization (even though your next-door neighbors are outside all day long working on a noisy construction project).

5. Get very frustrated with those neighbors for absolutely no reason and scream into your pillow.

6. Maybe it’s because they’re gay and together and happy and you are gay and not together and sad…

7. Spend a solid hour at the library checking through every book you find for promises of queer girl characters and be disappointed that there are none. (I think this is partially why Malinda Lo has become one of my favorite authors–she has characters that are diverse in race and sexuality and it’s not like those books where they throw in a particular character just for the sake of diversity, and they’re well written. I hate it when books try to do diversity and the characters are cardboard cut-outs. Plus I mean Adaptation if you haven’t read it yet you need to.)

8. Go off on tangents about Malinda Lo.

9. Obsessively work on your art because that seems to be the only thing keeping you sane these days.

10. Do your art while watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, at this point only partially because it’s a black hole of obsession that you can’t hope to escape, and mostly because Willow and Tara are adorable and also you need lesbians on TV right now but you have no way of watching Orange is the New Black. And also you’re not allowed to.

11. Eat homemade ice cream while watching Sherlock with your family and then finish off your brother’s serving too.

12. Watch an Irish advertisement against the bullying of LGBTQ+ teens and feel your eyes actually getting misty by the end. Then actually cry at that Always “Like a Girl” advertisement.

13. Get a sinking feeling in your stomach when you realize that you only have two seasons left of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and that sooner or later you’re be finished, and at the rate you’re going it’s looking to be far sooner than later.

14. Spend several hours learning to play “Impossible” on the guitar because it describes your life (in your head, of course, in actuality the tornado you’re feeling is a gust of wind) and also because the chords are easy, yay.

15. And then, for good measure, play “Clever Meals” by Tegan and Sara, which is even easier, and daydream about performing it at the open mic next week even though you have the guitar skills of a one-handed chicken. Or one-taloned. Or something.

16. Develop a crush on Hannah Hart

17. Realize that all the cute girls your age at Pride have cute girlfriends.

18. Bemoan the lack of desserts in your household a bit too harshly, causing your parents to ask troublesome questions.

19. Write a blog post about it, go camping for a week, come back and realize you haven’t finished the blog post and have all of the unpleasant feelings dredged up again.

20. Text The Girl In Question asking if she’s busy this week.

21. Even though you’re still not sure if you’re ready to see her again yet.

22. But also you sort of want to and it’s her birthday and you want to get her a book and also you want to show her that you’re totally fine with the just friends thing, really.

23. Avoid the novel you’re supposed to be writing.

24. Spend hours cut off from all humanity doing nothing but writing that novel.

25. Think that really, you should be a mature and responsible adult by this point. But you’re still having all the feelings and want chocolate.

22 Ways to Ask Someone to Dance With You

The end of year dance is coming up in two weeks today, and that may seem like a long time but I’m already stressing. I’m going with a girl I can barely form coherent sentences around, much less ask to dance. I have the bad habit of being either awkwardly silent or babbling incessantly in her presence, but I don’t want to do that. I want to look cool. So here are 22 cool ways to ask a girl–or anyone–to dance with you:

1. Walk over to her. Look at the ground in a cute, abashed way, and run your palm through your hair backwards, intentionally messing up your hair. According to my Sources this is a primary queer girl flirtation ritual. (My Sources being the LGBTQ+ blogs I read and my real-life nonstraight friends who do this constantly.) I have tried doing this with my hair but it doesn’t quite work because it’s too long. After this, look up and say sheepishly, “So…I was wondering…would you like to dance with me?” You look cute and irresistible and it probably won’t be hard pulling off the embarrassed part.

2. Grin at her, hold out a hand, and say, “I don’t really know how to dance, but wanna give it a shot?”

3. Optionally, do the same thing as in #2, only say, “I’ve been practicing my moves for weeks. Care to help me test them out?”

4. Or you could get even cheesier with “Come and get your groove on with me, baby!”

5. Or you could say “Screw this I know how to dance” and grab her hand and pull her onto the floor with you.

6. Casually drop not-so-subtle hints during conversation to get her to do the asking. “I really like this song. It’s good music to dance to.” “So I learned how to waltz the other day.” “Yeah, I was trying to practice slow dancing in contemporary women playwrights yesterday, but it wasn’t really the same without a partner *wink wink nudge nudge*”

7. Write her a song, ask if you can perform it, go up there and own it, and then afterwards when the crowd is going wild over your musical genius, sweep over to her and say “Dance with me?” in a cute, flirtatious way.

8. Or just, you know, ask her flirtatiously to dance. I’d provide an example but my knowledge of the subject is limited to Captain Jack Harkness and I don’t think I can really pull off the same charismatic appeal.

9. Write DANCE WITH ME? on the front steps with sidewalk chalk.(Because of that one time, when she was like “Do you have sidewalk chalk?” and you were like “Yeah I have sidewalk chalk!” only you couldn’t find it and were so upset you resorted to overusage of the word “like.”)

10. Look her squarely in the eye and ask her if she would like to dance with you. (But come on, who does this? Eye contact? Pfff…)

11. “Hypothetically speaking, if someone in your immediate presence were to ask you to dance with them, would you, hypothetically, say yes?”

12. Go up to her and twirl her around, then when she’s laughing pull her out onto the dance floor. Works best for faster songs.

13. You know you’re going to be awkward with her. I mean, come on, you’ve stared at the moon together, alone on a balcony on a rainy night, but never even so much as hugged because you’re too afraid. So own your awkwardness. Stutter. Blush. Stare at the ground. Trust me, it’s cute. As long as you get across the general impression of “Would you like to dance with me?” you’re good to go.

14. Start quoting song lyrics at her. “We spun around a thousand stars / I dreamed a dance with you / I know the night is dying, dear / I know the day will dawn / the dancers may disappear / still the dance goes on.”
…Maybe those exact lyrics don’t really work, but I never pass up an opportunity to quote Next to Normal.

15. Optionally, quote poetry at her. As my Shakespeare teacher once told me (and as they say in Dead Poets Society), poetry was invented to woo the girl of your affections. And also possibly to lyrically state universal truths and metaphysical concepts while working for social change. Possibly. But also for wooing. I know poetry by no means makes everyone swoon, but I can assure you that if a girl were to quote some Emily Dickinson or T.S. Elliot at me I would probably faint conveniently into her arms. I have many many favorite poems, but right now I adore “To a Stranger” by Walt Whitman and “somewhere i have never traveled,gladly beyond” by e.e. cummings. My favorite lines from that last one are “i do not know what it is about you that closes / and opens,only something in me understands / the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses / nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands”

16. You could get even more specific with that and take a leaf from the Bard. “If I profane with my unworthiest hand / This holy shrine, the gentle sin is this:/ My lips, two blushing pilgrims ready stand / To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.” (Romeo, you flirtatious person you.)

17. Draw her a picture explaining your proposition.

18. Just become Daenerys Targaryen (circa the beginning of book 3, since I’ve not read farther and who knows where her character arch could end up).

19. Get your friend to do it.

20. …just kidding, don’t do that or you’ll look like an idiot. Get your house elf to do it for you, since no one can resist adorable fictional creatures and also they have magic. Just be sure to pay them in socks.

21. Frost it onto partially-burnt loaves of bread and toss them to her unsuspiciously.

22. Find the Doctor, hop into the TARDIS, and pop off and have some adventures, which will make you courageous and bold. Then time travel to the dance, ask her while you still have the confidence, and then when you go back to your own time to wait for the dance, once it happens you’ll have already asked her and there will be nothing to worry about. (Don’t ask me how my logic works on this. I’m not even sure myself. Wibbley-wobbley timey-wimey.)

Okay, if I even had the courage to try any of the slightly more reasonable ideas from my list, I couldn’t pull it off. I have resigned myself to awkwardly sitting at a table in the corner and making puppy eyes at the back of her head. I’m sure she’ll be thrilled. Any additions to the list you may have (silly or otherwise) greatly appreciated. Genuine advice even more greatly appreciated.

Because It’s Time I Said This

I am a feminist.

Go ahead and gasp now. Go ahead and think I’m an angsty lesbian who doesn’t shave and hates men. If those are really the first things that pop into your head when you read the above statement, then I invite you to read the rest of this, because you need it most. If your first instinct is to laugh and not take me seriously, you also would do well to hear me out. And go read some other, more eloquent works than mine, while you’re at it. Education is the best way to combat misogyny.

Before we begin, no, I don’t hate men. Not at all. The first friend I ever made in kindergarten was a boy. Everyone called him my boyfriend because apparently women aren’t allowed to have guys who are just plain friends. But that’s more to do with heteronormativity. And I know there’s an awful lot of injustice towards men too–people forget that with all the gender roles women are supposed to conform to, it’s also hard to have everyone expect you to be strong, physically capable, dominant, and in control of your emotions. I know that things are dreadfully unfair to people who don’t conform to our gender binary, they don’t even have a legally recognized gender, and to say that is an injustice is putting it more than mildly. There are so many things that need fixing in our society. I’ll probably post more about those later. But today I am here to talk to you about feminism, and why I consider myself a feminist.

I don’t typically like to post when I’m angry. Ranting gets you nowhere, generally speaking, and I believe people often say things in anger they don’t mean. But with social justice issues, I think it’s different. Getting furious about injustice towards women gives me an odd sort of clarity on the subject, and if I’m ranting then so be it. It’s time I brought the conversation about feminism to my own blog, because much as people talk about it there is still an incredible amount not being done to change things. I need to talk about this.

Because there are those who stick up for people like Elliot Rodger, who killed six people and himself because he believed he was entitled to the women who rejected him, and the people defending him say those he killed had it coming. That the girls owed him sex because he “needed” it. And tweets and other social media statements are rarely as “soft” as “I don’t blame guns, I blame blondes for this one.”

Because my dad doesn’t believe he is a misogynist, and when I try to call him out on it I get told I’m “overreacting.” And if he were reading this, I would get into trouble for saying so.

Because feminists everywhere get told they are overreacting. Because nine times out of ten people laugh at me, or give me pitying looks, or adopt a “look what the cat dragged in” expression when I start talking about feminism. Because nobody takes me seriously. Because in our society to be an angry woman is to be not taken seriously.

Because every time I go out, I have to think about what I have with me to make sure I could use it as a weapon in case of an emergency, and when I’m walking I go through scenarios in my head to prepare myself for what I’d do. Because every time I’m walking alone and a car drives by a hair too slowly, a man is behind me a block too long, I start feeling panicky and my heart rate speeds up and I hold whatever I’m carrying in a position that makes it easiest to clock someone across the head with. Because I shouldn’t have to fear for my life just because I’m not accompanied by a man.

Because I have been taught that I am a sexual object, whether because the clothes I wear might cause someone to abuse me or that I have to watch the way I act or else I “have it coming.” I understand that in these times those things are a matter of safety, even life or death for me. And that is fucked up.

Because when I wear an outfit that makes me feel sexy I feel equally guilty for having the audacity to dress in a way I’ve been taught is wrong. Because I am a sexy being, and I’ve been taught that I shouldn’t be, but that paradoxically I’m supposed to have sex with all the guys because I owe it to them. Because I feel equally afraid of what could happen to me if I dress like I know I’m an attractive girl.

Because it’s simply ingrained in our society that girls owe sex to guys, and consensual sex is something that actually needs to be talked about.

Because sex education programs do such a terrible job of this and rarely discuss birth-control methods with women in depth, or even at all, and they are incredibly heterocentric and biased.

Because obviously a woman thinking for herself or being in control of her own body is dangerous, and we need to de-educate her or she’ll see the injustices we’ve been doing.

Because I am mocked or disregarded for thinking for myself.

Because rape culture is a huge problem, from the actual sheer amount of sexual assaults happening to songs with lyrics along the lines of “mmm gurl you hot come on I know you want it come make out with me now” to boys “accidentally” brushing up against my butt or my chest. Because this happens to every girl I know, and it still gets told off with the same “boys will be boys.”

Because I’ll get told I’m “just being an angry feminist again” when I try to call these issues to attention.

Because identifying as a feminist can be anything from something that’ll get you laughed at to something downright dangerous.

Because there are so many more issues, and I can’t fit them into a single post, or ten posts, or a hundred posts.

Because inevitably someone, or multiple someones, will comment on this calling me dirty names and saying I’m blowing the whole issue out of proportion. And that’s if I’m lucky.