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.

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.

The 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who: A Few Thoughts

I just got back from watching the 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who. Twice. I would love to post a very fangirly, spoilery ramble about my thoughts, but I may save that for tomorrow. Today, I would just like to take a moment to commemorate what the 50th anniversary really means, and how much this show means to me.

50 years. This show has been running for 50 entire years. That’s more than triple how long I’ve been alive. It is so fascinating to see how times have changed since then. Wars have been lost, and won. There have been moments of bleak despair, and moments of untarnishable hope. Perhaps recently there has been a bit more despair than hope, but I know that it was the same way when Doctor Who first aired. Inventions have been created that were unimaginable since then, new technologies and innovations and medical discoveries that have shaped the world we know around us. Yet through all of the changes the core of the show has remained the same: a loveably mad Time Lord with a blue box, off to see the Universe, to save the day, to have adventures. And no matter how much the show changes in the next (hopefully) 50 years, that core will remain the same.

I wanted to do something really special for the 50th. It’s not every day a brilliant TV show celebrates its anniversary of being around for an entire fifty years. I wanted to watch all the Classic Doctors, or cosplay a different character every week, or bake another TARDIS cake, or write an epic fanfic, or do drawings, or write long, in-depth, character analysises. But, even though I have had an apallingly large amount of free time recently, I still have other important matters to attend to, like homework and NaNoWriMo and my ongoing mission to seek out new life, new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before (or maybe just traverse to the fridge to grab some ice cream to eat on my procrastination endeavors). I think that represents another theme of Doctor Who: the importance, in spite of staggering events, of the little things, the ordinary things we take for granted. So you could say that my tribute to the 50th anniversary is that I just kept on doing what I normally do, if in a rather more excited fashion than usual.

The drawings, of course, and the long character analysises and the cakes and the cosplays and the fanfics and the speculations and the Trock band I’ve decided to call Cardboard Dalek, will come later. Just because this is a celebration of the past 50 years doesn’t mean this is the end. Perhaps there’s another 50 years in store for us.

Sometimes I don’t feel like a real Whovian. I only started watching the show in June, and even though I’ve seen all of New Who I haven’t seen a single episode of Classic Who, yet. Still, even in that short time this show has done so much to better my life, cheesy as that may sound. I’ve always been an optimist. It’s one of the qualities I despise in myself, actually, though I have no control over it. I’ve been restless lately. Nowhere to go but school and home for the past six or so months, and that wears on me more than being busy does. It’s getting me down. But Doctor Who has helped restore in me something I never thought I’d loose: hope. For every moment that rips my heart out and leaves me sobbing there’s another that fills me up with the wonders of the Universe. There is such a strong sense of wonder, of hope, in the creation of Doctor Who, that it can’t not rub off on me.

One of the things I love about Doctor Who is the number of things it can be at once. Funny, terrifying, suspensful, adventerous, deep, profound, entertaining, heartbreaking, inspiring–all can happen within the space of of just a few minutes. And I love it. I love that this is a show that can make me kaugh and cry at the same time. That whatever mood I’m in there’s generally some quote from the show that describes it perfectly. It makes me think, it makes me sad, it brightens my day, and it consumes me with its dimensions. Maybe I am obbsessed, but why not? There are so many wonderful, wonderful things about this show that it’d be a shame for me not to be.

And of course, there’s the music. The music is absolutely fantastic, brilliant, molto bene. It’s become my favorite thing to listen to. So much so that I’m dancing to a song composed by Murray Gold for a choreography assigment in dance class.

When the Doctor lands in a new world, the earth shakes. His presence has such a huge effect on the lives of those around him, whether for good or bad, and it changes them. After meeting the Doctor briefly only once, Lorna Bucket decides to join the cleric military just to have a chance to see him again. He has that much influence. The Doctor has shaken up my world as well. Provided a new and interesting thing to spend my fangirly time on, to ponder and to question and to be inspired by. And I am grateful.

I wanted to weave a bunch of quotes through this post, since there are so, so many I like. I wanted to choose the absolute perfect quote to end on. Well, as I’ve said, there’s a lot of things’s I’ve wanted in relation to the 50th anniversary special, so I’ll take my leave in the words of the Ninth Doctor, a message to the show I have come to love:

“Before I go, I just want to tell you, you were fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. And you know what? So was I.”

My Ships Sink Because of Canon

My appologies for the outstandingly bad puns in the title. If you haven’t been living as a hermit in a metaphorical cave like I have been the past fifteen years, you’ve probably heard of something called shipping, often spoken about with complaints about something called canon. If you haven’t heard of either of these words before, let me define them for you:

1. Shipping: the act of pairing two characters (or even people) together as a couple, usually but not always romantic.
2. Canon: the actual things that happen in the original work of fiction (Darth Vader being Luke’s father is canon)

People often use these two terms in the same sentence when they’re complaining about couples that aren’t actually couples in the original work of fiction. Hence, my ships do sink because of canon, just not all of them.

I’ve been meaning to post about my feelings on fictional romance for a while. Why I tend to generally dislike it, examples of the types of couples I actually do ship, and so forth. Originally I was planning on squeezing this all into one post, but because I love to overanalyze characters, I’ve decided to make it an ongoing series, title to be determined. This post I’ll reference in all future posts because in it I aim to explain why, exactly, I tend to dislike fictional romance.

I think that often times in fiction romance is poorly written. It takes over the plot or the life of the character, or there’s too much snogging right from the start, or the characters spend the entire time telling each other I love you without ever telling why, or the main guy/girl involved is gorgeous and alluring (because they always are). I could fill the list with hundreds of reasons why, but in this post I’m only going to focus on a few.

I’m not typically a very cynical person. I get romantic notions in my head about the rain and the snow and the trees, and I’m a foolish optimist, but when it comes to romance in fiction I am. I guess it’s because there’s rarely ever a time where I can see a happy (read: still in love with each other) future for the characters involved. Two teenagers who kiss after barely a week of being “in love” are not likely to be truly happy with each other for long, therefore I can’t ship them.

To build on my previous point, many characters barely have the chance to get to know each other before the start sneaking out in the shrubbery. One of my main problems with a lot of YA fiction is the sheer amount of underdeveloped romantic subplots. A girl will see a mysterious, gorgeous, brooding boy and instantly fall at his feet. It works in reverse, too. When I ship a couple I want to know that they fit well together, that they’re not just in love but best friends too, that together they’ll be an unbeatable team of perfect synchronization. Though teenage hormones mean that a quick and quickly added romance are most accurate, I still won’t ship a couple who I feel have no character development or personality.

I also dislike it when romances are, well, overly romantic. A passionate kiss in a moonlit apple orchard becomes significantly less romantic when there are passionate kisses in the apple orchard every other page starting at the exposition. I’m fine with kissing & things of that category in books, but I really don’t like it when it seems like that’s all the characters spend their time doing. Having the first kiss be in the first few chapters is also a sign of a poorly written romance in my mind.

The Beauty Effect. This happens in many romances and never fails to annoy me. A character will meet another character and is so blown away by their gorgeous physique that they instantly fall in love with them. Or, even if this doesn’t happen, the love interest(s) of a book are generally extremely attractive, sometimes more attractive than anyone else. I understand that in today’s society that has become a large component for romance, but I wish it weren’t such a big one.

I’ve spent a lot of time telling you about the types of romances I don’t enjoy, but what about the ones I do? Well, you’ll see examples of those in upcoming posts, but I’ll give you the general idea of it now.

I love to cry over fiction. It’s one of my favorite pasttimes. So naturally one kind I really like is that two characters who are obviously suited to each other don’t end up together. Generally this means a death, because there aren’t many other times when the romance just doesn’t work out in the end, but really it can be anything. I’ll sob and yell at the book and curse the author for not making it happen, but I know those romances wouldn’t be nearly as good if everything turned out well in the end. I’m like a Weeping Angel; I feed off of potential energy.

I also tend to like pairings that aren’t strictly canon, merely what I like to call “interpretive canon”, which is something that isn’t strictly canon but basically implied. Or I’ll ship something that isn’t canon at all because I think the characters would fit well together.

As you’d imagine, I also like romances that are generally the opposite of the things I highlighted above–developed, thought out, and not overly smoochy. And there are loads and loads of other criteria, but this post is rather long and you’ll see examples in future posts. So for now, I must sign off. Live long and prosper, readers.