Studying People Through Creative Endeavors.


Things I Used to Believe as a Little Kid

1) I could watch people on t.v. but somewhere, somehow, other people were watching me through their own crappy television. I also wondered if they also had someone watching them on a t.v. and if it was just some endless circle of people watching each other on t.v.

2) Jesus and Barney were on the same level. Apparently I once told my mother who was staying home sick from work, “I’m sorry you’re sick mommy. Jesus could make you feel better…or Barney.” Both magical, both imaginary, made sense at the time.

2) If I believed hard enough, I could fly like Peter Pan, or even walk on water…maybe that was also Jesus inspired but I don’t know, my 5-year-old mind was a pretty nonsensical place so hard to say that there was any “reason” involved whatsoever.

Walkin’ on water like bitch, I’m fabulous!

3) If I closed my eyes or hid under the covers, the monsters in the closet couldn’t see me. If I had my dog with me, the monsters wouldn’t attack me. If my sister and I shared the same room, the were less likely to attack me. Strength in numbers theory, I guess?

4) If I didn’t play with one of my toys, its feelings would be hurt. I was constantly afraid of them feeling left out or letting myself outgrow them because I could never throw away a friend, right?! This was only exacerbated by the viewing of the Toy Story series. Thanks a lot Pixar.

5) I believed my vacuum cleaner was a scary monster that would attack me. My vacuum cleaner looked like a hammerhead shark-robot-thing. I don’t know that I truly, truly believed that it was dangerous, but I do know that it was loud and scary and my mom used to wait til I was playing outside to clean with it sometimes.

6) I believed the “chicken” we ate at our dinner table wasn’t the same as the feathery, clucking thing I saw in books or on t.v. I don’t know why I never realized the connection, but when I was told that they were in fact, the same “chicken,” and I was eating dead animals, I felt sick to my stomach. I still feel a little bad about it sometimes…but not enough not to eat it.

I think I recall being equally freaked out to hear about where eggs came from.

7) I believed that no one was smarter than my mom and dad and that they knew pretty much everything. It turns out that they are smarter than the average bear, but there are lots of people who are smarter like Dumbledore…and he’s totally a real person right?

About Letting People Influence You

“You shouldn’t care about what people think of you.” “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” 

How many times have we all heard this? That we just shouldn’t care? That we shouldn’t complain about it because the real problem is us and our opinions of ourselves?

The problem with this statement is, humans are built to care about what others think. It’s certainly true that it varies from person to person just how much it affects them, and some people may have social disorders, or have developed mental disorders to cope with trauma, etc. Nevertheless, human beings, as a majority, have evolved to care about each other’s opinions. It was (and still is) a vital part of our survival. Being a person who was considered “weird” or was disliked, ran the risk of making you an outcast, and that made you more vulnerable in general. Humans are social animals, in part, because we developed an awareness that we had strength in numbers.

The fact of the matter is that people are born with a natural inclination to please others, at least in part, for your own survival. I am not suggesting that the rational action to take is to make people like you, or to bend to whatever people say you should be or do. You can still recognize that while the words or disapproval frightens you, hurt your feelings, may hurt your chances in future social endeavors, that it may still be worth it to be true to yourself. Most of us are intelligent enough to realize that while strength in numbers is a good thing, we are no longer cavemen and there are certainly positives to attending goals your own way and even positives in experiencing a certain degree of solitude.

Humans have also evolved the rationale to see when criticism is useful, be it presented in an unkind or kind manner, because there is value in both. I would argue that constructive criticism is often more productive for both the one giving and the one receiving criticism, because it is usually more easily received and accepted and it takes fewer steps for a person to take corrective action when they do not also have to first heal from emotional damage. Actions to correct the mistake, if it was indeed a mistake, are more likely to be taken. However, even information presented cruelly, is not necessarily “wrong” in that the information and may be correct and knowledge taken away from it.

What I try to do, is first accept however it is I’m feeling and say “I’m feeling really hurt about concerned about those words, but that is ok. I accept my feelings.” If you don’t, you’re only adding guilt onto your already anxious mind and irrational expectations of yourself as a moral being. How can one maintain a healthy mindset if one does not set reasonable goals? If you expect something inhuman of yourself, you are setting yourself up for failure.  Next, I try to look at the information rationally. The content (regardless of how it was delivered) may contain helpful knowledge, or it might have been totally worthless crap. Knowing that information rarely makes me feel better, but at least then I know whether or not it is worth it to avoid making the same decision in the future or whether or not it’s worth it to continue dwelling on the issue.

Which brings me to my amended quote:

“You should not allow the irrational opinions of others affect your future actions.”

I would also take care not to dwell on especially hurtful and unhelpful comments. Take note that there is a difference between how the words they said made you feel versus the decision to dwell in thought on them. If you have thought about it and assessed that the information is hurtful and irrational, there is no need to continue the brainstorming further, but that might not mean the pain has gone away. And that is OK. You will feel how you feel. The hurtful words/actions that were said to you might continually pop up. It’s ok, you’re human, you’re a being of social creation. Acknowledge that it hurts you, that it’s still there. Give yourself room to feel however you’re feeling. And then do whatever the fuck you were going to do anyway. Keep being yourself. 

This is obviously more easily said than done, especially if you experience any kind of depression or social injustice. All I can say is to keep putting one foot in front of the other and to try your best to surround yourself with others who believe in you. Just keep going, keep trying. The only constant is change, so if follows that eventually, things will get better. Don’t give up.


Have you ever noticed how different and expressive two human being’s hands are? We know that no two human’s fingerprints are the same (unless you have an identical twin, but even then your hands will be different from your different activities). Hands tell character, they tell stories.

My hands crack and pop a lot. I have several oddly shaped knuckles that I’ve broken playing rugby and an additional one that I’ve dislocated playing softball. I wouldn’t be surprised if I have arthritis when I’m “too young” to have it. On my third pad on both hands, the ones under my middle fingers, I have calluses from pull-ups (assisted pull-ups, don’t get too excited about it) and free weights. My left hand has calluses on my pointer, middle, and ring fingers from playing guitar.

My mother’s hands are tan from biking. Just the fingertips because she wears finger-gloves. Her fingertips are always sore because she bites them when she’s nervous and she’s nervous a lot. She has long, red nails that are often broken or have additional, accidental paint on them because she’s an artist at the local theater. No one really knows why she bothers to get her nails done because they’re always ruined in a day.

My grandmother’s hands are incredibly soft because she exfoliates and uses expensive lotions to keep them nice. Her skin is lose and her vines are blue and stick out. She wears a class ring and her engagement and wedding ring. The diamond is on the larger side. When I was young and stupid I asked her if I could have it when I died. It’s a regular family joke now. When she speaks to you sincerely, sometimes she will reach out and gently lay her hand on your arm.

My girlfriend’s hands are tiny and lace up with mine perfectly. She has short nails. I think so she won’t pick at them when she’s nervous. Her skin is usually soft, but she complains that sometimes it gets dry. I never notice, but she does and she buys sweet-smelling lotions to keep them moisturized. What I usually notice is her fingers are cold. I’m always trying to warm them up. Her hands and wrists are also strong. She has built up her strength from years of yoga and she’s pretty good at it. Her tiny hands will sometimes support the entirety of the rest of her body during difficult poses in her exercise.

Hands are the tree rings for human beings. They mark what you are. My mother’s hands tell you she’s an active artist, nervous but observant. My grandmother’s hands show her age, her gentleness, her love and loyalty to the ideals of institution, structure, family. My girlfriend’s hands are little, but they are strong. Stress, harsh realities, nothing stops her hands. They just keep working, keep doing their job. I think the marks on our hands tell how we survive. How we live. Make a living. Who the strugglers, the warriors are. Faces are sometimes expressive, but they are often deceptive, they lie. Hands don’t. It is harder to lie with your hands because their past actions, their memories, are marked on the outside for anyone to reflect on while the reflections of the mind are hidden away for only the user to see. I don’t know what my hands say about me. My olive skin and calluses say that I was an active teenager. My guitar calluses that I have an obsession with expressive gesture, an artist perhaps. I wonder what someone else would think of my hands if they saw them? I think we should study and appreciate the beauty in the human hand more in art and between human beings. I think shows how special and individual we all are, expresses how diverse humanity is.

Harry Potter Pick-Up Lines

I’ve seen these floating around and I love them. I decided to add a few of my own. If I duplicated any, I promise it was a coincidence and not on purpose. Please tell me any you’ve heard as I love to hear them.

Harry Potter Pick-Up Lines

If I looked into the Mirror of Erised, all I would see is you.

You’re the Hermione to my Ron. And you can even be Hermione, I’ll be the dumb one.

Not even a pensieve is powerful enough to keep you out of my thoughts.

It doesn’t take a Ravenclaw to decipher that you’re the one for me.

Are you a veela, or just naturally beautiful?

I don’t need Trelawney’s foresight to tell me we’ll end up together.

You are the memory that keeps my dementors at bay.

I’m betting we share a patronus.*

I’d like to hug you more tightly than a devil’s snare.

I would defend our love more ambitiously than the most resourceful Slytherin.

I would switch Hogwarts Houses for you.

My devotion to you is more profound than that of the most loyal and loving Hufflepuff.

I don’t own the rights to this, but I do have a shirt with the logo on it and it’s awesome! You can find it on etsy I believe.

I love you more than Hermione loves learning.

I am not a Gryffindor, I am brave only because it was you who asked it of me.

I would forgive your unforgivable curses.

The powers of Amortentia do not hold a candle to my love for you.

Not even the imperius curse could make me leave you.

When we’re a 100 years old, and you turn to me and ask, “After all this time?” I will say to you, confidently, “Always.”

*A patronus is conjured by the spell caster’s happiest memory (usually one of someone they love) and is a reflection of their soul. If two wizards have the same patronus or their creatures have a close relationship (James and Lily = deer, Ron and Hermoine having terrier and otter), it is suggested that they are “soulmates.” A wizard’s patronus is also known to change to mimic the person’s patronus whom they are in love with (Tonks’s patronus changes to a wolf after she falls in love with Lupin).

Divorce is not “Child Abuse.”

I’m only going to say this once, do NOT “stay together for the sake of the children.”

My grandfather once said to me that he believes “Divorce is child abuse.” I believe he thinks this because of all the grief that he’s seen happen to children because of the arguing, fighting, and coordination it takes to raise children in a loveless and irresponsible relationship. However, I disagree that divorce is the worst thing you can do to a child. I believe the worst thing you can do to your children, as a joint decision, is to argue, fight, and be irresponsible in your loveless relationship…and no, I don’t mean divorce. You don’t have to be divorced to behave that way. There are many loveless marriages, relationships, that exist in exactly the same way. In fact, I’ve met several children who told me bluntly, that they wished their parents had gotten divorced and moved away from each other. Furthermore, there exist many divorces in which the adults behave in a way that is as loving as possible with their ex-spouses, for the sake of the children (as well as to live a more healthy and fulfilling life for themselves). You can be divorced and not call your ex names in front of your children and refuse to argue in front of them. You can refuse to play the telephone game, using your child as the messenger. You can instead, pull up your big boy/girl pants and talk to the person who’s hurt you. Yes, “for the sake of your children.” The children whose parents were in irresponsible marriages whom did not get divorced are often guilty of all these same things. Just because you put a different name or label on the relationship doesn’t mean the behaviors or feelings of that relationship is any different than as if you’d called it something else. It isn’t just the divorcees who are guilty of these behaviors. You can be a forgiving, kind, and loving person to even the people you divorce, but sometimes that requires having a healthy space and requires limiting to your emotional distance to them.You can forgive, but still recognize that being in a marriage is not the healthiest thing to do with the person you divorced. Not for you, not for them, not for your children, not for your family.

Divorce doesn’t make you a failure, it doesn’t make you a bad parent. It means that you were mature enough to recognize that the relationship you were in wasn’t healthy, and could not be fixed without more negative than positive consequences to and for all parties involved. Stop demonizing people for trying to live their lives the best way they know how. Stop judging people for a kind of hurt you might never know. And stop speaking for the children, who now as adults, can tell you that you were and are quite wrong. Despite the hurts it caused me, not only do I believe it was the best thing for my sister and I, but that I’m happier that both my parents are free. As a daughter, THAT is what I want for my parents. That is what I wanted for my family.

You know what I think is “child abuse”? Teaching people and their children that divorce means they have lost their family. This is what happened to me, due in great part, to the strong influence that the Catholic religion had on my family. The church continually said (and sometimes still does) that divorce meant that couples were choosing to “destroying their family,” making them cease to exist. The idea that divorce is such a powerful sin that it is worthy of being excommunicated from the faith, kicked out of the church, from your community, your family is to me, barbaric. That divorce is something of which to be greatly ashamed, when in fact, I think it is the religion and its community who should be ashamed. As if couples and parents don’t grieve and feel guilty enough with a divorce, the last thing they need to have all the people they love turn their backs on them. How are they supposed to continue being good parents without the support of their community? How are they supposed to be good parents and set a good example for their children, when their self-esteem has been so unrightful torn from them? Is it really about the children? Then fucking act like it!

Luckily, modern society and even most religions, have begun to turn away from this behavior and attitude (in general), because they are beginning to realize that what unrealistic expectations it places on people, and how unnecessarily cruel it is to treat someone that way simply because their marriage was no longer feasible. As a child, hearing how ashamed my mother was, my grandparents (and how my grandfather STILL believes divorce is “child” abuse), and father felt, is what truly fucked me up. I wanted to defend both my parents, and more than anything was afraid that divorce meant, “I have lost my family.” My family at that time, was everything that I associated with love and stability, and it was all that made sense to me (and the same is true for most children). I felt completely powerless to change anything and that my life was out of control. That I had lost everything good and stable in my life. In truth, my family was very hurt, no one escaped unharmed or unchanged. It was as though we were all re-born, harder but hopefully smarter. However, my family was not “destroyed,” all those people still exist, not unchanged, but they are still there, and they all still love me. I did not “lose my family,” it simply looks different than it used to. It took a very long time for me to figure that out, no thanks to the church.

For one thing, my mother is happy. It tooks years of struggle, depression, and therapy, but she found herself again. Eventually, she even found a wonderful man to share herself with, who’s a much better match for her. My father too, while still struggling with what he wants, has experienced other partnerships and forms of love. He has been able to learn and grow. My sister and I have more realistic expectations of what a marriage should be, and more importantly, when it’s important to walk away because the relationship is toxic. I may not have had that without my parent’s divorce. My outlook on love and romance is not less hopeful, it’s smarter. And I’m not sorry for it. In fact, it makes me feel more confident in whom I pick as a partner. Meanwhile, I have a larger, happier, more emotionally stable family to support me if I ever do struggle with my relationships, or with anything else in life.

Yes, I Hate Valentines Day and I’m not Apologizing for it

There is something that’s always rubbed me the wrong way about Valentine’s Day…why would we need a designated day, flooded before-hand with reminders on every form of media, to remind us to show the person that you love that you appreciate them? Are you honestly going to tell me that you couldn’t remember or failed to express love to the person you love most in the whole world on any of the other 364 days of the year? That you couldn’t do something special for them then? That somehow, we as a society fail to do it so often that we need a DAY to remind us to do it and HOW?

I’m pretty sure Valentine’s Day is nothing more than a corporate ploy, in which the corporations try to make couples feel less than adequate without spending money to participate, and seek to shame those without partners into getting one, because then the corporations can make more money. This last part is made obvious by the fact that Valentines Day is supposed to be when all couples participate, at one time. As if it’s a community event. If that’s the case, how is it special just for you as a couple? It’s not as though it was original, or truly heartfelt. Everybody’s doing it, so that fact that you picked this particular day is done more out of pressure than the spontaneous desire to show someone how you feel. The day wasn’t motivated by love, it’s motivated by money. The corporations don’t want “love each other” to be the message, what they want to resonate with us is…”everybody’s doing it.” So if you’re coupled up and not doing anything special, you’re doing something wrong. If you’re not coupled up, there’s something wrong too, because you can’t participate in something “everyone is doing.” Even this is a lie, not “everyone is doing it” of the people who are part of a couple, and there are lots of people who are happily single.

Remember that the media doesn’t just tell you TO participate, but HOW. This isn’t limited to all the poor guys commercialism has convenienced need that feel the anxiety and pressure to get the perfect gift, but how many gay couples in those ridiculous jewelry commercials have you seen recently? The message is still “Do it right way, with chocolates, diamonds, and straight” (as if buying things to show love wasn’t shallow enough). I might consider it “progress” if I even see one gay couple in the commercials this year. Even though I still hate Valentine’s Day, at least the lgbt community could have the right to be as miserable as everyone else and feel included. And I can only imagine what a nightmare Valentine’s Day must be for asexuals who are just trying to get through their day without being bombarded with commercials and peer-talk about a kind of heteronormative relationship that they couldn’t give a crap about.

It’s 2015, and the media is still trying to gain power and money, by telling us that if we’re not “like everyone else” then it’s because there’s something wrong with us. It isn’t true. It just astounds me that corporations can still gain leverage this way. How many times do we have to disprove this “everyone is doing it” argument is false and harmful? It’s 2015!

Rant over.

Underrated Movies: Matilda

“You were born into a family that doesn’t always appreciate you, but one day things will be very different.”


Matilda is one of my favorite movies from my childhood in the 1990’s, but because there really are so many great movies from that time, it seems to be forgotten.

It was a movie my mother didn’t want me to watch. I was a sensitive kid and she was afraid that all the horrible things the parents said to Matilda would make me upset. At the time, it did affect me but I don’t think I truly grasped what the movie was implying, the way I can now as an adult.

“You’re a liar.”

“You’re a cheat.”

“You little twit.”

“What are you stupid?”

“Listen you little wise-acre, I’m smart. you’re dumb. I’m big, you’re little. I’m right you’re wrong! And there’s nothing you can do about it!”

As a nerd, it’s hard enough feeling like you’re different than everyone at school. It would be an especially difficult reality to face given that Matilda’s school was Crunchem Hall, ruled by the Principal, Ms. Trunchbull, who is a physically abusive, violent woman. Her personal motto is “Use the rod, beat the child.” However, Matilda hates her home so much, that she’d rather be at school.

Is it really any wonder that Matilda loved to read? To escape?

“Books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: you are not alone.”

While most parents would have been overjoyed that their child loved to read, Matilda’s parents were the bullies many of us faced at school.

“What do you want a book for? Why would you want to read when you have the television right in front of you? There’s nothing you can’t get from a book that you can’t get from a television faster,” her father laughs at her. Sneers at her. Kicks her books, rips them apart.

“I think there’s something wrong with that girl,” her mother says within easy earshot of her daughter.

Of course, the exact opposite was true – it was her parents and her principal that were the uneducated, emotionally disturbed bullies. Matilda was very much an abused child. Luckily, Danny DeVito (director), and the screenwriters found a way to show the violent acts as being mostly comical so it wasn’t too scary for children to watch. This is especially important because the message of this movie isn’t really for adults, it’s for children who feel stuck in a world that doesn’t appreciate them.

Matilda’s mental capabilities and her self-education gave her a literal power, a kind of telekinesis. “To unlock that power, all she had to do was practice.” Suggesting, that if child practice being confident, work hard in school, and take initiative, they will find their own kind of power and agency.

Unfortunately, most children don’t have magical powers nor are they geniuses, but they can study and take initiative. The movie also suggests that there is strength in numbers. When other children are picked on at school, Matilda encouraged them publicly.

“You can do it Bruce!” she screams at a public school assembly. The Trunchbull had dared Bruce Buggtrotter to finish a whole chocolate cake after falsely accusing him of stealing her own. The rest of the children, after seeing Matilda’s bravery in daring to speak out, standup and yells, “Bruce, Bruce, Bruce!” This gives him the courage to finish and scares the cowardly Principal into stammers.

“I thought grown-ups didn’t get scared?” Matilda inquires out loud.

“Quite the contrary. All grown-ups get scared, just like children,” Ms. Honey says.

“I wonder what Ms. Trunchbull is afraid of?” Matilda says.

Yes, to those abused children out there, adults are not gods. They do get afraid. Usually they hurt people because they are also hurt. What they fear is chaos and a lack of control. Because when they were abused, it was also random and unfair and unnecessarily hurtful. If the people they have control over can’t make connections, form patterns about the ways in which punishment may come, then they will always be afraid. They don’t want subordinates to be educated or confident and they don’t want them to form bonds with anyone who can help them. The movie tells kids what Matilda’s books tell her, “You are not alone.”

Ms. Honey tells her, “You were born into a family that doesn’t always appreciate you, but one day things will be different.” I think is an especially powerful message for any child, whether their family is abusive or their school or they just don’t fit in with their peers, because as a child, you have little control. You don’t get to pick your peers, your school, or your family. It is hard to be a kid. Everyone assumes children are too immature to make choices for themselves and that’s true, but they are not stupid. They do know what they do and do not like. They know when they’re not loved and appreciated and they carry that with them into adulthood.

We watch little, tiny Matilda “learn what most people learn by their early thirties, how to take care of herself. ” “As time went on, she developed a sense of style.” Here is this tiny human being who not only dresses herself but has clearly developed her own personality and tastes. We watch her walk by herself, several blocks away to the library. The fragileness and purity of her youth emphasized by the especially stocky people and semi-truck that stops behind her at a crosswalk. As a kid, I remember feeling blown away that this little girl could make her own pancakes and walk to the library by herself, under the age of 10. I’m not suggesting that children should use the stove by themselves or walk by themselves in public, but as a kid watching that movie, for the first time, it occurred to me that I could do these things by myself or could do them eventually. Sounds like a meaningless epiphany now, but to an eight year old, it was important. It felt empowering. It also set to me up to receive even more important message – that it was ok to question adults. Children might have to do what adults tell them, but that doesn’t always make the adults’ behavior “adult.” It doesn’t make it the “right” or the responsible behavior. The child can be obedient but decide that the actions of their parents are wrong, and decide that when they are adults, they will not do the same thing. They can choose to be better.

Matilda taught me, that anyone who makes you feel worthless as a human being, is not someone worthy of respect and it is ok to rebel against those people. Matilda taught me that no matter what these people tell you, you are not worthless and you are not powerless. I think this message was especially powerful coming from a girl. Rarely the main characters of movies and usually saved by someone else, Matilda defied those stereotypes. She was powerful because she was confident, did things for herself, and because she was smart, because she was a NERD. She was rewarded for doing many of the things women were historically told not to do, and I love this movie for that. The reward was something beautiful and sweet, something every person deserves:

“In the end Matilda and Ms. Honey each got what they had always wanted…a loving family.”



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