Friday, May 30, 2014

Political Compass

I recently took this political compass test to see where I'd end up:  Basically, there are four sides, and the test places you somewhere in the square. Taking this test and thinking about where I am in relation to my closest friends, my social circle, and the general population made me realize something important. Something about the problem with places like Colby.

I've said this a million times already, but my priority is being someplace where it's okay to be yourself and you don't have to live up to anyone else's standards. Colby was a politically liberal place. I didn't think I'd mind this when I applied to the school, but I soon realized that the lack of political diversity put a lot of pressure on you to uphold certain beliefs, and I had a huge problem with the fact that so many points of view were taboo subjects at Colby. And when I look at that square grid on the political compass site, it's clear what's going on. I know that this grid doesn't cover everything, and that there are probably some people who don't belong on the grid at all. But let's assume that this grid does cover all beliefs, that everyone has to fall somewhere within this square. So, when you look at the whole square, the general population, you have some people who are really close to you and some people who are far away from you. Now let's look at this more realistically: most of the time, you *aren't* surrounded by people all over that square. Some geographic regions are more liberal/conservative, and the same goes for schools and workplaces. So let's say that, like me, you live in a liberal area. If just the people who live in my state all took this political survey, the results wouldn't cover the whole square evenly - they'd be more clustered in a certain area. Now, let's go a step further and say that you're a small liberal arts college (less than 2,000 students) where people assume that you're politically liberal simply because you go there. Most people's scores would be clustered in a particular area of the square. Now, when you're out in the real world, surrounded by people all over the spectrum, it's kind of cool when you find someone who's really close to you. You can have a special bond with that person. But when you're not in the real world, when you're in a world where everyone is clustered in the same space, people stop seeing the rest of the spectrum. Rather than bonding over how alike we are compared to the whole population, we start to zoom in on the little area where we're clustered and see that area as the entire square. People who fall outside that square get harassed and shunned, and people who fall within that square get pushed towards the center, get pressured to engage in holier than thou competitions. Because when you zoom in that far, not only do people outside the square fall off the chart, but people within the square become farther apart. The distance between the dots gets so much bigger when you're only looking at your cluster.

That's why I like it better when we aren't trapped in that cluster, when we are part of a world where people can exist anywhere on the chart. It's easier to bond that way. It's easier to find friends who share your beliefs when the standards of those beliefs aren't so exact. On the political compass scale, I came out really extreme on one spectrum and more in the middle on the other. In my college group of friends, I wouldn't have been close enough to most people to actually bond over shared beliefs. But in the real world, I'm plenty close enough. And funnily enough, the distance is about the same.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Be Yourself...wait - not like that!

When I'm interested in doing something, I will generally express a desire to do that thing.

If you know something that I don't know about - a new place in town, a new singer, book, movie, etc. that you want to recommend, I'm totally down with that. More importantly, if I'm in the midst of a really bad situation and can't see a way out, and you can see a solution to the problem (Note: accepting reality is NOT a solution. Solution example: I recently moved and couldn't have quiet in my room late at night because I could hear my neighbor snoring. My mom suggested closing my vent and getting a white noise maker. Closing the vent has dramatically improved the problem, and I'm sure my white noise maker, when I get one, will solve the issue entirely) you are more than welcome to recommend that solution.

But when I haven't expressed an interest in something that is *obviously* available to me, such as going to the gym, and I haven't mentioned any type of problem that relates to said advice, such as wanting to lose weight, you can generally assume that I'm probably not looking to do that thing.

I am not interested in handling problems in a way that involves writing less about them on Facebook. I've been wracking my brain for a long time, and I just can't come up with one single time that I've expressed a desire to share less. I'm really not coming up with anything.

Ever since I left Colby, my goal has been to share MORE. I avoided sharing lots of things in the past because I was worried what other people thought of me, and that was a serious problem, and my goal has always been to share whatever I want to share freely. I used to feel like I was being a good little girl by not sharing negative stuff that I felt like saying, but trying to maintain a positive Facebook image so people would like me more. But when I recently started posting more stuff, I realized that I was NOT any happier when I posted less stuff. I was just holding back to please other people. And I don't want to please other people because I want to know upfront who my real friends are. Anyone who thinks less of me because of what I've written, or who sees my writing as a problem that needs to be fixed, is not someone I want to be friends with at all.

There's that saying, "Always remember to be happy because you never know who's falling in love with your smile." I don't want someone to fall in love with my smile. Anyone can fall in love with a smile. I want someone to fall in love with me when I'm NOT smiling, someone who likes me all the time and isn't going to ditch me in times of trouble. I want someone who will really, truly accept how bad a situation is for me, not see a wilted flower when I'm describing a burning building.

It felt good to have my BF wrap his arms around me when I was upset about Colby and tell me, "You're not there anymore." It felt good, but there was something lacking there. It wasn't just about Colby - it was about the general issue of validation. He acted like Colby was just this one isolated incident and now that I was done, everything was gonna be all bright and sunny. That's not true. And that's why I need assurance that if you were there when I was going through Colby, you would have accepted that it was every bit as bad as I said it was and support me dropping out. I need to know that, because it could happen again. Not college specifically, but there will always be times when I'm in a situation that's a problem for me, that other people are okay with or willing to accept, and I need to know that I will have your support, that you won't tell me to suck it up and deal, because that's not something I'm planning to do.

Colby taught me a lot about people. A lot of my relationships with people are damaged now because of how they treated me while I was going through college. Most people didn't accept how bad it was. When I posted on Facebook that I was upset about job rejection, I wanted to see what would happen. And sure enough, I got support. But the truth is, I wasn't that upset about the job rejection. I was more upset that a recruiter had lied to me and was pressuring me to lie in order to get the job. Honestly, when I didn't get into the plays and singing groups I tried out for in college, I was more disappointed about that than about not getting a job. Honestly, the job thing is NOTHING compared to what went on at Colby, and it's clear to me that "support" often has more to do with what other people/society value than what you value, not matter how clearly you express what matters to you, what's okay and not okay with you. And if you're going to just step back when I post that kind of stuff on Facebook, like when you step back and let a child have their temper tantrum and figure they'll eventually get tired of screaming, it's not gonna work. I will NEVER run out of words.

I support people who have a personal goal to be happy or positive. I don't support forcing this goal on others because it puts too much responsibility on the individual. I don't support telling people that they are responsible for their own happiness. A lot of things in this world are really horrible, and we need to be working to solve these problems and to help people get out of bad situations. If I were going to give a talk about happiness to a group of people, it wouldn't be about positive thinking or attitude. It would be about two things: 1. Doing what's right for you, even when other people pressure you to just accept your current situation, and 2. Treating other people (of all ages) with respect, validating other people's feelings, respecting personal choices, being supportive, and helping them feel good about themselves. It is NOT your responsibility to deal with people hurting you - it is THEIR responsibility to not hurt you.

Finally, don't go around saying, "You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine" (from "Firework") if you're gonna blow out the light when people actually do it. I can't tell you how many times I've had this conversation:
Person: Just be yourself.
Me: That's what I'm doing.
Person: No, don't be like that!
I once saw a clever cartoon where all different shapes - a square, rectangle, and triangle - were standing near a door that was shaped like a circle, that none of them could fit through. A circle was standing outside the door telling the other shapes that all they had to do was be themselves. Being yourself doesn't fix everything! It might be good advice in some situations, but honestly, be someone other people can be themselves around!!!

Expressing yourself doesn't mean it's always gonna be a pretty fireworks show. Sometimes it's gonna look more like blood smeared all over the walls. Honestly, the most heartfelt, passionate things I've written are quite the opposite of a happy fireworks show. I have friends who like me better because of who I really am, because of all the things I've expressed here and on Facebook, and really, these are the only kind of friends I want to keep.

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Instinct to Validate

I'm working on starting a validation service, where people can write to me at a special email address and I'll validate whatever is going on in their lives. I'm gonna post videos where I explain this service and discuss validation issues. The videos will also have transcripts, and I'll probably start by keeping those transcripts on this blog. If this turns into something huge, I'll get another blog specifically for this project, where I'll double-post things from this blog that are focused on validation. My project isn't just about giving people validation, it's about teaching people what validation is and how they can be more validating to others in their own lives.

Teaching validation is important. It's my life's work. Seriously, I feel like it's at the core of almost everything I'm working on. It's in my fictional stories. My first novel was all about the negative effects of peer pressure and suppressing the gut feeling that tells you to run. I think one of the reasons I'm so passionate about my sex blog is that it automatically promotes the message, "It's okay to feel this way." This is definitely something I'm fighting for.

But I don't always want to be fighting. I don't want to spend lots of time around invalidators so that I can educate them. I try to surround myself with people who are validating and supportive and make me feel good about myself. It's because of that support that I'm willing to fight for this. I used to feel so lonely writing about validation issues, but now I know I've got people on my side, I know that "likes" from certain people are almost guaranteed, and I never had that feeling before.

When I was in a relationship with my boyfriend, I started off in a bad place. Coming right out of Colby College, I had gotten so accustomed to being invalidated and having my choices not respected that anyone who didn't do those things in a major way was awesome. I knew he wasn't an absolute validator deep down, but the fact that he didn't say anything that made me feel really bad was good enough. All I had to do was explain to him what was okay and not okay, and everything would be fine. But there is a huge difference between explaining your specific needs to someone who is sensitive of other people's needs in general vs. explaining to someone who isn't.

Being with my boyfriend made me feel like he was normal and I was weird. When we first broke up, I felt like I'd never find anyone else because I'd have to find someone who was willing to do a ton of extra work to be validating, since that didn't seem to be a "normal" instinct. But then I spent more time with my close friends and realized that it IS an instinct. I've said before that when someone tells me that their friend complained the whole time on a trip and ruined it for everyone, I automatically take the side of the complainer. I have logical reasons for that, but the biggest reason is that I've been the complainer way more often than I've had my day ruined by someone else complaining, so it's just instinctive to me. And it's instinctive to other people too. Even if they wouldn't necessarily take the side of the complainer like I would, they would at least consider that the person complaining was probably having a really bad time. Most people I get along with wouldn't automatically agree that the person shouldn't have been complaining.

I've been posting a lot of my personal feelings on Facebook, and I had someone tell me that no wanted to hear it and that I sounded "crazy as fuck." This was on a thread on my boyfriend's Facebook page. He didn't react to it at all. I had to keep pestering him to respond and when he finally did, it was a neutral response. A response that sounded like a class discussion post about how people use social media for different things. He really didn't care that someone hurt me. Now, he's not the kind of person who would have written something really bad to me, or even talked much about me behind my back, but he's also not the type who has the instinct to defend me. He's just neutral.

When I talked to a close friend about the message after, she told me that regardless of who the people were, her instinct would have always been to defend the person who wanted to share. That's my instinct too. It's not something I'm working especially hard at. It's not something I've worked to change about myself in order to satisfy the needs of someone I want to be with. It is literally just an instinct.

I'm not saying that people can't change, or that instincts can't be learned. You can definitely develop good habits to the point that you don't think about them anymore, to the point that they become instinctive. But I can't be with someone who I'd have to ask to develop those habits for me - I need someone who already has them. If someone is working on becoming more validating and consent-conscious, that's fine. Those are things I'm working on as well. But they need to be interested in these things on their own. I can't be asking them to start thinking about stuff that they've never thought about before.

I want to teach validation to the world. But I don't want it to be a full-time job. I don't want to be a teacher in my personal life. I need to be with someone who already has the validation instinct.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Innocence, Corruption, and Falling from Grace

A lot of people were up in arms about Miley Cyrus' music video, The Wrecking Ball. This brought up an issue that I've seen for a while now. This issue that when someone used to do something nonsexual or "innocent" and then starts doing something sexual, it's like this fall from grace where they've been corrupted and everyone's disappointed in them. And I'm not talking about celebrities - you see this often when someone's been out drinking and having sex and getting into trouble and everyone wants them to stop. The person will go on a talk show and they'll show a picture of them when they were five years old and so cute and sweet and innocent, and then compare it to a present-day picture of the person partying in a skimpy outfit, and everyone gasps and wonders what went wrong.

But I don't see what's wrong. Most teenagers and adults don't look the way they did when they were kids. Not just in terms of our bodies, but in the way we dress and act, and in the context of our pictures - most of us are just going to be in very different places doing very different things than we did when we were younger. Most adults are not going to look as "innocent" as they did in their childhood pictures. That's not necessarily a problem - this can be good, bad, or neutral, depending on the individual's life. But my point here is, whenever someone starts doing something we don't want them to do, something we think is scandalous or inappropriate, we start claiming that it's so horrible that they aren't in the same place they were when they were younger, when the reality is that most of us aren't!

Picture a child pretending to be an astronaut. Now picture that same person as an adult, wearing a store uniform or a business suit, doing nothing remotely related to astronomy. Now, if that person still wants to be an astronaut, then I do think it's really sad that they're not able to do it. But no one would blink at this story. Everyone expects us to accept that that's life. Even if you do feel bad that someone isn't doing what they always wanted to do, you probably aren't going to treat them like someone who fell off the path.

Of course, there's also the possibility that this person doesn't want to be an astronaut anymore. If they were very young when they had this desire, they've had lots of time to explore different options and decide that they'd rather do something else. But when it comes to these sexual fallen-from-grace stories, we never give anyone the option to change their mind. We can't accept that someone decided they'd rather be drunk-dancing in a revealing outfit than trying to win the school spelling bee. We insist on holding onto the "innocent" pursuits that the person once had. If we held everyone to that standard - that you have to be doing the same things you were doing when you were younger and nothing new or else you're a failure - almost everyone would have a fall-from-grace story.

When I was younger, I bought into this idea about all these people falling from their paths and doing "bad" things. And then I went to Colby College. And graduated. With a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. This was my fall from grace. I was incredibly happy with my life before college and with the person I was back then, and now, with that prestigious college diploma in my hands, I was so farther away from where I wanted to be than I had ever been in my life. So far away that I didn't see a way back.

I saw my story played out in other people's fall-from-grace stories. There were these anti-drug PSAs on TV a long time ago where a teenager would say, "They told me heroin would give me the best high of my life," then we'd see a bunch of horrible things happening as a result of them doing heroin, and they'd come back and repeat, "They told me heroin would give me the best high of my life. They lied. Find out the truth about heroin." I honestly thought I could make the exact same kind of video about college... "They told me college would be the best four years of my life. They lied. Find out the truth about college."

The absolute worst part about my own fall-from-grace story was that no one saw it that way. When I look closely at my college graduation picture, I can see that something is very wrong. I look ill and worn down, like the life that shone through in my high school senior portrait has been sucked out. I don't expect friends to be able to see that just from looking at the picture. I DO expect friends to accept it at face value when I tell them that it was a fall from grace. And now, I have amazing friends who will do that. But at the time, no one could see past the cap and gown and diploma. No one could really, truly, on a gut level, accept that my college graduation picture deserved to be treated like a fall-from-grace picture, like a "What happened to the REAL Nikki?" picture.

And that's when I saw the problem with all these other fall-from-grace stories - they're all about what other people are expecting of someone and don't have much correlation to what the person actually wants to be doing. I get that sex sells. I get that there might be pressure to be more sexual in your media/art than you want to be, and I do think that's a problem. But let me ask you this: if I got a job writing a sales blog for a company I had no personal interest in, would you be upset that I was selling myself short by writing things I'm not super-passionate about in order to support myself, or would you be happy for me because I got a job doing something that I love to do?

Let me tell you something - when I was a kid, I loved performing in front of people. I used the couch as a stage and put on shows for my family all the time. I always posed when someone was taking pictures, and I loved being the center of attention. So picture me at seven years old wearing sparkly dress up clothes, dancing and singing on my makeshift stage, and striking fancy poses for the camera. Now I want you to imagine me dancing in a sexual MTV music video wearing a really skimpy outfit. When you compare those two pictures, I may not look as young or innocent now as I did when I was a kid (who does?), but a lot of elements of the "now" picture are actually very similar to who I was when I was younger, and the person that I wanted to be.

I'm not actually in a music video. I wear business clothes and have an office job. If you compare my real "now" picture to the diva I was as a kid, that is sad. That is a true fall from grace. I wasn't overly sexual when I was a kid (I say "overtly" because I kept most of my sexual thoughts private, but I did have sexual thoughts as young as five years old), but I also never expressed an overt desire to work in an office, or to do anything not-fun for that matter. A picture of me starring in some super-sexual music video would be WAY closer to the person I want to be than a picture of me going to work in my professional business clothes.

The Real Me (age 9)

Fall-from-grace Picture

Again, I'm not asking you to notice own your own that anything is wrong with my grad pic - I'm asking you to believe me when I say that something is very wrong. I'm asking you to imagine me striking a sexy pose in a music video, look back at my 9-year-old picture and my graduation picture, and figure out which pic doesn't belong.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Gummy Bears

If my child wanted to bite the heads off of gummy bears and stick them to the wall, and they spent days on this project, making sure all the color patterns were just right and that every single space was covered, I would think that was awesome. And I would assume that whatever qualities or skills that it took my child to complete this project - determination, persistence, attention to detail - were tied specifically to this project that my child is so passionate about. I would not assume that these are stand-alone traits, that I can go around bragging that my child has these positive qualities that they can go out and apply to bigger, more important tasks that my child has never even expressed interest in. Maybe they don't want to pay that much attention to detail when they're cleaning their room. Maybe they don't want to persevere at their homework the same way. Maybe they are only showing these traits because they happen to be extremely passionate about gummy bears. That's fine. That's wonderful if they've found something to feel that way about. They're going to have quite a colorful wall when they're done.

Monday, May 5, 2014

I'm Not Okay, I Promise

I'm really not doing okay. I went through a breakup and it sucks and I'm not gonna go around acting like I'm okay. I was very serious when I said that you'd see the biggest drop in writing quality that you've ever seen from me. Out of principle, because I'm NOT a suck it up and deal kind of person, and if something's wrong, you're gonna see that reflected in everything I do. My productivity level at work has dropped by at least 25% and I don't intend to do anything to fix that.

I'm flashing back really really hard to Colby. Really hard. Like I'm four years out, graduation was four whole years ago but now suddenly it's all flashing back to me really hard because my boyfriend isn't here anymore. He saved me from Colby. I felt like I hopped into his orange car and he started driving faster and faster and the next thing I knew we were far far far away from Colby. I hung out with his friends and social circle and it was so not Colby. Not that it was perfect because I did have some issues with some people. Okay I honestly didn't fit in with them all that well because it was all about iphones and computer games that I don't play, but it was so not Colby and that in itself is one of the biggest accomplishments ever.

I had this big logical epiphany a couple weeks ago and was thinking about all the reasons we weren't compatible, how I let that stuff slide and how we ended up where we are now.  I realized how messed up my standards were after getting out of Colby and how a lot of the qualities I valued were things that weren't as hard to find as I thought. I remember telling my friend when my boyfriend and I first started dating that he didn't assume I knew anything that the average person doesn't know and he didn't hold me to any kind of higher intellectual standards because of where I went to school. He didn't have a cause he was gonna pressure me about. We could enjoy curly fries together without him questioning whether it was wasting a lot of the potato to make curly fries (like my college friends would say). And for a while last week I was thinking that even though these qualities are important to me, they're not all that hard to find. But now I'm really starting to question that again. Because the fact is - he was a non-pressurer for a lot of things. Okay, in the end there was pressure about getting a job and traditional values and work ethic and I did feel like he wanted me to be someone I wasn't, but he didn't pressure me about a lot of stuff in general. And is that really an easy quality to find? Is that level of not caring what someone else is doing something I'm ever gonna come across again? Sure, I wished we could have talked more. A part of me thinks I might be more compatible with someone who likes to talk more because I like to talk a lot, but another part of me is like, would someone who wants to have lots of deep conversations be as equally non-pressuring? I mean that - do these things even coexist? Because if they don't, then non-pressuring is my top priority and I'd take that over anything else. ANYTHING else.

I really felt that I'd rather be with someone who has opposite beliefs but doesn't push them than someone who has the same beliefs as me but pressures me to do more about stuff than I want to. The problem is that we're not as separate from out beliefs as I thought we could be. Our beliefs aren't just about who we vote for or what causes we care about - they're in everything we do, and they were just too opposite. That's what I said last week. But then I had a dose of Colby and was like, wait a sec - okay, maybe our beliefs were too opposite, I'll buy that, but I honestly still feel like I'd rather be with someone who has opposite beliefs but is more neutral/uninvolved with them than someone who has the exact same beliefs as me and is gonna pressure me to do a bunch of stuff. Non-pressuring is still at the top and he did mostly have that quality and it only takes one drop of Colby, one ounce of those memories, to start feeling trapped like Colby is the fucking world and start to think that maybe non-pressuring is a rare hard to find quality and I never should have let him go. Never.

Yes he broke up with me but I basically drove him to that point by demanding an answer about how he was feeling, so we sort of both did it, so I can say that I shouldn't have let him go because I did push him away in the end even if he technically did the dumping part. Why the hell did I let him slip away?

What no one seems to accept about me and about the Colby situation was that I had MORE of an issue with the socially-aware subculture of Colby than I did with the mainstream culture. That's honestly where most of the pressure came from. It came from the people I was told to go to when I had problems with the Colby culture. I don't think the mainstream culture was any better, and I'm pretty sure I would have faced other equally bad things if I'd been part of that, but the two cultures were equally bad for me - it's like the whole school drinks a lemonade that most people like the way it is, and there's a subculture of students who don't like the way it is and are working to make it less sweet. And I want it MORE sweet. I think it's not sweet enough to drink and I fucking hate it and I'm always told to go and bond with the other students who hate the lemonade even thought they're all working to make it worse for me. Seriously, that's where all the pressure to go to events and have dialogue and being told what to care about came from - the socially aware subculture not the mainstream culture. Everyone tries to steal your resources at Colby - not physical resources like money or things, and I'm not even talking about time, although time is a big one. People see that you're passionate and try to direct that passion to what THEY think you should be thinking about. They tell you what to fucking CARE about and what to talk about on your own free time!!!!!! Everyone told me that I'd have so much freedom in college but that was a fucking lie. I couldn't do anything that actually mattered to me at college and I couldn't be me. So many people tried to reach out to me when they saw I was angry but then they just ignored my issues and started trying to direct me toward their causes that had nothing to do with what I was saying at best and at worst went entirely AGAINST what I was saying because I'd be talking about the pressure to go to events and have intelligent conversations and being told what to care about, and they'd be like, That's great that you're angry with Colby culture, now come to my event and let's have an intellectual conversation while I tell you what to care about. It went like that so many times and everyone thought that hating Colby would give me some deep insight on the human condition and when I told them that no, I fit in just fine in the real world, my life was wonderful before I came here, the issue really is just about Colby and this is the worst fucking thing that's ever happened to me, they just drop it. They just have no interest in me. They didn't CARE about me, they only cared about the passion that they thought they could fucking STEAL and put towards their own cause. And you're never allowed to care about what you want to care about - if you do speak out about something, everyone's just like "How can you care about A but not B." I was never allowed to have my own priorities so I just chose not to say anything about anything ever because people would just judge me for caring about one thing over another.

I don't know why it's all coming back now. My friend said something about how Colby kids would feel like they'd done their share of good, they'd be like, well, I recycled so now I'm entitled to do something bad or to not do something else good. You know what? My problem with that is not the justification, but the fact that we even need justifications. Because where I come from, we could do all the bad stuff we wanted and we didn't feel guilty about any of it and we didn't have to do anything good to earn it. That became a problem for my boyfriend and me in the end because he was okay with society deciding that school and work are important and you have to earn stuff from those things, and I really need to be with someone who feels entitled to just go out and have fun and do lots of things WITHOUT earning them, whether by having a job or by attending a discussion group about an issue. I once read an article in the school newspaper about students complaining about small things and it mentioned that students do get really involved and care about issues and stuff, and it honestly made me sick to my stomach that there was any need for that justification. I will complain about whatever I want to complain about and I would have NEVER chosen Colby if I had seen this article and felt like I'd have to earn my right to complain by first proving that I care about bigger issues. I can care about whatever I want to.

My boyfriend made it feel okay to do this from the beginning. I could FINALLY listen to whatever kind of music I liked and not feel like I had critique it or dislike because of social issue problems. I absolutely love this song called "Suds in the Bucket" by Sara Evans but it's so anti-socially-aware Colby that I would have never felt safe mentioning that I liked it at college. I love mainstream pop and Disney Channel and teen movies and I could finally enjoy that stuff in a guilt-free pressure-free environment with my boyfriend.

But then trouble started because there were lots of other things we didn't agree on, and "That's Nikki!" turned into an annoyance instead of a cute thing. But back when it was a cute thing, I felt so valued. Our poetry professor was trying to make a point one time about being original and she asked us how we'd feel if someone wrote us a generic "Roses are red, Violets are blue" love poem, and students said that they'd be unimpressed because the person obviously didn't put much time into it. But I disagreed completely because I'd just thing it was so sweet that someone wrote me a love poem no matter how good or original it was. I hated the way everyone valued being smart so much. I never care if someone's smart or not. I'm just looking to be with people who make me feel good and who I can have fun with, and any love poem would make me feel good. I loved all the sweet lines that my boyfriend later felt embarrassed about - when I asked him which superpower he'd pick and he said "Does being with you count?" Or the cute fights we'd get into like, "No boots in bed!" "Yes boots in bed!" "No boots in bed!" "Yes boots in bed!" and on and on like that. You just can't do that kind of stuff with smart Colby kids. I hadn't had that kind of fun for years. I really hated the whole "They have to be smart and mature" thing about dating. I'm not mature and don't want someone who's mature, I want someone who's young and wild and free and wants to run around and celebrate it.

And it scares me because I don't have that safe nowhere-near-Colby feeling anymore. What scares me is that the things that weren't compatible about us seem incompatible with all the things that were. Like, if I find someone who shares more of my interests and likes to talk about lots of different things, someone who will enjoy discussing things on a deeper level...will we still get to do all the cute silly stuff that my boyfriend and I did? One of the things I enjoyed best in our relationship was that I felt free to be silly and I never had to act smart. Are being silly and not liking to discuss things in depth related? Do I have to choose one or the other? Shortly after I left Colby, I wrote that before college, I used to admire passion in people, but Colby taught me that passion=pressure and now I would only date someone who has no interest in anything because that's the only way I wouldn't be pressured. Not to say that my boyfriend had no interests because he had plenty of interests, but he didn't have that level of passion where people normally start pushing others to get involved. And that's what scares me - if I find someone who has the same values as me in terms of not caring about work, what if they start pressuring me to quit my corporate office job when I want to keep it because I'm getting paid well? I want to feel free to quit my job, but not pressured to. And if I do meet someone who cares about the same stuff I do, someone who supports what I do not just because I'm their girlfriend but because they also support and agree with the same things, doesn't that mean they're also gonna pressure me to do more stuff? Look, there were times when I tried to discuss certain issues in songs and movies and he had no interest in responding to me, and that was a bit annoying. But the fact that I can enjoy those songs and movies without feeling like I have to analyze them or notice anything wrong with them is way more important to me. I'd much rather not get to ever discuss these issues than feel like I have to discuss them and can't just sit back and enjoy the movie. Granted, some stuff my boyfriend avoided saying because he didn't want me to know how opposite our views are, which bothers me, but I also know he just didn't like to talk as much as I do, and I keep thinking that if I find someone who has all of the interests and values that would be more compatible than mine, they're going to pressure me.

And it's hard to talk about because a lot of people don't respect my values on this. My mom in particular has never really accepted just how important the non-pressuring thing is to me. But the fact is, I'm willing to give up a lot for it. I would give up all deep conversation if it means I won't be told what to care about like I was at Colby. Okay, that would suck because I love talking, but still. I feel like some of these traits just don't coexist in most people. And if that's true, then non-pressuring is still at the top for me, and he had that trait, and I pushed him away by demanding that he had all these other qualities too. I started needing someone who believed in some of the same things I believe in rather than just tolerating my beliefs, but maybe I shouldn't have needed that. Maybe that isn't compatible with non-pressuring.

Sunday, May 4, 2014


The thing I'm most grateful for right now is that I don't get the Colby digest emailed to me anymore. I never wanted fucking dialogue. I HATE dialogue. I don't know why I'm flashing back to all that right now, but basically I want to go back to the time before chem-free-subculture Colby where you could do whatever the fuck you wanted and didn't have to justify it by recycling or having dialogue or doing some other good thing - you could just do it!!!!