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Thursday. 9.25.14 10:01 pm

We have a speaker for the seminar I have to go through to keep funding for my organization.

She's 26 and is CEO of her own business, which she built during her college years. Something about her just says she knows what she's doing, so, when she tells us to figure out our top ten priority qualities that everyone in our lives should meet, I sit down, the next week, and think of around five, right off the bat.

The rest are still coming, but what I have so far:

1. Consent
2. Honesty
3. Equality
4. Communicativeness
5. Attentiveness
6. Respect

These are now my core, and that's been working for me. I've cut out a lot of unhealthy behavior in my executive board, and things are functioning much better. On top of that, I feel a lot better, because, suddenly, people aren't stepping all over me.


On Thursdays, we make decisions.

...I can't go through with dating him.

This hurts me a lot for a huge amount of reasons, the biggest being that I know we can't go back, now. I've trusted him with so much, over the years, and it hurts to have to let go of someone who has held so much importance and influence in my life.

I have to look out for me.

He doesn't meet this stuff--not even close--and it ends up hurting me and making me feel distressed, every single time. I'm not about to go through life feeling like this.

I'm sad, but it's time to make cuts. I'm nearly 23 years old. Enough fooling around.

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those special three words
Monday. 9.15.14 1:02 am

I sit there on my bed for a long time, occasionally (and repeatedly) uttering the same three words, starting with the words "what" and "the." It's eleven-something at night and I'm in a short, black dress. I haven't even taken my heels off, because I feel the same way I felt right after being in a minor car crash: Stunned. Confused. Not sure how to feel.

I smell faintly of smoke.

Seven twenty in the evening, and we have it all sorted out. The night's itinerary includes food at one of my usual spots and dessert in what I'm pretty sure is both of our favorite spot for sweets. He picks me up and I slide into the passenger seat, feeling tall and generally pretty attractive, and the struggle for parking takes maybe ten minutes or so. We're both clearly nervous, in retrospect, because neither of us has the presence of mind to realize that all meters are free after 6pm. We try to sort out ideas on where to get change.

Dinner is hilarious, because they keep increasing the volume of the music, throughout the night, until we're speaking pretty loudly in order to hear each other. We smoke hookah while we enjoy our meal, and talk about how his entire life plan just dropped out from under him (intentionally on his part) and how, suddenly, he's not going to be disappearing from my life quite like I'd thought.

I'm beaming. I can't help it. I would have supported him either way, but this direction clearly makes him feel more secure and happy with himself. That's what matters.

When the check comes, I look at him like he's just transformed into the entire cast of The Brady Bunch and started reenacting the special tiki curse special. He has taken the check.


--But I just smile, thank him, and decide on paying for dessert at our next destination.

Meanwhile dessert is kind of...weird. I don't know what to say about that, other than that I left feeling really weird about it for no discernible reason. I don't know if it's the hookah or if it has just been a long time, but I glance up, at one point, and realize what he actually looks like. You know what I'm saying? Like, you see someone and they just look like them, usually, and you don't put too much thought into it, until there's this one moment when you look at someone and actually see them. He totally busts me for staring and doesn't seem to get it, when I explain. That may have added to me not loving dessert. Either way, we get out of there relatively quickly and head back to the car, for a short drive back to my house.

He pulls up halfway into the driveway and I ask him if he's coming in, because that's what we do, and it's only 11pm.



He proceeds to tell me that the reason we're out on this date is because he wants to see if there's anything there, with us, other than the obvious camaraderie and snuggley attraction stuff.

My face probably says a lot at this point, considering that 1. I had no idea it was a date, and 2. I've never been straight up rejected so firmly in my entire life and kind of respect him for that.

I think at some point I, with eyes the size of saucers, say, "Okay," and he walks me to my door, where he then refuses to even kiss me because we're "starting over."

I get a kiss on the nose, and he leaves with my takeout boxes still in his backseat, as I am currently in a state of shock that rivals that of much more extreme circumstances in my life.

I hear him drive away because I'm still standing in the entryway, confused. A three-word repetition starts up. As I struggle to slide a key into the lock, I continue this simple mantra. Walking into my bedroom, I start back up where I left off while walking through the common areas. Burying my face in the mattress, I decide to mix it up with some various one-word exclamations, then swing back around to revisit my earlier thoughts on the matter.

It's 11pm and it's dawning on me that I just had my first date with one of my closest friends of four years.

Will he turn around after the second date and remember that I'm the same person who laughed for like ten minutes, once, when he jumped on an air mattress and it made a farting sound? Will he suddenly be more vulnerable and open, after a couple of dates, or am I going to be working my tush macgush off to get him in a place where either of us could develop feelings? What happens if nothing happens and neither of us feels it? Or, worse, what if only one of us develops feelings?

What happens if everything goes really well and we like each other?

This is my friend. I know y'all say people who cuddle and get mushy etc. can't just be friends, but that's how it's always been and how I've felt for a long time (admittedly, we did start as two people with crushes on one another, but it never got past that). This is so startling and perplexing and I'm just not sure what to do about it.

I'm not against it, though--I see where he's coming from. This is just really sudden and out of nowhere. I'm not sure how to feel.

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thought soup
Saturday. 9.6.14 5:27 pm

I see this complaint a lot, lately, about how someone is "always there for people" but people are "never there for them."

I'm gonna need that mindset to take a knee. If you're always there for people because it's the right thing to do and because you care about them, that's one thing. But if you are an over-the-top martyr and don't understand the difference between affectionate support and self-sacrificing obsession over others' happiness before your own, that's another beast entirely.

I've noticed that only the martyrs keep quiet and don't just ask for what they need. It's never, "Hey, I'm having a hard time, can you help me/support me?" It's typically, "No one ever cares when I'm hurting, even though I'm always there for everyone."

Being self-serving is a very normal behavior, and it's healthy, to an extent. We know ourselves best and have to look out for that, when other people just don't know to. It can't be on me, if someone decides to expect me to anticipate their feelings and needs rather than communicate those clearly. That isn't fair, and it's something I see a lot in people who think they're making the right move by sacrificing their own needs and interests to please others.

It's totally a bad habit I used to have, and I think that's part of why I wanted to write about this and clear my head of it. I used to think that the best love was to give others my time, my energy, my attention, even when it wasn't in my best interest. In short, love was totally about sacrifice without knowing whether that sacrifice was worth anything or not. It was all about the sacrifices that I thought were best for people.

And that totally wasn't fair to them. To make that decision--the decision of what will be best for someone--without their say or consent is just entirely outside of normal, healthy relationship behavior.

I'm sure this is common sense stuff, but it took me a long time to learn it. People never took me aside and explained consent so thoroughly. This isn't just about sex--consent transcends so many aspects of any given relationship to such a level that it's completely necessary to learn early and refresh often.

Man, I wish this had been common sense to me. In a society so lacking in consent, though, I was never called on it until I was in college...although, at that point, I was knocked right onto my ass by someone on the subject, and I'm grateful for that, even though it wasn't his duty to teach me a lesson about what non-sexual consent meant.

In short, entitlement is uncool. Assuming you're doing good by others just because you're "there for them" is very uncool. Establishing and understanding normal limits in any relationship is super cool and also very important.

Filed under "Things I Learned Unnaturally Late in Life."

Hmm how to follow that up.

My house has a rat infestation. Tomorrow, if it's still too rainy to visit the beach, I think I'll strap on a bunch of sanitary protective gear and take care of all the poop and holes. Such is life.

Oh, and I've gotten into the show Orphan Black. It's a BBC original, and I can't stop watching it. There are only two seasons, and I have rather determinedly watched the entire first season (ten episodes of ~45 minutes a piece) in just over two days.

Great things about it: So far, I haven't seen any sexism without a point to it. I did see a small tidbit of same-gender couple fetishization, but the way they went about it almost made fun of the man for being so weird about things, so that was refreshing. They also include a trans character and manage to educate some of the ignorance out of their viewership on the way by approaching hormone therapy, pronouns, and other highly relevant but highly under-discussed aspects of a pretty typical FTM trans lifestyle (from what I can tell) without over-emphasizing his status as a trans man. Now, it's pretty widely argued, so I don't have an opinion (and don't have a place to form an opinion) on whether this is OK or not, considering exact circumstances, but they do use the same female, cisgendered actress to play him as they do everyone else.

The show is about clones, and that's been some of the argument I've seen in favor of still using her, as long as the topic is treated well. But then, how hard is it to find a man who looks like her?

Like I said, something people have discussed, for sure. Not my place to say, one way or another.

Still. Despite the fact that I'm not usually into shows with violence, this one has me hooked. Fast-paced, mysterious in a way that isn't too repetitive or annoying, reasonably smart and playful.

I'd recommend. If you're into stuff like that.

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Wednesday. 9.3.14 5:09 pm

Little things.

My yoga instructor talked the whole session, today. We brought out our mats, had ourselves seated on the ground, and then he took the whole time to speak on the importance of a healthy diet. Just...no... I'm here in athletic clothing and on a mat I carried a mile from my house. Tell us beforehand, if all we're gonna do is sit and discuss a healthy lifestyle.

Yoga is an excellent class, though, especially since it's for academic credit. I feel so good and have started drifting towards healthier choices because of it. Tonight, I plan to make up for the yoga I didn't do, and then run through this, which, by the way, will make your arms ache just looking at it:

Second thing: I realized, today, that my absolutely gorgeous Spanish Lit professor is a complete and total lit nerd. She said something about how, historically, the caste system worked a certain way, linked it to the reading, and did that nerd laugh that's like, "HUH" inhale "HUH" inhale "HUH" inhale. It's a very likable quality.

Third thing, TAFKAM and I pretty much duked it out, the other night, because we both thought the other was being mean and questioning their intelligence.

--Which is kind of hilarious, in retrospect: We were both upset about the same thing, to the point where I considered telling him not to talk to me until he figured out why I was mad, and to the point where he actually said that.

It was at this point that I calmed down and said (essentially), "Wait...I think we're both mad at each other, so someone here has misunderstood."

Both of us had. So there we were, our respective phones in hand: I was crying, and he was just plain pissed, and it seemed to be dawning on us both, exactly how stupid the whole shebang had been.

This was a revelation. The moment I softened up and told him 1. that I thought he was saying that I wasn't as smart as him, and 2. that it had me in tears, he was 60 to 0 in a second flat. All the sudden, it was all "Call me next time you're this upset," and "Come swimming or watch a movie or something with me soon."

And that is very cute and nice. I'm trying to out-nice him, though, so this is also sort of bad news for me.

Either way, apologetic, humble, and silly-feeling turns out to be a great look on both of us. Equal parts glowing and dumbass.

Fourth, I'm working a new job at the school, and it's a decently sweet gig. It pays a lot less than I'm accustomed to (especially considering the fact that my pay increased by $.75 an hour, every year, at my last job), but they're essentially paying me to sit around and do nothing on my computer for a few hours at a time.

The one problem I do have is that their method of confrontation is very impersonal; they send out a general e-mail to the entire staff, telling the whole staff to not do something that maybe one or two staff members are guilty of. And they know who's doing it. To me, that's just plain avoiding confrontation, which is kind of a problem. Confrontation enables the confronting party to put a personal kindness to the message and use a tone that shows them that it isn't the end of the world. It also gives the confronted a chance to ask any clarifying questions and even explain what happened, if they feel like the whole situation isn't out there.

This has yet to happen to me, but, every time I see them e-mail something like that, I cringe, anyway. I'm a pretty neat employee; there on time, staying on task, asking questions when I need to, responding to e-mails, learning names. I try hard to make my employers happy, because I know that a job is just a sale of my services, really. I like for people to get their money's worth. I just need them to work with me, in exchange.

Anyway, I can wear jeans and the uniform polo and be cool, so this is still a good job, by my terms.

The rest of my classes are really hard and I don't want to talk about them.


So instead I'm talking more about cute, good things. I told TAFKAM that I wanted to dress up and go out for drinks and dessert before heading home and doing our cuddly movie thing, and he was, surprisingly, totally into it (and I quote, "Whoa Yes"). I'm afraid he's doing that thing where you try to make people you care about happy before their souls are crushed, and not paying attention to what he wants, because drinks and dessert essentially screams "DATE," even though that really isn't my intention. (I just like going for drinks with him because we have the same taste, and he lets me try his dessert, so I'm wholly content with the idea.) Usually, even a hint of something like this would send him sprinting in the opposite direction. We're down to just a few months before he leaves, so... I don't know if he's just had a change of heart about how we should work, or if this is just a final surge or sorts. The hope to give someone a wealth of happy memories before leaving is a kindness I'm familiar with.

It does not make things easier. It makes them much, much harder. I hope he wouldn't be the type to do that. I have a lot of faith in him being this sturdy person who knows to put himself first and let me take care of myself--but then, he's also a human, and ultimately still unpredictable and flawed.

Certain little things that worry me.

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