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Apparently we’ve hit the point on this list where it starts getting ridiculous. I absolutely abhor this type of thing and refuse to write a letter to someone I don’t know. I’m no longer 15. No band or artist has gotten me through some tough-ass days, though there have been songs, photos, videos, etc. that have helped me through some tough-ass days. (Have I mentioned that I’m a sarcastic jerk? Plus, it’s my blog. I’m going to use this list as I see fit.)

One of my best friends, Sheela, would say: “That’s easy! It’s Depeche Mode!” And to an extent, she’s right. A friend introduced me to them when I was 15, the beginning of the most angst-ridden period of my life. Everything was a catastrophe. And Martin Gore’s lyrics spoke to me. Alan Wilder’s dark, synth sound tapped into my feelings of discontent. I even went so far as to use a lyric from one of their songs on a science test in high school. If you’re wondering, I got an “A” on the test. Even now, when I happen to hear them in a store or bar somewhere, the associated feelings come flooding back.

The truth of it is that many artists get me through the days, whether the art is in the form of a song that strikes a chord with my mood, a photo that inspires me, some well-written prose, a video of puppies doing adorable things, or witty graffiti on the side of a building. So instead of writing a letter, I’m going to list of some art that stands out to me in the hopes that you will check it out.

I could probably go on, and I’m sure I missed some stuff, but these are just a few things that have gotten me through and continue to do so.

I may have to use this Truth as another excuse to rant about society.

Something I never get complimented on is my compassion for humanity. I have an alarming lack of empathy for the human race. In fact, a friend of mine commented, in reference to a movie about robots, that he believes I’m “more capable of empathizing with burgeoning robot Artificial Intelligence than with real-life human beings.” And it’s true. I may have shed a tear when The Terminator lowered itself [note: I originally had “himself” instead of “itself”] into metal-melting molten at the end of the movie. I didn’t care so much about Sarah or John Connor. However, I would also like to note that I do feel and care for people I know and like. Because I am not a robot.

Animals are more my thing. Specifically because they are just out there living their lives, and we humans take it upon ourselves to exploit them for our exclusive benefit without considering the consequences. And the way we do it is inhumane in many cases. (For an example Google: “Fur industry China.” I don’t have it in me to post links here.)

Not all people are evil, but a few rotten apples certainly spoil the bunch. Seriously, is there really a need to smash glass bottles in the children’s sandbox at Dolores Park? Poison dogs with meatballs? Who wouldn’t be disgusted after reading those things? People just don’t give a fuck, and not in the good Mark Manson way. Sadly, we are the only species smart enough to be able to give a fuck and do something about it, but we are too wrapped up in our own lives to care about anything else.

If people would spend half as much time putting an effort into bettering their community and the planet as they do to bettering their own situation, everyone would benefit. But no, let’s wait until things have a direct impact on us before taking action. This ties into the nuclear family/every-man-for-himself mentality. Why look out for anyone else when nobody is looking out for you? Fuck off, neighbor, get off my land. An interesting, semi-related article about nuclear families discusses why the idea isn’t sustainable. Though I don’t necessarily agree with the extended family concept, I believe taking a community-based approach would be a positive development. Let’s take care of our tribe and the good earth that provides for us instead of stepping all over everything and everyone that gets in our path.

*End Rant*

Warning: This post is awful. But that’s where I’m at today, so yay for blogging!

************************************************************************

Easy Truth here. It’s my super sunny and bubbly personality. And when I say that, what I really mean is my acerbic wit.

In all seriousness, I’ve gotten some totally random compliments in my life, such as:

  • You have great eyebrows (Twice, which I find hilarious since mine are nothing special at all.)
  • Your skin is so smooth
  • “Crazy” eye color (On a day when they looked particularly orange – debating on whether or not this is even a compliment.)
  • You have child-bearing hips (From a HS boyfriend, so I’m guessing it’s a compliment?)
  • Great bed head (Referring to my hair, people! Get your minds out of the gutter.)
  • Nice eyelashes

The compliment I’ve received the most — from both men and women — is that I have a nice ass. Not sure how I feel about this. Yeah, it’s great to know. Especially since for most of my life I absolutely despised it.

But damn it, there is more to me than my ass! It’s not that I want to be the girl with the great personality, because we all know what that means. And, to be honest, my personality isn’t all that great until you get to know me. Even then I’m sometimes questionable, especially if you don’t get my East Coast humor.

My point here is that though the compliments on my physical attributes are welcome and appreciated, those aren’t how I’d prefer to define myself. It’s taken me most of my life to finally [almost] love and accept my body, and at this point I’m working on the inside, which is still a big old mess.

It’s a reflection of society that when people choose to compliment others, it’s often on appearance. Yes, it’s the first thing you’re presented with upon seeing or meeting someone, but it’s such a small aspect of what makes people who they are. There are exceptions, but those are typically reserved for extraordinary people who are known for something other than their appearance. Okay, I can feel myself on the verge of a huge ranting digression about the importance society places on appearance and what is considered “beautiful” and all of that, so I’m going to abruptly stop here and throw you something almost completely off-topic instead.

My new closing line:

Keep your tan lines sharp and your wit sharper.© 2015 by TJ

Read the full list of truths here.

I’ve been sitting on this Truth for a while, waiting for some of the turmoil it triggered to settle. One person came to mind when I first read the statement, and I thought, “I wish I’d never met ______!” But that’s not true. There’s one thing I’ve recently realized about myself: I’m an extremely reactive person. Something someone says or does will trigger an emotional response, and instead of sitting with and processing my feelings, I react. Oftentimes it’s not warranted and not pretty, and I mostly get negative results. And then I find myself backpedaling and apologizing once I digest and realize I may have overreacted. Like Mark Manson says, don’t let your emotions define you. So, I am very glad I let this Truth process, because you’re going to get a very different response today than you would have gotten a couple of weeks ago.

Letting someone go and wishing you didn’t know someone are two very different things. Do I choose to address the first part of the statement or the second? Is there even an option here? The person in question I am slowly letting go, and I do think it’s necessary for me to be happy. It’s taken ample time, reflection, and consideration. It hasn’t been easy. Several of my friends and family can attest to this. In fact, they may tell you that there have been times they wanted to shake me. (And one person in particular may be upset that I’m even devoting most of a blog post to _______.)

Do I wish I didn’t know this person? Absolutely not. Knowing this person has taught me so much about myself and what I want (and need) from my relationships. My relationship with this person — on both a platonic and romantic level — was rewarding in so many ways. It has been an invaluable part of my personal and emotional growth. I went into it with eyes open, fully knowing I’d probably get my heart broken. And I did. But I needed it. And I’m grateful for it. It’s taken me close to a year of processing to be able to say that.

I’ve moved a whole lot throughout my life, so this has happened to me with more than one person. Unfortunately that’s what distance and time can do, if you let them.

Probably one of the better times I can remember was when I lived in the suburbs of Chicago. Part of it was timing — we lived there from when I was in 8th grade through the summer before my junior year of high school. As you all know, teenage years are pretty significant. It was in John Hughes land, during this time, that I had my first major crush, tried alcohol for the first time, got busted for being out past curfew (once by the cops and once by my mom), and forged some meaningful friendships. When my parents broke the news that we were moving to Massachusetts, I cried and yelled and threatened to move in with my best friend Sheela. My scummy boyfriend at the time also dumped me, probably thinking: “Why bother?” I was heartbroken, and it was a rough time on many levels. But I did end up moving to the East Coast with my family and kept in touch with most of my Chicago-area friends. In fact, I frequently went back to visit them and some even came to Massachusetts to visit me.

I could go on for pages about these friendships and the many adventures that resulted from them both when I lived there and even up until recently. And I’m glad that I’m still in touch with a couple of people from that era, including Sheela.

But I have lost touch with most of that crew over the years, mostly because we’ve moved on and grown apart. I know I’m a very different person than I was even three years ago, let alone in high school. When I went back to Chicago a couple of summers ago and met up with a few of those people, we had fun catching up but that thing was no longer there. We weren’t that high school crew that got into trouble together anymore. It became clear that these people had been part of a moment in time, like Ferris, Cameron, and Sloane in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. 

So yes, it saddens me that the moment was fleeting and is gone, but I am grateful for the time we did share. I’ll never forget that period of my life or the people who helped shape it. For those people I say:

I’ve got tears in my fro
Cuz my world is upside down over you
(You, baby!) (You, babe!)

Genetically Modified Mosquitoes?

UPDATE: Hate (not really) to say I told you so.

I’m taking a break from 30 Days of Truths to briefly jump back into what this blog was originally about (kind of): nature and that sort of shit.

When I read that the FDA is looking into releasing GM mosquitoes in the U.S., my blood started to boil. Here we go again, trying to fuck with the ecosystem to help our own species.

It’s true that mosquitoes are the world’s deadliest animals: BiggestKillers_final_v8_no-logo

(Photo credit)

But, as this article states, they are also the easiest to repel, and most of the diseases they carry can be avoided with vaccinations.

I fully believe that mosquitoes, like everything else on this planet (well, every natural thing on this planet) are here for a reason. In addition to population control, they make up part of the diet of bats, purple martins, and other species, including, believe it or not, mosquitofish. They may seem annoying and pointless to us, but could you imagine how many people would populate this earth if disease spread by mosquitoes didn’t kill a whole bunch of them? True, it’s easy for me to say this as someone with healthcare sitting in front of a computer in an urban, relatively mosquito-free area. Others are not so fortunate. But I don’t think that screwing with the DNA of mosquitoes is the way to solve this “issue.”

If you’re going to focus time and money on anything, focus it on getting vaccinations to the people who need them.

Then again, maybe if the DNA in these modified mosquitoes turns out to be detrimental to the human population, we can finally surpass mosquitoes as the world’s deadliest animal.

 

I can’t believe it’s almost February and I’m only on Day 08. What a slacker! Though the fact that I’ve posted more in the past two months than I did in all of 2012 and 2013 ought to count for something. Onto the post at hand…

Unfortunately, being the sensitive soul that I am, I have quite a few people who fall into this category. But there is one person in particular who treated me like shit and made my life hell. I’m grateful that she was only in my life for a relatively short period of time, but it was an extremely stressful time. Almost everyone who knows me has heard about my roommate from hell (RFH). I apologize in advance for what will most definitely be a rambling and crazy post.

The year was 2001. The town was Brighton, MA. I had just graduated from college and was super stoked to have a full-time job and be moving into my first post-college apartment with two roommates. One of the girls was the master tenant; she’d been there for a while. She was also older and working toward her PhD in physical therapy. I don’t remember how I found the place, but a good college friend of mine hooked us up with a mutual friend from school for the third bedroom. At first, we all got along. We shopped for common area stuff, hung out a lot in the apartment, and generally had a good time. After a while, RFH’s behavior started to grate on me. She never cleaned up after herself, and she was loud and inconsiderate. She also tended to be a bully, forcing us other two girls to accommodate her needs. I was starting to realize that, on top of it all, she was somewhat of a phony. I despise phonies.

To make matters worse, we had a bit of a car/parking situation. Our parking setup was off-street tandem, and since she didn’t know how to drive a standard, I always had to park in front of her. That meant shuffling cars myself when she wasn’t home. She didn’t allow me to take the spare car keys, so any time I needed to come or go and she wasn’t there to move her car (or was too lazy to come out and do it herself — yes, this happened), I had to leave my car idling outside, run in to get her spare keys, then run back out to shuffle the cars. At first it was no big deal, because I rarely drove. But once I started dating a guy who lived an hour away, I was driving more frequently and shuffling cars a lot more. When I asked her if she’d mind me holding onto her spare keys so I didn’t have to run in and out of the apartment, she flat-out refused “just in case a friend of hers may need to borrow the car.” (Which never happened.)

One specific incident burned itself into my brain. It was a rainy Monday of a long weekend, and I was returning from a movie and the grocery store with a car full of groceries. Upon getting home, there was a car parked in my spot. Due to the weather, I opted to pull up alongside the house where I’m technically not supposed to park (you need a permit to park on those streets, and I didn’t have one due to my car being registered in another town). When I got inside, RFH was there with her parents. Her parents were the ones blocking my space. After I unloaded my stuff and needed to park, I asked RFH if her parents could possibly move their car so I could get into the driveway. She essentially flipped out and refused. They did eventually leave, and I was lucky to not have gotten any sort of citation.

Time went on, and things got to the point where both the third older roommate and me weren’t talking to RFH unless we had to. But since older roommate was gone a lot between work, school, and her boyfriend, I got the brunt of RFH’s attitude. And it wasn’t just sloppiness, but also personal attacks. By now, I was mostly staying in my room or with my boyfriend. I consistently had stomach issues, because I’m not good at confrontation, and my emotions manifest them in my stomach.

When it finally came time to renew the lease, RFH told me: “Come August, you’d better find a new place.” Little did she know that older roommate and I already planned to ask RFH to leave. So at the time, I just smiled and walked away, knowing older roommate, as master tenant, would be the one to break the news.

*******

On moving day, RFH’s parents are once again on site. I had been staying at my boyfriends and had passive-aggressively taken her spare car keys, knowing she’d need them before leaving. I also knew I’d be getting home well before she left, but by now I was blinded by anger. When I get to the apartment, they’re about two-thirds of the way done, so I just walk into my room and shut the door. Not five minutes later, I hear a knock. I open the door to see her dad, who says something like: “We have been nothing but nice to you, and then you go and give it to us up the ass.” Gestures and all. I’m so shaken/angry/scared that I take her spare keys and chuck them into the hall, slam my door, and call my boyfriend to talk to him until they’re gone.

*******

Thankfully, that was the last I saw of RFH and her parents. Older roommate and I replaced RFH with a sweet Irish girl who might as well have been an angel compared to RFH.

There you have it. The first (and worst) in a series of roommate experiences that have convinced me living alone (unless it’s with a partner) is the way to go.

*Deep breaths*

Read the full list of truths here.

The number 7 is one of my lucky numbers. I was born in the 7th month of the 70th decade (in the 20th century, not the 17th – I’m not that old) and happen to generally like the number. However, #7 on this list is not a favorite of mine. Therefore, I’m not going to answer it. Instead, I’m going to complain about it.

“Someone who has made your life worth living for”? Firstable, that “for” at the end of the sentence is completely unnecessary. If the person who wrote this really wanted to be grammatically correct, it could read: Someone for whom your life has been worth living. Otherwise, drop the fucking “for.” Second, though I have many important people in my life about whom I care (see?), I don’t think I’d kill myself if any of them were to randomly disappear. Sure, I’d be sad, but I’d have to carry on. Because my life is worth living for ME, not somebody else. I’m also lucky enough to have an awesome family and amazing friends who would help pick me up should someone close to me get abducted by aliens, never to be returned. We are responsible for our own happiness and can’t be dependent on any one other person for that because, unfortunately, people come in and out of our lives for various reasons, and we need to be able to roll with it.

[But just to prove I’m not a robot, I have had people I cared about (I’m being casual with my grammar in this instance, since it’s a blog and all) fade from my life, and it hurts. But it would hurt a lot more if I was living my life for them and not me.]

So, sorry not sorry for not quite answering this, even though I am being truthful.

Read the entire list of truths here.

There are so many things I hope I never have to do, I’m not sure where to go with this. Many people might say: “I hope I never have to watch my own child die.” Or some iteration of that. I am not one of those people. Due to my excessively selfish (self-absorbed?) tendencies, I am a member of the kid-less crew. Not that I think those who have kids aren’t selfish because let’s be honest. People are programmed to do things that make themselves feel good, whether directly or indirectly. Even an act that appears selfless on the surface has selfish undercurrents.

If you’ve ever seen this clip from Friends, you know what I mean:

Anyway, back to what I hope I never have to do. I hope I never have to die a slow and painful death. Ever since college, when I wrote a persuasive essay on the merits of physician-assisted suicide (PAS), I’ve been hoping that if there ever comes a time I’m in that situation, I can be put down like a dog. More value is placed on the life of a human than that of a dog, so why do dogs get the grace of euthanasia? People should have the autonomy to decide whether or not their life is worth living, just as they can decide whether or not to shave.

(I could go into a whole tangent about the healthcare industry and how money may have something to do with it, but I won’t. I could also go into a tangent about shaving. I won’t do that either.)

When I can no longer take care of myself, put me down. If I get terminal cancer, put me down. If I have a stroke that renders me helpless, put me down. If I’m in an accident that permanently lands me in a hospital bed, put me down!

I’m not saying PAS in acceptable in all situations. It’s not an easy out for when someone breaks your heart or you’re having a bad week. It’s not for the fickle. It’s for those who can see death on the horizon and prefer to die with dignity. It’s a matter of freedom. And I want it to be an option for me if it comes to that. I had to watch my grandfather die over the course of several weeks, and it was extremely traumatizing. His doctors wanted to try this and that and none of it worked, all the while he was suffering in a cold and sterile hospital. When he finally said “enough,” he was moved to hospice. And let me tell you, passive death in a hospice isn’t pleasant for anyone.

We’re encouraged to be proactive when it comes to living our lives. Why not be proactive when it comes to ending them?

**************************** UPDATE ************************

Just read about the Maynard/Diaz Death with Dignity case in the news. I really hope this comes to fruition in California!

Happy New Year’s Eve! The holiday season has kept me busy (and hungover), and I’ve been slacking in the blogging department. Given that New Year’s is all about making — and keeping — resolutions, now’s as good a time as any to tackle Day 05. Though I don’t particularly like the concept of resolutions, the beginning of another year is the perfect time to reflect on your life and make attainable goals for your future. A clean slate, if you will.

Besides the obvious goal of merely surviving until 2015 (which may be difficult since my evening plans involve being outside in cold temperatures for an extended period of time (Yes, I know. I’m from New England and should not be whining about 40-degree temperatures at all. But three years here has thinned my blood, and my winter coat is packed somewhere in storage.)), this one’s easy.

One thing I hope to do in my life is bike across the country. I have a touring bike, built almost from scratch, that would be perfect for the journey. “America the Beautiful” wasn’t written about nothing, and I can’t think of a better way to take in what this country has to offer. I’ve spoken with people who have made the trek, and they only have positive things to say. Plus, it would help me conquer a couple of my biggest fears: traveling alone and finding my way (both on a map and in my brain). It’s also a great way to meet new people – those I wouldn’t normally meet in the course of everyday life. I’ve never lived alone and am the type of person who prefers not to be isolated. At this point in my life, forced alone time is something from which I could greatly benefit. Plus, I’ll never truly be isolated. There will always be friendly people willing to lend a hand (or a couch), and cell service is never too far out of reach.

Just thinking about biking cross-country scares and excites me, which confirms that I need to stop “just thinking” about it and make it happen. Tonight I’ll be drinking to keep warm and to planning an exciting two-wheeled journey.

Click here to read the list of Truths.