Birthdays Might Not Be Stupid : An Open Letter to Patrick O’Connor

I found an old friend of mine. Isn’t that nice? I was so relieved to see him again. He was hiding on the internet, talking smack about birthdays and early disney movies. What a sassy minx.

 

So here is the premise of this video, as synopsized by myself :

1. Birthdays are stupid. (Note : I am actually not offended by that statement. In the words of one Michael J. Bluth, “I am okay with that.”)
2. Birthdays are stupid because we didn’t do anything to get one. They are not a celebration of one’s hard work or accomplishments, but as a “passage of time”, which “would happen anyways.” (True).
3. Birthdays set us up to a sense of entitlement, participation awards are crap, Oprah is insipid, and cake entitlement IS REAL.
4. The time that a person should get a gift is limited to two days a year.
5. We should celebrate things that happen because of a person’s hard work and accomplishments.
6. Early disney movies send a terrible message.

Okay, so here’s a couple of thoughts. I’m just gonna put it out there, and if you don’t like it, you can send it back.

First of all, it’s true that personally I did nothing to make my birthday happen, it’s not true that no work happened. My mother went to the effort of pushing me out of her vagina. Somebody put in a lot of hard work, it just wasn’t me. So thanks, Mom, for being a team player. So maybe on my birthday from now on, I should celebrate my Mom’s…hard…work? Oh sure, you say, but that’s what Mother’s Day is for. I don’t disagree. I’m just saying that it’s not true that birthdays aren’t celebrating any hard work.

Secondly, let’s talk about Disney movies for a second. While it’s true that early Disney movies did a lot to perpetuate unhealthy messages for young girls, they weren’t going off their own material – I feel the people we should really blame here are the Grimms brothers. Also, I feel that later on in Disney life they cleaned up their act. The whole message of the Princess and the Frog was that the main girl character was wholly convinced that hard work and dedication was the only acceptable way to earn your dream. Also, in the case of the most recent Disney movie, Frozen, I’m going to use the words of one Amy Gilson :

There has never been a moment in Disney history when the princess (queen in this case) basically throws up the double birds screaming screw all y’all and does her own thing and not with romantic urges but for her own well being.” 

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Thirdly, and this is my main consternation, I feel like it’s being implied that we have to earn celebration. And I’m not 100% okay with that.

Let me clarify. I do agree that people should be celebrated for things they work hard to achieve, and not just on their birthdays or on Christmas. I do think we should give people gifts whenever the hell we want. I think awards for participation are dumb. That all being said, I don’t think we should celebrate people solely on what they have done, or achieved, to merit celebration. I think that’s a dangerous path to go down.

Take me, for example. I have done things, in my life, that have merited celebration (or so my mother tells me). I graduated high school. I went on to post-secondary and got a diploma. I got a good job in my field. I am a sort-of musician in the grade eight level of royal conservatory piano. Hooray for me. But imagine, just for a second, that I never did any of those things. It isn’t hard to imagine, because 95% of the time I was very, very close to not doing any of those things. Imagine I was a drop-out, homeless, and considered a drain on society, and that I never accomplished anything in my life. Would I not be worthy of celebration? Would I be undeserving of praise? I hope not. I feel that personally I might think that, but I know that my family and my friends would still celebrate me regardless.

And in my black little heart I might think (and sometimes still do) that it’s “just because they don’t/wouldn’t know any better” – but that’s not it. While they do celebrate and praise my hard work and accomplishments (when they happen, and let’s be honest, that’s not very often), they would do so even if I had not accomplished anything, because of the inherent value of undeserved human worth. That’s probably where we’re going to differ in opinion, and that’s okay.

Put another way, even if I turned out to be a total crap human being, I would still be loved. Part of being loved includes being celebrated and praised. That’s something that every human should, yes, be entitled to. Humans should be entitled to love from other humans. I feel like saying we should only celebrate hard work and accomplishments places conditions on that, and I don’t like that. I don’t think that’s how we should roll.

So basically what I’m saying here is let’s go for a happy medium between not celebrating accomplishments and not celebrating birthdays. I’m all for meeting in the middle. Especially if there’s going to be cake and sparkling apple juice and themed attire.

I like birthdays.

I like birthdays.

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Let’s talk about the gays.

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What’s crazy about this is not “redefining marriage” or “African-Americans” or “Sister Suffragette” (although that was an amazing musical number, AMIRITE) – none of that jumped out at me. It was all stuff I’d heard, and agreed with, before.

What jumped out at me this time was the simple phrase at the end – “They were simply invited to the table.”

I just keep rolling it over and over in my head and it cuts out everything for me, makes it so simple. Subtracts the hate and the fear and ignorance and the theological dilly-dallies. You get tired, sometimes, of everyone’s little displays of genius. They were simply invited to the table.

I don’t think you could use a phrase more inherently Christian in nature if you tried. And I mean the Christianity that redeems, that Christianity that saves, the Christianity that sticks up for those without a voice. When people think of Christianity and the gay community, does that particular phrase ever, ever come to mind? For anyone? “Gee, when I think of the gay community and the christian community, I think – they were invited to the table.” I have literally never met anybody who would ever say that, or thinks that in any way. And that is horribly, disgustingly wrong.

I live my life, my day-to-day, boring, slightly bizarre, mundane, messy, dirty life in a community house called the House of Commons. Chances are if you’ve met me I’ve gone on about it at some point. If I could sum up community life and community living and the House of Common’s general philosophy in one succint phrase, it would only be this – All are invited to the table.

Some might say, “well, that’s fine, because we’re all sinners and the sin of homosexuality is no worse than any other sin. But it is a sin, and sin separates us from God.” To those people I would say, Sweetheart, you’re missing the point.

I’m not here to debate the sinliness of homosexuality. As for me myself, personally, I don’t believe that homosexuality is a sin. I just don’t. And if you want to get into a theological debate with me about it, well, tough nuts for you, cause I don’t want to. What I will say is that the sentiment “Love the sinner, hate the sin” is complete bullshit. It doesn’t mean anything.

Think about people whose tables you’re welcome at. For me, I think of Sheralyn. I think of Pam. I think of Brandi. I think of my own mother. My beautiful, wonderful mother. I’d be hard-pressed to find anybody’s table I’m more welcome at than my mother’s. When I sit down with my mother and Holiday Pops, they are not thinking, “It’s cool that she’s here and all, but the most important thing tonight is for her to realize just how sinful her sins are.” Um, no. In fact, I can picture my parents reading this and laughing their asses off at just how ridiculous that sounds. That’s not how this works. They’re just happy to be with me. And that’s God’s heart towards everyone. And I can’t believe I have to say this, but I’m going to say it – that’s including people who are gay.

What I’m trying to say is this : Christianity isn’t about “some are invited to the table if their hormones respond in a socially acceptable way to the opposite gender.” Despite what you believe or don’t believe about being gay, Christianity is about this – all are welcome to the table.

Let’s start acting like it.

 

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Best and Worst Books-to-Movies

Before I begin what is surely to be the most controversial post of the decade, can I just share my joy? I GOT MY COMPUTER BACK ALDJFLSKJds;lfkjjdsl.

Here’s what I did without my computer :

I recorded myself reading books. Out loud. And sent them to my friends. My roommates were initially perplexed but not surprised.

I watched a lot of Angel. I mean….a LOT. And did I squeal like a little girl and hug the tv screen when Willow came in for a crossover episode during season four? You bet your ass I did. There’s no shame in it. And actually, it wasn’t my tv screen that I hugged, but my cell phone screen. And I was on the city bus at the time.

I listened to Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP a supreme amount. It was sort of out of control. It was Matthew’s fault.

Anyway. Let’s do this.

 

THE FIVE WORST BOOK-TO-MOVIE FAILURES EVER ATTEMPTED IN ALL OF TIME

1. The Host, Stephenie Meyer

The-Host-movie

This atrocity is NUMBER ONE on my hit list. First of all, because I really loved the book. I know, I know, I know what you’re thinking – Stephenie Meyer never wrote anything good. I don’t wish to contradict you, but I’m just saying I really loved the Host, and it far outshone the Twilight series in just about every way possible but wasn’t noticed nearly as much because I’M SURROUNDED BY IDIOTS.

So anyway, I followed the development of this movie for over a year. I fan-girled out over it so hard. It reached a level of neurotic obsession unparallelled by anyone or anything. I just couldn’t wait until the movie came out. And even though it wasn’t a huge hollywood whatever, I thought it was going to be GOOD because Saoirse Ronan, am I right? She is a solid actress. So is William Hurt. (At least that’s what I thought.)

And with Andrew Niccol directing, I thought we would all be safe. I mean, In Time was decent. Am I right? Am I the only one that thinks that In Time was a legitimate flick? Was it my love for Justin Timberlake completely overshadowing any shred of competent judgment? (Who cares if it was. If Justin Timberlake is wrong, I don’t want to be right.)

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, this movie sucked. Hard. The acting was terrible, the translation from book to screen did not capture any of the story, and the pacing was TERRIBLE. The movie made it seem like it all happened in a day, and in the book it takes place over the course of a year. I expected at least a montage. WHERE WAS MY FUCKING MONTAGE?!?! There was no chance to get attached to the characters. The plot development was awful. And if you blame this on Stephenie Meyer, you’re stupid, because I’ve found the one thing in the known universe that isn’t Stephenie Meyer’s fault, and this is it.

I suppose the reason why this really burns my toast is because I had such high hopes. “This would be a really cool movie,” I thought. THEY RUINED IT. THEY RUINED IT ALL.

2. Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C.S. Lewis

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I don’t know what gang of incompetent fools banded together to turn one of the world’s best book series into one of the world’s worst movie chains, but whoever it was, congratulations. You didn’t just fail. You failed spectacularly.

These are the reasons why the Chronicles of Narnia movies (and I am, of course, referring to the recent releases, not the BBC versions) were terrible.

One, Peter never wanted to go home. This happened in the first movie – they portrayed Peter as a whiny little emo brat. NO, you morons. THAT’S EDMUND. In the books, Peter wanted to stay in Narnia as soon as he heard Aslan’s name. But in the movie, Peter keeps whining to go home for 95% of the movie. That’s just…I don’t even have words for that.  They got Peter all wrong.

Two, what was with that stupid ridiculous plot twist in the voyage of the dawn treader that did not exist in the books? I understand taking creative license. I understand scriptwriting is different than writing books. But did any of them think, even just for a second, that whatever they did with the script would be better than whatever C.S. Lewis could write? C.S. LEWIS? WERE THEY HIGH? WERE THE PEOPLE IN THE TEST ROOM HIGH?

Three, they weren’t true to the story. Not in any of the movies. The underlying story got turned into something trivial when they started trying too hard to be evangelical, something that was particularly noticeable in the Voyage of the Dawn Treader. It was like the Scooby Doo of the religious sector. You know how the characters in Scooby Doo kind of narrate obvious things as they’re happening? I.e. “We’re in a van! We’re driving! We’re being chased by monsters! This water is wet! This hallway is creepy!” This is forgivable in Scooby Doo because it’s Scooby Doo and they can do whatever they fuckin’ want. It works for Scooby. It doesn’t work for Narnia. It will NEVER WORK FOR NARNIA. Unless Narnia starts incorporating a laugh track into their movies. Which, at this point, I’m all for.

Four, bad acting. Not all the time, and not horribly so, but I can recall one particularly funny-not-trying-to-be-funny line in the first movie – when Aslan orders Lucy to leave her side and she goes, “BUT ASLAN I CAAAAAAN’T.” In fact, this one line turned out to be a running joke between Kayte and I – whenever faced with something we didn’t relish doing, that was our go-to movie quote.

3. Great Expectations

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The only group of movie-making people that will ever be able to do Charles Dickens justice are the Muppets. If you aren’t the Muppets, do us all a favour and don’t try.

4. The Shining, Stephen King

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Bet ya weren’t expecting THIS!!!!!

I am not saying that the movie in and of itself sucked. Because OF COURSE it didn’t. The reason this book is on my list is because I didn’t feel the book-to-movie translation was….awesome. I didn’t feel it was awesome because when I read the book, I felt that Stephen King’s original intent with the character of Jack Torrance was sort of changed by the direction Stanley Kubrick took it in. Which is fine, he can do that – I just liked what Stephen King did with it better. It was way better in the book. What Stanley Kubrick did with it was….sub-par. Not the movie, the movie wasn’t sub-par, and neither was Jack Nicholson’s acting, I just felt that vision and intent of the character of Jack Torrance was changed in a disappointing way.

When I watched it after I read the book, I felt disappointed and empty inside. And creeped out, because the Shining is fucking creepy. Also – and this is neither here nor there – Stanley Kubrick is just kind of a dick. Which isn’t to say he’s not talented or anything like that, I just thought I’d throw that out there.

5. The Cat In The Hat, Dr. Seuss

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NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

JUST DO NOT EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THIS.

The Cat in the Hat would NEVER make jokes about how hot somebody’s mom was. The Cat in the Hat doesn’t care about hot moms. MIKE MYERS, YOU RUIN EVERYTHING.

UGH. I just thank God that Dr. Seuss wasn’t alive to see the horror and shame of it all.

 

BEST EVER BOOK-TO-MOVIE SUCCESSES

1. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

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YES. FIST PUMP. THAT IS WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT.

An instant classic turned into an instant classic. I just…I applaud you. Well done, World. Well done. Good job, everyone! GOD BLESS US, EVERYONE!

2. Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien

LOTR Trilogy

I love it. GET WITH ME. I see what you did there, Peter Jackson.

Although – just as a side note – all the love scenes with Aragorn and whatsherface DID get to be a little on the overkill side. But I say that lovingly. As a constructive criticism.

3. Some, but not all, of the Harry Potters, J.K. Rowling

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Be still my beating heart.

I felt that the Harry Potter movies aged like a fine wine, much like the dude who played Neville Longbottom.

I think we've all seen this, AMIRITE

I think we’ve all seen this, AMIRITE

The one problem I had with them was that they made the character of Dumbledore too serious. Dumbledore always has a twinkle in his eye and I imagine him  being kind of like that charismatic old man whom you always feel like you’re sharing an inside joke with, even though you don’t know what that joke might be. But besides that one note, you can count me in for a Harry-Potter-thon whenever you damn well please.

4. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

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I cannot stress this enough, so listen up – THIS IS THE ONLY VERSION OF JANE EYRE THAT IS ACCEPTABLE TO WATCH. If you aren’t watching the BBC version, then I will literally light my hair on fire and punch myself in the face. I am not melodramatic, I’m just enthusiastic.

5. Girl Interrupted, Susanna Kaysen

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I loved this movie for so many reasons, not the least of which was Angelina Jolie’s riveting performance as a sociopath. A long time after that, I imagined that that was what Angelina Jolie was really like, and you couldn’t convince me otherwise. I was in junior high. I could do as I liked.

A few years later, I finally picked up the book on which the movie was based, and it was nothing like the movie.  Which was why the movie was so awesome – it changed the book in a way that wasn’t disappointing. Not many book-to-movie translations can do that, particularly if the book is beloved.

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I could go on and on. Maybe I will go on and on. Later.

Opinions? Thoughts? Did I miss anything? Do you disagree with me? You do, don’t you? I’m not even mad.

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my dad’s response to “why I think the church sucks”

Which I DON’T, but ANYWAY –

So I called my dad this morning and he was chuckling away and he said “You’ve gone to war! On facebook!” and then continued laughing….forever. And ever. I said, “Dad, it’s not funny.” But I guess it is kind of funny. So anyway, he wrote a blog in response, and it was very funny. Classic Jim Biggs, everyone. Classic.

I didn’t agree with everything he said in his response. For example, nobody prospers who “opposes the church.” I’m not opposing it, I’m calling to attention some…stuffs. Sorry not sorry, etc. Could my energies be better redirected? A question for the ages. I guess I feel like the church’s energies could be way better redirected, and I should “be the change I want to see in the…world.” I wonder if Gandhi knew how annoyingly often that would get repeated. If he knew, would he have said it in the first place? Food for thought. Anyway, check this shit out.

Daddy!

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Why I Think The Church Sucks

Okay, okay – I don’t actually think the church “sucks.” I just said that to get everyone’s attention. Because I’m an attention whore. It’s my spiritual gift. Although a nicer way to put it might be sticking with my original nickname of “the Dominator” (thank you Mr. Jones) but I still think that makes me sound like a sexual deviant. ANYWAY.

A lot of my Christian friends ask me why I am so critical of the church. Their opinion is that since the church is the Bride of Christ, and WE (i.e. people) are the Church, that we are called to build it up and to love the church. But I don’t build the church up verbally, and I don’t love it. I’ll tell you why.

I’ll be honest. Most of it has to do with the fact that I am very critical of myself. I am also very critical (and suspicious, and jugmental, and etc., I’m not that nice of a person) of other people. One time Shane Seward wrote a song called “If you could meet my demands” and it quickly became the tagline for my actual life. Because I am so critical and judgmental of myself, it only stands to reason that I would be critical of the Church. In a manner of speaking, I am the church. I understand that the church is us, we are the church. Therefore, the mistakes the church makes are my mistakes, on some level. So why wouldn’t I be critical of myself, and by extension the Church? That’s my job, that’s my jurisdiction, that’s what I’m responsible for. I’m responsible for bettering myself, and a part of “myself” equals the Church.

Another reason why I am sort of church-hostile has a lot to do with a book I read recently. The book is called UnChristian, and I am certain you’ve heard of it. And if you haven’t, maybe you should read. It is basically a report card conducted by a statistics group who researched the target age group of 16-29 year olds, and the three top perspectives that non-christians came up with of people who were Christian, was that they were 1. Anti-gay 2. Too political 3. Hypocritical. That isn’t something I made up because I want everyone else to feel uncomfortable. Those are actual statistics of what American young people think.  

Further to that, I have heard many first-hand accounts, from friends and acquaintances and people that I’ve met, of how the church has hurt them. On the whole, I feel that the Church isn’t very good at representing Christ, of being Christ-like, of including everyone, of loving everyone. I just don’t think we’re there yet.

Even further to that, I read the news. That is another reason why I think we aren’t doing that great. And yes, I do take into account that the things we are awesome at don’t get published.

That isn’t to say that there aren’t churches who don’t do this well. All of the Churches I’ve ever gone to (Awaken, Church of Christ, the Lutheran Church) have mostly exemplified all of these things well. I’ve approved Awaken’s actions 100% of the time, Church of Christ 80% of the time, and the Lutheran Church 90% of the time. A pretty good report card, on the whole. Since I’ve had a good experience with church life, personally, why do I go around rolling my eyes and scoffing?

Just because I’ve had a good experience, and just because the churches I’ve gone to have done things mostly right, that doesn’t mean that I can paint all of the North Western hemisphere with the same brush. The church has done terrible, hideous, awful things, and continues to do terrible, hideous, awful things. That’s not something that’s debated by the scientific community. It’s a fact.

A lot of times when I point this out, I get people saying, “EVERY religion/belief system/people group does terrible, hideous, awful things, because we’re PEOPLE and people are FLAWED and make MISTAKES.” Well, I’m not stupid, so yes, I am aware that people make mistakes. That’s a bit like saying, “Hey, have you noticed the ocean is wet?” When I hear that, it’s a bit like a child who is getting lectured on their behaviour going, “But So-And-So did THIS and it was JUST AS BAD!” Well, excuse me, but who the fuck cares? We’re not talking about THEIR behaviour. We’re talking about YOUR behaviour.

The track record of the Church and our general behaviour at present (and I’m not talking locally, I’m talking globally) has broken my trust. Trust, for me, does not come easily, and when it is broken, that’s a big thing. If someone breaks my trust and does one  or two things to earn back my trust, I don’t say, “Wow, look at the cool thing you did! Of COURSE I trust you again!’ No. It has to be a long period of behaviour that is consistent before I start to recommend you to other people. The same thing with the Church. I would have to see a long period of consistent behaviour with EVERYONE before I would start recommending her to other people. I don’t know about you, but so far I haven’t seen that.

This, of course, isn’t to say that the church doesn’t do awesome, life-giving, wound-healing things. Of course we do. Of course. But it’s not enough. These are things we’re just…supposed to be doing. This is expected, par-for-the-course behaviour. I am not in the business of giving out rewards for something that you are already said you would do. Don’t look for sympathy here. Don’t look for a pat on the back here. Because you won’t get one. It’s like, in my mind, I’ve put the Church on probation. When someone is in jail and they do something that is in accordance with the law, they don’t get a pat on the back either. I don’t think encouragement is called for. I think keeping our head down and putting our noses to the grindstone is.

The Church can be great again. I’m not asking anyone to throw the baby out with the bathwater. But I am asking us to please shut the polite fuck up about how great we’re doing. Because a) we’re not and b) even if we were, boasting and congratulating is not supposed to be in our repertoire. Humility is. We’ve got a long way to go before we get there. I don’t see why it’s bad or why people think I’m so negative when I try to be realistic about how the Church has a LOT of brutal shortcomings. Are we so insecure that we can only hear the good things and not be honest about the bad things? Are we so narcissistic that we need to be constantly congratulated? (I say, as I write a blog, which is just about the most narcissistic thing you can possibly do).

On the other hand, I am not saying we should go around bashing the Church so that we’ll want to improve, because it’s better than being constantly berated. Being needlessly negative doesn’t help anyone. But neither does putting a “good face” on things when we know the inside is cracked and broken. And of course we should know that, because one of the founding tenants of Christianity is that we are all cracked and broken. That’s why we need Jesus. That’s why Christianity exists.

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Hi Everyone.

I’m not dead! I’m okay! I work for the Lawyer Police! Yesterday I went to a bake sale and they gave me two cupcakes and two cookies for a DOLLAR. ONE DOLLAR. GO AHEAD AND READ THOSE LAST TWO SENTENCES AGAIN. Kristie is getting married and me and Brian are going to go to her wedding in “Jouvence” aka “QUEBEC” aka “I better brush up on my french.” Merde. Also I’m using Micah’s laptop right now, he is visiting. He showed me THE MOST OFFENSIVE THING I HAVE EVER SEEN. EVER. IN ALL OF TIME. I mean, look at this shit. Can you believe this asshole put this out RIGHT AFTER 9/11? Where are his social skills?

I was literally staring at the screen, like, oh my god, this is really happening. WHO HAS ALLOWED THIS TO HAPPEN? This is THE WORST of America. The very worst.

In other news, I’ve been bantering about abortion on facebook and getting incredibly frustrated. I’ve also been wondering if I’m retarded, relationally speaking. I’m the only one who fights with anyone. No one else gets into fights with their friends but me. I’m always arguing or working through something with someone. Is it me? Is it them? I don’t know. We may never know the answer to these questions that plague us.

I’ve been considering purchasing the following : matching pyjamas. A one-piece snowsuit. A megaphone. PLANE TICKETS. AMIRITE? PLANE TICKETS. But I probably won’t buy any of those things (except for the matching pyjamas, because THAT, my friends, is a win-win situation) but I will buy tons of “Business Casual” clothes. Dressing up every day is SO HARD. Can I just take a minute to bitch about this? Because it is seriously burning my toast. And no matter WHAT I wear, I always look like a scabby ragamuffin. It just oozes out of me.  I’m a short and untidy waif and I always will be, no matter how much I try to dress it up. But it doesn’t really matter.

I go to therapy once a week now. We talk about my feelings on a Feelings Wheel. We haven’t talked about anything specific to my life yet. I want to talk about my life but I assume there’s a reason why we haven’t. Maybe she doesn’t want to hear about my life. Well, too bad, sonny. Cause that’s why they pay you the big bucks. To listen to Megan talk about her “life problems”. Which at the moment include a certain ginger-haired frolicker and a fat tummy. There are solutions to these problems, and they are readily available to me, so don’t give me a lecture because I don’t want to hear it.

Now I’m going to do other internet-y things while I still have the chance. Vive le France.

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lez-be-honest

Nicole Jackson said that if you were judging me based on my tv show choices and wardrobe ( think LOTS of plaid flannel) and you didn’t know me, it’s probable that you would think I was a lesbian.

Thoughts?

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