last thoughts.

Hello, all.

I want to first give an overdue, well-earned thank you to all of you who have read through my chaotically superfluous ramblings and crises of teenage identity/personhood on this blog, if I could even call it that. It undervalues the weight of what this blog has meant to me, as absurdly melodramatic as that sounds.

However, I no longer feel that this is the right space for me to continue to grow as a human, and I cannot exactly explain it in coherent words, but what I will say is this: this space meant everything to me, but as a growing, ever-evolving human being in this strange universe, I cannot fit myself into spaces I cannot fit into anymore.

So, sofsea has come- not to an end- but to a completion of a sort. This is not the end of me, though.

I have begun a new blog, a new space for my thoughts and ramblings and ideas, and it is called “The Abditory.” An abditory is defined as A place for hiding or preserving articles of value. This space, to me, will function as a medium in which I can hide. A place to unearth myself and to find comfort and inquire and question. I am not hiding myself, but this is where I will come when reality is crammed with excessive disillusionment and distress. The written word serves as my tool to understand myself. As Gloria E. Anzaldúa said, “Why am I compelled to write? . . . Because the world I create in the writing compensates for what the real world does not give me. By writing I put order in the world, give it a handle so I can grasp it. I write because life does not appease my appetites and anger . . . To become more intimate with myself and you. To discover myself, to preserve myself, to make myself, to achieve self-autonomy. To dispel the myths that I am a mad prophet or a poor suffering soul. To convince myself that I am worthy and that what I have to say is not a pile of shit . . . Finally I write because I’m scared of writing, but I’m more scared of not writing.”

The Abditory is me, everything I am, and it is who I am slowly becoming. This changes everyday. Identity is no fixed entity of self-awareness. It is a fluidity, but an acceptance of this fluidity, of all its numerous flaws and facets, an unapologetic assurance of self.

I wish for you all to come and read this new piece of me, and I want you to find parts of yourselves here. I want you to disassemble yourself in my self-exploration. I will write about politics, about feminism, about sexuality, mental illness, self, identity, literature, the absurdity of existing, everything.

You can find The Abditory here.

Thank you, all, for everything.

 

afloat.

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Things have happened and more things will happen.

I’m frightened by the promises I made to myself so long ago, childish, wishful self-vows of partaking in certain self-created rites of passage. I’m too nauseous with nerves to read the first pages in my journal, to glance over furiously written hopes and goals, things that haven’t been reached, things I don’t want to reach or fight for anymore.

There comes a particular moment in being a teenager where one fully realizes their naivety. Where one understands that clinging shakily onto the picturesque cannot and will never really work. I’ve reached this point. I’ve just turned sixteen years of age and it may perhaps be the least exciting birthday I’ve ever had. 16 does not bring about immediate maturity or self-awareness or, really, anything very pleasant. 16 brings about this enormous, impossibly complex imbroglio of sorts; a terrible intersection between stop and go, between red light green light, between this way or that way.

I’ve devoured mediocrity too often, with the undying, strange, sickening hope in the pit of my stomach, that things will eventually be better. That things will one day be great. Ivy Leagues. Medical school. Success. Not happiness, but true greatness. This absurdity that I believed in so ferociously and, with, often terrifying, persistence, that this idealistic form of achievement- no matter if you want that achievement- would bring me completion. Satisfaction.

What a ridiculous joke that all seems to me now.

In middle school, the days filled up with preteen-turmoil and the uncomfortable first feelings of angst. We all gripped onto one another like lifeboats in the center of a fervent hurricane. We tore at each other’s throats to sit within the small, buoyant boat that would somehow safely carry us afloat and ashore. We did not try to save the others from drowning, we only gave thought to our own lives, to our own breaths and heartbeats.

Identity seemed a universally similar thing. I couldn’t handle it. I could not live on the fixed ideals of preteen livelihood. I could not sit on that boat and pretend that my mouth still was not full of water. I was constantly soaked, tossed back into the water, never attaining a permanent seat on the vehicle that would somehow save me from drowning.

High school changed all of that, but certainly did not make it any better. I watch people get thrown off their boat all the time, watch people try to piece a broken raft back together, try to push together rotted, ruined pieces of wood in order to recreate their past selves. What is so difficult to believe and accept is that those past selves won’t ever exist again. Not really.

I try to grasp onto my own self now, try to make something out of nothing, try to force myself to fit into small, dried up boats ashore.

I cannot hold onto the boats any longer. I’d prefer to learn to swim. Swimming takes more effort. It requires resilience and endless frustration, perpetual failure, indeed, and there is always the horrible thought that one will never reach land, will never find a place to call their home. As nervous as this prospect makes me, I cannot seem to stop swimming. I go under far too often for my liking, I cough up quite a lot of water, but does my heartbeat ever fade off into nothingness? No. It doesn’t, and perhaps it may, one day, but that is not now, not this year. I don’t pretend to always thoroughly enjoy the swimming. Most days I want nothing more than to grab onto a raft, to hold myself steady for just a minute, but I can’t do that. I can’t grab on because I might forget how to let go.

 

coffeehouse cynics

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we are coffeehouse cynics/too righteous, too rigid to believe

Something short and strange inspired by this song

We fill ourselves up with money, with hatred, with materialistic dreams of grandeur and disposable people. We fill ourselves up with things others have lost, and things which cannot be found. We hide ourselves away inside of this idea of happiness, this sacred, golden beauty, this force-fed aspiration for greatness. It is not greatness, this monstrous dream. It is not greatness. It is a disgusting, grotesque poison. We want to fill ourselves up with the poison of self-hatred, of unforgiving stupidity.

I miss you, did you know that? I miss the ravenous, needy way you drank your coffee, black, dark roast, as if it was going to fix the emptiness that had caved into itself, inside of you. I miss your childish delight, your wide, crooked grin, the one that has haunted my dreams for the past few months. I miss your goodness, because good god, you had a ridiculous amount of it. You just forgot how to find it. I do not place blame on you, for that shortsighted insecurity, for that unprecedented ability you had to forget every good thing about you.

There you go, there it is, that truth you always wanted from me. I am so sorry I never had the decency, the generosity, to willingly give it to you. I wish, more than anything, that I had not been as so obliviously selfish as I was. What a greedy, egregious fool I was, to ever be anything but less than devoted to making you feel okay again. You were everything, the world, the universe, the whole damned galaxy somehow meshed into this dissonant, but inconceivably beautiful, mess of a human being. You tired angel. I love you. I hope you do see that now. I love you and I wish I could have given into that.

I wish I could have said it.

We were fools. We were idiotic, restless children, bones nearly trembling with emptiness, with this exhausted eagerness to see, to live, to prosper and to embrace each other, but we never did. We went too far, we lost our vision in this blinding, blinding darkness. I am so sorry. We were screwed from the beginning, though. Don’t you see that? What other possibility was there, other than this hellish, crumbling palace we built for ourselves, than to come crashing to the ground?

I found your tee shirt, the other day, resting plaintively at the bottom of my closet. Good god, love, you should’ve seen how I trembled, how I collapsed onto my carpet and sobbed, endlessly, bitterly, into that fucking tee shirt. That tee shirt is you, really. Coffee stained, faded cream, and this strange scent of cinnamon and cigarette smoke. You perfect, damn perfect, human.

God. How did we lose this, my love? How did we lose ourselves in this neverending darkness? How did we not see the end of it? There must be an opening at the end of the tunnel. There has to be.

You must have seen it, did you not? Have you finally found that incomprehensible surge of light? Have you found yourself, finally, in death? Have you found what you were searching for?

God knows I haven’t, but goodness, I hope you have.

this time of year

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I’ve always been quite horrendous at the holiday tradition.

The holidays certainly exist as a period not of absolute joy, nor bubbling merriment, for me, but instead, of poignance, of a great deal of introspection, to an excessive degree. It sounds very strange, obviously, but the holidays terrify me always, every year, because everything feels so finite and so horribly brief. Nothing feels permanent. Traditions thrive, yes, but they only serve as a reminder of all that has so blatantly, and subtly, changed. I find myself thinking it, as Christmastime begins to near, as the dark, seemingly vacant streets simultaneously and abruptly light up. I find myself thinking unbearably wishful thoughts. X isn’t here anymore; Y doesn’t want to be here anymore; I’m growing up, why am I growing up, I don’t want to grow up; I hate socialization more than menimism; god help me, save me.

Perhaps all of this comes off as rather melodramatic for simply having to deal with the holidays, but there is no way around it. The holidays bring up things we’d rather not remember, memories arise of people and feelings lost long ago; hope feels, at once, possible and purposeless. We fall headfirst in love with one another all over again, leave caution to the wind and try to be better, try to be honest. Beautiful, it is, but terrible, as well.

I don’t claim to be a victim. I am unfathomably privileged to even possess the ability to spend the holidays with my family, in a safe environment, surrounded by the people I love. I understand this, I do, but honestly, gratitude cannot permeate every experience you have. It is too difficult.

Holidays exist to allow us to express effusions of our appreciation, of our gratitude, to life, to those who bring meaning to it. Holidays wish to give us a final chance. One last moment before time runs out. Before we start over again. And again, and again, until we find ourselves tired as hell and ready to depart, on our deathbeds. Morbidity and I are awfully close, I realize now.

Holidays also, currently, exist as the very grandiose, ridiculous peak of American capitalism, of consumerism, of nonsense and materialism and money being thrown around, frivolousness and appreciation blurred carelessly into one muddled mess of buying buying buying. I am not claiming that I am blameless, I too am a product of America, of the once-a-year, cheesy, artificial-everything nightmare that is holiday shopping. There undoubtedly is beauty in everything, in all of this bright, cold madness. The days tire on, though, and I grow all too restless for the quiet to return.

The night grows darker far more quickly and the words become stuck behind my lips, trapped, and it’s scary. It’s quiet and there’s fires burning in every household, warmth spreading, but the cold sweeps in just as quickly. Hope fades into heartache and we are left, wishing. Wishing for Santa Claus, wishing for a new world to crack open this one.

Wishing to reignite ourselves, because during the holidays, we see how burnt we have become, what ashes we have become. Is there light? Is there a chance of a sparkling? There is, somewhere. There has to be.

Privilege, and Recognition

   

 I often struggle with the very fine line between being an ally, and being an obnoxious, privileged explainer of oppression. This difficulty is inevitable, as a cisgendered, white girl, I am in a position of privilege in myriad ways. I consider myself an adamant and extremely liberal activist, but in this, I must not fail to recognize my privilege. As an intersectional feminist, I attempt, as much as I possibly can, to recognize my privilege and also to recognize that so, so many people lack such privilege, thus, I will never be able to fully understand the racism people of color face; never fully understand the cissexism and profound heteronormativity people of genders besides cisgender are forced to deal with. There are facets of my identity- innate facets- that, unjustly, inherently benefit me. The whole systemic construct of inherent privilege is horrifically unfair, yet, of course, is the way the world has historicall been, and avoiding recognizing oppression (being “colorblind”) completely negates the point and dismisses inescapable oppression that has inexorably shaped the prejudiced society we live in.

I possess privilege. I do not want to place myself on a pedestal because I think I do my best to recognize my privilege, but I know that I certainly cannot ever fully understand some particular forms of oppression, nor do I need to. Here is my  next point: you will never completely, wholly be able to fathom the ways in which marginalization works if you, yourself, have never been marginalized for certain parts of your identity. Understanding and empathy are certainly both important aspects of being an ally, but, moreover, attempting to listen and support especially when you don’t understand is, arguably, more important.

Being an ally, in any form, takes time and, often, strenuous work. Those who possess privilege in certain areas of their identity often attempt to explain oppression to the oppressed, as if the oppressed wouldn’t know what oppression feels like. A quintessential example of this over speaking is when white girls utilize the highly problematic “white feminism” and attempt to speak over women of color on important, feminist issues that they themselves (the white feminists) would know little about, and yet, get the credit for their opinions while black girls are repeatedly silenced.

We all lose, here. We all lose when the privileged (often unintentionally) speak over the marginalized, because the marginalized are too often silenced, thus, even more marginalized, and we lose their voices, which are valuable and of utmost importance.  

Regarding intersectional feminism, this silencing occurs all too frequently and sometimes insidiously. The most blatant (amongst many) problem with white feminism is that it fails to recognize that sexism is not a lone social disease; fails to recognize that racism, cissexism, classism, and about any kind of institutionalized prejudice play unavoidable parts in sexism and oppression; thus, fails to recognize that all of hese myriad systems of oppression intersect. Women of color face injustices that white women, due to their privilege, will never have to face. I possess white privilege and if I fail to understand that feminism cannot not solely apply to those who also have this privilege , I fail as a feminist and as an ally. Feminism is absolutely useless if it is. Or inclusive and, of course, intersectional, as any women’s  studies class will teach you. Feminism only succeeds if we all have the opportunity to succeed.

 Another vital thing: possessing privilege absolutely does not negate one’s sufferings or difficult, awful things happening. A privileged person can suffer unimaginable amounts, however, they will never suffer because of certain forms of oppression. A heterosexual person can go through horrific ordeals, for example, but will never be oppressed in certain ways because of their sexuality.

Checking one’s privilege is no easy thing. It is very easy to point out the ways in which we don’t have privilege, I’ve noticed, but extremely difficult, and sometimes transformative, to point out the ways in which we do. 

Another issue common in those attempting to be allies is the extremely odd sense of exclusion they feel. I have known some well-meaning, liberal but privileged people, unintentionally offend when they attempt to play in the oppression game. These people feel left out, almost as if they wish to be oppressed in order to be able to contribute valid ideas to a conversation. As well-meaning as this may be, it only exemplifies one’s privilege, and ignorance of it. Those with privilege are societally taught that their opinions are inherently valid, and thus, when this sense of validity no longer feels as if it belongs to them, it is disorienting and unsettling. What is most important, to remember, in these situations, is not to force the conversation to be about you, because this only further silences the oppressed, but instead, to listen. You do not need to speak to be an ally. Or, rather, speak, but be conscious as not to speak over those who understand the oppression far more than you ever will.

Leading into another important piece of conscious support, is the enormous problem of tone policing. I will explain this simply. Tone policing is, as said best by  Geek Feminism Wiki, is used primarily as a derailing tactic by privileged groups, in regards to what a marginalized group has to say, “The tone argument is a form of derailment, or a red herring, because the tone of a statement is independent of the content of the statement in question, and calling attention to it distracts from the issue at hand. Drawing attention to the tone rather than content of a statement can allow other parties to avoid engaging with sound arguments presented in that statement, thus undermining the original party’s attempt to communicate and effectively shutting them down”.

This definition of tone policing applies to not only feminism, but truly, to any movement intending to dismantle oppression. I find tone policing to occur all too blatantly and regularly. It happens almost everyday in my life, because of my constant calling out of sexism. Rather, any adamant feminist most likely will experience this more than once. We are told that maybe if you were more polite and not angry, more people would listen. Feminism is so often, ridiculously, criticized for the ways in which we express our opinions, rather than the actual content of our opinions.

For example, telling a woman to express her opinion on feminism in an aesthetically pleasing and polite way is not only sexist, but it implies that her opinion only matters if it is said in a way that does not make the privileged uncomfortable. Oppression absolutely should make you uncomfortable. It implies that her anger is not justifiable, when, in fact, it certainly is.

In summary, what I am trying to say is that in order to be an ally, one must check their own privilege before trying to contribute an opinion on oppression one may not experience. I am not trying to be pedantic or supercilious, because of course not everyone can be expected to be perfectly aware of their privilege all of the time, of course we all are human beings and make mistakes. We are fallible creatures and I know that. All I want to say is that support, and trying, is vital. Actionable support of those who face oppression, in trying to disarm such institutionalized systems that allow such oppression to be perpetuated, means being conscious. It means not allowing oppression to both blatantly and subtly continue. It means being an ally without silencing those who you are supporting.

It means trying. So try. To end with a favorite quote by the incredible Roxane Gay:

“I believe women not just in the United States but throughout the world deserve equality and freedom but know I am in no position to tell women of other cultures what that equality and freedom should look like.” 
(I am entirely open to discussion and debates over any of this. I recognize my privilege and welcome any criticism anyone has to share in order to further my education on these issues.)

Here are some wonderful links on the issues I’ve been discussing:

What Is Privilege (video)

5 Tips for Being an Ally

Bad Feminist 

Strange World

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I often feel as if high school- this disastrous, weird, traumatic period of time- defines everything. This is ridiculous, yes, absolutely. High school entails four meager years of learning, most of it arbitrary and difficult, but also crucial. High school is a mess. What tends to happen, is that I become far too caught up within the confines of being the very best.

A. One minuscule letter. One letter. One thing. An A, though, possesses a devious power, one that controls and defines millions of teenagers. An A. Why must we place such importance, such stress, upon this one letter? It controls us. It takes everything we do and manipulates our work, and thus, our work, into being dependent not upon the amount of effort we put in, or our intellect, but instead, what grade we attain. An A. I loathe the A and love it. It is my everything, and this is ridiculous and terrifying.

A grade is my everything. How inane is that? I do not mean to say that an A is ever individual teenager’s everything, because, of course, that is not the case. A “good grade”, though, somehow defines our intellectual capability and our worth as humans in this world. A “good grade” tells us what we are able to achieve and what we supposedly never will be able to achieve. An A is the end-all be-all, for too many, with too little praise.

I am not complaining. High school is meant, designed, to be difficult and require strenuous amounts of effort. I am not dismissing this. I am simply suggesting that, perhaps, a good grade is not the sole achievement one should be striving for, but in this highly competitive and capitalist country, unfortunately, it is all that matters. Who you are, as a human being; authenticity, creativity, genuine zeal for something? All of this becomes quickly shoved underneath the effort required into the vicious pursuit of attaining the highest grade possible. We lose ourselves underneath what we believe to be achievement.

An A is not an easy feat for many; an A does come quite easily to some. An A does and does not define your effort in school. It is a tricky, delicate line, between allowing grades to define your worth as a human being, or allowing yourself to be pushed but not destroyed by the pursuit. Rigorous, passionate work deserves recognition, undeniably, but what about those who work this much and yet continue to be tormented by their lack of an A.

There are the right ways to be intelligent, in the United States, and then, unjustly, there are the wrong ways. Intelligence is both highly valued and, contradictorily, looked down upon. As is evident, blatant, even, in many of the politicians who have somehow won presidential elections, intellect is not what comes first. We, as teenagers, see this. We see the outright ignorance displayed by quite a lot of well-respected people. We see the malicious conquests for power that values cleverness and superiority over respect and intellectual debate. We see what exists here, every side of it. It is endlessly confusing, to be taught to be intelligent yet also to only be the right amount and the right kind of intelligent. We are all human beings and we all have vastly complex and highly different brains. There is no right way. There is only the effort; the passion; the fervency. I fear that I will lose this in high school. I fear that I will become irreparably buried underneath the colossal hodgepodges of unnecessary anxiety and the nationwide race to be the best; the smartest; the most attractive to potential universities.

I fear the loss of self, and I think that although this fear may be subconscious, every teenager fears this as well. The fear must be acknowledged, because, if we continue to bury and lose ourselves underneath the fixed ideal of success that this country has taught us, we will become obsolete, less than human. We will become someone else, someone empty. We are human beings. We should not be empty. We should be full.

a road alone

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How have we gone this way?

How far, how unexpectedly treacherous, was this path of yours? What ill-fated road, walked on much too late at night, did you stumble about? Where did you go, why did you go? Why were your two feet planted not in my direction, not in the way we had calculated, thought precisely and ardently of, but instead a way unbeknownst to anyone other than your impulse?

Where did you go?

There are things I think about, often, head aching from the egregious trouble they bring about, really. I think about these things, these terrible longings, and I play a game with myself. I play this game called Hell and Heaven. I used to be quite a prodigious player, a meticulous savant of sorts, really. I’d win against myself everytime. See, this is how my little inane game goes: I think of these things, these terrible things, and I categorize the things into hell and heaven. It began very simply, funnily so, an amusing satiation to unrequited longing. Ruining your self-esteem, though you were unaware of my game, was a gallant fun in itself. It required effort and preciseness, see, effort and disgust, at who you were, who’d you become.

But, the trouble is, see, I used to be quite good at this particular game. I’d separate your wishes wisely, pompously, easily. It was clear; it was blatant. Right was right and wrong was wrong. Heaven was heaven and hell was hell. Always. Consistently. Faithfully.

Things have recently changed, and this terrifies me greatly. I no longer am the arrogant mastermind, the wise sorceress of morality. I am now incapable of differentiating, see. Things are no longer black and white, good god, no. Black and white no longer exist for me. I think of you, of these terrible things, and I cannot place your wishes into heaven or hell. Your heaven used to seem like my quintessential hell, but times have changed, and so have I.

I can’t separate you from me. After you found your sudden path, I got lost in the one we were supposed to travel down together. I used to think about how unfathomably idiotic, how ridiculously petty, you were, to travel down the road more-traveled, a commoner’s ground. I found it heinous, I found it repulsive. I found it of lesser worth.

But things, my friend, things- they have changed. I have changed. Your path, one which I felt so superior over, one I dismissed with a wrinkle of the nose and a raise of the brow, is no lesser than my own. This is the horribly terrifying thing: no path is better. Each is its own faults. Each is its own mess. Each path has surprise curves and complexities, obstacles, so vast and so painful they swallow the traveler whole.

Your path, I realize, is not any less than mine, not unimportant, not silly. Your path is yours. Unfortunately, we are people, see, and so, I am myself, your path must be yours alone and mine must be mine alone. I wish, I wish always, that our paths had intersected, crossed in an impeccable X, but they did not, they may never again.

How have we gone this way?

We have lived.