The Star-Power Simulator

time lapse photo of stars on night
Photo by Jakub Novacek on

Now I don’t know if anyone else has played this game, but if you have then you know how freaking terrible and upsetting it is. The game is basically rigged to make everyone hate everyone else and to get people all upset. Apparently it’s used as a leadership activity, but it freaking sucks.

The whole point is that everyone going into it has no idea what’s about to happen or how the game works. The entire thing is supposed to be a surprise. It starts out all innocent and happy, where you have to trade colored chips for more valuable colored chips. But then it all starts to go down hill. Those who have the higher scores, based purely on luck, end up being in “the high class” and then there’s a middle and low class as well. Once people get separated into classes that are just formed by luck, just like our actual society, then the high people get more expensive chips to start and get to make up the rules and it’s all just insane and makes no sense and people start yelling and thinking other groups are out to get them and so yeah…it got emotional real quick.

It’s one of those games that you think would be better served in an economics or sociology class, where you’re actually learning about how our society functions or something. But this was done at a freaking leadership retreat and I honestly don’t understand what the point of it was. They said that over time I’ll think it was the best game ever, but I have serious doubts about that.

To be honest, it has been pretty hard for me lately and going into a game that purposefully tries to make you super upset and without any warning…well let’s just say I don’t think that was a great idea. I wasn’t prepared for it and ended up not having any fun after like 10 minutes and by the end I was literally bawling my eyes out and had to leave the room for awhile.

I actually found it kind of cruel to make people play a game like that, in which you trick them into thinking it’s fun, not even warning them that this may not be the best game if you’re having a rough time or something. I was already on edge, but that game just tipped me over without even a whisper of what was to come.

Sure, you could say that the game teaches you not to assume other’s intentions or to communicate better or to stay positive or to take a step back and breathe…but could we not learn those things in a less upsetting way? It just seemed like an extreme game; one that shouldn’t be used unless you have a group that has already been having serious issues with these ideas.

And yes, it’s just a game, but the problem it doesn’t feel like a game when you’re playing it. It is emotional and intense and you lose a lot of control over how you’re feeling unless you were prepared for it from the beginning, which 98% of my group wasn’t. It’s easy to laugh it off afterwards, but it was absolutely horrific for a while and so I just don’t see the point of putting people through that. I have more than enough to stress me the hell out so I’d rather not be thrown into a game that’s actually made to stress you out for no clear reason.

They never actually tell us what the point is. They just ask us what we thought we learned about working as a team and about ourselves. I definitely didn’t learn anything about myself. That I get emotional easily? Yeah, like that wasn’t already obvious. Basically, they made us give meaning to the game after putting us through hell. So I just don’t think it was a very fair thing to do.

And so now I just think it was stupid and just not worth doing and a waste of time more than anything, but I wanted to rant about it cause holy crap did it suck. I think the tricky thing is…you don’t know if someone in a group of people is having a hard time in their lives and a game like that could really screw with someone’s head. In this day and age, where almost every other person has a freaking mental illness, I don’t think a game like that is necessary.

Do y’all have any thoughts?


The Break-Up

woman and man sitting on brown wooden bench
Photo by Vera Arsic on

It is kind of hard to get your thoughts together after a breakup. You just feel emotional and overwhelmed. I tried to logically approach everything that happened and still ended up feeling lost.

I know how things went, though. We fought, took a break, had a conversation, agreed to try again, went on a date, and then I left for the weekend and came back without any hope.

The whole thing was really just a big pity. We started so strong; he was happy to find a girl who wasn’t just a terrible person for once and I was happy to find a guy who I could actually start a long-term relationship with. We were so hopeful and euphoric. We were so caught up in our similarities and discovering ourselves and each other, that we ignored our innate differences, even after we knew they were there.

Looking back on things, it seemed like there was a lot of pretending between the two of us. I pretended I could live up to what he wanted, that I could love him as much as he loves me. And he pretended that it was ok to change, that our major differences weren’t so major.  And for awhile we didn’t care, not until a few short phrases broke through our pillars of sand and brought it all toppling down.

I felt dreadful. I watched from a distance and realized how disconnected we really were while he just struggled to pick up all the pieces, still believing that we could work it out. He convinced me we could work it out, but the doubt and the disconnection was still there. I spent a week away from him feeling glorious, knowing that he was only feeling terrible about the whole thing and missing me.

But we came back together and argued about what had happened and why were were disconnected and how we felt and what we needed…I came already knowing I would give him another chance. I already knew he would take it, but he gave me a pre-written letter, odd and a bit cliche, that told me at first that we ought to break up. And in that second I felt relief, but the letter continued and then said that he wanted to get back together and then he listed all the things he wanted it to be like – his expectations. And he asked me “will you be my girlfriend?” mimicking the first time he had asked me that and handing me a necklace. He wanted it to be like it was, but that wasn’t possible. Not after what we had realized and been through. And I wanted to cringe, but I smiled and nodded and so we agreed to start the relationship over.

A day or two later we went on a date, or a “hangout” as he would define it despite the fact that it makes no difference. He picked me up, he was distant and tense and awkward, he didn’t even hug me, which was a surprise. After he found out about my gray-asexuality, I know he wasn’t going to push me to kiss or cuddle, but I was still surprised at how far away he seemed. We played games and pool and he slowly lightened up, but the best part of the date for me was when we were both playing VR, separately.

He was supposed to meet my dad this past weekend, but I felt that it wouldn’t be the best idea. I was wanting some more alone time and I knew there wouldn’t be a great sleeping situation and that we would spend most of our time being bored and not doing anything. I am glad I said I wanted to go alone in the end. I ended up having lots of things to do anyway and I didn’t get to hang out with my dad nearly as much as I expected. It also just gave me more time to think and understand what actually happened during our conversation. So much had happened at once, after all. I still hadn’t totally let it all sink in. And I also talked with my best friend and tried to sort out my feelings in that sense as well.

It just wasn’t going to work. I felt it deep down inside me. Even when I tried to think about all the good we could give one another…it all just felt fake. The emotional connection I had for a short time with him had faded and I didn’t know if I could get that back by forcing myself to make this relationship work. Forced…forced…all I kept thinking about was how forced it all was. There were questions and problems that were brought up and were not and could not be answered. We were opposites in some ways and what are you supposed to do about that?

Everything good in our relationship could still be done as friends, but without all the pressure and stress and hopes of making things work. It would be easier, there is no doubt about that, but I just kept asking myself “is it worth it? Is it worth all the trouble and pain and stress to maybe get that emotional connection again?” The answer was no. But maybe it’ll come back again if we just try to be friends and then maybe one day we can revisit our relationship again. At this point, I doubt I’ll want to seriously date anyone until I finish college. If I had more hope for how it’d all turn out then I would have been willing to put in the work, but my hope was lost.

In the end I felt bad for him. He still felt so much love and hope and I just didn’t. I shouldn’t feel pity for my partner, I shouldn’t feel relief when we are apart, I shouldn’t feel distant and as if something is off in a relationship…and relationships just shouldn’t take this much work and force, especially constantly. I tried to tell him this, I tried to show him and explain how he shouldn’t trying to change something that has always been a part of him just because he wants to be with me. I am not right for him, not in a romantic way anyway. And the only way he could be right for me is if he changes who he is and that is something I could never ask of him. But he couldn’t see and I couldn’t convince him. He just blamed me for not wanting to put in the work. If it makes him feel better then I’ll let him believe it.

I finally said it, “I can’t argue with you anymore…I don’t think we can keep doing this…I can’t talk like this anymore…I’d rather be friends…it’s not worth it at this point…I just can’t do it. I can’t handle it anymore.” Apparently that wasn’t clear enough. He had to be the one to say the words and regain control.

So he told me, “I can tell that you don’t want to actually be the one to dictate this, and so I will. I am breaking up with you. It’s not you, it’s me…I am sorry that things had to end this way. I hope we can still be friends…goodbye.” If that isn’t cliche then I don’t know what is. I was a bit taken aback at his immaturity when he said all this and how he used such cliched fake phrases. He did mix them in with compliments to me, but that didn’t change what was said.

It was ridiculous and mostly my fault. I had texted him some more concerns and doubts I had, hoping and hinting that he’d think about them until we could meet in person. But he texted back right away and we argued over text all day until those words were said. I should have just waited until I could see him in person, but I had no intention of breaking up that morning. I just wanted to talk a bit and bring up some new issues, but it snowballed into a disaster.

And so now we are not talking. He needs time, which I completely understand. Meanwhile, I am just trying to remain hopeful and happy in my own way.

The Battle

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Photo by Pixabay on

The eve of “the discussion” is upon me. Tomorrow I shall wake up and know that I will soon be sitting in front of him for an hour or hours and we will talk about all our issues and how we feel about how it’s been and how it will be. Will I be single in 24 hours? Only the future knows.

Our break from each other has ended. I was greeted with a text that ordered me to think about certain things and to prepare for certain topics for our discussion tomorrow. You know it’s times like that when he really comes off as a future therapist/psychiatrist/psychologist. He certainly didn’t need to order me around or tell me the obvious (which is that the discussion will be long and serious), but he did so anyway and I already feel myself inwardly rolling my eyes and wondering how well tomorrow will go.

There really wasn’t any one event that started this whole thing. We hung out too much, I suppose, and so my exhaustion got the better of me. But still, despite being worn out and weighted down, I forced myself to socialize and fulfill his expectations and so I only made it worse.

The real problem began after we went on a weekend vacation. The first couple days were marvelous and relaxing, but then it all went and blew up in our faces. He wanted to sleep in the bed, which was a bit too small (especially for someone like me who struggled to sleep in the same bed as others), and I saw it all coming. I knew I wouldn’t sleep well and that I would wake up cranky and feeling claustrophobic. But I still stayed in the bed instead of moving to the couch and grimaced as his arm would flop over me and he’d push up closer and closer against me. He was in a blissful sleep and I just inwardly screamed ugh!

It all continued just as I had predicted. I woke up hours earlier than planned and felt exhausted and cranky and overheated. He woke up too, once I was awake. And as soon as I explained what had happened then he immediately was overcome with guilt and all I could do was sigh and say I should have moved to the couch. He wanted me to go back to sleep, but I couldn’t go back to that bed where I had just spent a sleepless, restless, overheated, and smothered night. I just wanted to go home and recover.

But as if it would be that easy. He had saved the best part of the vacation for last: the hot spring. It was a bad decision from the beginning, now that I look back on it. Knowing me, he really should have done the best thing first. Figures that I would have issues by the end of the week and wouldn’t feel up to going. But he hadn’t paid for it in advance, so at least there was that. And I felt dreadful because of course I did. I felt guilty and was already beating myself inwardly over it and preparing to say sorry a thousand times. And so I begrudgingly said it, “I don’t think I’m feeling up to going to the hot springs.” and it all just avalanched downwards from there.

He said the words, “okay,” in that tone I dreaded. Disappointed and upset. He immediately became much more negative and it was exactly what I feared and wanted to avoid. But I said sorry, of course, and went on to try to make him feel better.

“At least we got to spend an awesome weekend together anyway.” I wanted him to see the bright side of things. There was a part of me that said it to make myself feel better, but for the most part, it was for him. Think about all the good, don’t dwell on the hour lost…but that’s not what happened.

It only made things worse. “Don’t expect me to be skipping for joy over it,” he said. And so I cried. I had no expectations other than negative ones for how he would react and he fulfilled those expectations more so than I expected. I already felt extremely guilty, exhausted, and overwhelmed and then he had to go say something like that: an obvious, rubbing-it-in-your-face kind of phrase that only made me feel exponentially worse than I did before a word left my lips.

We argued. He said he wasn’t upset, but he was. And he didn’t want me to use that phrase ever again because I guess it undermined all the work he had put into the vacation. I still don’t totally understand why he hates the phrase so much. I was too tired and upset to ask while it was going on, but I honestly still don’t think it’s all that bad. I was at least looking on the positive side and looking forward to our future endeavors. Meanwhile, he was stuck in his disappointment that I had to cancel once again because of who I am as a person. It really only showed me that he doesn’t actually understand me all that well.

I was disappointed too. I wanted to see the hot springs and how gorgeous and lovely they were supposed to be, but I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it if I was feeling like that and I was already thinking to another time that we could go up to the springs while he was being a negative nancy.

In the end, though, he drove me home and we said our goodbyes and shortly thereafter we decided to have our break.

After an entire week of taking a break I can honestly say I feel better in general. Despite my doubts and irritations and issues, I do feel more hopeful. But I know the discussion will likely be a struggle and I usually get so emotional, but I feel more clear-headed now than I did a week before.

I’ve decided that I ought to say “no” much more often and say “sorry” much less. No more apologizing for my anxiety or introvertedness. No more agreeing to fulfill all his expectations and force myself to change.

And he’ll most likely read this before we have our discussion and it will probably be a good thing. I have been keeping up with his blog posts about our issues for a week now and have been prepared for it, but he may not be prepared for me. I feel stronger and more resolute than before and am going to go back on my previous agreements and statements. I know he doesn’t want an argument, but I feel that, considering my nature, it may be inevitable. I plan to go back to past grievances and argue with what happened.

I feel that a discussion is more accurate when you’re both on the same page and both in agreement, but an argument is when you both have conflicting views and are not on the same page. And I can say for certain that the two of us definitely have conflicting views. We have been able to skip about, pretending that we are so alike, but if this week-long-break has proven anything, it has proven that we are more different than we appear.

So I’m ready for the battle. The battle to overcome my fears and emotions and to face his. I know he says he’s not upset, but I know he is (his blog has kind of proven that). And he ought to be. He ought to be upset since this whole thing is a very upsetting situation. Will we even be together by the end of tomorrow? That question is quite upsetting, but very accurate. But I want him to be himself and show his emotions and then turn them into something useful. Usually all that ends up happening is he keeps to himself and they fester or get squashed down. I have this issue sometimes too, but that’s what therapists are for. But despite it all I know the discussion will be beneficial overall. And so I am ready for it.

Let’s Talk about Sex

affection art backlit couple
Photo by luizclas on

The past couple weeks have been pretty exhausting. Many things have happened, but that’s a long story for another time. Right now it’s still too close and unresolved to discuss fairly on here. Instead I wanted to talk about something a bit more interesting: sex.

I decided to do some research recently and discovered that I am what’s called a gray-sexual or gray-aesexual. To save y’all from the google search, it basically means “Someone who identifies with the area between asexuality and sexuality, for example because they experience sexual attraction very rarely, only under specific circumstances, or of an intensity so low that it’s ignorable” (According to AVEN).

It is interesting and complicated and can get confusing. I have never felt sexually attracted to people, for instance, even though I can recognize their attractiveness. I’ve never had any desire to have sex and the thought of it actually weirds me out more than anything. I’ve never enjoyed kissing or have found it pleasurable, even though I can recognize how some people are better than others. I actually am just not that great with “touching” in general and even holding hands is not very comfortable for me (which may just be more of a germ thing than anything, but kind of follows the same idea).

I have also always had difficulty being touchy with others. Hugging is about the only thing that I am comfortable with.

Basically, there are very few things that involve the human touch that are actually enjoyable for me. There are little things, like massages or people playing with my hair, that can be enjoyable, but nothing that makes me feel sexual. I don’t want to get into any weirder territory than we are in already, but there are really one or two things that affect me in that way and I have to be in the right mood and it’s usually pretty rare as it is.

I have always been this way and I have had thoughts in the past about me being categorized as some sort of aesexual. A lot of people don’t like labels, but it does help me to understand myself better, so I actually feel a bit better now that I know that I’m “gray-sexual.”

It is interesting thinking about topics and labels like this, especially since I live in Utah, where most people are very religious and conservative. Everyone is rushing to get married so they can have sex, since it’s practically sacrilegious to not wait until marriage. Being queer in any sense can be a struggle around here, which I’ve learned just out of hearing about others’ experiences. The bottom line is: it can be hard to be different and unique in a place where conforming is low-key being pushed onto people.

And being gray-sexual has come with its challenges over the past couple years. I had a boyfriend who was really pushing for us to have sex and I just wanted to take it slow, not because I was afraid, but because it was something I had no desire to do and would rather ease my way into it in hopes that I could get to a place where I enjoyed it. And we did end up getting about half-way there and he tried to talk dirty and all I ended up doing was faking pleasure and grimacing in disgust when he wasn’t looking.

Now I have a different boyfriend who has been extremely patient about getting to that point, which I definitely appreciate, but I feel guilty since nothing he does actually makes me feel anything sexually. I know he is a very sexual person and I will likely never be able to give him all that he wants and, even if I do, it’ll not be enjoyable for me at this point. It also sucks since he wants me to be the one that instigates things more often, which is something I can’t do since I never feel the desire to do so.

I feel as if all I can do is hope this feeling will change over time or just figure out a way to compromise. The world is getting better at accepting different sexualities and giving people more personal freedom without judging them. Online we see acts of discrimination all the time, but I’ve been meeting more and more open-minded people as time goes on. I don’t mind being the way I am and I am happier now that I understand it a bit better, but I know that it won’t be easy so I can only hope for the best from here on out.

A Different Type of Strength

high angle photo of body of water splashing against gray rocks
Photo by Elisabeth Fossum on

I kind of have this issue where I always have to appear normal or like nothing is bothering me. I often just hide when I’m feeling anxious and then just deal with it later on my own. I have definitely gotten better at that lately, but I have also been feeling very down in general and just like I have no energy.

As my BFF pointed out, my diet could be a huge culprit of that. It is something I haven’t been thinking of and I know it has been pretty crap lately. So, yeah, I’m definitely gonna have to get on that. Cutting back on the ramen noodles for breakfast would probably be a good start…

It has been the worst for my boyfriend, who has had to deal with bad-mood-me. I’ve been cranky and just not feeling up to hanging out for as long or as often as usual. We have been hanging out daily as of the last weekish and I do struggle to recover from constant social interactions. Now more than ever I have noticed how more introverted I have been becoming.

This morning I thought I was feeling a bit better, but it only got worse as the evening wore on. My glorious boyfriend dropped off shaved ice, chocolate, and an anime movie I wanted. He’s not exactly helping with the whole diet thing haha, but I know I appreciate all he does for me. I feel dreadful every time he comes and I’m just in a bad mood for no good reason. He left me to my own devices pretty quickly (cause I asked him to, of course).

And so I text my mom and my friend group and told them about how I have been feeling so low-energy and haven’t been able to totally recover. They both answered “same.” And then one of my friends completely out of the blue commented “I’ve been thinking about lord smoldymort for ten minutes.”

I burst out laughing…but then suddenly burst into tears. I don’t know why, but I just started violently crying. It came out of nowhere and made no sense to me. And so I could have been spending tonight crying alone and in the dark in the depths of my room, but I couldn’t even stand the thought of that. So I decided to do something I’ve never actually done before, which is go out for a run.

I drove to a park three minutes from my place and just ran. The park was actually gorgeous; it was very green, a pretty clear stream ran through the middle of it, and there was a nice breeze blowing as well. It actually significantly helped to get some energy out. It didn’t take long for me to slow to a stop. Surprisingly, I don’t really run all that much so I tired out pretty quickly.

Unfortunately, my body has decided that any raised heart rate = anxiety and so my run was rewarded with pretty bad nausea, but mentally I felt much clearer. I stared at the stream for awhile and watched as a guy read by the water, as dogs and kids played, as the sun set and so forth. I listened to relaxing music and just calmed down in general.

Now my eyes are dry and my body is sore, but I’m watching How to Train your Dragon with bubbles and chocolate because I can. I know some of my friends may read this and be worried (don’t be). I obviously have a lot of issues to sort out. But the entire time, while I was on my way to my run, I just kept telling myself “it’s ok to sad, it’s ok to cry, it’s ok to show weakness, and it’s ok not to be strong…but I just can’t let it control me.” I can’t let it take over or keep me from attaining my happiness or dreams.

And so I won’t. I will continue to fight no matter what. I don’t give up or give in that easily.

Echoes of Hope

man with fireworks
Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on

I sat on a cold dusty car with a fine man on my arm trying to keep up with the show around me tonight. My eyelids were heavy and my shoulders were burned, but our heads turned back and forth, struggling to take it all in. My apartment is in a surprisingly decent spot for watching fireworks. Literally in every direction we could see them, although they were always at least partially hidden by fluffy trees or buildings.

In every color they sparkled, fizzled, boomed, bounced, floundered, whistled, spotted, fuzzed, glittered, crashed, exploded, expanded, and disappeared in the night sky. Already a haze of smoke could be seen wafting across the the bottoms of the mountains behind us. A metallic smokey smell pierced the air as fireworks took off shockingly close to my apartment.

Girls and boys in shorts and tank tops, striped with blues and whites and accented with reds, strode and hastily skipped through the parking lots and sidewalks to get a better view. Sirens could be heard in the distance. Perhaps some poor fool blew off a finger or set something on fire. Perhaps someone just got a little too drunk, but decided it’d be alright to drive anyway. Although it could be worrying if you think about it too much, the sirens were far off and mostly drowned out by the echoes of the thunderous fireworks.

I suppose it really isn’t all that surprising that America has chosen to celebrate itself with bright and loud explosions. However, it always surprises me how many green and red fireworks there are. It really screams Christmas more than the 4th of July. Mostly the fireworks are white. If they weren’t so quick or moving around so energetically, if they were slow and graceful, then one might actually mistake them for stars. I prefer the blue ones myself. I’m not actually sure why. Perhaps it’s because they don’t come off as so violent or obnoxious.

As I watched these fireworks, appearing to the left and right and front and back of us, it became clearer how necessary all this was. With America being as divided as it is nowadays, it seems like this 4th is just much more meaningful. It’s as if a people is stating “I exist. I am here. I mean something. I am not too far gone. I will not disappear.”

It wasn’t long ago that I was a freshman at college, filled with nothing but excitement and joy and wonder as I saw the lights brighten up the polluted sky. The fireworks then felt more distant. Now they feel close. I can feel the tremors pour down my body like raindrops and the lights glitter in my eyes instead of only in the far off sky. I can let the force of the explosions shake faintly in the tips of my toes and pretend their wind is blowing through my hair. I can feel the warmth, the heat from their fire and soak in the smokey taint they leave hanging in the air.

And most importantly, I can hear the echoes of hope bounce off the walls of my home, the trees that shimmer in the breeze, the cars that float carelessly down the streets, and through all the people that hear it too. That hope will continue to echo for as long as we remember that it’s there. But if we do happen to forget, at least the next 4th will carry those echoes back around again.

Back at It Again

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So I have been avoiding writing the past month like a complete buttface. In my defense, I did have some finals and big trips coming up and some relationship issues, so yeah I was a bit distracted. But still I can look back and remember days where I was just sitting at work doing nothing or sitting at home doing nothing and knowing that I ought to be writing more chapters for my book.

I am usually so good at it. I have never had a huge issue with writing a chapter a day, but I totally faltered this past month. And the last couple of days I have been kicking myself for it. My new year’s resolution was to begin sending my manuscript out by the end of the year and gosh dang it I will accomplish this no matter what. But if I keep putting it off until the Fall…I know I won’t make my deadline since I’ll be taking 16 credits worth of classes on top of working and participating in a new school program I joined.

At this point, I only have about a month and a half left until I get totally bombarded with the Fall semester. And so I have left myself notes that say “write!” and yesterday I had a four hour shift at work, in which we had no clients scheduled for the entire day and I was all caught up on my readings and effectively had nothing else to do except write.

And for whatever reason I have had this anxiety about starting my chapters again. I knew I was about to re-write a difficult set of chapters in my novel and I wasn’t looking forward to it all that much. I just kept thinking about how long it would take or how my hands/wrists/fingers/arms might start to ache again (since there’s no good position to write in there). I just kept thinking of the negatives, basically. But then I had a coworker sit down and ask “so how’s your story going?”

That was really all I needed. And so I opened my laptop and finished writing over 6,000 words, 15 pages, or three whole chapters. No matter what way I look at it, it made me feel very good. I left work with my mind racing on the upcoming chapters and thinking about how I could improve them or what I could add and that felt epic. I love when my mind is overflowing with creativity and too many good ideas to really keep track of. Life seems significantly more enjoyable when I have my head in the clouds.

I don’t really know why I was so anxious about starting up the writing again, but I am glad I did. I was productive and have got my creative juices and inspiration flowing again. I don’t know if one chapter a day is going to get me finished in time, so I guess I may just have to write several chapters a day now instead, but I’m just glad that I’m back at it again with my writing game. And as for writing 2-3 chapters a day…bring it on.

The Best and Worst of Classmates

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I’ve taken nearly 100 credits worth of classes so far and I’ve had a variety of classmates to deal with. For the most part, I’ve been pretty lucky when it comes to my peers. I’ve met some real gems: people who have helped get me notes and cover my absences and make class worth going to in general. They’re the people I can share funny looks with when another classmate says something ridiculous or when the professor is just droning on and on and on and on…

There was a class I took that was more unique than others. It was a science fiction apocalyptic writing class and was brand new at my school. Group work was a huge part of the class since we had to break up into teams in order to effectively create aspects of a world or to create an entire world of our own. As I’m sure many of you writers out there can imagine, a class full of fantasy and sci-fi writers can be a bit overwhelming since most of the students are overflowing with ideas that they want to share and feel quite entitled to share to begin with. Suffice to say, there were many loud and boisterous voices involved. It was hard to get even a word in, especially when we were all arguing about the type of apocalyptic world we wanted. You could have your hand in the air for as long as you wanted or be in the middle of a sentence, but it wouldn’t matter. You would still be interrupted or ignored.

Thankfully I was sat next to four of the chillest people in the room. Two boys who were already friends and usually spent their class time playing games on their laptop or making jokes or rolling eyes in response to the ridiculousness of their fellow students. The other two girls were smart and quiet, like me, and so we got along swimmingly. There was a guy sitting in front of me who was one of the interrupters. He had a loud voice and knowledge that he felt was superior to everyone else’s. He would turn to me and tell me that he wanted me to be in his group, which were yet to be created. I could already foresee myself getting into arguments or being hushed/ignored by this dude, so, when the time came for groups to be formed, I immediately turned in the opposite direction of this dude and came face to face with the two guys and two girls mentioned previously. It took only seconds for us to form our group, effectively shutting the other guy out. We were all aware that the others in our group were not nearly as obnoxious as the majority of the rest of the class, so it was easy for us to agree to unite.

We spent the classes laughing and mumbling about the struggles of other groups. We had effectively formed a clique and, although this is usually something to be avoided, we worked so well with one another, so efficiently, so cohesively, that there was really no argument to be made against us. Other groups, filled with several dominant voices, certainly struggled, but there was nothing we could do about that. At the halfway point, when we went from working as a class to form one world to working in groups to create several diff worlds, our group agreed to stay together while the others all tried to split up for the most part. I had many a good laugh with those people. We ended up creating a futuristic Egyptian worlds where the Gods had returned in the form of hipsters. We even created a brand new Egyptian hipster God: WhatevRa. It was fantastic.

Seating can also be an issue. After a couple weeks into a semester, everyone has basically chosen the seat that belongs to them in the classroom. It would be simply rude to take someone else’s seat after that point. However, at one point, after I sat in the same place for 90% of the semester and next to people I liked, I was absent for one day and came back early the next time, but a girl pushed past me into the room and into my freaking seat. I gave her a harsh glare and sat next to her, but then my friend came in and asked why I was sitting in a different spot and I stated that she had sat where I usually sit. The chair-stealer annoyingly said that it was open last time and I said I was gone for one freaking day. She just rolled her eyes and so did I. It screwed up where everyone else in the class sat, though, since she had pushed me in a different place.

This summer I joined a new class that was, unfortunately, quite small. There were only seven of us: three quiet girls, one funny guy in a wheelchair, two outspoken girls, and me (the one who sat at the back of the class and usually avoided speaking). The wheel chair dude was my fav. I actually had another class with him directly after this one. He was hilarious, smart, and we agreed that we mutually disliked the same people in the class, which, as I’m sure you can guess, are the two outspoken girls. The guy and I made funny faces to each other in reaction to what people were saying and we laughed about all sorts of stuff. Once he caught me trying to swipe up on the school computers, thinking that they were touchscreen (b/c my laptop is) and we both had a great big laugh about it.

When it comes to the outspoken girls, one wasn’t that bad…she was just quite arrogant and felt that she knew more than even the professor at times. Once she argued over the meaning of a word with a professor and was obviously incorrect. Mostly she was just someone who I rolled my eyes over. However, the second outspoken girl was a bit more troublesome. I actually knew her before; I private tutored her for a completely separate class about a year prior. She has autism and so struggles with learning in general, but it also makes her socializing skills a bit difficult too. She has gotten quite far in school despite her disabilities, which I commend her for. She really does try to learn and move forward. I know that her autism makes it difficult for her in general and she has told us to let her know if she is talking too much but is anyone actually going to come up to someone who they know has a disability and tell them to stop talking? No…because they don’t want to offend her or come off as mean. She is just trying to share with us the intricacies of her life so who are we to tell her to shut up? Even when she brings up how she has got a song stuck in her head in the middle of class, or what she is buying nowadays, or how the virus on her laptop is progressing…no one would dare to tell her to stop talking. She also has an extremely loud voice and a slight speech impediment which, despite all my efforts to ignore, come off as extraordinarily annoying. Her voice just manages to drill into your head. It’s not like she can help it because she was born like that. I don’t blame her for it in the least. She can’t exactly help it, after all, and it’s not like she is disruptive on purpose. But I just can’t help but find her unbearable to be around for long periods of time, especially in a class that is two hours of struggle. Really she is just mentally draining. Although I do want to emphasize how I still think she’s a nice gal with good intentions.

There will always be people who are just loud and arrogant and want to talk incessantly in classes, but at least there are also the select few who you can chat with about shared frustrations and make light of these situations.

A Summer Half-Gone

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And so we near the half-point of my summer. The A Block for my summer classes will be over by next Friday and I will move onto the B Block, which will have a third of the classes to deal with. The first half of my summer hasn’t all been sunshine and roses, but it’s been pretty dang close. With me and my man growing closer, my dad finally retiring from the military, my poems sent to publishers, my book getting better and better by the day….well it’s been pretty productive.

One of the more amazing things that happened so far is that I was able to go an entire week without feeling the least bit anxious. It was a new record for me and felt pretty awesome. The fact that I was able to go on vacation during this time surely had an impact on this. I also finally heard the words I’ve been longing to hear from my father, which is “I’m sorry” (for being away for so long, that is). I have definitely felt quite a bit of relief lately. Although that doesn’t mean I was completely without struggles.

As you know from my last post, I have had roommate issues. The roommate in question has been acting like she hates me for the past week, but I thinks she’s lightened up a bit starting today. I walked in on her and roomie #2 dying hair and watching Nicholas Sparks movies. I don’t know what it is about this area, but all the girls around here LOVE those lovey-dovey chick flicks. Meanwhile, my movie cases are full of anything from Coraline to Planet of the Apes.

I’ve also been trying to pressure myself to write more consistently. If I’m going to meet my New Year’s resolution of having sent out my manuscript by the end of the year…well I better freaking get on it. At least 100 pages of it have been edited so far.

My classes haven’t been the more enjoyable either. My fav class this semester has been my online class and I’m pretty sure that’s just because I don’t have to actually look at any other human beings. My other two classes are both British literature classes (Tudor and Victorian). The Tudor class is ridiculously boring to sit through and the other has a couple rather irritating classmates. I’ll probs write a separate blog post about that so stay tuned.

Any-who, I was supposed to have two 10 page essays due next week, but I’ve managed to talk to my professors and they let me turn it into one combo essay so yay me. It isn’t always that my negotiations work (as you long time readers of mine will know from my past blog posts about professors), but it was quite successful this time around.

And so now my second-half semester will begin shortly. Less class, a trip to Denver to watch Dan and Phil on tour, a vacay with my man, and tickets to the Phantom of the Opera in my town. I am looking forward to it.

Sharing a Bathroom

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Sharing my bathroom with my roommate has been a struggle since I moved into a new apartment. I am one of those people who prefers the bathroom to be clean, at least to the point where I can’t see any big problems. Unfortunately, my current roomie basically doesn’t have any common decency when it comes to this sort of stuff.

At first I noticed she was one of those people that left huge dried up clumps of toothpaste in her sink and counter area. That was gross to me, but I could deal with it since it was only on her side. Then she started using my hand towel and leaving dried toothpaste on that. I decided to let her use my hand towel since I had a spare, which I just kept in my room so she wouldn’t touch it. I also noticed that she would leave my body wash open and in a different place in the shower, basically giving me the impression that she was using my body wash. From there I inferred that she had also been using my hand soap since she didn’t have any on her side (and also no hand towel of her own). I texted her about it, since she is so busy and doesn’t get the chance to speak to me in person very often, and she defended herself about using my hand soap, but not about my towel or body wash. At least she has seemed to stop using my stuff now.

Then there was the toilet paper. Although this is partially a fault of mine as well because I can be a passive aggressive buttface, this is basically what happened. I bought like eight rolls of toilet paper and changed it out in our bathroom. However, once we ran out of the first roll, she didn’t put in a new roll and instead just left it atop the toilet. This continued on over and over again. She would never switch it out for a new roll OR throw away the cardboard cylinder of the old one. You’d think that’d be something that wouldn’t have to be discussed as it’s just common sense and decent to do that, but whatever. I’ve mentioned it to her and hopefully we can both keep track of that from now on.

The worst part of sharing the bathroom, though, has been the struggle with our shower. Our shower is also half bathtub and so it is a pretty decent size. As someone who is slightly OCD and afraid of germs, I avoid leaving any sort of hairs or clumps or dirt in the shower. My roomie doesn’t really care about such things, though. She leaves an absurd amount of hair and hair clumps all throughout the tub after her showers. I also sometimes see crumbs or spots of unknown substances. She has also somehow managed to leave smears and footprints of dirt and grease and grime on the sides and edges of the tub. Basically, it’s freaking gross.

So, of course, I ended up having to have a chat with her, wherein I politely asked if she could clean up the tub and maybe look around the tub before getting out of the shower to see if she left any hair or other mess (which is what I do before getting out of the shower every time). The first time around she was totally good about it and cleaned it up no problem and said that she would try to avoid doing that in the future. That didn’t last long though.

It was less than a week later when it became blanketed with hair and grime all over again. If it were just hair then I could deal with it and rinse it out myself, but there’s just so much of it and the grease and dirt is just ewwwwwww. So I texted her again and let her know that the tub was super gross (again). She, of course, got all irritated and said it wasn’t just her and she only showers once a week anyway and it isn’t fair to make her clean up the tub if she isn’t the one doing it. I then told her that I probably showered less than her because I can’t stand to shower in a place that is already so dirt and that I make a habit of cleaning up after myself in the shower because I hate it so much and that the tub had only been getting dirty after she was done with it, conveniently around a weeks time each time it happened. So, yeah, I told her that I may just have to ask our other roommates if I can use theirs since there is no way it was me since I’m so self conscious about it.

And so she immediately texted and said she’d come and clean it up. I understand that she is super busy. I can totally relate. But just taking an extra 60 seconds before getting out of the shower to look down and rinse out any eye-sores is easy and doesn’t take much time. And I’ve already talked to her several times about it now so there’s only so much I can do. I’m only living with her for two and a half more months so it’d be nice if she could just try to be clean for that amount of time. Otherwise I guess I’m going to have to borrow someone else’s shower because no way am I cleaning up someone’s body grime off the tub.