## Tuesday, 25 February 2014

### Sorry, I'm not in the mood right now.

It's funny how Valentine's Day writing about love seemed cliché, bordering on kitschy, but I wanted to and the "right time" to do it seemed to be when I finished watching all seventy Cardcaptor Sakura episodes plus the two films. It just seemed logical, you know.

Watching Syaoran's plight, Sakura's indecision, Toya and Yukito together, Tomoyo's and Meilin's far-too-wise-for-girls-their-age advice... you won't be too surprised if I quietly admit to having cried a bit. I would have started writing yesterday but I wasn't quite in the mood. The mood to write this in is the mood I had when I wasn't finished with the series yet but I realised that the way I experience romantic feelings hasn't changed much since the days when I first found the series. And that goes back to the early 2000s, maybe even late 1990s, come to think of it.

Come to think of it, I'm not yet in the right mood to write about the L word. I just went down a Wikipedia rabbit hole trying to find the year "Oops, I did it again!" was released, read about the music video (which I'd always suspected and finally confirmed referred to the diamond from  Titanic) and then ended up reading about the Hope Diamond. None of which has anything to do with the subject I wanted to talk about in the first place. Which could either mean I'm still not in the right mood to write about it, or I'm somehow putting it off until a later time, procrastinating. As if I were afraid to delve into those depths. I don't know.

In the mean time, I can tell you about two things bothering me. The shorter one to state is that it's already "next week" and I have not heard from EBF. Not that I expect to. Yes, I do. No, I shouldn't. I'm sort of waiting for the week to be over, is what I'm saying. Then I can rest easy knowing he failed to keep his promise and I didn't have to talk to him. Or worried that maybe he'll try to make up for it later. If he remembers to. Which he may not, because it's not like he's awfully eager to talk to me in the first place and I don't fucking know why he even bothers. I'm upset about EBF, is what I'm saying. I have even thought about bringing it up tomorrow and I'm not sure how stupid an idea that is.

The other thing on my mind is a rather comical one, if you know me and my social awkwardness. Remember the guy with the green shirt?

Nope. Not quite in the  mood to write about that either. Maybe later this afternoon while I wait for laundry. Or after I've numbed my brain even more.

For now, maybe I'll just leave the three songs I've been thinking about:

### Dear Prudence

It would seem I'm brutally honest no matter what. And I may have forgotten to keep my voice quiet when after coming to the office to talk about yesterday's mess of a meeting, I told ON I was kind of annoyed by how Pf2 took forever to even look at the data he asked me to collect (in somewhat of a hurry, too). While Pf2 was in the office, a mere few meters away, and apparently no longer busy interviewing would-be future graduate students. Fuck. I really can't seem to keep my mouth shut, can I?

Dear Prudence,

Don't abandon me. Ever, if possible. Help me keep quiet when I had better.

Sincerely,

linaThumbe

## Thursday, 20 February 2014

### Racism, political correctness and aesthetics

I do not consider myself to be a racist. This is not an "I'm not a racist but..." statement. I hope it does not come across as one. I judge people, don't get me wrong. I judge them for what they say and do. I do, however, make a deliberate effort not to let their appearances affect my judgement (and when I say I have to make an effort it's because I have been tempted to judge people who fake-tan to the point of looking orange).

I worry, however, that I cannot be completely politically correct or find a level of political correctness that I am completely comfortable with. I fear it may have to do with my upbringing and I wonder if I'm actually at fault or only seem to be.

Case at hand, yesterday night I was dancing and talking to my dance partner in Spanish. I pointed out that there weren't a lot of leads and I felt a little bad because another beginner, like me, was sitting and waiting for her turn. She was sitting next to another girl I didn't know. I pointed out "[girl's name] is waiting for a dance partner and I know she needs the practice because she's a beginner." He didn't know who I was talking about, so I said "la negrita." He understood me, but I quickly worried that such a word maybe doesn't belong in civil conversation or any conversation given the stigma that surrounds the word "negro" in English. However, and though I see how it's different because we don't call white people "blanquitos," I grew up using this word to denote black people. I hesitate to use the word "black" but in my defence I once read it was a politically correct term to use, given it's just a physical description of the colour of their skin and, at least in English, you are also allowed to call white people white. Also, I have a problem with the term "African-American" because, though it means they are descended from the people who originally populated Africa, to be African means to have been born in Africa to me and the term just begs for numerous clarifications that shouldn't be necessary. Linguistics aside, I'll go back to the scene I was describing.

The two girls are what they'd call black in English, but in Spanish (at least the Spanish I speak) there are distinctions to describe how dark the colour of your skin is. The darker shades of black will have you called "negro" and somewhat lighter shades might warrant "moreno." Some people might use the word "moreno" to refer to dark black people, afraid that the word "negro" has negative connotations, and I frankly don't know if they are right to. The way I see it, it just helps you better distinguish two people much like calling blue "blue" and purple "purple" makes your life easier than calling them both "blue" and clarifying which exact shades you're talking about depending on the context. Out of the two girls, the one I was talking about was darker, so it only made sense to me.

Note how we use the diminutive* form of the word for black. In Spanish, it's often used as an endearing term and while "negro" or "negra" can also be loving terms and need not be insulting, if you're using someone's skin colour to insult them you won't call them "negrito" or "negrita." You'll call them "negro" or "negra." Confused yet? Again, because of the way I was brought up, I've grown used to using the diminutive forms feeling they will not be understood to be insulting or demeaning. I guess I am writing this to justify my word choice to the person who grew up speaking Spanish but moved to an English speaking country twenty years ago because I feel he may have thought the worst of me for using that term and I really didn't mean the worst (or, indeed, anything bad at all) by it.

I am of the opinion that words on their own have little meaning and as such one can (at least in theory, or in the right company) use the word "negro," even in English, and mean no harm by it. Just like I did in that sentence. Because a word is a word is a word and I it is not my intention to call anyone that or to relate any living person to the living hell that slaves went through. I know some people do and that's why I understand it if it rubs some the wrong way to even hear the word or see it written, but I insist the harm is in the context and the intention behind the word choice. The same holds true for other similarly ugly words. The true crime is to believe that the word itself is an insult when it is, in reality, just a description. The true crime is to believe that being black makes you inferior and therefore to call someone black is to call them out on that inferiority.

This brings up a much bigger debate about judging others based on their appearances because a number of adjectives that should be merely descriptive have also taken pejorative connotations. Think of words like "fat:" while it merely indicates that a person is "voluminous," nothing bad on its own and actually a bit relative, it can be used as an insult. I am, of course, not well-read enough to bring up a proper discussion of aesthetics and I completely ignore the surely much wiser words of the people who have studied the subject thoroughly. I do remember it being brought up in a philosophy class that the ancient Greeks (Plato, this is) once thought that all good things came together and thus to be virtuous came hand in hand with being beautiful and being intelligent. My personal observations beg to differ but it would seem we keep associating un-good (or altogether bad) things to the things we do not deem beautiful or attractive. Just ask the people with outstanding résumés who didn't make it past the interview because someone more attractive got the job.

The missing realisation is that aesthetic judgement on a thing that just "is" cannot either change what it is nor attribute new properties to it. Fat people are not dumb (an association I've often found being made,) nerds need not be socially incompetent, people dressed a certain way don't behave any particular way. The fact that some people think so does not make it true and yet actions derived from that incorrect and very faulty line of thought affect fat people, nerds and anyone with a peculiar sense of fashion. It's unfair.

The fact that I am not attracted to black men or Asian men or very athletic men does not make them unattractive. It just means I am not attracted to them. It does not mean they are not worthy of me being attracted to them and I don't think any less of them. Except I probably won't think of them very often (as I would of a man I was attracted to) but that is not the point.

I also think it's unfair to assume beautiful people are somehow at fault in other ways because they'd otherwise be too good to be true. Luck, good genes, good brains, good upbringing and the willingness to work to look good are far from uniformly distributed. I thought that was clear. So I don't think it's fair to use "blonde jokes" where the colour of a (usually pretty) girl's hair somehow has an influence on her ability to think.

So, what is fair? On the one hand, people with light-coloured skin, eyes and hair, apparently. But I find those are infamous for their unjust statements such as the ones used above, so I'll just forget about that stupid pun and the irony and go back to my discussion. What is just? Is it correct to use descriptive adjectives as such while knowing that they may have negative connotations to other people who hear them? Is it better to find less accurate words that don't have this emotional baggage attached to them? I'm all for accuracy, when it's available. I wish I could say that if people find bogus ill intentions in words that don't merit them then the problem is with them and I should be able to rest easy, but the whole point of communication is them knowing exactly what you mean and they won't if they think these things. You can then either go on a crusade to educate the masses or settle for finding other words and hoping they haven't yet been used to denote anything your company thinks is bad.

Bottom line, I am not a racist. If you think I am then I hope you have damn good arguments to explain it because it may all just be in your head. I still apologise if any use of words coming out of me offends you because you never know who you will offend and in this particular post I don't intend to offend anyone. Unless you're a racist. Then fuck you.

I still wish I'd been able to come up with "the one on the right." Damn it.

*Dictionaries offer this as a translation to "diminutivo," the form of words used in Spanish to denote a reduction in size of the noun in question. E.g. "Perro" = "dog," has the diminutive form "perrito" = "little dog." I believe this is also true in Russian, but I may be wrong about it being the diminutive. Maybe it's just translated as such in Spanish... never mind.

### "I can't, actually"

A bloody week later, EBF responds... "what?" A few lines back and forth reveal "I'm so sorry! I've been very busy! I promise I'll have time next week and we'll talk then." Like fuck we will.

I'm pretty sure if it weren't for the SSRI I would probably be a slobbering mess right now because even just receiving messages from EBF makes my heart race. Fucking Pavlovian response. I may be over-cynical but he hasn't been this busy for this many years. I'm too much of a coward to just say "Fuck you. I'd rather not talk to you at all anymore." Instead I'm just patiently going to wait until next week to tell myself "I told you so." And cry then. And tonight, most likely.

## Monday, 17 February 2014

### Shoes and chocolates

After getting back from classes and while having a somewhat pointless conversation with A I dozed off for some time and had another dream. One about SmTn where I lived with him and (our?/a?) little boy about 2 years old in a two story house. Mum was visiting and I remember stopping to pick up our shoes from where they were quite neatly placed on the floor to put them in a closet somewhere and the feeling while doing so was quite endearing. I was putting things away both to make the house presentable for mum and because doing such a little thing as putting the shoes away for SmTn seemed like such a nice thing to do, especially after he arranged them so neatly also thinking of something nice to do for me. It sounds a little silly now that I write it down but I imagine such are the little joys of everyday life living with your partner in a romantic relationship. The loving gesture behind "I'll do something I'm not particularly fond of doing because I know it will make you happy to see it done and you've done such things for me too" means the world to me. I can't help but just know it's exactly what I'd do (even I'm a bit too lazy to do it now) and it's something I could expect from real-life SmTn (and not just dream-SmTn). It's part of that whole "you make me want to be a better person" package, I think.

Oh, the thoughts entertained!

On a different note, tango led to an unusual event last night. I met a physics undergrad student. He asked why $0 + 0i =0$ and I explained it using the axioms that define a field, or more simply just a ring, which I hope was the right answer. I at first only talked him through it but when the class was over and I sat down to watch the intermediates dancing he sat next to me and I wrote it down for him on paper. I was eating chocolates, so I offered him some. He took out a huge (10cm+10cm at least) slab of white chocolate decorated with red hearts. I figured he intended to share it but I felt bad about him opening it for me so I didn't bother. I just asked if it was all done in chocolate and he mentioned working in a French bakery/pastry shop. When the explanations and small talk were done he got up to leave, but didn't pick up his chocolate, offering it to me. I kindly declined, but he insisted and said it was nothing because of his job. I said he should at least take another one of my chocolates and he said it was a fair trade and left. So now I'm stuck with a piece of chocolate I don't feel like eating (even though I've been binging on chocolate like you wouldn't believe lately). It just makes me uneasy, is all.

Even if it really meant little to him, it was a gift for him from someone else (I don't care if it was work) and he could have given it to just about anyone else in his life. Why choose the girl he met that day who just so happened to be able to explain a very simple mathematical fact? Even if he was just being nice, I apparently take issue with such gestures because I can't quite ever think they're completely altruistic and I fear there's always something off to be expected. I'm broken, is what I'm saying.

## Saturday, 15 February 2014

### Valentine

I'm not one for this sort of holiday. Yes, it's a commercial holiday and what not, I know. It's not exactly what I'm talking about. It's bad to be a single hopeless romantic and have a day dedicated to remind you of it. If I weren't single I'm not sure I would do an awful lot to celebrate it, except, perhaps, use it as an excuse to have sex (which I hopefully wouldn't need). I know it's trite to talk about love on a day such as this, but it's precisely the thing I feel like writing about.

First, let me tell you about my day. I went to the gym and hurried off to university, hoping to catch a talk hosted by the maths club. I got there early enough to know it wouldn't be hosted in the usual classroom and went into the classroom late enough that I got to sit in the back without drawing too much attention to myself. I still did. Especially about 20min into the lecture when people kept arriving late and couldn't get seats because the unthoughtful people who took the seats on the other side didn't think to take the harder-to-reach seats first. I couldn't help but feel like a bit much of an outsider. I'll confess I hesitated about going in on the first place and thought to myself that the change in classroom was a good enough excuse not to go and then convinced myself to go in anyway. Even if I'd get a little stared at. Even if there were very few women there. Even if the PhD student who goes to tango was there. Let's call him CY. CY was the first person to talk to me in the group theory class, namely to ask if I was there for the class and not lingering from a class that had just ended. He's been in the PhD program for 4 years and had to ask what a linear order was when it was mentioned in class. And he asked if I could follow what was being taught. It felt condescending on his part, to be honest. It's one thing when he's trying to tell me what to do when we're dancing, he does know more than me and I can take the critiques, but I didn't have a mind for those questions. They resonate with the biostatistics professor who, upon consultation for something regarding research, insisted I wouldn't understand, I couldn't do it and variations of ANOVA tests were way above me. Even after I pointed out I had a Bachelor's degree in maths. He commended me for my enthusiasm and acting like I could understand things that were clearly too hard for me.

When the conference was over, when the furtive glances and ensuing paranoia were over, when the tasteless jokes and awkwardly-too-loud laughs were over, when I made to leave and get out unnoticed, CY followed me out. He wanted to know if I'd be staying for the colloquium starting in a few minutes. I'd considered it and I had thought of staying, but I'd had enough. I also get an uncomfortable feeling from CY sometimes. Though he "rescued me" on Wednesday night from the other keen partners (completely helping me avoid last week's green shirt guy on the dance floor) I also started to feel a little uncomfortable around him. Something's just off there and I don't want him getting ideas. I don't want anyone getting ideas. Frankly, I'd much prefer it if they all thought I was a lesbian and just let me be.

What else was there to my day? I made plans to grab my birthday lunch. The common element in all the greetings I got was the wish for me to eat delicious food. Mum even sent some money especially for the purpose of me getting a nice lunch on my birthday. I'd packed a sandwich and that's what I ate but, in spite of my lousy appetite, I decided to get that lunch. I asked both mum and my sister what I should get and it's funny my sister suggested something I'd sort of been thinking I'd do and just hadn't gotten around to. It was all right. Mum said I should get a nice dessert too, but I frankly couldn't, so maybe some other time. I stuffed my face with chocolate to compensate. As for my afternoon and night, I spent those sleeping a bit, watching a few (I do mean a few) YouTube videos, perusing the usual internet websites and playing hashi. I found suggestions for Valentine's day films, romcoms, and I fell for it. The first pick was Beautiful Girls. I couldn't watch it after seeing a 13 year old Natalie Portman flirt with a fully grown man. The review I read said it was somehow not creepy. It was very creepy. I went for I give it a year instead. It was quite good. I can't spoil the film for you, but I'll say it got me thinking of love in long term relationships.

You'll have to excuse the mention of it, but I left EBF a message that's been burning in my head for a while now. The message, as it left my fingers, was "The brutally honest, sorry-I'm-not-sorry thing to say is: wtf?" And I meant it. What the royal fuck is the matter? At this point, having given up on SmTn and things being what they are with EBF, I frankly just don't think I have anything left to lose if I get drama queenish and we stop talking altogether. If anything, I'll rest easier knowing I will have avoided the future feelings of being an idiot for wanting to talk to him and feeling like I can have a conversation and being excited only to end up disappointed.

Having never been in a long term romantic relationship I have to relate to them through friendships. And my friendship with A doesn't quite tick all the boxes, especially because she makes me uncomfortable at times (like today when she insinuated that her day would include watching porn). The first such long term relationship, then, is that with EBF. I told him I loved him and I meant it. I looked forward to talking to him. Spending time with him felt natural. I didn't mind him hugging me, or even kissing me on the cheek. We got along remarkably well. We understood one another really well. At one point, at any rate. Today I'm angry at him both for talking and not talking even though talking was about all we did for the greater part of most days. I still get excited when we talk, it's just that the feeling is quickly bashed by the realisation that it's just a leftover Pavlov response to absolutely no stimulus at all. I don't know what went wrong. I still care for him in some form. I still get sad thinking of not being his friend like I once was. Sad enough that the medication won't help me hold back tears as I type these simple sentences. What is love, then?

Is it what I feel for SmTn or what he feels for me? We also get along great and a lot of it, unlike it was with EBF, is each of us wanting to please the other. Granted, SmTn was a bit secretive, a bit reserved, he didn't share quite as much as I ended up sharing. How can I know if I knew the real SmTn? What could I know of his life, pursuits, motivations and desires? What precious little I knew was enough. He's kind and caring and intelligent and nerdy and silly and strong and contemplative and handy and vulnerable and sweet and he communicates his feelings and he gets me and he comforts me and he likes the way I laugh. And I broke up with him. I made a sober and completely conscious decision to not talk to him again even though he seems to stand for everything I yearn for, both in a friend and this onerous idea of what a perfect man for me is supposed to be.

Maybe that perfect man could be a lot like LesMisGuy but I'll tell you one thing: LesMisGuy ultimately didn't like me and didn't come to care all that much about me (not that he should have). He didn't put much effort into anything working out. Compare that to SmTn building castles on clouds. Just as beautiful, just as inhabitable and ephemeral. Compare that to SmTn remembering my birthday even though there's now officially no mention of it anywhere in the social media. Compare that to SmTn's interest in me and willingness to even bear with me through my silliest and most immature phases. See now that LesMisGuy couldn't be it.

And maybe I'm at fault, in my hopeless romance, for seeing so much more in love than shaggability. It did not escape my attention that when the teams listed the characteristics of the perfect man and woman in class the end result was the sort of thing that belongs in a dating profile. The perfect person is the one worth having sex with. And falling in love with, if you're into that sort of thing.

You have to admit this stupid description of perfection is objectifying people as sexual objects and I feel it's a lot of what I'm a bit too acutely aware of when I feel observed and shamelessly stared at. I look like the sort of person people wouldn't mind banging and after that they may be impressed by my personality and my (shit for) brains, but it's a lot more common for them to be underwhelmed/confused/intimidated/disgusted. All the while the thought in the back of their heads is "what's it like inside her pants?" and there's so little else going on... I wish I could say I've had lots of fulfilling, interesting conversations to prove me wrong but the closest thing to intellectual conversations I've had lately are precisely the ones where I'm deemed too stupid to follow. And I'd never ever run into that and I'm insulted because I'd never before been judged for my appearances to the point where people actually thought they somehow hindered my ability to think.

I'm the first to say I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed but to be talked down to like that is just too much. I know my limits and I know prejudice and stupid bloody remarks like that. It all boils down to being objectified before going into what should have been a clever exchange. I guess that's a great part of what I miss in talking to friends. I no longer have (m)any of those. I can talk to CtThumbe and A but not quite have the conversations I yearn for. Those only happened with EBF, AOB and SmTn. Silence, silence and more silence. Not the same kind, as it's more accurately listed as indifferent silence, silence and longing silence. None of them's that much louder for its more accurate description, though and it's still lonely around here.

The burning question in your mind, blog, may be "why don't you open yourself up to meet new people?" and the answer is twofold: one, I'm discouraged and, two, I'm afraid. I'm discouraged because I haven't been able to make a single new friend since forever ago, instead losing the few I had, and afraid because it must point at some unforgivable fault I can't quite seem to figure out yet. like being unlovable.

## Friday, 14 February 2014

### Happy Singles' Awareness/Valentine's day!

I had an odd dream last night. I'm also realising I've had an awful lot of dreams lately and more "like me" than most I've remembered in a long time...

This dream also featured the sea and an island. There were pirates, even. One of the leader pirates got ahold of a very large glass jar of what appeared to be pickled giant beans. A cross between a white, black-eyed pea and a fava bean, if you will. Except about 7cm long or so. One of the top beans was taken and peeled. The inside revealed green leaves, like those of a lettuce, covered in a reddish goo and wrapping something up, apparently. Well, not apparently, t was actually a baby. A full sized newborn which seemed to be at least part vegetation, with the bok choi leaves sprouting from the sides of his face and facing back. He was all covered in this reddish goo, probably reminiscent of amniotic fluid  mixed with blood and had a big drop/clot of it on his forehead. The baby, howeer, appeared to be dead. He was alive later in the dream, but he was born dead, if you will. I know it was a baby boy because I remember him being held by a nanna, an older plump woman who looked like she'd taken care of children for a lifetime. He was dressed in baby blue clothes.

I was in no mood to finish writing this post yesterday, so it will be posted today. No dreams last night.

Yesterday was my birthday, blog. I received calls and text messages from mum, my sister, cousin N, aunt MT, the old man, aunt LM, cousin S, aunt A, A, the Yeps, BCM and family... I was anxiously impatiently waiting for SmTn's message. I did not let go off my phone. I kept the data plan on. I made sure the WiFi didn't turn off even if the screen went out. I didn't receive anything until early this morning, when the battery was drained enough that the message didn't come through because of the battery saving mode. He wished me a happy birthday yesterday and a happy Valentine's day today. The message arrived at 6am. I would have woken up if I'd seen it on time but it did not arrive on time because of the phone's battery saving settings. I'm not sure what for, though. It's not like we can have a conversation and it's all I could do to write "Thanks :). Happy Valentine's day to you too!" and feel foolish for a) wanting to have gotten that across no more than 5min after his original message and b) realising it would have made no difference, we still can't really talk. I want to send him a hug. I want to tell him so many things... I want to be able to rant and wonder and be silly and speak our own made-up language and hear from him, and find out what he's been up to, and... you know, just talk to him. *sigh*

Want to know who I did receive a message from, circa 10pm last night? EBF. It was just a short one, but after I said thanks he asked about life. I was brief and asked how he was. He asked for details, so this time I was brief-but-not-that-brief. He asked more questions and I answered them. He then didn't say a word and I resisted the urge to type "Well, fuck you."

I felt a little bad for not wishing him a happy birthday last year. And then he stopped talking and I stopped feeling bad about that and instead felt bad for answering his questions and feeling like I could tell him things and getting excited and being such an idiot.

## Wednesday, 12 February 2014

### Engineers are terrible at politics

Dear blog, I will write about last night's dream featuring the sea, an island belonging to a rich old man who built lots of buildings and statues and art pieces on it, some of them abandoned, and R1's dad and sister (middle child), only to get it out of the way.

I had a dream where I was on an island. A big one. We got around by train. I remember abandoned buildings along the way, "creation centres," I think the old man called them. He had a few of them because some had apparently not worked out so well. Then some places just had statues. One of the statues was of virgin Mary holding baby Jesus, and it was made of a black porous rock and it was underwater, only just below the surface. I remember swimming to it. The water was fresh, though, and quite cool. A bit surprising, I thought. I remember thinking I'd like to visit with SmTn and show him around. It's odd, then, that later on I saw ON in a mangrove thick, trying to fish before the tide got high, figuring out how to cast the line in between the branches. I think I just projected SmTn on ON.

In another dream, also all about water but this time salty sea water, I was with R1's dad and sister. There was this structure of "shelves" hanging on to a wall and that's where we stood. They had their things just hanging there and they left them there and came back to them when they were on vacation, apparently. I kept fucking up and getting things wet while trying to put up a new shelf or getting on top of it or just organising things and I felt embarrassed. R1's dad helped me out, though, and they were all cool with my mistakes, making no big issue of it.

Wait, there's a third dream where I remember little more than uncle C and aunt B waiting in line for a very long time to get some food in a far-too-small-to-be-a-restaurant's kitchen. I was bringing something to them and was tempted to help out cooking whatever they were waiting for.

Now on to the reason I'm here: to rant. I want to rant, blog. I'm angry. I was just in a class taught by a woman. A smart professor, at that. Quite accomplished in an I'm-not-sure-what-she's-doing-in-this-university way. She thought she'd teach a class about beauty and ideals for men and women and how biotechnology gets involved in the big hot mess. The class began with us teaming into gendered groups where we described the perfect man and woman. A few suggestions angered me: "No Y chromosome," "Shakira's hips," "mentally stable" and "not much taller than me" were featured among a woman's ideal features. The second most important feature for the ideal man, according to men, right after "smart," was "rich." There was just so much wrong in the way this reflected the beliefs of people around the room who had only a few minutes ago been very reasonable and scientific about their opinions on stem cell research. How come no one wanted women to be funny? How come no one questioned the "need" for the ideal person to be good-looking? Why didn't anyone address how bloody demanding we were?

The professor did a relatively good job explaining what she could about beauty ideals in a short amount of time but I do declare the topic warranted a much greater discussion and should have probably been brought up by someone in the "Women's studies" area of the university (I have an issue with the name, that's why it's in quotation marks).

I tried to talk to the professor about this because I didn't know just how angry to get in a class about biomedical technologies when such political topics came about and when our (rather brief) talk was over she said two things:

1) It was nice having this talk with you.

2) Why do you care? You're pretty anyway.

And it. just. made me. furious.

## Tuesday, 11 February 2014

### I kissed a girl and I didn't like it

In a dream, I mean. I haven't kissed anyone, boy or girl, in a very long time.

I had an interesting dream last night. I was talking to someone who reminded me of Nick, from New Girl, and the conversation got a bit flirty. I told him he reminded me of Nick, he understood the reference. He was not doing anything to guard himself from the sun. I ended up covering his arm with a wet sand "cast" or maybe just suggesting that he do that, arguing it could shield him from the sunlight in a way he'd agree with (I suppose he didn't like sunblock? I can't remember his arguments). At any rate, he said something very obvious and sort of expected me to respond coyly. I'm not sure what he said but I'm sure it mirrored LesMisGuy's "What would you do?" and this time I just went for a kiss. Except, when I kissed him it wasn't him at all. Maybe it wasn't him being obvious either. It was a girl. Shorter than me, long, dark wavy hair. I was excited going in for the kiss, but kissing her wasn't that nice. It felt cold and was a bit too bitey, in a non-sexy way (I daresay LesMisGuy really had it right when he did it). So... I'm not sure what to make of this dream, except I'm obviously still going over LesMisGuy events over and over in my head.

Who's anxiously waiting for SmTn's appearance (in the form of a possibly drunken text message) on my birthday?

## Monday, 10 February 2014

### Somebody to love

I'm late posting this, but I've been down. The kind of down that makes me want to lie in bed and do absolutely nothing. Not laundry, not maths, not reading, not anything other than obsessively going through all episodes of all three seasons of Project Runway Allstars (because going through all of the regular Project Runway would take too long).

Saturday afternoon we went out with cousin S to celebrate aunt A's birthday. We had dinner and then went to the cinema to watch The Monuments Men. Dinner was uneventful. Did cousin S suggest other expenses I should consider? Did I say I was broke? Double yes. Did uncle A say a damned thing about it? No. In fact, aunt A offered to take me shopping for a birthday present on Sunday afternoon, which revealed 1) a reduced budget (at least compared to last year, not that I care because there was honestly nothing I wanted to buy in particular) and 2) I can't ask for money for my birthday and I'll end up having to break the piggy bank and crossing my fingers hoping there's enough money there to cover tuition and other expenses.

The Monuments Men was awful. Just horrible. I'm not one for war films, to begin with. But I absolutely detested the idea of such a male-centred film where the actually-strong single female heroine is downplayed as the French fool who fell in love with the American man. Blech! Waste of time. More so when I realised, upon coming back to my room and my abandoned-all-afternoon mobile phone, SmTn had sent a couple of messages. They were about a half hour apart and were links to songs on YouTube. The first was Queen's "Somebody to love" in a video of a live performance. The second was Tori Amos' "Cornflake Girl."

Both messages arrived at a time I'll pin down at around "silly o'clock," his time. I'm almost positive they were nothing more than drunk texts. And I still freaked out. And it took me about an hour, maybe more, to make up my mind about responding three hours too late. I used the two songs I've had in my head for a while, "Eternal Flame" and "Open Arms." In reverse order, actually. Not that you'd care. I guess my choice of songs says quite a lot more than his does. You'll be surprised to read that "Cornflake Girl" is actually about the mutilation of women's genitalia. SmTn would be surprised too. I daresay he only used it as a way to say "I see you're not around. I'll be going to sleep now." And, look at that! I'm already figuring out what he meant and I'm having this conversation with him... via links to songs!

I wish we could talk and have proper conversations. The more we have these interactions, the more I feel we should have full-on conversations made of words, our words. And possibly feelings, I'll admit. Most likely feelings, even. The situation is complicated, though. Because of the part where he lives too far away with his girlfriend. *sigh* We've been over this. I'm not over this. I keep having these silly fantasies of him surprising me by just being here and I imagine a future where we could live together and be happy and I can't stop having them.

You may be wondering why I'm so fixated on SmTn and the reason has a lot to do with the fact that nothing is going on in my love life. Unless you count the three men I danced with on Sunday night. One smelled like he hadn't showered in over a day. Another smelled like spicy farts covered in too much cologne trying to catch ze ladees. Another was a bit too eager to laugh at my jokes. Add that to the general feeling of being observed all too often, both in tango lessons (cue Sauron's voice "I see you!") and just walking around campus. I don't like the attention. I don't like being objectified like that. And it all only adds to thinking of SmTn again because he gets me and likes me and bears with me and jokes with me and can keep conversations with me even when we're not using words. Without staring at me, without objectifying me (even if he's sort of sexified me in some of his fantasies, there's plenty enough more to it that I don't feel that's the case).

## Saturday, 8 February 2014

SPOILER ALERT! This post, in case the labels didn't clue you in, will include my review of the film About Time. It's not what I'll be starting with, though.

Brief update to the last post that doesn't quite fit in the spirit of rantiness and strong words:

1) I'm a coward and don't dare talk to uncle A about the money he'd offered and then never paid. Not for this week, not for tuition. I have an excuse. It's not a good one, so I won't actually give it merit by bringing it up. I know I only came up with it to justify myself next Wednesday when they ask how it went and I tell him it simply didn't go and I'll still be financially screwed, using what money I can get for my birthday (including money instead of the present my parents wanted to get me) to pay the bills as they come. Sounds exciting, doesn't it?

2) I'm a coward and I didn't even go through with talking to the kind online stranger about 1). I worry that when I told him I went to the LGBTQ event on campus and I wished my smile could have somehow said "I see you being you and loving who you love and apologising to no one and I love you (for it)" I may have sounded stupid/condescending/just-overall-not-good. And now I'm too embarrassed to talk to him again if he doesn't initiate contact.

3) I spoke with CtThumbe tonight. I didn't tell her about my uncomfortable tango experience. I'm going to keep that one to myself for a while in case it's just an odd event. I can always bring it up later to joke about it, right?

4) Wednesday was also the day that Pf2 took my brief mention of running the errand with cousin S as an introduction to advice. I don't know of him having children, but I've come to see him as something of a father figure since Wednesday when he offered his experience and suggestions in the most well-intended and actually quite genuinely sweet way. It's the stupidest thing, really, but paired with how he offered a cup of coffee on the way to the lab today when ON made a stop to buy some and just being an overall nice, easy-going person, I've come to appreciate him a lot. Kind of like my parents friends last summer: being relative strangers, they're kinder and much closer to caring parenting figures than the As. The whole team is actually great and I absolutely will take a moment to be grateful.

Now, for About Time (pun averted). It was beautiful. Besides being very British and using quite lovable characters with a great sense of humour, in spite of actually being a little bit corny and even trite in its "live life to the fullest" message, it was such a fresh perspective on it. It was just the right balance of being serious, funny, using fantastic/magical elements and merging it all into what real life is supposed to look like. It's also had me crying for the last hour or so.

I won't include the particular spoiler moment, but I will say it shouldn't have hit home like that, but see 4) above, remember SmTn and note that I've been on antidepressants for quite a while now. Almost going on a month if you were wondering.

While we're on the subject, isn't it about time (sorry) that I stopped thinking of SmTn so much, you ask? I know. It's been a while. Considering all we ever did was chat and exchange a few snail mail items I don't even have all that much to hold on to. If you look up "serious" definitions of love (though there's no such thing as it always seems to be a subjective matter), and go under the stages of love, it would seem to be that the stage I was in where I felt butterflies in my stomach for two and a half years every time he did so much as send a brief "hello" was the lowliest and most superficial form of love. The highest and deepest stage of love being the one where you're used to the person and have shared a lot with them and have been with them for a lot of time (one must assume this must happen in person in order to work properly). It's not the right time or place to venture a personal definition of what I think love is. I think this stage system is flawed and doesn't quite correspond to how I feel about SmTn and yet at the same time I fear that my obsessive nature doesn't allow my feelings to develop into anything more than an extended and amplified version of this first stage. It could also have something to do with the fact that I've never been in a relationship, but since I love to blame myself for how nothing worked out with LesMisGuy and how powerless I feel in the SmTn scenario, it about makes sense I'd try to make myself responsible for the failure/sheer impossibility.

Also, there's the fact that when I'm in the maths class I can't help but have the most realistic-feeling bouts of wishful day-dreaming (no doubt influenced by my inability to sleep through the night). Day-dreaming about SmTn being here and seeing him. I can't quite imagine a conversation between the two of us. I mostly just fumble with words wondering if I should even try starting a conversation at all (it being forbidden, sort of, after all), afraid to think he's here for me though every sign points in that direction, worried that it's just a coincidence and I'm actually being very inappropriate seeking him out.

Alas! SPOILER ALERT! I never thought Shamy would kiss before we did.

Oh! I almost forgot. I know we're already a full hour into the day, but we're only a few hours past the tenth anniversary of my first kiss. Because I apparently am the sort of person who keeps track of this sort of thing. Now you know.

## Wednesday, 5 February 2014

### Do you know what day it is?

It's Wednesday and that's group meeting day, which means it's also whining day.

Yesterday afternoon I met with cousin S to run an errand we initially first planned at least a couple of weeks ago. We were running on his schedule, so whenever he had the first opening would have to work for me. It's an errand uncle A said he'd pay for. As some kind of a gift. He arranged with cousin S what needed to be done and, I thought, what would need to be paid. Not so. Yesterday afternoon, before meeting with cousin S, I received a text message from him asking if the price was all right by me. It honestly wasn't, because I now owe all of my next paycheck and then a little more, but I couldn't say "Wasn't uncle A supposed to pay for it?", "I might need some help in the money department", "Can we arrange to do this some other time when I have more money?" or even "Yeah, I'd like some help if you can help me pay for it." I'm actually blaming myself for taking their word for it. By now I should realise I can't really hold them to their word, any of them. That's how it was last year and that's how I'll now expect it to continue. I'm not sure why so much has changed but one thing hasn't: I'm screwed. I really can't afford anything of my own for a very long time now, I'll have to ask for money for my birthday (even though my parents were insistent on getting me a nice present) and even break the piggy bank I intended to use for something else. It's without even considering the trouble I might go through just asking if I can please install the damned air conditioning unit before it becomes permanently warm.

Well, I mentioned this to the group today and the responses were "Why don't you just ask? Maybe he just forgot", "Maybe he thinks you don't really need it and therefore took back his offer" and "You're reinforcing this behaviour by actually not calling them out on their bullshit when they break their promises" (well, maybe not in those words). We did some role-playing where I couldn't maintain eye contact and I recalled how lending CtW money was less stressful than counting on uncle A's promise to give any because I could actually count on CtW. For three semesters uncle A asked within the first week of classes if anything was due and on the fourth he just forgot? He offered to do things he then didn't do? It feels like he's deliberately making me spend money I don't have to keep me on a tight leash and I'm hating it. It's fortunate I have a few places to get a little more money from, but I'm pretty sure the only reason I don't break down into tears thinking mum wants to send me money she doesn't have and actually needs and is not being paid by people who owe her is because the meds are starting to work. Somewhat. Not working wonders on the anxiety, as far as I can tell. I also still can't sleep. The lower dose initially recommended of the sleeping aid didn't work. I'm trying the double dose today. I almost want someone to run into the bag where I keep the medicine and see what's in it. Almost.

Do you know what day it is today? Wednesday. And that's also the Wednesday before a test... which I haven't studied for, at all. I haven't even worked on the homework exercises or read much of the assigned reading. I've paid attention during class and copied the answers to the homework problems as they were worked out by the professor, but I'm underestimating how hard it can be, overestimating the professor's generousness when he pretty much stated he wanted everyone to get a good grade and overestimating how much work I can actually do (none) having already turned off the lights and taken the sleeping pills.

On the brighter (but you'll see) side of things, today is Wednesday and that's also a tango dancing day. Or night, actually. It was fun, with one caveat: the guy in the green shirt. He was a bit too intense, a bit too insistent on as much body contact as possible, who got a bit too handsy, hugged too much/too hard and was overall just way more touchy-feely than I was comfortable with. I realise some dancing requires closer contact, but I should have had the option to say no (proves he's not a gentleman, if you had any doubts about it) and he also needed not dance so close to me. No one else did, not even the other person who used the same kind of close embrace. The greater problem with the guy in the green shirt is that he's also the one who mentioned joining tango lessons to find girlfriends and having found his last two girlfriends there. I feel like I'm his next victim and I quite honestly felt a little dirty after dancing with him (which was, admittedly, partly due to him being a bit sweaty and it being a bit warm in the room). Ew. I wish I could talk to CtThumbe about it and see if she has an opinion about this.

I want to talk to the kind online stranger, if possible, to either have him help me get the courage to bring up the money I don't have to uncle A or figure out how to go without my backup and feeling stupid/taken advantage of/like if I'm paying for my expenses anyway I might as well just fucking leave already. I also want to ask, maybe, if I should attempt to talk to SmTn about my feelings. Maybe. I fear the answer is the one I've come up with in my head anyway: if I don't want it to change anything and don't expect anything in return, there's really no point in saying it because I'm more likely than not to cause him unnecessary trouble.

## Monday, 3 February 2014

### I don't think I've done a single useful thing all day.

There's a dream I had recently that I forgot to write down. In it I was not quite myself, though at some point I was walking on the beach with my sister. In my dream, I was in love with a young man (wait) but it was somehow taboo and it wasn't quite the fact that he was younger than me. In my dream, I wasn't just someone else, I was a 12 or so year old girl (definitely younger than 15). I wasn't quite a little girl, but I wasn't so grown up either. There was a certain purity in our feelings that felt both natural and intense, if it makes any sense to put it like that. In the dream, we were both by the seashore, maybe I was in the water and he was outside or the other way around. At any rate, we'd both made these tokens that were very unique to both of us, a circle with a small heart inside, coming out from the edge, made in another colour/material. I'd made one as a keepsake, something to remember him by, and so had he with his. When we met again and I saw him with his I felt our connection being stronger and feared that either his or mine would get lost at sea and was surprised that it had even survived the water (it felt almost bread-like in consistency). I think we got to embrace each other, both of us in the water, we got to know that we both wanted to be together and I think we even kissed. It was a sweet kiss, full of feelings of love and relief at being able to express it.

The song in my head the morning after that (or maybe even two mornings later), and I'll admit it may have been influenced by what was playing on the radio, is "Open Arms."

Embarrassingly taken from the radio show where a girl asked for a song to confess her love to her best friend, there's also "Eternal Flame."

## Sunday, 2 February 2014

For the record, I managed to get the most basic part of what Pf2 wanted done and sent it to him this morning. I'm a little afraid to go over my notes to find out whether or not he wanted much more than that because, having finally managed to do it this morning and knowing how stupidly easy it actually was, I now feel increasingly embarrassed that it took me 4+ hours of sitting in my office desk and not being able to get anything done for a whole day to even get started. I do intend to work on coding a little to make my life marginally easier in the future when such data is required again. Except I'll make myself very difficult before that, I'm sure.

Speaking of making my life difficult, it's warm. It's fucking warm and it doesn't look like it will be cool out for the next week or so. If that. And I can't afford the portable air conditioner (which I was hoping I'd be able to get before March rolls in) because uncle A hasn't mentioned tuition, leave alone offered to pay for it. And that means that by the time I'm done paying for it I'll have only a third of what I need for the air conditioner by mid March, plus a week to wait for shipping.

I have to try to get the melatonin pills the psychiatrist recommended, but I wonder if they'll keep me from feeling too warm at night and waking up. My sleeping cools from last year were tossed and I had to freeze a brand new bottle of Coca-Cola. I...