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I just finished reading "Nappy: Growing Up Black and Female in America" by Aliona Gibson. I needed a book on female experiences of prejudice for my fem Naruto story I'm writing, and I figured that since I'm American and have taken classes in African American culture and become involved in African American civil rights, this was the kind of prejudice I knew the most about. I'm here to write a review of the book.

First, I would like to say that this book is surprisingly unique. I say "surprisingly" because it's the only book I could find that just straight-out talks specifically about black female experiences of prejudice. There are no other autobiographical details, it's not a fiction book or a book of poetry. It's a book specifically about one black woman's memories on what it's like to be a black woman. And in this area, it excels.

She goes through everything: the pain of prejudices based on appearance, experiences with men, and experiences of various places and cultures. She talks about how she's noticed black communities differ from area to area: East Coast, West Coast, and even Africa. There was a lot of invaluable information in there, if you were looking for it, about female experiences of prejudice in general. Fears of sexual assault, for example, or ridicule based on appearances that do not fit the "ideal."

It was not a very professionally done book and was obviously self published. That would be my only major criticism. There were a lot of weird spaces where there shouldn't be spaces, spelling and grammatical errors, etc. The book was also rather short, but I think it covered everything it needed to cover.

Overall, a good read, and I would recommend it. The book should be more famous than it is.
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
I read this book in particular for a writing project I'm doing. I've read one book on astrology, one on personality psychology, and this one. I still have -- wait for it -- NINE more books to read for research before I even start the writing project I have in mind. It's a fanfic, which I contend can be just as cool and meaningful as regular fiction books. I will keep you updated on which books I read for the fanfic I'm researching. See the "fem Naruto story" tag at the bottom.

Anyway, I'm reviewing this book on yokai. It's called "The Book of Yokai: Mysterious Creatures of Japanese Folklore" by Michael Dylan Foster. I read all 244 pages in less than two weeks. It's a really great read. I recommend it.

What is a yokai?

It's a Japanese demon of sorts -- more broadly, a Japanese mythical creature that can perform dark acts. I began my fascination with Japan through watching manga and anime as a kid. From there, I branched off into learning more about the culture behind these fictions I loved so much -- I read up on Japan and took on several Japanese pen pals at one point or another, read and watched blogs and vlogs on Japanese travel, tried cooking Japanese meals, researched various aspects of ancient Japanese culture, read interviews of famous Japanese artists, watched Japanese films and sampled Japanese music. I know at least something of typical Japanese religions and philosophies. I plan on starting Japanese language classes this summer. The more I learn about Japan, the more I love.

Especially given my love of fantasy in Japanese anime, it only made sense for me to buy a book on yokai.

It was a fascinating read. A lot of elements from modern Japanese stories that I had always thought were random or made up -- it turns out? They were actually deliberately referencing ancient Japanese folklore! And I've probably only just scratched the surface. Isn't that great?

Even for people who are skeptical of why ancient Japanese folklore is important should read this book, however. Foster really gets at the importance behind yokai -- their various meanings, their cultural relevance (both ancient and modern, national and international), and how they help us see the world differently. He talks about yokai history and philosophical categorization, and only then does he actually go on to discuss the yokai themselves. He gives you good background reading before diving into the various yokai there are. I really liked that part of the book.

I think this would be a good textbook for a class on Japanese culture. That was one thing that really struck me as I was reading. And it was written in 2012, so it's pretty recent. He references a lot of Japanese scholars and has a native Japanese artist render his yokai drawings, has lived and studied in Japan for a time, yet is Western himself and so can explain Japanese culture to us in a way we would understand it.

That ends the "personality research" section of my writing project. I know how this female Naruto is going to be and how being (spoiler alert) part kitsune fox demon would affect her. Now comes the "experiences research" section. More fun times ahead!
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I am here today to wish my wonderful sister a Happy Birthday. I'm going to take her out to lunch and shopping later today, on her special day. She is my best friend and I love her dearly. So I'm here today to write a love letter about my sister.

Like me, my sister has a disability. I won't go into the details, because that's her business and she's very private about her personal life, but let's just say it made school very difficult for her. I say this to express my admiration of her determination not to let her disability define her or overcome her. She is the hardest-working person I know, with incredible perseverance and a lot of native intelligence. I wish I was as hard-working as my sister is. And it paid off -- she was a straight A student, has grown to love reading, and is now in college. She is a huge success story.

She is very responsible. She is always the first to take the initiative and do any chores that need to be done, she's conscientiously clean, and she carefully keeps all important paperwork and receipts in an organized place.

She's uncomplaining. My sister is very good at adapting to her surroundings and has a very "tough it out and make it through" attitude that I can really respect. Even though I'm the older one, because of my anxiety she's often the one helping and leading me. She's much calmer than I am.

She's caring and nurturing. Hungry animals and hurt people always find a home with her. Her friends command her undying loyalty, and she is very protective -- the kind of person who will punch you in the face if you try to harm one of her friends or family members.

She's a funny tomboy. She has a great sense of humor, loves goofing off, and can always make me laugh. She's great at clowning around. And she's definitely comfortable in herself -- she wears jeans and sweatshirts and baseball caps, loves Transformers and Pokemon, is mostly friends with guys, and is perfectly fine with that. Even when people have judged her for it, my sister has never been afraid to be herself.

She's great at video games. I say that because I'm horrible at them. She's good at strategizing and figuring out puzzles and can spend hours playing around with different video games, trying to get them just right.

She is a bit of a perfectionist, and that shows in her art. My sister is an incredible artist, both virtually and on paper. She may not be the fastest to get the art technique down, but her unflagging determination always ensures that she is usually one of the best artists around. I know for a fact that I'm not the only one who admires her artwork. She has a great imagination and lots of artistic talent.

She loves horror, ghosts, and all manner of other eerie things. She wears lots of black and loves rock music. People have judged her over these things as well, but again she has never let that faze her. She is proud of her likes and interests, and is also proud of being a Christian and believing in God.

She's an interesting combination of introvert and extrovert. She can be very chatty, but she's not a big partier. She's more comfortable at home surrounded by people she knows well, and is not really into drinking or drugs.

She's a very reasonable roommate and house mate. She rarely gets angry, always says just what's on her mind, tries to accommodate, and is helpful and non-judgmental. My sister rarely judges anyone and is a friendly and accepting sort.

I have tons of fond memories of the two of us as kids. We would play dinosaurs, cheat while playing Yu-Gi-Oh, and pull the heads off our Barbies and switch them with each other's. (We were interesting little children.) We fought horribly sometimes, but always made up and supported each other even when no one else did.

She is an amazing person and I love and admire her. She is my closest friend, my greatest supporter, and my best defender. I can always come to her for advice. We spent our childhood together and have become adults together. We may fight, but at the end of the day we're very close.

Happy Birthday, sister of mine.
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I finished a 500-and-some-odd page book in two and a half weeks of winter break, and I'm here to write a review. The book is "The Paying Guests" by Sarah Waters.

Ahoy, matie. There be spoilers below.

"The Paying Guests" is really about the evolution of a relationship -- a lesbian relationship set in London in the 1920's. Frances Wray and her aging mother used to be very wealthy, but have fallen on hard times and have to take in boarders. Their boarders turn out to be a handsome young couple who on the outside seem to have the perfect life.

But looks can be deceiving. Both sides are hiding things. Frances's father squandered the family fortune, her brothers died in World War I, and she's had brushes with the law in the past at pacifist and feminist protest rallies and has had to turn away from a previous lesbian relationship to take care of her mother. Meanwhile, the young couple, the Barbers, have a crumbling marriage based on lies, adultery, and lost babies. (After miscarrying the first time, Mrs Barber actually gets an illegal abortion at two different points because she doesn't want her husband's baby, and one of the abortions is described in rather brutal terms.) Neither Miss Frances Wray nor Mrs Lilian Barber seem to have a happy life.

But they find happiness in each other. They begin a secret relationship, which is evolved slowly, and rather than this being idealized and romanticized, it's quickly shown that this falls apart. First, it's made quite explicit that carrying on any sort of homosexual relationship is insanely hard in this time period. But there's more. Mr Leonard Barber finds out about his wife's adultery, and -- quite hypocritically, since he's committed adultery himself -- he tries to strangle Frances. Lilian responds by killing him from behind. The ensuing scandal as they try to cover up the truth of the death from the police nearly tears the two apart as they begin criticizing and second-guessing each other's motives, the strain and stress of their crime weighing on each of them. (One interesting point: Lilian claims the death was accidental and she just wanted to hurt her husband, but she also got a great deal of money and newfound freedom out of his death, so Frances isn't sure whether or not to believe her. Since it's all from Frances's point of view, we never really know what to think of Lilian either. This is never quite resolved. Lilian's motives remain mysterious, perhaps even to herself.)

A few thoughts on the book:

You can't help but dislike Frances and Lilian for the last third of the book. You don't feel like you're on their side anymore. A young boy is about to be convicted for their covered-up crime, but they're going to wait until he's committed to the gallows before admitting their guilt. When he's set free by the court, they never admit what they did at all. It's a triumph for the characters -- they get to be together and at least somewhat patch up their relationship at the end -- but it's also a moral failure, and the characters seem very aware of that. Basically, they get away with at least involuntary manslaughter in order to be together. That the death was in self-defense is only part of the puzzle.

I didn't really like Lilian and Frances's relationship -- until the very end. When after it all, they have that quiet moment together when they sit in alcove on the bridge and watch the passersby, close together, and a completely silent understanding passes between them. Paradoxically, even though you've stopped liking the characters, you like the relationship. It carries a heaviness and subtext that the previous, somewhat childish relationship lacked. I liked the relationship better that way -- I'm not sure what that says about me.

The pacing was a bit odd. It was slow, of course, I've said that, but for most of the book it worked. For that last third, though... it just dragged on and on and on. I'm not sure if that was intentional, to get us into the characters' trapped mindset, or if it's just a failure on the part of the author. But either way, that last section involving the murder trial and investigation centered on the young boy was torturous and agonizing in its slowness.

Also, shoutout to the deliciously complex relationship Frances has with her mother. I really liked that part. Mrs Wray in herself is a bit boring, your typical friendly and gullible little old lady used to being wealthy and Churchgoing and doing charities, but put her together with her newfound lack of money and her rebellious yet responsible and duty-bound daughter Frances... oh, and interesting things happen.

Overall, it was a good book, as you can see by the fact that I read it in less than three weeks. I would recommend it to others.

Breakup

Jan. 2nd, 2016 12:38 pm
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I broke up with Cowboy Bebop Dude today. It was really for a multitude of reasons:

- I didn't really trust him. I never felt like I could trust him with any personal details of my life. I don't know why, it's not like that with all guys, but I just never felt like I could trust this guy in particular.

- I never felt supported by him. I would tell him about bad things that were going on in my life, and he never really supported me, or even said anything against me -- he never really said anything.

- He was pushy. In a nice, subtle way, but still pushy. I told him I was not comfortable being physically intimate with him yet, but he would do things like move closer to me on dates, ask me for a time-frame for when we could be physically intimate, and invite me over to his place for the night after dinner dates.

- He wasn't big on family. This was a down side for me, because I'm HUGE on family, and unless your family mistreats you (which his didn't) I'm not impressed if you don't seem to enjoy spending time with them.

- He sometimes struck me as a bit whiny and dramatic. I canceled plans with him once during finals week, and he gave me a phone call -- right after he knew I'd had a huge, stressful final -- complaining in kind of a whiny voice that I never had any time for him. Sorry, dude, school comes first.

- And that brings me to my last reason: I might just be too damn busy with school to successfully carry on a relationship. At the very least, I need someone who understands that school comes first, like me. Maybe I'm just not ready for a serious relationship yet? Because this one very quickly began to feel like a burden on my time and energies.

Basically, he was attractive -- in an aesthetic sort of way, at least -- but problematic. Whereas my last boyfriend was blissful but physically unattractive.

My best friend and my sister didn't like him, either. My friend (the married one) gave the assessment that he seemed "clingy and immature, and only cares about being physically intimate." Not the first time I've attracted a clingy guy, funny enough.

My sister also never liked him, and she has good instincts. She thinks that might be why he was a boy in the feminist club in the first place -- and why he talks about how important women’s studies classes are to him so much -- to get sex. Well he won’t be getting any from me!

I waited until the holidays were over -- breaking up with someone over the holidays is a shitty thing to do -- and then I called him over the phone (he gets this really sad, pathetic face on when he gets upset, and I thought if I had to look at it I might not be able to go through with the breakup) and said this:

"I’ve realized something. I’ve been telling you that I’m not comfortable being physically intimate with someone I don’t know well, and I’ve also been too busy to have much time to get to know you better, and I’ve realized that’s not fair. That’s not fair to you. Or to me. We both deserve a better relationship than that. But I don’t have anything better I can offer at this time. I think the time is just not right for me to be in a relationship right now. I also think we seem to be looking for somewhat different things in a relationship. I’ve tried to tell you what I need, but I think our pacing in a relationship just seems too different for it to really work out. It’s not that I don’t like you, or aren’t attracted to you, or anything like that. It’s just that I feel this relationship isn’t healthy for either of us. So I’m breaking up with you.

"And I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be rude, but there’s really no negotiating on this. I’ve made up my mind."

I’ll give him this one, he took it better than I anticipated. He said, “I don’t agree that we should break up, but it sounds like you’ve made up your mind, so.” And then it got really awkward. We hung up soon after.

Honestly, I just feel so relieved. This huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. It's a good start to the year, not a bad one. Breakups have never really bothered me. I'm not a big cryer. I have a pretty huge "life goes on" attitude when it comes to losing people -- through death or through separation. It takes a really close person being torn from my life for me to get really emotional about it. I guess it helps that I'm usually the dumper -- not the dumpee. I've been called a heartbreaker -- jokingly, but still. I guess you could say I don't handle bullshit well and I have pretty high standards.

My Mom put it the best: "You, more than anyone else I have ever met, need to find an intellectual equal. Like Jane and Mr Rochester. And finding Mr Rochester is going to be hard."

In any case, what's done is done. We all have to just keep going and not look back, don't we? I'll quote Reba McEntire: "I'm pretty sure it's not the end of the world tonight."
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Tonight for New Year's Eve, we'll have shepherd's pie for dinner, then red wine and a tray of cheese and salami with crackers. We'll watch the Dick Clark show, hosted by Ryan Seacrest, and see the ball drop in Times Square at midnight from the safety and comfort of the TV in our living room. The countdown is always so exciting!

No wild celebrations, just a quiet evening at home curled up with a glass of wine and my family, and that's the way I prefer it.

Here are 5 things I learned in 2015:

- You can't save people who don't want to be saved. I had a friend who got caught up in over drinking and partying. Over and over again, she continued to gravitate toward people who treated her like shit. She eventually dropped out of school and I never heard from her again. I think she was ashamed. I tried over and over again to help her associate with kinder people, and do fun activities that didn't involve getting drunk, but she wouldn't have any of it. Some people you just can't save.

- You can seem really close to someone, but the two of you can go down completely different paths in life and you may never see them again. That happens a lot at college age. But it shouldn’t keep you from making new friends.

- It’s never too late to change your life around and make it healthier. Health often leads to happiness.

- Not every date leads to instant romance -- even if it seems like the first date went really well.

- It is absolutely possible for a guy to be reasonable and treat you well, and you should expect that, and even demand it. EVEN and ESPECIALLY when it comes to sex.

(For more on my relationship goals and what I've learned to expect from a relationship this year, I refer you to this magnificent article:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/natasha-craig/6-phrases-more-important-_b_6679492.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women§ion=women&ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000046

Enjoy.)

And now here is my New Years resolution: to find my strong inner voice and to use it without guilt. I was inspired by this article. So much of it resonated with me:

www.huffingtonpost.com/sara-lindberg/why-my-new-years-resolution-is-to-gain_b_8881892.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women%3Futm_hp_ref%3Dwomen&ir=Women&ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000046

I remember the first time I was ever called bossy. I was in elementary school and it was cooking day, so me and my friends were making pancakes. Kids kept crowding around the cooking table and impeding our work, so I began shooing them back and getting them all in a straight line. I will never forget the way my friends treated me with complete disgust. "We're done," they said, emphasizing the 'done', and I remember this crippling feeling of shame sweeping through me. The way they looked at me was very cold. The sad thing is, it was other girls who made me feel that way.

I always see that as a kind of beginning, because ever since I have always felt guilt, hesitancy, and uncertainty whenever I get too opinionated, or say something that might upset someone -- even if it's the way I really think. All too often in my life, I have stayed silent, not wanting to create waves. In high school, I was so careful about ordering people around that in the photography class I took, a girl accused me of having "no vision" because I was terrified of ordering my models to do what I wanted them to do.

Well I'm done with all that! This year, I will try the perhaps long process of finding my inner voice and using it to voice my opinions and instructions without guilt. Now, keep in mind, speaking your mind doesn't necessarily mean you have to be rude. I'm not talking about deliberately hurting anyone's feelings. I'm simply saying that I'm tired of staying silent -- tired of being embarrassed -- and tired of caring what other people think about me!

I'm finished!

So this year that is my goal. And while I'm at it, here is a toast -- a toast to a strong new year, and a new beginning!

With Love,

Grimrose Eilwynn

PS: Enter this door, but be warned: you will not come out in the same condition as you were when you entered it.

Star Wars

Dec. 29th, 2015 05:36 pm
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I went to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens in theaters with my sister today.

And ohmyGod, guys. All the Star Wars. I'm full of Star Wars thoughts. Look what that movie did to me.

I wore my favorite cosplay/Halloween shirt. It says, "This is My Costume or Whatever." Me and my sister took the bus all the way across town to the nearest movie theater. It was cold. Like, really cold. And this skinny little old man on the bus kept shoving this mentally disabled girl, and she kept shoving him back. Then he moved to the front of the bus. Then she started shouting at him.

It was weird. I'm not really sure who started it, but finally the mentally disabled girl's handler finished it by telling them both, in so many words, to shut the hell up.

Me and my sister just Looked at each other. You know, like, "Holy shit. This is crazy." That kind of Look.

Then we got to the mall the theater was in, and there was a bunch of screaming kids in the lobby. Like, as in, they were actually screaming. Like they were in pain. And running around. I half expected it to go Jurassic Park and for a dinosaur to come around the corner chasing them at any second.

Why can't people control their fucking kids? Like, is that something I'm only thinking because I don't have kids? My Mom and Dad would never have let me get away with that shit. I think it's just a sign of a crappy parent.

But anyway, we finally got to the theater. We got concession snacks -- cookie dough bites and an ice cream sandwich. And we sat back, and enjoyed.

Now excuse me while I explode.

OHMYGOD GUYS REY IS SO COOL. SHE IS AWESOME. AND LEIA. AS A GENERAL. AND THE HUG.

AND THE HUG.

Also, what the fuck how is Kylo Ren THAT EMO? It must be hard. Being THAT EMO ALL THE TIME must be so hard. (Side note: Where are all his fellow students of Luke's? Did he do a Darth Vader and kill them all?) I really hope we're going to get more on why he turned to THE DARK SIDE or else I'm dismissing him as a SHITTY CHARACTER.

Fin was cool, too, but he threw his weapon away at the end to kneel dramatically at the injured Rey's feet. And I was like, "Really?" If a guy ever threw his weapon away to come to me, I'd be pissed. I'd be all like, "WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING GO KILL THAT SONUVABITCH, FUCKNUT."

Another thing that confused me: how did Fighter Pilot Dude survive? I mean, it's cool that he did and everything. It's just. How. If the Resistance saved him... why didn't they go get Robot Dude Whose Code I Can't Remember?

One thing: I was wondering why Harrison Ford got paid so much more than everybody else. And then there was that scene with Kylo Ren at the end. And I was like, "Oh. That's what they're going to do." I had winced. I was waiting for it when it happened.

I won't spoil for anybody, but afterward I was like, "Oh. That's why he was paid so much more than everybody else."

I'm not sure I liked Han Solo being that gullible, though. I guess we can forgive it, for... personal reasons.

Another thing that really struck me was how many different kinds of people were there to see Star Wars. I saw little kids. Teenagers. Parents. There was this cute, tiny little old couple sitting next to us, and in the dark on the way out I stumbled over someone's feet.

"Sorry!" I said immediately. "Can't see in the dark."

"Oh, don't worry about it!" said the little old lady. "I'm short, my feet hang!" She stood and so did he and they let us pass. "May the force be with you!" she added brightly on our way out.

We grinned. "May the force be with you!" we returned.

The bus driver on the way home was funny. "Does it always have to be aliens?" he asked incredulously. "Isn't anyone interested in reality?"

"Of course it always has to be aliens!" I returned, faux indignant.

There was a physically disabled man on the bus, and he had a walker, and the bus driver didn't want him slipping on the way to his doorway, so he just went off road. He drove off the road and straight over the side of a snowy hill and got the guy right up to his front door. It was so badass.

The bus driver got back into the bus after helping the disabled man out. It was dark and late and we were two of the only ones left. "You didn't see that, did you?" he asked gruffly.

"We didn't see anything!" my sister and I returned earnestly as one.

It was a great day. Weird, but great.
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I went clothes shopping with my 150 Christmas dollars today. So many of my clothes are old and tattered with holes in them, and some of them I don't even want anymore -- I just didn't have the money to buy new ones. Needless to say, I had an old and outdated look. I decided it was time for a new look! New look for a new year and a new life!

I already have new glasses -- square plastic black frames -- and a new haircut -- short, chin length. So my new clothes went with my new style. In total, I now have:

- dark leggings

- dark short shorts (the first two go together)

- one pair of purple skinny jeans

- three coats: a long wool coat, a black MCR letterman's jacket, and a checkered open sweater

- several band T shirts

- several funny T shirts ("The Struggle is Real", "We're All Mad Here", "This is My Costume or Whatever")

- a Marauder's Map "I Solemnly Swear That I Am Up to No Good" backpack

- a black with white cross Imagine Dragons tote bag

I even bought a cute little mini Black Parade era Gerard Way My Chemical Romance doll!

I went shopping all afternoon, and my sister was so patient as I tried on different things in the dressing rooms. In total, I brought home like five bags, from places as varying as Macy's, Hot Topic, and Rue 21. Then I took a picture with my new look and put it up as my profile pic on Facebook. It's already getting attention!

Merry Christmas and an Early New Years to me!
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
Merry Christmas everyone!

Here's a list of the gifts I gave to other people:

- My boyfriend got a Cowboy Bebop coffee mug

- My best friend got Hunger Games jewelry and pins, and a 25-dollar Amazon gift card for her birthday

- Her husband got a basket of Russian and Ukrainian chocolates

- My mother, when she comes up for New Years, will get a winter vest and a stuffed elephant

- My father, when he comes up for New Years, will get some new gadgets for his iPhone and a funny little vampire bat Minion figurine

- My sister got a video game T shirt (she likes Comic Sans from Undertale)

And here's a list of the gifts I got from other people:

- Shitloads of new music (Adele’s “25”, Cage the Elephant’s “Tell Me I’m Pretty”, Mindless Self Indulgence’s “Pink” -- plus 65 more currently unused dollars in iTunes gift cards)

- a giant bottle of hazelnut syrup to put in my coffee

- a Harry Potter themed Hot Topic gift card (which I used to buy a new “I Solemnly Swear That I Am Up to No Good” Marauder’s Map Harry Potter backpack, and a big brown coffee mug that says “Coffee Makes Me Poop”)

- new clothes

- 150 dollars for clothes shopping

- 2 books: The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters, This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

- a black MCR (My Chemical Romance) sweater

- lots of Christmas cards from my Mom’s side of the family

On Christmas Eve, I Skype called my boyfriend, who was off visiting family in the Bay Area. He said we should get together and go out to dinner after he gets back -- and I agreed that sounds great, and said we could even go to a movie -- and then he said, "And maybe after the date we could go back to my place, and -- I mean, I've seen your place but you've never seen mine --"

We all know what "let's go back to my place after our date" means.

"Yes, I have seen your place," I said. "I saw it once when we went inside to get helmets and go out on your scooter."

"Yeah, but not for very long," he said hopefully. "Just -- can't we --?" He saw my face. "Okay, never mind," he muttered.

I was in a good mood, so I said, "Let's just go on the date, wait, and see how we do."

It's been a little over a month and he already wants me hanging out and spending the night at his place? This guy is so pushy. And he's so nice while he's doing it, but he's still so pushy. It's weird, that he considers himself a feminist.

Anyway, after that my sister and I got a giant pizza from the local deli and had pie with hot cocoa. I had warm milk. We turned off all the lights and watched A Christmas Carol with George C Scott, enjoying the lights and ornaments shining on our tiny little single apartment-sized Christmas tree.

We stayed up till midnight, just so we could stay up until Christmas hit.

Then on Christmas Day, we slept in and had a pajama day. Immediately upon waking, I texted my parents, best friend, and boyfriend a Merry Christmas.

My sister and I exchanged gifts, sitting around the tree and ripping off the wrapping paper and finding what we had gotten each other underneath. We were both so happy with our gifts. We hugged and said Merry Christmas. We joked that my wrapping job looked like a blind T Rex had done it.

Later, we're going to make a fancy dinner together -- home-made burgers, starting from scratch with a pound of ground beef, with salts and spices and portobello mushrooms. Yum!

What are you doing with your family and friends for Christmas? In any case, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas. May your cup always be full and your presents always be satisfying!

With Love,

Grimrose Eilwynn

In the spirit of the holiday season, here's a TED talk on the connection between happiness and gratefulness:

http://www.ted.com/talks/david_steindl_rast_want_to_be_happy_be_grateful?utm_campaign=&utm_medium=on.ted.com-static&utm_content=awesm-publisher&awesm=on.ted.com_gratefulness&utm_source=t.co
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So I decided to see the guy I'm dating (kendo/Cowboy Bebop Dude) at least one last time before he left to see his family for Christmas Break.

I had it all settled. I put a time aside for him in between all my finals studying. He came over to my place, I gave him his Christmas present, I sat him down in an armchair before the TV with a mug of warm apple cider, and I let him pick any movie out of all the movies I owned for us to watch. I made plenty of commentary throughout the movie, though always in between important scenes, and I made sure there were lots of opinions so he could jump into the conversation and offer his own thoughts.

I had it all perfect.

Three things:

1) When I went to Google search something about the movie, he looked at my computer screen and commented on it. Which is creepy.

2) He moved a remote from the arm of my chair so he could leave his arm there, very suggestively and deliberately.

3) At the end of the date, he asked if there was a specific time frame for when we could be physically intimate again.

What the hell was he expecting me to say? "Yes, in three months, two days, and eleven hours I will feel comfortable with you and trust you." And you know what? I'll NEVER feel comfortable with him and trust him if he keeps pushing this!

AARRGGHH!
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
So, I've always been uncomfortable coming into physical contact with people I don't know very well.

When I was little, the only people I enjoyed touching me or hugging me were my parents. Later, my sister was let into the group, as were my two closest friends. And they're about it. I have never liked to be touched by anybody else, out of all the people I have known in my life. It sets me on edge, and makes me nervous and uncomfortable.

This is a problem with dating. I have never known how to tell guys that I need them to wait on the whole physical intimacy thing for a while -- perhaps for a long time -- without it coming across like I'm trying to insult or control them. Additionally, I have always had some issues with this part of myself, because society tells you that you have to kiss on the first or second date and be having sex by the fifth or sixth. That is way too soon for me.

For this reason, I am still a virgin, and in fact I'm perfectly happy with that because I have NEVER known a guy well enough to even want to do that with him.

So I was talking with a good friend of mine the other day -- the married one, who I met through fiction class -- and she told me to just tell the guy I'm dating (the kendo guy) that I'm not ready for things like kissing and making out yet. She empowered me by saying some people are just like that and it's a perfectly valid way to feel. She goes slowly in relationships herself, and she found someone -- her husband -- who was willing to wait for her. She agreed that me and kendo/Cowboy Bebop guy already making out is way too soon. We've known each other less than a month -- feminist club aside, and we barely even talked in feminist club.

We've been on a couple more dates. One to dinner at a Mexican restaurant. But I always feel really nervous and uncomfortable on our dates, because I dread the kissing or making out at the end. It's not comfortable for me, I don't know him that well yet.

So I told Cowboy Bebop guy this -- face to face -- trying to phrase it in as polite and positive terms as possible. I told him he would see me a lot more often and I would feel a lot more comfortable, and thus the relationship would progress better, if we took physical intimacy off the table for a while (not forever).

He pretended to be okay with it, but I could tell he was not happy. Yet he still wanted to see me again, and we're hanging out on Sunday. So I'm not sure how to feel. Should I be angry that he seemed upset and appeared to take it personally, despite me saying I'd always been like this and it was nothing in particular against him? Should I be upset that he didn't understand me not wanting to make out with a relative stranger unless I didn't find said stranger attractive?

Because that's how I feel, sitting here thinking about it. I feel annoyed. Angry. Not understood. Even if maybe that's not so rational.

This guy's not very supportive, either, which is another count against him. I tell him about problems that are going on in my life, and he listens willingly enough but he always cops out and never supports me and never says much of anything with any emotional undertone to it. He doesn't even argue with me or tell me how I'm feeling isn't valid. He just... doesn't say anything. And so I don't feel supported when something upsetting happens.

I just... I don't know about this. He's sweet. Funny. Smart. Cute. I do like him. I just... I'm trying to tell myself not to expect perfection.
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
I went on a date today!

Not with the guy I mentioned in a previous post -- the one from American Lit class who seemed kind of like he was flirting with me? Yeah, it wasn't with him. It turns out he:

(A) Has a girlfriend

and

(B) Is a bit of an asshole, so I don't really envy her

No, this guy I met through feminist club. He's sweet, kind, and funny, with glasses and a long coat. He studied kendo (Japanese sword fighting) for several years. He studies business and environmental science. He has a learning disability but still manages to get As, and is currently interning as a Study Abroad Counselor after having spent some time himself in Thailand. He asked me out, and he also paid for our first date -- though politically liberal, he's pretty socially conservative. His Dad was a Mormon and his Mom was a Catholic.

We just went to a cafe downtown and had a casual coffee/lunch together. We wore fancy jackets and tried to look nice, but we also both just wore jeans. It was the perfect blend of "nice" and "casual."

We talked anime, because it turns out we're both really into that. (He shall henceforth be known as Cowboy Bebop Dude.) We also talked politics, religion, and family and life experiences. It was a really nicely intellectual and deep conversation. We even made future plans: to watch Cowboy Bebop together (I've never seen the whole thing) and to take swing dancing lessons in 2016.

We went to a bookshop afterward, and then we went back to his apartment briefly. It's a really nice apartment right in the middle of downtown. His roommate is a funny guy who drinks a lot and talks to his plants. We got helmets from his apartment and then he drove me home on his scooter/motorbike! I was nervous getting on, but it was so much fun!

We hugged and kissed briefly at my door, and then I went to go back inside. If I were a less awkward person, this would be the moment when I threw him a sly smile over my shoulder and walked smoothly in the door. As it is, it took me a full minute to find my keys and another two minutes to force my way in through the door. He thought it was kind of funny. He applauded when I finally managed to get in.

Just me being my usual, awkward self.

I called my Mom and dished with her over the phone after the date was all over. I also made sure to emphasize to said boy that I had a great time, we should do this again, and he should text me. I even texted him to let him know I had a good time.

So now soon I guess I'll know one way or the other if he was really into me. But either way, it was just nice -- to meet someone through normal social avenues (instead of online) and have a sweet, casual date with him.
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
I signed this petition and thought I'd give you the chance to as well:

https://www.change.org/p/my-wife-is-imprisoned-in-iran-demand-her-release?utm_source=action_alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=429810&alert_id=finXtiJSaS_FCXL7k8jAe8BZgfRfItrhOQ40bWuYuEk8xROWisNPwo%3D

This Iranian woman was a women's rights defender and activist. She was arrested and imprisoned for fighting for women's rights in Iran. She has served six years in prison.

She should have been released this summer according to Iranian law, but officials have elected to keep her imprisoned for at least another two years.

The woman -- Bahareh Hedayat -- has failing health (in the area of the kidney and reproductive organs) and is suffering major depression. She may not survive another two years in prison. This is completely ignoring the fact that she was unjustly imprisoned in the first place.

In recent weeks, Iran has been releasing many political prisoners, and Bahareh's husband is hopeful that with this petition his wife will be one of them. Please sign and support justice and women's rights in Iran.
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
Morning and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry:
“Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy:
Apples and quinces,
Lemons and oranges,
Plump unpeck’d cherries,
Melons and raspberries,
Bloom-down-cheek’d peaches,
Swart-headed mulberries,
Wild free-born cranberries,
Crab-apples, dewberries,
Pine-apples, blackberries,
Apricots, strawberries;—
All ripe together
In summer weather,—
Morns that pass by,
Fair eves that fly;
Come buy, come buy:
Our grapes fresh from the vine,
Pomegranates full and fine,
Dates and sharp bullaces,
Rare pears and greengages,
Damsons and bilberries,
Taste them and try:
Currants and gooseberries,
Bright-fire-like barberries,
Figs to fill your mouth,
Citrons from the South,
Sweet to tongue and sound to eye;
Come buy, come buy.”

Evening by evening
Among the brookside rushes,
Laura bow’d her head to hear,
Lizzie veil’d her blushes:
Crouching close together
In the cooling weather,
With clasping arms and cautioning lips,
With tingling cheeks and finger tips.
“Lie close,” Laura said,
Pricking up her golden head:
“We must not look at goblin men,
We must not buy their fruits:
Who knows upon what soil they fed
Their hungry thirsty roots?”
“Come buy,” call the goblins
Hobbling down the glen.

“Oh,” cried Lizzie, “Laura, Laura,
You should not peep at goblin men.”
Lizzie cover’d up her eyes,
Cover’d close lest they should look;
Laura rear’d her glossy head,
And whisper’d like the restless brook:
“Look, Lizzie, look, Lizzie,
Down the glen tramp little men.
One hauls a basket,
One bears a plate,
One lugs a golden dish
Of many pounds weight.
How fair the vine must grow
Whose grapes are so luscious;
How warm the wind must blow
Through those fruit bushes.”
“No,” said Lizzie, “No, no, no;
Their offers should not charm us,
Their evil gifts would harm us.”
She thrust a dimpled finger
In each ear, shut eyes and ran:
Curious Laura chose to linger
Wondering at each merchant man.
One had a cat’s face,
One whisk’d a tail,
One tramp’d at a rat’s pace,
One crawl’d like a snail,
One like a wombat prowl’d obtuse and furry,
One like a ratel tumbled hurry skurry.
She heard a voice like voice of doves
Cooing all together:
They sounded kind and full of loves
In the pleasant weather.

Laura stretch’d her gleaming neck
Like a rush-imbedded swan,
Like a lily from the beck,
Like a moonlit poplar branch,
Like a vessel at the launch
When its last restraint is gone.

Backwards up the mossy glen
Turn’d and troop’d the goblin men,
With their shrill repeated cry,
“Come buy, come buy.”
When they reach’d where Laura was
They stood stock still upon the moss,
Leering at each other,
Brother with queer brother;
Signalling each other,
Brother with sly brother.
One set his basket down,
One rear’d his plate;
One began to weave a crown
Of tendrils, leaves, and rough nuts brown
(Men sell not such in any town);
One heav’d the golden weight
Of dish and fruit to offer her:
“Come buy, come buy,” was still their cry.
Laura stared but did not stir,
Long’d but had no money:
The whisk-tail’d merchant bade her taste
In tones as smooth as honey,
The cat-faced purr’d,
The rat-faced spoke a word
Of welcome, and the snail-paced even was heard;
One parrot-voiced and jolly
Cried “Pretty Goblin” still for “Pretty Polly;”—
One whistled like a bird.

But sweet-tooth Laura spoke in haste:
“Good folk, I have no coin;
To take were to purloin:
I have no copper in my purse,
I have no silver either,
And all my gold is on the furze
That shakes in windy weather
Above the rusty heather.”
“You have much gold upon your head,”
They answer’d all together:
“Buy from us with a golden curl.”
She clipp’d a precious golden lock,
She dropp’d a tear more rare than pearl,
Then suck’d their fruit globes fair or red:
Sweeter than honey from the rock,
Stronger than man-rejoicing wine,
Clearer than water flow’d that juice;
She never tasted such before,
How should it cloy with length of use?
She suck’d and suck’d and suck’d the more
Fruits which that unknown orchard bore;
She suck’d until her lips were sore;
Then flung the emptied rinds away
But gather’d up one kernel stone,
And knew not was it night or day
As she turn’d home alone.

Lizzie met her at the gate
Full of wise upbraidings:
“Dear, you should not stay so late,
Twilight is not good for maidens;
Should not loiter in the glen
In the haunts of goblin men.
Do you not remember Jeanie,
How she met them in the moonlight,
Took their gifts both choice and many,
Ate their fruits and wore their flowers
Pluck’d from bowers
Where summer ripens at all hours?
But ever in the noonlight
She pined and pined away;
Sought them by night and day,
Found them no more, but dwindled and grew grey;
Then fell with the first snow,
While to this day no grass will grow
Where she lies low:
I planted daisies there a year ago
That never blow.
You should not loiter so.”
“Nay, hush,” said Laura:
“Nay, hush, my sister:
I ate and ate my fill,
Yet my mouth waters still;
To-morrow night I will
Buy more;” and kiss’d her:
“Have done with sorrow;
I’ll bring you plums to-morrow
Fresh on their mother twigs,
Cherries worth getting;
You cannot think what figs
My teeth have met in,
What melons icy-cold
Piled on a dish of gold
Too huge for me to hold,
What peaches with a velvet nap,
Pellucid grapes without one seed:
Odorous indeed must be the mead
Whereon they grow, and pure the wave they drink
With lilies at the brink,
And sugar-sweet their sap.”

Golden head by golden head,
Like two pigeons in one nest
Folded in each other’s wings,
They lay down in their curtain’d bed:
Like two blossoms on one stem,
Like two flakes of new-fall’n snow,
Like two wands of ivory
Tipp’d with gold for awful kings.
Moon and stars gaz’d in at them,
Wind sang to them lullaby,
Lumbering owls forbore to fly,
Not a bat flapp’d to and fro
Round their rest:
Cheek to cheek and breast to breast
Lock’d together in one nest.

Early in the morning
When the first cock crow’d his warning,
Neat like bees, as sweet and busy,
Laura rose with Lizzie:
Fetch’d in honey, milk’d the cows,
Air’d and set to rights the house,
Kneaded cakes of whitest wheat,
Cakes for dainty mouths to eat,
Next churn’d butter, whipp’d up cream,
Fed their poultry, sat and sew’d;
Talk’d as modest maidens should:
Lizzie with an open heart,
Laura in an absent dream,
One content, one sick in part;
One warbling for the mere bright day’s delight,
One longing for the night.

At length slow evening came:
They went with pitchers to the reedy brook;
Lizzie most placid in her look,
Laura most like a leaping flame.
They drew the gurgling water from its deep;
Lizzie pluck’d purple and rich golden flags,
Then turning homeward said: “The sunset flushes
Those furthest loftiest crags;
Come, Laura, not another maiden lags.
No wilful squirrel wags,
The beasts and birds are fast asleep.”
But Laura loiter’d still among the rushes
And said the bank was steep.

And said the hour was early still
The dew not fall’n, the wind not chill;
Listening ever, but not catching
The customary cry,
“Come buy, come buy,”
With its iterated jingle
Of sugar-baited words:
Not for all her watching
Once discerning even one goblin
Racing, whisking, tumbling, hobbling;
Let alone the herds
That used to tramp along the glen,
In groups or single,
Of brisk fruit-merchant men.

Till Lizzie urged, “O Laura, come;
I hear the fruit-call but I dare not look:
You should not loiter longer at this brook:
Come with me home.
The stars rise, the moon bends her arc,
Each glowworm winks her spark,
Let us get home before the night grows dark:
For clouds may gather
Though this is summer weather,
Put out the lights and drench us through;
Then if we lost our way what should we do?”

Laura turn’d cold as stone
To find her sister heard that cry alone,
That goblin cry,
“Come buy our fruits, come buy.”
Must she then buy no more such dainty fruit?
Must she no more such succous pasture find,
Gone deaf and blind?
Her tree of life droop’d from the root:
She said not one word in her heart’s sore ache;
But peering thro’ the dimness, nought discerning,
Trudg’d home, her pitcher dripping all the way;
So crept to bed, and lay
Silent till Lizzie slept;
Then sat up in a passionate yearning,
And gnash’d her teeth for baulk’d desire, and wept
As if her heart would break.

Day after day, night after night,
Laura kept watch in vain
In sullen silence of exceeding pain.
She never caught again the goblin cry:
“Come buy, come buy;”—
She never spied the goblin men
Hawking their fruits along the glen:
But when the noon wax’d bright
Her hair grew thin and grey;
She dwindled, as the fair full moon doth turn
To swift decay and burn
Her fire away.

One day remembering her kernel-stone
She set it by a wall that faced the south;
Dew’d it with tears, hoped for a root,
Watch’d for a waxing shoot,
But there came none;
It never saw the sun,
It never felt the trickling moisture run:
While with sunk eyes and faded mouth
She dream’d of melons, as a traveller sees
False waves in desert drouth
With shade of leaf-crown’d trees,
And burns the thirstier in the sandful breeze.

She no more swept the house,
Tended the fowls or cows,
Fetch’d honey, kneaded cakes of wheat,
Brought water from the brook:
But sat down listless in the chimney-nook
And would not eat.

Tender Lizzie could not bear
To watch her sister’s cankerous care
Yet not to share.
She night and morning
Caught the goblins’ cry:
“Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy;”—
Beside the brook, along the glen,
She heard the tramp of goblin men,
The yoke and stir
Poor Laura could not hear;
Long’d to buy fruit to comfort her,
But fear’d to pay too dear.
She thought of Jeanie in her grave,
Who should have been a bride;
But who for joys brides hope to have
Fell sick and died
In her gay prime,
In earliest winter time
With the first glazing rime,
With the first snow-fall of crisp winter time.

Till Laura dwindling
Seem’d knocking at Death’s door:
Then Lizzie weigh’d no more
Better and worse;
But put a silver penny in her purse,
Kiss’d Laura, cross’d the heath with clumps of furze
At twilight, halted by the brook:
And for the first time in her life
Began to listen and look.

Laugh’d every goblin
When they spied her peeping:
Came towards her hobbling,
Flying, running, leaping,
Puffing and blowing,
Chuckling, clapping, crowing,
Clucking and gobbling,
Mopping and mowing,
Full of airs and graces,
Pulling wry faces,
Demure grimaces,
Cat-like and rat-like,
Ratel- and wombat-like,
Snail-paced in a hurry,
Parrot-voiced and whistler,
Helter skelter, hurry skurry,
Chattering like magpies,
Fluttering like pigeons,
Gliding like fishes,—
Hugg’d her and kiss’d her:
Squeez’d and caress’d her:
Stretch’d up their dishes,
Panniers, and plates:
“Look at our apples
Russet and dun,
Bob at our cherries,
Bite at our peaches,
Citrons and dates,
Grapes for the asking,
Pears red with basking
Out in the sun,
Plums on their twigs;
Pluck them and suck them,
Pomegranates, figs.”—

“Good folk,” said Lizzie,
Mindful of Jeanie:
“Give me much and many: —
Held out her apron,
Toss’d them her penny.
“Nay, take a seat with us,
Honour and eat with us,”
They answer’d grinning:
“Our feast is but beginning.
Night yet is early,
Warm and dew-pearly,
Wakeful and starry:
Such fruits as these
No man can carry:
Half their bloom would fly,
Half their dew would dry,
Half their flavour would pass by.
Sit down and feast with us,
Be welcome guest with us,
Cheer you and rest with us.”—
“Thank you,” said Lizzie: “But one waits
At home alone for me:
So without further parleying,
If you will not sell me any
Of your fruits though much and many,
Give me back my silver penny
I toss’d you for a fee.”—
They began to scratch their pates,
No longer wagging, purring,
But visibly demurring,
Grunting and snarling.
One call’d her proud,
Cross-grain’d, uncivil;
Their tones wax’d loud,
Their looks were evil.
Lashing their tails
They trod and hustled her,
Elbow’d and jostled her,
Claw’d with their nails,
Barking, mewing, hissing, mocking,
Tore her gown and soil’d her stocking,
Twitch’d her hair out by the roots,
Stamp’d upon her tender feet,
Held her hands and squeez’d their fruits
Against her mouth to make her eat.

White and golden Lizzie stood,
Like a lily in a flood,—
Like a rock of blue-vein’d stone
Lash’d by tides obstreperously,—
Like a beacon left alone
In a hoary roaring sea,
Sending up a golden fire,—
Like a fruit-crown’d orange-tree
White with blossoms honey-sweet
Sore beset by wasp and bee,—
Like a royal virgin town
Topp’d with gilded dome and spire
Close beleaguer’d by a fleet
Mad to tug her standard down.

One may lead a horse to water,
Twenty cannot make him drink.
Though the goblins cuff’d and caught her,
Coax’d and fought her,
Bullied and besought her,
Scratch’d her, pinch’d her black as ink,
Kick’d and knock’d her,
Maul’d and mock’d her,
Lizzie utter’d not a word;
Would not open lip from lip
Lest they should cram a mouthful in:
But laugh’d in heart to feel the drip
Of juice that syrupp’d all her face,
And lodg’d in dimples of her chin,
And streak’d her neck which quaked like curd.
At last the evil people,
Worn out by her resistance,
Flung back her penny, kick’d their fruit
Along whichever road they took,
Not leaving root or stone or shoot;
Some writh’d into the ground,
Some div’d into the brook
With ring and ripple,
Some scudded on the gale without a sound,
Some vanish’d in the distance.

In a smart, ache, tingle,
Lizzie went her way;
Knew not was it night or day;
Sprang up the bank, tore thro’ the furze,
Threaded copse and dingle,
And heard her penny jingle
Bouncing in her purse,—
Its bounce was music to her ear.
She ran and ran
As if she fear’d some goblin man
Dogg’d her with gibe or curse
Or something worse:
But not one goblin scurried after,
Nor was she prick’d by fear;
The kind heart made her windy-paced
That urged her home quite out of breath with haste
And inward laughter.

She cried, “Laura,” up the garden,
“Did you miss me?
Come and kiss me.
Never mind my bruises,
Hug me, kiss me, suck my juices
Squeez’d from goblin fruits for you,
Goblin pulp and goblin dew.
Eat me, drink me, love me;
Laura, make much of me;
For your sake I have braved the glen
And had to do with goblin merchant men.”

Laura started from her chair,
Flung her arms up in the air,
Clutch’d her hair:
“Lizzie, Lizzie, have you tasted
For my sake the fruit forbidden?
Must your light like mine be hidden,
Your young life like mine be wasted,
Undone in mine undoing,
And ruin’d in my ruin,
Thirsty, canker’d, goblin-ridden?”—
She clung about her sister,
Kiss’d and kiss’d and kiss’d her:
Tears once again
Refresh’d her shrunken eyes,
Dropping like rain
After long sultry drouth;
Shaking with aguish fear, and pain,
She kiss’d and kiss’d her with a hungry mouth.

Her lips began to scorch,
That juice was wormwood to her tongue,
She loath’d the feast:
Writhing as one possess’d she leap’d and sung,
Rent all her robe, and wrung
Her hands in lamentable haste,
And beat her breast.
Her locks stream’d like the torch
Borne by a racer at full speed,
Or like the mane of horses in their flight,
Or like an eagle when she stems the light
Straight toward the sun,
Or like a caged thing freed,
Or like a flying flag when armies run.

Swift fire spread through her veins, knock’d at her heart,
Met the fire smouldering there
And overbore its lesser flame;
She gorged on bitterness without a name:
Ah! fool, to choose such part
Of soul-consuming care!
Sense fail’d in the mortal strife:
Like the watch-tower of a town
Which an earthquake shatters down,
Like a lightning-stricken mast,
Like a wind-uprooted tree
Spun about,
Like a foam-topp’d waterspout
Cast down headlong in the sea,
She fell at last;
Pleasure past and anguish past,
Is it death or is it life?

Life out of death.
That night long Lizzie watch’d by her,
Counted her pulse’s flagging stir,
Felt for her breath,
Held water to her lips, and cool’d her face
With tears and fanning leaves:
But when the first birds chirp’d about their eaves,
And early reapers plodded to the place
Of golden sheaves,
And dew-wet grass
Bow’d in the morning winds so brisk to pass,
And new buds with new day
Open’d of cup-like lilies on the stream,
Laura awoke as from a dream,
Laugh’d in the innocent old way,
Hugg’d Lizzie but not twice or thrice;
Her gleaming locks show’d not one thread of grey,
Her breath was sweet as May
And light danced in her eyes.

Days, weeks, months, years
Afterwards, when both were wives
With children of their own;
Their mother-hearts beset with fears,
Their lives bound up in tender lives;
Laura would call the little ones
And tell them of her early prime,
Those pleasant days long gone
Of not-returning time:
Would talk about the haunted glen,
The wicked, quaint fruit-merchant men,
Their fruits like honey to the throat
But poison in the blood;
(Men sell not such in any town):
Would tell them how her sister stood
In deadly peril to do her good,
And win the fiery antidote:
Then joining hands to little hands
Would bid them cling together,
“For there is no friend like a sister
In calm or stormy weather;
To cheer one on the tedious way,
To fetch one if one goes astray,
To lift one if one totters down,
To strengthen whilst one stands.”

- Christina Rossetti

Happy Days

Sep. 20th, 2015 02:08 pm
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
I've been feeling better and getting the hang of things at college lately. I've become accustomed to all the bugs -- they don't freak me out as much as they used to, out here in the country -- and I've fallen into a nice little routine of classes, homework, chores, bus rides, and grocery store trips. I'm starting to feel more like I'm treading water instead of drowning in it.

I've also been making new friends!

I'm now friends with several people from my feminist club on Facebook. I have one girl's number and she has a car, so she's agreed to drive me to and from meetings so I don't have to walk all the way back to campus every Wednesday night. She seems pretty cool; she goes to drag shows and is just as private and determined to abstain from alcohol as I am.

There's a guy I've befriended in American Lit class as well. I have mixed feelings about him. On one hand, he's attractive, funny, charming, and seems very interested in me whenever we meet up with each other -- kind of flirtatious, you know? On the other hand, when we're not together he almost completely ignores me. He has a rather cruel sense of humor and there are some days when he just doesn't show up to class at all, or doesn't show up prepared. However, we also have each other's numbers -- I suggested we trade numbers, because come on, he's a hot guy, what if something happens? -- and we text each other sometimes.

Finally, there's a girl I've befriended from my fiction writing class. She already has her bachelor's degree and is married to a man about ten years older than her -- they met on a bus, she sat down next to him because he was reading and she wanted to know about what he was reading, isn't that adorable? -- but she's taking this class because she wants to become a novelist. (Her husband's a professor, so she can handle the unsteady income.) We hung out at the mall and had lunch the other day, and she seemed really cool: non judgmental, easygoing, and just as big a fan of casual clothes and casual, intimate hangouts as I am. We share the same dread of parties. I helped her pick out some hand lotions as a gift for her sister in law, being more versed in smelly stuff than her.

My sister is also making friends and she just went to a football game with a few of them the other day.

All in all, good stuff is starting to happen!
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
Let's keep this short and simple. The Global Partnership for Education is having a meeting to decide whether to expand its goals to support funding for education for every girl through secondary school, as in the new United Nations Development Goals agreed upon by world leaders.

I think this is basically a no-brainer. More educated girls means a better world for everyone. That aside, when Malala Yousafzai asks you to sign a petition, you'd better shut up and listen. She's asking in her petition for us to sign to ask the GPE to expand their goals to include 12 years of education for every girl.

Here's the petition. I signed. Please sign if you agree:

https://www.change.org/p/stand-withmalala-for-girls-education?alert_id=mXhrkLotLl_4JLV5427kKhKnrCDvzVlO%2BiXPiD9TcSvIE8woKNkVQE%3D&utm_campaign=388640&utm_medium=email&utm_source=action_alert
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
Today, I took the bus back to campus in the late afternoon to go to the first feminist club meeting of the year at my university. I'd just been sick to my stomach that morning, and it was raining, and the meeting was during the early part of dinnertime, but no way was I missing this.

The meeting consists of about ten people, all but one of whom identifies as female. One of them is a guy, though. Also, one of them is Black and one of them is Trans, which I mention simply because it shows there is at least some diversity among the group. We all just sit in a little circle in the women's center, which is a dinky little room full of squashy armchairs and couches in the gym basement. And there, we talk about all things politically related, along with some other stuff that's not politically related.

Today, for example, we discussed popcorn flavors for our exhibit at a student fair. We then went on to talk about political stuff: Planned Parenthood, cultural appropriation at the VMAs, and Caitlyn Jenner. (One memorable quote: "If you're going to dress up like a trans person for Halloween, dress up as one of the trans people who died.")

There was a big feeling of acceptance. The leader of the group said that while she couldn't guarantee a safe space, just because she couldn't control other people's reactions, she could promise a brave space -- a space where it's universally acknowledged that not everyone's going to agree and speaking your opinion is brave. She also said she didn't want any shouting or name calling. One girl found out I dislike needles just as much as she does and she gave me a high-five.

In general, there was just a friendly, fun atmosphere. I was left with a good first impression. There was lots of jokes, snarking... Everyone seemed accepting of everyone else's opinions, and I got the general feeling that people were trying to be respectful. (Once, for example, another girl asked the Black girl there how she felt about dreadlocks in relation to cultural appropriation. I actually learned a lot about dreads I hadn't previously known.)

My sister went to the first meeting with me to see how it was, but she didn't like it. She's more conservative, like our parents, and she's also not very political. So she's not coming back with me, and that's okay, but I think I'm going to continue to go to meetings.

Hopefully I'll make some good friends.
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
I have taken many college classes over my career as a university student. I’ve taken western art history, college writing as it relates to rhetoric in politics and the media, and literature as it intersects with science. I’ve taken several philosophy classes, studying Nietzsche, Plato, Descartes, and Sartre. I’ve taken world history classes (one of them a fascinating course in ancient history with an ancient military specialist, and another on the modernization of China), psychology, sociology, and cultural anthropology. Then there’s been algebra, computer science, macroeconomics, and biology. I’ve taken personal and exploratory writing, two courses in western literature, a marketing course, and a course in French cinema.

Well, I just finished having my first classes of all my courses for this semester. I’ve adjusted to getting up at 7 AM, walking to school, buying groceries for myself, catching the bus, etc.

My first three classes were on Monday: American Literature, Fiction Writing, and Microeconomics.

American Lit is taught by a hunched-over old man. He’s very enthusiastic about literature, but he has the habit of trailing off muttering in the middle of a lecture... and then suddenly switching to an entirely different subject. He loves Moby Dick. He says we’re going to be reading eight full books, instead of little bits and pieces from hundreds of different ones, including some Native American poetry.

Fiction Writing is taught by a young grad student. She’s still in her “I’m going to change the world” phase of her teaching career. She thinks she’s up on our lingo and incorporates Twitter and Instagram into her coursework.

Microeconomics is taught by a calm and reasonable Hispanic lady with glasses. She didn’t exude much obvious personality, which could be an attempt on her part to remain neutral in her subject or at least seem that way.

I did find out there were three textbooks and some technology for my classes that I was supposed to have but didn’t. I got so stressed and anxious I went into a full blown episode, crying in public, arguing with my sister, and hanging up on my parents to keep from yelling at them when they told me they couldn’t afford to buy me my materials immediately.

It all worked out in the end -- I’ve emailed my teachers and ordered the materials to come later in the week -- but it was still really bothering and embarrassing.

Tuesday was better -- less nasty surprises. I had African American Literature and Poetry Writing.

African American Literature is taught by this cool white lady who has been in a band, studied African American culture in New Orleans, and is learning the Nez Perce language. She says we’re going to be studying African American music and psychosocial elements alongside their literature -- this might turn out to be my favorite class this semester. I was sort of afraid I would be the only white girl, but the class was actually mostly white girls, to be honest.

Poetry Writing was interesting. The teacher came in and he told us to arrange our desks in a Circle of Friendship (he didn’t call it that, but that’s basically what it was) and he told us to call him Bob and he said he didn’t like the idea of grades. So I thought, “Okay, hippie.” But he actually turned out to have a really calm and droll sense of humor. Think Robin Williams in one of his more serious roles. He drinks out of a hip flask and hates places with lots of people. His voice was very deep and almost hypnotic as he read different poems to us. He’s not going to assign us a book, he just wants us to pick at least one book of poetry out of the library at some point and read it. I appreciated that so much, I’m actually going to pick out a book this very week. I simply adore not being told what to do. We're each going to write and workshop one poem per week. Poetry seems like it’ll be awesome as well.

My sister and I made a good friend at the end of our second day. There’s a girl we met at the bookstore while I was trying to buy my extra textbooks; she was the checkout clerk; she seemed really nice and felt very sorry that I was so upset and we couldn’t afford them. So she came up to us today, and we got into a conversation, and I don’t know how but by the end of it we’d agreed to go out clothes shopping with her and attend a party her Church was putting on. She wants to give us new makeovers, immediately seeing her opportunity when she spied that we wear jeans and no makeup. She seems a little overbearing, but nice. She claims to have adopted us.

So at least we made a friend.

I'm also planning on meeting up with an older friend, from my last year of college, this weekend. And I'm going to start going to the local feminist club meetings. So there's more fun stuff on the way!
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
I went out with my family today. It was the last time I was going to see certain extended relatives -- the aunt I went to the lavender fields with and my Papa -- before it was time for me to move away.

We drove down in heavy traffic to the seaport to walk around there for a while. There were homeless in the streets, and street artists set up by the water. Me and my sister got some cookies at the home-made cookie shack.

We went out to dinner at a seafood grill with a seaside view. There were beautiful paintings all along the walls. It was a really expensive joint. I ate something I didn't even know how to pronounce, picked all the shrimp and scallops out of it, and then I got to sample from the dessert tray.

There was a really hot waiter there serving us. He kept calling me "miss", which was pretty cool. He was kinda into me and my sister. He seemed to be checking us out, and later my Mom said he was "friendlier than he needed to be." He kept talking directly at us and smiling and complimenting us. It felt nice. It's not like he was the first guy ever to notice me or anything -- a friend of my friend's at Comic Con once gets that honor -- but it was nice. Sometimes it's just nice to be noticed.

Papa paid over two hundred dollars to take us there. My God.

My aunt was kind of a dork, but that's as usual. She kept asking me if I was going to see any of my "past flings" before I left for a different state. I think my aunt overestimates my love life. She was really popular in high school -- sometimes I think she imprints herself over onto us.

It was dark by the time we left, but there were lanterns and fairy lights lit up along the water. We went shopping, and got some Nightmare Before Christmas mugs.
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
I hung out with my friend -- the one I went to see Paper Towns with -- again tonight. It'll probably be the last time I spend any one on one time with her before I move away permanently.

I went over to her house and we made breakfast for dinner together. We had veggie-laden scrambled eggs, grapes, and toasted bagels. Her family was there, which made it a little awkward, but they're really friendly people. Their house is an eclectic mess and they have horses out back. Just your typical working class country home.

After "dinner", my friend and I watched August Rush and ate from a bag of chocolates. Her brother watched with us. We laughed and made jokes, and my friend and I both agreed Jonathan Rhys Meyers is really hot. (We think it's partially the accent. Aaron Johnson and Christian Bale are really hot, too.)

My friend and her brother drove me home at the end of the night, which I thought was really nice of them. "My father's probably in his armchair, with his shoes off, sleeping, so it would be nice if you could drive me home," I joked.

I had a fun time!

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Hopeless Dreamer

March 2016

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