Thursday, February 15, 2018

Don't feed the mean girls: Sorority life, ten years later

The hardest lesson I've ever had to learn was this: Everyone is not for you.

Those sorority sisters you sang songs with and passed candles with and pledged loyalty to? About 95% of them will stop talking to you after graduation.

And it's fine. It will hurt, but it will be fine.

The other 5% will consist of a few very close friends and a few sisters who are legitimately good people, who reach out when you're struggling or offer to help you move, even though you haven't talked in months.

They try.
They are for you.

But the forgetful 95% of those sisters are the painful ones. They'll force you to grow into this world full of hope and disappointment, and they'll show you the side of friendship that is perhaps the most painful to learn:

Most friendships are seasonal.

One day you'll hear about an entire bridal party making fun of you-- loudly. You'll realize that bridal party is full of people who are cruel and need to make fun of others from a decade before to feel secure about their lives. How bored they must be, if they don't have anything new to discuss.

And then the sting-- you find out who was laughing at your expense.

This was the kick in the ass to remove those people from my life. No ritualistic bond will hold me hostage to a friends list full of horrible humans.

One heart, one way though.

It's not me, it's you.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

It's not you, it's me.

Sometimes it just aches, you know? 

Depression.

I talk about it. I talk about it A LOT. Because we should.

I'm at work this week, after an amazing and long Christmas weekend. It was magical. I wouldn't change anything about it.

The house is back in order. I've removed the beautiful, but now-dead, tree from the corner of the living room and put my paintings back where they go.

There is something very cathartic about decorating for Christmas. Ritualistic almost. And having grown up in a religious home and then having later joined a sorority, it seems ritual has become really comforting to me in rough times. So the second the tree is in its stand, Mannheim Steamroller's Christmas album goes on Spotify and off I go.

But I also look forward to the fresh start that comes when Christmas is over. The return to a fresh, familiar space is equally as ritualistic for me. So last night I performed this ritual with an unprecedented meticulousness. I was on a mission.

Today I feel really low. I've been at work this week, but barely. My body has been sitting at my desk. My smile has been smiling. I'm crumbling on the inside. I can't tell you why, and that's how I know it's my depression. And since my limbs are all in place and on the outside, I look totally healthy, I'm really fighting to keep my head above water. 

This year has been exhausting. It's been horrible for most of us. Everyone is ready to see it go, and I am right there with them. But a few good things have happened this year worth mentioning. I will try to focus on those things while the fog lifts.

In the meantime, here's to a better 2017 for us all-- after all, it's now up to us.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

#notmypresident

We are taught to stand. We are taught to put our hands over our hearts and pledge allegiance to the United States of America. We do this in kindergarten classes and at football games and graduations and we do it because we are told to do it.

We are taught that patriotism is the only way-- that America is a wonderful country full of opportunity and hope. We are taught that our civic duty to vote is a blessing and that the troops keep us free so we can do it.

We are taught to wear yellow ribbons. We are told that these men and women are serving to "keep us free and safe." We prioritize soldiers on flights, ushering them quickly through the VIP lines because of "their great sacrifice."

And for what? What have they sacrificed for? What democracy is there for anyone who isn't white and male?

The American judicial system favors anyone with money or connections, not the innocent.
The American education system does not encourage free thought or critical thinking.
The American healthcare system prioritizes drug company profits over human health.
The American agricultural system favors the food industry profits over the environment.

So when I do not stand during your anthem, don't be surprised. When I do not celebrate freedom on the 4th of July, save your hate mail.

We are not the land of the free.
That man is not my president.
We should be ashamed of ourselves.

Friday, October 14, 2016

More important things

A friend of mine forgave me this week for being merciless and cruel to her during a political discussion. She taught me that there are usually more important things in life than being right.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Loose Woman

They say I’m a beast.
And feast on it. When all along
I thought that’s what a woman was.

They say I’m a bitch.
Or witch. I’ve claimed
the same and never winced.

They say I’m a macha, hell on wheels,
viva-la-vulva, fire and brimstone,
man-hating, devastating,
boogey-woman lesbian.
Not necessarily,
but I like the compliment.

The mob arrives with stones and sticks
to maim and lame and do me in.
All the same, when I open my mouth,
they wobble like gin.

Diamonds and pearls
tumble from my tongue.
Or toads and serpents.
Depending on the mood I’m in.

I like the itch I provoke.
The rustle of rumor
like crinoline.

I am the woman of myth and bullshit.
(True. I authored some of it.)
I built my little house of ill repute.
Brick by brick. Labored,
loved and masoned it.

I live like so.
Heart as sail, ballast, rudder, bow.
Rowdy. Indulgent to excess.
My sin and success–
I think of me to gluttony.

By all accounts I am
a danger to society.
I’m Pancha Villa.
I break laws,
upset the natural order,
anguish the Pope and make fathers cry.
I am beyond the jaw of law.
I’m la desperada, most-wanted public enemy.
My happy picture grinning from the wall.

I strike terror among the men.
I can’t be bothered what they think.
¡Que se vayan a la ching chang chong!
For this, the cross, the calvary.
In other words, I’m anarchy.

I’m an aim-well,
shoot-sharp,
sharp-tongued,
sharp-thinking,
fast-speaking,
foot-loose,
loose-tongued,
let-loose,
woman-on-the-loose
loose woman.
Beware, honey.

I’m Bitch. Beast. Macha.
¡W├íchale!
Ping! Ping! Ping!
I break things.

Sandra Cisneros