Would You Rather

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Being alive in 2018 is, as I noted in a Facebook post today before I decided I wanted to be more verbose, like playing the shittiest game of “would you rather” ever, where the questions are made up by terrible people and the stakes are a lot higher than who buys the next round. Continue reading

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So what do you do?

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It’s easier to say if I blur the words together, you know? I’m a freelancewriterandeditor. Fortunately I rarely go to the kinds of parties where people conflate your job and identity anymore. And of course there’s a followup question, what did you write that I’ve read, which is even worse.

I mean, nothing if you don’t read some extremely boutique legal theory or that one viral essay.

Still, 425,000 words of novel happened somewhere in there (don’t worry, it’s only about 360K now). 90K on the novel no-one wants. Uncountable thousands on side projects, essays, poetry. A 5,000+ word detective story. A horror retelling of a folk song (but aren’t most folk songs)? Let’s not forget the story that was, memorably, rejected, with a note saying “If you ever write anything else just like this please submit it to us.”

So what do you do?

I, um. I make other people’s writing say what they want it to say.

What?

I’m a writer.

It just slips out sometimes, but I like the sound of it.

Does anybody know a good editor though, because I could use one.

Pediment or Impediment?

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In architecture, a pediment is the nifty triangular thing that goes above the columns on classical Greek temple fronts (and alllllll the architectural styles that later mimicked that imagery). You know: it’s the bit on the real or fake pedestals.

I want to talk to you about pedestals, but not the real ones. Let’s talk about the pedestals that some folks claim to put their partners on – and why that’s a huge red flag.

It sounds pretty great, though, doesn’t it? “I put my lovers on a pedestal.” Sounds like “I worship them” or “I look up to them.” But it’s not. It’s “I don’t want to interact with my lovers as though they were humans, or be bothered by anything that isn’t my ideal image of what they should be like.”

When someone says they’re putting you on a pedestal, here’s what it means:

  • They don’t intend to interact with you as an equal. In fact, it would be better if you just shut up and let them continue to project their image of you.
  • They expect you to be grateful for their “worship” which may take the form of gifts or gestures that you don’t find meaningful or may actively dislike. Expressing anything but gratitude may result in you being branded “high maintenance” or “cruel.”
  • They don’t want to be contradicted about anything, especially their vision of you. If you have your own likes or dislikes or interests outside of their vision, they will consider those individuations “defects.”
  • They expect you not to challenge their own perfection: after all, everything they are doing is for you, why are you so ungrateful for it?

I know that doesn’t sound much like worship. In fact, it kinda sounds like you’re supposed to be worshipping them, doesn’t it? Hate to tell you, but that’s the thing encoded in “I put my lovers on a pedestal” – it’s a reverse Pygmalion effect. I mean, I think it would be great if Pygmalion and Galatea lived happily ever after, but I strongly suspect that as soon as she wanted something he didn’t want her to want, he started treating her like shit.

It’s at the base of a lot of incel and MGTOW bullshit, too. (Link to wehuntedthemammoth for folks somehow still unfamiliar with the terms. This is a deep rabbit hole. Wear waders and prepare to bathe in bleach afterward, even through the sanitizing filter of WHtM perceptions.) “Why won’t women just be GRATEFUL for the attention WE want to give them, the WAY we want? Why do they have to be actual people with actual preferences that we might have to pay attention to?”

Here’s the thing: That pedestal feels great when you’re climbing up onto it. It takes a while to realize that you can’t actually be seen up there. But don’t you deserve to be seen, and appreciated, for all of yourself rather than a foreshortened and idealized view? I think you deserve it.

 

On Lessons Learned

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I don’t know, y’all. Some days it feels like the world is falling apart around us. Other days I see kids on Tumblr making up words for concepts we should have had when I was their age and I think we’re gonna be okay. I mean, it’s probably a combination of the two, you know?  In the meantime my nephew is graduating 8th grade on Friday. I don’t have kids – don’t want any, either – but I aunt well enough, I think. Or at least I have references from littles who have grown into adults I’m terribly proud to know that say I do. Continue reading

What Food Eats

So I just wrapped up a Whole30. Don’t @ me. Cleanses are bullshit but it’s not a bad idea once in a while to remind yourself that at least for a month you CAN make all your own meals, skip the soda, eat enough vegetables, and drink liquids that aren’t bourbon. And tomorrow I’m having a fucking pizza and root beer because I’m an adult and I’ve done this often enough to know that I don’t have food allergies. Continue reading