Thoughts in a Poem

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She wanted to know as much as she could.

So she thought she should read and make music from wood.

Yet when she wrote her would grew her could.

Now what she could is much more than she would.

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Dear real-life people,

How do you deal with being who you are? Or how do you deal with people knowing who you are? Now that people I know might read this blog, I’m struggling being known in a way both entirely new, and unplanned light. Anonymity meant it didn’t matter if people interpreted my writing differently, because they didn’t have anybody to attach those judgements too. But now each interpretation affects how I am perceived. Now that I’m Kira again, I can’t just be, I can’t just write, because I have to be Kira. I am burdened with the enormous task of constantly being myself.

Being me forces me to present myself, to participate more actively in Kira-ness, to somehow create a coherent image from the shards of my personality. I’ve always known people in their bubbles, bubbles that rarely overlap. Bubbles that give me freedom to participate in my full range of me. But each version is only ever just an image, a sound, a fading sense.

I’ve always found that working to keep one image prevents me from being how I feel today. Striving to meet the images others have of me keeps me tied to the past. We have this idea in our culture that it’s desirable to be consistent, as though personalities are a fixed trait that we must create and then dedicate ourselves to. Thus it isn’t until we move from high school to college, from one town to another, that we feel entitled to recreate ourselves, to present ourselves as the people we want to be.

I’ve worn so many different personalities it’s scary for me now to have one blog that’s supposed to represent, “me”. I ask you not to feel lied to if the Kira you see here is not the one you know. Because it is neither more or less my true self than the Kira you have met in person. Further, many of these blog posts I no longer feel represent who I am, but they will always represent who I was.

The Hot Mess

The Hot Mess lies somewhere between these two photos. Click on either to go to the respective photographers flickr.

There’s this practice in feminism of calling out archetypes we’re tired of seeing. People get all kinds of excited when a new one is discovered. But criticizing Hollywood is so last year. So instead, I’d like to celebrate the wonders of an Archetype I’m particularly obsessed with, the Hot Mess.

She’s fabulous. A stylish, constantly moving, always laughing, queen. Just being in her presence makes us hotter, her Facebook is somewhere between artsy and sexy, and she has almost as many boyfriends as she does colors of nail polish. But why do we really love her? Because under all that glamour we know she’s a hot mess. She probably has sever daddy issues, we know she’ll be miserable in ten years(or two months) unless something drastic changes, but right now she’s just so much fun. We cast her in bitch roles, because we are fascinated in what spectacular manner she’s going to go out.

Pop culture adores, glorifies, this lady. Usually cast as the power-bitch antagonist who rules the world (or high school) until our sweet protagonist gains a little bit of attitude, she’s set up on a pedestal to be torn down at the end. But for almost the entire movie we want to be her best frenemy. She gets stuck in our heads, her wonderful self absorption that allows her to tap dance through life, the way she instantly charms everybody but never connects, she is adored by all, yet loved by none.

This is the Madonna, Scarlett O’Harra, The B—- in Apartment 23, Amy Winehouse, Ke$ha (I mean she spells her name with a fucking dollar sign).

This is the archetype who has taught us that dating is a game, that to be fabulous is better than sustainable, that if you say you don’t want a relationship you’re crazy, that you are only young once, that boring is worse than manipulative, normal is worse than patient, and suppressing your feelings might not be healthy but sure is fun. This archetype is consuming the first decade of our adulthood.

This archetype is the escape route that we’re expected to take once we can no longer plead teenager. But lets not hate too much, I mean secretly I still wish I was one. The hot mess gets home at 5AM most nights, and then goes to school three hours later, usually looking like a hot mess. The lady’s a boss. I couldn’t do that o

nce, let alone every day.

These ladies are the ladies that take over the world (hello Madonna), the women who embrace their flaws and their strengths. The Hot Mess is undeniably a bad ass. She’s a gifted online brand manager, she has an innate sense of style and is over flowing with self confidence. But that doesn’t mean she’s not a mess.

Hot Messy Links

Are you a hot mess?

Vegas image by: adteasdale

Out of the Closet: that’s not my name (oh wait, it is)

Where have I been?

Well, literally, I’ve been in Spain. Hyperspacially, I’ve been writing for my school’s blog, Temple U Abroad under my real name, Kira. What?! I know it’s crazy. But I want to actually write once I graduate, so I figured I should start writing things I’m like comfortable sharing…

OMG, Spain!

OMG, Spain!

So yes, I have deleted a few posts to protect my friends and family (although primarily, my pride), and edited others. But hopefully my writing will be stronger, and I’ll grow from revealing so much of my true self to people that actually know my face.

Also, thanks so much for the people who have followed me and liked my writing without knowing who I am. Your feed back has been rewarding in a way my mom’s will never be. That said, welcome mom, and I hope you don’t get to weird-ed out by what you read here.

– Kira

My Fear of Feminism

I wrote about how happiness is totally over rated, here and here. I have decided that I’m no longer going to make happiness my life goal. This has had profound impacts on how I understand everything and has allowed me to delve into topics that previously made me miserable.

I burned out on feminism in high school. A lot of my male friends were ass-holes clowns that thought sexism is hilarious, and I was beginning to experience the inequalities and fucked-upness that is our patriarchy.

Jokes

Walking down the street and being ogled, hollered at, forced to be polite to strangers who think I owe them the time of day. Laughing at jokes that are calling you crazy, a bad driver, over emotional, a slave. If I didn’t laugh my friends would tell me to chill out: they were just joking. I started thinking maybe I was over reacting, it’s just a joke. But it rarely felt like one.

I never called myself a feminist, but the less I laughed at sexist jokes, or admitted I didn’t like being ogled at, the more other people began to call me feminist. They pushed the label on me, but in that label I found comfort. I started to get interested in feminism because I was angry and nobody was listening to me. I started reading feminism because I needed somebody to tell me I wasn’t crazy for being hurt by these things. I connected with a plethora of people who felt as trapped and victimized as I did, and I didn’t feel crazy.

The more of patriarchy I learned the angrier I became. But at least I wasn’t crazy. If you are forced to feel crazy in society, feminism offers you anger in exchange for insanity. When you live in a society that calls you crazy, feeling sane is very powerful. I stuck with feminism because I would rather be furious than crazy.

One of the most uncomfortable things I ever discussed was the idea that, as products of a racist, sexist, homophobic, add your -ism here, culture we cannot help but become these things. The images of scary black men are as much a part of our sub-conscious, as the victimization of woman, as the stereotyping of gays. Even though our daily experiences may not always, nor obviously, reflect these parts of our society they are within us. This is one of the many facts of patriarchy feminism brings to light that increases the burden of vagina-hood. I felt doomed to be a woman, either forever alone and independent, or in love, but a sub-partner.

Eventually I just crumpled. I gave up. I shut myself off from feminism because to continue to invest my time there was the most physically and emotionally draining thing I had ever done.

So I don’t know what to do about Feminism, except we definitely need to make it less scary and more welcoming.

*Jokes image by, Devlin Thompson. Haunted House image by, Iva’s Creations.

The Dating Game

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I have been totally obsessed with the idea that I don’t know how to play The Game. But now I wonder if maybe the reason I don’t know how to “play” it is because I’m not interested in games.

For me dating is about making genuine connections with people I’m attracted to. It’s not about playing the field or the numbers. Dating is about relationships, it’s about making a connection with somebody who I’m attracted too. It’s extremely personal, often scary, and it sure as hell is not a game.

Dating is serious for me is that I don’t feel compelled to date unless there is somebody I like. I rarely worry about being single. So when I crush it’s not about “dating” or “single” or “taken”, it’s about how much I want to be with my crush. Being alone when I want to be with somebody is a lot harder than just being alone. But thinking of dating as a game makes me feel safer. It denies the emotionally high stakes I’m wobbling around on.

While this mislabeling makes it seem less scary, it is also more harmful than helpful. When I’m attracted to someone romantically I feel as though I can’t show them how I feel. There are so many “dating rulebooks” out there. It’s like a game of poker where both parties are trying to keep the other from seeing our emotion-cards.

This is how I was always taught to crush on guys. I have spent hours worrying about whether my crush “knew” I liked him(they never did). As if my admiration would somehow give him even more power over me. But I’m already totally under his spell. If he knows that I’m under his spell that won’t make me any more under his spell.

This time around the crush-go-round, the hardest thing I’m doing is trying to show him that I am into him. Holding my cards close to my chest has been so long ingrained in me, showing him even just small glimpses of my feelings is something that I have to actively pay attention to.

*Photo by: mtnbikrrrr

I have severe performance anxiety.

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I studied opera for five years seriously enough to believe I was training to be a professional. Eventually I got worn out. Singing became something that I had to do more than something that I wanted to do. A lot of this depressing transformation came from performance anxiety.

My last concert in high school I could barely get myself on stage. Not because I was too scared and I didn’t want to go, but because my entire body was shaking so badly I couldn’t climb the three stairs to the stage.

I performed a Joss Stone song yesterday at a talent show. I guess I figured now that I’m not singing for Opera, for my family, for anybody other than me, I thought I would be OK. I was better. I wasn’t even shaking, which is really a miracle. But my body was still too tight. My vocal chords took to just closing off randomly, at least four times during the song. That’s what most people call your voice cracking.

People always tell me “you sounded really good. Just nervous.” I don’t know, maybe they think that if I know that the only thing holding me back are my nerves I’ll have some breakthrough moment and magically sing freely. Like “you just have to relax” is the easiest thing in the world.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. It is absolutely the opposite of this. The thing I’m most worried about when I perform is getting stage fight – I know it’s a horribly circular situation. So when you tell me, we can see you get stage fright you are literally confirming my worst fear.

I think stage fright is heavily stigmatized. Like stage fright is some kind of weakness that I have. That if I could just execute mind over matter I would realize there’s no reason to be nervous. But that is not how it works, and I’m sick of people telling me I just need more practice performing on stage. Uh no – I’ve been performing for five years with little to no improvement, and occasionally severe relapses. So no, just because you get nervous on stage does not mean you know understand my stagefright. You don’t know what it’s like.

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.”       – Nelson Mandela

Most people get nervous standing in front of people. I guess they think this is what stage fright is. It is not. I don’t get stage fright standing, dancing, speaking, or acting in front of people. Sometimes I’ll be a little nervous, so I know what you think stage fright is. Nervousness is not stage fright. Stage fright is a debilitating phobia.

Adele has bad stage fright. She gets severe anxiety and says, “I’ve thrown up a couple of times. Once in Brussels I projectile vomited on someone.” This is stage fright.

Barbra Streisand got stage fright once and “disappeared from the spotlight for almost three decades.” Stage fright is overwhelming.

Being the shiest girl in the room, not knowing what to do… Not really what I would qualify as stage fright. Not that I’m any kind of expert, but I’m done with people trivializing my literally debilitating fear as some kind of triviality that I just have to “get over”.

When people hear that I have stage fright, why can’t they be impressed instead of trying to fix it, despite not understanding? Impressed that despite my phobia I keep singing. Because that’s how much I love singing.

Does anybody else suffer from performance anxiety? Have you had any success reducing it? Please let me know!

*Photo by: Fred Seibert

**Famous singers with stage fright info from: about.com

I Have A Crush.

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I hate having a crush. Not having control over my emotions or my thoughts really freaks me out. The problem with crushes is that while I’m sitting in my room stuck on Someone I don’t know what Someone is thinking about. I assume it’s not me though. A crush is like experiencing rejection without the adrenaline.

But every crush seems different, so it’s hard to develop effective strategies for getting rid of crushes. That’s why I try to nip them in the bud. If you can get at the crush before it grows into a fully fledged fire breathing dragon you are usually O.K.. My technique for this usually involves avoiding seeing or thinking about the potential crush. Mind over matter is all it takes if you catch the emotions early enough.

So what happened this time? I wasn’t expecting it because he’s younger than me. Being an older woman in a relationship isn’t really accepted in our culture. It’s certainly not expected, so I didn’t expect it until …

The first time I saw him I remember thinking he would be exactly my type if he were older. But then I didn’t think on it anymore until we started sitting next to each other and talking, and walking back from class together. Once we started talking I became like really interested in him mentally, but I just continued to tell myself it was platonic. I thought all I wanted was a friendship.

I don’t know when it changed really. I saw him at a party, saw him outside of the context of the classroom. I guess that’s when something flipped in my mind.

So now I’m in a crush.

Am I just supposed to sit around and like think about him all the time? I don’t really like it, but I don’t seem able to stop.

*Photo by PaolaPlease

Finding The Middle Ground, In Two Parts.

Part I: I don’t want a relationship, no really.

There has never been middle ground with men for me. I’m a love or hate kinda gal. Mostly I’ve settled on revulsion. The loathed have included those who are physically abusive and worthy of much loathing, to gentle boys who simply made the ill-advised decision of crushing on me.

But occasionally, and notably, there have been those whom I’ve worshiped. These men(boys) I always believed I scared away. But I’m starting to suspect that in fact, I just never knew them. Literally in some cases. Why? Well, you all know the story: we choose men we know we have no chance with to avoid intimacy. It’s an over used tactic by us women-folk to avoid relationships while we’re “not ready”, but are still (obviously) secretly longing for a boyfriend…blah, blah, blah.

Here’s a new idea: maybe I just don’t want a relationship.

But I worry, that deep down I really do want one. I’m like double lying to myself to fit in, so complicated. Step one, I say I don’t want a relationship, Step two, it’s a well known secret fact that every woman want’s a relationship, step three, if you say you don’t (as many young women do, you’re in denial), step four, I begin to doubt that I actually don’t want a relationship and feel compelled to have “real” crushes on guys because that’s what you do when you (sub-consciously) want a relationship.

I know, it’s like way complicated…

Thus I propose the theory that perhaps all those lost, melodramatic 20-somethings lying to themselves about not needing anybody to keep the sting of loneliness at bay, really just don’t want a relationship.

Perhaps we honestly don’t want a relationship, and we can stop forcing ourselves to crush on guys and then drive them away with our sudden realization (always a little late) that we actually don’t want this. Instead, we can allow ourselves to make strong friendships with these men! We don’t have to love or hate you, we could just be friends…I think, although it seems all of popular culture disagrees with me on this one.

Part II: Just Friends

So what does this have to do with friends? Well the idea that we girls all really want relationships (even if, especially if, we say we don’t) means that all guys have to be on the look-out for clingy(read: all) girls. While us girls have been fed this image of men as carnivorous sex-havers and we have to be careful not to lead them on…which is apparently very easy.

Now that I’m coming to terms with the idea that maybe I do know myself better than The Media et-all and I actually, genuinely don’t want a relationship I don’t need to be scared of a guy friend sneaking into my life and then BAM sex-having, relationship-making with me. I don’t want a relationship, no really, and, clearly, I have a say about who I commit to.

Still I’m unsure how to proceed with this as I am hyper-paranoid and suspicious that all men whom meet me also want to sleep with me. Am I crazy for fearing this, or are there simply no platonic man-woman relationships presented in our media?

Fuck Happiness. So what now?

I’ve written before on how debilitating making happiness your “life goal” is.

I would say that happiness is what happens while you’re making other plans. So what plans should I make? I’ve spent my whole life setting myself up to be “happy”, thinking this was all I wanted from life. Turns out that is neither what I want, nor how to find happiness.

Can you just live without trying to achieve some goal? This sounds terribly dull to me. So perhaps entertainment is what I desire from life, to make consequential connections with people, to experience new places and situations, to fall in love, to change the world. These are only what are on my mind now, but isn’t knowing what you don’t want the other half of the battle? Fuck happiness.

Here are some songs:

I posted this article yesterday, I’m posting it again. How society tricks us into thinking happiness is the only acceptable reaction. You are not crazy.