people > places > things

Is this Water?

Jessie MaComment

My company's office sits at the invisible border between Downtown LA's Fashion District and Downtown LA's Skid Row. When we first moved in, every morning's commute felt like I entered a new course in a racing game. People, tents, shopping carts, and a host of mystery objects would re-map the area not just overnight, but as I was driving – as if forcing me to pay attention to the scene. As if to say, "Look at you, driving your car to your office, to work a job you love, buy a $6 coffee downstairs, then get a $13 sandwich for lunch." I felt physically stripped of any permission to be passive about my privilege.

Now here's a euphemistic way of framing this strange guilt:

The silver lining of the world's tragedies is that it prompts us to count our blessings.

And I did. I counted mine. Every single morning. 


It's been a little over a year since I started making that commute.

One morning last week, after a night of poor, poor decision making to drink on a weekday, I took a Lyft to work. A shared Lyft, because I try to be frugal like that (ignore the aforementioned $19 meal). Anyway,

Apparently it was both my driver and the other passenger's first time seeing Skid Row. And they were not shy about their reactions:

"Oh my god..."
"Is this for real?? Terrible, so sad..."
"Does the
city do anything about this?"

I say nothing. They keep going.

"I hope so... But I guess... I feel really, really lucky right now."
"Right? Jesus Christ."

Huh.


Night Vision

Despite people still jumping in front of my car every morning.
Despite having to hopscotch between littered needles on the ground.
Despite the persisting, piercing concoction of smells I don't wanna sniff but I also don't wanna breathe, so I'm almost always holding my breath.
Despite the drug busts and arrests I can't help but rubberneck at.
Despite, even, the occasional man jacking himself off on the side of the street...

I had gotten used to Skid Row.

So used to it, that I stopped seeing it.


The human mind's ability to adapt is an astonishing, kind of miraculous, and hugely advantageous thing.

Your lover leaves you, and you are devastated. You cry and cry, you think you can't live without this person, how could you possi- 
Then you get over them.

The first time the tattoo needle breaks your skin, it feels like fire.
Then you stop noticing it.

Instagram completely changes its UI and you hate it.
Then the next day, you have no fucking clue what it used to look like.

Our first interactions with negative stimuli or emotion are always the most potent.

As time passes (and it's important to note that it's not the passage of time itself that does this, but our inner mechanics at work during that time), AHEM - as time passes, we grow to accept that baseline.


Adapting to misfortune can be good. There are certain things in life we cannot change, and rage against those immovable objects is a senseless waste of energy. (And we can more wisely allocate that energy to the things we can actually control.)

But the flipside to that is: we're also very able to adapt to fortune, as well.

You meet the "Love of Your Life," fall madly in love, 
Then you get used to having them around. You start taking them for granted. Stop putting in effort. Don't quite remember what the madness felt like.

You make some money,
Then you get used to the money, then you want more money. Ugh – I don't need to explain how the rat race works.

Basically,

We get used to the good.

So used to it, that we stop seeing it, too.


Is "Enough" Enough?

I adapt to good things very, very well.

This mentality is great for progress – and completely necessary if you work in business. You should never grow comfortable with where you are, you should always keep pushing the boundary, keep asking why, keep doing bigger and better. That's how great artists, athletes, entrepreneurs, and innovators leave their marks.

But beyond work (and maybe even within it), it can be very, very dangerous.

This is the same mindset that shrunk 14-year old me from 110 pounds to 96, to 88, to 85, right into a treatment center.
This is the same mindset that took me from being able to survive off $1000 a month, to being "broke" on a livable salary.
This is the same mindset that keeps me awake at night, obsessing over how I can outdo what I did today, tomorrow.

It keeps me unhappy with what is because I'm too focused on what could be. 

I can't see anything good.


In the mornings now, even after realizing I had stopped doing so, I still don’t “count my blessings.”

Instead, I say,

"This is Water, right?

This is the Water."

It's a reference to the motif in David Foster Wallace's famous commencement speech he made in 2005 –

There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”

Everything.

Everyone.

Skid row, the office. This traffic light, this traffic, the overplayed song on the radio. My arms, my legs, my eyes, my voice. My coworkers, my parking attendant, my barista, my mother who just texted me. The dog poop on the ground. The sunlight soaking my face.

Perhaps gratitude is, indeed, the undercurrent of happiness. But trying to recognize the good things is impossible if I'm not even looking.

Blessings or tragedies, this is my life, this is my water. It takes no adapting to nor growing out of. This is what is, and before learning to be happy with it, I need to be in it. I need to swim.

As We Are

Jessie MaComment

 The lights in our brains

1.  I used to have this big, bright yellow SUV. My friends who knew I drove that car would tell me, “I never noticed them before, but now – every time I see a yellow car, I think of you."

2. In one episode of Bob’s Burgers, the restaurant receives a harsh review from a food critic who describes their burgers as “overdone and dry.” After the review comes out, Teddy, who eats at Bob’s every day and had never once expressed dissatisfaction, says:

“I don’t know Bobby, it just tastes a little… overdone and dry or something."
Bob: “Overdone and dry, Teddy?? You’re just quoting the review!”

“No, I know, it’s just – now I have words to put to my tastes.”

3. There are some emotions that entire populations of people straight up DO NOT FEEL because their language does not have a word for it.

4. I once stopped being attracted to a crush after my friends pointed out his "crazy eyes.” Because gosh dangit, they weren’t wrong – from a certain angle, he looked like an axe murderer. I couldn’t unsee it; they ruined him for me…


As we are

"We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are.”

You know how our eyes can only see some ridiculously small part of what we're looking at, and our brain basically fills in the rest of the frame using context and history and blah blah? That's not just true for vision – that's how we construct our entire realities.

We're born with our DNA, but it's everything else – everything we see, experience, every person we meet, every failure we suffer, every pain we endure, every joy we celebrate – that molds the contours of our brains and primes it for future perception.

The world I see is not the world you see; we've both designed our own versions of it according to the unique blueprints of our pasts. 

And those 4 stories are micro-manifestations of this: How thoughts, feelings, observations, experiences, and interactions operate on what are, more or less, our personal projections.

If I hadn't lit that light in my friends' brains, then maybe they'd have gone through life never noticing big yellow cars...


The price of who we are

Here’s another story. This one’s a kicker.

5. In this episode of Invisibilia, we dive into the story of a truck driver named Tommy. Tommy is driving along his usual route. Coming from the opposite direction in their Grand Prix is a husband, his wife, and their little daughter Makayla.

It starts raining. The husband loses control of the wheel. The family's car spins, skids, and crashes into Tommy.

Makayla dies in the crash.

The truck driver suffers no physical damage, but experiences severe PTSD from being so closely involved in the death of a child. He cannot return to work for months and can barely function.

So, he sues the parents who just lost their daughter... for his emotional distress...

and wins the case.

WUT.


As He Was

Tommy wasn't somebody who could feel his aching heart and consider it a natural response to a traumatic event. No, no – he had a different set of lights in his brain. From childhood, Tommy was taught that "men are supposed to be in control of their feelings," and that no amount of trauma should shake a him.

But of course he was shook.

His grief surrounding Makayla's death went on to compete, intensely, with his way of being – the reality he grew up with – the only truth he knew... That he was supposed to be a man! Men don't cry! Men don't show emotion! Men shouldn't...

"How I should be" to "How I am" ...The bigger that gap, the more unbearable the torture. And for Tommy, it was so big that – well, that it warranted a lawsuit.


Trauma VS. Triggerer

I thought this case was insane. But it forces you to wonder: Who's really at fault for the damage? The one with the sore spot? Or the one who (without intent) hits it?

CASE STUDYYYY

I was once in a relationship that brought up all my past trauma. Every single one.

And they weren't out of the ordinary insecurities, either. I fear: being cheated on, lied to, abandoned, used. You know, the uje.

But every time I voiced how his words or actions would trigger something in me...

Rather than a healthy negotiation of, "Oh wow, I'm sorry – how can I not hurt you?"

His response was, "Maybe you should work on getting less hurt."

Oh.

He put other women before me and said

I should go to therapy for my insecurities.

He'd leave and ignore me

and bought me self-help books to deal with the anxiety

that I got...

from being left and ignored. 

He re-lit all of the parts in my brain that I never wanted to light again. Then he shamed me for having those parts at all. Shamed me, essentially, for being who I am.


"The things we fear most have already happened to us."

I think it's ridiculous for somebody to throw daggers at you (or, what you perceive as daggers) and then blame you for bleeding.

But to his point – there is plenty of benefit to strengthening yourself to rise above your weaknesses. Maybe I am too fuckin' sensitive. (But maybe he was insensitive, too.)

So both people in the equation (really, all people in the world) have a dual responsibility of being mindful of others + being self-actualized enough to not be so affected by every negative stimulus.

Makayla's family (to put it plainly), got pretty unlucky with whom they got in an accident with. If Tommy was somebody who'd learned to process his emotions, they probably wouldn't have gotten sued. But they didn't have any control over the situation – not the accident, nor the deeper makings of Tommy's identity/reality.

But unlike this tragic incident, the great thing about relationships (not just romantic ones) is that you can choose who to be with/around and how to navigate them.

Attraction between two people is only the first funnel.

A few funnels after that – the harder ones to go through, are the ones that tell you if this person is going to work with your fears.

  • Can they see / understand what hurts you?

  • If they don't at first (that's okay, we're all different people), are they willing to try to see / understand?

  • Are you both willing to communicate to help them see / understand?

  • Are you both able to compromise for their reality, without feeling like you're jeopardizing your identity or principles?

We all get an innate sense of who feels good. In our gut. We can also recognize who can hurt us, who can brings our insecurities to life.

The trick is to not let your fear of the latter hold you back from experiencing good things.

And to keep your blind trust in the former from getting you jaded again.

Because no one is trying to hurt you. And you're not trying to hurt anyone.

But they will. And you will, too.

The fact that we're different people in our own worlds requires communication and patience.

That's the only way we'd be able to see – eye to eye with someone else,

and not just as we are.


Why I Don't Fuck With "Nice" Guys (OR Girls)

Jessie MaComment

I: First Of All, There’s No Such Thing (To Me)

In my last post about “Intro/Extroversion”, I explained how I’m not very fond of the idea of “types of people.”

"She's the kind of person that..."
"Our relationships is...."
"I'm a..."

To me, the generality of labels unfairly rule out the gloriously complex nature of a person or relationship or feeling or event.

...As much as one can predominantly lean toward being a "Something," so much of human behavior is unpredictable.

I don’t get married to the idea that I’m a “good/nice person” or even a “bad person” because I don’t think of anyone as any “type of person.”  


II: There Is, However, The Choice To Act

One time, a friend had made a huge mistake and was grappling with a lot of guilt and self-loathing.

I tried to console him by saying “You’re not what you do,” to which he replied,

“Actually, Jessie, you are exactly what you do.”

I didn’t realize how right he was. You are what you do.

If you smoke, you are a smoker. If you quit, then you are, in effect, not a smoker anymore.

If you are a lawyer, but leave your firm to start selling cupcakes, you’re now a baker! (And ex-lawyer.)

But we must be careful not give too much credit to one-off instances. If you cheat once, you’re not defined as a cheater. You were. And if you continue to – you still are. But if you made an isolated mistake, admit it, atone for it – then you’re someone who has cheated, but is not currently “a cheater” (And hopefully your partner, whether you stayed together or not, can also see themselves as someone who had been, but is not being cheated on.)

So, correction: You are what you repeatedly do.

Maybe this is too simple a way to “define” people – but like I said, I’m not a fan of doing that anyway.

I’m glad to have found actions as a way to, in my eyes, see people in a way that’s not restrictive, but flexible and empowering. Because –

If who you are depends on what you do,
And you have control over what you do,
Then you have control over who you are.


III: Using This Control To Your Advantage

This has been a surprisingly therapeutic way for me to think. Not only does it give me control over “who I am,”

It makes me more forgiving of others:

My friend got deeply hurt by someone she trusted.

But she was able to forgive them and remain on good terms.

I, a level 9000 Grudge Holder, asked incredulously,

“How can you be so understanding? So forgiving?”

“Because I’ve done so much bad shit, too.”

Here’s a fact that’s neither good nor bad, purely a fact:
People kinda suck sometimes. Including yourself.

We are all capable of darkness, deception, of neglecting and hurting others, of being selfish and careless and bitchy and rude. Maybe you’re like, ~awesome~ 99.9% of the time – I mean, you don’t necessarily have to succumb to every bad impulse. But you do make mistakes, too. And those mistakes are things you have done, not who you are.

What’s important is that you are aware of how dark your thoughts get, how shitty your actions can be, how capable you are of destroying someone else. Knowing how flawed you are allows you to find forgiveness for others, recognizing them as being just as human.

And it makes you more enlightened as a whole:

I truly believe that people can only meet you as deeply as they’ve met themselves. My biggest turn-off is when someone fumbles around with what they perceive as “niceness” with an almost ignorant naiveté, as that is all they have met.

I’m attracted to people who are a little fucked up, who’ve seen themselves be cruel, who’ve felt scary amounts of anger and hatred and rage, who, in all, have familiarity and fluency with both their good and bad parts, and make the choice to do the right thing, anyway.

NOT because "good" is all they know. But because they see their own full spectrum of capabilities, and decide on it.


IV: Context Is King

It’s pretty clear by now that I don't care who people "are," rather, what they choose to do.

But what makes your actions "good"?

Well, as with all things, that's contextual.

Let’s say a man goes to church, pays his taxes, but cheats on his wife and gives no love to his children. Is he “good”?

Depends on the context, right? Good man of Christ, responsible citizen. But bad husband and neglectful father. 

Does how "good" your actions are
depend on who's watching you?

In Better Call Saul, a spin-off show from Breaking Bad, protagonist Saul Goodman (AKA Jimmy McGill) is a lawyer who consistently skirts around the law to get things done in his own, sometimes questionable, way. In stark contrast, his brother Chuck (also a lawyer), abides strictly by the book. Chuck sees Saul’s methods as being inadmissible, almost personally offensive, no matter how successful the outcomes are.

When I first read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, I found a heroine in Lisbeth Salander. She’s the victim of so many evils, and goes on to find retribution in creative, illegal, dangerous, but (to the reader – at  least, to this reader,) admirable ways. Fuck rules, she gets justice. Her prerogative.

I side with Chuck and Lisbeth. People who watch themselves.

I don’t think it’s necessary to go to such extremes, per se (I mean, these stories are fictional), but to me, being/doing “good” is not exemplified by following someone else’s (even the Bible’s or society’s) set of moral codes and rituals. To me,

Altruism is instead defined by
your ability to create your own set of moral values
and stick to them

Does the ideal of “who you are” matter as much as the reality of what you do?

And can “what you do” stand its own ground in your own context?


V: MY Context Is “People That I Love”

One of my best qualities is that I’m not a “nice person." At least, I’m not nice to everyone.

In fact, I don't prefer to even be friends with "nice people."

Not because I don't like them, but because THEY TERRIFY ME. 

The worst thing you can do to someone
is pretend to like them when you don't

Manners and civility don't scare me. Duplicity and FAKENESS scare me. 

If I don’t like you, YOU WILL KNOW THAT I DON’T LIKE YOU. (But I dislike like, maybe 2 people total lol).

Niceness for the sake of being nice, is an overrated, overvalued, highly inefficient, sometimes hurtful value.

The outline of integrity that I created is based on the people I love. I'm open to loving anyone – but it's fair to say that I don't treat everyone the same. The love I have for dancers in the community is different for the love I have for my mom. 

I'm a "good person" in "my own context"
through my dedication to the people that I love,
(not people in general)
based on how they want to be treated.

Is it because I'm Asian (collectivist culture) and my sense of "in-group" is strong AF? Doesn't really make sense because I didn't really grow up there... :thinking emoji:

Or maybe I'm just sOoOo loveless and stingy that I can't afford niceness to anyone other than those I love? But I am open to everyone, it just takes some time??? 

Orrr, DOES IT MAKE COMPLETE SENSE because even evolutionarily, we're taught to fend for ourselves and our tribes. If you tried to give to everyone equally (communism much?), a group of strangers might live a day longer, but your family lives a day shorter. 

Who's a "good person" to me?

Someone who can defend and serve themselves & their people.


VI: Don't Be A Nice Person, Be A GOOD Person

I know I sound like a gigantic asshole. As if I don't care about anyone other than me & my own. 

I do have basic respect and empathy for all living things. I stand by those I love in practical ways, not at the expense of others.

Friend 1: *talks shit about my Friend 2*

Nice Person: Hahahaha um.. yeah hah.

Good Person: Hey, that's not cool, she's my friend. If you have an issue with her maybe you can talk to her privately but I don't think it's right to bad-mouth her behind her back like this. 

Good Person – No disrespect to Friend 1. Just saying what needs to be said.

Nice Person – Spinelessly avoiding any confrontation to keep peace in current situation, not in the full reality of situation.

I used to be such a people-pleaser. I never spoke up about things that mattered to me, or even defended those important to me – even myself. I would never take sick days or show that I was hurt when someone hurt me. I'd never say "no" to favors, no matter how outrageous they were and how much I had to sacrifice for someone that gave no shits. 

I was way, way too nice.

On some level, I knew my "niceness" was a sign of emotional immaturity. I knew I was hurting people I loved (including myself) by not being able to assert my "goodness." To be there for me and the things that actually matter to me.

I'm not an asshole about it, but I say "no" now. Er – "no, thank you." And if someone hurts me or someone I love, I say something.

I don't think I'm a good person, but I try to choose good actions based on my hierarchy of goodness, where people I love always come first.

I'm not nice all the time, to everyone.

But I like myself better this way.

Me, My Mom, & Our Shared Depression

Jessie Ma1 Comment

The only person who feels sorry for my mom is herself. 

My mom, AKA MamaMa, is one of the most hilarious, creative, intelligent, and compassionate people alive. Ask anyone, and they’ll tell you the same.

At almost 60 years old, she still plays the piano, practices calligraphy, is all of her friends’ favorite chef, and makes those freaking beautiful egg figurine thingies. Like wut.

Beyond that, her brain runs well – and fast. A Linguistics graduate from UCI, she loves showing off her fluency in multiple languages. She’s witty and sassy and regularly tells me stories of the last time she made her coworkers keel over in laughter.

My friends adore her. I adore her. I admire her and cherish her more than anything in the world.

And it continually breaks my heart to see her so unhappy.


Even with all these amazing qualities, she is still a deeply flawed human being (as all of us are) – yet refuses to grow or even try to grow. Whether it’s due to childhood conditioning, fear, or just plain fixed-minded stubbornness, there’s this huge wall between her flaws and her better self. 

She’s convinced that everyone else is the problem. She treats me as her property and loses all composure if I step out of her control. She throws these tantrums to my dad, and blames him for the stalemate, failing to see a different way to approach a conversation... Even after decades of marriage. She pushes people away and isolates herself. She tells herself that she’s not talented, she’s not smart, she’s not worthy – all these lies that I want to physically swat away. But of course I can’t – they live in her head. 

There is nothing “wrong” with her. She can be very, veryyy happy if she chose to be. So I urge her, every day, to choose to believe in herself. More than I want her to be happy, I want her to want to be happy. But ––

“This is just how I am, Jessie.”
“If no one Loves me, if I am alone for the rest of my life, then so be it.”
“People don’t change."

Oh hell no.

I care about her so much, but I admit that my advocacy for her growth is partially a projection. I recognize SO MANY tendencies that we share – self-victimizing, being possessive and controlling, liking the familiarity of our depression… 

But a difference (which I pray won’t be a difference for too long) is that

I WANT To live a better life. 

And I BELIEVE that I can.

Because this isn’t the future I see for myself. Or for her, for that matter.


Depression is a sort of comfortable hell. It feels safe, because you can’t possibly get any lower than that (or so you think). It’s not random or easy for someone with zero desire at all, to attain the desire to get better.

It takes an army. There was a combination of a lot of events, in a strangely well-timed succession... The echoes of a voice that’s been screaming at me to be better, the 6 days straight I spent with my mom trying to lift her out of self-pity, books I found that feel like they were written by a wiser self, a helluva lot to lose with the momentum I’ve built on my career and aspirations, a personal vow to never again hurt people the way I have, and the un-ignorable reminders (thanks, birthday & Thanksgiving) that I’m surrounded by so much Love, so many people who want me to be happy, so many pockets of “family” that support me, so much of ME that lives on, even when I feel like nothing.

For them. For me. I want a better life. So I make the choice to live better. I’m discovering more and more, every single day, what constitutes “happiness,” or even “peace” for me. Though my mom disapproves of my lifestyle (uh what, working 10 hours a day and dancing for a non-profit org??? oh jessie u hooligan), she still sees me fighting for my right to be happy. She sees me read and pray and study and journal and Love, Love, Love, anyway. She sees me refusing. I refuse. I refuse to let my strengths, my Love, my happiness to be suffocated by insecurity, stubbornness, and laziness. I refuse to let my creativity and ideas to never take form because of fear. I refuse to let my bitterness reject and judge others. I refuse to be around anyone for any other reason than to Love them. I refuse to be 60 and stay thinking that wallowing is as good as it gets. 

I can’t help her if she doesn’t want to be helped, I can’t lift her if she insists on staying anchored in her lows. So the best and only thing I can do right now is maintain focus on improving myself. Because, unlike her, I have the advantage of awareness: I have witnessed her go through her life in this state, letting slip away so many opportunities for happiness that would’ve multiplied onto itself and made living so much sweeter. And I don’t want that. To lose more than I have lost already. I also have the advantage of being more “Western”-minded: open to therapy, medication, self-help books, even talking to my friends about my struggle. I also have another advantage of having been both the victim and the villain in our depression, and this is enough to make me wanna be neither, to do everything in my power to choose a better path. I take these as omens to endorse my growth, and truck along. 


I know it’s possible. It’s happening, everywhere, in every way.

Through work, I meet dancers who have never been able to clap on beat train until they’re doing pieces of choreography. Through Faith, I meet people who had no purpose find ultimate meaning in God. Through literature, I read testimonies of people who overcame their alcoholism or eating disorder or other personal poisons. Through my own sheer will to accomplish my goals, I fight my ADHD, ignore my laziness, stomp on my insecurities, and create. I quit smoking. I started exercising. By constantly making the choice to improve and seeing improvement, I’m forced to believe in our brain’s abilities to connect new synapses, forge new pathways, habits, ways of thought, lifestyles. More than that, I believe in the power of the human spirit. How incredibly, miraculously we are able to rebuild ourselves once we find the reason and the way. Or just, realize that we can. 

I believe, with all my heart, that as long as I choose to be better, I will be. 

And I trust that God / the Universe has my back – that however this is meant to unfold, it will. 

Knowing these two things, there is no conceivable reason for me to worry. 


When I left my mom’s house after Thanksgiving break, during which we had several frustrating, unproductive(?) discussions about her mental health...

She hugged me goodbye, and said “I Love you baby. I’m trying, too.”

 

Oh we FUCKED fucked, huh? (Unless we do something.)

Jessie MaComment

There was once a time, not too long ago, when I had the privilege of finding politics boring.


In this episode of his podcast, John Green talks about the terrifying terrors of climate change and even more terrifying ease with which the “rich world” can feel separated from them.

It can be 120° outside but many of us can turn on the A/C to a comfortable 74°. We can go to the grocery store and get strawberries during any season of the year.

Even if climate change is happening, it’s not happening in our lives.

If you were a farmer, surfer, or if you were homeless, you’d care about climate change because you have to. You’d care because it's real to you.


The day Trump became President, I moved through the world in a vague cloud of unease, rather than in a fully-formed position of defiance. It felt as if aliens had begun to invade the earth, but they were still deplaning their UFO and a photo of their weapons had yet to leak.

Desperate for any tiny act of personal rebellion, I immediately donated $100 to Planned Parenthood under “Mike Pence.” Because if I knew anything, it was that our new Vice President might be an even more regressive and women-hating person than our President. And together, they would likely advocate for change that’d be dangerous to my well being.

I stopped finding politics boring.


Politics are made to seem more convoluted than they actually are.

History books, legal jargon, and the silly, dated, inefficient procedures make the average person feel distant from bureaucracy. Beneath layers of tedium, political matters just stem from core moral values that anybody can understand.

So yeah. Let’s dumb it down.


Right now, there are a lot of shitty people with trash values deciding how we should live, what we’re allowed to do with our bodies, what values our future kids will grow up with. 

They’re telling us that families deserved to be ripped apart and it’s okay for children to be locked up in cages. This isn’t a reality that all of us can relate to. But we all have loved ones, and we can imagine how traumatic it would be to be forcefully, indefinitely separated from them. It should be common sense that human beings shouldn’t treat other human beings like this.

They’re telling us that women who were raped should have to go through the physical, mental, emotional trauma of an unwanted pregnancy and dedicate the rest of their lives to raising a child that they never planned for – one that, no matter how much they grow to love, was conceived in probably one of the worst events of their lives. The idea of someone else weighing my health risks and my future livelihood against their personal beliefs baffles me.

Basic human empathy. Ownership over your own body.

These are a few things that matter to me. These are a few things that have always mattered to me. It never occurred to me that I’d have to defend such fundamental values against anybody, much less those with zero respect for experiences outside of their scope of understanding.


The Kavanaugh-Ford hearing is a caricature of some major issues in our national discourse:

  1. Misogyny

  2. People of questionable character in positions of power

It’s infuriating the way people think this case ends at its verdict. Even teenagers can understand that the issue goes beyond that courtroom. Whether or not Kavanaugh is innocent, the hearing brought out undeniable character flaws that reveal him to be quite unfit for a position of this caliber.

He’s a blubbering idiot that can’t wait his turn to speak or answer a simple yes or no question. He’s shown himself to be rude, aggressive, and temperamental. Before evaluating him as a judge, I’ve already dismissed him as a person.

In the middle of this process, Trump mocked Ford at a rally. He hijacked the conversation and “weaponized victimhood” in presenting a skewed picture of men’s fear of false accusation as more important, worthy of sympathy, and necessary for defense than a sexually assaulted woman’s trauma. He just trods along collecting other misogynists in his pussy-grabbing fraternity to perpetuate toxic models of behavior towards the women in our country.

It’s tough having a vagina. The world literally needs us yet we are abused, silenced, gaslighted, and ridiculed for the wrongdoings of entitled men.


Watching these events unfold left me disappointed but not surprised.

However, it did light a fire under my ass. Prior to the last few years, I was that millennial – uneducated and unbothered because none of that which transpired in that big room with the old white men ever trickled down to my life.

I can forgive myself for that – our capacity to give a fuck about something depends on how much it overlaps with our personal realities. Now that I’ve become aware of that overlap, I am empowered to take full responsibility for the values I want to uphold.


Political issues are personal issues.

Whether the issue is reproductive rights, immigration, or some other divisive topic, the question you should be asking yourself is not “What political position do I take?”

But rather, What kind of person am I?”

Figure it out.

Then vote for it.

You have until October 22 to register.