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October 13

by Berrak on October 13, 2014

October 13, 2013 was going to be my wedding day. But you all know how that went.

In my search for closure, acceptance, and strength, October 13, 2013 became an animal of its own. I couldn’t figure out why I was so anxious as the day came rushing toward me. My life was good now – kind of. At least, it was improving, and I was in a good place – kind of. Things were moving in a positive direction, but I was still stuck on that date.

Then I realized that I never really mourned the end of my relationship. Yes, even though I was the one to end it – it was still something a part of me really wanted at one point. I began planning my wedding. I imagined my future with this man who was supposed to be my by side. Simply deciding that getting married would be a wrong decision doesn’t mean I wasn’t hurt as well.

It took me a damn long time to realize that. So that’s what October 13, 2013 became. The day I realized I would need to mourn the end of my relationship, potential future, and work on closure.

So October 13, 2013 came and went. I spent it with my friends, watching football and drinking (probably more than I should have).

Then the ugly cries came.

But I survived it.

Today is October 13, 2014. I decided that I would treat it as a mental health day. I took the day off from work and made an appointment to get my first ever massage.

Today is an anti-versary of sorts. An anti-versary of what could’ve been, and a celebration of the one person who is in control of my life now: Me.

Next year?

October 13 will just be another day without a significance. Just an ordinary day full of choices, consequences, and memories.

 

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tribe
I have always had a hard time belonging. Always. There are days I don’t feel like I even belong in my own skin, but that’s a different kind of battle I fight every day.

No, I never really belonged to one group. I spent my middle school years feeling alienated, my high school years adjusting, and my early 20s feeling like the only people who understood me lived thousands of miles away. I wrote about how I wasn’t a girly-girl because I didn’t have a group of girlfriends I met in college, or anything that even remotely came close to fitting the Bring It On/Clueless/Sex and the City standards girlfriends seemed to live up to in those days.

I came to terms with it. Kind of. I grew up, I moved out, I made friends – I lost them, and for a moment, I thought I had found a group of girls I could call my tribe. They were the ones I could count on to stand by my side when I was going to get married.

Then that all fell apart too.

Once again, I started searching. I looked 40 years into the future and sought out my potential Golden Girls. I wanted to just feel like I belong.

The more I searched, the more I reached for a group to call my own, the more I realized how that, by nature, creates exclusion. The idea of finding ‘your tribe’, which has gained popularity in the female population over the last few years, is essentially a grown-up version of being Mean Girls.

No, hear me out. 

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have people we trust more than others. An inner circle is essential, but it shouldn’t be exclusive. In the last few years, I’ve made girlfriends under a variety of circumstances.  I met all of them under unlikely circumstances, when I needed to in my life, and our relationships evolved over time. I trust, though, when they come together, they’ll get along because the qualities I seek in those closest to me are similar. They’re trustworthy. Passionate. Encouraging. Funny. Sarcastic. Empathetic. Smart. 

But I wouldn’t call them my tribe. We don’t all hang out every week. We don’t all have to hang out together every time. My friendships with them are separate, but when we all come together, there’s no exclusivity about it.

Finding your tribe isn’t supposed to be about inclusivity or exclusivity, but let’s face it, that’s what it’s become. That’s human nature. Over the years, I’ve observed so many people preach about being accepting while being negative behind closed doors. It’s frustrated me, because to me, that’s being hypocritical. While I could probably get along with these individually, it was clear that not getting along with one of them would mean being an outsider. There would be resentment, and more than likely, whispers within the rest of the group behind my back.

mean girls 1

So I stopped looking for my tribe. Instead, I’ve tried to focus on individual relationships. Anything that turns into group mentality and lends itself to exclusivity is out for me. The moment I begin to feel like I can’t be myself around my friends is the moment I begin shutting down.

I don’t know where my relationships will be in 5, 10, 20 years. Maybe I won’t ever find my Golden Girls, but I trust that whoever is by my side won’t ever make me feel excluded from our friendship.  In a world full of judgment, <stereotype>-shaming, and backstabbing, I choose to surround myself with strong individuals who don’t let their insecurities stand in the way of their growth.

Because, let’s face it, ain’t nobody got time for that.

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I’ve had fierce writer’s block the past few months, but instead of writing about that, I’m going to write about the books I’ve been reading.

gillian flynn dark placesRosamund Pike Gone Girl Movie trailergillian flynn gone girl

 

 

 

 

 

First of all, if you’ve read Gone Girl, hated the way it ended but thought the writing was great, then you should read Dark Places. In my opinion, Dark Places was the better of the two books and I’m looking forward to reading Sharp Objects. I went to see Gone Girl at the theater Saturday night. Having read the book, I was skeptical about the way it would be adapted but I thought it was well-cast. Love him or hate him, Ben Affleck made a great Nick Dunne. Rosamund Pike was despicable and I’m left wondering whether her depiction of Amy Dunne is more likely than Annabelle to give me nightmares. I went to see the movie with my friends Michelle (who had read the book) and Mike (who hadn’t). We all came out of the movie theater on the same wavelength: Almost all of the characters in the movie are pretty much awful – and we hated the movie. But then again, that’s how I felt at the end of the book, which is why I recommend Dark Places as your next Gillian Flynn read. However, I’ve never been good at movie reviews or else I would’ve made a career out of it. If you’ve read the book & went to see the movie, you should read this review.

Gillian Flynn adapted her own novel into a screenplay and, perhaps because she spent ten years at Entertainment Weekly presumably chopping thousands of words of precious copy into mini-blurbs fit for print, she seems to have had little trouble excising only the most vital organs from the body of her 400-plus page bestseller.

There’s been a little buzz about the movie being misogynist—criticisms that were also leveled at the book—but I did not find that to be the case. Yes, most of the female characters are deplorable for various crimes typically coded as feminine: for being shallow, fickle, attention-hungry, dumb, gullible, controlling. But it’s not like the male characters are a pack of winners, either. Almost everyone in the movie is a straight-up terrible person, the only possible exception being Margo, Nick’s sister.

brain on fireSpeaking of books, I finally got around to reading Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan. It’s the true story of a journalist whose body attacked her brain and she tells the powerful true story of her descent into madness. I finished it in a day and firmly believe that it’s a book that everyone should read. We’re all familiar of the stigma of mental illness and how little we truly understand about our bodies and minds, despite all of the medical advances we’ve made in the last few decades. The book also does an amazing job of displaying the impact our loved ones have on us, as well as the affect mental illness can have on those closest to us. It’s an incredible story about fear, perseverance, and faith.

I would soon learn firsthand that this kind of illness often ebbs and flows, leaving the sufferer convinced that the worst is over, even when it’s only retreating for a moment before pouncing again.

In addition to these books, I’ve also re-read The Giver, finally read Ender’s Game and began reading And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini.

What have you been reading lately?

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When I first read about the nail polish that the NC State students are developing to help detect date rape drugs, my initial thought wasn’t “Oh, this is great!” No – while the intention behind the potential product is a good one, it still perpetuates the number one problem with rape culture: It puts the responsibility of not getting attacked on the potential victims.

Look – I have no problem with the guys who are developing this product. They’re trying to raise awareness and that’s great. They want to help keep women safe. That’s fantastic. They want to deter the criminals – that’s a noble idea. On their Facebook page, they state that Through this nail polish and similar technologies, we hope to make potential perpetrators afraid to spike a woman’s drink because there’s now a risk that they can get caught. In effect, we want to shift the fear from the victims to the perpetrators.”

The issue is that products like these are, at times, the equivalent of putting our problems in the closet and hope that no one notices. It’s just the latest addition to the growing list of things that women need to do to prevent rape – along with getting married, wearing more clothing, and essentially to stop asking for it.

The conversation shouldn’t revolve around victim blaming and how the potential victims can protect themselves. The conversation needs to be around consent.

Though the intention behind these kind of products is inherently good, they become just one more way to blame the victim. I can see the commentary now. “If only she had remembered to wear her GHB detecting nail polish and swirled her finger in her drink – then she would’ve been safe. Never mind that she shouldn’t have been drinking in the first place. And did you see what she was wearing?”

Let’s get real, shall we?

“I think that anything that can help reduce sexual violence from happening is, in some ways, a really good thing,” Tracey Vitchers, the board chair for Students Active For Ending Rape(SAFER), told ThinkProgress. “But I think we need to think critically about why we keep placing the responsibility for preventing sexual assault on young women.”

The problem doesn’t end when a woman figures out that there’s a roofie in her drink. The problem ends when people stop putting roofies in our drinks in the first place.

consent-condoms-638x477Credit: Say It With a Condom

 

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By now, you’ve already seen and heard of the #IceBucketChallenge for ALS. It’s a viral campaign that picked up a lot of steam and there’s no arguing that it’s created a lot of awareness.

I’m all about awareness. I know that in today’s world, something going viral makes a lot of difference.

What I’m against is wasting clean water after the point has already been made.

I’ve been watching conversations, observing different people in my networks and they all have one thing in common: They want to raise awareness. They care about making a difference.

Here’s where the divide happens.

I’ve seen comments, on numerous conversation threads, where people have expressed that they didn’t even know that the #IceBucketChallenge had anything do to with ALS. Although numbers indicate that a lot of people are, in fact, donating money, the water being dumped shouldn’t be necessary.

Out of all the celebrities who took the #IceBucketChallenge, my favorite is Charlie Sheen. Instead of dumping water on his head, he dumped out the $10,000 he’s donating to the ALS Association. “Ice melts – money makes a difference,” he said.

I’ve also seen a lot of people take the challenge by making a donation to different charities, like Charity Water, UNICEF Tap Project, and the Thirst Project.  Do you have another cause that’s near and dear to your heart? If you’re tagged with the #IceBucketChallenge next, hold the ice and just make a donation. I promise it’ll still make an effective difference without wasting clean water.

Oh and in case you need a visual:

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 9.38.19 AM

California-Drought-before-and-after-pics-02-685x886

Image credit: California Department of Water Resources

 

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Nanu Nanu. Rest in Peace, Robin.

August 11, 2014

I was in my car when I read the news about Robin Williams passing away, which is appropriate since his words kept me company during so many hours spent in the car commuting to school and work. I automatically did what I always do and posted about it. But I think I was in shock. […]

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The One Thing In This Life I Refuse To Give Up*

July 23, 2014

I made a bold declaration this week. I’m finally taking action toward becoming a digital nomad, so for my East Coast trip, I’ll be driving cross-country, spending a few weeks on the road while working. After my experience at World Domination Summit, a fire was lit inside of me that won’t die and I can’t […]

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How the World Domination Summit Changed My Life. No, Really.

July 20, 2014

I’m going to be very candid with you. I went into World Domination Summit with zero expectations. I hadn’t read Chris Guillebeau’s Brief Guide to World Domination. I didn’t know 95% of the people who were going to this and I didn’t look at the name of speakers. There were maybe a couple of people […]

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I Love…Fridays: April 25

April 25, 2014

No matter how crazy and frustrating life can get, I always make an effort to see the silver lining and be obnoxiously positive. That’s why I did something called I Love…Fridays on my blog every week, but haven’t done so in the last few years when I needed it the most. Consider this a comeback […]

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The Memory Keeper’s Burden

April 14, 2014

Friends passing the volleyball around in the sun. Families having picnics, as the kids run around chasing bubbles. A friendly baseball game between families. Daisies peeking out in the sunshine. One of the girls running trips and falls, ripping her white tights. Her dad immediately swoops her up as her mom strips off the tights […]

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