Friday, May 18, 2018

First Year of Graduate School

After my freshman year of undergrad, I wrote a handy first year guide. Looking back at it, it's kind of funny because they all apply to my first year of grad school too.

I'm tempted to say that my first year of grad school was even more of a train wreck than my first year of undergrad, but that might not be true. They may be equal.

First of all, I hate Florida. I hated Mississippi the first year too, but I really just hate Florida. It's hot, it's rainy, there's a ton of half naked undergrads who don't know how to drive (LITERALLY I cannot believe how people drive here), the pollen is awful, and there's no parking anywhere. It does, however, have a lot of cool thrift stores and coffee shops and bars. I can't speak on the public library, BECAUSE THERE'S NO FREE PARKING FOR IT.



There are a lot of parts I do like about school. I love the readings, I love the discussions. I love my thesis (usually), and I'm actually excited about what I'm doing. But there's so much more outside of all of those things that I hate and don't know how to do or just can't do correctly. It feels like everyone expects me to know how to do a lot of things already, but I don't.

Also, suddenly everything is written in Chicago style instead of MLA? Why did I spend four years memorizing every detail of MLA if no one uses it in grad school????

I've been thinking that maybe I'm not suited to grad school, but I'm halfway done now and in plenty of debt already so why not just get her done, y'know? My brain can't really handle it, I don't think. I'm constantly confused and I suddenly find it difficult to focus on four different final projects, and I feel like I haven't always had that problem. I used to be able to write twenty pages on something I didn't care about, but now for some reason it feels impossible.

I don't really know who I've become this past year. I've done really shitty work, missing some assignments completely just because I somehow forgot about them or got confused or couldn't keep track of the weekly syllabus changes.

Growing up I hated asking questions in class because I thought I should already know the answer, and usually I could go find the answer myself instead of having to ask. Even in undergrad, I could usually get away with it, though I did get better at asking questions. Now, all the questions I have can't be looked up. I can't google which syllabus is correct, I can't google the exact parameters of an assignment, I can't google how exactly the inner workings of the school function. So I tried asking questions. And it feels like every other question is met with disgust and awe of my ignorance. Or I need to check the syllabus. Which I already have, but am still confused.

It's also very hard to make friends in grad school. I don't know why. I honestly don't know how I made friends in undergrad or at any point in my life. But I don't see anyone outside of classes, so I know virtually no one who isn't an FSU grad dance student. But they all quickly formed friend groups and found besties and now I'm like, awkwardly part of some friend circles but not enough to actually do anything with them.

I'm used to that. But it's still hard.

And it's really really hard to have a shitty year and not have anyone there with you.

At the end of the first semester, my beloved car finally died. I spent several weeks with no mode of transportation and walked a few miles to campus every day. Okay, I know that's not that bad and now I'm really just showing what a wimp I am. But seriously, my body is falling apart. I'm depressed all the time so I'm already exhausted and low on motivation. And it's fucking hot outside. But it wasn't as bad as it could've been.

With an amazing stroke of luck that is absolutely unheard of for me, my grandfather gave me one of their old cars that's just been sitting in the yard for years. It's super old and doesn't run great, but I love it. It's an awesome little car.

Then, I got the stomach flu the last week of classes and felt like I was actually dying. AND THEN the flu left me with an intolerance for lactose.

Guys, I fucking love cheese.

I accidentally had some cream cheese and seriously nearly died.

But that semester did finally end, with an awesome little car and lactose intolerance..

Second semester was an absolute disaster. I almost failed one class and I'm not sure why I didn't fail one of the other ones. It felt like I couldn't do anything right, which just made me lose any motivation to do anything well. I just got more and more depressed and more and more anxious.

No, part of that definitely was my fault. Since moving to Florida, I have been pretty bad at regularly taking my medication. See, one symptom of anxiety is gagging in the morning. Literally every morning, I gag half a dozen times. I also reflexively gag almost every time I enter a bathroom.

Now, one of my daily pills tastes absolutely awful and dissolves really fast, so the taste just gets worse and worse and stays in your mouth for ages if you don't get it down fast. But sometimes I can't, because I start gagging before I even try to swallow. I have to hold my hand over my mouth, and sometimes it still doesn't work and I have to spit it out and at that point I can't face trying another pill and potentially wasting it. So the more anxious I get, the worse I gag, and the harder it is to take my medication, so I get more anxious, etc. etc. It's a great loop I have going.

I could also talk at length about my roommates and everything they do to make my life miserable, but I'll save that for a fun table book or something.

This past semester I did get to go to a conference in Indianapolis and present some of my own research, and that was pretty cool. I do love conferences. Except for the people who said, "Wait, you're a dancer but you don't like people?" and "You can't be a teacher if you don't like people!" and "One day you'll just have to get over it." Like, thanks tech guys who know nothing about me or my area of work. I just asked you to fix my nametag, but thanks for also telling me I'm a failure and can't do anything (I could write another fun table book about all the people who have told me I can't be a dancer and/or a teacher because I'm too shy, anxious, introverted, etc.).

The last week of classes, I was seriously considering taking myself to the emergency room. I was beyond stressed, super anxious, super depressed, and I had no one to talk to. However, my roommates were downstairs having a party, so I wasn't about to walk by them in hysterics to go to the emergency room, with no idea of what would happen if I got there.

When school finally ended (half a week after finals), a huge weight passed of my shoulders.

This last semester definitely turned me into someone I don't want to be. I don't want to turn in shitty work and I don't want to miss assignments and I don't want to disappoint professors or anyone. The stress also made me a really shitty partner to my boyfriend, and our relationship got super strained for a while. I was constantly having a crisis (which, let's be honest, isn't that unusual for me), and it was affecting more than just my schoolwork.

So... now what? I'll be working on my thesis all summer and would like to get some kind of job, but I don't have a lot of expectations there. Grad school has severely lowered my self esteem when it comes to me being capable of doing any kind of job.

But then school will start back in the fall. Will this whole cycle start over? I like to think it won't, because I'll be taking different classes and should be spending more time on my thesis and on stuff I care about. But I think I said that about grad school in general. That's what people told me about grad school.

I'm going to try to see FSU's student counselling, which is apparently free. Maybe I can get that sorted out of the summer or something. But I really, really hate therapists. I have had incredibly bad experiences with them.

I originally wanted to go straight to PhD land after grad school, but now I don't know. For one thing, I don't think I could do all the applications and take the GRE while still finishing my MA. Plus, I just don't know if I can do PhD school anymore. I still want to teach at a university level, so I'm required to have a PhD (not just an MA), but I really just don't think I'm good enough anymore.

I felt very supported and loved during undergrad. Maybe I'm romanticizing it, but it's at least partly true. I had professors who supported me, other people who supported me, an actually decent roommate. At FSU, it feels like I have...nothing. That's one reason why I want a job, to just get out of FSU.

I'm not trying to shit on FSU or anything. It's a great school and a great dance department. I'm just not so sure that I fit in or belong.

Sorry for the crazy long post, but oh well.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Panic! Attack

I was gonna write a post about some conference shit or something but then I just keep having panic and anxiety attacks every day so I thought I'd write about that instead.

Typically my anxiety attacks involve more and more frenzied snapchats to like, two or three people. I guess if you want to pretend I'm a decent person and not just an annoying whinypants, you could say this is me trying to reach out for help when I know I need it. Except in reality I'm just an annoying whiny bitch let's be honest.

I have a bad history with panic attacks. They didn't start in full force until after my assault freshman year of undergrad, when they quickly took over my life. I'm no stranger to anxiety attacks either, which come on slower but are just as devastating.

Well the past few weeks I've been really stressed from school and this conference thing, and the bullying of my two roommates has gotten worse. So after in general feeling shitty and exhausted from traveling and being told that I can't be a dancer OR a teacher if I don't like people (another story for another time), I came back to school to almost immediately be told that I'm behind in everything and am basically a failure and don't have my shit together and please tell me something I don't know.

It all culminated on Thursday where it was just too much and I had a bad anxiety attack.

Now here's my dark past of anxiety attacks: pretty much every single time I've had one, whoever has been around has gotten frustrated or angry with me because I can't tell them what's wrong. I will be tense, curled up in a ball, rocking, twitching, crying, whatever, but they'll keep insisting that I have to tell them what's going on and why I'm acting that way.

Okay, yeah, lemme just put this attack on pause so I can explain it to you real quick.

My favorite example is when my real life therapist got mad at me for having a panic attack during a session. He kept saying that if I refused to talk to him I was wasting the money of the people who were paying for the session, that he couldn't do anything if I kept "refusing" to talk.

I stopped seeing him.

But the response to my attacks is saddeningly consistent. Is my inability to communicate really that out of place in a panic attack? Am I really just that fucked up?

The internet tells me to call the suicide hotline but like, I won't be able to talk to them either so that's kind of pointless. People don't have patience for people who can't talk.

I had two emergency pills left and now I have one. Took a while to kick in but then I was just numb and depressed and crazy rather than frantic and depressed and crazy. I mean, i certainly prefer the numb part. Part of me keeps trying to say that it's not much better, but at least it doesn't feel like my insides are tearing out of my body and ripping my skin open in their attempts to get lost. At least I don't care as much about all the things that upset me or hurt me.

Sometimes I'd take a crazy pill to avoid cutting, to escape the desperate panicky feeling that required pain in order to find release. But then the numbness makes it easier to cut, because the initial urge and pain is still there, just not as frantic.

I feel like I have no home because of the way I'm treated when I am home. I feel like I just can't be good enough because sometimes the best I can do is honestly just shitty when it comes to academic work. I feel like a useless human being because I just hate sex and the problems it creates and I wish I could just be normal and like it as much as other people. I feel like I really won't ever feel any better because of my inability to communicate verbally and my inability to believe all the things that I know logically are probably true.

Like, come on. I remember most everything therapists and counselors have told me. I remember all the inspirational things they say. I remember all the activities we did in the psych ward. I remember being surrounded by older men and women who had been living with depression and mental illness for decades.

I remember some who had shock therapy treatment, or whatever the official name is now. I remember what they looked like afterwards, how one of them would swear it helped but just felt awful right after, while the other patient would just shrug and say he really didn't know if it helped or not.

What's the point in having to fight so hard just to exist? Having to be so brave just to exist? When you can't even do anything that contributes to society because of how fucked up you are? When all the "success" stories come from people who are now all like, "but now I have a beautiful husband and a baby boy and I love myself," but for one thing you don't want no baby boy but also what are the chances of finding a husband when you don't like sex (and have irritating panic attacks)?

It's like, there's just no redeeming qualities here. There's nothing that has potential for a success story. I used to daydream about it and being able to tell people that I made it through some really tough times but ultimately found some semblance of success, or stability, or achieved some lifelong goal. I wanted to be able to tell people that I did it, so that they could do it too.

I still think other people can do it, don't get me wrong.

Sometimes I tried to end these posts motivationally because I start to think of all the things I would say to someone who said what I had just said. I know all the answers. I know what all are lies being told to me by my brain and I know that some situations are temporary, yadda yadda yadda. I mean, guys, I was in the psych ward. Hopefully I learned something in there.

But I don't believe any of it, you see.

Maybe if I were just asexual or just chronically mentally ill. But being both is just...impossible. There really are no redeeming qualities or areas of potential there.

Invisible. Wrong. Whiny.

I have one emergency pill left. I have to call the doctor to ask for a refill, which I mean, he'll probably give me cause I got the prescription a super long time ago so it's fairly obvious I'm not like, popping them every day. Buuuut you know, I don't do phone calls or talk to people or anything so the odds of me actually calling to ask are low.

I already took one emergency pill tonight. Once it finally kicked in, it helped. Sort of. I mean, obviously I'm still not in a good state of mind. But I'm not shaking and crying and desperately trying both good and bad coping methods.

But I also want to take another pill just to totally wipe out the chaos and misery in my head right now.

I don't want to be alone, but there's really no one here in Tallahassee I can randomly call. I realize that I don't really have a "support group" here, because I have no real friends. I have friends, but no friends. No friends who would probably like, y'know, be okay with me having panic attacks involving no communication and being a whiny bitch.

Hopefully I'll pass out soon. Unfortunately not before I actually publish this post, though, because heeeey what's the point of being a whiny bitch if no one hears you.

In all serious though, THIS IS WHAT MENTAL ILLNESS CAN BE.

I don't know how this post could help anyone, but maybe if anything it could just give you an idea of what goes on in the mind of someone who lives with mental illness.

That's my futile attempt to make this post a little less self-centered and whiny.

What's the point in doing anything public if it's not going to help someone in some way.

Even if it's an internal chuckle. A brief smile. An idea of what their friends might be dealing with. A scathing commentary on social issues.

I lost track of this post.

I'm on (prescribed) drugs.



Saturday, February 17, 2018

On the Female Aesthetic (Pubic Hair)

I am writing this while drunk. So consider that while reading. To me, this means that it is more honest than I normally am, rather than being more ridiculous than I normally am. Or maybe it's a bit of both? Maybe they go together more than I, and most people and situations, realize.

I'm also writing this while waiting for a video game's population to expand and therefore level me up and therefore make it easier to beat a boss. So I guess that's an important factor too.
There are so many factors to everything. It's pretty amazing, really. I think about it a lot; there's really no way to account for every factor of life when considering the outcome.

Disclaimer: I may go over this when I'm sober before publishing. I would publish it immediately, but I have no internet at the moment. So take this to mean that I am brutally and shamelessly honest in this moment.

Note to self and readers: any modifications will be to spelling and for clarity's sake, not to hide or modify my thoughts or beliefs.

I've been thinking about pubic hair. There's no delicate way to say it.

Why does it seem so embarrassing? So shameful?

Like, it's normal. Pubic hair is normal. Everyone has it.

Some people choose to get rid of it. That's fine, you do you.

As long as you aren't getting rid of it for someone else.

My first boyfriend (my ex-fiance) was constantly pressuring me to completely shave my vagina and pelvic region. So much to where I considered shaving it for a birthday present for him. I never did, because I really couldn't stand the thought of actually doing it. I trim, I adjust, I shave enough to wear I can actually wear shorts or a leotard and tights without feeling self conscious, but heck no am I gonna shave my entire pubic region. Especially not for a boy.

Like, ew. And ouch. I know some people do, and that's totally fine if you want to. I'm still slightly confused as to how you can even do that without hurting yourself. I can't even shave my legs without making it uncomfortable or itchy or sensitive for a day or two. Admittedly, it's not like I pay enough attention to really do it "correctly." I only do it because I physically can't stand the sensation of prickles while trying to sleep. It's a sensory thing due to my slight autism rather than a need to appeal to the opposite sex, or to appear "sexy" in any way.

But that's in regard to leg hair.

Pubic hair, however.

It's way more complicated to shave.

It's way more likely to result in an injury (however slight).

It has no result in my sensory obsession of prickles and physical sensation.

I am moderately self conscious when it comes to sex if I don't shave around my pubic area, but not enough to where I go out of my way. Shaving is a chore, man. Razors are expensive. They really don't last forever, no matter what my cheap mind says. People say you should switch them out once a week. Fuck that, man. Like, maybe once a month.
Well, it doesn't help that I keep losing or breaking the main part of the razor. I started buying disposable razors cause I got tired of telling me mom that I lost or broke the main part of the razor and needed not only new blades but a new main part as well.

Plus, after reading this, she may not give me any new razor parts at all because it does kind of imply that I have sex on a semi regular basis (and sex is of the devil). Even though I don't, because I'm asexual. Even though I kind of wish I did, cause my boyfriend is allosexual. He doesn't pressure me, of course (cause he's great).


Pubic hair.

Why is it considered so ugly? Unattractive? Unfeminine?

I should do more research on it (when I have wifi and when I'm sober), but from what I've heard pubic hair is actually pretty healthy and hygienic. I mean, as long as you yourself are also healthy and hygienic. Speaking from experience, too much shaving in any area results in itchiness, discomfort, bleeding/scabs, ingrown hairs, etc.

(I just leveled up in this video game, which proves that my patience for population growth has paid off)

I started shaving part of my pubic hair because of my first boyfriend/ex-fiance, because I thought that was what I should look like, behave like, be like. It didn't help that in ballet class I was forced to wear a black leotard and pink tights that made my very dark pubic hair all too visible when I did an arabesque or a penche or anything. I was so self-conscious about it that it did indeed influence my dancing, not only making me a less skilled dancer but also making it so that I didn't enjoy it myself. I was too self-conscious about the other dancers seeing the hair peek out of my leotard, about my (male) teacher noticing, about the other girls mentally criticizing me for not being "feminine" enough.

If I could tell my high school self anything, i'd say, "fuck them. Be you." In reality, there's a high probability that even if anyone noticed my pubic hair, they didn't care.

Yes, I have very very pale skin. Yes, I have very very dark hair. All of my body hair is very apparent, whether it's on top of my head or at my ankles. It's visible, but that doesn't make it shameful.

I was lucky enough to grow up in an environment where I wasn't physically or verbally abused for my body hair. The closest I came to such abuse was my first boyfriend who constantly pressured me into shaving simply because he liked it and said it was "sexy" and "more attractive." Since he was my first boyfriend, I knew no better. Since I grew up in the church and was taught to be relatively submissive, I knew no better. Since he told me that "in his eyes" we were "already married in the eyes of God," I knew no better.

I hate myself for all the things I did just to appease him. It has nothing to do with religion or Christianity in this regard. He didn't make me turn away from God, he didn't make me distrust religion. I blame him.
Anyway, that's not the point.

Do men hate female body hair because it seems too similar to male body hair? Is their masculinity so fragile as to be worried about body hair on female bodies? Is that it?

I don't know. I'm drunk. It looks like I really can't level up anymore unless I fight this boss, which probably won't go well since I'm pretty drunk.

I've fucking beat this boss multiple times but the save file has always fucking messed up. Partly because of me, but also because it's a fucking old emulator so you have to be super fucking speicific about saving the game.

It's Actraiser on the nintendo, for anyone that cares.

I haven't exactly said anything revolutionary in this post, but tbh I never do. In this instance, I just want you to think about it. Think about pubic hair. Think about male and female pubic hair. Think about male and female body hair. Male and female facial hair. Why do you dislike either of it? Do you have a reason? Or is it just "unattractive"? Because if you can't provide another reason, then I don't totally believe it. I say this because there's a lot of things that I automatically find unappealing, but upon further inspection, I realize I have no reason to find them unappealing. It's just that I have been taught by advertising (and other sources) that it is ugly, unattractive, incorrect, wrong.

I used to shave part of my pubic hair, if only so that it didn't show in a leotard, swimsuit, or underpants. I haven't shaved any of it in a long time because I've been to depressed, stressed, and apathetic to go to all the trouble.

Plus, when I think about it, I really can't think of a real reason why I should go to that trouble. My current boyfriend says he doesn't care. And when I don't shave for months and months, he still says nothing. When we don't have sex for months and months, he says nothing. When we do have sex but I haven't shaved, he says nothing.

Maybe I've just found the perfect mate. Who knows.


You shouldn't change you based on social standards or the expectations of a romantic (or otherwise) expectation.

You are you.

You are you because of who you are, who you want to be, who you are meant to be.

You are not you because of who someone else wants you to be.

No one else has the authority to shape you into something you aren't.

I say this because of my abusive ex-fiance who thought he had the right to dictate how I behaved, how I dressed, how I groomed. He dictated whether it was okay or not for me to have sex. I gave him my virginity because he said it was okay. I believed that my virginity was important because of what he and others said.

But it shouldn't matter. You are you not because of who you've had sex with or what you've done with your body of how you dress or how you groom yourself.

"You are what you love, not who loves you." -- Fall Out Boy.

I have no idea what FOB meant when they sang that, but it always makes me think of my ex-fiance, of my rapist, of the countless people who have abused me in various forms.

I am who I want to be, not what others try to make me to be.

You are not reliant on other's definitions of the female, of the woman. Of the wife, the fiance, the 

You can fucking be whatever and whoever you want to be;

You are beautiful.




Who you want to be.

What you want to be.

I love you.

I hope you love yourself.

I am ecstatic in those moments when I love myself. They are very rare moments (usually only when I'm drunk, like now), but they are truly beautiful. I look back on these moments and am amazed, but also inspired. When I am super depressed, I look back on these moments, I read my past words, and I reflect on the honesty that I once had. It is incredibly hard to believe that things will be better, that things have been better. But it's true, despite my drunkeness or lack thereof.

Things have been better, they are better, they will be better.

They have not been easy, they are not easy, they will not be easy.

But they are. They have they have the potential to be.

I have totally lost track of what I'm trying to say, but I hope you get the idea.

Pubic hair is natural. You can get rid of it or keep it, and it doesn't matter. Whatever makes you comfortable.

I really hope I one day beat this game.

I really hope I actually do my homework and get my Masters in American Dance Studies.

I really hope I, and you, don't give up.

I sadistically hope my ex-fiance learns his lesson and realizes he's a total dick and asshole.

I recommend any and everyone read Skip Beat! By Yoshiki Nakamura. It's always been one of my favorite mangas (and anime), but is surprisingly relevant in regards to this post. The anime is only one season, but the manga is pretty long. You can still find it online pretty easily (I finally gave in and have been reading it online everyday and have almost caught up).

Well. I'm gonna turn on the hotspot and post this because if I look back at this tomorrow I'll chicken out and won't post it because pubic hair is a stupid topic and rather embarrassing and something I've been self-conscious about for as long as I can remember.

The woes of having pale skin and dark hair.

Yeah, I know, my life is so hard. (That was sarcasm).

I love you all, and I hope you love yourselves just as much. Because you should. You are valid, you are beautiful.


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Bad Asexual Representation (i.e. me)

Currently I've been mulling over the concept of asexual burlesque. Neo-burlesque is a newfound love of mine, and at the moment my graduate thesis will be on asexual burlesque. The two terms aren't as conflicting as they might seem at first, but nevertheless I've been having a hard time just thinking about what I've perhaps hastily committed to doing.

There are actual asexual burlesque performers out there, which is comforting and awesome. I want to get that out of the way first.

The reason why I love burlesque is that it's a celebration of self: of your body, your sexuality, your everything. That's why there's no reason asexual burlesque shouldn't be a thing. In fact, burlesque is the perfect medium to celebrate asexuality. Except that burlesque is seen as a sexualized event. I can't even break away from the inherent sexuality that I see in burlesque. And there's no reason why an asexual can't be sexy. Asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction, not the lack of asexuality or the lack of being sexually attractive.

But why on earth would an asexual want to be sexually attractive? What on earth do I want to get out of that scenario? Cause it's certainly not sex. But something in me wants to be sexually appealing, sexually attractive, sexually...normal?

It's hard for me to wrap my head around it all because I've always felt like a bad representative for asexuality. All of the stereotypes fit me.

I was sexually abused, sexually assaulted. I'm clinically depressed. I'm a plant.

I'm all the things asexuals are constantly trying to prove they're not.

Which does not make my asexuality invalid.

I wrote that whole post about the difference between fear of sex and disinterest in sex, so I know the difference. I know I'm valid.

But I don't feel valid. And my love of burlesque seems to just make everything even worse.

And instead of quietly sorting all of this out in my own head, on my own time, on my own blog, I instead decided to publicly commit to researching it in grad school. Telling all my professors about it. Finding out they're super excited and have been talking to other professors about it. Finding an overwhelming amount of support for the project even from people who don't really know what asexuality is.

What I don't like about support is that now I can't just drop it. Which is good. I shouldn't drop it.

But I don't exactly know what to do with it either.

I feel the need to be blatantly obvious with my professors, my peers, myself. My experiences and biases towards sex make me distrust all of my own inclinations and feelings rather than seeming to help me find answers and information. I still have bad days and bad nightmares and wake up never wanting to think about sex or my own body ever again.

One of my professors mentioned the need to add in time for self-care when planning research, especially when the topic is emotionally close. I don't think she was talking about me, but it definitely applies. 

The reason why I never tackled sexual assault in my undergrad work was because I was afraid I would just spiral into self-destruction. I managed to get through it all independently after I graduated, but I still wonder what would've happened if I'd been forced to talk about the process and the subject while doing it.

I can write graphic truths but I certainly can't talk about them verbally.

As usual, I've kind of been writing through lots of rabbit holes and dancing around topics, but if you've read a single blog post on here then you know that's nothing new. My head is always so jumbled with this stuff that I find it hard to actually lay it all out and look at it. Writing helps in that way.

I haven't found any real answers through writing this, but my brain feels a little less cluttered. That's all I can ask for, I guess.

Anyway, grad school is going about as expected. I still miss classes, fumble through assignments, panic and avoid responsibility. Still get way too drunk on bad days. Still am unable to figure out how the disability services works. But hey, I haven't hurt myself in a really long time. That's something, isn't it?

I'll take what I can get.


PS. Although I did actually book my own flight for a conference today. So somehow I'm still stumbling through life convincing people I know what I'm doing.