Okay, you guys. I got my Tumblrs straightened out. This is now my primary one and that was all obnoxious, switching it over. Thankfully I basically have posted nothing here, so it was okay. Also, now I feel bad for the people who WERE following “mattaukamp” and are now following “reallygoodvalentines.” But oh well! They’ll figure it out. Or they could do whatever. Even die. I’m sorry to get so dark, but this is reality. Let’s face it. Any of those people could die at any second. One or more of them could ALREADY BE DEAD as I’m typing this. And that’s really morbid. I don’t know why you want to keep talking about this. You must be fucking sick in the head or something. You know what? Stop following me. I don’t need that kind of sick negativity following me around all the time. Okay? I’m sorry. That was uncalled for. Just… calm down, from now on, alright? Thanks.
I just wanna say this, because while I’m no expert and I can’t write something as brilliant about is as this lady or this guy or these people, I believe that the world needs to hear every voice that feels this way: Rape culture is a real thing. There is no simple solution You may argue that posting on Facebook or Twitter or Tumblr about it, blogging or talking about it with your friends or your kids or your family, won’t help, but I disagree. This issue is so deep and complex, and the reasons so deep-rooted that the only way we can find ourselves out of this quagmire that is “Rape Culture” and “The War on Women,” is by talking about it. All the time. To everyone, everywhere. Until everyone agrees that men and women deserve equal treatment and respect. Both out-loud and deep in their souls, because while I believe anyone reading this will agree “Rape is wrong and Women are equal to men,” I also believe that sometimes when those same people read these stories or find themselves in acting or speaking in public, they think or say or do things that they don’t even realize are contrary to those ideas. “Slut”-shaming. Victim-blaming. Rape-joke-apologizing. “Periods are gross.” “Girls in [town’s name] dress like whores.” Judging women’s worth based on their attractiveness, even as a joke. Saying your female boss “probably got the job by sleeping with [whoever.]” You may not realize what these things contribute, but all people need to evolve and those who refuse need to be surrounded by a world that will not tolerate their archaic attitudes. That may not be much, but that’s all I have to say right now. Just evolve. Be good people.
Growing up is complicated. Everything gets more complex. With every failure and every new thing you learn and experience, everything gets harder and harder to maintain. This is probably why life-spans are a good thing. If you lived longer than 70 or 100, you’d probably go insane trying to hold everything together.
Think of the the first time you fell in love. You’ve fallen in love and you can put everything you have into that. You ascribe so much meaning and simple depth to every word and action and sensation and event. Even as a faithless creature, you can find eternal direction and meaning in the circumstances of your meeting and your first kiss and the time they say, awkwardly “Will you be my boyfriend?” laughing at how ridiculous and childish of a question it seems. And then you break up. You drift apart or you tear apart violently. Suddenly, you’re forced to confront that that depth was imposed. You knew all along that things weren’t so simple. That person didn’t complete you. The chance of your encounter was not divine intervention, but just that: Chance. And it will happen again. The storybook existence of only being able to breathe when that person loves you, of you eternally longing for them and wanting your “souls” (which you don’t believe in) to entangle forever was fiction. And now it’s time to reach out and regain those feelings for and with a stranger who you’ve never met before and could be any name on a list you happen across; could be any person you see standing in a crowd at a public gathering; could be any friend of a friend who’s name you’ve heard mentioned so inconsequentially that you don’t even remember hearing it. And all your hyper-fictional beliefs about “love” and “soulmates” and “belonging together” and “made for each other” crumble apart.
Think about the first time you lost a friend. Not even as dramatic as by death or by a fight. A person that you assumed was like a family member – a brother or sister – who would always be there and never go away and regardless of how much or little you nurtured your connection to them, would be waiting for you when you needed them. And the first time you saw them again after not for weeks or months or years and you didn’t have anything to talk about. They were less interested in talking to you and/or you to them and you realized “This person is not my friend.”
Think of the things you loved as a kid. The two Gameboy games you played over and over. The way you would know if the sequel came out immediately. The one band you were obsessed with. You had all the albums and you went to every show they played in your town and you knew all the members names. And then you grow up and people show you more and more things. You become interested in these new comic books or that new director’s movies or that community of bloggers and so on and so forth nigh-infinitely. And it becomes harder to keep track. You realize that the sequels Gameboy games you used to play are spread across four different game systems, of which you only have two. And you are seven games behind and you try to catch up but the new games don’t capture you now the way to old games did then. And even some of the new things you’re interested in have fan communities which you’re not a part of. How can you be a part of all of them? How can you keep track of all your new interests? Think of that week when you watched one episode of a great new show and said “This is my favorite! I want to watch all of these right now!” but realized “I have to go to bed, though. I’ll watch it tomorrow” and then “Wait, tomorrow I have to have dinner with my parents and then meet my friend at the bar. The next day.” and then “Wait. The next day I have to work late and get a root canal and I’ll probably want to come home and sleep. The next day?” and then “Wait. I’m still in the middle of that book and my friend wants me to watch that movie! I’ll have to do that this week, too.” and you realize it may be a week and a half before you even get the time to watch just the next episode of your new favorite show.
These things are so much simpler when we are younger. We have one person we put everything into that we love. We have our best friends who we never stay mad at and we can go weeks without talking to and they’re still just as close to us. We have the things we love and we can hug them and cherish them and they can be our identities. And then we get older and these things become more complicated. Our hearts get broken and instead of sharing everything with one person, we share parts of ourselves with a few people. Instead of having two best friends who we’re inseparable with, we have our “bar friends” and our “see at comedy show friends” and our “talking about nerd stuff friends” and our “playing sports on Sunday” friends. We have the one person we text every day about how we hate our jobs and the other person we text only when we make a delicious meal and the other person we only text because we feel we need to be close to them to be nice, though they kind of annoy us.
This is one of the reasons why heartbreak hurts so bad. It takes some of the comfort and simplicity out of our lives. Like leaving the womb again. We had everything we needed in one spot and now we have to develop skills and systems for getting those things from different places, and they’re not always as readily available as we want. Or when our favorite show gets canceled and we scream about it on the internet. Now we have to find something exactly like that to obsess about. But nothing is like that so we find two or three things that fill that void. Or one thing that fits awkwardly into that hole until the hole changes shape.
We have bills now, that only increase in number and in price. We have jobs that we hate and fill us with the feeling that we spend most of our time wasting our potential that we were so excited about building as we grew up and now use only a small percentage of. We have cars that break down that used to represent freedom and now represent burden. We have bodies that we use for eating and jumping and sex and fighting and drinking but let us down by developing ulcers and skin rashes and tooth decay and wrinkles. We have homes that we have to constantly be up-keeping in order to live in comfortably. And we have the responsibilities to always be kind, always be teaching, always be patient and understanding, always be trying to keep up with the world and evolve and grow and learn so we can do all of that the best we can and be positive forces in the world we live that not only gives us so much, but hurts us so much all the time. It’s tiring. It’s complicated. And it only gets worse.
I don’t mean that live is a constant decline. If you look at this the other direction, I’m speaking of gaining more love with every heartbreak than you had before. Gaining more things that you like. Gaining closer and better friends with stronger purposes. But I am noting how difficult the sacrifices are. The simplicity. That one day you finish a book that makes you feel like everything in life is as simple as finding love and in that, becoming an adult (as I just did before writing this) and you realize “I did that. And it’s not.” You stare off and realize “My life is completely unfamiliar to me.” You can think of a time when you knew who all your friends were and your girlfriend was your life and you had time for all your interests and it’s not that you were exactly HAPPIER than you are now, but, in retrospect, it’s easier to see how that was “happy.” And “comfortable.” And maybe this is all just my experience, but that filters into it, too: How, as you get older, you realize that some people just SEE things different than you do. And it’s not a matter of simple opinion or differing knowledge bases, you just fundamentally are looking at the world through different eyes that show your brain different images with different meanings.
And now I feel uncomfortable, and I wish I had my girlfriend back (doesn’t matter which one) and my two favorite shows which I watched every week and I played my video game every day and read my comic books and I ate at those restaurants and had those favorite foods and my life and identity were just SIMPLE. But, to be honest, I don’t believe that will ever happen again.
Which is fine, I guess…
I guess it would be wrong to call myself a “dreamer” when I really only have the one dream. I dream of her coming to my window, full of tears. I open the window and she says, sheepishly, “I didn’t think you’d want to see me.” I let her in, and after a while of silence, she pours out apologies and placation. She tells me she hasn’t been with anyone else and I was the only one she ever really loved. She tried to date. She tried to move on. But she found herself bored or disgusted within the first two dates. She can’t live without me. I tell her that it’s not enough and she kisses me. We start to undress and I wake up. And then I start my day, pretending that it meant nothing.
I went shopping this morning, and she was with me. By accident. I walked past the bulk aisle and she started pulling my arm. I ended up with a pound of gummy candy and a pound of assorted chocolate candies in my cart. We were busy making fun of a grumpy old man complaining to his wife about how crowded the store was when a young blonde girl caught my eye as she disappeared into the next aisle over. I hurried around the corner to try to catch her eye again, but she hardly noticed me behind her boyfriend or husband or whatever. I looked down into my cart and saw the two pounds of candy. I left them on the Clearance rack in the frozen food section and proceeded to the checkout, alone.
“She never rode in my passenger seat very much,” I think, as I look to the right. We mostly always took her car everywhere. She used to complain about how loud I liked my music. What the optimum following distance was. How I’d check my text messages on highways. She never let me play the comedy music I liked so much. And when I did, she’d think I was trying to prove something and we’d end up in a fight. I realize, then, that this isn’t even my car. I haven’t had a car since right after me and her broke up. This is a car I’ve borrowed from a friend, and so there’s no reason I would ever have a memory of her in it. I’m in a new house now, too. It feels like everything’s changed since we broke up. Except the streets. I’m always driving on the same streets we always drove on together. And that must be why she popped into my head. “That must be it.” I think. And I turn the music up.
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I want to write a fable where all the animals travel back in time to stop deforestation but accidentally go back too far and get eaten by dinosaurs. The Moral: Animals are too stupid to work time machines.