What Song Would Save Your Life?

Music has always been a huge part of my life. I grew up on Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, The Chicks, and Shania Twain. Just like I grew up on Eminem, DMX, and Tupac. And like I grew up on Fleetwood Mac, Prince, and George Michael. In middle and high school, I listened to Taylor Swift, Paramore, The Fray, Avril Lavigne, Panic at the Disco, Evanescence, Daughtry, and so many others. My life has a musical thread to it. Music is the one constant. Music has never let me down. It’s always been there. Whether I need to listen to some heavy rock like Metallica, Disturbed, Shinedown, Sick Puppies, or Skillet when I’m trying to calm down. On those when I’m tangled up in anger and frustration that I can’t explain, I turn them up loud. Or on the days when I feel strangely apathetic when I need some softer music, music that hits me deep within my heart and soul. Music like Lord Huron or LEON or BANKS. Music that makes me feel a bit more connected and makes me feel when I’m not feeling anything. Or on those days where I’m sad, but I don’t know why, so I turn on some Ed Sheeran or some of my favorite musicals like SIX, Rent!, or any Disney movie soundtrack, because it makes me feel better. It puts a pep in my step, and it’s like, okay, everything will be okay because we have music. Music is there. It’s real.

There are songs that I listen to that instantly bring back memories. Like “Bad Girlfriend” by Theory of a Deadman, my friend and I danced in my house, the walls shaking with how loud the music was. we once were hanging out and having a ball when Facebook started blowing up, and my mother called me asking if we were okay after the earthquake. My friend and I didn’t even realize there was an earthquake. We were having so much fun. Even listening to Jesse McCartney makes me think of her. Two extremes, Theory of a Deadman and Jesse McCartney, and bam! All the memories, ever.

Like the fact that even though I don’t like Bon Jovi, sometimes I’ll listen to “Wanted Dead or Alive” because it reminds me of my brother Tristan, just like listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers does. He went to a concert maybe like six years ago, and he recorded my favorite song of theirs just for me.

How when I listen to songs like “I Love Rock n’Roll” by Joan Jett or “Heartbreaker” by Pat Benatar, I think about those rare moments when my sister Chloe and I were home alone, just us girls. Those rare beautiful moments where we’d dance and sing (scream, really), and we were sisters. How much fun we had just being silly.

When I hear “1985” by Bowling for Soup, and “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers, I think of being at the club Decades with my best friends Caroline, Abby and Nick and we’d be singing it to each other like there was nothing wrong with the world. Like it was just us friends against the world, and that’s all we need. The end of last month, I went to Abby’s bachelorette party, and there was something about being back in Decades, about dancing and singing and being with friends. It was amazing.

Music reaches a part of you that sometimes you can’t explain, and in one of the shows of the summer, it addressed this. In Stranger Things, how they save Max is through her favorite song, “Runnin’ Up That Hill” by Kate Bush.

That got me thinking.

What song would save me from Vecna?

It didn’t take me long to figure it out.

“Freedom” by George Michael immediately came to mind. I can’t help it. I hear that song, and I am instantly happy. It’s like a power ballad and just, yes. Hell, I might get “Freedom” tattooed on my arm. or you know, some of the lyrics, who knows.

This song is like, a new start for George Michael. It was him saying, okay, I’m here but I’m not the same, and my music isn’t the same, and ain’t nothing wrong with that. He wanted to make his own music, and how he wanted. It’s such a power ballad and he’s like, taking back his power. How can you not like this song? Also, you’ve got supermodels lip-syncing the song, and it’s glorious.

And because of George Michael, we got this:

Yes, that is Zachary Quinto aka SPOCK lip-syncing to “Freedom” and it. is. glorious.

The point is, it’s one of my favorite songs, and if I was trapped with Vecna, I feel like it’d be that song that would bring me back.

Then I remembered that Stranger Things is set in the 80s, and this song was released in 1996, a full ten years after the newest season’s events but whatever. It still would save me.

Though if we are going based on, you know, what was available in 1986, then it would probably be a Fleetwood Mac song such as “Dreams” or “Rhiannon.”

Music is such an important part of us, who we are. you hear a song, and it brings back memories. It makes you feel something, whether that’s a good or a bad feeling. So of course it’sa song that saves Max’s life. It makes perfect sense to me.

So my question for you is: What song would save your life? Let me know in the comments!

-K

The Fandoms That Shaped Me

It all started with one line: “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of Number Four Privet Drive were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much,” and it was over. Or rather, it had only just begun. The first “fandom” I ever joined was Harry Potter. I’ve been reading the books since I could read. I have every single book in hardback. I used to have the movies until my siblings scratched them all, so I have to get them again. I even have Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Quidditch Through the Ages, and Tales from Beedle the Bard, both softback copies and illustrated copies. My goal is to get all the released books so far in illustrated form. Harry Potter has been an essential part of my life and continues to be. I may disagree with what J.K. Rowling does or says, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t be a part of the fandom. On my podcast with my BFF, Caroline, we discussed how you could love the work but not the creator. And honestly, after all these years, I don’t think Harry Potter belongs to Rowling anymore. It belongs to us. 

The fans.

For me, and many others, Harry Potter and other fandoms or nerdom (the “nerd culture” if you will) is a form of escape. It’s a way to get out of our heads and into other worlds because sometimes the world is crap, and you’d rather be a witch, a Jedi, a bender, a vampire, a companion, or a Shadowhunter than be your regular normal self. 

The Dursleys may have wanted to be perfectly normal, but I wanted to be extraordinary. Fandoms give people an escape, an opportunity to imagine another place, to be well extraordinary, even if it’s just a chapter or two. Or for an episode or two (or eight).

I can tell you that all of my friends know their Hogwarts Houses.

That the debate on Aang and Katara being a couple is still discussed. Most of us are hardcore Katara and Zuko fans. We still despise that live-action movie.

Just as we despise the live-action Eragon. (Seriously, don’t even get me started on it.)

We all have our favorite Doctors and our favorite companions.

We all lament over the letdown of the Percy Jackson movies and are eager yet wary of the Disney Plus show.

And even though most of us won’t admit it, we all had a Twilight phase, whether we loved the series or hated it.

More recently, we all bonded over The Umbrella Academy (FUCK YOU ALLISON HARGREEVES and if you’ve watched season three then you know why I. am. salty),

The Witcher (Henry Cavill and his ability to grunt and say everything, like what even is this),

and Stranger Things (men should apologize for not being Steve Harrington, just saying).

We found ourselves shocked that we enjoyed Bridgerton. And you know what? We are all still extremely salty at the last season of Game of Thrones

Fandoms bring people together, and yes, they can also be toxic. Fans can be toxic. There have been Star wars actors that fans have cruelly hounded. There are other fans for other shows that have been unnecessarily hateful. They can be mean and cruel to each other, to the creators, and to actors. But for the most part, it’s a fun community. 

After all, without fans, Doctor Who might’ve not been brought back. Star Trek may not have been rebooted. Sense8 on Netflix would’ve been kept on a cliffhanger. But the fans brought them back.

People connect over shared favorite characters, headcanons, and theories. We discuss what we think will happen in the next season or the next book. (I have all the theories on season five of Stranger Things.) We may not be right, but it’s fun to discuss. If people don’t like how a fandom ended, then they hop on fanfiction.net or Archive Of Our Own, and they write the ending they want, or if they aren’t a writer, they find a fanfiction to ease their minds because sometimes the ending sucks and characters die and you just need a happy ending. 

During the pandemic, everyone watched Tiger King and blasted social media at the sheer absurdity of it. You either watched it, or you didn’t, yet it still brought people together. We were in a shitty situation with the pandemic, and the outrageousness of the Tiger King made us realize that, well, it could be worse. 

Fandoms have affected me so much that I have tattoos from them. My first tattoo was the Deathly Hallows from Harry Potter. I have a Captain America shield on my left arm, a Batman symbol on my right arm, and the anti-possession symbol from Supernatural on my right ankle. Supernatural ended after 15 seasons in 2020, and I had to get a tattoo commemorating the show that had been in my life for 15 years.

More fandoms will be forever embossed on my skin because they have shaped me somehow. Sometimes when I’m feeling down or in a funk, I pull out Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and start reading. It’s my favorite Harry Potter book and movie. Or I flip on Supernatural or Doctor Who. I know how those series end, how those books end, and it brings me comfort. Sometimes it’s Criminal Minds or, lately, it’s been the original Charmed. (I still say the sixth season is the best season ever.) My mom and I recently watched all seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all five of Angel.

Fandoms are the reason why I want to be a writer and a filmmaker because I want to create something that touches someone’s life, as so many fandoms have touched me. Maybe it sounds a bit silly, but it’s important to me. 

So yeah, I can’t tell you my blood type, which is probably a bad thing. But what I can tell you is my Hogwarts House and Ilvermorny House.

I am a proud Slytherin. Slytherins are known for being ambitious, resourceful, determined, and clever. Most don’t believe I am a Slytherin, but I can see it, honestly. Here I am, finishing up one master’s in spring 2023, then returning for another master’s in fall 2023. I am resourceful because I grew up in a broken home, so I had to figure out my own way. I am determined because nothing was going to stand in my way of getting a degree.

My Ilvermorny House is a Pukwudgie. It’s based on a creature in the Harry Potter universe. They are known for being wickedly smart and independent. Pukwudgies represent the heart and favor healers. And again, due to my history, I’m fiercely independent. I try to do everything myself (it’s both a good and a bad thing). As for the heart and healer bit, I am going into social work because I want to work with at-risk teenagers who come from broken homes, as I did. Because I can relate to them.

So it might seem silly to some how invested I get into my many fandoms, but for me, and others like me, it’s not. It’s who we are, and I will not apologize for that. 

-K

I Choked on These Pomegranate Seeds (Midnight Sun Review)

It has taken me two years, but I have finally finished Midnight Sun. And, no, that’s not an exaggeration. I’ve been reading this book for two years. It’s been sitting on (in?) my Kindle library taunting me with the like 10% read it was on three weeks ago. That is a truth, not my usual dramatics. Well, nearly two years. Midnight Sun was released August 4th, 2020, so mid-pandemic. It is now July 2022, so yeah, two years next month.

When Stephenie Meyer suddenly announced in May of 2020 that she was releasing Midnight Sun, Twitter totally blew up. Everything blew up, really. I mean, it was like it was we were back in the 2000s with another Stephenie Meyer book.

17 Hilarious Tweets About Stephenie Meyer Releasing “Midnight Sun”

Vampires were suddenly cool again. (Mind you, they had never stopped being cool. Even if Twilight had nearly destroyed the vampire’s reputation. I love vampires. One of my goals in life is to read every single vampire book every written. Will I succeed? No idea, but it’s a nice goal.) Now, you may not know this but Meyer actually had the first like 12 or so chapters of Midnight Sun on her website. I’ve read those unedited pages (trust me, it took all of me to resist the urge to edit the grammar errors and the typos, hello, I’m a writing major). After the entire book was leaked, she decided not to publish. I can’t blame her there. I’d be salty too if my book got leaked. But I guess with all the shit happening in 2020, she thought to herself, “Now is the time for Midnight Sun.” The point is, it’s taken me this long to finish this book.

There are several reasons for that.

I’m not a slow reader, I’m not. I devoured the hell out of Carrie. I read fast, especially if I like the book. The more I like it, the faster I read. Which is why it took me so damn long to read Midnight Sun.

Now you might be asking yourself: Keely, why finish a book that you clearly don’t like? Well, because I’m a determined little shit and I wasn’t going to let this damn book beat me. That’s why. Also, I recently bought Salem’s Lot and couldn’t start a new book when I hadn’t finished the one on my Kindle yet. It’s a thing. So, today, we are going to talk about Midnight Sun.

19 Of The Funniest Tweets About “Midnight Sun” That Even Rosalie Would Laugh At

Stephenie Meyer’s “Midnight Sun” Is Here And So Are The Memes

Let’s get this show on the road.

“My life was an unending, unchanging midnight. It must, by necessity, always be midnight for me. So how was it possible that the sun was rising now, in the middle of my midnight?”

-Edward Cullen, Midnight Sun

Here’s the thing about the Twilight saga, you either love it, or you love to hate it. Everyone had their Twilight phase. Everyone. You can deny it all you want, but you (probably) had a Twilight phase. Now I, like stated in previous blog posts, read Twilight because peer pressure. I didn’t like the book, but I faked it because all my friends were into it and I thought I had to be into it as well. Once the other books came out, I couldn’t not read it. I couldn’t leave the series unfinished. again, it’s a thing. So yes, I’ve read all the Twilight books, even Life & Death: Twilight Reimagined, and The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner.

Now, here’s the thing, I thought reading Twilight was bad. I was so wrong. Midnight Sun was worse. Not only was it 658 pages of the same exact story, but it was 658 pages of Edward being an emo angsty oh-my-god I’m such an evil vampire and like I can’t even with this. That’s what made it so hard to read. The angst was awful. Okay, just awful. I like me some angst, don’t get me wrong. Hello, half of the fanfictions I read are just angst with some hurt/comfort thrown in and well, smut. (Don’t judge me.) Midnight Sun however, took the angst to another level. The sheer just, I hate my very existence in this novel? It was hard to swallow. Incredibly hard. And it’s not like it was broken up with like action or something other than angst.

No.

It was angst.

Angst.

ANGST.

Every single word, every single line, every single page. The entire damn book. A pile of angst. *shudders* It was a mess.

I can’t even with this bullshit. Jeez. How much angst can one person have? Mind you this person is a 100 year old repressed vampire in the body of a horny seventeen year old boy, so yeah. I guess that checks out. I guess. Maybe.

Edward seeing Bella for the first time. Totally sexy.

We already know the story. It’s not like we really learned anything new in this novel. I mean you kind of did. . .but didn’t at the same time? It was weird. How can you learn nothing and everything at the same? I don’t know. Ask Meyer.

The parts I liked were when we got more insight into Edward. His “rebel” years as he called it. He hunted the scum of the earth, murderers, rapists, the like, and he killed them. He was like a vigilante, cleaning up the bad guys one city (which is a bit hilarious when you think about the fact that Robert Pattinson is now Batman) at a time. Honestly, if this book was 658 pages of Edward’s rebel years, that would’ve been so much better.

Maybe.

I mean, he would probably swing between serial-killer-vampire-blood-good and then back to emo-angst-monster-blood-bad. But I’d take him killing the scum of the earth over him fawning over Bella and being all “I hate my very existence” and “I am a monster.” Sure Edward’s rebellious stage was only five years long before the guilt got to him, but it would’ve been better than a retelling of Twilight. Just saying, Meyer. Missed opportunity there.

“Though I hated her, I was absolutely aware that my hatred was unjust. I knew that what I really hated was myself. And I would hate us both so much more when she was dead.”

-Edward Cullen, Midnight Sun

The funny thing is, we actually learn more about Bella in Midnight Sun that we do in her book Twilight. Even then, it’s still, well, she’s still bland. Edward sprouts on and on about how she’s not like other girls. Newsflash, Eddie, Bella is like the others.

Which makes me wonder. If Edward could read her mind, would he be as interested in her? Or would he ignore her? Just food for thought. Like her blood calls him, yeah, but he can ignore that. If he could read her mind and see that she was just as shallow and bland like the other teenage girls, would he even be interested? I mean, that’s the only reason why he was so interested in her in the first place. You know, besides the whole I-want-to-drain-you-dry-like-a-Caprisun thing. Bella is boring. Okay, she’s boring. She’s like a sixty year old woman in a seventeen year old’s body. She’s bland and boring. She’s oatmeal. She’s got about as much personality as a rock. But if you want to read more about my thoughts on Bella Swan, see here.

The point is, he was only interested in the first place because he couldn’t read her mind, and it’s very clear in Midnight Sun that that was the reason. Just saying.

Edward and Bella in biology.

Also, we should give Robert Pattinson a break. He read the assignment and he understood it. Yes, Edward really was that awkward and dorky. He’s like “keep it light” and yeah, he doesn’t. To Bella he comes off as you know, cute and charming but meanwhile us readers are like “???” and like “Bro, creepy.” He even says that her coming into her room at night is stalkery! Like, way to be meta, Meyer. Your own character admitted it was creepy. What the hell.

Edward is an eternal seventeen year old man-child who has no idea how to interact with a girl he’s attracted too. My god, he can barely say the word sex, let alone think it. In Twilight, Bella thinks he’s all suave and like, he’s totally not.

Sorry, Eddie. You’re not. You’re a dork. You have no idea what the word “light” means. You should Google the definition. You are the opposite of light.

Also how can he be so unaware and aware at the same time? He doesn’t know what those lustful feelings are? Eddie, darling, that would be a boner. You live with Rosalie and Emmett for Christ’s sake, shouldn’t you be aware of you know, physical attraction? At all? No? Not to mention, you are a telepath and go to high school! Does no one recall that one scene in the restaurant? Where Bella asks what people are thinking. And Edward is like “Sex, money, sex. . . .cat.” No? It was great and horrible all at once.

The point is, how can he be so oblivious? How can Bella be so oblivious? It’s a bit ridiculous. Yes, yes, I know this is a young adult fiction. I know the whole YA is pretty much based on being utterly ridiculous but this is taking it a bit far. It’s a stretch. To have two characters who are so oblivious to physical attraction and having a crush. It’s just. . .wow. I can’t get these minutes spent reading this book.

Back on track.

So we find out a bit more about Eddie’s “Rebel Years.” We find out that Bella is still as bland as oatmeal. She reads a lot, basically raised herself, has no goals for her future, etc. You know, the stuff we kind of already knew. More than kind of.

Edward basically spouts how amazing she is, how selfless, how he taints her with his presence, and y’all, I thought Bella’s utter simping over Edward was bad, but she ain’t got shit on Edward. Seriously. It’s so much. Bella can do no wrong. She is on this pedestal. She’s better than all the other teenage girls.

“There was a bit of Jane Eyre in her, a portion of Scout Finch and Jo March, a measure of Elinor Dashwood, and Lucy Pevensie.”

-Edward Cullen, Midnight Sun

I don’t know what world Edward lives in but I would never compare Bella Swan to Jo March. Jo was my favorite March sister. Just, what, Edward? Smh.

I also find it funny how both of them are like “I’m not good enough for her/him.” It’s ridiculous.

I feel like I’ve said that word a lot in this, and like I need a different word. (Apparently I’m channeling my inner Valley Girl today, sorry.)

This book is basically 658 pages of mostly angst “I am a monster,” with some “She’s the most perfect woman” thrown in and a dash of something interesting. Not even a dash. A sprinkle. A single sprinkle. That might be a bit harsh but oh well. Read it and weep, y’all.

“For the first time in a hundred years, I was grateful to be what I was. Every aspect of being a vampire – all but the danger to her – was suddenly acceptable to me, because it was what had let me live long enough to find Bella.”

-Edward Cullen, Midnight Sun

I think I might have vomited in my mouth a little.

Basically, I wasted my life reading this entire book and I should’ve just read this post on Buzzfeed to save myself some time.

I Read Stephenie Meyer’s “Midnight Sun” So You Don’t Have To

I think I enjoyed reading Life & Death: Twilight Reimagined more than this. You know, the gender-bent version of Twilight. And it was just as blah. At least it was less angsty. Beau Swan was a lot more tolerable than Bella Swan. Maybe because he had more of a personality? I mean, barely, but Beau still had more of a personality than Bella, I felt. Barely. A smidgen. I think honestly the whole gender-bent thing was a bit lazy and done only for money. It was the same story just gender bent. Though it did end differently with Beau becoming a vampire and the Cullens having to leave Forks because the treaty was broken. Something like that. I felt bad for Charlie. (Charlie and Renee were the ones not gender-bent.) I liked how that ended. But yeah, Midnight Sun, eh. I should’ve left it unread in my Kindle library. Oh well.

Here are my random thoughts about Midnight Sun, in no particular order.

  • The whole Hades and Persephone, pomegranate thing got really contrived. Seriously. I swear Edward mentioned it so many times. In every chapter, in every page. We get it, you’re Hades and she’s Persephone. You gave Bella the seeds, just, shut up about it already. We get it. It got annoying after the third time it was mentioned. It didn’t need to be in every. single. moment. It could have been a lot more subtle. But I guess Edward doesn’t know what “subtle” means.

“Suddenly, as she ate, a strange comparison entered my head. For just a second I saw Persephone, pomegranate in hand. Dooming herself to the underworld. Is that who I was? Hades himself, coveting springtime, stealing it, condemning it to endless night. I tried unsuccessfully to shake the impression.”

-Edward Cullen, Midnight Sun
  • An entire chapter dedicated to him writing her lullaby. Are you fucking shitting me? I can’t even. That was so cringeworthy. Just wow. Of all the things to dedicate a chapter to, you chose that? Why not more on his rebel years? I’d be so down for that. But no. Lullaby. *eyeroll*
  • Edward being jealous of Mike Newton was hilarious.
  • Edward is pretty judgy. Which I guess makes sense. he can read minds so he’s got a better idea of what a person is like, but still. He wasn’t exactly fair to Jessica or Mike or Renee.
  • Edward states a vampire is meant to draw in their prey, hence the beautiful features, but at the same time he doesn’t understand why Bella loses her train of thought? Of why Jessica does? Ms. Cope? Come on, dude. You said it yourself! Smh. He’s a dummy.
  • I was very disappointed to see that they once again glossed over Alice’s story. Like we know James saw her and wanted her but he was prevented by an older vampire who felt bad for Alice at the asylum. But like, it’s so vague? I need more detail than this.
  • We found out a lot sooner about the Volturi and Jasper’s backstory. Also, exactly how powerful Jasper’s power is (weird sentence, whatever) like basically making James think that Jasper (who is probably the most dangerous Cullen, imo) seem not dangerous. How Jasper made Bella feel or seem like a vampire just by projecting those feelings. They really underplayed his abilities. A lot.
  • The whole long ass vision of Alice and how she was going to cover up the whole thing with James and why Bella’s hurt was exhausting. I didn’t really know it was a vision at first, then it just got convoluted. It felt totally unnecessary. Like skip the vision and go to after? Why that long thing?
  • Emmett flings a car into traffic. HA. Also, cars are stolen and a woman is drugged to steal said car and that whole part where they’re trying to get to Bella and the before of that where they are chasing James is interesting. If not drawn out too much. It needed a lot more action. Like fighting.
  • The fact that way before Bella got hurt by James, Edward was planning on leaving her is very telling and sets up New Moon. (Please, Meyer, for the love of all that’s holy. . . .WE DO NOT NEED NEW MOON IN HIS PERSPECTIVE. God please. Never. That’d be awful.)

Those are my thoughts on Midnight Sun. I can’t believe I finished it. Now to begin Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. I know he won’t let me down. I’m reading all of Stephen king’s books, going in publication date order. So Carrie was first. Though I really need a good vampire book so maybe I’ll read Lestat by Anne Rice. I’m not saying all vampires are sex, drugs, blood and rock n’roll. . .Okay, I am saying that. I need some of those vampires. Especially after this disappointment.

What’s your favorite vampire book? Tell me in the comments!

-K

Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down

I swear I’ve written a blog like this before. Oh, that’s right, I have. Yet here we go again. In 2019, I wrote the blog “My Body, My Choice, Your Body, Your Choice.” In that I talked about what would happen if Roe v. Wade was overturned, well, here we are 2022, and guess what, it’s no longer a discussion, it’s our reality.

As I’m sure many of you know, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last Friday.

Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, ending right to abortion upheld for decades

Where abortion ‘trigger laws’ stand after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade

With Roe v. Wade overturned, which states would restrict or protect abortion rights?

This caused a huge ripple effect across the nation. Some states had trigger laws and after the overturn, those trigger laws went into place which banned abortions. Abortion clinics across the nation in those states have had to tell women who come in for an abortion that they can’t do it. That they’ll have to go to another state.

There is such anger right now in the world. You can sense it. You can feel it in the air. It’s all over and I don’t think it’s going to stop anytime soon. Women are furious at this overturn. And you know what?

They have every damn right to be angry.

I’m angry too.

I’ve never been one to get too involved in politics. I vote. I pay attention to the news enough to be in the know so I don’t put my foot in my mouth. So I am not completely ignorant to what’s happening in the world. Now? Well, I want to organize a protest. I want to find a way to get more involved in politics because this is ridiculous. I want to go all-in because the overturn of Roe v. Wade is just the beginning. And if you think it’s not, then you haven’t been paying attention.

This isn’t about babies or abortion. Not really. If it was then there would be more talk about fixing the foster care system and making it easier to adopt children. There would be talks about better health care and mental health. And oh, I don’t know, there would be laws that would prevent our children from being shot up at their school (Blog post: “19”).

What kind of bullshit nation do we live in where a woman can’t control her own body but heaven forbid that we have gun regulations to prevent more mass shootings. If it was about babies, how about protecting them from gun violence? Pro-lifers care about protecting lives until it means that their gun rights are threatened.

Or I don’t know. How about let’s not yank children out of their parents’ arms and throw them in detention centers? How about that?

Pro-lifers care about babies until that baby is poor, disabled, Mexican, black, LGBTQ+, etc. They don’t care. Not really. It’s not about saving lives. It’s about controlling women.

Sign that I made

The 50s called. Why are we going backward? Seriously. How are we going backward as a nation? How does that make a lick of sense?

You think this is it? It’s not. This is only just the beginning. We’re just getting started on this.

Some states are in talks about banning contraceptives. Yes, because that makes sense. Let’s ban birth control pills and shots and what have you. You know, the stuff that helps prevent pregnancies! If it was really about preventing more abortions, then maybe make it easier to get contraceptives?

But wait no.

That’s not happening. Because it’s not about that at all. Oh, and just so you know, contraceptives include condoms. Men won’t be able to wrap it before they tap it OR even have consensual sex since chances are their little fellas would impregnate a woman would go.

Roe v. Wade meant that we had something that guaranteed we could do what we needed to do. That it was our choice. Our choice. Not the government’s.

Men don’t get to be told what they can do with their bodies but women do. We are told what we can and can not do. Women are. This affects women, and honestly if you’re a woman, and this doesn’t make you angry. . .I can’t even.

I had to get off Facebook yesterday because the comments were making me angry. I’m not the one who comments and starts an argument on social media, but yesterday. Oh boy. It was bad.

One said that if a woman doesn’t want to get pregnant then she should keep her legs closed.

Yeah. You heard that right.

If women don’t want to get pregnant then they shouldn’t have sex.

Fuck that.

How about you teach your “boys” to use protection? How about men learn to not pressure women into sex? Or pressure them into not using a condom because the rubber makes it not feel as good? You think that’s not a problem? I’ve been pressured into sex. I’ve said “No” or “I’m not in the mood” and the guy was like “Oh, you’re not serious” and then kept pushing it. I gave in to make him happy, to make him shut up because I didn’t want to be the “bad guy” withholding sex. How about you teach your “boys” not to do that, huh? I thought I had to. I’ve been pressured into having sex without a condom because the poor little baby didn’t like the feel of it. In fact, half the time, I had to make sure we had condoms because the guy couldn’t be bothered. You think I’m the only one who has gone through that? I bet plenty of women have done the same exact things.

Why don’t you tell the guys to not have sex if they don’t want to be a daddy? But wait, guys mature slower than girls. Boys will be boys. We have to take that into consideration when it comes to punishing “boys” for their “mistakes” whereas for girls, the girl is automatically the problem. It is the girl’s fault for wearing a short skirt or acting provocatively. She should’ve been more considerate of the boys. Hide those shoulders. They send the wrong message.

Fuck. That.

I hate that phrase so much. “Boys will be boys.” Fuck you. No. Just no.

Why is all on the women? Why is that the woman has to keep her legs closed? Why is that men get to walk away? Sure they might have to pay child support but that doesn’t mean they’ll be in the kid’s life. There’s no guarantee.

How about you tell guys to keep their dick in their pants? That abstinence is the best way to not be a daddy? Oh, wait. No. We don’t hold men accountable. Not at all. I mean, it only takes two to tango and create a baby, but it’s the woman’s fault. That makes so much sense.

Another comment that had me seeing red was about how if a woman is the victim of incest or rape, that it is “God’s will” for her to have that baby.

EXCUSE ME.

So you are telling me that if a little twelve-year-old is not only raped, but violated by her dad/uncle/grandfather, that not only does she have to work through that trauma, that you’re going to force her to have that baby? You are going to further traumatize her because it’s “God’s will.”

Let me tell you, fuck your god. That is complete and utter nonsense. A poor traumatized twelve year old is going to be able to handle that. Hell no. Just why?

Even if you take out the incest and rape, if a woman gets an abortion, it’s her business. It is her decision. Not yours. It is her body. Not yours. What right do you have to tell her what she can and can not do with HER body? And even if abortion goes against your religion, your religion does NOT get to dictate what another person can and can not do.

I bet we if told men that they couldn’t have sex unless they had a vasectomy or used a condom, they’d throw a damn fit. They’d scream about their rights.

Hello, what about our rights? Also, if you don’t have a uterus, why do you get to tell us what to do?

Calanthe from The Witcher

The man is not held accountable. Ever. And it’s complete utter bullshit.

Overturning it isn’t going to prevent abortion. It means that now women will die doing unsafe abortions because they’re desperate. That is what this means.

Apparently, you’ve all forgotten how Baby in Dirty Dancing became a dancer. Let me remind you.

Baby (Jennifer Gray) and Johnny (Patrick Swayze)

Penny, Johnny’s dance partner, has sex with Robbie the sleazebag waiter/womanizer. Penny gets pregnant and Robbie refuses to pay for an abortion. Keep in mind that in 1963, where this movie takes place, abortion was illegal. This movie was released in 1987 but it still was pretty revolutionary for even having this plot.

‘Dirty Dancing’ Writer Added Abortion Plot as Roe v. Wade Cautionary Tale

Now Baby wants to help. She gets money from her dad without telling him what it’s for and tells Penny she’ll fill in while she (Penny) has the operation. Penny has the operation and it goes horribly wrong. Baby has no choice but to get her dad because Penny is seriously injured and he’s a doctor.

Penny (Cynthia Rhodes) and Johnny (Patrick Swayze)

The point is, the entire reason why Baby becomes a dancer is because of Penny needing an abortion.

Before We Knew Better: How the illegal abortion in “Dirty Dancing” started honest dialogue about reproductive rights

Don’t Forget That Dirty Dancing Has a Powerful Pro-Choice Message

Thanks to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, this will happen again. Women are going to die because of botched abortions. Women are going to die because it is no longer her choice what she does to her body. Women are going to die because the life of a fetus is more important than the life of the woman carrying said fetus. Making abortions illegal, or rather leaving it in the hands of states who have made it illegal, will not prevent abortions from occurring. It just prevents safe abortions from occurring. It means that if a woman is desperate, that she will either go to another state for an abortion, or if she can’t do that, she’ll find some back-alley place to do the procedure, or she’ll even try to do it herself. Both of those last ones can cause her death.

Women reflect on what life was like before Roe v. Wade

By Roe v. Wade being overturned, women are seen as simply a womb, an incubator. They don’t matter. Their lives don’t matter. That is tragic. Women do matter. Their lives do matter. This is such a huge step backward for our nation, and it’s not the end. No. It is not the end. That is terrifying for me. It should be terrifying for you as well. This is only the start.

Handmaids from The Handmaid’s Tale

Want proof? Let’s take a look at The Handmaid’s Tale.

The Handmaid’s Tale is a book written by Margaret Atwood. It was released in 1985. I haven’t read the book, but from what I have heard, the show follows the novel pretty well. Hulu released the first season of The Handmaid’s Tale in 2017, and in September of this year, the fifth season will be out.

The Handmaid’s Tale tells the story of a woman named June or “Offred” who is a Handmaid in the nation of Gilead. After a civil war, Gilead took over most of the united states and established a new regime. Since the fertility rate was incredibly low, they decided to have fertile women act as incubators. Sorry, Handmaids. Handmaids are assigned to a family, a Wife and a Commander, who then participate in a ritual once a month where the Commander has sex with the Handmaid while the Wife is behind the Handmaid, holding their wrists.

Yeah, I know, right? It’s awful.

Let’s be clear. These women have no rights. They don’t get to say no. Their entire purpose is to make babies. They can’t consent. Every month they go through this “ritual.” You know what? Let’s call it what it is. They go through rape. And it’s painted as “for the better of Gilead.” The women are trying to survive. If they get pregnant, they might have a slightly better life for nine months. The society doesn’t care about the mother unless she’s pregnant.

In one scene June is getting beaten and the Wife, Selena Joy yells “She’s pregnant!” and it’s immediately halted. Now June wasn’t pregnant but what does it say that that is the only thing that keeps June from being beaten to death.

The women don’t matter. Not to this society. They care about the baby. That’s it.

We get flashbacks of how this started. How the fertility rates were going down. How women ended up losing their jobs, how their bank accounts got closed, and how they couldn’t get abortions. It started with controlling them, and ended with this.

You have the Wives, the trophy women of the Commanders. They have no rights either. They can’t read. They have no say in the society. I wouldn’t say they have it easy. I’m sure they have it rough too. After all, Selena Joy, who is half the reason why Gilead exists, gets beaten by her husband, Fred, and a finger cut off. She is the one who wrote a book about women should be at home with their children and not working and honor their husbands and honor “God.” A woman is the cause of this society. Keep that in mind. A woman did this to other women.

The Handmaids are alone. They can’t even trust each other because they are all just trying to survive. They want to live. So they do what they have to do in order to survive. Yes, eventually, they do sort of become a group. They realize that the only person who has their backs is the one who wears the same color as them.

“They should have never given us uniforms if they didn’t want us to be an army.” Offred in “Night” (Episode 1.10) of The Handmaid’s Tale

These are women from all sorts of life. June was an editor at a magazine I believe. She was considered an adulteress because her husband was married before and they dated when he was still married. Their child Hannah was taken away to be raised by a proper family. If you refuse to be a Handmaid, then your other choices are to go to the colonies where you’ll die a slow death because of the poisoned fields or to be a Jezebel, aka, a prostitute.

The Aunts are the enforcers of the Handmaids. Aunt Lydia is an Aunt who is seen throughout the show. She bothers me. I think she actually cares about the Handmaids and tries to help them but at the same time, she also hurts them. She’s so blinded by her devotion that she can’t see the harm she is doing to them. She’s just as awful as the Commanders.

Then you have the Marthas who are servants. These women could have been doctors in their previous lives but now, they are servants. The Marthas have a network and are a big part of Mayday, a group of resistances. A few times in the series, June is saved because of a Martha. They help her a lot.

Oh, and by the way, most of the Marthas are ethnic. Most of the Handmaids and even the Wives and Commanders are white. So not only are they sexist, they are racist as well.

For a further breakdown of the types of women in Gilead, read the article below.

The roles of women in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ explained

Those who are LGBTQ+ are treated unfairly as well. They are seen as “unwomen” or “a traitor to their gender” if they are lesbian or bisexual or transgender. It is the same with the men. They are either executed or sent to the colonies. If the women are fertile they might be spared but that’s not a guarantee. Emily, one of the Handmaids, is caught with a Martha. The Martha is hung. Emily undergoes a forced clitoridectomy. Yes, that’s right, female genital mutilation. That’s a thing in this society.

Also is cutting off a woman’s finger for reading, plucking out her eye for disobedience, beating a woman for not listening to their husbands, drowning them for infidelity, and trust me, it gets worse.

The title of this blog comes from The Handmaid’s Tale. It comes from the Latin phrase Nolite te bastardes carborundorum, which roughly translates to “don’t let the bastards grind you down.” It’s not a real Latin phrase, but it still becomes relevant in the show. June finds it etched into the wall and it becomes a mantra for her. She reminds herself that yes, she’s in an awful situation. Yes, it seems hopeless, but she has to keep going. Not just for her, but for the other Handmaids, for her daughters, for her husband, for her best friend. She can’t let them (them being Gilead) win.

It’s difficult for me to watch this show now. We started it from the beginning and it’s difficult to watch because it’s so real and you know what? It shouldn’t be real. This shouldn’t be our reality. I should be able to watch a show without thinking to myself “Fuck. What if this happens to me? To my sister? To my cousins? To my friends?” I am watching it though because it is relevant.

In the show, it’s clearly shown through flashbacks that it started off slow. It started off with little hints.

Guess what? These are not small hints. These are HUGE hints. There is a giant, flashing neon. You think we aren’t heading towards this? We are. Roe v. Wade is only the beginning. Then it’s contraceptives. It will keep going. Gay rights? Gone. Interracial marriages? Gone. Women’s right to vote? To own property? To own a credit card? Gone. Equals rights for LGBTQ+? Gone. It’s all going to be gone.

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ EP Warren Littlefield On “Hauntingly Relevant” Dystopian Drama, Finding Hope & Mobilizing After Roe V Wade Is Overturned

And I shouldn’t have to say this, but I’m going to: The Handmaid’s Tale is NOT an instruction manual.

Sign my cousin Paige made

This book is not your damn Bible. It is not the “how-to” on how to oppress women and all others who are not some white CIS man. Because let’s be real. That’s the people who are making these rules. Those are the people who are trying to suppress women and control them. White CIS men and religious zealots. And you know what? There are women who believe that abortion is murder.

It’s not. What do you think? That the baby is yanked out of the mouth at nine months? No. That’s not how that works. Maybe check your facts before talking out of your ass.

Pro-choice doesn’t necessarily mean that they will get an abortion. It means that it is HER CHOICE. I don’t know why that’s so damn hard to understand. It is her choice. She doesn’t have to explain why she’s getting an abortion.

Maybe she’s a college student who is in medical school and can’t afford a baby right now.

Maybe she’s an older woman who was told that she couldn’t carry to full term.

Maybe she’s got a health condition and her being pregnant risks her life.

Maybe she’s a sixteen-year-old girl who is not ready to be a mom.

Maybe this, maybe that.

Either way, it’s none of your business why she is getting an abortion. You don’t believe in abortions? Fine. Then don’t get one. But that doesn’t give you any damn right to take away another women’s right to get one. Women shouldn’t have to justify their reasons. Women shouldn’t have to fight for the rights of their body. It’s their body! Do you see men fighting to defend their rights to their body? NO. They’ve never had too! Not like we have had to since the moment we’ve existed.

Sign my aunt made

Now is not the time to be silent. It is not the time to tuck your head in the sand and let the world continue on. If you are a woman, you should be pissed. You should want to grab your shields and swords and rage at this unjust. If you are a man and you have women in your life, you should be furious on their behalf. It’s not time to ignore the problem, because guess what? The problem isn’t going away. This is only the beginning. Keep that in mind.

This is only the beginning.

I want you to remember that.

I’m going to be involved because it is important to me. It affects me. It affects my friends, my cousins, my sisters, so many people. I’m not ignoring the problem. Neither should you. I’m going to find ways to be involved. Yesterday I went to a protest in front of the Saline County courthouse. There were probably over 75 people there and more were coming when I left. Below are some pictures from it.

And I will be going to others if I hear about them.

These US companies will cover travel costs for employees who need an abortion

I Stand with Planned Parenthood

Response to SCOTUS 2022

I don’t want to be a Handmaid. Do you?

-K

There’s No Rising From the Ashes Here (The Secrets of Dumbledore Review)

In a previous blog post, I mentioned how I would not be watching The Secrets of Dumbledore in theatres. (For more on that and why, read “When Franchises Re-Cast Characters (The Secrets of Dumbledore.”) My friend Caroline and I also released an episode on our podcast “Disturbed Nerds” where we discussed this, as well as other crimes of creators. Link to the episode below.

That being said, since it’s been probably about a two months or so since the movie was released, and it’s now on HBO Max, a few weekends ago, I finally broke down and watched it.

Let me tell you, I was not impressed. The first Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie is still the best one out of this trilogy, and we’ll get to the reasons why I believe that is in a moment.

I went in there, trying to ignore the entire ethical issues of this movie, as stated in my previous blog post. Yes, Johnny Depp was not in it. yes, he was re-cast, and it was a whole debacle. Oh, not to mention Ezra Miller (who knows how Warner Brothers will handle him being the Flash considering they are just in general an awful person). I ignored that (mostly). I shoved those issues aside and went in as clear-headed as possible. (Here begins the SPOILERS. So stop reading if you haven’t watched the movie!)

That being said, it honestly wasn’t the best movie. A big question that came to my head was:

What was the point of this movie?

In fact, better yet:

What exactly did this movie accomplish in this saga?

I mean yes, the blood pact that our adorable Niffler Teddy stole from Grindelwald in The Crimes of Grindelwald, because ooh, shiny and here you go (I might have been a Niffler in a past life, just saying. I like shiny too.) is broken. That’s great. But like, how did it break? That didn’t seem clear.

Teddy the Niffler and Newt is done with this

You know, that little guy. He’s great. Like the MVP. Anyways, the previous move he nabbed the blood pact that prevented Dumbledore from making moves on Grindelwald and vice versa. Yay.

The point is, it’s broken now. But HOW. My theory is that it broke because Dumbledore wasn’t actively trying to kill Grindelwald. Rather, Dumbledore was trying to protect Credence, his nephew, from Grindelwald, Meanwhile, Grindelwald was casting to kill, and thus that’s why it broke. But that is a weak theory. It’s all I got though.

This movie greatly suffered from some poor writing. Poor, sloppy writing, that left us with a lot of questions, not a lot of answers, and in all honesty, just plain old simple confusion.

Take for example the message Credence, our poor broken Obscurial, gets at the beginning of the movie. (After hunting down the most adorable little deer type thing and then Grindelwald KILLING IT. YES. I am angry about this. But we’ll get to my thoughts on this version of Grindelwald later.) The message in the mirror says “Forgive me.” Oooohkay then. But when and how did these messages begin? How did Aberforth, who is sending these messages, A) find out about Credence if he didn’t know and B) find a way to communicate with said boy without alerting Grindelwald? Also, they did not make it very clear at all until way later in the movie that Aberforth is Credence’s father. They also didn’t really explain how that all happened. Aberfoth fell in love, his girl’s parents didn’t approve and she was sent away. Did he know she was pregnant? If he did, did Aberforth look for Credence?

ALSO, I just realized another plot hole.

So, we know from The Crimes of Grindelwald, that Leta Lestrange switched babies. Her brother Corvus went to the woman who ended up in the water and he drowned, thus dying. Corvus was dead. The father found out because of his fancy family tree. I think. It’s not clear. But either way, he finds out his son is dead. So. . .what did he do with Credence? Did he figure out that that boy wasn’t his son and that this was some switch-a-roo and just have the half-elf woman drop off Credence to Mrs. Barebones? Because he didn’t care? Did anyone tell that woman, whom I assume is Credence’s mother that her baby isn’t the one that died but was really Corvus Lestrange? Again, lots of questions.

Another big major question. . .

Where the HELL was Tina?

You know, Tina Goldstein, big sister to one Queenie and Newt’s woman with salamander eyes. This woman!

Newt and Tina, the ultimate cute

Are you seriously telling me that Tina, badass Auror Tina, just hung about America with her new posh job while the man she loved was out running around being in danger AND not to mention, her baby sister was with a deranged psychopath? No. Hell no. There was no logical reason why Tina was left out of this story. I don’t believe for a second that she wouldn’t be involved. New cushy job or not. That is her sister. She wouldn’t give up on her sister. Not for a moment.

While we are on the topic of Queenie. her decision to join Grindelwald was weak at best. She’s a Legilmens. Couldn’t she read his mind? Or was he an Occlumens? Thus he could shield his mind. But even then, Queenie has heard the rumors about Grindelwald. Come on. She’s a smart girl. She had to have known that he hated Muggles (or No-Majs as they are called in America). I get she wanted to marry Jacob but that still felt so weak. Grindelwald had to manipulate her more than what was shown. Which I suppose makes sense. After all, Grindelwald was known for being extremely persuasive. He knows how to read people, see what they want and then use that for his own means. For me, I always that was more terrifying than Voldemort. Voldemort went with fear, while Grindelwald played on what people wanted. Their hopes, their dreams. In Queenie’s case, she wanted to be with the man she loved without being arrested and Jacob’s mind being wiped. (For more on how I think Grindelwald is a more terrifying villian, read this blog post.)

Speaking of Jacob. This is going to kill me to say, but as much as I love Jacob, he really had no purpose. He’s a great character. I love him, I do. But he had no purpose. He pretty much was in the way. More or less. The storyline of him trying to assassinate Grindelwald? Please. That was so weak. Jacob is a Muggle. How was he trying to assassinate Grindelwald at all legit?

Jacob was a distraction, that’s it. But even then, he didn’t move the story along. This depresses me some because Jacob is a great character and they didn’t do anything with him. He could’ve been so much more. He could’ve had more interactions with Queenie and really bring her back into the fold.

Do you know who was my favorite part of this movie? (Besides Newt of course because baby. Newt Scamander must be protected at all times.)

This woman right here.

Lally Hicks (Jessica Williams)

Eulalie “Lally” Hicks, a Charmed professor at Hogwarts who is seriously 100% that. She’s incredible. She’s sassy and independent and powerful, and she knows it, but she’s not cocky about it. She was a breakout character, and I adored her. Seriously, she was awesome. I need more of her. I also liked how she and Jacob met. She essentially told him that he might be a Muggle but that doesn’t change the fact that he has a good heart. Jacob does have a good heart. They really could’ve used that and they. . .well, didn’t.

Another character I was glad we got to see more of was Bunty. Bunty is Newt’s assistant (who totally has a crush on him, and I can’t blame her, come on). She had a brief little cameo in The Crimes of Grindelwald and in The Secrets of Dumbledore, she had more of a role. Sort of. This is her.

Bunty (Victoria Yeates)

She’s an absolute delight. We need a Bunty spin-off.

Before we get to my thoughts on Mads Mikkelsen’s Gellert Grindelwald, I would like to speak (write, whatever) about the utter and complete sadness that is the character of Credence Barebones, or rather Aurelius Dumbledore. Now in this movie, you can tell that Credence isn’t doing so hot. He’s dying. The Obscurus is basically gobbling him up from the inside. It’s poisoning him. He’s growing weaker and he’s in a lot of pain.

Let’s back up a bit.

What do we know about Obscurials?

An Obscurial is created when a witch or wizard is forced to repress their magic. This can be through psychology or physical abuse. Such as the case with Credence and Ariana Dumbledore. Mary Barebones beat Credence to try and rid him of his unholy ways. Ariana was attacked by Muggle boys who saw her doing magic and they thought she was a freak. Thus she grew to try to suppress her magic, to hate her magic. When this happens, the witch or wizard develops an Obscurus.

Now according to the Harry Potter canon, Obscurials were more common in ancient times. Back when there were witch trials, etc. Now they are not so common. They have ways to hide themselves from Muggles and not risk being alienated, as well as ways to help children who are born to Muggles who may not accept their magical child. Most Obscurials don’t live past their tenth birthday, However, both Ariana and Credence Dumbledore are exemptions to this.

Ariana lived until her fourteenth birthday. Her Obscurus did not kill her, but rather it was a spell from either her brothers Albus and Aberforth or Grindelwald.

Here’s a bit of math for y’all. The boat that Leta Lestrange was on was The Titanic, (though it’s been neither confirmed nor denied but we’re going with it). The Titanic sank in 1912. The Secrets of Dumbledore takes place in 1932. Baby Credence was maybe a year old during the boat thing, so that places him at maybe 20, 21 at the time of The Secrets of Dumbledore. He’s lived twice as long as most Obscurials. Now, is this because he’s a Dumbledore?

Albus Dumbledore believes that if an Obscurial is showered with love that that could essentially save them, but then he says he believes it’s too late for Credence. The power of love is a common theme in the Harry Potter universe. It was Lily Potter’s love that saved Harry, and Harry is saved by a mother’s love a lot throughout the series. Love is a powerful emotion. I like that even here we can see that Albus believes that love is the most powerful emotion. The purest form of magic. I wish we could’ve seen this. To know if love can truly save Credence from his fate.

Can love really eliminate all of the trauma that Credence has been through? Mary Barebones beat into him that he was a freak. That made his magic turn against him and then the Obscurus burst out. Can the love of his long-lost father Aberforth truly reverse that? Can his father teach him that magic is a gift, not a curse? That being a wizard does not make him a freak or an abomination. It makes him special. Wheter or not we see this on-screen has yet to be determined.

He may or not be in the next movie (if there is a next movie, tbh) because of the issues (rightful issues) most fans have with the actor who plays him. (For more on that, here’s a timeline.)

Let’s get to the crux of this blog post. That would be Mad Mikkelsen’s Grindelwald.

I don’t even know where to begin.

I feel like they totally underutilized him. We’ll start with that. Mads is known for playing villains. It’s like his thing. Though I haven’t watched it, I’ve heard he played a delightfully wicked Hannibal Lecter in Hannibal. That being said, he was definitely underutilized. What did he even do in this movie? I can’t recall.

Other than the fact he killed the most adorable deer-like thing in the world in like the first fifteen minutes of the movie. I will say that Mads’ Grindelwald got his hands dirty compared to Depp’s Grindelwald. Depp’s Grindelwald was more about persuasion, about reading someone, such as Credence or Queenie, figuring out what their weakness was, and how to exploit it. What did they want? That’s what Depp’s Grindelwald read to me. He wanted to gain as many supporters of his vision but wrapped it in cotton candy while the inside was all hard. The whole point of Grindelwald was that no one knew who he all had in his pocket. He hand his fingers in many different pies. It was a terrifying time.

I didn’t mind that Mads’ Grindelwald was more willing to get his hands dirty. However, he was missing that persuasion that Depp’s was.

There was also another problem. . .At the beginning of the movie, when you see Mads Mikkelsen as Grindelwald, you don’t realize that it’s Grindelwald. Half the time, I forgot he was Grindelwald because he’s so drastically different from Johnny Depp’s. I understand that Mads Mikkelsen wanted to have his own version of Grindelwald, but Depp already established a distinctive look for Grindelwald.

When Richard Harris died, he was replaced by Michael Gambon for Albus Dumbledore. Michael Gambon wanted to honor the late Richard Harris but also, honor the character. When you watch Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, it is a bit jarring to see Gambon as Dumbledore at first, but you still know that he is Dumbledore. You never question if he’s some another character. You know he’s Albus Dumbledore. (Compare them below.)

There is nothing about Mads Mikkelsen that is familiar as Gellert Grindelwald, and that is a problem. Compare him and Johnny Depp below. They feel like two completely different characters.

There is nothing similar about these two. Nothing at all. That is a problem. Fans want to see something that is familiar. I know it’s not fair to Mads Mikkelsen. I think he did a decent job, but the problem was A) he was underutilized, B) poor, sloppy writing, and C) forgetting he was Grindelwald.

The reason why Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the first one, is the best one is that it was about the beasts. It was about Newt and his fantastic beasts. By having his story intertwined with the Grindelwald and Dumbledore lead up to their battle, it takes away from what I liked from the first one. It takes away from the beasts and learning about them. I feel like they just use “Fantastic Beasts” as a way to get viewers. It’s not about those beasts anymore. It’s about the humans. That’s it. If they wanted to do the Grindelwald era, they should’ve made it separate from Newt’s story. Yes, some overlap, but not this much.

I feel like this movie was trying to lead up to something. . .but it didn’t. Honestly, I have expected this to be the huge fight between Grindelwald and Dumbledore if I didn’t know that they fought in 1945. This movie had no rise, it had no climax. It was stagnant, and it felt like it. So what Grindelwald isn’t the new leader of the wizarding world? He still has followers all over the world. What did that accomplish? Nothing. Also, Dumbledore isn’t the new leader. He’s in the shadows once more. Where do we go from here? Where did we even go with this?

And that’s all folks for my review of The Secrets of Dumbledore. If you haven’t seen it, then uh, why did you read this? But if you have, drop a comment! I’d love to know what you think!

-K

I Used to be an Anime Girl (Until I Grew Up)

My first experience in anime was at my grandparents’ house in Fayetteville, Arkansas. My cousin Paul and I used to sit in front of the television and watch Inuyasha. We watched it all the time when we were there. At home, we never had cable so instead, I’d peruse YouTube and find the episodes. Usually, one episode was broken up into at least ten videos that were between 4 to 5 minutes long. Sometimes, I couldn’t find an episode so I’d have to skip to the next one. Sometimes I couldn’t find it dubbed or subbed so I’d watch the episode in Japanese.

Inuyasha wasn’t the only anime I did this for.

From the age of maybe 12 to 15, I watched my anime on YouTube. I’d watch Inuyasha, Vampire Knight, Bleach, Fushigi Yuugi, Ranma 1/2, Hellsing, Peach Girl, Aishiteruze Baby, Chibi Vampire, Chobits, Naruto, and many others. I’d get my manga from my middle school, Haskell Middle School in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. We had this small section of manga, tucked away and hidden like it was something to be ashamed of. I read every single manga we had there. Most of the time, the manga wasn’t complete. I’d go from volume one to volume five, etc. At the school, they had Inuyasha, Fruits Basket, and many others. None complete, of course. I went to the library so much that the librarian would tell me when she got more manga in.

At some point, I had a subscription to one of those manga magazines which was a huge collection of the most popular series at the time. Up until the age of 15, I was all about anime and manga. I was obsessed. I’d stay up for hours watching it on YouTube, and when we had cable, I’d watch Adult Swim when all the anime came on. My friend and I would stay up late at her house and watch anime together. Ranma 1/2 was one of our favorites. So was Fushigi Yuugi. My brother Tristan got really in Peach Girl and Aishiteruze Baby and got so mad at me one weekend when I went ahead and watched episodes without him.

Now that I’m older, I have to be in the right mood for anime. And I haven’t read manga since I was probably 15 years old. Honestly, if I tried to read manga now, I’d probably have to Google how to read it. It’s been that long.

There are quite a few anime that people have been telling me to watch such as The Seven Deadly Sins, Attack on Titan, My Hero Academia, Soul Eater, Fairytale, and Castlevania but I haven’t really gotten to watching them. I’m not sure why I can’t watch anime anymore. Why is it that I can sit down and watch Criminal Minds over and over and over again, or watch Mulan and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, but I can’t watch anime anymore? Is it because I am older? Can I no longer relate to the anime I watch? Does this mean that I need to find anime that appeals to my 27-year-old self rather than my 12-year-old self?

That’s not to say I haven’t tried. I’ve watched a few episodes of Soul Eater and Fairytale. I couldn’t get into either of them. They are a bit too like Ranma 1/2 and by that I mean, they aren’t very serious. They’re a bit too silly for me. Now I did watch some of Sword Art Online (SOA) and I found it fascinating (though apparently, the second season is trash according to some of my friends).

The anime that I really got into the past few years is RWBY. My baby cousin Pagan begged me to watch it. Trust me, she had to work for it. The first season’s animation was not good. It’s hard to get past it. But now the story. Now that was well worth it. It was new and interesting. It’s about a place called Remnant where these creatures known as Grimm run amuck. Huntresses or Huntsmen well, hunt these creatures. What I find so awesome is that like every character, just about, is based off characters in fairytales or mythology. It’s just cool. But we’re not going to talk about RWBY today. If you haven’t watched RWBY, I heavily recommend it.

We’re going to talk (write, read, whatever) about my favorite animes when I was a kid.

Let’s get started.

Inuyasha

Inuyasha, Kagome, Shippo, Miroku and Sango

Recently, I watched the first three Inuyasha movies. I was randomly in the mood to watch it, and in fact, I might watch the show from the beginning.

Admittedly, this anime has not aged well. Watching it now, it’s a bit cringeworthy. I watch it because, well, nostalgia. It’s still one of my favorite animes, and it’s still like what got me into anime.

Inuyasha follows a modern girl (Kagome) who follows in the well at her family’s shrine and ends up in Feudal Japan. There she meets a half-demon (Inuyasha) and after a bit of complications, they end up on a journey to search for the shards of the Shikon Jewel. There’s a bad guy (Naruku) who wants the Jewel all for himself and that’s more or less it.

As always there are fillers between the searching for the shards of the jewels. Those fillers get a bit tedious at times, not going to lie. (But nothing compares to the fillers of Bleach and Naruto, we’ll get to that a bit later though.) Inuyasha is one of those animes where I don’t like the main characters (there’s a few on my list like that). Kagome gets on my nerves. but also, so does Kikyo.

Now, Kagome gets better. You have to remember that she is a 16 year old girl. Inuyasha gets better too. He grows as a character. Trust me, if you compare the Inuyasha of the first episode to the last episode, there’s a huge difference. Kikyo, however, is just so full of bitterness and rage for something that Kagome had no control over, in fact, was not involved in. Like why treat this girl like shit when it wasn’t her fault? It was Naraku’s. Get over your damn self, seriously.

Some of the best characters are the side characters.

Like Sango, the badass demon slayer whose brother Kohaku killed their entire village thanks to Naraku.

Miroku, the pervy monk who was cursed with a Wind Tunnel. (If you have watched this show then you totally heard that in Miroku’s voice. Totally.) He was cursed thanks to Naraku. (Basically, Naraku fucked up a lot of people’s lives. More or less.)

Shippo, the kid fox-demon who ends up tagging along after some wolf demons kill his entire village basically.

Then there’s Sesshomaru, my favorite character. He’s all cool and confident, controlled. He hates humans but then he meets Rin, a young girl who tends to his wounds even though he snarls at her. He finds someone to protect, and though it is subtle, he does change because of this human girl. Some of my favorite episodes are with Sesshomaru and Rin.

Recently, they released a sequel to Inuyasha called Yashahime: Princess Half Demon. This anime follows the twin sisters, Towa and Setsuna, daughters of Sesshomaru and Rin. Towa somehow ended up in modern times and was raised by Kagome’s brother. The twins join with Moroha, Inuyasha and Kagome’s daughter to find answers to their missing past. I haven’t watched it yet. It’s received mixed reviews. But I do plan on watching it at some point.

Vampire Knight

Kaname, Yuuki, and Zero

This show would be so much better without the main character, Yuki. Seriously. Compared to her love interests and the other side characters, she’s so. . .blah. She’s always getting in the way and fucking things up. She’s a crybaby and I can’t stand her.

Vampire Knight takes place at Cross Academy where there is a Day Class and a Night Class. I mean, it should be obvious what the Night Class is. Vampires. Duh. Yuki was found by Kaname Kuran who saved her from a rogue vampire. She has no memory of who she is. Kaien Cross, the Headmaster of Cross Academy takes Yuki in. Eventually, he also takes in Zero Kiryu, the only (or so we think at least) surviving member of his Hunter family.

Zero hates vampires, which hey, makes sense. A vampire did slaughter his entire family and uh, turn him into a vampire. More on that in a bit. Yuki is very naïve, thinking that all vampires are like her precious Kaname, when really, he’s just as cruel and vicious as the rest of them.

Now in this universe, vampires are born. They are just a subspecies of humans. There’s no reason given as to where vampires came to be, not that I recall at least. Purebloods are those who do not have a single human relative in their family tree. Nobles are under them. Now, humans can become vampires if bitten by a pureblood vampire. However, they turn into what they call Level D and Es, which means they go crazy with thirst. They are eventually put down by Hunters or other vampires to ensure that they (vampires that is) remain a secret.

Zero is a Level D, a step above a Level E, so he’s not quite lost it yet, and he starts feeding on Yuki whose blood is like crack for some reason. I won’t ruin the entire thing. It’s a good show. Though it does get a bit. . .weird and complicated. It’s confusing. (Which is why I said fuck it and went to a fanfiction instead because it was less weird. . Of course said fanfiction is a slash with Kaname and Zero as the main pairing)

If you can get past Yuki, you will love the other side characters besides Kaname and Zero.

Such as:

Hanabusa Aidou or “Idol” by the Day Class girls who is like every girl’s crush. He’s very protective of Kaname and lowkey, totally think he’s in love with Kaname. He is always getting smacked. He seems almost like a goofball but he has a deeper side.

Senri Shiki who is very distantly related to Kaname. He makes Zero looks expressive. The interesting things about him happen later and boy do you feel bad for him.

Kain Akatsuki has no time for anyone’s bullshit. He’s pretty carefree and totally in love with Ruka Souen, who is in love with Kaname. . .who wants nothing to do with her. Kaname is kind of a jerk, honestly, but you kind of think he’s not. He wears a lot of masks.

Takuma Ichijou is the most human vampire of the bunch. Seriously. He’s probably my favorite. He and Kaname are childhood friends. In fact, pretty sure, Takuma was Kaname’s only friend growing up.

If you can get past Yuki, you’ll like this show. If you can’t, then well, fanfiction? No, seriously, there’s this fantastic Vampire Knight fanfiction, it’s got like four pieces and it’s well. . .*coughs* Zero x Kaname slash. Ahem. But it is SO good. It’s beautifully written and completely in character. Honestly, I haven’t even finished this show or the manga. I went to fanfiction. Lol. (I’m not even kidding on that.)

(Note: I hope y’all get cool with incest real quick, like Game of Thrones level incest, because (SPOILERS) Kaname and Yuki. . .yeah. . .they are brother and sister. Their parents were brother and sister too. Also, Yuki has a kid with Kaname and a kid with Zero, and these half-siblings are. . .attracted to each other.

We seem to just forget that tidbit. But yeah, it’s a thing.)

But if you get over that and the really obnoxious and awful main character, it’s not a bad show.

Fushigi Yuugi

Miaka with the Seven Warriors of Suzaku

You know how in Inuyasha Kagome falls into a well and ends up in Feudal Japan? Well in this one, the main girl, Miaka, gets sucked into a book. Or a scroll, I guess, whatever and into like Feudal Japan. Oh and her friend Yui is the priestess of Seiryu and is going up against Miaka because she blames Miaka for her (Yui that is) treatment when she first came into the scroll world. Poor Yui gets attacked and the way they gloss over her sexual assault and her trauma is not okay. Now, that’s not on Miaka so it seems a bit of a weak reason for a friend to betray another? But also this bad guy Nakago totally feeds into Yui’s emotions and turns her against Miaka. Fuck Nakago.

Surprise, surprise, I don’t Miaka. Her entire purpose is to be rescued by these seven warriors who are ALL in love with her. That’s it. That’s the show. Or rather, that’s her story in the show. Her purpose is to unite the warriors. Basically, unite the seven warriors and then the god Suzaku will grant three wishes, or something like that. Again, it’s been a while.

Per usual the side characters are the best.

Take Tamahome for example, one of the seven warriors of Suzaku. Tamahome comes off initially as a bad guy jokester type but then you find out he’s just trying to take care of his family. You have Hotohori who is a king or something like that, but he’s like a genuine good guy (who Miaka first thinks is a woman because he’s like ridiculously pretty). Hotohori and Tamahome are the two main love interests for Miaka, but let’s be real, once you see her and Tamahome together, it’s done.

There’s also the very interesting character of Nuriko whom everyone assumes is a woman. And for Nuriko, she is. As usual, they don’t handle that well and she’s constantly being misgendered. Also, Nuriko and Miaka had such great chemistry. I could never tell if it was romantic or not, but either way, Nuriko and Miaka. ❤ Basically.

it’s an interesting show. Though only watch the first season. The second and third are trash. Keep in mind that it isn’t always a serious show so it does have some major cringe moments.

Bleach

Ichigo

Oh my god! A main character in an anime I like! Seriously, I love Ichigo. He’s my favorite. And I’m pretty sure he remains my favorite. He’s an angry 15 year who can see ghosts and helps them move on and he loves his sisters and his dad. He’s just a great character. He gets thrown into this life as a Soul Reaper. Then it gets so damn complicated.

I think at some point he also becomes a Quincy? And like half-Hollow? It’s a mess, basically.

Either way, I always like Ichigo. He doesn’t always make the right decisions, and yeah, he’s a total hot head, but at the end of the day, he just wants to help. Now I don’t like his love interest, Rukia. She blames him for this whole mess but. . .and correct me if I’m wrong. . .isn’t it, her fault?? Just saying.

There are as always some great side characters. Like Orihime who is just so sweet and everything thinks she’s dumb. I think there’s this strong guy type named Chad? There’s so many characters that it’s honestly hard to keep track of at times. Which brings me to my next point. . .

I have never finished this show. Do you know why? My problem with this show, or rather everyone’s problem is. . .SO MUCH DAMN FILLER.

Seriously. I think I read something that said Bleach has the most filler of any anime. Like ever. There is so much filler that at times, you forget what the larger plot of the show is. It’s fucking ridiculous. There’s no need for that much filler. Some? Sure. But that much. Jesus. No.

Might be easier to just read the manga to finish this show, tbh. I’ll have to remember how to read a manga. I haven’t read manga since I was like 15 years old.

Naruto

Let me tell you something.

Before Shippudeun came out, I hated every single character in Naruto other than Kakashi. Seriously. All of them. They were all awful. They were a bunch of stupid kids. Sakura had no purpose other than being obsessed with Sasuke who was a total dick to her. Naruto was obnoxious to the point where it was too much to bear. It took me ages to get through Naruto so I could watch Shippudeun.

Then we have Shippudeun and I’m like, wow. Okay. I like Sakura and Naruto. (Okay, I always liked Sasuke, admittedly. Come on, angsty bad boy? Don’t y’all know by now that is my type? (Not in real life though, in real life, I like the nerdy types.)) I never thought I would like Sakura but man, she becomes a straight up badass. I love it. I’m here for some badass women, (if you know, they’re done correctly. No one likes an arrogant badass woman *coughs* Ahem. Captain Marvel. Arrogance used to be something we’d like as stupid kids, whether it was an arrogant man or an arrogant woman, but now that I’m older? Yeah, it’s a turn off. Thanks.) Naruto becomes more than some stupid, obnoxious goofball. He really grows as a character. They all do and that’s so important.

Also, we get Gaara, who could be like a member of My Chemical Romance.

Thus concludes our journey into my 15 year old viewing pleasures. It certainly has changed since then.

Here are some other animes I watched as well.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Peach Girl
  • Aishiteruze Baby
  • Chibi Vampire
  • Ranma 1/2
  • Chobits
  • Hellsing
  • Fruits Basket
  • Rurouni Kenshin

Until next time! (Whenever that is. Lol.)

-K

P.S. Featured image is me as Blossom from The Powerpuff Girls from Halloween 2019. I also dressed as her when we went to Arkansas Comic Con 2019 as well.

19

As most of you know, I’m the oldest of six. I have three younger brothers and two younger sisters. Their ages are 26, 22, 18, 18, and 13. The two 18-year-olds (No, they are not twins, they don’t have the same mom or dad) have graduated high school and are off to college to discover themselves. You know how teenagers do. The thirteen-year-old will be entering eighth grade. That much closer to high school.

19 children will never go to middle school. 19 children will never go to high school. 19 children will never attend college. And as I sat on the couch yesterday, crying because I was sad for those poor parents who lost their children, angry that this is our new reality, our children’s reality, I had a sinking thought.

This could happen to my thirteen-year-old brother. My little brother who loves Batman and Star Wars. My little brother who sends me a picture of every new sketch. That could be him. That could be my professors who have children of their own in elementary, middle, and high school. That could be us at the universities and community colleges. That fear that we can’t even send our children to school, a place where they are supposed to be safe. That we are afraid to send them school because we could get there and they could be gone.

I was sobbing yesterday. Some children had to be identified by DNA. Parents talked about how their child was on the honor roll, how they wanted to be a lawyer like their mom, how they loved football, just over and over, all these parents who lost their children. Most who were maybe only ten years old. It was the day before summer vacation started. Now, instead of planning trips to see grandparents or to the beach, 19 parents will be planning funerals.

It’s more than tragic. It’s more than awful.

I mean this has been a problem since Columbine. And yet, nothing still hasn’t been done about it. Some talk about arming the teachers. Yes. Because more guns is the solution. Why don’t we figure out why these kids shoot up schools? Did you ever think about that? Mental health is a major problem and it needs to be addressed. I do think there needs to be background checks for guns. It needs to be necessary. You want a gun? Cool, fine. Whatever. But first, you have to have a background check. You have to learn some gun safety. I don’t think 18-year-olds should be able to own a gun. They can’t drink or smoke cigarettes at 18. Raise up the age to 21. And personally, though I know I’ll get some hate on this, I don’t think anyone needs Aks and the assault automatic rifles. Why do you need that? To protect yourself. Please. You don’t sleep with that in your nightstand. No, it’s probably a pistol or a handgun. Why do civilians need guns that are for military use mostly? Just saying. I’m not saying take the guns. I’m saying that there is a clear problem. It’s been clear since Columbine.

This isn’t about guns. It’s about protecting our children. Because honestly right now, I wish my brother was being homeschooled. Now I wonder if he’s safe. I wonder if he has to do intruder drills. We did. In middle school and high school, much like we did fire drills and tornado drills, we did intruder drills. The teacher would close all the blinds if we had windows in the classrooms. We had to either hide under our desks or crowd in a corner as far away from the door and windows as possible. Because that’s going to work when the intruder has an assault rifle.

At my old office, maybe a year and a half ago, we talked about what we would do if someone came on campus with a gun. Our office doors are glass.

Glass.

There was no safety measure we could really take because the doors are glass.

I wish there were more words to say. I wish I had something I could say. But it’s all been said. Over and over and over again. It’s been said. This isn’t new. This is our reality. Our children’s reality. The tragedy is that this didn’t have to happen. That if for once we could come together as a country, set aside our differences, and finally be together and realize that it’s about our children, and come to terms on gun regulations and fixing the mental health crisis. That maybe what happened in Texas wouldn’t have happened. But we can’t even do that. I’d like to say that we won’t have another school shooting, or another shooting at a mall, concert, grocery store, etc., but until people in the government finally do something, we probably will.

My heart goes out to those who lost a child in Texas. I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m so sorry that this happened. That this keeps happening.

-K

A poem from Amanda Gorman:

“Schools scared to death.

The truth is, one education under desks,

Stooped low from bullets;

That plunge when we ask

Where our children

Shall live

& how & if.”

3:30 AM Thoughts on Friends

I used to think that I was a horrible friend. Maybe it’s because in middle school and high school–especially high school–I was always told I was. Maybe not in those words but I felt like I was a horrible friend. I won’t lie, I did things I’m not proud of in high school. I got caught up in the petty drama and I hurt my friends, but can we also acknowledge a few things?

Like the fact we were teenagers. Teenagers are stupid. They do and say stupid things to impress their friends. They say and do stupid things just to do it. Teenagers want to fit in and be cool, and I was acting like every other teenager, more or less.

In high school, my friends would act all supportive and then call me a whore and slut behind my back. They’d talk about me, the constant whispers took a strain on me. That happened a lot in sophomore year. I’d hang out with them and then the next day a rumor would start about me. It hurt. So you know what, I did retaliate. I stirred the drama pot. Looking back at it now, I think I wanted to fit in, I wanted to not be the whore or the slut. Or the girl who was causing problems. I just wanted to blend in and be the wallflower. Instead, I ended up as the doormat.

I think we need to realize, or rather acknowledge and understand. that in high school, I wasn’t just going through the regular teenage stuff. We all had our own problems and issues that we were all going through. You never know what’s going on in someone’s life.

Now that’s not an excuse. I wasn’t the best friend, but it is a reason. But come on. What teenagers make the right decisions? No one does. Add in hormones and peer pressure, you get a disaster of a human beings. Then on top of all that teenage idiocy, I had adult problems.

I had to figure out how to pay for bills and food.

I had to get up early to make sure the kids got on the bus.

I had to help the kids with their home, cook dinner and clean the house.

I had all of that on top of teenage life and school work. And I think that’s why I was a doormat.

My friends got me through high school. They were my safe haven. They gave me a place to go when I needed a break from my shitty life. When I wanted to just be a teenager and that’s it.

But you know what? My friends also hurt me the most.

I put up with the whispers and the taunts because I didn’t want to lose them. I didn’t have anyone else I could turn to but my friends. So I shut my mouth, most of the time, smiled and bared it, and you know what, I did lash out after I’d had enough. Then I was the bad guy. They made me feel like I was always the problem. Like I was the one who had to apologize for my shortcomings. But they never did. They made me feel like my words were insignificant because no one ever listened anyways. They made me feel like I had to change and adapt to the situation, and then they’d call me manipulative and a liar. They’d call me fake. I got called that a lot. Along with a whore.

You know what? I did fool around in high school with different boys and a few girls. But I didn’t have sex with anyone until I was 18. After high school. I was experimenting during high school. What teenager doesn’t? I will say that it was nice when I did come out as bisexual and the support I got from my friends, it was great.

My mother on the other hand. She said it was ‘phase.’ I hated that.

But honestly, all that experimenting in high school, it was detrimental to my health. I was lonely and hurting. And honestly, I wanted to feel something. Life was rough and I wanted to feel something. It didn’t make me feel better. It made me feel worse. And I think a part of me went ‘Well if they’re going to call me a whore, I’ll give them one.’

When I got back from Iowa, I slept around. I screwed over my friends, both literally and figuratively. I burned a lot of bridges. I was angry and hurting. I thought I had finally escaped my shitty life with my shitty mother, but I hadn’t. I was right back where I started. That pissed me off. So yeah. I slept around. I messed up some friendships. I regretted it afterwards.

And when I moved to Arkansas, and I was in a better headspace, I apologized. I apologized to the guys for using them and hurting them. I was hurting and barely any of my friends reached out and thought to ask hey are you okay? What do you need? Instead, I was alone. Maybe not all the way alone but often times I felt like If I reached out to complain they wouldn’t care. That it was just typical Keely.

I know I was awful then but I was going through a lot. And honestly, I don’t think I was near as awful as I think or how people made me out to be. It doesn’t excuse it, but I have apologized, and I think it’s time that I gave my 15 year old self, my 19 year old self, and the ages in between some credit. I think it’s time I apologized to myself and to realize that I was only 15. Yes I made mistakes, but I don’t need them thrown in my face.

I was only 19, angry at the world. Yes, I slept around and screwed over some guys. But come on. What 19 year hasn’t? That’s the time to explore and figure out who you are. Now I wasn’t trying to figure out who I was. I was self-flagellating. I was hurting myself by letting guys use me however they wanted because again, I wanted to feel something. I’ve acknowledged that. I’ve apologized. I don’t need it thrown at my face every time. I needed a friend then, and I didn’t really have one. Not a consistent one.

I used to think that it was all on me why I have this habit of losing friends. Like it was all my fault. That I was the awful friend. Truth is, after a lot of thought, I’ve realized that I’m not an awful friend. In high school I wasn’t the best but I tried. Now I do more than try, but I think I have the tendency of getting friends who don’t try. I claim everyone as my best friend but I’m not theirs. I cling to them. I make excuses. I don’t see the fact they’re not a good friend to me. Like the fact I always answer their call when they need me but they are always too busy to talk. If I don’t answer then they get angry at me. How I spend a week with them and they made me feel like an inconvenience the entire time. How they treat me like an idiot, talking down at me, being condescending. How I can never get a word in edgewise. It’s always about them.

Or how when they call and want to talk about their job, and I’m excited about my job so I ramble. I realize that I messed up and I apologize to them. They had said they were hurt that I did that. So I acknowledged that and I apologized. Tell them to call me and I want to hear all about it. Because I’ve missed them and it’s been a crazy semester. I want to caught up. I enjoy talking yo them. Then they call and tell me that they want to take a break from our friendship. That they need to work on themselves before they can friends again. And it might be the truth, but also, this isn’t the first time.

It makes me wonder if I’m the problem. If they want a break from me because I did something wrong. I apologized. But they don’t want to be friends. It makes me self doubt and think I did something wrong. Was it just that incident? I apologized and I was sincere. Was I never a good friend to them? Was I never their best friend? Do they even miss me? I’ve gone through a break up and family drama and, I, of course wanted to reach out to them but I don’t. Because they don’t want to speak to me. To be friends. Do they even care? Or are they going through their life, carefree and free of my apparently awful friendship?

Perhaps it’s petty to write it here. Maybe it’s being shady or something. But I’ve never been good at speaking. I get tripped up and I stutter. But when I write, it flows. It’s why I have this blog. I’m a writer at heart. I mean this blog is called “The Inner Workings” after all. It’s all about me and in my head.

I’m almost 28 now. I’m not the same person I was ten years ago. I’ve grown up. I’ve learned. I’ve evolved like a Pokémon. I’m proud of who I am and I can’t wait to see who I am ten years from now. Maybe it’s naive to think I’ll keep my friends from high school. It is naive. None of us are the same. I barely speak to those from high school. Only a few random messages and comments on FB. But that’s okay. We’ve all grown up and adapted and changed. We aren’t the same. We talk when we can and that’s enough. The congratulations and how are you doings. It’s enough.

And you know what, those two people may have not thought I was their best friend, they may have hurt me intentionally or unintentionally but they were my best friends. They may not be anymore but that’s okay. I’ve learned from them. We’ve had great times. And not so great times. But without them I probably wouldn’t have made it out of high school. At times I miss them, but I’ve got life to live. They can’t consume my thoughts because, honestly, I don’t think they think about me. I think to them I was a burden. I was some clingy girl who clung to them and they allowed it. But I wasn’t their best friend. I don’t even know if they considered me their friend. I do know that I ignored the issues. I ignored how one would talk down at me and how the other brought up my sleeping around with guys and accusing me of cheating on my bf at the time. And how they bowed out when I did something wrong. Like I was too much for them and they needed a break. I didn’t realize how much that hurt until now. How a friend just stepping away hurts. I just accepted it as normal. They’d come back and I’d apologize for whatever I did wrong. I always bowed down to them and always agreed that I was in the wrong.

But you know what? I wasn’t always. I’ve acknowledged my problems. I’ve apologized. And I’ve realized something.

I’m not an awful friend. I’m not perfect but I’m a good friend. I try.

Friends are supposed to build you up not make you feel bad about yourself. Friends are there to support you. They may not agree. They’ll give their opinion and say they don’t agree but they don’t leave. They support you through everything. And if you make a mistake, they don’t rub it in your face. They tell you that they’ve got you. Even if you make mistakes, they’ve got you. They are here. Because they’ve made mistakes too. Friends know when you want advice and when you want to vent. Friends can disagree but not argue. They can agree to disagree and understand that everyone has their own opinion. Friends are there. They don’t bow out. They stick through the ups and downs because a real friendship does that. They realize that hey you messed up and I did but we’ll get through this. Because I love you. You love me. Our friendship is worth more than this one down. Let’s work on this together because I’d rather have you in my life even when we aren’t getting along, than not have you at all. Friends are important because they help you grow and you help them grow and then there’s lots of growth. And it’s like, wow, look at us now. Look at what we’ve become. Look at what we can become.

I didn’t know what true friendship was until recently. Until my internship in DC, and I met some wonderful people. We still talk to this day, and we met in 2018. They’re some real friends. I know they have my back and I have theirs. We may stop talking for a few but we always come back and check in with each other. We get each other and it’s nice to have people who support you and metaphorically have Pom poms in the air. Always. We all build each other up and when we break down, we help and we say ‘Hey we got you.’ It’s a beautiful thing. It’s real. And I love it. I didn’t know that friendship could be like that until them. Just like I didn’t know what being someone’s best friend was until now. I think that’s a wonderful feeling.

So maybe I don’t get to keep my best friends from high school. That’s okay. People change. People grow apart. I’ll always be grateful for what they’ve taught me, and I wish them all the best in the world. But you know what, I’m doing alright without them. I have my friends and they have theirs. Maybe our paths will cross again.

Through all this I’ve realized that I need to stop acting like I am an awful friend. Like I am the bad guy and the one that’s wrong. I’m not. I’m not perfect but I’m a good friend. I try. And I think that’s more than good enough. That’s all anyone can do. Is try.

-K