"I am Death, destroyer of worlds." -Susan B. Anthony

April 10, 2014 10:38 pm

askerquestioner

Anonymous: my dad is has a mental disorder and that causes him to get moodswings and he gets mad about everything one second and he is really nice the next second. he also can't recognize if he is doing something wrong. my mother can't convince him to get therapy since he denies that he has a mental illness. what should i do? I have 1 more year of high school left.

I’m terribly sorry to hear of your situation.

That is incredibly difficult, and I don’t have personal experience to draw any wisdom from, so I don’t think I can really guide you by myself to any significant capacity. So instead of getting misguided life advice from someone who has not experienced the exact situation you are in, please, seek the help of a family counselor or personal therapist to help guide you through this if you think it can help.

Also, whatever you do, make sure to keep your best interests at heart. If he ever does really hurt you emotionally or physically, please seek help (whether it be professional therapy, which you could discuss with your mom, or Child Protective Services if things get serious). No one ever deserves mistreatment or abuse, especially at the hands or from the words of a loved one.

I would hope that gentle persuasion could eventually convince your dad to seek help, but because he is a free agent like any other person, there’s almost nothing you can do to force his hand in this matter. Please try your best to keep yourself emotionally healthy through these tough times, and please consider seeking therapy as an individual or as a family. Maybe if you approach it as a family rather than forcing your dad to do it alone, he will be more open to the idea of getting professional help. He might feel less judged or outcast if your whole family dynamic gets evaluated by a group counselor rather than just his personal mental state. And when getting that help, the therapist could zero in on your dad’s behavior and how it affects the rest of the family.

Again, this is just an ideal scenario. You should not feel like you have failed if this plan doesn’t come to fruition the way I have described it. As I’ve said and will continue to say, the most important thing is making sure you’re keeping yourself healthy and your head high. Whether this means professional counseling or simply enduring the struggle for one more year, make the right choices for YOU. I wish you the best of luck, and I hope I have helped in some way.

EDIT: A fellow blogger has notified me that they have experience with this situation, and has generously offered to give you some advice if you’d like it. Please talk to them if you’d like!

April 6, 2014 2:49 pm

that one time I came up with a rap on the fly

  • Aleko: Seriously, there's a stubborn little piece of food stuck between my teeth from that beef noodle soup I had earlier.
  • Michaela: Flosssssss.
  • Aleko: I know.
  • ♪ Gonna be brushin' and flossin' and straight up tossin'
  • this shit down the drain, gonna rinse, make it rain.
  • Let it flow from my mouth like this rap goin' south
  • South in terms of quality.
  • On that lyrical note I'm gonna shut down my throat and sail this boat down the Nile,
  • 'Cuz my raps is Ra and y'all haters gonna drown, 'cuz y'all are doggy-paddlin' in denial.
  • Michaela: LOL I need to go get cracking on this chem book.
  • Aleko: Girl, you study that chem and be a sharp femme,
  • Realize your potential, it's but eventual
  • that you'll be a straight up Renaissance gal.
  • Kickin' ass, taking names, sail your yacht down the Thames, be the Mona Lisa's only best pal.
  • You're the reason she hides that beautiful smile 'cuz you both are privy to the flyest of styles.
  • Go fly near the sun 'cuz don't you know son, that the only thing that'll melt is that big ol' star heart
  • 'Cuz Icarus and Daedalus struggle to even pedal a bike, but you fly up Olympus like it ain't no big hike.
  • Flap your wings and soar to the sky 'cuz you so fly it even surprises the all-seeing Oracle at Delphi.
10:44 am April 4, 2014 11:15 pm

Even with my second rewatch, Moonrise Kingdom is ridiculously good. I usually detest child actors but Wes Anderson just KNOWS how to direct them. Their deadpan expressions and occasionally mumbled lines really lend themselves to fantastic realism without sacrificing clarity or emotion (thus avoiding a problem that too often occurs with child actors in other films). You can tell the prepubescent characters are finding their place in the world, not only through their actual stumbling through life, but also through their small struggles with vocal and emotional expression.

And of course, typical of his style, the film slowly evolves into campy surrealism as the stakes of the story get higher and higher which I just adore. But he never loses track of the emotional core of the story or the themes he reinforces throughout: the precocious nature of children, the sad truth behind the world-weary adults who guide and control them despite having lost track of their own moral direction, and the beauty of love and personal redemption.

Plus, in this film, Anderson tackles his frequent problem of not having many developed female characters, with the complex and emotionally-relatable character of Suzy. She is pleasant enough to identify with but emotionally compromised in a manner one would expect from her troubling upbringing and nonexistent relationship with her parents. I truly appreciated the fact that Anderson did not sugar-coat the reality of the struggles Suzy is going through, and allows the character to express herself in the harsh and sometimes violent ways that teens do when in stuck in such a horrid and unforgiving world.

All in all, this film manages to adopt an engaging and emotionally positive tone by putting a spotlight on the magical idealism of youth while also addressing the struggles of becoming mature. I just love it.

April 2, 2014 11:56 pm

askerquestioner

Anonymous: how do you deal with college rejection?

I’m gonna try and give my most sincere advice here, so let me first explain my experience with the process.

In my senior year of high school, I was in kind of behind everyone developmentally. I wasn’t able to think for the future, and I didn’t consider college very seriously, because it seemed like such an abstract, uncertain idea and it seemed silly to pretend I had control over the innumerable variables shaping my future more than I could myself. 

So, in my senior year, I did not have a dream college. I didn’t even care very much about which college I went to beyond their most superficial differences. Haha, if I ever told my parents about the incredible indifference I had towards the whole process, they would be horrified. When applying for college, I just went for the schools that inspired some marginal interest in me, or the ones my parents and friends recommended. And when my choices were narrowed down to Cal Poly or UC Davis, I went with Davis because I though the arboretum and pond were very pretty and I liked the ducks. I’m not even exaggerating.

And guess what? It turned out fine. Even if Davis wasn’t my “dream school” and I was rejected from the majority of the schools I applied to that I was interested in, I found my place in the school I ended up going to. It’s all about making the most of where you end up. I believe that unless the college has some unparalleled, truly unique characteristic (which many of them don’t, even if they claim to), it is comparable in quality to other schools. True, it’s a good idea to strive for a school which is known for a program in the field you want to pursue, but many schools will be known for similar programs and there is no strict hierarchy governing which of these programs is “better” than the rest.

Remember, the college application process is at its heart a financial transaction, or a hiring process of sorts. The colleges sell themselves as better than the rest because they want your tuition and they want the unilateral (and sometimes cruel) power to pick and choose among a population of applicants larger than the number of openings. And, in my opinion, the whole idea of a “dream school” is generally a myth perpetuated by this competitive system in which schools exaggerate their superiority to other institutions, which are in fact comparable and will yield you a degree of similar weight and validity in the job market.

And also, the colleges don’t KNOW you. They could never know you from their very limited interaction with you. The college application process is a mechanical and exhausting process of repetition in which students are incentivized to reuse essays and personal statements and colleges use numbers and statistics rather than getting to know you as a person. So getting “rejected” by them is no indication of your personal worth or value, and so you shouldn’t feel bad for that reason.

Furthermore, rejection can occur to any number of possible reasons, many of which have nothing really to do with you as a person. The whole college application process is a complex, flawed system mired in the inhuman interactions—such as the cruelly cold and formal rejection letters churned out mechanically to put down the efforts of earnest applicants—typical of any system that has to deal with so many people’s information. I know people who have cried their hearts out because their name was automatically inserted from a database of applicant names into the “insert name here” blanks on some document template on a clerk’s computer, then printed in bulk on a whirring mechanical printer to be sent out en masse by a regulated system to crush people’s dreams. It sound melodramatic when I word it as such, but that’s just the absurdity of the system. To treat the dreams of fellow human beings with such a callous formality is absurd. So don’t be sad as much as indignant about it. No machine or system could fully encapsulate your worth and your value as a person, student, and future worker. Rejection is just an inevitable side effect of a flawed system incapable of treating all people equally due to scarcity of educational resources.

That got kind of abstract. I apologize if I lost you. But to sum it all up, here’s a TL;DR summary of everything you should keep in mind when dealing with college rejections:

  • It’s okay to go to a school which was not your dream school. You MAKE your school your dream school; that is to say, going to college is a process of acclimation. Generally speaking, you will adapt to the college you go to and thus you will make the most of the resources they provide regardless of whether the school was your initial dream school. You will find the best in yourself regardless of whether the school itself is the “best”.
  • Schools aren’t as different as they would have you believe. The college market is competitive, so they like to exaggerate to make their schools seem the best when they really are quite similar to one another. It’s more important to get a degree and get job/internship experience than it is to get a specific degree from a specific school.
  • The college application process is a flawed system which does not give either schools or students full, holistic, or candid information about each other. Thus, rejections should never be taken as a representation of your personal worth or quality as a student/worker.

I hope that helps. I’m rooting for you, and I hope you get through this stressful process a-okay.

11:07 pm

askerquestioner

Anonymous: hey I'm that "penal" anon - by penal I meant pen pal, aha. It was a typo. Anyway, I took your advice and ignored him for a long time - but he randomly unfriended me on Facebook a few days ago? What does that mean - does it mean that he doesn't want to talk to me anymore? I'm still unsure if that was a "good thing" or a "bad thing". Does it mean that I never mattered to him? This probably sounds overdramatic - and I bet it is -- but I still think about him more than I should.

Hey again! Sorry for the late response. Though this time it’s only a few days late I believe, so improvement maybe.

I’m afraid I can’t really give you a definitive answer here, considering I’m not really privy to all the details. And I’m not operating at my prime these days because I’m kinda burned out. But my advice is this.

You mattered to him as a friend. He wouldn’t have asked you to be his pen pal otherwise, especially if he was at all aware of the pain he’s put you through. But my advice, if I recall it correctly, was that if you felt you needed to, you should cut him out of your life. Your personal emotional health takes top priority. But there’s no shame in thinking about him on occasion even after your parting—that’s just part of the process of moving on. This is especially true if he does something to remind you of his existence, such as unfriending you on Facebook.

I know from personal experience that getting unfriended or otherwise shunned by someone you used to care about can feel like a slap to the face. That’s why you should give yourself some time to move on, and forgive yourself for dwelling on the past while you go through the process. It’s not overdramatic to ponder this new development and how it affects your interpretation of the past—but the long-term goal should be moving on. Just understand if that takes a little while. 

March 14, 2014 11:20 pm

askerquestioner

Anonymous: hi. this year i moved states and i now life in a small city (as compared to a large city) and I don't fit in. I really want to move back (or at least to a different school) but my mom will not let me because of new opportunities this school provides me. I normally wouldn't mind, but for some reason, I've noticed this year I've been very depressed. Also I'm pretty sure most people at my school hate me, which has caused me to become more and more antisocial. What should I do?

I’m sorry if this is an old message—I can’t tell because Tumblr has an aversion to timestamps. I sincerely didn’t see it until now. Please take the following with a grain of salt, because I am tired right now and may not be at my complete prime.

I am guessing based on your language that you’re speaking about a college, which probably means you’re over 18. So you are an adult, officially speaking. With that transition to adulthood should ideally come a transition in your relationship with your parents—from a relationship of dependence and control to a relationship of independence and mutual respect. You being depressed sounds like a serious issue, and should be taken seriously as an indicator that this situation with your school isn’t working out. But your mom may have a point in saying that this school may be a big investment for your future.

I am currently in a similar situation to you; I actually have no friends on campus despite my three years here, and have succumbed to old habits of depression and extreme introversion to the detriment of my health. I wasn’t willing to admit it, but school was slowly becoming a long stretch of hell for me. Recently, however, I began seeking therapy at the behest of a friend. I cannot stress this enough; therapy or counseling can be of serious help (note that this is coming from a previous long-time skeptic of psychological counseling).

So, this is my suggestion. Please let me be that friend that pushes you to seek the right help. Depression and loneliness isn’t something anyone should struggle with for so long. Don’t make the same mistake and wait as long as I did. Individual counseling and even group counseling can be a major step forward for you both psychologically and socially, and there is NO shame in taking that step towards a brighter future.

Furthermore, you can use this step forward as a show of goodwill to your mom. Approach her with some sort of respectful deal. You can try it out her way for some set amount of time, by trying to stay at school and treating your current woes by seeking therapy. If you find the light and begin enjoying being at the school, then congrats. But if you truthfully feel like you are making no improvement by the deadline that you and your mom decide on, your mom needs to let you move back home to at least take a break for a term or two, if not more.

Reassure your mom that you’re not giving up on university in general, and that you are also invested in your future. And also remind her that you could always go to other schools that accept you, and that they could also be a huge and comparable investment for your future. But remind your mom that mental health is also an important investment for the future, and should be considered as a serious factor in deciding what to do next.

Remember: approach the issue as an adult speaking with another adult, not as a child with a parent. Try to set up a compromise based in mutual trust and respect by making some concessions on your part as well as expecting some on her part. Tackling the problem from the perspective of reason is the best way to find some common ground.

And if she doesn’t give in to reason in any way, I urge you to take matters into your own hands if necessary to preserve your mental health. Forcing you into a situation of mental abuse is tantamount to actual abuse, and no adult or child should consent to that. There are resources like shelters and support groups for you if your mother threatens you with anything from cutting you off to disowning you.

The most important part is that you manage this depression, whether it be through therapy or moving back home. I wish you the best, and urge you to contact a counselor or therapist as soon as possible. The school may offer mental health services to students, sometimes free of charge, so please look them up! Finally, you can contact the Suicide Hotline (1-800-273-8255 for the United States) if worse comes to worse, though I hope with all of my being that it doesn’t come to that.

I hope you manage to get through this and I will be here if you need someone to talk to. We’re all friends here on this big path called life, and I will always love and support my friends through the journey as best I can.

February 9, 2014 3:02 am

I don’t know why it took me until now to find out, but it came as a legitimate surprise that Hunter S. Thompson shot himself. I haven’t read much of his work, but that I’ve encountered has truly been rewarding. I’m glad he got a chance to live up until his late 60s, and got a chance to make peace with those he loved. It’s more than many get.

January 29, 2014 1:37 am

I may need to take a break from social media for a while. Let’s see if this lasts.

January 28, 2014 9:22 am

haven’t been happier to waste time in a long time

January 27, 2014 10:23 pm
"Some plants demonstrate phototropic growth, but baby I’m demonstratin’ some YOUtropism."

who knew making plant pick-up lines would be my newest creative outlet
January 25, 2014 8:26 pm
"

I cannot identify the bloodied bodies of my loved ones. They were killed whilst watching a new television show on the MTV network, one where Kim Kardashian is chased through woodland by a giant bear wearing a mask which carries the visage of recently deceased film director Michael Winner.

The bear has apparently not qualified for a workplace pension and is angry with Daniel Day Lewis for what he perceives as the relative lack of action in There Will Be Blood.

…Anyway, after twenty minutes of panic running around intercut with interviews with friends and other celebrities, the production team behind the show all simultaneously come to the same horrifying conclusion: their waste of the precious gift of life which has been given to them by science.

They start attacking themselves with the nearest available objects, breaking off camera tripods to ram them bloodily into each other’s eyes, climbing up the highest branches of trees to fall face down on to the pulsing earth, the whole time shrieking and screaming with the sudden primal vigour of lost souls who have forgotten language and seem intent on shouting their black hearts from their grey, semi erect chests.

"

Future of the Left, Singing of the Bonesaws
January 23, 2014 12:16 pm

I find it strangely frustrating that my grieving behavior actually seems to follow the 5 stages of grief. There’s some little part of my brain that insists I’m a ~~*special little butterfly*~~ that can’t be so easily understood.

January 21, 2014 10:43 am January 19, 2014 8:55 pm