Life Lessons from Parks and Rec

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Over the last few weeks I have gone through 6 seasons of Parks and Recreation. That sounds like a lot and it is, but I’ve had a lot of time on my hands and also I am capable of watching an incredible amount of a show when the mood strikes me. There is one (short) season remaining and I could watch it on Hulu but probably I’ll wait till it comes to Netflix so I can pretend for a while longer that I’m not done.

I seriously love this show. It makes me feel good about life. It is a show that is primarily sweet instead of cynical and there are not many of those. Especially not many that I watch. I also love how many women it has and amazing female friendships and just… everything is great. It is all awesome.

But I did not decide to write a blog entry just generally praising Parks and Rec. I’m pretty sure that most people are on that train already. What I’ve been thinking about is Leslie Knope.

Leslie is the lead character in Parks and Rec, played amazingly by Amy Poehler. She is goofy and zany and perhaps a little bit crazy. She is also incredibly loyal and smart and ridiculously talented at her job and one of the best gift givers I have ever seen. I love Leslie. She makes me feel good to watch because she is amazing but also because watching her makes me feel like you can be amazing and also not perfect.

Leslie is absolutely not perfect. She freezes when she’s nervous and says stupid things (although of course her stupid things are much funnier than those of us who are NOT comedians ever get to say); she gets so excited about her ideas that she sometimes steamrolls right over her best friend Ann, just because Ann is too sweet to say no; she cannot let things go EVER; she is so fiercely competitive that she has sometimes hurt her own causes or people she loves just because she needs to win; and sometimes because she loves presents so much, she completely overwhelms people and ignores what they might really want or need to drown them in presents.

I do not relate to all of those flaws, but I relate to some of them. Honestly, even if Leslie was not much like me at all, I would still feel better watching her character. The point is not her specific flaws but the fact that she has them at all. Generally female characters who are “crazy” are only crazy. That is their entire personality trait. They are insane and useless in the midst of that. Leslie has weird quirks that are arguably a bit crazy, and sometimes make her hard to be around. Just like the rest of us. But to the people who love her, they know that she is an amazing friend and that all the rest of it is just part of the package. She grows and she changes, she learns to mitigate her stronger destructive impulses and, as she does, more of her constructive impulses come through.

I grew up with a lot of destructive impulses. It has taken a lot of years to sort through and discover what even was destructive and what was important. I’ve made a lot of progress. But one of the things that can make me feel the most hopeless is feeling like I need to get rid of all of it to be lovable. Like I am never going to not be a little bit crazy. I am always going to be a bit high maintenance of a friend or lover. I will never be able to be just completely chill about things. I wish I could be and I work really hard on that but I always fail.

But when I see a character like Leslie Knope, I feel better about myself. Maybe it’s not important to be perfect. Maybe the point isn’t to make sure that no one else has to deal with your mess. Maybe the goal is to just be as awesome as you can possibly be and keep working on the rest. The people who love you will love all of you, even if some of it is still a little messy.

So thank you, Amy Poehler! I will now proceed to maybe just watch through Parks and Rec over and over again for the rest of my life. I may or may not be joking.

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Dylan Farrow Thoughts

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Can I just say I’m tired? I don’t just mean physically, although I’m totally that too because I’m a college student taking 20 credits and doing just way too many things. But no, I’m talking about a different thing. This week I read Dylan Farrow’s heart-breakingly honest and brave open letter about what happened to her, what Woody Allen did to her as a child. And then I started seeing the very, very predictable response. People who knew her, people who didn’t. Suddenly people were coming forward, claiming she just wanted attention, attacking her mother, attacking her. It was blood in the water and the sharks descended.

And I’m just… guys, I’m just tired. See, I have to admit that there is some part of me that just cannot fully understand, cannot wrap my mind around why we can’t just agree to agree on this one thing. I understand there are so few things we can agree on. Politics and religion and so many things get in our way but surely it is not such a stretch as a society to come together and say, “You know what? This is it. We are going to come together and say that rape and sexual assault is where we are going to draw a line in the sand. We will agree on this thing.” Especially when it involves children. Because surely there can’t be anything that controversial about saying hey, you should not have sex with children. Ever. You should not force children to have sexual acts with you. Ever. And if you do that, there is no excuse or justification. It doesn’t matter if you are a great artist. It doesn’t matter if you make really wonderful movies. There is not something, there is not anything you can do in the rest of your life that will balance out your sexual assault of children, no matter how masterful at it you may be. This seems like one of the most common sense things I can imagine, and yet it isn’t. I know that it isn’t because I keep reading things telling me that this is not the common sense. I’m not seeking them out, because I’m not that masochistic yet, but I keep running across them and I see the same things. It is apparently easier for our society at large to blame this very strong girl than it is for us to accept that a cultural icon may have raped her. And as long as we are willing to do that, it’s never going to stop.

I am so tired, you guys. I’m tired and confused. I really, truly believe this is not the world we have to live in. I really think it’s possible that there’s a reality we can live in where, when we find out that coaches have been covering up the rape of children for 10+ years like at Penn State, if there’s a riot on campus it’s not because the coach has been fired. I really believe it’s possible to live in a world where child rapists don’t win Oscars, where they don’t get Lifetime Achievement Awards and where the survivors are not passed off as deluded or attention whores. Woody Allen is throwing a fit about how she is trying to ruin his career, his life but we all know it won’t. It didn’t when she was 7 and it’s not going to now. If there was any justice, it would. But at the end of the day, people are going to care more about staying on the good side of Woody Allen than what happened to Dylan Farrow. People will keep watching his movies. If he survives another ten years, people will have forgotten this even happened. Our attention spans are not so good.

I truly believe in a better world. I believe we’ve made progress. I believe we’ll make more. I believe that someday, when an intelligent, brave young woman like Dylan Farrow steps forward and says “This is what happened to me,” we will believe her and there will be genuine consequences to pay. But we’re not there yet and it hurts me for her and for every other survivor I know who wasn’t believed. Abusers will happily keep exploiting this system we have created, where powerful men are given immunity because they are powerful men. Dylan Farrow is a rich, white, intelligent, well-educated woman. But it’s not enough. What about for those who have none of her advantages? We have so far to go, guys. I just wish we were moving faster.

Hunger Games Musings

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I saw Hunger Games: Catching Fire twice in theaters. This was partly because I had two different groups of friends to go with but partly because it was just a damn enjoyable movie. I mean, this is the moment, right? This is the momentum building movie of the franchise. Katniss is going to find her reason to step forward, to become a symbol of power, something outside herself, something bigger than survival. Maybe just to become a martyr. I thought it was much more tightly done than it was in the book and I was impressed with how they pulled it all together. Although I enjoyed the books, I haven’t been their biggest defender and I felt there was a lot that could be and was improved on in the film.

One of the things that I feel like was most notable to me in these movies was how much I love all the supporting characters. In fact, I love the supporting characters significantly more than I love the main characters. Look, I empathize with Katniss but her intense introversion makes rooting for her sometimes frustrating. I have never, ever been Team Gale. Boy is too damn whiny for my taste. And while I was pleased to see Peeta get a few genuinely charming lines in this installment, I am mostly eagerly waiting to see what the actor can do when he’s really allowed to cut loose and go totally nuts in the end. Because Peeta exists primarily to be a “nice guy” and support Katniss. He’s not a terrible character but he doesn’t ever really grab me either. But the supporting roles! I want to marry Johanna and have 10,000 of her babies. Seriously, that girl’s rage is a fire of the most beautiful and pure variety and Jenna Malone absolutely slaughtered it. I love my rageful girl characters. I need them. As a girl who struggles to feel anger, they help me process things, help me feel a spark of something I sometimes can’t access on my own. We don’t teach our little girls to be angry, teach them how to scream when they should. We don’t tell them that being nice is a trap but Johanna has nothing left to lose and she doesn’t care what they do anymore. No one wants to end up in her position but I think most of us can on some level feel her helplessness and anger. I think it matters that we do. We need girls who can be that kind of brave and fierce and strong.

But do you know who my favorite character is? She’s my favorite because she makes me so uncomfortable, and because I think maybe she’s me. Effie. Poor Effie. Effie who is so earnest, who starts these films so passionately believing everything she’s been taught and why? Because it’s comfortable. Because she’s in a good place. We never find out what it took for Effie to become the personality she is, but I’m sure it took work. I’m sure she had to climb a hell of a ladder to become the woman who took care of the Tributes. And probably she hoped that someday she would get to move out of District 12 and move up, to a more prestigious district. We don’t know how it works after all but I’m sure there are rules, I’m sure she sacrificed. Maybe Effie grew up all her life dreaming of being on television, of being part of the Games. She wanted so badly to be Somebody. She believes in all of this, you can tell. She really, truly believes that the Games have meaning, that they are what keeps everything safe. And in a way, she’s right. Living in the Capitol, the Games are what keep her safe. They keep her way of life safe, they keep everything in place for her. She is the privileged top of the heap, the few who get to benefit off of everyone else dying on the lower rungs. But there are nicer ways to put that and in the meantime there are such beautiful clothes and there are parties to go to and just day to day life to live and someday she’s going to be famous, she’s going to be a star. Privilege works because we need it to work, because it keeps us safe.

Maybe that doesn’t seem familiar to anyone else but it sure seems familiar to me. Growing up in a middle class home, a white girl who did pretty okay and was fiercely conservative because I believed you had to be and because it was important to be right and because these were the things that protected us. And I was right. They did protect us. I just didn’t really realize that they only protected us, only protected me and mine and there were people in so many other places who weren’t being protected at all. And then one day something happens to Effie, like something happened to me. Except it’s never just one thing, it’s lots of little things and before you know it you realize that this system you’ve taken everything from isn’t what you thought it was. It’s cruel and harsh and it’s not fair. It’s profoundly unjust. You’ve been swimming in injustice your whole life and you just didn’t realize it because you were the one on top getting all of the air. Here is where you make decisions, whether you like it or not, and this is why I love Effie more than any other character in the entire series – because she is so completely and totally relatable.

We all want to believe we’d be the hero, that we would be part of the revolution, the people risking our lives to make a change. We want to believe that we would be like Cinna, creating the amazing mockingbird dress, knowing what it would cost him but knowing also what it could mean. We want to believe that we are the people who would have hidden Jews in Germany, we are good people who would do the right thing. But what if you’re not? What if you’re more like Effie? What if I’m more like Effie? I realize that the water I’m swimming in is profoundly unjust, it’s cruel, that people are dying and drowning and that I am benefitting from this wealth of privilege. And I… suggest we all wear jewelry to show how we’re a team and we’re opposed to it. It’s the most courage she’s got and I love her for it because it’s everything she has and it’s so small. She does not have what it takes to throw her life on the line. I believe people evolve and change and that Effie can too but in this moment she is a child who is mostly afraid. She has a glimpse of what has happened, what she is a part of. She is against it but she doesn’t want to get dirty. I mean, she has such beautiful clothes. Have you seen her butterflies? I’m positive I am more like Effie than Katniss or Joanna and I love her for her transparency and her absolute humanity. Heroes are heroes because they do what most of us wouldn’t. Most of us are afraid of the dirt. Most of us, most days, are more like Effie.

What I’ve Been Doing

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Okay, well I had plans for a different entry and in fact kind-of wrote it but my writing was particularly disastrous this week and my editor was busy so eh. The subject matter will probably transfer over to a different week if it’s important. I promise, right now it’s not fit for consumption. Blah.

So right now I figured I would just spend a little time going over what I’ve been watching and reading in the past week, which is actually a fair amount of stuff. I have watched 14 movies since last Friday and finished 3 books. The books are actually more unusual for me than the movies but both are worth mentioning. This entry may be of no interesting to anyone whatsoever but, you know. This is one of the things I do. I guess this will give an idea of the sorts of things I watch and read. I will start with books since it’s a shorter list.

First up was A Woman Like That: Lesbians and Bisexuals Tell Their Coming Out Stories. I was pretty disappointed by this one. I’m usually really fascinated by this sort-of thing but for some reason this collection felt really super intellectual and… cold, I guess is the word? It seems like a subject matter that shouldn’t feel like those things but I found myself really detached from almost all of the stories. So that was unfortunate.

Fifty Shades Freed. Hooray, I’m finally free of this series? I laughed my way through the first one with a whole lot of glee but they became increasingly difficult to slog through as the series progressed. Once the bad writing just becomes monotonous instead of shocking and hilarious, you’re mostly just left with the incredibly depressing nature of an abusive relationship. And good lord, she does go on. This last book was almost 600 pages. Let me assure you, she did not have plot for half of that. But I pressed on because I like to finish what I start, even when it feels kind-of like torture. I have no explanation for this. Everyone has quirks, right?

The Burn Journals. I’ve kind-of been meaning to read this for a while. A memoir from a kid who set himself on fire when he was 14 years old and ended up with severe burns on over 85% of his body. It’s a very frank and straightforward feeling book and a fast read. I didn’t love it but I liked it. It definitely felt… authentic, I guess. I appreciated in a sense that it seems like he never really came to like a magical understanding of why he did it. I think sometimes things like that don’t have reasons, or at least not something you understand after the fact. Suicide, or suicide attempts, are strange things.

I have just today started The Ground Beneath Her Feet by Salman Rushdie, which my brother bought me for my birthday or Christmas a year or two ago. We will see how that goes, I’ve actually never read anything by Rushdie before.

Movies!

Adrift, which was a 2009 French film about a young girl who realizes her father is having an affair. I was expecting something a lot different and I wasn’t necessarily looking forward to it (look, I watch a lot of things for various reasons, not necessarily because I expect to enjoy them) but I was pleasantly surprised. It ended up being a very sweet and sad story about growing up and how much it kind-of sucks to find out that your parents are very human and imperfect and in fact sometimes suck. But they can still love you anyway and that’s confusing and difficult, especially when you are 14 and you are still really, really enjoying the simplicity of a more black and white world. It was a really lovely little movie.

A Wink and a Smile: The Art of Burlesque. Eh, I don’t have a lot to say about this. It was pretty boring for a documentary and people were taking themselves way too seriously about something like burlesque in my opinion. If it’s supposed to be fun, have fun.

Mommo, a Turkish film about a young brother and sister essentially abandoned by their father and left to fend for themselves. Overall, it’s a less depressing movie than it sounds. It’s remarkably sweet for the most part, it was a nice little movie.

XX/XY. I’m not sure what to say about this one except I spent the entire movie wanting to shake Mark Ruffalo and yell at him to just please grow the hell up and stop whining. The one redeeming factor of the movie is that one character does kind-of get to tell him this at the end, although not quite as definitively as I would have liked.

The Edukators was for the most part a pretty fun movie about a trio of idealistic German youth who have decided to attempt to shake up the system by… breaking into rich people’s houses and rearranging all their furniture, basically. It’s a little more complicated than that but less than you’d think. Things go wrong, there’s kidnapping and hijinks and madness. I liked the whole movie quite a lot except for the last two minutes or so which I thought didn’t make sense with the rest of the movie and were unfortunate.

Requiem is another German movie based on the same story that The Exorcism of Emily Rose was loosely based on. Unlike the latter movie, this one seems to work pretty firmly off of the concept that she was not really being assaulted by demons but in fact was epileptic and suffering some kind of psychosis. I found the movie surprisingly effective and difficult to watch in places. Something about her portrayal of mental breakdown really got to me. Certainly it’s not as dramatic a movie as it’s counterpart but I liked it quite a lot.

The Safety of Objects is a movie about how very sad white suburbanites can be about all manner of problems. I’m not saying that may not be a true fact but you know. I’ve seen American Beauty (I still rather like it) and I’ve seen a number of movies before and since American Beauty about this same idea of what lies behind white picket fences and I find it rather not compelling typically. On the other hand, a boy has sexual love for a Barbie doll. I hadn’t seen that before.

Turtles Can Fly is a really excellent movie but holy shit is it bleak. If bleak is not your thing, do not watch this movie. This is the kind of bleak that is so dark that I don’t even think I cried. Sometimes things just tear holes out of you, it’s too dark to cry. It reminded me a little bit of my reaction when I first read The Kite Runner, except that book had more cheer. I honestly did appreciate it and I don’t want to say much about it because spoilers so you know. Chances are you either like that sort of thing or you do not. It is very beautiful in the darkest sort of way.

The Mark. To call this a movie is being generous. Look, my best friend Julie and I watch a bad movie together almost every week. We get on Skype, we chat, then we stream something together. For a while now we’ve been on a Christian movie kick. This movie blatantly ripped off Left Behind, which is fascinating because it would never have occurred to me that anyone would want to rip off Left Behind and mostly it was just boring. Possibly the sequel would be more interesting as the movie ended with them parachuting into a city in flames? But I… don’t know.

Rewatched The Hunger Games with David and the Superhero in preparation for the sequel. I really did not much like this movie when it first came out. On a rewatch, I think I mostly was just too close to the book. I usually try not to read books at all if a movie is coming out, certainly not soon before but in this case it had just sort-of happened. Now that I’m a couple years removed, I appreciated the movie quite a bit. I still hate the shaky-cam that the first 20 minutes or so is plagued by but that’s mostly my only complaint.

Chloe. Woman hires an escort because she’s convinced her husband is cheating on her and then DRAMAZ, INTRIGUE, LESBIAN SEX. And so on. Nah, I mean, it was okay. I just… this movie is directed by Atom Egoyan, who directed the heartbreaking and amazing movie The Sweet Hereafter and has just never managed to do another thing that even touches that since. This would be another one that just kind-of is fine but is never anything more than fine which is disappointing because I know for a fact he’s capable of more than fine.

The Queen of Versailles is a really fascinating documentary about this billionaire couple who are going to build the country’s biggest house and then the financial crisis hits and things go bad… it honestly doesn’t sound as fascinating as it is but there’s something strangely heartbreaking and touching about the entire project, in a really unexpected and curious way. It’s well worth a watch.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. I really don’t feel like I need to talk much about this since if you’re alive right now you’ve probably heard of it. I went to go see it last night, I enjoyed every minute of it. I think they took a somewhat mediocre book and made a pretty great movie out of it. I’ll probably be going to see it a second time in the next… I’m not sure. Sometime in the next week, I guess, and I’m looking forward to that. So you know. Join the crowd or whatever, it’s worth it.

Haywire is an action movie directed by Steven Soderbergh that he decided he wanted to do after he saw the star doing MMA fighting. He did the whole movie around her. She’s quite beautiful and strong and I feel like you can see what might have drawn him to her. I enjoyed the movie quite a lot (and not just because my beautiful Michael Fassbender was in it). It was very visceral for an action movie, the fight scenes were really intense to watch and, although of course the story is kind-of silly as those stories tend to be, I found her compelling and interesting throughout. It’s a good watch if you’re into that sort of thing.

Okay, I swear contrary to what this looks like I do things other than watch movies. I also watch television shows! And also other things, really. The same weekend I watched 8 movies I also cleaned basically my entire house, did all of the laundry, washed my dog, cleaned my car, and wrote 2 papers. I watched those first 8 movies because they were about to expire on Netflix. I have school and practicum and spend an inordinate amount of time with David and the Superhero, and I have other friends too. It’s just… you know. We all have things we prioritize, movies happen to be my thing. Last year I watched over 400 movies, this year I am currently at 231, so you can see the number has dropped quite a bit. But I realized I haven’t hardly talked about movies on this blog, which seems a bit strange considering how much of my time I actually spend on them so you know. Consider this a very brief snapshot.

Feeling Old

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So, here’s the thing. I’m not old. No, really. I am not. I am only 29 years of age. I will be 30 in March. I am super excited about this, actually. My 20’s have overall been rather on the downer side. They’ve definitely improved dramatically in the last couple of years but if you are going to look at the whole decade, I would say it has not been a win. I am of the opinion that my 30’s will be awesome. Anyway. Back to my point. I’m not old. Despite that, for a number of years now, my friends in my age bracket have started saying “OMG, I feel so old!” to things. Usually it’s things like “You learned how to spell banana because of that No Doubt song??” or “You don’t remember when Jurassic Park came out???” I’ll admit those things are odd to me but they don’t really make me feel old. I love pop culture but I prefer to use it as a connecting point. Most of the time I don’t really even feel like a grown-up, much less old.

However. I have realized in the last few months that there is one thing that makes me notice my age – when I find myself wanting to tell earnest 21-year-olds to just chill out*, or I just get bored of the conversation. I am in this training with some of the sweetest girls. A number of them are quite a bit younger than me and let me make very clear that they are bright and motivated girls and I have a lot of respect for them. When I was their age, I was definitely not volunteering anywhere and I had not made my way anywhere near the opinions that they have arrived at. I was much more unhealthy in probably many ways. Even so. There are times when I am sitting in this room, full of girls saying things I totally agree with that I just want to ask, “Do you get tired of the echo chamber? Because I get tired of the echo chamber.”

Look, it’s not that I disagree with any of these people most of the time. We’re sitting in a room talking about violence against women (primarily), talking about sexual assault. These are easy topics to come together on here (sadly not everywhere but here they are). It is also not that I don’t think these topics are important. It’s the opposite. I think these things are so important that we can be having better conversations, that we can actually have a conversation instead of just going around the room agreeing with each other. Don’t get me wrong, I think validation can be powerful and there’s a time and a place for that. Maybe I’m just not in that place right now? Right now I want to have a conversation that goes beyond “yeah, you’re so right, I totally agree, that’s so messed up and your feelings are totally valid.” I mean, I appreciate that and there was a time in my life when I needed to hear exactly that thing to move forward but what comes next?

I’m going to use a concrete example of this because it’s something that bothers me a lot. The concrete example is Twilight. Twilight comes up a lot in these discussions. It’s become shorthand for all kinds of things. It’s a way that we talk about how pop culture influences young teenagers in bad ways, how screwed up messages turn into best sellers, how abusive relationships are marketed as romantic, how stupid sparkling vampires are and, I think if we’re really honest, how we’re so much smarter than other people because we understand these things. “Look how terrible pop culture is!” we can say. (Let’s leave out the chicken/egg debate of where pop culture comes from.) “Look how I recognize it!”

I will not argue that Stephanie Meyer created a series of books which turned into a series of films, with incredibly disturbing messages in them. What I will argue is that it isn’t the True Believers that made those books or films worldwide sensations. Are there young girls who read and/or watched Twilight and absolutely believed that it was the most romantic thing they had ever encountered? Absolutely. Is Twilight responsible for breaking their brains somehow? Absolutely not. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but we live in a time with some pretty screwed up messages about gender and sex and relationships. I was in a much different place in my life when these books came out but let me tell you, if I had read them at 14, I would have been absolutely in love. You know why? Because I already had really disturbed ideas on what relationships and love and sex should look like. Is it a problem when huge pop culture reinforces those things? Absolutely. But it’s also an opportunity. It means that suddenly we have cultural shorthand. We have something that almost everyone has read or seen, we have something we can talk about, we have a conversation we can start. We can talk about relationships, healthy relationships, unhealthy relationships. Except do you know what no good conversation has ever started with?

“This is the stupidest, most repulsive thing ever. How could you like this?”

I think our conversations about Twilight (and many other things) diminish the complexity of people. They assume that everyone who likes it is a 15 year old girl who doesn’t understand it’s bad for her and is just fawning over Edward. Let me assure you that 15 year old girls didn’t make this a billion dollar franchise. Can I tell you a secret?

I sort-of love Twilight.

Okay, now you can decide you have lost all respect for me, that’s cool. Look, I understand all of the reasons to hate them and I don’t disagree. I have about equal measures of love and hate. They’re badly written books. I’ve read the first 3 twice and the last one once. I saw all the movies in theaters, a couple of them more than once, a couple of them at midnight showings. Am I there partly because I love to mock bad movies? Sure. They’re not great movies anymore than they’re great books. But I would be lying to you if I said that my interest was purely ironic; it’s absolutely not. There was a part of me that was genuinely sad when the last film came out. And I am not the only person who feels this way. There are plenty of other people in the world who have mixed feelings on Twilight, who maybe love it and hate themselves a bit for it. I don’t hate myself for it anymore because I have a really strong opposition to the idea of guilty pleasures. Love what you love and learn to be okay with it because there’s nothing wrong with it. It doesn’t make you a stupid person to love Twilight. It doesn’t make you a smart person to hate it. What I’m saying is that however you feel about them? There are better conversations we could be having with it. I know because I’ve had some really genuinely fantastic conversations about Twilight. And that’s not even getting into 50 Shades of Grey, which is a whole different post. 😛

So here I am, in the basement of this building, surrounded by earnest, young girls who are smart and driven and really want to help people and I think they are all just wonderful and I adore them. And I guess what I find myself wanting to say is hey, stick around a while. I know it seems like this is so important right now and it is. It’s so important that you’re going to find your way to more nuance and more places that are less black and white. I’m sure you’re going to because you’re great and you’re already so much further than I was at your age and somehow I stumbled this far. You’ll realize people are really complex and that that is kind-of wonderful (except when it’s horrible). You may even realize that liking Twilight doesn’t automatically mean that someone has been anesthetized by the terrible cultural messages and needs saving. Sometimes we’re just feeding our inner teenagers and we’ve made peace with that. They get cranky. And in 10 years, I may feel exactly the way about myself at 29 and 29-year-old people that I see as I do now about these girls. Hopefully that’ll mean I’ve grown. I don’t know if it makes me feel old, exactly. But it definitely makes me notice that I’ve grown up.

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* For the record, this technically isn’t strictly tied to age. I have a few friends who are younger who I pretty much never have this moment with and there are people who are older than me that I have these feelings with fairly frequently. I’ve been thinking about it in relation to age because of this training but of course chronological age is only one factor in growing up.