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How to Lose Your Virginity: an interview with Therese Shecter

by Alice Wilder

We’re all pretty big fans of filmmaker Therese Shechter, who you might know from her film I Was a Teenage Feminist. Her 2013 documentary How To Lose Your Virginity, which is available for streaming in July, explores the ways we think about sexuality and how it changes the way we feel about ourselves and others. The SPARK girls had a screening of the film a few months ago and all of us adored the film. You’ll see people of all ages and genders discussing virginity as well as some super great interviews with high school students.  I talked to Shechter about how girls can own their sexuality in a culture that asks them to be sexy—but not have sex.

How To Lose Your Virginity – Trailer from Trixie Films on Vimeo.

In my area there was recently a pretty big scandal about Belle Knox, a Duke University student who does porn to pay for college. The way she was vilified reminds me so much of your film.

The interesting thing is that these guys felt like it was fine to masturbate to an abstract porn performer, and they felt completely fine to vilify and demonize the real person–it’s that whole virgin whore dichotomy where a woman’s purpose is to give you access to sex, but in real life they need to present themselves as untouched. There’s a lot of parallel of how women’s sexuality exists for men’s pleasure but they also have to act pure for individual guys.

Yeah! She wasn’t ashamed of it, they wanted her to be embarrassed.

She’s not supposed to be doing it for her own purposes–she’s doing it to earn a living and to them that’s unacceptable. There’s a lot of parallels with Lena [Chen], who blogged about sex at Harvard [and was in the film]. She was open about her active sex life and people thought she was completely fair game to slut shame and harass. She said that people presume that the only people willing to talk about sex openly must be sexual deviants. She’s so great and has come through the fire, it’s like a different version of (Belle’s) story. Lena has lived this and studied it…she’s been thinking about it academically.

What advice would you give to young women on pushing back on that whole “virgin/whore” dichotomy?

Just feel like you get to call the shots of your own sex life, getting educated so you understand what’s going on with your body, with your relationships. Scarleteen is an amazing place to go for resources and once you have all the information you can start making decisions for yourself. Think about who you are, what you want, what makes you happy. And a lot of times what happens when you do that as a girl, you get a lot of pushback from people and you just have to hold strong and look for others who support the way you think. If you feel like you don’t want to have sex or want to take a break from sex, that’s a really valid choice, the point is to really understand what you want, what makes you happy and try to work with that- and be prepared for pushback. People want you to be who they need you to be. I had very specific ideas of what was important to me when I was a teenager and that resulted in me never having a boyfriend. I wasn’t happy about it, but I also couldn’t become the kind of person who had boyfriends. The person I would have had to become to have a boyfriend just wasn’t me. The boy I liked was just looking for a girlfriend to have sex and that made me feel bad, that he would be my boyfriend only if he had sex. I hate having to tell people this, but maybe you won’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend for a while until you meet the right person for you. It’s about what you want to do, not being pressured into doing something what you want to do.

Wow, that takes a lot of self confidence! How did you learn that self advocacy so early on?

Honestly I did not have any language to express things in the way I just expressed it to you. It took me years to realize “ah, that’s what was happening.” It was all about my feelings, and that was the most information I could access when I was sixteen. I just knew that he made me feel bad. I do know that in later years when I did start to have sex there were guys who just wanted to have sex and so did I, so our goals meshed at that point. There are a lot of mistakes you make and that’s how you learn. Sometimes people make a mistake and feel like they’ll pay for it the rest of their lives, but it’s all a process.

Do you think that the media messages about sex have improved at all since you were a teen?

I’m of two minds about this. Because there’s internet there are so many resources for finding your own community, you have resources online, but you also have a lot of other shit coming towards you really fast. The thing that’s really different from when I was a teenager was that idea that girls have to look sexy. That wasn’t really true when I was a teenager. When I was younger the message was always “Be a good girl! Don’t have sex!” which I think is still the message, but then now you also have the “be sexy but don’t have sex” thing.

Have you seen The To-Do List? It’s such a cool, interesting portrayal of teen sexuality.

The premise seemed really really interesting that the main character knew what she wanted and went about taking care of it. It doesn’t change your life in this massive way as we’re led to believe. If we go to pop culture there aren’t a lot of options [as far as portrayals of healthy sexuality], so when a movie like The To-Do List comes along it’s so important. As a teenager it always hit me like a ton of bricks when I saw something that actually reflected my life. That’s always really meaningful when you have that moment of “Oh, I’m not crazy, other people feel this way”

If a girl wants to be a filmmaker what challenges should she expect? How would you suggest she confront those challenges?

It can be challenging to get your ideas out there in a way that you can share them with other people. Don’t be afraid to make stuff, see what you think about it, see how you can improve it, make more stuff. A lot of us can be paralyzed by the empty page, every writer I know is paralyzed by the empty page. Even if it’s terrible, do a first draft. Just do it. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. It’s really cliche, but write the truth or film the truth. Create something that feels authentic to you and do things that feel meaningful to you, whether it’s drama or comedy. If it resonates with you it will resonate with other people. Don’t create necessarily for your audience–create for yourself and the audience will find you. The one thing we have to recognize is that creating is hard work, so love yourself and love what you want to say and understand that it’s going to take work and that just means that you’re doing what every other creative person does.

I have a really amazing editor who I worked with on HTLYV, and he said “I don’t believe you. I know who you are, and I don’t believe you would walk into David’s Bridal to look for a wedding dress.” I said “No, that really did happen! I went into David’s Bridal to look for a wedding dress for my wedding.” And he said, “Well you need to explain why you did that, because I don’t see you in a David’s wedding gown.” So we rewrote the narration so it felt true. Find someone who you trust to look at your stuff and get feedback. You have to be very careful who you ask for feedback. Find someone who will give you constructive criticism.

Y’all had such civil conversations with people who you really disagree with, like the abstinence activists. How did you manage to do that in a balanced way?

The girl from Harvard, Rosemary, was interviewed by one of the producers. I think sometimes you can just very politely ask questions and hear the answer and the answer may conflict with your own beliefs. I believe in giving [people I disagree with] their voice and their place to say what’s on their mind, and I know people who watch the film are like “oh my god that’s horrible!” but that’s how she feels about it. And it’s good to know that they’re out there.

I want to respect the people in my film and give them their own voice to tell their stories, but as far as institutions go I feel at liberty to say what I think. Individual people should have a chance to have their own voice. For people who are waiting until marriage, like Judy, she’s only talking about herself and I think that’s fine. I don’t agree with Rosemary, who says that all gays should not have sex even when they’re married, and I think most viewers will agree. I think that the idea that because you’re gay you can’t have these things that everybody else can have seems like a pretty outrageous statement. I don’t feel like I have to call her names to make that point.

Was it scary at all to put so much of your personal life out there in the film?

When people are like “you’re so brave!” I’m like, “oh shit! what did I put out there?” It’s how I work best, using my experiences as a lens. I’m asking other people all their personal sex stuff, I thought it was only fair that I share my stuff as well. Was there anything in particular you were surprised about?

Well I think anyone saying anything about their sexuality is radical.

I think some people are more open to sharing than other people, and other people share too much. Because I do these first person films I create this character of Therese, choosing what I’m going to show and talk about, there are really big chunks of my life that I don’t talk about. On screen Therese is not exactly who director Therese is. There’s nothing in it that’s not true, but there are things you choose not to talk about. There’s a filmmaker who I really admire and I asked him for advice, how do you know when you put too much of yourself in the film, he said “show it to a bunch of people you trust” and that’s always good advice.

What are your main projects now that the film is finished?

The V Card diaries, the interactive companion to the film! We have over 300 [submissions] now, we have a pretty cool interactive site, and you can submit your own stories, so that’s pretty close to my heart. I’m also developing some workshops based on the film, one that’s for charting your sexual history, one on virginity myths and one on first person storytelling. I’ve been thinking about a few other things in the development stage that i’m doing research on. I don’t want to get too specific, but I’m always really interested in women and our identity in society–who we are versus who people want us to be.

Learn more about the film, and get your own “V-Card” on the film’s site. The full film is available for streaming  for $4.99 through the end of July. Don’t miss it!

I’m a Girls State alum, and the sexism at Texas Boys State 2014 is not OK

by Annemarie McDaniel

What do astronaut Neil Armstrong, President Bill Clinton, basketball star Michael Jordan, and singer Bon Jovi all have in common? When they were juniors in high school, they all attended a prestigious but little-known program called Boys State. That’s just the beginning of the incredibly long list of famous Boys State alumni, and alumnae from its sister program, Girls State, are just as impressive.

In just a few days at the summer Boys State and Girls State program, high school students run for office, write legislation, draft court opinions, publish newspapers, and more. Usually this is a very fulfilling experience, but this year, at Texas’ Boys State, one delegate’s entire campaign speech was just the words “Cold beer and titties.” Campaign photos featured swimsuit models with the political party’s name, “Feds,” on the model’s breast.  Another party’s platform cruelly shamed teen mothers. Boys State creates and fosters incredible future world leaders, and it’s terrifying to see such sexism being allowed by councilors and encouraged other attendees.

I am, in fact, a Girls State alumna, and my time at the California Girls State conference in 2011 shaped who I am today.

When I ran for the position of California governor, the other candidates and I took our race seriously, writing and rewriting our speeches to make sure we hit all of the key issues we wanted to address if elected. That doesn’t mean we weren’t also silly occasionally. One girl whose nickname was Par or Par-Par made golf jokes throughout her campaign; I personally told a hilarious anecdote or two (or five) while running; and there were definitely dance breaks both during our free time in the dorms and even during session occasionally. The conference is exhausting, and being funny is a great way to lighten the mood and have a good time.

Some people say Texas Boys’ State was just young guys having a good time together, but a speech where a candidate stands up, goes to the podium, says “Cold beer and titties,” and sits down, is not lighthearted fun that I’m talking about. If something similar happened my year at Girls State, a counselor or delegate would call out on stage how that is unacceptable. Because it is. “Titties” don’t just exist in their own little vacuum, they’re on women’s bodies, like my own. When a man reduces a value of women to just being her breasts, that mentality leads to the objectification and violence against women we see and hear so often in our media.

It’s the same problem with the campaign logo for the Boys State Federalist Party, or “Feds” for short this year. The Federalist Party chose an image of a swimsuit model from a magazine, wrote “Feds” on her breast, and decided this would be an excellent campaign photo to show other delegates. Sadly, if the Federalist Party was looking to capture boys’ attention, sexualized images do a good job of that. That’s what these boys are seeing at home when they turn on their TV or go online: companies trying to sell a product by using women’s bodies as a canvas. But Boys State is meant to be a place for the state’s best leaders to come together and create the best government and best selves that they can. Sexualizing women for the sake of campaign materials is just the opposite.

The sexism came from both political parties. The Nationalist Party included the following in their party platform: “In the case of teen pregnancies, three years of optional welfare can be provided as long as the person raises the child themselves and notifies their community that they are receiving welfare.” My jaw dropped when I read that bullet point. Teen mothers face incredible societal stigma already, and the leaders of this political party want to publicly shame them by perhaps making them walk door-to-door or put a sign in front of their house, telling the neighborhood that, yes, they are a teen mother, and yes, they are on welfare. This is even more sexist if one remembers that there also would be a man who helped create the child, but the guys at Texas Boys’ State didn’t think those men were truly responsible for the pregnancy and didn’t need to go around telling their neighbors they were a young fathers on welfare, unlike the young mother. If the Nationalist Party hoped to reduce the number of young mothers, their platform could have offered comprehensive sex education and contraception available in schools or more local Planned Parenthood funding. They could have supported young mothers by offering more flexible graduation options or on-campus childcare. But instead of strengthening the community by providing support for young pregnancies, the Nationalist Party chose sexism and targeted teen mothers. Not to mention their platform also outlaws all abortions except in the case of rape, so even if a teenager wanted to terminate a pregnancy, they would be forced to keep the child.

It’s easy to see all of this as being an isolated incident. It’s “just one camp” and “a few young boys” who didn’t realize they were crossing a line. Except this kind of sexism at this year’s Boys State in Texas reflects the sexism we have seen so often in grown-up politics recently. Just last week, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that buffer zones around Planned Parenthood clinics violate the constitution and that it is legal for Hobby Lobby to deny their employees birth control and other contraception, despite being medical benefits they are entitled to receive. How are these boys going to work around women politicians, or women in any career field, if they run for office in a few decades? Even in our day-to-day lives, this is the same sexism that fuels the sexualizing and policing of women’s bodies we experience when we walk down the street and see billboards of nearly-naked models selling a product, but are simultaneously slut-shamed for wearing “too short of shorts” in public.

In fifty years, a boy at Texas’ Boys State this year could be serving on the court, in Congress writing our nation’s legislation, interviewing political candidates on television, or even just serving on your local school board. No matter where the boys from this year of Texas’ Boys State go, they will have witnessed how there aren’t always repercussions for sexism in politics. This isn’t to blame the Boys State, American Legion, or Texas; this could’ve happened at any kind of conference in any state. But we need to be teaching our boys better. We need our young men who are councilors at these kinds of conferences to step in when that happens, our friends and other attendees to not be afraid to call out sexism publicly, and our future leaders to not say such statements in the first place.

The stakes are too high. When we justify this action by saying “boys will be boys,” we need to remember these boys become men, and accepting their sexism now means we may be forced to accept it for life.

 

Belle encourages us to look at the world in new ways

by Montgomery Jones

Sometimes it feels like films and television shows think biracial or mixed children are mythical creatures. More often than not, multiracial actors play whichever ethnicity they “look like” most, and as a mixxie myself, this has always saddened me. Because it’s 2014 and we lack representation of interracial couples and their kin, I never even thought to want see multiracial characters. Maybe I, too, thought they were mythological. Representation matters. So when I first found out there was a film about Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate biracial daughter of British Royal Navy officer John Lindsay, I was very interested. The film Belle is based off of Dido’s life and is one I quite enjoyed.

The story begins as Dido’s father, Sir John Lindsay, picks her up after the death of her mother and takes her to his uncle’s house. John clearly loves his daughter, but tells her right away that he is to leave again for the navy. He asks his aunt and uncle, William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield and Lady Mary Murray, if they can raise her. The couple is hesitant when they realize that Dido is black, but eventually they come around to it.

Dido is raised with her cousin Elizabeth of the same age, and the two are inseparable growing up, closed off from the small-minded outside world. From a very young age, Dido is intelligent and observant. One of the things she picks up on right away is that the paintings in the house always show the black people in the background while their white counterparts take front and center—if there are any black people in the paintings at all. The close ups of these paintings are phenomenal visuals from the director, showcasing the contrast between the white aristocrat at the center of it all and the slave/servant in the background .

Dido’s place is never clearly defined. She tows the line between a member of the family and “other,” a guest in her own house.    Dido only eats dinner with her family when the setting is informal (i.e., no guests). She holds her head high, as though she is resigned to the fact that this is the way things “just are” or must work. At one point, a black maid helps her with her hair, something no one else in the house ever did. Dido tries to distance herself from the maid, to establish that they’re in different classes. It feels safe to assume that that’s how she feels about many black people. Only after meeting John Daviner, a lawyer who works for William Murray, does she start to question things.

I relate to Dido in so many ways. As a newer feminist, I am still opening my eyes to how the world works. There are things that are deep seeded in me, like saying “oh, that’s something women simply don’t do.” I still struggle with seeing that things aren’t true just because society tells me they are. That’s a hard lesson to learn. Dido simply didn’t question her treatment in the house because that is the way things always were for her. Then, she meets John Daviner, a lawyer who works for William Murray. Daviner insists that Murray is turning a blind eye to a recent case in which hundreds of slaves died for the insurance claim. Murray is irate and forbids the two from any further contact.

Dido is then betrothed to Oliver Ashton, a white man with a racist family. His mother only insists that they marry because Dido had recently inherited quite a fortune. Oliver himself is just enamored with her looks; he tells Dido that it’s not her fault she had the “misfortune” of being born that color. Realizing that he saw her race as an unfortunate circumstance (luckily he said she was still beautiful), she left him, perhaps realizing that moving up in society and having titles is no match for self-respect. All the while, Dido and Daviner are uncovering that William Murray is presiding over the insurance case about the murdered slaves. Dido, ever the astute student, finds evidence that the ship passed several ports where they could have stopped to feed and give water to the starved and dehydrated slaves, who later died. She asks her uncle how he would feel if she were on that ship, because those people are just like her. This is the film’s big moment, Dido standing up to her uncle and recognizing that these are her people.

I relate to Dido in more ways than one, and I think most mixed people can.  Often times it feels like society is telling us we need to be either one race or another, whether it is on standardized testing (which is getting better at the “select one” option), TV shows, or just kids on the playground telling you that you’re lying about your ethnicity. Often times we put ourselves in one box and inadvertently close off a huge part of our ethnic make up in order to fit in or fit the mold we are told to be. Period films are always intriguing because they give an inside peak in to a world we will never experience, but there are so many more stories to be told than the rich, white, aristocrat. We pride ourselves on not repeating history yet here we are, telling the same stories over and over. Belle is proof that we can tell different stories that are just as intriguing.

#NoShaveForever: how to get your hairiest summer bod

by Lilinaz Evans

It’s that time of year again: the sun has got her hat on and it’s time to get your legs summer ready to show off on the beach! We all know the horror of being the only babe on the beach with no luscious locks of leg hair, so today we have some tips from beauty experts, our summer body hair crushes, and some ahead-of-time style tips so you can be the hairiest you can be this summer.

Let’s start off with some basic background on body hair care for those newbies just starting out. Now if you have ever shaved in the past (ew! So unhygienic) you know those evil spiky hairs that catch on your tights and scratch your bae’s skin, but worry not! Those spiky baby hairs grow out in 3-4 weeks, and by your second month you will be left with the sleek and smooth pins you always dreamed of. Everyone is different and it may take a bit longer, for some of you slow growers, but just keep at it and be proud of your baby hair!

Leg hair has so many advantages! Apart from the fashionable aesthetic of course, longer leg hair is smooth and soft. It keeps the moisture locked in your skin and it keeps you cool in the summer. There is no better feeling than a summer breeze flowing through your hair. And we cannot forget of course, if you spend less on scraping the hair off your skin, there’s more money for shoes!

Leg hair gets so much attention, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg of cute hair possibilities. Your underarm hair (or pit kittens) can be a sophisticated peak of glossy hair or super cute fluff to show off with your sleeveless dresses. So versatile, so cute; I know my wardrobe would not be the same without them! Arm hair, your bikini line, and our summer 2014 fave, the unibrow, must also not be forgotten.

But let’s get serious, girls. We all think about how dreadful it must be to have blonde hair that doesn’t show up,  that has no volume or colour. Not everyone can have that thick, dark, gorgeous body hair that we all dream of, and it can be embarrassing for the girls who aren’t blessed with the right genes, but we mustn’t be cruel to them. Everyone deserves to feel like a babe! Here are some tips for those unfortunates:

  • If you are a slow grower or have lighter hair, it’s important to start you summer hair regime as early as possible. Stop shaving in January/February to give you hair and skin time to recover and fill out a bit more!
  • Using shampoo and conditioner like you would on your head hair keeps your body hair healthier and more resistant to damage. This is especially important if you have thinner hair.
  • Spray a little dry shampoo for dark hair at a distance and it will cling to the blonde baby hairs and make them pop! This is not ideal at the beach as it will wash off in the sea but great for an everyday style fix.
  • Dye it!

The best was to stay effortlessly on trend and keep that hair in line is to dye it! Last seasons’ deep maroons and forest greens are out for good, and 2k14 is all about the NEON. A brightly contrasting orange and blue seems to be the best bet this season, with the paps snapping Honoria McDonald (daughter of restaurant tycoon Ronald McDonald) with radioactive orange pit kittens in May, and supermodel Persephone Amethyst sporting blue and green leg hair stripes in Malibu. But you don’t need to take advice from celebs! Here are our 2014 real girl body hair crushes:

Yas Necati suggests going bold: “Neon colors really suits the summer festival theme!” But she’s into the more natural look, too: “I like to brush my leg hair in the sunlight. Sometimes I shave my leg hair into butterfly shapes and pretend I’m in the forest.”

Sinead Westwood suggests a “playful, confident look–wear tiny vest tops to really turn heads with your fabulous underarm fluff this summer!”

Emily Miller recently ditched shaving: “I like to tell myself I’m being more sustainable! Wanna save the environment? Shave once a month and recycle all your razors! You’ll feel like an eco-warrior in no time!”

#ReadWomen2014: Emma

This post is part of #ReadWomen2014.

by Alisha Pavelites

People often gauge the validity of a female character’s experience in a story by how “strong” she is. We hear “more strong female leads!” all the time. To be honest, saying “we need strong female leads” takes away from the real issue: we just need more women. Women and girls don’t just need “empowered” women in their stories, we need realistic women. Women we can relate to. The issue with reading literature about women written by men is that it exists in the male fantasy of what they believe women to be. A lot of our heroines come from the male imagination, often as sidekicks or romantic interests.

Think of Sherlock Holmes. Not just brilliant, but moody, addicted to drugs, sometimes funny (always witty), sometimes angry, a lot of the times cool and collected. Now turn him into a watery half-human half-invertebrate who is incomplete without romance. Erase all his dimensions and complexity. You’re left with a flat, uninteresting character who’s annoying to read, because Sherlock Holmes without all the dimensions of Sherlock is just a guy who likes to solve mysteries.

It’s not like women haven’t taken up their pen and paper since the dawn of literature and started writing realistic women. But instead, we hear about John Green and how “realistically” he portrays the teenage girl experience with “brutal honesty.” The Fault in Our Stars is Green’s debut novel centered on Hazel Grace Lancaster, a female protagonist who reads as a secondary character in her own story about living with cancer and falling in love. She’s the “main character,” but she doesn’t really exist without cancer or her love interest.

Jane Austen’s Emma is a fine starting point, or middle point, for venturing into the world of the female lead written by a woman. Emma Woodhouse is the protagonist of her story, and the narration follows her life in detail as she tries to play matchmaker for her friends and family. What makes Emma so interesting is that Jane Austen didn’t really write her to be likeable or relatable to anyone. Emma is rich, “handsome,” and pretty smart (according to Emma). She’s a snob, and though she does good deeds, she often does them out of believing she’s on a moral high ground or doing good for the poor souls beneath her status. The book reveals Emma’s faults in an ambiguous way. Austen never emphasizes whether Emma is “good” or “bad.” She’s a person; she’s a human being who doesn’t exist to prove some point about how women are strong and capable—but still can be interpreted as a very capable and intelligent woman.

Emma leaves such an impression on me because among classics written by men, there’s so much categorizing women into either “that bitch that won’t date me” or “that slut who dates everyone” or “my mom” (albeit in more formal and flowery terms–see The Great Gatsby); it’s refreshing to read a girl from a girl’s point of view. It wears on a young woman’s soul to read shallow female characters in literature written by men who if they don’t have some sappy love interest for their hulking hero—girl’s just cease to exist for Some Mysterious Reason.

In Emma, seventeen year old Harriet Smith lives in a local boarding school and is introduced in the story as “the natural daughter of somebody.” Emma takes it upon herself to treat her as an improvement project (out of love and selflessness, of course), and thus intervenes when a farmer proposes to Harriet. Emma had plans for Harriet to be married to someone of a higher social status. Since nobody knows Harriet’s parents, Emma is free to make up stories about Harriet’s noble place in society.

Emma writes the rejection letter to the farmer who proposes to Harriet, and is later very humbled when she finds out that Mr. Elton, the man who she wanted Harriet to marry, has intentions of marrying Emma. Therefore, she had ruined a pretty good match between Harriet and the farmer because of her own sense of superiority. She realizes this later, and apologizes to Harriet.

Jane Austen is clever, funny, and honest. It shines through in Emma Woodhouse, one of the finest literary heroines. And yeah, you may have to have a dictionary beside you to get through Emma. It’s totally worth it though, it’s cute in a refined way and has some lovely, non-sappy romance dabbled throughout. Emma embarrasses herself, she falls in love, she makes me mistakes and she is unapologetically human.

You can read it here.

On being a good person

by Dee Putri

Recently, I watched Where the Wild Things Are. This is a children’s movie, but I really love it. You know that in children’s movies, there are always protagonists and antagonists that kids can tell apart easily. The protagonist is the kind person who smiles a lot, helps a lot, and is too kind to be true, while the antagonist is the angry and selfish person. But in this movie, it’s not like that. This is way more real, with the kinds of people that maybe we’ll encounter in our life.

My idea of good person is still something like the protagonist of Disney cartoons, since I watched Disney a lot when I was a kid. I wanted to be like them at the time. But as I grow up, I know that I’m not as kind as these characters. Of course I want to be a good person, but sometimes it is just hard to be kind all the time for me. I realize that I’m not an angel.

Sometimes I wonder whether I’m a good or bad person. Until now, I’m not sure. I don’t have the exact answer. Maybe none of us do. When I asked my friends whether they consider themselves good or bad people, they didn’t answer right away. It’s a tricky question when you ask it directly: are you a good person? But when we we’re asked about other people, we can easily answer it right away. We judge ourseves by what we think, not by what we do, while we judge others by what they do, and not what they think. Kinda complicated right? But sometimes, we judge other people wrong, because we don’t know what’s happening in their mind. I tell myself that everyone has their own issues, so I just try to be more understanding. I have this idea that actually everyone is good person. What we see in them is just a reaction to previous events. Sometimes we don’t know the story behind something that they do.

Deep down, I want to be considered as a good person. Well, no matter how people are, almost all the time they want to be on the protagonist’s side. They always want to be known as good person. But then I think of this character, April Ludgate of Parks and Recreation. She’s sarcastic, kinda evil, but funny! I adore her! I always try not to say mean things to people, but when I see April do it, it’s so funny! Maybe she is saying just the right amount of evilness, so it becomes so funny. This is a hard thing to do. But she is a kind person actually. She does help people. She is not 100% evil. I think nobody in this world is 100% evil or 100% kind. I just accept the fact that nobody is perfect.

I think one of my problems is maintaining my emotions. I don’t know how to maintain my emotions to be acceptable enough, not annoying. Sometimes I think that I tend to annoy people with my emotion bombs (I’m not proud of this). Sometimes I’ll feel super happy, but worry that maybe my happiness is annoying to other people. Sometimes I feel sad and I’ll stay quiet, because maybe my sadness would make others feel awkward. Also, sometimes I feel bad that I’m not helpful enough. I feel like a bad person for my laziness, for my selfishness, for my bad timing, for my bad manners. I’m afraid that I’ve become a bad person. I feel sorry for people who need to deal with this, because maybe it takes a lot to understand what’s going on in my mind.  I actually told my sister that I need a therapist for these feeling, but I got busy so I can’t see one now. But I know this website, 7 cups of tea, that helps. You find a listener there and you can just talk to them. I think I prefer this way because I stay anonymous, you know? So I can be 100% honest with my listener. Also, I met this amazing listener who helps me a lot. She is super understanding. It feels good to know that there are people out there who would help you, even for free.

Since I was a child people have always told me that I should be a good person. But sometimes that also means that we should meet their expectation of us to be considered as a good person, not our own. Sometimes there are misunderstandings here or there that makepeople think that we’re cruel or selfish. Actually, I always try my best to make everyone around me to be happy. But it’s hard to do all the time. So, no matter who you are, I’ll try to always judge you as a good person. I know that everyone is always just trying to function as a member of society, whcih is the best thing that everyone could do. Thank you for trying. :)