Growing Older

One of those constant tropes you hear when you’re a kid is that you think the world revolves around you.

“Oh, kids these days, they’re so selfish. They think the world is their oyster. They don’t believe they’re going to grow old. They don’t think time will happen to them.”

As a kid, I used to think that was bullshit.

‘Of course I’m going to get old,’ my younger self thought. ‘That’s what happens to everybody. We all get birthdays, we all get taller, and we all get old.’

But I didn’t really know.

I fell into the stereotype of a kid that I bristled so much at. But it’s like a Catch-22. You’re not truly a young person if you have the mindset of an older person, no matter how much you might want to avoid preconceived notions.

Side note: Preconceived notions have and always will be the bane of my existence.

Now that I’ve grown some, I’m hyper aware that I’m…well, I’m aware that I’m older. And with this awareness has come this kind of resignation, a this-is-it weariness.

‘Cause, I mean, after high school, it was all about “what comes next.” Where are you going to college? What do you want to do with your life? Where do you see yourself in five years?

And now that I’m past that point, all I can think is, “Oh well. That’s all there was to it.”

From where I’m standing, life is all about the future. Life grows, life moves forward, or, to quote Ian Malcolm, “life finds a way.” When you’re a kid, you embody that potential. It’s annoying to hear all the time, but kids are the future. When you grow up, the future stops being you.

This all sounds very depressing, and while the concept can get me down in the dumps, I’m not always upset about it. With resignation, there’s also this kind of relief. It’s like expectations have been lifted from me and now I can focus on just trying to be happy.

And just because I’m no longer the future, doesn’t mean I can’t contribute to it, right?

I know some people take this in a very literal sense, and they physically contribute to the future by having kids. This is a dubious decision for certain persons (won’t name names, but my god, haven’t you ever thought that certain people should never in the history of ever attempt to be parents), and I’ve seen my fair share of people who fall into the trap of having kids as a way to remain relevant to the future.

But I do not want to have a child. Have you guys heard of the goddamn changes women have to go through in order to have a baby?! I cringe when I watch a horror movie; no way am I actually gong to live through one.

So I sometimes wonder how I can contribute to the future as I grow older.

And funnily enough, it’s that living-in-the-moment bullcrap that has become my go-to answer.

I want to live in the now with the idea that anything I say or do can have a positive effect on a person, be it a kind word or a particularly moving blog post or a fun multiplayer match of Halo. I want to pepper my life with kindness to others in the hopes that I might be helping them through a tough time or something like that.

I feel like that’s what I can do with my life.

And yeah, as I grow older, I don’t just think about these moral obligations or philosophical musings like a dweeb. I think about dying like a normal person would, too.

But I think about dying the way I used to think about growing up.

It’s not real for me yet. Not really, not in a way that counts.

I know it’s going to happen, I just haven’t completely wrapped my brain around the concept of not existing. It’s easier to think about death this way because I don’t want to get uber fixated on it or anything. I just want to live life to the fullest, being happy and making other people happy, too. Small things.

And this all sounds so stupid and lame and corny and emotional, but it’s just what I was thinking about right now.

I promise I’ll go back to writing about fun video games next time. Today, I was just feeling kind of thoughtful.

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Some Crazy-Ex Appreciation

Last time I wrote about a television show, it was about Game of Thrones, and we all know how that went.

After that particular roller coaster, I wasn’t sure how I felt about tackling a television show again. TV series are such a commitment. You invest a lot more time and energy when watching and reviewing a show than when you review a movie.

But after finishing up the show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, I knew I had to talk about it at some point. ‘Cause goddamn that show is subtly amazing. It’s like a sleeper hit show.

So this post is about giving some appreciation to a series that I think has gone underappreciated by the masses.

I got introduced to Crazy Ex by a friend of mine, one Andreya of TotesAndreya fame. A few years ago, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was all she talked about. She was avidly watching the show, claiming she felt personally attacked by the depiction of the main character, but loving every minute of it. She would play the songs from the show (it’s kind of a musical) in the car all the time. She highly recommended I watch it, and I eventually took her up on that.

Side note: Depending on the person who recommends something to me and how they recommend it determines whether or not I’ll actually give it a try. But once I decide I’m trying it, I damn well try it.

I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about the title because it sounded too much like a rom-com, made-for-TV movie, but the show stuck some dynamite in the mouth of my expectations and blew me away. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is supremely self-aware, and if there’s one thing I appreciate in my shows and my friends, it’s self-awareness.

At first, Crazy Ex seems like a campy, corny comedy-romance that you catch on the CW all the time. But underneath that campiness is a scathing wit,and under the wit is heart, the willingness to bare the soul of a story.

Plus, it’s essentially a musical. And who doesn’t love musicals?

The premise of the show is wince-inducing. Main character Rebecca makes this decision to drop everything in her life to try rekindling something with an ex-boyfriend, even though he lives on the other side of the country and already has a girlfriend. What ensues is nothing short of cringe-worthy as Rebecca abases herself and puts herself in these embarassing situations all to win her ex’s favor. I’m telling you, this shit was more cringey than the Scott’s Tots episode of The Office.

But the show, by increasing degrees, starts getting real. It morphs from this cutesy romantic-comedy with a dash of zaniness to a clever and uncompromising look at mental health and character growth.

And when I say character growth, I don’t just mean that the characters on the show grow, though yes, that does happen. What I mean is that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend features a story that is all about what it means to grow as a person, what it means to develop your own character.

It’s hard work, and it’s a lifelong project, but the rewards are self-evident.

I did not expect to like Crazy Ex as much as I did. Now, I’m recommending it to my family, listening to the soundtrack as I work, and lining up to see panels about it at Comic Con.

So while Game of Thrones might have been a show that took up a great deal of my life with how much I loved it, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend changed my life. Yes, that sounds overly dramatic, but it’s not as dramatic as it sounds. It changed my outlook on certain ideas is all.

I rate it a must-watch-for-anyone-who-has-ever-felt-trapped-by-their-own-personality-and-is-looking-to-have-a-good-laugh-about-the-fact-while-simultaneously-confronting-it.

Gears 5 Review: Balancing on a Lancer’s Chainsaw

I first picked up Gears of War 3 because I was bored. I knew nothing about the game except that it involved beefy muscle-men shooting up these alien-looking creatures. Little did I expect to be drawn in by the lunky cover-based mechanics and absolutely awesome co-op nature of the game.

I ended up playing Gear of War 4 on the first day it came out (which led to a very hilarious midnight game time with my friend Bubba), and this prepped me for being fully thrilled for Gears 5.

Plus, as I haven’t been shy about posting here, I went to E3 this past summer. The previews for what Gears 5 would be had me super excited in LA. It was no Doom Eternal in terms of my pumped levels, but I was still looking forward to it.

Fast forward to the day it released, and I downloaded it and started playing it immediately. I was totally fresh when it came to the game, no prejudices, I swear. (Well, except for some lingering confusion as to why they shortened the name from “Gears of War” to just “Gears.”)

My final thoughts? There is a lot to like about Gears 5, but it is plagued by some truly frustrating moments.

Now, bear in mind that I’m a campaign gal. I’m not a very good judge of multiplayer aside from “that was fun” or “that totally sucked.” So this review is going to focus on the story mode.

On that note…SPOILER WARNING!

Let’s start with the gameplay first.

Gear 5 played better (at least for me, your Below Average reviewer) than Gears of War 4. Something about the controls felt less clunky, more fluid than its predecessor. My character moved faster (except when slowed by an obligatory story moment). Since I’m a predominantly first-person shooter player, I’m not always used to the heaviness of an over-the-shoulder, third-person shooter. It takes me a while to get used to it. I was able to acclimate to Gears 5 more smoothly than the other two Gears games I played.

The guns also felt wonderfully unique.

Anybody here play Halo 5: Guardians? While playing that game, I couldn’t help being bored with the weapon selection. They all felt so…similar. That wasn’t an issue for me in Gears 5. The Lancer felt different from the Hammerburst. The Gnasher felt different from the Overkill. The Boltok felt different from the Snub.

Side note: Fuck the Snub Pistol. I hate that thing.

Aside from the cool reload mini-game, I looked forward to using each weapon, at least once to try it out, just to see how unique it would feel.

And when you get to know the cover mechanics (and you stop running out like a fool playing Doom), the game is thoroughly enjoyable. You pop in and out of cover, blast the Swarm with your bullets, spikes, or shrapnel, dive to the next spot of cover, and then repeat. It’s all very fun.

But wait, you may say. All of this was in the previous Gears game. How did Gears 5 up the ante?

Well, they threw super powers into the mix.

The main characters get an AI robot buddy named Jack to fight alongside them, and he gives them perks during a battle. Some of these perks are passive upgrades to Jack himself, things that will help him survive. Others are more aggressive.

With Jack by your side, you can let out a Pulse to highlight enemies that are behind cover. You can send out a Flash to stun them out of cover. You can even create a little Shock Trap for them to stumble onto. I think you get the gist of these things.

During the campaign, you can collect components to upgrade these abilities, which provides players with more of an incentive to explore than simple collectibles. And the abilities do end up proving useful when you’re in a pitched battle with Swarm soldiers and Snatchers surrounding you.

But those cooldowns are insanely long.

Please tell me it wasn’t just me. I mean, I spent the components necessary to shorten the timer on those abilities, but I seriously felt those things took forever to recharge. You’d think with all the improvements to technology going on, Baird would have figured out a way to make those cooldowns shorter.

But whatever, that’s not my major complaint with Gears 5. The only thing those long cooldowns truly gave me was more time relying on my own weapons, which is not a bad thing in and of itself.

Let’s move on to the story bits.

Bottom line, Gears 5’s story works. It does its job. As a matter of fact, it worked better than I thought it would. Why? Because the story doesn’t just rely on Kait’s descent into Locust madness like I thought it would. The emotional focus of the story centers on regret and friendship, and those two hefty themes can carry the game to the moon and beyond, especially with that dialogue.

Despite myself, I found myself guffawing along with the hardeeharhar wit and bravado that accompanies a Gears game.

And damn it if I didn’t start liking Fahz by the end of the game. I normally hate the stereotypical douche-bag character, but he won me over. Don’t know how that happened. Probably the dialogue’s doing.

And Jack’s an interesting addition to the story as well as to the gameplay. Though I do wonder why Swarm Leeches never decided to infect and take over Jack when every other machine was being possessed.

Kait’s discoveries and struggles are mesmerizing, engrossing as heck, but they do feel a little vague. I’m still not one hundred percent clear why her dead mom was in her brain and how this strange incarnation of her ended up getting released, but I’m not going to complain too much about the fiction part of my science-fiction game.

What really interested me in terms of story coalesces at the very end, with that terrible choice the developers have you make.

Here’s some brief backstory for those of you not in the know:

The three main characters, Kait, Del, and JD, are the closest of friends. You get the sense of that in Gears of War 4 and in the beginning chapters of Gears 5. But JD makes some very poor decisions (for the right reasons), and it actually damages him physically and emotionally. He cuts himself off from Kait and Del, becoming a pseudo-jerk like Fahz. This results in the majority of the game being about Del and Kait on their adventure. Toward the end, JD reconciles with his two friends, and you three tackle the final mission together. It’s a strange sort of redemption story.

And that’s when Gears 5 kicks you in the balls.

Kait’s mother/not-mother wraps her tentacles around both Del and JD’s throats, and for the first time I can recall in a Gears game, you have to choose which character lives or dies.

Side note: You do this by choosing which tentacle to chuck a sword at, the one holding Del or the one holding JD. Don’t know why you couldn’t just chuck it at Kait’s mom’s face.

And this is not some phoney-bologna choice. Whoever you don’t pick to live, dies. I panicked like a chicken without its head when I had to make this choice. I ended up saving Del, because he was my broski for most of the game, and it would have been terrible to just let him die.

But then I had to contend with the fact that I let Marcus Fenix’s son die. Marcus’ face (yes, his computer-animated face) had me writhing in shame and guilt.

Side note: Yes, I do plan to play the game again and have JD live, so I have a save file with each option.

Anyways, it is a ton of fun experiencing Gears 5 with another person by your side, and it tickles me pink that you can play it with three people couch co-op style.

However, this is also where I ran into major problems with the game.

More than once, scripted in-game events failed to occur, leaving me and my partner stranded in this interminable moment of time. We had no choice but to restart from our last checkpoint. For example, I once got stuck under a downed helicopter, and my partner’s character had to go down some stairs and reach me before I got swarmed with Swarm. We didn’t realize this at the time, but a Juvie is supposed to leap on top of my character and start pounding at me once my partner’s character got close enough to save me. After shooting it, there’s a small mini-cutscene where my character is helped up.

Unfortunately for us, the Juvie never showed, so my partner and I spent a good fifteen minutes wondering how he was supposed to help me up. He walked around my character (who lay on the ground chilling) pressing every button under the sun, hoping he could activate some kind of assist.

Another problem that plagued my playthrough were missing character models.

You guys know that fight with the Matriarch that happens in the ice level? For the intro, she’s just missing from the cutscene. And when the gameplay starts up, she can be found on the complete other side of the room.

We also had those moments where Kait or Del looked like they were holding their weapons, but their weapons were playing the invisibility game. Nothing screams polish like a missing weapon model, am I right?

Ugh, and don’t get me started on those wind storms.

Look, I liked the idea of making the game open-world-esque, but if you’re going to include skiff-traversable areas, could you not populate them with bullshit storms? I could hardly control the vehicle, the fake dust obscured my entire screen, and THE RANDOM LIGHTNING STRIKES KILLED ME MORE THAN THE SWARM!

Maybe I’m being salty, but I don’t think that skiff handled well. And it definitely didn’t handle well in the middle of a wind/lightning storm in zero-visibility conditions.

All of the gripes I have against the game, however, didn’t really spoil my enjoyment of it. Gears 5 luckily struck a fine balance for me, between laughably glitchy, truly engrossing, and damnably entertaining.

Though it’s kind of an unfortunate reality gamers have to put up with these days that big titles will inevitably release with more bugs than Million Ants.

I rate Gears 5 a fun-update-to=the-Gears-franchise-that-has-a-few-issues-but-when-it-succeeds-it-really-succeeds-and-no-one-can-deny-the-pleasure-of-Lancering-Swarm-in-the-face.

Froley’s Bird Buddies: Cheese and Mochi

Froley is a grumpy bird, and he doesn’t get along with anybody but me.

So, when you read the title of this post, and you see the word “buddies,” you might be a bit puzzled.

Just know that I’m speaking relatively.

After witnessing how awesome my relationship with Froley is, my sister decided to get some pet birds of her own. (I’m sorry, but you know it’s true, Alya.) Enter Cheese and Mochi.

Cheese is a Green-cheeked conure, and he’s a feisty little fella. He’s more curious than Froley is, to the point of putting himself in danger. He also likes to dip his beak into anything my sister is consuming, be it orange juice, a salad, a beer, or a pizza. He absolutely adores Alya. He flutters to her head when given the opportunity to be out of his cage. He doesn’t like me much, and I have no idea why. Alya thinks it’s because he can sense our closeness, and it makes him jealous.

Mochi is a different beast altogether.

Side note: Yes, my sister has a penchant for naming her pets after food…for some disturbing reason.

Mochi is an African grey parrot, and her intelligence is undeniable. She is the queen of wanton destruction and vocal exclamations. She was given to Alya secondhand, so she doesn’t exhibit such a large sense of closeness to my sister the way Cheese does. Mochi can perfectly mimic human language, and she puts this ability to frequent, if inopportune, use. She’s learned to say, “Okay, Google,” which is a bit of a problem since her cage is near the Google Home Speaker.

To be honest, Froley is not particularly close to either of these two birds. He doesn’t seek them out for company, and they don’t seem overly fond of him either.

But I like to think there’s a mutual content shared by the three of them when they’re stuck in their respective cages, side by side.

Clowns, Gore, and More: IT Chapter Two Review (Spoiler Free)

Just so you guys know, this whole spoilers free thing I’m trying to do here is just me being very polite. The book and the made-for-TV movie have been out for years. This no-spoilers stuff is basically for people who haven’t taken the time to guzzle up their Stephen King lore.

Anyways.

Clowns make me a tad uncomfortable.

I know a few people who are seriously terrified of clowns, as in they will scream, tremble, run away, all that jazz, if they see one, but I’ve only ever been slightly put off by them.

I’ve seen them too many times as vehicles of horror to appreciate them in real life. At the same time, I don’t live my life flinching at working clowns.

So for me, the latest adaptation of Stephen King’s infamous It is nothing more than a good time for me. I can get properly freaked out by a killer clown without shitting my pants.

IT Chapter Two is by no means the best horror movie in existence. It doesn’t break any boundaries or raise any bars. Its scares are largely predictable (especially if you’ve read the book), its gore is blatantly over the top at times, and the mythos behind Derry’s terror goes largely unexplained.

I still adored it.

IT Chapter Two shines, as did its predecessor, because of the fantastic cast of “Losers” being harassed by Pennywise. They are all incredible actors, from the children to the adults. If you loved the kids in the first movie, you’ll love the adults they grow into. I don’t know who is responsible for picking these actors, but goddamn, they did a great job.

There are three big-name actors in the movie, who obviously do a phenomenal job of picking up where their respective child actors left off. But I’ve got to give special props to the man who plays adult Eddie Kaspbrak. I just looked him up on IMDb. His name is James Ransone. I don’t want to be mean, but I’ve never heard of him before. However, he totally fit the role of adult Eddie to a tee. Spot on.

Pennywise’s personal moments are also extremely enjoyable. Unfortunately, they’re few and far between.

In the first movie, when Pennywise has his iconic sewer moment with Georgie, I was astonished at how well actor Bill Skarsgard played him. I mean, it goes without saying that Pennywise is an evil individual. You know it from the movie trailers, the pop culture references, and in your gut when you see him pop up from inside the drain. But when he speaks in his bubbly voice, you can feel a charisma that lurks underneath, a charm that draws his hapless child victims in.

Just as in the first movie, Pennywise doesn’t always have his time to shine while utilizing the full extent of Skarsgard’s acting ability. There is this one moment that feels similar to Georgie’s moment, and you’ll know it when you see it. (Feel free to take guesses in the comments as to which moment I’m referring to.)

In terms of jump scares, the movie has a regular amount of them, i.e. perhaps too many. However, if you’re on the fence about seeing it, you should know I always knew when to close my eyes before a jump scare. I don’t know if that’s an indication of whether or not this movie won’t be too scary for you, but it definitely was okay for me.

The gore was also cringey, as is expected. However, the fact that a lot of the gory moments relied on CGI and stuff actually helped to alleviate whatever feelings of distaste I might have had.

Any qualms I had with the movie, which were not many, were overshadowed by my love for the source material, my respect for the actors taking on these roles, and my genuine appreciation for the theme of growing up that is ever-present in nearly every Stephen King book. No one boils down childhood hope into palatable, less-corny pulp fiction than he does.

I rate IT Chapter Two a definitely-go-see-if-you-liked-the-first-one-or-if-you-like-Stephen-King-in-general-just-be-prepared-to-cry-a-bit-either-from-laughter-thanks-to-phenomenal-jokes-or-from-genuine-sadness-over-the-film’s-ending.

Sunshine Blogger Award Thingamabob

I’ve been nominated for this before, but I’ve never thought of doing it because I’m normally not one to follow chains. But, since work has been a doozy lately and I have no major post ideas, AND because I was nominated by Extra Life and I really admire that particular blog, I decided to do this challenge today anyways!

The rules for this challenge are as follows:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog (though you don’t really have to thank me, it’s just a courtesy, I think).
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you when they tagged you.
  • Nominate 11 other blogs for the challenge and provide 11 new questions for them.
  • List the rules of the challenge in your post and provide the logo.

All of which I have done.

So let’s get started with the questions Extra Life asked me!

Have you ever been involved in an emergency situation (e.g. a burning building/an earthquake)?

Yep! I suffered through the Easter Quake of 2010. I do live in southern California, so it was a massive 7.2 rumble that destroyed a lot of stuff in the house, especially in the kitchen. If I recall, my novelty glass Lord of the Rings goblet got shattered. And when I stupidly picked it up to stroke it with regret, I cut my index finger, shook it, and splattered blood all over the kitchen. It looked like a low-key murder scene.

What is the worst film you’ve ever seen in theaters?

Well, anybody who knows me knows I love bad movies. So calling it the “worst” film is just another way of calling it the best film for me. But, if I’m trying to be objective, I’d say the worst film I saw in theaters was this experimental film I saw at a film festival. I don’t know what it was called, but it was a fifteen-minute long short comprised entirely of footage at a dump. That was it.

What is the best film you’ve ever seen in theaters?

Watchmen. Again, I know it’s not objectively the best film I’ve ever seen, but subjectively it is. I had the greatest time. I went to go midnight-premiere it, and there were only like fifteen people in the theater, but you could tell they were all Watchmen fans. One guy was even dressed like homeless Rorschach, complete with “The end is nigh” sign.

What is the strangest method by which you discovered a work you enjoy?

Definitely walking into my high school’s video game club. That’s how I truly discovered Halo and my love for the series.

What do you feel is the greatest compilation of collected works in your collection (of games/films/music/books/etc.)?

Funnily enough, I think I have a great collection of books based on the Halo video game series. I make it a point to stop by that section every time I go to a bookstore, so I always keep it updated. I’m really proud of it.

Have you ever re-experienced a work you enjoyed a long time ago only to determine it has not aged well?

Oh, Tron. The original. I used to have a minor low-key crush on Tron as a child (and on Littlefoot from The Land Before Time), and I remember thinking that he looked so epic whenever he did his “program moves.” Now, I just see a guy in a white unitard with flashing lights throwing a frisbee. I still love the movie though.

Have you ever re-experienced a work you hated (or were indifferent towards) a long time ago only to warm up to it?

Oh my god, Assassin’s Creed II. I never played the first game, but I picked up the second because I knew it was a classic. Right out of the gate, the controls fucked with my mind! I just couldn’t initially grasp the idea that the buttons changed functions depending on whether Ezio was standing, running, or climbing. I got so frustrated with it at first, I put the game down and didn’t pick it up again for a while. Eventually, when I did revisit it, I learned to work with the controls, and I enjoyed the game immensely.

What is your favorite opening theme to a television show?

Game of Thrones! I could listen to that theme for hours! I think it should go down in history as one of the best opening themes to a television show.

Excluding Western comic books, what series with a single, ongoing narrative do you feel has (or had) gone on for far too long? In other words, I’m not counting shows or other forms of media with entirely self-contained episodes such as The Simpsons or anthological works such as The Twilight Zone with this question.

This is a hard one, because I don’t go for series that I know have a long ongoing narrative unless I feel like it’s worth it. I guess it would have to be Grey’s Anatomy. I used to watch it with my sister, and after that plane crashed and killed off one of my favorite characters, I realized that no way in hell could I continue watching this farce. I mean, how many bomb scares, viral outbreaks, storm wrecks, active shooters, plane crashes, wedding crashes, walk-outs, mergers, and financial difficulties could one hospital go through before they shut the place down?

Have you ever been invested in a series only to be heartbroken when it was cut short with no resolution?

Firefly! I mean, I guess we got the movie, but that series was so cool, I wish it could have gone on longer.

Do you prefer hardcover or paperback books?

I like to point at words when I read, and I have to admit, hardcover books make it easier to point while the book rests on a table. But I do like the affordability of paperback. So…both!

So here are my questions for the bloggers that I’m going to tag!

  1. Have you ever hated a food intensely only to like it later on? If so, what?
  2. What books do you like that have yet to be turned into a movie?
  3. If you could pick any animal to have as a pet (and let’s assume that it is willing and well-trained), what would it be? Yes, it can be a fantasy creature.
  4. What is your go-to TV show when you just want to put something on in the background?
  5. What movie can you quote from the most?
  6. If you had a morning with absolutely nothing demanding your attention, what would you love to be doing?
  7. What locations have you traveled to that you would love to go back to?
  8. If you were a video game character, what type of game would you love to be the star in? (A platformer, first-person shooter, RTS, etc.)
  9. What is your absolute favorite thing about blogging?
  10. If you had to pick a chair, the floor, or a bed to read on, which would it be?
  11. Have you ever had a dream about flying, or is this something you’ve never experienced?

Here are the blogging peeps I’m tagging. No pressure on you guys to do this. God knows I’ve ignored these things before too.

AF7KQ

Stories I’ve Never Told

The Hannie Corner

The Corvid Review

Fed’s Life

Nintendobound

from famine to feast

the orang-utan librarian

Strange Girl Gaming

Mr. Panda’s Video Game Reviews

TotesAndreya

The WALL-E Syndrome: The Toxicity of Current Perspectives on Romantic Rejection

I used to apply this particular metaphor to people.

I’m sure you know about phrases that start with, “There are two kinds of people in the world…”

Well, mine went a little something like this:

There are two kinds of people in the world: WALL-Es and EVEs.

This classification came from the Pixar movie WALL-E. For those of you unfamiliar with the film, all you need to know about it in order to understand my point is that the plot revolved around the unreturned affections a robot named WALL-E had for a more advanced (i.e., prettier) robot named EVE.

When I made that metaphor, I was, in essence, boiling down people into two types: the type who has been consistently rejected by potential love interests and the type who has been doing the rejecting.

In my mind, I always felt that a person who has suffered through rejection knows what it’s like to feel at their lowest. That made them, I believed, ten times more likely to be empathetic toward another person in a similar situation. There’s an understanding you get for another person’s sorrows if you’ve been down in the dumps yourself.

Anyways, what I want to say today is that I was extremely fucking naive.

First of all, you should never classify an entire population of people into two groups with any degree of seriousness.

Second of all, as a frequent recipient of rejection during my high school and college years, I was perceiving the world from a place of extreme subjectivity.

Recently, events in my life have made me realize how messed up my views on rejection were.

I’ll expand on that in a sec.

First, some backstory.

I don’t want to throw anybody under the bus, so I’m not going to name names. The only thing of consequence that pertains to my epiphany is the fact that I had some romantic advances made towards me.

Basically, I got flirted with.

This is a RARE occurrence for me. I’m a homebody by nature, and I’m not exactly a looker.

Anyways, it happened, and since I’m normally pretty obtuse when it comes to these things at the best of times, I was caught off guard when it occurred. Several compliments had already been sent my way before I realized that I was being low-key romanced.

Once I did realize what was going on, I knew I had to set matters straight. I was not interested in the guy in that capacity, and I had to let him know without hurting his feelings.

And that’s when I found out that the only method of rejecting people that I thought comfortable was saying I was already dating somebody else.

Before I get into the massive realizations and stuff, I’ll just say that the dude I rejected was totally chill. He’d had no idea I was seeing someone, and didn’t seem to hold my rejecting him against me the way I had worried he would.

But afterwards, I kept thinking about the situation, distress about the whole thing festering in my brain.

Two questions kept me awake at night:

  1. Why had I needed to say that I was with someone else in order to more comfortably reject someone?
  2. And why did I feel guilty in the first place for not having feelings for another person?

The first question is a rather unfortunate byproduct of the second. Because you see, I think society and pop culture and stuff has taught us over time that not reciprocating feelings for somebody else is equivalent to hurting them.

Persons who go through unrequited love are considered “victims,” and if there is a “victim,” that means that the other person in the equation is an “oppressor,” “abuser,” or “perpetrator.”

In actuality, we shouldn’t have that mindset at all.

We all have our own feelings, and our feelings are no one’s responsibility except our own.

Now, I’m not advocating a mass wave of inconsiderateness. I’m not saying that at all.

What I am saying is that we need to stop having “bad guys” when it comes to romantic rejection.

It is no one’s fault if they don’t like another person. Feeling guilty about not liking another person is kind of like feeling guilty for not liking a specific food.

When I had to let down someone, I was forced to essentially say, “I’m sorry, but I can’t be interested in you in that way because I am currently interested in another person” because that was kinder than saying “I’m just not interested in being with you in a romantic capacity.”

See what I’m saying here?

I had to label myself as someone else’s girlfriend instead of just saying, “Nah, brah, I’m not looking for that right now.”

I had to do this so I didn’t feel like a terrible person.

Expressing your interest in another person is a brave thing to do, and it can put you in an emotionally vulnerable place. But just because you put yourself out there, does not mean that a person who rejects you is a villain.

Thinking of rejection in this manner can lead to outraged, yet misplaced, righteousness on the part of the person getting rejected.

Having been a WALL-E, I know it’s sometimes easier to think that someone doesn’t like you because of outside circumstances instead of your looks, personality, or habits.

But my sense of self-worth shouldn’t be valued as greater than another person’s.

Bottom line?

If you like someone and they don’t like you back, it is nobody’s fault. It sucks to feel rejected, but it is nobody’s fault. Not yours, not theirs.

And if you find yourself in a position where you have to reject someone, don’t hesitate to be honest, but also don’t hesitate to be kind.

WALL-E and EVE ended up together, but I think we should all remember that life is not a Disney movie.