I’m the Serious Friend

I’ve been slowly coming to terms with the fact that I will never be the ‘fun’ friend. I love to laugh, tease, go out, and try new things. But I’m not the catalyst for ‘fun’ events. I’m not the friend you call when you want to get the party started. I’m not the friend you call when you want to do spontaneous events. And I’m not the friend with funny stories about that one time I got lost/was at a party/etc. I’m just not.

I’m the serious friend. The reliable friend. I’m the friend you call when you want to just go for coffee and talk about heavy shit. Or politics. Or business. I’m the practical friend. I’m the friend at the party that is sober to make sure everyone gets home ok. I’m the friend that will check on you when you’re not feeling well. I’m the friend that you can make plans with and who will be on time and who will never flake. I’m dependable.

This distinction used to bother me to no end. I would watch jealously while some of my other friends exuded this capability to infect others with spontaneity and charm. They attracted people to them and they knew how to just let loose, and perhaps more importantly, how to get others to let loose. I was jealous that they were so well liked. I was jealous that people always wanted to be around them, and they were the leaders of group social events. No matter how hard I tried, I could not emulate that carefree attitude.

I tried for years. But I’m coming to terms with the fact that I’m not the fun friend, and that’s ok. Because I know from personal relationships that the fun friend isn’t always fun. They have bad days, they need alone time, they don’t always want to be out on adventures. They need to relax, and they need to process too. Everyone does. But that’s where someone like me comes in.

I get the most out of relationships where I can just have real, frank, one on one conversations with people. My friendships are built on coffee dates, and visits to new places, not parties, concerts, or nights out. Nothing against those kinds of evenings, I like to let loose (as much as my control freak persona allows), as much as the next person, but they don’t solidify friendships for me. So I realized I don’t HAVE to be the fun friend because I don’t need to have crazy times to build relationships. Plus if I think about it, I actually get a sense of pleasure from helping out my ‘fun’ friends. I don’t enjoy losing control, but I like making sure my friends are safe if they do.

So I think I’m finding my spot. I may not ever be the center of a social circle, but if the social butterfly needs to discuss some deeper stuff, I’m a great sounding board for whatever they want to talk about. And then that’s how I bond with them. Everyone needs to just talk sometimes, and that’s what the serious friend is for. My strengths lie in the smaller events. I’m a good listener. I don’t judge and I don’t shy away from serious topics. I will always go above and beyond to help a friend out and make sure they have what they need and that they’re ok.

So I’m slowly getting to the point where I’m glad I’m the serious friend. Not everyone is dependable and prefers conversation, just like not everyone can be the social butterfly. But that’s the point of having different kinds of friends anyways, everyone brings something to the table.

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Me visiting a museum. one of my favorite places to go with friends. I’m boring, I know.

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A Few of My Favorite Things

Most people define their lives by milestones – degrees, jobs, relationships, trips – but what about all the other parts of life? Those milestones only make up a tiny percentage of our lives and although the feelings produced by them might be amazing, there are so many other little things in life that give us joy and they never get any credit. Yet those are the things that really make up our lives, and the cumulative effect of enjoying them can have a better impact on our lives than any one singular incredible moment.

This is my ode to the little feelings –

The feeling of taking off my makeup after a long day

The feeling when my head settles into that perfect spot on my boyfriend in between his chest and shoulder

The feeling of that first sip of cappuccino when the warmth spreads through my body on a cold morning

The feeling of unwrapping a perfectly wrapped present

The feeling of a good hug with someone you haven’t seen in forever

The feeling of being completely spent after a hard workout (or great sex)

The feeling of baking under the sun on the beach

The feeling of climbing into a bed made up of freshly washed sheets

The feeling you get watching someone’s face light up when they see something new they love

The special feeling when someone else’s fur baby comes up to you and can’t get enough

Everyone has their own little feelings that make them happy so I hope you take the time to enjoy them at the moment and don’t always let them pass by unappreciated. Life is made up of little moments and if we just look at them as filler in between the big stuff, then we’re missing out on a whole lot of goodness.

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The feeling of watching a beautiful sunset

 

The Sweetness of Doing Nothing

You wake up early, you’re completely refreshed. You stretch, get up, and get dressed. You walk down to your local café, passing by a newspaper stand on the way where you pick up a few of your preferred editions. You get to the café, grab a little table by the window for yourself and order a cappuccino with a chocolate croissant. As you pick through your order, you alternate your reading with casual observations of the people around you. Perhaps in a couple hours, your girlfriend meets you and you chat about nothing for an hour or two before returning to your apartment to make a simple tomato salad with fresh bread for lunch.

I don’t know about any of you guys, but that sounds like an amazing morning to me.

There’s a great scene in the movie Eat, Pray, Love (don’t ask me about the book), when Julia Roberts’ character is hanging out with her new friends in Italy and they are talking about how Italians have mastered a concept they call “the sweetness of doing nothing”. They explain that this concept is a worldview about how to enjoy oneself. Americans are shit at this, they say, because we have this need to always feel as though we are being productive. We can only take a break when we’ve supposedly earned it, and even then we still feel as though we should be doing something. In my example above, many people would feel that was a wasted morning. And if you did view it as relaxing, I doubt you’d pursue it because relaxing in the U.S. means vegging out in front of the TV for a few hours.

Because I’ve spent enough time in Mediterranean Europe thanks to my heritage, I believe that entire area of the world has one-upped America (and perhaps Canada now that I live here), in enjoying the simple pleasures of life. I’ve met Americans who claim to want the kind of morning I described above, but for most of them, this is just a fantasy. Sure, one could get up, go to the café, and read all morning, but unless they change their mindset, it would just be going through the motions. They would tell themselves, well I planned to go to the café today and read until 12. And they would do it, but there would be an element of dissatisfaction. They would be fulfilling yet another obligation that they’ve set for themselves, and what’s worse is that they might even feel as though there was something more productive they could be doing with their time spent at the café.

This is why Americans love multi-use products and activities. Killing two birds with one stone is a compliment. This is why we have supermarkets and malls whereas Greeks or Italians have to go to the fresh market, the bakery, and the butcher to get their groceries. This is why the economies of the two areas have inverse happiness ratings as compared to our economics. Over here we are obsessed with getting more done in a day. It’s a source of pride for some people to tell everyone else how busy they are and how many things they’re going to do that day.

I’ve had it. It’s so much unnecessary pressure to always be doing something. Furthermore, when you’re obsessed with always doing something, too often you end up burnt out. I want a happy medium. Perhaps, I will always err on the side of being busy since I am an American, but I want to become at peace with the idea of doing nothing. I’m only really great at doing this when I’m on vacation, but it’s because I’ve given myself over to a relaxed mindset, and I need to figure out how to incorporate this feeling into the everyday. Maybe it’s as simple as people watching out my window while I have my coffee, or going for a little walk, there’s got to be an easier way to live life than to be obsessed with productivity every hour of every day

 

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Me on a beautiful day where all I did was go for a run with my mom, take my sister downtown to go for lunch and shop around aimlessly for hours. 

Moving to Canada: Finale

As of last month, I hit my one-year mark of living in Calgary, Canada. This is the official conclusion to my moving to Canada series that has slowed down over the course of the year. I’ve spent a whole year residing here, picking up new hobbies, making new friends, and exploring. What did I learn?

Making friends, especially in a smaller city is HARD. Like BRUTALLY HARD. The thing is, in cities like LA, or New York, there are SO many people that aren’t from the surrounding area, that state, or even the country so you bond with other people that didn’t grow up there over your same ‘otherness’. In Calgary though, it’s smaller, so more people you meet are from the surrounding area or provinces. As such, there is a tribal knowledge that is tough to break into. This isn’t a dig at Calgary, I’m sure this would happen in any city of similar size. Everyone has gone to school together, or lived and worked there for years and they have all these little things that just don’t make sense to an outsider. Jokes about different parts of the city, a restaurant that used to be where that bar is, different sets of hobbies, etc. It’s one of those cities that you can walk around pretty much anywhere and bump into someone you know (to be clear, I am not a fan of this. I adore the anonymity in big cities). To truly fit in, would take a long while. I have done a good job I think, making friends, but more often than not, I still feel like I’m on the outside.

I also am having way more of an identity crisis than I bargained for. Before moving up here, I was pretty indifferent to being American. Honestly, I was a little embarrassed due to our incessant antics around the world. But since moving, I’ve become way more patriotic. It’s difficult to put my finger on exactly why, though. Since Americans and Canadians look and dress pretty much the same, I am often assumed to be Canadian and this irks me. Part of it is because I can’t help but compare the two countries since they are so similar but so different at the same time. The other part is because I think I’ve realized how much being an American is integral to my personality and the way I am, and I am intensely reluctant to give up that part of myself.

There is a certain comfort in things that are American versus Canadian for me. Like how everybody is so rude on the road in America. That might sound like a terrible thing, but I miss it. I miss talking about the audacity of American politics with people who don’t see the situation as an elaborate media joke. I miss the sheer amount of things to do in U.S. cities like Chicago and LA. Pop up shops, concerts, art shows – they never skip major U.S. cities, but they definitely skip Canadian ones. I miss the fact that everything is instantly at your fingertips in the states whereas in Canada the mail takes for fucking ever. I miss the intensity of ambition that is ever present in American cities whereas Canada is more laidback (I’d like to point out that this is most likely due to the fact that they have amazing benefits no matter your socioeconomic status so there’s not as much worry). But the point is I MISS IT. And right now, I’m not willing to let that part of me go.

So this is the struggle of identity I face now. How do I keep my American identity while still successfully assimilating in Canada? Is it even possible? Or must I say sorry to everything and sell my soul to the oil industry?

The thing is, Canada is great in many ways. Since being up there, I’ve learned a ton of new hobbies – skiing, rock climbing, mountain biking and I’ve learned to enjoy the outdoors a lot more. I’ve also really enjoyed being closer to my boyfriend, discovering cool parts of Calgary, and learning how to set up a life from almost nothing.

And maybe I only feel this way because I’ve truly only been halfway in this whole time. Due to my job, I’ve spent nearly the same amount of time outside of Canada as I have in it. How can I really be a good judge of the place when I’ve never worked there and only developed the bare minimum of a social life since I’m gone all the time? A terrible one probably.

But this is all I’ve got right now. I’ve tried my hardest to make the most of the situation, but I’m at a loss of how to continue this way. I have no roots in Calgary, but also not enough time there to plant any. In the same vein, turns out it is ridiculously hard to get a job in Canada as an American, and what’s more, is that Calgary doesn’t exactly align with my career interests.

But all of that aside, let’s say I got an amazing job in the city, and joined a bunch of things to meet people. The risk in the back of my mind is the feeling that I’d have to give some part of my identity up to be 100% happy up there versus clinging on to my familiar self and perhaps only ever being able to achieve 70% happiness. When is the proper time to allow yourself to change?

So many questions, so little answers. To help cope with this feeling of being in between, of being lost, I’ve dedicated a large amount of mental space to taking things one day at a time. Right now, I’m not moving anywhere different, and I don’t have another job on the table. So why drive myself nuts? The best I can do is navigate each day and ask myself what I can do to make myself as amazing as possible no matter where I am.

To catch up on my entire Canada series, you can start here.

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The outdoors are a major perk of Canada living

What do you want to want?

I just finished reading ‘Sapiens’ by Yuval Noah Harari and that is one of the major questions he leaves the reader with at the end of his novel. In the context of the book, there is a lot to unpack with this statement, but I want to focus on it on an individual level.

We all know, in theory, what we want. Or at least, what we’re supposed to want. We want money, fame, success, recognition, love, sex, etc. But these desires are programmed into us by society and our communities. On some level, we do get choose which of these is most important to us and how to go about achieving it, but the goal ends up being how we make peace with each of these wants, not question if these wants are what will make us most content.

Perhaps we do a little of this already. Sex is an easy one to dissect. Maybe we know having sex with a stranger would feel good in the moment but the next morning we would feel negatively so we abstain. We know that we pursue sex because it’s physically pleasurable and from an evolutionary standpoint, we’re programmed to want it for reproduction. However, have we ever stopped to wonder if our lives would improve or worsen if we didn’t want sex?

Personally, I had never considered this question before Harari’s final chapter. I had never thought about which pursuit of desires would make me the happiest or most content, I had only thought about how to achieve the things I already supposedly crave.

There is no answer to this question, at least not at present, but I think it might be an important one to consider for each individual person. If you could start from scratch and program your own desires, what do you think would make you the most satisfied? Would it be the pursuit of new technologies? Creation? Destruction? Relationships?

The things I currently want and pursue are healthy relationships, recognition of accomplishments, and fortune. But logically I know that at least two out of these three are merely fleeting examples of contentment in my life. No matter how much money I get, I would have to learn to be satisfied with what I’ve got at some point, and no matter how many people congratulate me on what I’ve achieved, I will never reach everyone. Even relationships can be steeped in turmoil and there’s no guarantee the misery of pursuing people won’t outweigh the reward. If however, I figured out what I should want to want, then life would be simple right?

So what, then, is a suitable thing to want? I’m open for suggestions.

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Peyto Lake, Alberta, Canada

I’m Back

Kiki has been babysitting my blog for over three months now, but I’ve finally pulled myself together enough to take it back.

I stepped back from this space for two reasons –

  1. I didn’t really feel like I was adding to the internet sphere on this blog anymore. I had been writing about anything and everything and I felt like too much of my content was the same old stuff that everyone else writes about.
  2. I was going through some intense self-reflection and personal stuff and was feeling super down and I could barely do my normal work and keep myself healthy so this blog was one of the first things I dropped.

But now I have returned! I decided that I love to write and that I do have something to contribute to the internet. However, I also decided to take a step back and figure out what I should focus on. Up until now, I just wrote about whatever struck my fancy that week, but I want this blog to have a purpose. I’ve decided that the purpose is self-reflection/ self-improvement.

Sounds boring, I know, but if I take a look back at my best posts, the ones that got the best feedback and the ones I thought were the best written, they are the ones where I talk about things I’ve gone through and what I’ve learned from those events.

I realized that many people are too scared, or confused to turn a lens back in on themselves and to learn from their mistakes or shortcomings to improve their lives, so I will take one for the team and put myself under the microscope to share life and lifestyle lessons.

And for those of you that will miss Kiki’s far wittier prose, she does have a YouTube channel where she makes her own words come to life, and I also have a feeling it won’t be long before she’s a guest writer here again.

Thanks to everyone that has continued to visit this space after so long.

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I’m Sorry Dua Lipa; I Hath Failed You

You heard it here first folks, I have broken almost every rule on my list in the past week. But honestly, what did anyone expect from me trying to enact life changes the week before midterms? So let’s unpack this.

Rule #1: No eating after 10 pm.

This one was the first to go. Ya boi has got night classes, man, and sometimes I don’t get home until nearly 10 pm and I’ve got the munchies. I’m working on packing healthy snacks to eat during class so I’m not hungry afterwards, but sometimes I just need a proper big dinner.

Rule #2: Go to bed by midnight.

Not staying up past midnight flew out the window. Being awake past midnight is one thing- I’ve had chronic insomnia for as long as I can remember- but being out of bed until past midnight is what I was trying to avoid. But my roommates were watching the Prince of Egypt downstairs and I just couldn’t resist. Plus I had heaps of work that needed doing on most other nights of the past week and the next few days so that didn’t help at all.

Rule #3: Rise by 10 am.

Rising by 10 am was going fine until I had some icky icky dreams one night and I stayed in bed until well past noon because the dreams made me too sad to get up. Not something too unexpected when you’re on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, (which are the kind of meds that I’ve been on for about two and half years now), but unpleasant nonetheless. It’s not super common for me, but it’s something I’ll need to consider moving forward.

Rule #4: No caffeine after 4 pm.

This one has actually been okay, since I’ve been so anxious for the past week that I’ve not wanted to put much in the way of stimulants in my body. I’ve replaced a lot of my tea breaks during the day with herbal tea just because I’ve been so jittery I highly doubt caffeine was going to do me any good.

Rule #5: You must eat one (1) healthy meal per day.

Uh. So technically I’ve kept up with this one, but considering some of what I’ve been eating for my other two meals, I’m not sure if it counts.

Rule #6: No use of the following phrases:
-I hate myself
-I want to die
-I’m going to kill myself

I’m not going to count how many times I dropped the ball on this one, but I will say that I’ve become so much more conscious of when I say these things and I usually stop myself or chastise myself for saying them.

Rule #7: Just because you screw up once doesn’t mean you should give up.

I’m! Still! Trying! Am I coming in at below a 50%? Yes! But am I giving up? No! It’s midterms, I’m sure I’m going to struggle big time with these, but I’m not giving up. I want to prove to myself that I can get this on lock so that someday soon I can add things about working out and meditating to the list and work on that stuff and really be one of those annoying healthy-living self-improvement hoes.

P.S: Dua Lipa only had three rules she was trying to follow, so considering I had more than twice as many I think I’m doing okay.

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Pictured:My rapidly crumbling resolve

Call Me Dua Lipa, ‘Cause I Got Some New Rules

Unlike Dua Lipa, however, my rules aren’t a fun and sexy mantra I can repeat to myself so I can get over him. (There is no him.) (I’m gay.) I’ve just made a list of rules for my life to try to abide by so I can be a little healthier and a little more positive. You can’t just wake up one day and be a workout-nut vegan who wakes up and does yoga at 6 am every day, you gotta start small, and this is my start.

Rule #1: No eating after 10 pm.

I don’t have issues with my weight, but eating at night messes up your digestive schedule. Moreover, it makes my tummy feel funny in the morning, so no more midnight snacking for me.

Rule #2: Go to bed by midnight.

No matter what work I have or what I’m doing, I have to stop and go to bed at midnight, otherwise I lose any semblance of a healthy schedule. This also helps with #1, because when I stay up too late I get hungry, and when I’m hungry I can’t sleep.

Rule #3: Rise by 10 am.

I know 10:00 in the morning is pretty late for most humans, but when the majority of my responsibilities occur in the afternoon and evening, it can be hard for me to find motivation to wake up in the mornings. But when I do, I feel so much better and end up having a much more productive day.

Rule #4: No caffeine after 4 pm.

Honestly, the time for this one is a bit superfluous. I know nothing about how long it takes for the body to process caffeine, but 4 pm sounded good. Hopefully, if I cut my caffeine intake (mostly coming from black and green tea) I can have an easier time sleeping at my new midnight-bedtime.

Rule #5: You must eat one (1) healthy meal per day.

Like #3, this one isn’t much, but as a student, even this can be a lot. Someday soon I would love for this rule to become “you are only allowed one (1) cheat meal per day”, but for now that’s just not practical. I need to ease myself into this whole healthy-living thing, and that means baby steps. If I try all at once to be 100% healthy 100% of the time, I’m not gonna have a good time. Most likely I’d become overwhelmed by my inability to do it and give up completely.

Rule #6: No use of the following phrases:
-I hate myself
-I want to die
-I’m going to kill myself
These are all things I say, always joking, in response to kind of anything and everything. It’s a popular form of self-deprecating humor amongst the kids these days, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but for me it had a similar effect on me that the “not a real whatever” language has, which you can read all about in my article “I Think I’m Becoming Positive” from two weeks ago. I don’t mean any of it, but saying it has an effect on my perspective nonetheless. And if there’s one thing I learned from 1984, it’s that the language we use determines the thoughts we have.

Rule #7: Just because you screw up once doesn’t mean you should give up.

I have this bad habit where, once I fall out of a routine that I’m trying to make a habit, I declare the whole thing a failure and I give up completely. Gotta stop that. I’m gonna break these rules, I’ve come to terms with that. #2 will probably be the first to go, to be honest. I get wrapped up in doing stuff and end up awake until 3 am. I know that and that’s fine, so long as I keep trying to keep in with my rules. If I can make midnight my usual and 3 am a special occasion, I’ll call it a success.

So am I going to become a workout-nut vegan who gets up at 6 am everyday to do yoga? Probably not. That’s ridiculous. But if I start getting up at 10, then I can bump it to 9, and what the heck maybe one day I’ll get up at 7:30. Baby steps to building a routine that’s good for my brain and good for my body, so that I can be in peak physical and mental health in order to enact my plot to overthrow the government and tear down the white-supremacist patriarchal power structure of the world.

EDIT: In the day it’s been since I first drafted this, I got home late, was starving and ate after 10 pm. BUT IT’S OKAY.

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I Think I’m Becoming Positive

I would never have said that I was a particularly negative person. And yet- my perspectives on myself and what I spend my time doing have, as of late, been negative. I joke that I’m not a real writer, not a real filmmaker, not a real artist, whatever. Lately, I think it’s been getting to me.

I’m not a real writer, so why finish my novel?
I’m not a real filmmaker, so why struggle to make films?
I’m not a real artist, so why call what I do “art”?

I wouldn’t say it hit me all at once, but I kind of came to realize that my attitude was affecting my work. I always prided myself on not being someone who takes themselves too seriously, and to an extent that remains true. I have no intention of becoming some hum-drum that only talks about how messed up the world is. That’s completely unproductive and thoroughly annoying.

But I think I ought to give myself a little more credit than I do. I’ve made half a dozen or so short films, and worked dozens of hours on sets. So yeah, I’m a real filmmaker. I’ve written hundreds of pages of this damn book and I’m so close to finishing a draft that I can taste it. So yeah, I’m a real writer. Writing and filmmaking are art forms, so hell yeah, I’m an artist.

I think I’m becoming one of those ~positive people~. And not in the way that I have been, which is where I make jokes when things are terrible. (The more terrible things are, the more jokes I make. I can draw a graph, if that would help.) And definitely not in the *everything will be okay* way because that’s impractical and dangerously reductive. I mean genuinely positive. Like, I think I know what I want to do with my life? And maybe… how to do it? I know it’ll be hard but I feel like I… can handle it?

Halfway through film school and I finally feel like I really know where I am and where I want to be. Maybe it’s a passing thing, and tomorrow I’ll wake up feeling lost again. But if anything, that makes writing this down now all the more important, so when I start to doubt myself again I can look back at this and remember that yes, I do know what I want to do, and yes, I am doing it right now. Literally, right now. I’m sitting in class as I write this. (Maybe if I were really doing this right I’d be paying attention.)

But for the first time in a long time, maybe ever, I feel so confident and so right with what I’m doing. I want to tell stories, and I know how to tell them. And it’s a good feeling. I hope that you can find that same sense of purpose, dear reader, in something important to you, whatever that may be.

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Not pictured: Me
Pictured: my sister, looking cool on a bench in Greece while I sacrifice proper exposure for that JJ Abrams Lens Flare

The Value Of Traumatizing Children

WAIT WAIT WAIT I know it sounds bad, but bear with me a moment. I don’t mean PHYSICALLY traumatizing your children, I only mean psychologically traumatize them! Alright so that’s not better. But seriously, bear with me on this.

Lately I’ve been trading childhood stories with some friends of mine. You know, buddies. Pals. Amigos. I have some of those. Anyway, more and more I’ve been realizing that mine and my sister’s upbringing may have been… unorthodox, to say the least. That’s a long story, but there’s one aspect in particular that I want to focus on, and that aspect happens to be stories themselves.

Every child that’s raised in a semi-decent home gets told stories. Usually, the stories parents choose are tailored specifically for children. But not my parents, no no. They decided that any story could be a children’s story simply by virtue of being told to a child. Case in point: Greek mythology. Most everyone knows that most every Greek myth ends in horror or tragedy or cruel irony and are perhaps the farthest thing from Disney movies as you can get.

Let’s sidebar for a moment so I can really impress this upon you. Since I brought up Disney, we’ll stick with it for a moment. Disney’s Hercules follows the son of Zeus and Hera, who gets tricked by Hades, as he falls in love with a human named Meg and battles the Titans. It ends with him saving the world and getting the girl and learning what it means to truly ~be a hero~ and so on and so forth. The true story of Hercules is such: Zeus (per usual) slept with a mortal woman who bore a child. Zeus knew that Hera, his freakin’ wife, wouldn’t be happy, so he had the baby named Herakles to honor her. But Hera was not pleased. She plagued his youth with multiple attempts on his life, then finally, when he was married with three children, she sent a madness upon him that drove him to murder his wife and children. All his adventures? Penance for his crimes. His life ended when his second wife, tricked by a centaur, gave him a poisoned tunic that burned him so badly that he leapt into a fire.

Take a guess as to which story my parents read to us.

All our books of myths were the real deal, no kiddie stuff. Atalanta? Turned into a lion after her wedding for failing to pay homage to Aphrodite. Narcissus? Wasted away staring at himself. Niobe? Watched all fourteen of her children murdered in front of her because she slighted Leto. Phaeton? That boy was blasted out of the sky because his stupidity was going to destroy the world.

Thing is, little baby me didn’t register this as being strange. This was just how stories were, in my mind. It wasn’t until recently that I found out that this isn’t what one would generally call normal. Most kids get told stories where the endings are happy and the villains don’t matter.

So what? What’s the difference? Well, I think, at least, that this has affected my development. I skipped the disillusionment of finding out that Santa’s not real and not every story has a happy ending because I never lived under either of those illusions. (In our house, Santa was ~part of the spirit of Christmas~ not an actual person.) I don’t think I’m jaded or pessimistic because of it; in fact I think it’s the opposite. Instead of going through the ups and downs of believing in something then losing that faith, I’m able to start on a clean slate and work my way up, so to speak. If I start with the assumption that things will end badly, then there’s nowhere to go but up, right? Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s more important for kids to grow up happy and believing in happy endings. There’s always time for them to learn later, right? But I would’t say I was an unhappy child. You couldn’t even pin my current mental issues on this part of my upbringing, because my sister grew up the same way and she’s pretty functional. So what if she ate the storybooks? (That’s right, it’s call out time.)

Anyway, I’m not going to pretend that I know the best way to raise a child. I’m still half a child myself. But I think there’s something to be said about not lying to your children. Kids are smarter than they often get credit for, and they can handle more than you’d think. Just look at how dark some kids movies are! They can take it! And there’s no loss of childhood wonder, just a redirection of it. Maybe I’m just a little nuts for looking at a tree and thinking about how it might be a nymph in disguise. But I think we ought to give kids more credit than they’re getting. They’re not stupid, and I don’t think they’re done any favors by hiding reality from them. Bad things happen, they’re gonna learn sometime or other. May as well give them as much time as possible to figure out how to deal with it, and how to make your own happy ending.

PS: The only people who ever got happy endings in the myths were people who acted selflessly and without pride, putting others first and working hard. Frankly, if you ask me, that’s a much better lesson than just “be nice”.

PPS: Case in point, Admetus and Alcestis got a happy ending because they were literally willing to die for each other. Well, that and Herakles wrestled the physical embodiment of Death himself so they could live. See, it’s not all bad. Just punch Death in the face and everything will be fine. (Terms and Conditions may apply.)14107627_1060618800696283_3442762360669744485_o