Tuesday, April 22, 2014
See, physical contact creates a very, very strong bond for me. There were problems from the start, compatibility issues that I overlooked and didn't talk to anyone about. And if we hadn't started cuddling and doing physical stuff, I would have probably slowed down and questioned whether we should continue down this path or if we should maybe just stay friends. I would have asked that question very early on, like probably by the third month we were dating. Because he is a really sweet guy and I could definitely be friends with him even with all of the things that aren't quite compatible enough for a relationship. All my friends thought we were perfect and going to be together forever, but that's because I never talked to my friends about the problems we ran into. The problem is that once we started touching, I just felt so immensely attached to him that I wanted to make it work. And when I found out how compatible our sexual interests were, I was on cloud nine. We were off in this dream world having the time of our lives together, and I figured the other stuff that didn't work so well for me would work itself out. I just couldn't do or say anything that would jeopardize what we had, what we had waited so long for.
It was the first time for both of us, and I don't regret it at all. I love him so much and I wish it could have worked, but it didn't. And next time around, I will try to get to know the person first as a friend, so that I have a sense of where we're going before we get that super-tight attachment. Because if I'm really honest with myself, I knew early on that he and I didn't have the same values and priorities, that these things might be issues if we became in a serious relationship, but I was already too deeply attached to let go.
Friday, April 18, 2014
Eric and I broke up a few days ago. My heart is shattered into a million pieces right now. I don't feel ready to talk about it here - I don't know if I will ever want to blog about this, although I DO want to talk to my friends. My friends have been amazing through all of this.
So I may start writing here about things that are completely unrelated to the breakup. This does NOT mean that I'm doing okay, just that I don't feel like I can write about more important things right now. I'm not a suck it up and deal kind of person, so you can expect a huge drop in writing quality from here on out.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Friday, April 4, 2014
Context: My college sometimes had bulletin boards with topics, where you could write responses and pin them to the board. This time, the topic was "How to Be Awesome." The board was full of responses such as "Smile more!" "Be optimistic!" "Leave the past behind you!" "Shower every day - it's not that hard!" "Making these simple changes will make you more likable," and on and on like that. Eli wrote that this board was problematic, and someone wrote back "It doesn't explicitly target you." This was Eli's response:
It does explicitly target me. I'd like to be able to say that the ableism here is something subtle, something hard to recognize, something easily forgivable. It's not. It's very, very explicit.
How does this board target me specifically? It attacks people who don't shower every day. I am such a person. First of all, showering every day is not very healthy for your skin; if I do shower each day for several days in a row, my skin gets somewhat dried-out and feels bad. But moreover, I am very sensitive to physical touch - presumably as a result of my having Asperger's Syndrome. (For the same reason, I have trouble writing with a pencil for significant amounts of time, hence why I've typed this response instead of writing it out.) This board naively says that it's "not that hard" to shower once a day. It is hard for me, and I'm sure I'm far from the only one.
The "humorous" statements here completely erase my experiences, the experiences of my friends who have battled depression, the experiences of anyone with a mental or physical ability that keeps them from presenting the happy, confident, on-top-of-the-world persona presented here. When it says "It is impossible to be awesome if you do not have the learning ability to back it up", that is an overt attack against people with learning disabilities. When it says "The past is old news, so there is no reason to let it affect your future", that is an overt attack against people who are deeply affected by their pasts.
But those things are merely details. Taking a step back, the entire message of the board is at fault. I don't appreciate being told to be happy in a world that has done little to inspire my happiness. I don't appreciate being told that my worth is based on how much I am liked by other people. I don't appreciate being told that "awesomeness" is determined by these mundane, superficial attributes rather than my skills and passions.
Most of all, I don't appreciate this active encouragement of an environment where people hide their troubles and put on a facade of confidence and happiness. All of us have problems in our lives, and these problems need to be addressed, not ignored; discussed, not hidden. What are friends for if not to help us when we are weak? Anyone who is less "likely to hang with" me because I am open about what affects me is not a person who I want to be hanging with at all.
I am Eli Dupree, and I am awesome, despite what this bulletin board says. I'd be happy to talk to you (or anyone else) in person about this; I live in Woodman 351, and my door is always open. (Don't worry, I'm a lot more friendly than I sound in a text-based argument! I have strong opinions about this issue, but I bear no hostility towards you as a person, and I always love to exchange points of view.)
-Eli Dupree (elidupree.com)