Twinsters

Anais Bordier and Sam Futerman, twins separated at birth.

I posted about this documentary some months back, and today finally got to watch Sam and Anaïs’s journey starting from when they found each other.  It is very interesting that Sam decided to start documenting this so early after she first received Anaïs’s initial Facebook message and they were able to show so much of their story.

I’m still in the afterglow and don’t have anything articulate to say other than you should watch it.  It’ll make you feel things.

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Using Fiction to get a grip on Reality

It’s what we’re meant to do as writers, yes?  We write about something we’re struggling with to better understand it or cope with it.  Why not write a story about a dead uncle with whom the narrator never really had much a of relationship?  Maybe it’ll help.

Some 30 years later, I built a #Lego #SpaceCruiser!

Weeks ago I wrote a rant about Lego inwhich I questioned why the Lego Friends line is so drastically different from the standard Lego toys.  I also shared how I didn’t know Lego came in kits until I was in middle school.  The reason for my ignorance being the Legos in my household were almost entirely hand-me-downs from my brother who had long since mislaid the instructions for the the 1980s era Space Cruiser Warner Bros. recently reminded us of in The Lego Movie.

My brother, clever young man that he is, found the instructions on the Internet and shared them with me challenging me to build the Space Cruiser.

My first challenge was finding our old Lego collection.  As stated in my earlier post, a time came when my mother took the remaining Lego bricks and tossed them all into a plastic bin that previously had been used for transporting cupcakes, mixing and commingling what was left from all the kits that had ever entered her children’s lives.

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Finding it turned out to be easier than I thought it would be.  Since all the grandbaby moved out of their house, my parents have relegated all the toys to one corner of the family room.  The bin was under a table chest in the corner along with the puzzles, blocks, and Lincoln Logs.

Challenge Two: Uncover what’s left of the figures.

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The Spacemen have long since lost their faces.  One of them used to have a mark where a face once was, but now they are entirely missing.  (The Policeman was from a kit I got as a child, therefore has been handled the least and still has his face.)  The Spaceman logos on their chests are all but entirely gone.  Out of five figures there are four hands between them; one head and helmet are long gone; and the figure not pictured, in my memory, has always had only one leg.

Once I determined I had most of the pieces I’d need to build the Space Cruiser,

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it was time to get down to business.

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The Instructions were really sort of difficult to follow some of the time.  It certainly didn’t help they were smallish images on the computer rather than a paper I could handle and get close to without feeling like I’d done something terrible to my eyes.

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Slowly it started to come together.

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Despite the pieces being a minimum thirty years old a surprising number of them in very good condition.  The thrusters, for example, still look great!

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(I used these pieces as lampshades.)

The pieces in poor condition are primarily the pieces you’d expect to be in shambles after cycling through five children and a couple of grandbabies.  The pieces that attach the thrusters to the back of the ship, for example, look like this:

wpid-20150318_215252.jpgHinged pieces, they were meant to attach to the top of the back with these bits hanging down, onto which the thrusters would attach.  Alas, they’ve been broken most of my life.  Therefore, the Space Cruiser must go without it’s thrusters.

Quite frankly, I had to get real creative with multiple parts of the ship.  I borrowed from other parts and substituted many pieces where I could get away with it.  I had to rebuild various parts more than once, and get creative with broken parts.

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In the end, it didn’t turn out so badly.

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Still had plenty of missing pieces; I couldn’t get around not having one entire section of that windscreen.  I’m afraid it wouldn’t be a very effective Space Cruiser, but as it doesn’t have any thrusters, it’s not like it’s going anywhere anyway!

It has become increasingly important to me that my life has meaning.  A byproduct of getting older?  A byproduct of this past year?  I don’t know.  I don’t suppose it matters much.  But I want the things that I do to have meaning.  And I’d like to share that sense of meaning with other people.  Friends, family, a man, a community, something.  I don’t regret one single bit the lifestyle I’ve been living, but it’s not strictly what I want anymore.  That is a very strange feeling.

I’d like to belong somewhere.  I’d like to not only belong there all the time, but year-round.  I will always belong at NC, but I need something more stable in my life now that I didn’t need before.  I still want to travel, but I’d like a base of operations.  I want a community that is always in one place.  A place to call Home.

Oh, shit, we’re getting sentimental in our old age.

Annoying Childhood Books

My niece is reading the last chapter of a book I read when I was her age (and loved) out loud and it is super annoying.  I remember my oldest sister being somewhat annoyed when I read those books (out loud) but I didn’t understand why.  I loved them… until I didn’t.  A fast reader I sped through the series probably a lot faster than the author or publishers ever intended.  I would be finished with a book in a day or two and move on to the next one.  That one done in the next day or two, I’d be on to the next.  I read so many of those damn fucking books in such quick succession that I started to hate the protagonist.  She was such a pushy know it all, I couldn’t figure out why she was such the darling.  Why were those other kids friends with her?  Why did all those adults put so much trust in her?  Why was that boy so devoted to her when she treated him like crap and flirted with other, wealthier boys?

Reading that series was like reading the soap opera of Christian tween mysteries.  The series would be as if Encyclopedia Brown and Sally Kimball were dating, but Sally was seeing Bugs Meany on the side; however they all put their differences aside once a week at Sunday School.  That was this book series.  And if that were the premise of the Encyclopedia Brown stories, they would be just as tedious as the other (with the female protagonist – lest anyone accuse me of finding her tiresome because she was a girl).

All that aside, it’s amazing to me that I read and enjoyed over thirty of those books when I was eleven and twelve.  They were my favorites, I wanted them for Christmas and birthdays; when I finished the ones I had I cried out for “More!  More!” and was forced to wait until either I could buy more for myself or the next gift giving holiday rolled around.  But now, seventeen years later, I listen to another eleven year old reading the stories aloud and I am amazed these books were so enjoyed.  Meant for young readers, yes, sure, they are, but, come on, so was Little Women and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and those are books that can be enjoyed as much by adults as they can by children.  The writing in those books and stories are interesting and funny and the writing is easy for young people, but doesn’t belittle their comprehension, like many intended for young readers.

The mystery book series about the twelve year old girl who is smarter than everyone around her in 1900 North Carolina IS written for young readers, and it, clearly, is engaging (I read over 30 of them!), and they should remain in one’s youth.  Right there alongside the American Girl books, The Baby-Sitter’s Club, and, yes, Encyclopedia Brown.  Some books intended for young readers transfer well into adulthood (Phillip Pullman, Suzanne Collins, Madeleine L’Engle), but some do not.  This is what I have learned while visiting with my niece this week.

Get Lost

I was going to give someone a send off of “Don’t get lost!” earlier today (meaning ‘don’t be a stranger’, and ‘come and visit sometime’), but then I realized how much I don’t mean that.  I mean, ‘get lost, if that’s what you are meant to do.  But come back and visit every now and then, if you can’.

I love getting lost.  Both physically and figuratively.  Sometimes it can be scary, and sometimes it can suck, but the future benefits far outweigh the present qualms.  Being lost is exhilarating; not knowing where you are is exciting.  And, afterwards, once you’ve found your way out and you’re back home again, then knowing you’ve got the wherewithal to get yourself back is Most Excellent.  I used to get lost on purpose.  I’d walk around the city and go places I’d never been before.  Eventually I’d end up somewhere I recognized and make my way back to where I was familiar.  It made getting lost by accident so much less frightening.

Figuratively getting lost is weird, but also a good thing sometimes.  Once you’ve recovered it makes you not only appreciate, but understand who you are that much better.  Losing sight of who you are, yes, is probably scarier than not knowing your location, but sometimes we need to be reminded of who we are and who we are not.  A friend once lost sight of who she was, it affected our friendship very much.  Not having her support or friendship was very alienating and confusing for me.  She was lost to me, until she went to visit her mom and sister: they pointed out that she wasn’t being herself.  This is why this sort of getting lost is scarier than the other: not everyone has someone who knows them well enough to tell them when they’re not being themselves.

But, even if you don’t, I might still say don’t worry about getting lost every now and then.  People are inherently themselves no matter what happens.  We’re all still the same person we were when we were twelve we just dress better and talk differently.  As long as you know yourself, don’t worry about getting lost.  And, if you do get lost, you’re sure to learn something about who you are and what you can be.

So get lost, if that’s what you are meant to do: but come back and visit every now and again, if you can.

Red Wine and A Soak

[This is what I do on Valentine’s Day: write slightly bitchy, super short stories about being single and rubbing the benefits of being so in the faces of Smug Marrieds.  Sometimes I’m an ahole.

No matter how you’re spending today: I hope it’s a good one.  Love you all, Xxx Bex.]

Ashley had spent the better part of the evening being insufferable.  The Bates were very good friends of hers, but Jenny nearly drove a butter knife into their dining room table to keep from lobbing the thing at her sister-in-law’s face.  How her brother had married the biggest bitch from their high school graduating class was completely lost on Jenny.  But Jared was his own person, just because they shared a womb didn’t make them telepathic (although, how cool would that have been?).

“Would anyone care for some coffee, or tea?” asked Wendy Bates, the perfect hostess.

Jenny often told her friend how insanely unfair it was that she should be as gracious, smart, and beautiful as she was when the rest of them were so clumsy, inarticulate, and messy.  Wendy always laughed and told Jenny to stop being silly.

Wendy and her husband, Mark, had grown up in the same neighborhood as Jenny and Jared.  The four of them hadn’t always gotten along, but, by some miracle had remained close ever since Jenny and Wendy teamed up in the third grade to push Jared and Mark into the river behind the old mechanic’s garage.  Somehow that moment was a young Wendy’s way of telling Mark she was going to spend the rest of their lives pushing him into things he’d rather not find himself immersed in.  But because it was Wendy he never minded what sort of shenanigans she got him into.

Jenny loved her friends.

They were one of the only sets of married friends she had who didn’t make her feel like some sort of third wheel.  Jared came in a close second, but Ashley made Jenny feel like she was persona non grata anytime they were together.  Including, but not limited to, Ashley and Jared’s wedding (at which Jenny was the Best Man), joint birthday parties for the brother and sister, and family holidays.  Jenny’s one vicious triumph came from the fact that Ashley and Jared’s kids were already calling Jenny their “fun auntie”.

“Oh, yes, please,” said Ashley with a slight yawn.  “I’m probably going to be the one driving home tonight, thanks to Mr-I’ll-Have-Another-Scotch over here.”  Ashley poked her bony elbow into her husband’s ribs.  “And, Sylvie will probably still be awake when we get home.  We have the neighbor girl watching them,” she said in a stage whisper to Shelley MacIntosh who happened to be sitting near her.  Shelley smiled politely and made awkward eye contact with Jenny.

“Are the neighborhood kids as reliable babysitters as they were when we were kids?” asked Ricky MacIntosh, jokingly.

“Not at all,” replied Ashley as seriously as she assumed Ricky was being.  “I don’t trust this girl as much as I do other babysitters.”

“Like Jenny,” said Jared, aware his friend had been joking, but also wanting to give his sister the praise his wife never would.  “Sylvie is always passed out when Jenny watches them.”

“What’s your secret?” asked Ricky straight up mocking now.

“Sugar crash,” replied Jenny sipping her brother’s scotch before handing it to him.

“What!?” cried Ashley, ready to believe it so she’d have an excuse to stop having Jenny over to watch the kids.

“She’s joking, sweetheart,” Jared assured his wife.  “Knowing Jenny she plays really loud music and makes the kids dance until they’re too tired to move.”

“And what makes you so sure?” asked Mark.

“Because that’s how she always tricked our little cousins into going to bed whenever they insisted they weren’t tired.”

“And Jared, more than a few times,” added his sister, with a wicked grin.

“Is this true, Jared?” asked Ricky.  “Did you have epic DPs with your sister?”

“How do you think I stayed in shape for football over the summers?”

“Certainly wasn’t from working out,” interjected Wendy returning with cups of coffee.

“Thanks, Wen,” said Jared with a grin.

“You danced your cute butt off with us every weekend.  Don’t act like you didn’t enjoy it.”  This time Wendy had the grin.

Ashley was also smiling; Jenny could almost smell the smoke emanating from her ears.  Jenny turned to Shelley.

“How’s your sister doing with the wedding planning?”

“Melanie’s driving me insane,” said Shelley sweetly.  Jenny smiled.  Shelley was her sister’s maid of honor, and helping her plan the wedding.  “Even Mom is getting annoyed.  Every time I’m over there to work on the arrangements Mom has an entire pitcher of vodka martinis waiting and ready.”

“Why?” asked Wendy.  “What is she doing?”

“Remember that Oxygen movie with Laura Prepon and Princess Leia and Not Hot Hispanic guy?”

“The one where the Bridezilla wakes up married to some Mexican kid after catching her husband in bed with the wedding planner and drinking too much tequila?” asked Jenny.

“Yeah, that one,” confirmed Ricky.  Jenny smiled at him, amused.

“She’s actually worse than that girl,” whispered Shelley.  “I almost wish she would catch Tony in bed with the wedding planner so we could end this nightmare.”

Ashley’s eyebrows practically flew off her face, she raised them so quickly.  Jenny wondered if those muscles could get whiplash.

“Aren’t you the wedding planner?” asked Mark saucily.

“Oh!  No!” cried Shelley, realizing the implication.  “I didn’t mean me!”

“We know what you meant, sweets,” said Jenny playfully pulling her friend’s hair.  She hoped the light teasing would stop the ideas she could see turning around in Ashley’s brain.  Obviously Shelley didn’t want to sleep with her little sister’s fiance.  First of all,  Shelley, who liked everyone, enjoyed her future brother-in-law less than she enjoyed planning his wedding with her uptight, type A little sister.  Secondly, Shelley was way too nice to screw over someone she liked less than her little sister, whom, incidentally, she loved fiercely.

“What about you, Jenny?” asked Ashley who could no longer sit around not speaking.  “Are you seeing any one?  It’s almost Valentine’s Day, you know.”

“Do those go together?” asked Mark.

The women ignored him.

“No, I’m not seeing anyone currently.  I’m sure you would have heard, if I were.  You know my mother, can’t keep the murderer on last night’s Law & Order secret.”

“Who taught her how to text?” interrupted Jared.  “I tell her I’m recording it and yet she’s always texting asking if I can believe the killer was so-and-so!”

“I blame Dad,” answered Jenny.

Ashley had a well constructed expression of confusion on her face.

“You’re not seeing anyone?” she asked again.

“No, Ash, I’m not dating anyone.”

“I could have sworn Tammy said she saw you at The Wildwood with a young man.”

“Probably not,” said Jenny, a hard edge to her voice.

“Jenny hates The Wildwood,” added Jared.

“Maybe it wasn’t The Wildwood.  But I’m sure, Tammy said she saw you last weekend at dinner somewhere with a young man.  Chez Antoine’s?  No, that wasn’t it.”

Tammy often mistakes me for that Laurie girl from the Leicester debate team who married then divorced April Bishop last year.  It may have been her she saw,” said Jenny breezily.  She turned back to Wendy and asked about a new piece of art in the hall.

“No, I know,” said Ashley before Wendy could answer.  “It was last Thursday at that new Creole place in Bolton: Limyè.”

“Oh, that?”

“So it was a date?” asked Ashley innocently.

“No.  It wasn’t.”

“Oh.”

“Why would you think it was a date?”

“Something Tammy said,” said Ashley evasively.  And then Jenny remembered what Tammy, Ashley, and her dinner companion all had in common.

“She told you who I was there with, didn’t she?”

“I don’t remember…”

“Yes, you do.”

If Ashley had, like she’d always wanted, the ability to shoot death rays from her eyes, Jenny would have been incinerated on the spot.

“Who were you at dinner with?” Jared asked his sister.

Feeling like a colossal jerk, Jenny smiled kindly at her brother.

“That’s my business, brother dear.”  She turned back to Wendy, determined to salvage the pleasant evening.  “You got that painting at the auction last month?”

The following hour and a quarter went smoothly.  The friends engaged in happy conversation about current events, politics, and the Olympics.  Jenny and the men swirled their scotch and waters and discussed hockey while the women discussed the handsome ski jumper from that snowy country they couldn’t remember the name of and the ice dancers costumes from the night before.  Finally it was time for everyone to go.

“Time to get back to the children, hubby,” crooned Ashley when Jenny appeared with her coat and purse.  “So stressful, isn’t it, parenthood?” said Ashley to Shelley whose perfect two year old had probably been sound asleep for the sitter for at least two hours.

“Not really,” said Shelley, sweetly.

“Wait till they get older.  Sometimes I just don’t know what to do with Tyler.  He has so much energy.”

“He’s a big fan of P!nk,” pipped up Jenny.  “Boy could dance to her all night long.”

Ashley smiled like she was holding in a fart.  Ashley had aired loud opinions Senior year when Jenny, Wendy, Mark, Ricky, and Jason Marquez went to a P!nk concert instead of attending the Senior Reception.  It didn’t help that Ashley, who never didn’t have a date to any event, had the biggest schoolgirl crush on Jason Marquez.  Her sense of self-entitlement and superiority to the loud-mouthed, tomboy Jenny Davis made it impossible for her to understand how Jason Marquez could possible prefer Jenny’s company to hers.  He was far too handsome and destined for success later in life to waste his time with the geeky, crass, unwashed, ready to skip very important events Jenny Davis.  He ought to, she was sure, be spending time with a like-minded, ambitious, regularly showered girl like herself who saw the value of traditions like the Senior Reception.

But everything worked out in the end.  Jared Davis proved to be as successful as everyone thought Jason Marquez was going to be; plus, he went to school on a football scholarship and very successfully obtained his MBA.  But Jenny was still a force to be reckoned with.

“Jenny, I don’t really think P!nk is appropriate for young children.”

“Come on, Ash,” said her husband.  “You play the clean versions, right?”

“Of course!  You can look over the playlist anytime you want Ashley.  I promise there’s nothing inappropriate for Tyler and Sylvie on there.”

“Oh, I trust you, Jenny,” condescension dripped from each of Ashley’s words.  “Jared, we really must be going.  Home.  To our house.  And our children.”

“Thanks for a lovely evening,” said Jenny to Wendy and Mark.  “I really must be off as well.  I’ve allotted at least an hour before bed for drinking red wine and soaking, uninterrupted, in the tub.  Talk to you soon, bro,” she added to Jared, and sailed out the door.

Advice Every Single Woman Gets on her 30th Birthday | Megan Greenwell | Slate

Advice Every Single Woman Gets on her 30th Birthday | Megan Greenwell | Slate

I’m not thirty yet and no one has tried to cajole me into a speculative relationship conversation in a very long time (mostly it seemed to come late high school/early college from well-intended church people).  And the only times people have ever asked me my thoughts about childbirth have come on the heels of my sister birthing her babies.  Otherwise people seem to be content to smile blandly and nod whenever I tell them about my atypical, seasonal life choices.  It might be because I don’t look anywhere near thirty.

The shock and surprise people exhibit when I tell them my age, or they check my ID is predictable and staid, and, sometimes, offensive.  (Once, at the ER, the doctor thought my one-year-elder friend was my mom; we were 27 and 28; he thought I was around 18).  For years, I never understood why my actual mother was annoyed that she didn’t look her age – she was sometimes mistaken for my father’s daughter (disturbing) – but now I understand that sometimes people don’t take you seriously when they think you are younger than you are and when they find out that you are between five and ten years older than they placed you, they start treating you differently.  And that is wicked annoying.

But this may also be the reason no one is hassling me about settling down, getting married, and starting a family.  (Also: my fam is pretty cool in that way.)  But, even though my fam is pretty cool and I mainly associate with people like myself (nomadic free spirits who find creative ways to live), I am not free from the pressures of approaching thirty.  The shift Greenwell talks about as to when people are marrying has happened in our lifetime, meaning that we grew up with people talking about, and thus ingraining in us, the pressures of turning thirty and not wanting to be an ‘old mom’ who can’t get down on the floor and play with her kids (which is relative crap: my mom is 63 and she’s all over the floor with the grandbabies) causing even the least under-pressure of us to have our moments of “Holy shit, I’m thirty and single with zero prospects!  Ermagad, what am I going to do?”  Hopefully most of you are like me and your rational brain kicks in with “Whatever the hell you want, woman!”

Greenwell reminds us: “…women have an unprecedented number of opportunities…”.  More women attend college these days right out of high school with the intention of going to college (as opposed to going to get married), which pushes back marrying ages as we pursue higher and higher education and careers and the like.  Women today have the opportunity to be self-sufficient early in life, rather than wait for a divorce to reinvent ourselves Madeleine Albright style (although we retain that option).  Nowadays, Greenwell tells us

“The median age for an American woman to first get married is 27, compared to 20 in 1960. That number rises with education level. But despite the fact that 50 percent of Americans are now single, there are no signs that young women are less likely than their mothers to get married eventually, Coontz’s research has found—we’re simply more likely to do it in our 30s instead of our 20s.

It’s not surprising word of this reality is still making the rounds; it is in competition with generations of traditional expectations, including, but not limited to, Greenwell’s Lily Bart example from Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth (a book I could not get into when I was supposed to read it in college).  (Expectations I’m not convinced were ever actually real considering my mother told me her getting married at nineteen was not typical in 1970 and none of her friends got married that young.)  The current norm is still permeating the layers of conditioned thought.  One day it will be widespread, but the Millennial Generation gets the distinct honor of being on the back-end of the front line that probably really started with the Gen X Baby Busters.

Until it has permeated society, there will still be people who meet a single woman’s thirtieth with outdated statistics and well-intended pieces of terrible advice.  Because, as Greenwell states: “well-meaning older people offering unsolicited advice to eye-rolling younger ones is what makes the world go round.”  Our elders love to dispense wisdom we learned the hard way to our younger friends in hopes they will make different assumptions about what it means to be a woman.  A friend recently asked me what advice I thought would be helpful for her youngest sibling to hear upon her imminent college graduation.  The best advice I could give my friend was to give her sister no advice at all, but to let her see how she lives, that was the best thing my siblings did for me.  As the youngest, I got to see how four other people handled being an adult and could gauge how I wished to proceed.  Because you can tell someone a thing until you are blue in the face, but the best way for that person to learn it is to live it.

Sex Tape: Yea or Nay?

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Lydia Bennet of “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries”

I sort of love how appalled and upset people are over the Lydia storyline and the Gigi storyline. Personally, I am unsure how I feel about how Darcy managed to get rid of the tape (I also don’t believe we have the full story even based on today’s video) but I really do enjoy how people are rewriting what happens between Lydia and Wickham because they don’t like the sex tape situation.

People are funny.

I’m going to go ahead and say what is acceptable about the sex tape situation.

In the original novel Lydia very publicly runs away with Wickham and they, presumably, do it;  and the only way to save Lydia’s reputation before word gets out is a hasty wedding.  How does one adapt this situation to modern, Western culture?  Can’t just transpose the situation; a woman is allowed in modern society to go off with a man, to live with her boyfriend without getting married.  There is no scandal there.  The character of George Wickham is still that of an opportunistic letch: he would believably convince a woman to let him tape them having sex then use it to make money.  He’s stupid to do it so publicly — he might have been better off making copies and selling DVDs – homemade porn.  But he thought he’d get more money through subscriptions?

Anyhow, what Wickham and Lydia do had to be scandalous, and it had to be big enough for Lizzie and Jane to come home and for their father to get involved (why they keep their mother out of it, I don’t understand).  But scandal is harder and harder to come by in our society.  Getting her arrested for being a drug mule, as one person has rewritten, would be interesting, sure; but I think posting an intimate act on the Internet without her knowledge is a pretty damn good scandal for a woman like Lydia.  There are sex tapes out there that have solidified people’s celebrity status – they are notorious, perhaps, but they are still in the limelight, paparazzi continue to stalk these women, they still get parts in movies and TV shows, general public still want to know what designers they are wearing and where they get their morning coffee.  But these women are generally already celebutants.  Lydia Bennet is a naive young woman from the suburbs.  She’s a party girl, perhaps, but she’s, essentially, nobody.  A sex tape of her on the Internet would taint her future rather than spawn her own reality show.  It’s a good enough of a scandal to replace premarital sex.

People are also pretty upset about Lydia’s “abusive” relationship.  I actually highly support that story arc.  There are plenty of men (and women) out there who are highly manipulative, prone to claiming that nothing is their fault; incapable of taking responsibility for their actions.  Bright, intelligent, smart women fall into relationships with this sort of man with varying degrees of attachment.  Some women recognize quickly what is happening and get out, others believe what they are being told and get sucked in.  Lydia was vulnerable when she ran into George and he made her feel special and important and everyone likes to feel special and important.  The problem is that his feelings weren’t genuine and hers were.  He was going through the motions and saying everything just right for his own purposes.  He might not have sought out Lydia, but when he ran into her he decided to spend time with her and eventually came up with this plan to get back at Lizzie for taking Darcy’s side and so publicly.  If you watch the “Lydia videos” he talks an awful lot about Lizzie, is borderline obsessed with her.  He is clearly acting out of anger toward Lizzie and Darcy.

I think it’s important to see that a person can survive a manipulative relationship and become a stronger, smarter person.  Whether it’s a boyfriend or just a friend, manipulative people are out there and are going to take advantage of a person’s good nature or insecurities.  Sometimes I think my college roommate and I could have done more to help an insecure friend who took the side of a manipulative friend when we cut off contact after she tried to drive a wedge between my roommate and myself.  Our insecure friend was easy pickings for our manipulative friend.  (I don’t know if they stayed friends or even where they are now, but I was always a little sad that she bought the lies our manipulative friend spun about us.)  Lydia and Gigi’s experiences with George Wickham were very different from Lizzie’s but Lizzie was a more experienced person than either of the other women and wasn’t seeking validation or rebellion when she knew him.  Gigi and Lydia were looking for both.  And he hurt them.   Post-George we see both young women moving on and making smarter decisions.  Lydia in the more recent videos is very different from the Lydia we first met.

Like many youngest children, Lydia puts a lot of emphasis on familial bonds.  While family will always be there for you (hopefully, if you are lucky enough to have such a caring and loving family) but there comes a point when you are no longer a child and you cannot depend upon your siblings and parents to take care of you.  This is realized on varying levels at different times in a person’s life.  Sometimes, I think, it takes a little longer for youngest children to come to this realizations because they have been looked after by so many more people for so much longer.  Even Jane and Lizzie keep referring to Lydia as their “baby sister” even though, as keeps getting pointed out, Lydia “is an adult now”.  Lizzie keeps trying to take care of Lydia when Lydia doesn’t need her to anymore.  What Lydia needs is space.  She needs her sisters to be her friends not another pair of parental figures.  They need to let her live her life, make mistakes and not try to fix them for her.  Lizzie and Lydia both need to redefine their relationship and this is what they are doing.  (Darcy and Gigi could use a little relationship redefinition as well.)

Still I think the amount of ire the ‘sex tape’ and ‘abusive relationships’ storylines have spawned is funny.  I have never had someone betray my trust so terribly, but I have found myself in manipulative relationships and those videos did resonate very acutely; they were painful to watch.  But, as someone who is upset by the storyline is wise enough to recognize, that is a credit to the storytellers.  What they created and what Mary Kate Wiles and Wes Aderhold brought to life is very true-to-life; this is why it’s hitting so many people (women) so hard.  And, seriously, nobody believes that Lydia Bennet in the original novel ran off with Wickham for malicious reasons or even thought much about it.  I’m positive he promised her marriage and she believed him (I don’t think Darcy or Elizabeth had anything to do with Wickham’s motivation – it was purely about sex).  So when their tryst ended in marriage it didn’t phase her all that much.  Because that’s what, as a girl in Regency England, she was meant to do.  I’m certain he employed a certain amount of manipulation to get her to go, but I’m also 100% positive she went because she wanted to: That is the amazing and crucial difference between Lydia of the novel and Lydia of the webseries.

The creators couldn’t have Lydia giving her consent to the sex tape (or to be a drug mule) because that would be out of character.  Also, people would like that even less than they like the existence of a sex tape.  This Lydia isn’t completely boy crazy to the point where she rejects her family, quite the opposite, actually.  Boys are not as important to her as her sisters.  She is a lovable character and the audience wants to see good things happen for her.  This Lydia is a typical, bratty, obnoxious, suburban little sister who doesn’t do these things to be a pain, but, weirdly, out of love.  She will harass and annoy Lizzie to no end but she would never do anything to deliberately hurt her sister.  The best possible storyline including the sex tape is exactly what the writers are doing.  She’s seeking counseling to help her through this ordeal and she’s redefined her relationship with her sisters, and, probably parents.  A few more positive influences, friends, in her life and Lydia is going to be just fine.  Just like Gigi.

People are funny though with their hatred of this storyline.  I don’t know what I would have done if I were writing it.  I’ve never tried to reimagine P&P; only Persuasion and Northanger Abbey.  And I don’t really want to think about how I would reimagine P&P because I am enthralled with what Hank Green and Bernie Su have created and I am excited to see how they bring about the final pieces of the story.

What do you think?  Sex tape: Yea or Nay?

Link

5 Reasons You Should Live With Your Coworkers: Scenes from a Start Up

While these fellas make some very good points about co-habitating with coworkers (especially the following: “You might think this would be a recipe for conflict, but a tradition of radical honesty keeps tempers cool.”), it’s also important to remember a few things about living with the people you work with.

  1. It can create an insular society; one that is both a part of traditional society and outside it.  That can be a troublesome and difficult dichotomy to undertake.  People in this sort of situation create their own rules and value system and usually adhere to them exceptionally well, but they are also expected to stand by the normative societal roles.  Something that is acceptable within that bubble might not be acceptable in the outside world.  “Radical honesty”, for example, might not be taken in the manner it is intended by someone how does not live within the bubble.  That could lead to larger problems depending with whom one chooses to be “radically honest”.
  2. Relationships can get dicey.  Spending that much time with someone can be detrimental.  Even with boundaries, even with separate living spaces, spending that much time together can break down bonds that were once strong and eventually cause their deterioration.
  3. When Sex gets involved.  I begrudge no one their private life and believe they have the right to do what they like, but sometimes when people live in that close proximity to one another and sex gets thrown into the mix it can upset the apple cart pretty quickly.  Personal lives and Professional lives mixing like this cause them to often directly impact the other and it is important that the people pursuing a sexual or romantic relationship keep that part of their life as far away from their professional lives as possible.  Those two crossing can affect the entire “office” and things said in the “office” can affect things in the bedroom.  (This is not easy and therefore ought to be approached with extreme caution.)
  4. Falling into “roles”.  As in who cooks dinner, who cleans up, who scrubs the tub.  If one person loves taking a toothbrush to the grout in the bathroom, so be it.  But if one person is always cooking and never gives anyone else who might want to an opportunity, there could be tension and resentment.
  5. Which brings me back to “Radical Honesty”.  This is the most important thing to remember when existing in this sort of situation.  One of the best managed co-habitation with coworkers experiences I have ever had was, in part, to the agreed upon house rule of “No apologies”; we could be brutally honest with one another and, if we hurt each others’ feelings, we talked it out.  But it only truly worked when everyone was on board.  If one person isn’t on board with this basic understanding, tension will grow, and it will be bad; like dumping water on a Mogwai.

This sort of lifestyle is fascinating and mind boggling to those who have never experienced it.  And there are plenty of reasons to pursue this sort of situation, like the original article says.  As with everything, there is also a downside.  But as long as everyone agrees to certain house rules and doesn’t just say they do when they really don’t, and everyone is passionate about the work they are doing, then this is a wonderful way to operate.  Some very strong lifelong friendships are made and, if people haven’t learned them yet, you gain some valuable experience about living with other people.  I would recommend doing something to this effect at least once in your life, even if you lived in a dorm in college, this experience is one I wouldn’t trade for the world.