Friday, September 30, 2011

Fictionpress Friday

Tip #3: Have a summary that hooks your readers.

I know, it's pretty much like the Tip #2, right?


You could have a spiffy title but if the reader doesn't care what your story is about, they won't read it. Your summary sells your story - it's what gets people to click on the link to read your story.

Summaries are relatively easy for me. Here's what I've found works and what doesn't:

DO use dialogue between two characters (usually the hero and heroine), especially if there's a hate-love relationship and your good with dialogue.

Example: "And just so you know, love, my words are not the only pretty things in this room." "I am sure you are referring to yourself?" Oh, pirates and their pick-up lines. (From The Dead Man's Tale) You can already tell the characters are going to be flirtatious and witty, characters I'm particularly drawn to and want to read more about. (Yes, I'm bias.)

DON'T use song lyrics. Your title doesn't have to really talk about what the story is specifically about. Your summary, on the other hand, needs to give a general feel for what you plan to be writing about. Are the characters going to be antagonistic toward each other? What's your main character's obstacle? Song lyrics don't convey what a reader needs to know.

DO use only three sentences maximum for your summary. If you can, only use one. All you need is your two characters - your couple, if there will be romance - and the tension between them or the obstacles they will face.

Example: "He left his mark on her, not because he wanted to, but because he couldn't control himself when he was around her. She was his; that was all there was to it, whether he actually liked her or not. Well, they always did say love was blind" (from Losing Yourself in Me) and "Despite the fact that he was Onyx's most notorious criminal and a merciless madman, she believed that he was human. That was probably her biggest mistake" (from Fatal Attraction). You have the two characters - though who they are isn't known - and the tension between them.

DON'T use your summary to tell your readers a better one is inside. I know I'm not going to waste my time hoping to see if there is one. Your readers won't either. In fact, they may be completely turned off because you don't even know how to sell your story. And normally, the longer, "better" summary can be reduced to three sentences and tells too much of the story.

If you've won an award for your story, DO add that to your summary. An award means somebody liked your story enough to reward you. It definitely helps in generating buzz for your story (usually your story will be linked on another website, generating more advertisement for it) and, if the award is from a place people trust (SKoW, for example), they're more likely to give your story a chance, regardless of reviews.

DON'T use bad grammar and/or spelling. Common sense, right? But I've seen it, and it has completely turned me off. Bad grammar and spelling tells me that the writer is a noob and that they don't take writing seriously. If I want to use my precious time in reading someone's story, they better well have a good grasp of whatever language they're writing in. You're not texting your friends, people. You're selling your story. And, if the writer can't even write a summary with good grammar and spelling, I know there story sure as heck won't have those components and I will not waste my time trying to sift through that, regardless of compelling characters and plot.

In conclusion, a quick, snappy summary is all that's needed. It should be specific - where readers know the general plot and/or characters of the story - but vague enough where they're interested in seeing where the story goes.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What I learned my first week at an actual university

So my first week at my school is finished and I've learned some things that might be useful to you - you know, if you're not already at a university or planning to go to one.

1)  There's a lot of reading.  And I mean a lot.  At least one hundred and fifty pages of reading a week, and that's for one class.  I'm taking 3.  And yes, I actually do the reading, which means my eyeballs feel like they're falling out.  They're not, of course, but they certainly feel like it, to the point where after I finish my reading (yes, I'm still a week ahead) I don't want to read for pleasure.  I am, but not as much as I wish to.  And with my eyes feeling like they're falling out, it's not totally pleasurable.

2)  Professors will keep you until the very last minute.  At my community college, we were released about five to ten minutes early depending on the professor.  They usually don't start a new section of lecture unless they're certain they can finish it, but don't want to stop in the middle, and they also are aware we as students who had classes afterwards had only ten minutes to get to their next class if they let us out exactly when they were supposed to.

Professors at universities don't seem to care, despite the huge campus - where, even if you're running, you still might not make it to your next class in ten minutes.  I'll start packing up five till, putting my three pens (three to code my notes and keep them organized) and then, instead of ending on the slide (because all professors use PowerPoints), they keep going.  Then I have to take out all three pens and copy the next slide down, and at exactly three twenty, they let us go.

3)  I never have to exercise again (actually, until I graduate).  Because the walking is just ridiculous - in a good way.  Plus, I park on the fourth, fifth, or sixth floor in the lot depending on openings and, instead of taking the elevator, I take the stairs.  And no, I'm not complaining.  I work out five days a week, twenty to thirty minutes each.  This just adds to it.  I just wish I didn't have to carry all the books and articles - which I have to read - around.  But hey - my thighs are going to be even more toned than they normally would be.  Ha!

4)  No one can drive well except me.  I don't think I need to explain that further.

What about you, university students?  What have you learned?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Writing Wednesday: Mary-Sues

I hate Mary-sures.  Don't even get me started on Gary-Stus (We'll talk about him next week.).

But, like all first-time writers, I wrote them.  I remember being a part of when it first came out and, like all girls, had a crush on a character and decided, "Hey, since I can't actually be with them in reality, I'll write a character who looks like me but prettier and who acts like me but is perfect."  And, since I didn't particularly like this characteristic of the hero, I changed it.

(Don't worry, I'm cringing even as I write this.)

Then I got scathing reviews.

After I bandaged the pain, wiped my tears, and forced myself out of bed, I realized I deserved them.  And more than that, I realized that perfect characters aren't that interesting to read about.  As I grew as a writer, I realized that writing perfect characters is boring.

Give your characters flaws.  Real flaws that real people have.  For instance, my character in my pirate novel, Remy Cutler, is spoiled.  She judges people based on their physical appearance and thinks she has better judgment than people beneath her station.  Then, she's forced into a situation where status doesn't matter.  She has to wear dirty clothes, socialize with pirates, and worst of all, is forced to wash dishes.

There's tension and - best of all - she learns.

Therein lies character development.

And the thing is, I love when Remy learns.  It makes me proud, as if I was her mother.  (Which, I guess, I kind of am.)  Other people will too.  Your readers will.  They'll see she's a spoilt girl, maybe relate to her, and then develop into the person she was destined to become.  Your readers will love the journey you take them on - that is, if you create a compelling enough character.

That's the key, you see.

Your reader has to care about your characters.

And if your character is perfect (I'm looking at you, Mary-Sue), no one's going to care.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunshine Sunday

1)  The real first week of school.  I know, I know, I'm a nerd.  But once you're done with your general education, you get classes that focus on your major and, at least, for me, I'm really psyched to learn more about mine.  Oh, and since I'm a nerd, I finished all the reading for this coming week over the weekend so I don't have to worry about that!

2)  Hockey.  When am I not excited about hockey?  The Ducks play their cross-town rivals the Kings tonight, Wednesday they head back to Vancouver, and Friday they play the Kings again.  I know it's just preseason, but I'm still excited!

3)  Birthdays.  My dad's birthday is on Tuesday!  He'll be 51 this year.  He looks, maybe, like he's in his forties though.  Good for him.

4)  Music.  blink-182's new album comes out on Tuesday as well.  I love them.  I can't stop listening to "All of This" (especially the bridge - it gets me every time!) and whenever "First Date" and "All the Small Things" come on, I get ridiculously, goofy-happy.  I dance in my car.  Definitely looking forward to this album.

5)  Braces.  My brother gets his braces off on Thursday.  He's ecstatic.  He's had them on in what feels like forever and I'm just so excited for him.

Anything you're excited for this week?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fictionpress Friday

Tip #2:  Have a title that captures the reader's attention.

Titles and summaries (we'll talk about those later!) are like your pre-hooks to your first real hook (not only the first line, but the first chapter).  You need a good title to get someone to read your summary; you need a good summary to get someone to read your first chapter, and if you have a good chapter?  Well, you'll have them hooked.

So, titles: make them catchy and relevant to your story.

My titles are usually titles or phrases from songs that relate to my story.

For example:  Saving Smiles is a phrase from Vanessa Carlton's "Pretty Baby" song:  "Pretty baby don't you leave me; I've been saving smiles for you."  It's a perfect song for a girl who has a crush on a guy or if just starting a romance like Christian and Andie.

Brighter Than Anyone is from Paramore's song "Brighter": So this is how it goes... Well, I would have never known.  And if you have to go I'll still say that you shine brighter than anyone."  It's perfect about a relationship that is probably ending, and though there's regret and sadness, there's still affection and respect, just like what happened between Christian and Andie.

Keep it short and simple, quirky but cute, and your Hook #1 should be good to go.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Life and Death and White-Out

You know that saying: 'I wish life was more like a pencil, where I could erase the bad things.  But life is more like a pen; I can white-out the bad things but I can still see the stain that remains.'  (I know I butchered it.  I'm sorry.)

Well, there's a big fat stain on our criminal justice system today.

Now, I'm going to get a little political and I hope I don't offend anyone.  I'm a big proponent of individual rights and would never want to force anyone to believe what I believe simply because I think it's right, but I expect the same respect in return. 

Full disclosure: I am against the death penalty in every instance.  Sentencing someone to death just doesn't sit well with me, no matter how bad a defendant is, how guilty he or she is.  Last night, Troy Davis was executed because the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear his case.  It apparently didn't matter that seven of the nine witnesses recanted their testimony and said that police officers coerced them to do so.  It didn't matter that there was no physical evidence linking him to the crime.  Today, he's dead.  There's no reversing that.

I'm not saying he's innocent (though there's a likelihood he was).  But I don't think he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and, more than that, I cannot believe that a jury can sentence a man to death simply because there are eyewitnesses.  People make mistakes.  Everybody lies (has no one watched House, M.D.?).  How can we kill a man based on what nine people have to say, especially when seven of those people admitted to lying?

To say I'm furious is an understatement.  I'm certain people have lost faith in our justice system - a good system that Americans believe in.  It's flawed.  And we have a responsibility to ensure that innocent men aren't sentenced to time in prison, and more than that, aren't sentenced to death.  Now, I can't say I want to abolish the death penalty.  But I think there definitely needs to be more stringent rules before a defendant is sentenced to death.

I guess what it comes down to is answering the question: how many stains on our justice system are we willing to have?

R.I.P. Troy Davis

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Writing Wednesday: Plotter or Pantser

Ah, the age-old question, is it not?

And I hate to give you a horrible, politically correct answer, but I have to: I'm both.

When I was writing my hockey mystery that kicked off this second serious bout of writing (that I'm probably going to edit the crud out of because it definitely needs it), I plotted it out practically to the detail.  I wrote out the scenes and some of the dialogue because I was afraid I would forget everything.  (I'm the girl who takes too many notes rather than too few because what if I don't write down something important?)  Plus, longhand writing stuff has been proven to help you remember things better than typing them out.  As a mystery, I couldn't forget a detail either, so it was write, write, write.  Plot, plot, plot.

With my pirate mythology story, I plotted out the entire trilogy, but left out lots of details.  In fact, I wrote one to three sentences about each chapter.  The funny thing was that I stayed with the outline, but allowed myself to waver if need be.  And waver I did.  The first few chapters were outline-perfect, and then I veered off course... and tied it back together with the outline at the end.  I liked that I knew where I was going (honestly, having an idea plotted out motivates me to write, and I can't claim writer's block, either) but that it wasn't as stringent as following every detail of the outline to a tee.

With my supernatural story that I'm currently writing right now, I'm a pantser.  I have a a very vague idea of what needs to happen and a loose interpretation of the plot.  Other than that, I write everything from scratch.  I like this too.  It's liberating and freeing and since I don't know what's going to happen next, I find that I'm excited to figure out what happens next.  Plus, I am in love with my characters so I feel like we're going on a journey together.

I do like to outline, though.  It helps me release my pent-up anticipation of writing the many, many story ideas I have bouncing around in my hand that demand my attention.  Once I've written their story out in a form of an outline, they leave me alone, knowing that if I choose to write their story in more detail, I have an idea of what needs to happen for them to be satisfied.

What about you?  Are you a pantser or a plotter?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Being A Nerd vs. Being Prepared

I'm super-organized.  I'm also super-ambitious.  I strive for doing my absolute best in everything, especially academics.  Good grades are essential to me, which means I do all the necessary - sometimes more - work to ensure I reach my goals.

School doesn't start until Thursday.  I received a syllabus late last week for one class which says next Tuesday (Class #2) has some reading due.  Reading I'm almost done with today.

When I told Jeshicka this, she laughed and called me a nerd. 

I actually don't mind being called a nerd because I kind of am.  I just see it as being prepared.  And if being a nerd means getting good grades, then I will wear that metaphorical pocket protector badge with pride.

(Since I've admitted to my nerdiness, can I just say how excited I am for the Ducks first preseason game tonight?  It's not broadcasted on TV, but I do plan on listening to the audio streamed on the site, plus reading Ducks' blogger Adam Brady's comments about it.  I know, I know: NERD!)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Welcome Week

Okay, so the alliteration you see today is totally not my fault.  This is what my school is celebrating this week.  No joke.

I was devastated.  I had my third mandatory orientation (being a transfer student can be exhausting!) that conflicted with training camp for the Ducks.  Obviously, academia won out and I attended the first day of Welcome Week.  It wasn't all that bad, actually.  Turns out, all new students get a free sweatshirt and the chancellor was pretty nice.  (Of course, aren't they all nice when they're not talking to you individually?)

After that, we had a more intimate welcome from our individual schools.  Social Ecology has an amazing dean.  She's funny and sweet and seems to be down to earth too.  Then we were introduced to some professors and the services our school provides.  I was especially excited learning about the Study Abroad program, which I will do Summer '12 baby!  (Yes, I worked it around the hockey schedule...)

After that, the clubs' fair was going on.  My friend Jeshicka and I walked around like morons for a bit until we found the Anthropology Club (for her) and I talked to some of the Ice Hockey team (for me) about the upcoming schedule.  Then we left, because I was breaking in a new flats and the parking garage was pretty far from the fair so there was much walking.

Which was fine because it's exercise, you know?

To be honest, I'm excited.  Hockey starts soon.  School starts soon.  And while I'm a teensy bit worried about the academics, I already feel appreciated and like I belong at my school, which is nice and different and I'm looking forward to truly being a part of something academic.

Welcome Week, indeed.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunshine Sunday

Sundays are usually reserved for relaxation, for groaning because Monday brings school or work or waking up early to take your brother to school...  But I digress.  So I wanted to talk about things this week that have made me happy and what I'm looking forward to this week.  Ready?  Okay!

1)  Hockey is BACK!  Well, almost.  I attended the Ducks' training camp the past two days and it gets me super-excited for the season.  Getzy and Perry were pushing each other (playfully, of course!), Bobby Ryan was goofing around with his teammates, Hiller was nearly back to his best (but vertigo is scary to have for a starting goalie), and my personal favorite Dan Ellis, is on top of his game!  I also found a couple of players to watch out for (crossing my fingers that they make the team): Andrew Gordon and Mark Bell.

2)  I start school on Thursday.  I'm a bit nervous (I know an actual university is different from a community college but I'm not quite sure what those differences are yet and as such, can't prepare) but the closer it gets, the more excited I am.  I am planning to go to sporting events (Why can't UCI have a football team?  Why?) and socialize.  I'm hoping that UCI is where I'll belong, not just for academics but because I care about the school as a whole.  Plus, there's a bunch of cool activities during Welcome Week including screening X-Men: First Class on the Green.

3)  Demi Lovato's new album comes out on Tuesday.  I love her, her voice, and her songs, and I am looking forward to hearing what she has to offer.

4)  TV.  I'm a confessed couch potato who works out, okay?  All my favorite shows premiere this week (Community, The Office, Glee, How I Met Your Mother, Modern Family) and new shows that I'm looking forward to checking out (Whitney, Two Broke Girls, The New Girl, The X-Factor, Last Man Standing) and new shows that I checked out last week that I like (Free Agents, Up All Night).  Granted, I will/have watched a lot of these on my computer because I can't watch everyone at once.  I'm sad that I have to wait until October for Bones and all year until True Blood.  But I'm sure some shows (and hockey) will tide me over.

5)  Skyjack: The Hunt for D.B. Cooper by Geoffrey Gray.  You know my love for Depression-Era gangsters.  D.B. Cooper is kind of like that, but for the 1970's.  He's polite and charming and jumped out of a flying airplane with two hundred thousand dollars strapped to his chest on a rainy night after threatening to blow up said plane with a bomb.  No one was harmed and to this day, nobody knows who Mr. Cooper really is.  I love this stuff.  Especially when the author wrote about an old woman who compared D.B. Cooper to John Dillinger.  The gangster-geek in me squealed like a school girl! If you're into this kind of stuff, I definitely recommend it!

What about you?  Any things you're looking forward to this week?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fictionpress Friday

Okay, first off, I apologize for my usage of cheesy alliteration.  But I love it.  I think it's clever as well as cheesy.

These posts probably won't be as long as the writing or personal posts because these are merely tips.  I figure you might be here to read about writing, possibly to read about me (I hope I'm not boring you too much), but some might want to learn how to break into Fictionpress.  As you may (or may not) know, I'm a writer on Fictionpress.  All of my stories (besides my one-shots) have over two hundred reviews.  My goal has always to be a published writer.  To be a published writer, you need to be able to sell your books.  Fictionpress is a good way to practice that so I'm here to offer tips that have worked for me.  I hope they help!

Tip #1:  Have a good story.  Common sense, right?  But you'd be surprised how many stories out there that aren't great or understandable or just plain unrelatable.  Some of my stories are original - I come up with the plot, characters, and everything else.  Some of my stories are modern takes of classic stories so my plot is already outlined, my characters are defined, but I have to give them my voice.  And some of my stories take certain plots or characters from movies and I tweak them in the way that I want.  I don't have to worry about keeping them "in-character" because I'm not writing fanfiction, and I try and give them my own unique spin.

A way to write a good story is to take your favorite fairytale and write it with your voice.  Modernize it.  Switch sexes.  (Instead of Cinderella meeting her prince, maybe a guy on the wrong side of the tracks meets a spoiled rich girl who's more than just a pretty face.)  Be creative.  It's your story.  And since the theme is universal - and there's romance - people will relate to it.

But you won't get hits if you don't have a well-written stories, well-rounded characters, a hook for a summary, and a catchy title.  We'll talk about those later on, though.  For now, choose a story/fairytale/plot you want to explore and write!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Writing Wednesday: Writing

I've shared a lot of personal stories with you.  I've talked about guys and hockey and Johnny Depp.  I figure I should probably talk about writing, since I'm a writer.  Just know that this is what works for me.  Since writing is so subjective, it may or may not work for you.  But I've found that reading all I can about writing - whether I agree or not - is just as helpful as writing itself.

Today, I want to talk to you about writing, literally.

I'm working on two different manuscripts: one is going through the revisions process and one I'm writing the first draft for.  The first one, I typed on my computer.  The second, I wrote with my hand and then typed up the draft onto the computer.  Both work, obviously.

But I've found that when I write my story out, I connect with my characters better.  I can't explain why.  Perhaps it's because the act of writing is more personal, more raw, than simply typing everything up on a computer.  But I learn more about them, I get inspired more, and for whatever reason, my writing is better. 

However, there are plenty of downsides to writing: your hand hurts.  I'm left-handed, so I'm definitely left with a smudge.  It takes longer.  My grammar and spelling aren't thoroughly checked.  I can't tell how many words I've written.

Still, though, I prefer writing.

As I'm revising the first novel, any rewrites I do happen on paper.  My description gets more poignant and again, I learn more about these characters and get more personal than I would have had I simply typed everything up a second time.

So I write.  And write.  And my hand hurts.  And I smudge.

But it's worth it.

What about you?  Do you type everything up, or do you write it out first?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Vampires done right

I usually don't do these posts.  I love reading books and if I were to review every book I read, I wouldn't be able to write anything.  But if you like vampires (real vampires, not ones that refrain from eating meat and sparkle), go read the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead, and then go read Bloodlines by the same author.

I'm obsessed.

My only qualm is that I have to wait until June of next year until the next book comes out.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

People pleasing, happiness, and respect

I am a people-pleaser.*

*Note:  I didn't say was.  I am.

But I'm learning how to be a positive people pleaser rather than a negative one.

What's the difference, you ask?  Instead of focusing solely on what other people want, I'm taking into account what I want.

I don't know what changed to make me care more about me in terms of what other people want.  I know I'm not the type of girl who goes on dates with guys simply because they ask and I feel bad I don't like them in that way so they get a pity yes.  As I'm sure you're all aware, I don't like to waste my time.

I think it started around the time Goatboy and I broke up and my best friend and I had a falling out.  Both of those effects stemmed from a cause: I started telling them what I wanted and/or I started standing up for myself.  When it came to me and Goatboy, we had been together just over nine months and I was beginning to feel like I was in limbo, waiting around for something I wasn't sure was going to actually happen. Nine months together and we had yet to make our relationship official.  When I'm with someone, I give my all.  There's no room for half-way when it comes to me, and I was beginning to feel exhausted at pouring all of me into the relationship when he was only giving me a bit of him.  Of course, I now realize that he was giving me all he possibly could, all he had, but he couldn't fully commit.  And as much as I loved him - he was my first real love, after all - it wasn't enough.  And, still in sync, we seemed to realize it at the same time and parted ways mutually with the promise of maintaining our friendship.

When it comes to the friend situation, I confronted her about not inviting me to her little sister's sixth grade graduation, inviting someone else in my place who, while my friend too, didn't have the same relationship with that girl that I did.  And my best friend knew it.  Her little sister and I were incredibly close to the point where I considered her to be my little sister.  And I told my friend I wanted to come, and despite this, she didn't invite me, even though she invited our other friend over Facebook and it would have been rather easy to copy and paste that comment onto my Wall, but she didn't.  That's not the end, though.  The guy that she's been in love with - let's call him A - randomly started flirting with me on Facebook.  I didn't respond to the flirting, but he kept doing so.  So my friend blocked me on Facebook.  She threw seven years of friendship away because her unrequited love was flirting with me - flirting which I ignored and even tried to thwart.

How do you know it was because of A?

Because I checked and she blocked him too.

It was the final straw.  She gave up our friendship because of a guy who didn't return her sentiments, without even having the decency to ask my side.

But this isn't where the story ends, folks.

A asked me out.

I've never been interested in him that way and though me and my friend were over, I'd still never do something like that to her.  So I said I'd love to hang but we didn't have to date.  As guys are wont to do, he mistook my meaning and we decided we'd go hiking the following week.  I came clean the day before thanks to my anxiety at doing something intimate alone with a guy when I'd rather be at home reading, telling him I had just gotten out of a relationship, I didn't want to date because I didn't want to lead anyone on, and I certainly wasn't ready for anything serious.  He took the message well, going so far as to tell me he respected me even more because of my honesty.

You'd think that would be the end of it, right?

Haha.  No.

He kept inviting me to go hiking, to go to the movies.  Sometimes, I'd ignore the texts, sometimes I'd respond a long while after, telling him I was hanging out with my brother.

I didn't understand: couldn't he take a hint?  I don't want to date him.  We were barely friends, barely knew each other.  As unsocial as it sounds, if I'm not interested in being friends with you, I'm not going to waste gas and my time hanging out with you.

The climax came when he texted me at one in the morning with the simple message: Help me.  You read that right.  Help me.  Um, I keep my phone on vibrate at night specifically for this very reason: if one of my friends need me.  Middle of the night calls/texts are reserved for emergencies (at least with me since my real friends know I go to bed early).  On top of that, it took a while for me to finally fall asleep and I had a doctor's appointment really early in the morning.

So I sent a snappish text in return, asking him what he needed my help with at one in the morning.

He replied with something along the lines of how cranky I was in the early morning.  Note that he had yet to tell me what he needed help with and actually apologize.

Um, yes.  So I told him I had a doctor's appointment and was fast asleep before he woke me up.

He seemed to think this was funny because he literally wrote "LOL sorry damn."  Or something like that.

I was so pissed, I didn't respond.

How dare he?  Who the eff did he think he was?

No kiddies, the story isn't over.  I know.  I can't believe it either.

It was a week before he texted me, asking me to go on another hike with him and a group of friends.  But here's the kicker: he called me grouchy.

That pissed me off more than I can comprehend.  I hate when people think they're closer to me than they really are and, as such, seem to think they're entitled to treat me more intimate than what propriety actually calls for.

I thought about how I was supposed to respond for a while before coming up with something that stated how the fact that he texted me at one in the morning and the way he handled my less than enthusiastic reaction was completely inappropriate.  I reminded him we've never hung out and we barely know each other and that, while I thought he was a decent guy, I didn't want to hang out with him at all.

His response?  Haha, k.

Okay, I was upset but whatever.  I thought I wouldn't be hearing from him after that.

I thought wrong.

A few hours later, he texted me this really long message asking me why I was so upset, how he thought I was going through something in my life that I was taking out on him (are you effing kidding me?) and all he was doing was inviting me to go on a hike, and by the way, he already apologized for that text.

Yeah, my mouth still drops open when I think about it.

I had two options: I could respond or I could let it go.

While I wanted nothing more than to point out his stupidity at not taking a hint and completely overstepping the proper boundaries of Facebook friendship, I decided to let it go.  His behavior was already worrisome and I didn't want aggravate it any more because I wasn't sure how he'd react in terms of harassing me.  Plus, if he couldn't see how inappropriate his behavior was, even with me telling him, than there was no way I could make him understand. 

So, why am I telling these personal (and probably boring) stories?  Because going through each one, and ending with what I went through with A taught me something.  I've always said the universe is working WITH you and never AGAINST you.  But if you work against yourself, what is the universe supposed to do?

Standing up for myself, even though it was hard and hurt and painful, was the best thing I ever did.  I'm not worried about how Goatboy truly feels about me and if I can really depend on him anymore.  I'm not trying to be the perfect best friend when she doesn't take me all that seriously and treat me the way I deserve to be treated anymore.  And I'm not going to let some guy make me roll over because of his incessant persistence and lack of understanding of the word no.

Here's how I see it: the moment I start respecting myself to the point of action then I'll attract people who will respect me.  It's common sense, right?  Well, I'm the type of girl that has to feel it to understand, rather than simply know it.

I still like making people happy.  I realize that upon meeting people I admire or the cute guy in my class, I will never be the mysterious siren oozing sexuality.  I'm not cool.  I'll be uber-polite, probably blushing and smiling way too much girl.  But, the things is, I'd rather be sweet than sexy.  (Most of the time.)  Because that's who I am.  However, I'm not going to sacrifice my self-respect over it, especially to people who really don't deserve to be in my life anyways.

We all deserve happiness.  The universe wants nothing more than to make us happy.   But you have to help too.  Sometimes, happiness is a result of letting something you cherish, something you love with all your heart and will still probably love for the rest of your life, go.  Your happiness is more important than theirs.  You are the first person you should want to please.  Because you're worthy of it.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Name Calling

Everyone who knows me knows I'm a HUGE hockey fan.  I've been counting down the days till the start of the season, arranged my studying abroad around the season, and have reserved a section of wall in my room specifically for hockey pictures.

But when I'm watching the game - either at home or in the arena - I always hesitate before I start to cheer on a player by name.  It's stupid and silly and ridiculous, but I always feel awkward shouting "Go Teemu!" when he has the puck only because who am I to address him by his first name?  He hasn't given me leave to call him Teemu.  And if I shouted "Go Mr. Selanne!" - whether at home or in person - people would look at me like I was off my rocker or something.

Okay then, Heather, you say, what about nicknames?

Um, I get upset when people call me something other than my name unless I know them.  I don't think it would be right for me to address George Parros as Georgie or Ryan Getzlaf as Getzie without their permission.

However, I have no problem calling Cam Fowler 'Cam' because he's younger than I am.  I'm traditional to the point of nausea, right?

I know, I know: I'm overthinking it and I should just call them by name.  And I do.  But I always hesitate because I don't like being presumptuous about something like that since it's basic etiquette.

Though, even I will admit that there are exceptions to every rule.