brock turner + privilege. (TW: rape)

I don’t usually talk about incredibly serious issues on this blog, but something has happened that I find myself so insanely angry about that I cannot ignore it.

WARNING: I curse a bit in this post. It’s the kind of topic that I can’t really discuss without cursing. You’ll have to forgive me.

If you don’t live in the states (or read the news, which you should), you may have not heard about the human scum that is Mr. Brock Turner, a 20-year-old student at Stanford University that raped a heavily intoxicated woman passed out behind a dumpster early last year. A few days ago, it was announced that Turner is only being sentenced to SIX MONTHS in jail for what he did. Yeah, I said months. Not years, not decades, not centuries, but months.

In a fit of rage, I was tweeting about this walking garbage can, admittedly in a pretty aggressive manner, and my good friend, George, in his “I ❤ the US government” shirt, was all “hey, criminals have rights too!” Yes, George, I know. Criminals have rights. That said, rapists don’t even fall into what qualifies as “criminal” to me, they jump straight down to “monster” in my head.

Yes, George, Turner has rights. He had a right to an attorney, a trial, the whole shebang. But it is so hard to think about how this evil person still has basic human rights when he took away someone else’s. He single-handedly ruined a girl’s life, and now, on top of living with the trauma he caused her, she also has to live with the fact that he was barely disciplined for it. He undressed and raped an unconscious woman, and all he’s getting is six months? Really? How do you think that makes her feel? I’m guessing pretty f**king angry, and scared.

Today, Turner’s super charming dad released a statement that basically screamed (though I’m paraphrasing), “Hey! I’m a rape apologist. You shouldn’t have punished my son for doing something illegal. He’s a rich white boy, I think you confused him for somebody else.”

Additionally, Mr. Dan Turner wrote, and I’m quoting directly now, “His life will never be the one that he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve. That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.”

Are you… like, are you serious? You’re joking, right? Because he only violated another human being for 20 minutes, he doesn’t deserve to be punished? Six months is NOTHING. It’s a slap on the wrist. Brock Turner deserves years and years of jail time and he isn’t even getting a full year. That’s a goddamn blessing.

How long it takes to break a law or hurt another person has nothing to do with how long the punishment should be. It takes less than 10 seconds to shoot someone and kill them. What excuse would you pull out of your ass then, dad? Would you still write about how great of a cook your precious son is and again not bother to say a single word about the victim in your entire statement? Hmm?

Of course, all of this begs the question of whether or not Papa Turner even considers rape a real crime. Based on his unapologetic response, all signs are pointing to “unlikely” and “please try again later.”

Bringing up something as trivial as the amount of time his perfect angel son spent defiling this woman is nothing but a weak attempt to invalidate the horrendous nature of what he did. It’s irrelevant. Breaking it down to “oh well it wasn’t for that long” just kind of shows that this man clearly sees women as sexual objects. It means that Mr. Turner doesn’t really see anything wrong with what his son did. It means that Brock Turner just decided to take advantage of a person physically unable to consent purely under the logic that she was unconscious, it would be quick, and that she wouldn’t feel it anyway. It means that Judge Aaron Persky took more pity on the boy who lost his spot on the swim team than the girl who had her boundaries shattered and her mental health destroyed for the sake of that boy getting his tiny, wrinkled dick wet.

I have no sympathy for rapists. Criminals, in some cases, yes. But rapists are more than criminals. They are monsters, and so are the people that let them get away with it.

Brock Turner, I hope that what you did eats at you every goddamn day for the rest of your life. I hope you feel the trauma that you caused an innocent woman consume your sanity every second until there’s none left. I hope it destroys you.

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long-distance relationships.

Editor’s Note: This post was inspired by a Cosmopolitan article I read yesterday about a long-distance relationship. It resonated with me a lot, so I figured it was time to talk about mine.

If you’ve been following me for a few months (or you’ve spoken to me at all since October), you’ll know that my boyfriend Simon lives in England. Having met at a truly incredible Fall Out Boy show in London, we were obviously destined to be together. Clearly, some ominous omniscient being watching over us (read: Pete Wentz) wanted us to meet.

12366041_10207912280075073_76715821180008690_oThat said, we’ve now known each other for almost four months and officially been together for a little over two months, even though I have now been back in Philly for over a month (that is the most math I’ve done in over a year). I like to think that I’ve gained some wisdom on long-distance relationships (LDRs) now that I’m in one, so I thought I would shed some of that light on you. (Please note: I am not a professional. I just like talking about my boyfriend.)

Here is some advice and maybe some hope for those of you who are in or may one day be in an LDR:

#1: If you’re with the right person, long distance will not be that hard.

Okay, this is kind of a lie. Long distance is really, really difficult sometimes. That said, if you’re with the right person, it is manageable. I’m not sure what I expected of LDR-hood before I was thrown into it, but I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that it didn’t really feel that much different. Sure, I haven’t kissed my boyfriend since before Christmas, but our almost constant communication hasn’t dwindled at all, and being 3000 miles apart, we’ve kind of been forced to make the extra effort to become closer in other ways in order to continue progressing the way a normal, geographically-close couple would.

#2: Communication becomes EVEN MORE important.

Communication is 100% the most important part of any relationship. If you don’t talk about stuff, you’ll suppress, you’ll repress, and you’ll struggle to grow both as a couple and as individuals. In LDRs, this is even more crucial. Simon and I obviously can’t wait to see each other in person to handle a problem; we have to take care of things as soon as they happen. This is where technology comes in. Part of what makes the distance so manageable is the fact that things like Skype and FaceTime exist. I still get to hear his voice and see him outside of the hundred Snapchats we exchange every day on a regular basis. iMessage has also allowed us to text just as much as we did when we were on the same continent, even if it uses up all of my data (sorry mom). If you find yourself in an LDR and don’t have iMessage, I recommend the app Couple. You can text, send drawings, let your S/O know when you’re thinking of them, and even utilize a feature called Thumbkiss, where you can make your thumbs… well, kiss. (Editor’s note: I tried to explain this better. It did not work.)

There are so many different ways to communicate through technology that our ability to interact as a couple hasn’t really changed at all. We’ve just had to learn to make up for the things we can’t do with words. (It is possible that Simon and I have just gotten lucky with that as we are both writers, and expressing ourselves verbally is pretty easy. I’m pretty sure you can read any of my posts and know that I talk a lot.)

#3: Knowing when you’re going to see them again makes things way easier.

This isn’t really advice, or anything useful, so sorry. I understand that in many cases, LDRs are indefinite, and you might not know when you’ll be able to see your S/O again, but knowing that I’ll be seeing Simon again relatively soon (5 weeks!!!) is really comforting. That said, after his trip to Philly in March, I’m not sure when I’ll be able to see him again. At this point, it’s looking like I won’t be able to make it back to the UK before Christmas, which is admittedly scary. Fortunately, we got that aforementioned communication thing down pat.

#4: You will get used to the time difference.

Simon and I only have a five-hour time difference, so I can’t really speak for the North America/Australia LDRs, but being in different time zones isn’t as bad as either of us thought it would be. Five hours isn’t even that much time. There have been times when Simon has had to wake up really early and I hadn’t even gone to sleep yet, but that’s more of a reflection of my absolutely horrendous internal clock than anything. He always says good morning first, and I always say good night last. It really isn’t any different than just having an S/O with a much better sleep schedule than you.

#5: If you really have to force it, it might not be worth it.

This might be a bit redundant, and also might be a bit of a crappy thing to say, but it’s true. LDRs take an insane amount of work, like all relationships do, but it should not feel like work. I never feel obligated to do something or say something for the sake of my relationship. I don’t really want to compare it to a job, but it really is just like having your dream job. You have to work, yes, but you should love doing it. If you have to remind yourself to text your S/O, something ain’t right.

There will be times in any relationship where you might have to compromise, but it should never feel like a sacrifice. The only thing Simon and I have sacrificed for the sake of our relationship is sleep just so we could Skype for a few more minutes. We have never felt like we’re losing anything or giving something up. It isn’t losing five minutes of sleep, it’s gaining five minutes of a good conversation.

~~~

Ah, a super long post about a super long-distance relationship. How appropriate.

BONUS: built-in drinking game a la You Deserve A Drink by Mamrie Hart: re-read this post and drink every time I repeat myself, say something mushy, or say “Simon.” If you get hurt, I’m sorry and please don’t sue me.

35 days!

xx Gabi (+ Simon)

making friends online.

Editor’s note: Sorry for not posting last week. I was in Greece! I will write about my travels next week as I am currently too tired and the emotional scarring from (not) sleeping on airport floors is still too fresh. For now, please enjoy this little post about friends.

I didn’t really have a good group of friends for a long time. I had “friends” that I would hang out with once in a while, but no friends that would take the initiative to make plans with me. It took me until more recently than I care to admit to realize that this was not a healthy friendship. Why waste energy on people who don’t care enough to waste any on you, right?

This is where Tumblr comes in. People who don’t use Tumblr think Tumblr is really weird. Full of fan fiction, inexplicable memes, and straight-up porn, it’s tailored to a very specific demographic. It isn’t necessarily a form of social media, rather a form of microblogging, yet somehow I’ve managed to meet three of my closest friends through my dashboard.

I spent a while trying to force “natural” ways to make friends, but I realized that it wasn’t really any better than what I was already dealing with: trying to get people who don’t want to hang out with me to hang out with me. One day, I just stopped trying, and the next day, one of my now-best friends fell right into my lap, tagging me in a text post, telling her followers to pray for me because I’d reached my daily post limit on the site. Over a year later, I approached a photographer I’d been following for a while about shooting a wedding for a friend, and she said yes. I met her at the wedding and she quickly became one of my best friends too. Shortly after, I met her boyfriend, and he rounded out the group of my three best friends, all of whom started out as nothing more than mutual Tumblr followers.

xx Gabi

why should we stop googling?

The following is a response to the New York Times‘ article “Stop Googling. Let’s Talk.

The first thing I felt when I read this piece was guilt, oddly enough. I catch myself sitting on my phone scrolling through tumblr when I’m with people in real life all the time, and part of me knows that I shouldn’t be doing it. I feel bad when I live my life through a snapchat story because of the looks I get when I take a selfie in public, feeling the judgment burning into the back of my head while I try to pull a face that probably qualifies as a duck face but I try to pass off as a kissy face. For some reason, society frowns upon using technology in social situations, or really just in public, even though the same society has become so dependent on the same technology in the last few decades. So, why is it such a bad thing that we use it?

After pondering for a few days, my guilt actually turned into frustration. I shouldn’t be criticized for my utilization of the incredible technology in my pocket. I agree that people should unplug sometimes and “live in the moment” or whatever cliché you prefer, but this article suggests that we shouldn’t even use our phones to add factual backup to a heated debate amongst friends. I, for one, will never stop pulling out my phone during a discussion about film to verify the name of that actor on IMDb or checking to see if that musician is still alive, because pulling away from a conversation for thirty seconds can extend that conversation by ten minutes with the information we have such easy access to. 

I like to think that my generation is particularly special. No, that isn’t my 90s baby narcissism talking, but rather the fact that we’ve truly grown up with technology. We were the last kids to get VHS tapes, the first teenagers to get smartphones, and we’ll be damned if we don’t wholeheartedly embrace the universe presented to us at the literal touch of a button. 

Hey millennials, how many of you have ever felt personally victimized by baby boomers?

xx Gabi

P.S. In case you missed it, check out my post on a similar topic from a few weeks ago: luxury and technology

life-changing experiences + being alone.

It can be difficult to determine whether or not something is truly a life-changing experience or not. We don’t always want to label something as “life-changing” because chances are, more important things will happen to us one day, and we don’t want that powerful label to lose its meaning. That said, after much consideration, I am officially declaring yesterday a life-changing experience for me.

If any of you follow me on social media (*eh hem* Twitter, Instagram), you might’ve seen that I was given the opportunity to meet Pete Wentz yesterday. Pete, the bassist of my all-time favorite band Fall Out Boy, did a signing at their three-day pop-up shop in Camden, and I was one of the 120 fans that got to attend. (Side note: I have to give most of the credit to my girl Sam for this one. She made her way over to Camden before sunrise on Friday to wait in line for the wristbands to get in, and if it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t have known that I could show up at 9:30 and still get one. Thanks for not sleeping all night so I could, babe!)

I have been a diehard fan of Fall Out Boy since my older sister put Sugar We’re Going Down and Sophomore Slump or Comeback of the Year on one of her mix CDs in 2004 and left it in the boombox in our bathroom. (Side note #2: When was the last time you heard the word “boombox”?) I caught up on FOB’s first two albums (From Under the Cork Tree becoming one of my favorite albums ever), fell in love with their next two, and survived the 2010-2013 hiatus (though seriously struggled when My Chemical Romance broke up during it — my little emo heart couldn’t deal). I reveled in the glory of their comeback during my senior year of high school and I am thrilled to report that they’re still excellent, unlike many bands that get back together and suddenly don’t know how to make good music anymore.

Being such a huge fan, I was actually kind of scared to meet Pete. It was mostly because I was worried my legs would just give out when I saw him, but it was also because I was so terrified that I would be disappointed. It is unfortunately common that someone meets their favorite celebrity just to find out that they aren’t really good people, but I felt fairly secure in the fact that Pete was known for being a nice person and that the whole universe hadn’t been lying to me all these years. (Spoiler: It hadn’t.)

With Pete Wentz in the Fall Out Boy Pop-Up Shop at Rock 'N' Roll Rescue Camden, 11 October 2015.
With my husband Pete Wentz in the Fall Out Boy Pop-Up Shop at Rock ‘N’ Roll Rescue Camden, 11 October 2015.
The newest (and biggest) addition to my wall, signed by Pete.
The newest (and biggest) addition to my wall, signed by Pete.
There’s something ironic about meeting someone known for singing and screaming on stage just to find out that they’re really quiet off stage. It is equally ironic that I, the girl who never shuts up, was completely silenced just from being in Pete’s presence. I don’t think either of us said more than two words to each other, and after he signed my new most prized possession and took a selfie with me, I was escorted out, borderline paralyzed in awe and slightly confused by what had just happened to me. At least I didn’t cry?

Alright, Gabi, we get it. You met Pete. What does this have to do with being alone?

Well, disembodied voice, if you must know, after the signing, I attended Fall Out Boy’s show at the SSE Arena in Wembley by myself. I had never been to a show alone before last night, and I think I can safely call it my new favorite thing.

I have been to many concerts in my life, and Fall Out Boy has been a large chunk of them. This was my fourth FOB experience, and by far, my best FOB experience. I was anxious about going to a show alone. I usually like having someone to stick with because the idea of getting sucked into a mosh pit with no one to pull me out is terrifying, but I realized after seeing Brand New perform at Alexandra Palace that getting separated from your friends at a show is almost inevitable. With that in mind, I embarked on my journey to Wembley alone, prepared to take on the wild crowd on my own. Halfway through FOB’s first song (after staying relatively calm during their three opening acts), I realized that I shouldn’t be fighting the crowd, I should be embracing it. I’m not really the kind of person to have my back against the wall all night at a show, but I have never been a crazy “dance like no one’s watching” person. That changed last night.

Clearly, the only logical explanation is that my friends are bad people. I’m always with them and have kept my dancing fairly reserved out of fear of being judged by them, but being on my own last night, I have never felt more uninhibited. Possibly apart from the group of people I met at the show who knew nothing about me and couldn’t justifiably judge me, no one was watching me, so I danced like it. I jumped, I screamed, I sweat, and I almost passed out from dehydration. My feet are still screaming almost 24 hours later and the fact that I have a voice right now has got to be some kind of scientific breakthrough. Having fun has nothing to do with the people around you, but everything to do with yourself. I always thought that I had less anxiety going to a show with friends than I would on my own, but going to this show alone proved me wrong. “Care-free” is the last adjective I would use to describe myself, but last night, that is what I was.

xx Gabi

P.S. If you’re interested in listening to some Fall Out Boy, you can check out my Spotify playlist, “Fall Out Boy: Gabi’s Top Ten.” If you don’t have Spotify, I can only recommend that you look these songs up on your own.

  1. XO
  2. I Slept With Someone In Fall Out Boy And All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me
  3. Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying (Do Your Part To Save The Scene And Stop Going To Shows)
  4. Dance, Dance
  5. A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More “Touch Me”
  6. Thnks Fr Th Mmrs
  7. Sophomore Slump or Comeback of the Year
  8. Irresistible
  9. The Kids Aren’t Alright
  10. Saturday

Please note that this is my personal top ten and I will fight with you about this for hours if you try to tell me I’m wrong. Someone please take that as a challenge.

leaving home/getting settled/the first two weeks.

My only justification for the lack in posts over the last two months is that I wasn’t in London yet and had nothing to say about it.

Now, I’ve been here for two weeks, and I’ve just been lazy, so let’s have a chat.

Leaving Philly was hard. Not really leaving Philly, but leaving my mom and my friends. I somehow managed to not be a total wreck saying my goodbyes that day, but the few minutes right after each goodbye were some of the hardest. I’m not going to say I handled it well, because I’m really not sure hyperventilation is a good thing, but I got through the day without getting dehydrated from crying too much like I thought I would, just because a not-much-younger version of myself would’ve. #CharacterDevelopment?

If you want the truth, my first day here was… rough. I don’t know if it was the delusion and exhaustion from a transatlantic redeye flight that I didn’t/couldn’t sleep on or the genuine fear of being in a different country without my parents or anyone I really knew, but my first 24 hours were just straight-up bad. Surprise, surprise, Gabi can’t handle stress. It actually wasn’t until I unpacked all of my stuff (in a record-breaking 15 minutes) that I started to relax a little. I think seeing that my suitcases were about the size of my entire room scared me and made me think I would be forced to live out of my bags for three and a half months and never feel fully at home here. Fortunately, as usual, I was wrong.

It’s now been two weeks (almost exactly), and I’ve settled quite nicely, if I do say so myself. I’m currently harboring a standard beginning-of-the-semester cold, but I feel at home in my closet-sized room. You’ll be happy to know that my roommate isn’t even a serial killer. We both found coffee that we like, we figured out how to use our stove (only after reporting it broken), and I’m like, 95% sure I don’t drive her crazy (yet).

Since we last spoke, I’ve toured the Houses of Parliament. I’ve seen Shakespeare’s Globe twice, and I crossed the Millennium Foot Bridge (albeit with some fear that Death Eaters will attack it again). I saw Brand New and Basement perform at Alexandra Palace and talked to a cute boy from New Zealand about music and traveling. I took the National Rail on a day trip to Brighton and toured the Royal Pavilion, and even dipped my toe into the English Channel (which was a cozy 60 degrees Fahrenheit). It’s been a very eventful two weeks, I’m not even sure how I’ve managed to still go to class.

Tourist attractions aside, I’ve fallen in love with real London. The Underground is a utopia compared to the Broad Street Line, and I have yet to encounter a bus that wasn’t exactly on time. In one of my classes, we were asked to describe the city in one word. Many said “traditional” or “posh” (a word that I have a serious bone to pick with), but all I could think was “organized.” London is the most well-oiled machine of a town I have ever experienced, and I am fully aware of the fact that it’s going to spoil me. SEPTA will seem even worse after I spend three months riding around on tubes that don’t smell like rotting garbage and cat pee.

I have approximately one million more things to say about this place, but TL;DR I’m in love.

Please note that starting with my next post, I’ll be incorporating some required posts for my blogging class this semester. All posts for that class will say #BlogLondon2015 (mostly so my professor can find them, but also so you guys know what you’re reading).  

cheers from across the pond, across the country, or across the hall,

xx Gabi

the beautiful sigh of relief: an update.

consider this short post a follow-up to my previous one.

I was so nervous about meeting my soon-to-be neighbors (and roommate) that I kind of forgot how awesome making new friends could be.

I met four people that I’m going to London with last night, and I didn’t not like any of them. It was so natural. We were all laughing our asses off within minutes and everyone had something in common with someone else at the table. We talked about our pasts, our plans, and our packing situations. I even managed to get answers to some questions I had about the trip. My anxiety about London was cut in half after just a few hours spent sitting in a bar on campus during a thunderstorm talking to people with similar concerns. I got phone numbers, Facebooks, and even plans for brunch. I know whose faces to look for in the airport and I’m honestly a lot more excited about who my roommate might be. Not to mention, I’m not seeing myself sitting alone on a train to Paris anymore.

Not all forms of anxiety are resolved with space. Sometimes you need the opposite. The kind of anxiety I usually have requires silence, darkness, and coldness, so I tend to forget that sometimes a stressful situation can’t always be fixed that way. People have answers, and this is one of the few times in my life where my anxiety has been subsided by extensive social interaction.

I’m feeling so good about this trip now that 52 days went from seeming way too soon to way too far away.

xx Gabi

the fear (is a very good song by Lily Allen).

listen, I’m pretty social. I have some outrageous anxieties, but fortunately for me, my social anxiety is decently manageable and I’m pretty good at making friends. I’m horrible at keeping them, but a view on YouTube counts after 15 seconds even if the person doesn’t keep watching, right? I took a stat class, I know what I’m talking about. (I don’t. I almost never do.)
the statistical data of my social life and the truth of the matter that is my social life suggest very different things. the numbers suggest that I can make a friend in two minutes flat (and it’s true, I’m great). the problem remains in the truth. I’m picky with friends. I want everyone to love me, but after one too many friendships fell apart, I realized it was because they were all one-sided. sometimes they were way to into it and I was pushed away by their eagerness, but it was usually (almost always) the other way around.
as much as I hate the word, I am clingy by nature. I can’t help it. if I meet someone and they spark any kind of excitement in me, my first instinct is to hold on to them for dear life. people are not usually as great as they seem anyway, so it wasn’t always a bad thing that the friendship didn’t flourish, but I probably did scare a few people away with my, ahem, attentiveness, and missed out on a genuinely good relationship.
I like to think I’ve grown out of that at least a little bit. I learned the hard way that relationships of any kind (platonic, romantic, what have you) NEED to be two-way streets. if the other person isn’t putting in the effort you’re putting in, it can’t be very healthy, y’know? you either need to have an agreed nonchalance about the whole thing, or a mutual decision to put an equal amount of effort into it.
that’s where it gets kind of difficult. communication is awesome. I love talking to people and I want people to know how I feel about things. the problem with that is that not everyone feels the same way. some people don’t know when to communicate or what to communicate or even how and relationships suffer because of it. even more so if neither party is good with communicating, because seemingly every authority figure in my life has taught me that two wrongs do not make a right.
so, get to the point, Gab. what’s with the annoyingly melodramatic title?
alright, internal troll, relax. I call this entry “the fear” because making friends is damn scary, especially when you fly overseas with a bunch of strangers and have to live with them for four months. you’re basically screwed if you DON’T make friends with them. is that not terrifying?
I’ve only spoken to a handful of people going to London with me, and I do see myself actually befriending some of them, but the relationships I’m going to build are not relationships yet and it is 50% my responsibility to make them develop. do you get why I’m afraid now? I’m blindly walking into an endless void of people I do not know who I have to actively get to know as soon as and as well as possible. the really hard part about that is that it’s not like kindergarten. how we made friends in kindergarten:
toddler 1: I like blue!
toddler 2: I also like blue!
toddlers 1 and 2: LET’S BE BEST FRIENDS.
ah, those were the days. in college, if you tell someone you like blue, and they like red, it literally blows up into a four-hour political debate (don’t even get me started on the greens). I am not exaggerating. I once told someone I liked the color blue and proceeded to get yelled at for it. gotta love them political journalism majors.
TL;DR: I’m scared. I kind of hope everyone else is too.
56 days.
xx Gabi