Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Trolls: Confessions of a Woman on Twitter

When I was a little kid, my dad used to tell me stories about trolls. He told me they lived under bridges, usually when we were at the playground and he was pretending to "get" me. He used to drive with one of those plastic troll dolls sitting on his steering wheel, "talking" to me and my brother and sister on the way to school about lunch and recess and troll stuff.

Now I'm older. And now I know that trolls are all too real.

Last night, on Twitter, I quoted a fairly innocuous tweet from Cosmopolitan, of all places:

You'll notice I didn't hashtag anything. I didn't tag anyone. I was just scrolling through Twitter on a Tuesday night, relaxing before bed, thinking about how I might introduce myself to my new students the next day.

I won't deny sizeism and thin privilege have always been interests of mine. I minored in Gender Studies and took a number of gender and sexuality studies courses during my MA program. I'm especially interested in the ways Western culture sexualizes, constructs, hides, and displays fat bodies, especially women's. I suspect this is partly because my own siblings and I vary wildly in weight, height, and even skin tones despite the fact that we were born of the same parents. I find it incredibly interesting that genetics should work one way while culture dictates different responses based largely on arbitrary categories. Fat studies isn't my major field of interest, but I do find the conversation interesting, nonetheless.

But apparently, being a woman with an opinion is absolutely not allowed.

I woke up the next day, went to work, met some of my fantastic new students, and generally felt happy about the outlook of the semester. And then, around lunchtime, as I was contemplating what to fix, my phone began pinging out of control. My Twitter notifications were going off, and I thought l, "Surely no one is this interested in my tweet about waking up early. I mean, really." And I was right. No one was interested in that tweet. What I did get was a barrage of hateful responses to a tweet I had already forgotten about.

The onslaught began when this Milo Yiannopoulous-wannabe quoted my tweet:

Let's ignore for the moment that this person had to search nearly 15 HOURS worth of tweets to find mine and quote it. Fine. Whatever. He has no life. Let's instead focus on the fact that, instead of engaging me in any kind of meaningful dialogue about an opinion he obviously doesn't agree with, he chose to call me fat and jealous. And let me point out that I mentioned nothing about being fat myself in my own tweet; I referred, instead, to a culture in which fat-bodied people are maligned by the medical and fashion communities for being annoying, troublesome, and unwilling to fit the "norm."

Now, I probably shouldn't have responded. I know how trolls work. I know the pathology. Rile em up and "trigger" em. Make them look crazy. Gaslight them. But my own pain and hurt got the better of me. So I said:

(That typo will haunt me for the rest of my life.)

And I thought that would be the end of things. Apparently, though, by a quick look at my face and hair, this user could tell I was fat, ugly, and too disgusting to warrant basic human decency. And his was followed by a nearly constant, hour long stream of abusive tweets:

And then this one, perhaps the worst of all:

Yes. Hideous. Like a fucking monster.

And I have to wonder why. Because I dared to have an opinion? Because I'm a woman who dared to have an opinion? Because I'm not thin-bodied but I still have things to say?

But wait a second. This is MY Twitter feed. And even though it is public, I expect to post without incurring the wrath of (mostly male) trolls who feel the need to comment on my appearance and intelligence because they don't agree with my opinion. And most importantly, I didn't seek out an argument. These trolls found me. And they assumed, like all bigots do, that I'm a caricature of a human being - a slovenly liberal fatty, sitting around my apartment in my jelly-stained shirt, gorging on donuts and burgers.

Well, here's some things you missed, Twitter trolls:

1. I home cook nearly all of my meals. I consciously plan meals which incorporate all the food groups so as to consume all my daily nutrients. I generally try to follow a high protein, low-fat diet.

2. I listen to true crime podcasts (s/o to My Favorite Murder) and creep myself out.

3. I rescued a dog a year ago that I walk up and down the hills of my mountain town, so we can BOTH get exercise.

4. My favorite snack is pecans. Donuts are pretty dope, but the sugar makes my head hurt after awhile.

5. I like to watch crime dramas and documentaries. (And not always the good ones. Like shitty History channel ones.)

6. I have two more pets for whom I would literally gnaw off my own arm if need be.

7. I take vitamins everyday to ensure that my body is healthy, especially my boss red curls.

8. I love sports, especially football. I religiously watch the Saints play, even when they lose. (Which is often.)

9. I hand-make wreaths because I'm fucking talented.

10. I'm in a PhD program because I'm smart. I'm incredibly close to my family. I have friends that love me who I love in return. I have a favorite song and a favorite book and a favorite movie. You see, Twitter trolls, I'm a person. A real person. And when you say these things - these horrible, insensitive things - you say them to a person with feelings, with memories, with morals, with highs and lows and the capacity to really, truly be wounded by your words.

See, you, Twitter trolls, you are bullies, and this is what bullies do. You needle a person, hone in on one thing, the thing which they are the most insecure about, and you exploit it until that person is a shell of their former glory. And you'll keep doing it. I know - I watched, fairly helpless, as you moved on to harass a black woman who felt confident enough to post a picture of herself in a bathing suit and revel in her own body. And I'm sure you think you won something.

But not this time, babies.

Because I'm glorious. And you may think I'm fat. That's fine. But I'm not any less FUCKING GLORIOUS.

So, suck on them apples, bitches.  

Friday, February 12, 2016

Ah Ah Ah Ah – Staying Alive!

I am Millennial. How Millennial, you ask? I’m Millennial as fuck.

So Millennial that I refer to myself as a 90s kid without a hint of irony. So Millennial that I do occasionally (like once a week) take time out of my otherwise busy schedule to take selfies for no other purpose than to post the best one on social media. So Millennial that I have thought extensively and in great depth about which Friends character I am at heart. So Millennial that a senior staff member at Time could easily read through my tweets and write a snarky article about me. I am Millennial with a capital M.

Need further proof? Oh, okay. I got you, bae.

Here are a few things I did this week:

  1. Tried to order pizza at 10 AM
  2. Laid in bed and watched Criminal Minds for six hours straight
  3. Cried when my mom sent me a Valentine’s Day gift
  4. Moved all of the pictures on the my walls on a Wednesday night at 11 PM
  5. Freaked out and texted my best friend AND sister when R. Kelly liked one of my Instagram photos
Oh yeah, that’s me, in all my Millennial glory. Move over T-Swift! I just ate cheese sticks for dinner in my bathroom while I was taking off my makeup.

SO. If it’s not already painfully obvious, my grasp on adulthood is shaky, at best. I’m exceedingly terrible at completing adulty tasks, like, ya know, washing dishes and taking out trash. I don’t think I’ve made my bed since I moved into my new apartment. There are potato chips in my cabinet that are so old I could probably use them as poker currency.  I have a leak in my shower that I should prooobably fix. But eh.

You know me. We’ve met. I’m a Millennial.

But here are a few other things about me. I’m smart and educated. I’ve kept two cats and a dog alive without anybody seriously harming anyone else. (It helps that all of my animals have a vested interest in sleeping for as many hours of the day as they possibly can.) I work and go to school in a PhD program. I stretch a little bit of money – and I do mean a really little bit – a long way. I recently learned how to make some pretty dope coffee.

No, I’m not so great at remembering to wash clothes. And yes, I have made an actual hobby out of seeing how long I can hit snooze before I absolutely have to get up. (It’s four times, if you’re wondering.) Still, I’m pretty proud of myself.

I know, I know. It’s weird to be proud of yourself for staying alive. Like, yeah bro. That’s the end game. It’s your biological imperative to keep yourself alive. I knoooow.

But damn, man, life’s hard! Living WELL below the poverty line is hard. Actively deciding to grocery shop and cook dinner rather than eat off the Taco Bell dollar menu every night of the week is hard. Plucking up the energy to drag my tired ass into the shower (almost) every day is hard. And health insurance and taxes and dating and vet bills and buying a car and all the other things no one tells you about adulthood. It’s all HARD. I feel like that round plate continually spinning around in the microwave, waiting for a beep.

Where’s my beep, man? DAMMIT, I NEED A BEEP.

Here I am, though, working and studying and paying bills and trying to save money. (HA!) So hell yes I’m proud of myself. I might be the quintessential white girl without my shit together, but I’m fine with that. Why? Because I’m alive. And even more than that, I’m staying alive, every single day.

All original content copyright Kimberly Turner, 2016-2016.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

It happens. It happens to us all. One day you’re smiling and your heart’s busting out of its frame Grinch-style and you’re so happy even strangers want to punch you in face, and the next you’re crying into a Grilled Stuffed Burrito in the Taco Bell drive thru at 3 AM. You’re so sad you can’t even drink. You’re that person at the bar who nurses a beer and goes home stone cold sober. And then proceeds to get shitty drunk. With your cat. And a box of Thin Mints. You’re bumming out rain clouds.

Don’t worry. We’ve all been you.

You’re heartbroken.

It’s a curious thing, heartbreak. Every writer under the sun has described heartbreak in some way, shape, or form (because, believe me, it takes many), but no one really seems to know how to say what it is. Is it a shattering? A breaking apart? A fading away? Is it starvation? Suffocation? Drowning? Hell, is it all of those things? The moral of the story is this: it may be all of those things, and it may be none of those things. Not a single one of us, not even the famed writers among us, really knows.

Because it’s heartbreak.

And if heartbreak is anything, it’s a fickle bitch. The kind that creeps up on you when you’re at a stop light, being totally normal, jamming to Taylor Swift and pretending it’s something cooler. (But DAMMIT, “Shake It Off” is a good song.) Then, before you know it, heartbreak is buckled into the seat next to you, willing – daring – you to kick her out as you snot-sob all over yourself and search for a Kleenex. This is invariably the point when the person next to you in traffic looks over and you two make what will become the most uncomfortable second of eye contact in human history, and they will look away hurriedly because they will now think you’re unhinged.

Heartbreak is the kind of bitch that follows you around all day but only interrupts you while you’re eating. In public. (Because crying in public over a full plate of spaghetti doesn’t make you look like a sad sack AT ALL.) You just can’t make sense of a thing like heartbreak. It’s useless, really, so give it up now.

Maybe heartbreak made more sense in the days before Twitter and Facebook and Instagram. But not anymore, amigos. It’s nearly impossible to break up or separate or just take a couple of damn seconds way from each other to breathe in the Millennial generation without opening up one app or another to see their big ole mug staring back at you. “Oh hey, it’s you, the face of my misery,” you think. “So nice to see you were out last night playing pool while I was laying in my bed watching The Gilmore Girls and willing myself not to roll out of the window.” It’s the catch 22 of dating in the era of social media; to be a social media user is to be connected, global, and in the loop, but it’s Facebook and Instragram that constantly remind us that our exes are doing better than we are with one perfectly cropped photo after another.

This, of course, only contributes to the break neck, Indy 500-like speed in which some Millennials jump into new relationships (or relationships) in order to win the break up. And you have to win the break up, or you’re the loser. If you don’t bring home Gael from the sands of Argentina, you have to grow an itchy break-up beard and hope that sucker doesn’t come in patchy. It is imperative to ALWAYS seem as if you’re okay – better than okay, even! You’re FAN-FUCKING-TASTIC. Wanna know how everyone knows? You put it on social media. You’re winning the break up, dammit.

But it’s all this winning and losing and visibility that has made breaking up that much harder for Millennials. Constantly seeing the source of your pain is essentially an endless cycle of scab-picking. It’s worse, of course, if you’re only seeing the aforementioned ex on social media because, at this point, your imagination has free reign to turn you into a batshit crazy psycho. Suddenly, the girl he’s standing next to in that picture is his new girlfriend, and they’re probably going to get married, and what if he’s already had sex with her, THAT BASTARD?!

I’ve been there. I know.

In 2010, my last year of college, I felt the wrenches of my first real heartbreak. I bloomed a little later than most, I know, but there it was. I thought I would never, ever heal. I was certain beyond all certainty that I would die with this fiery weight in my chest. I cried all the time. I threw up on a dime. I checked social media like I got paid for it. I was your typical hot mess. But things happened. Time happened. My family got my mom through cancer, I moved away from home, both of my siblings got married. Slowly, the weight lifted and my chest opened up and I finally felt like I might be able to take one, full, deep breath again.  

It’s 2014 now, and I’ve found myself in the same situation. Well, sans cancer (whoo!), and I’m actually back home.  But I’m heartbroken again, and so many things are the same. I still write things down obsessively in the hopes of capturing every detail, remembering every moment. I still check social media in the hopes that he’s changed his mind and suddenly decided he’s into Facebook and Instagram – ha! I still find untold amounts of joy in wallowing in my bed and watching Friends episodes until I can laugh on cue with the laugh track.  And my tendency to make mixed CDs when I’m sad hasn’t changed at all.

When I was “cleaning” out my car last week, I found the old editions. That’s right. It’s plural. One sad CD never cuts it. But there’s no shame in my game. So here it is, My Journey Through Heartbreak: The Mixed CDs, Vols. 1 & 2:

Over It!* - 2010
  1. “The Bitch is Back,” Elton John
  2. “Back in Black,” AC/DC
  3. “When Did You Heart Go Missing?” Rooney
  4. “That’s All,” Genesis**
  5. “Go Your Own Way,” Fleetwood Mac
  6. “How I Could Just Kill a Man,” Charlotte Sometimes
  7. “Fuck You,” CeeLo Green
  8. “People are Strange,” The Doors
  9. “Another One Bites the Dust,” Queen
  10. “So What,” Pink
  11. “Believe,” Cher
  12. “Stop!” Against Me!
  13. “You Get What You Give,” New Radicals
  14. “Old Ways,” Chiddy Bang
  15. “Photograph,” Def Leppard
  16. “Hound Dog,” Elvis
  17. “Bitch,” Meredith Brooks
  18. “What I Got,” Sublime
  19. “Here Comes the Sun,” George Harrison
  20. “Never Going Back Again,” Fleetwood Mac***

Love and Sex and Loneliness - 2014
  1. “Back on Chain Gang,” The Pretenders
  2. “Big Machine,” Goo Goo Dolls
  3.  “Buttons,”  The Weeks
  4. “Cola,” Lana del Ray
  5. “Dearly Departed,” Shakey Graves ft. Esmé Patterson
  6. “Follow Your Arrow,” Kacey Musgraves
  7. “Gypsy,” Fleetwood Mac
  8. “High,” ToveLo
  9. “Head On (Hold On to Your Heart),” Man Man
  10. “I Ain’t the Same,” The Alabama Shakes
  11. “I Won’t Back Down,” Tom Petty and  the Heartbreakers
  12. “Losing You,” John Butler Trio
  13. “Take Me to Church,” Hozier
  14. “Temporary Blues,” The Features
  15.  “This Land is Your Land,” My Morning Jacket****
  16. “Wild Child,” Brett Dennen
  17. “Wonderful World,” Sam Cooke
  18. “You Don’t Know How It Feels,” Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
  19. “You Really Got a Hold on Me,” Smokey Robinson and the Miracle
SO. What can take from these playlists?

Firstly, heartbreak does slowly, ever so slowly, alter into an entity you can learn to live with. Eventually, you stop reacting with anger, and you learn to accept the lesson in the pain. It’s there, somewhere, even if you have to dig for it.

And secondly, Fleetwood Mac is timeless.

* That’s right. I named them.
** I was young and sad. Leave me alone.
*** This is back when all of my mixed CDs had story arcs.
**** So it’s not exactly a “love” song, in the traditional sense, but it’s sort of a love song to the wild spirit of America, and I'm trying that whole embrace-messy-hair (aka your messy soul) thing these days. 

All original content copyright Kimberly Turner, 2014-2014.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

One Man Away from Welfare: The Millennial Girl’s Story of Working and Womanhood

“Women are systematically degraded by receiving the trivial attentions which men think it manly to pay to the sex, when, in fact, men are insultingly supporting their own superiority.” – Helen Keller

There’s this pesky rumor going around about Millennials. Something along the lines of how we hate to work, and when we do, we essentially suck at it.

Let me set the record straight.

I’m 26 years old. I have a Master’s degree, I teach college English, and I have multiple publications to my name. And until about two weeks ago, I worked two jobs.

I’ll do that math for you. That’s six days a week where I did work that someone actually had to pay me for (which is completely different than the crafting work I do in the hopes of one day dethroning Martha Stewart in a cuter, less 10 to 15 kind of way). Four of those six days ended up culminating in 15+ work hours, which isn’t counting grading I took home with me. So here’s my point: I work hard. I always have. I’m not a slack ass.

Yet, with a few clicks, you can find a host of condescending web articles, including this incredibly special video "Millennials in the Workplace Training Video," which details all the ways in which Millennials pale in comparison to their predecessors in the workplace. But don’t take my word for it. Just Google it. There are plenty of articles out there describing how exactly managers can “deal” with their up and coming Millennial employees. As if we are the ebola of the workplace - an entity that needs to be handled. We, the needy, self-absorbed, whiny, and lest we forget lazy Millennials destined to plummet the American economy into the worst recession it’s seen since the Great Depression. Oh wait…

But I digress. 

The most frustrating part of this whole ordeal – the ordeal being that I am a Millennial worker in a Boomer run world – is the fact that women still face the added challenge of actually being women. So on top of being young and thus subject to skepticism, millennial women and I also have to deal with men who challenge our position in the workplace for no reason other than the fact that our junk turns inward.

Case in point: recently, after a year, I left a job at a small business – a gourmet pizza place, actually – where two male bosses twice my age repeatedly undermined my intelligence. Never mind the fact that I have somehow with my feeble woman brain managed to acquire not one but TWO degrees. Or the fact that my colleagues (most of whom have PhDs and M.As) seem to find my performance up to par. OR the fact that an article of mine was just published in a scholarly collection examining Girls and Millennial angst.

Put that aside for a minute, and what do you have?

You have one boss who apologized to one of MY COLLEAGUES for anything I might “do wrong” while he sat at the bar with his wife. A colleague I asked to come eat and drink a beer while I worked in an attempt to promote the restaurant, mind you.

You have another boss who made several jokes to me and other female coworkers bordering on sexual harassment. A man who thought nothing of flippantly announcing that I wanted to “go through the initiation process” as I joked with a fellow Sons of Anarchy fan about how I’d make a killer old lady (on account of being small and innocent looking – I'm a tiny ginger with a baby face. Who would ever suspect me??). Now, I know I’m young and I’m burdened with this damn lady brain, but I do feel as if casually jesting to a coworker half one’s age about having a train run on her (or more accurately, wishing to have a train run on her) might, just might, fall under the category of sexual harassment. I could be wrong though.

You have two men in their forties who repeatedly called ME, a woman in my mid-twenties, immature and disrespectful because I demanded to be treated with common human decency. That uniquely Millennial desire for something more than simple acknowledgement of existence from an employer and an understanding that there are lines that should be respected. And when they aren't, we are allowed to say so, regardless of our age.

So yes, I’m annoyed. I’m bothered by the fact that my age, gender and intelligence are characteristics that somehow make me suspect or threatening or uncomfortable. Even more frustrating to me is the very fact that I feel the need to justify myself for sounding like a snot-nosed, entitled Millennial kid who’s never known a day of real struggle in her life, let alone the tribulations of women who fought the good fight so I could stand up to two men twice my age, hold up my finger, and say, “Let me stop you right there, you RAGING ASSHATS.”

The truth of the matter, though, is that Millennial women have been taught to fear the F word: FEMINISM. (Eeeek!) That scary bra-less condition that may turn us into those Rush Limbaugh-imagined feminazis with lasers for eyes, loaded missiles for breasts, and God knows what between our legs.

So what we have then is women, particularly young millennial women new to the adult workplace, living in a world of catch 22s. It’s like Claire Shipman and Katty Kay say in their book, The Confidence Code: The Science And Art Of Self-Assurance – What Women Should Know, “Women suffer consequences for their lack of confidence—but when they do behave assertively, they may suffer a whole other set of consequences, ones that men don’t typically experience…. If a woman walks into her boss’s office with unsolicited opinions, speaks up first at meetings, or gives business advice above her pay grade, she risks being disliked or even—let’s be blunt—being labeled a bitch. The more a woman succeeds, the worse the vitriol seems to get. It’s not just her competence that’s called into question; it’s her very character.”
Basically, kids, the moral of the story is this: there's still no place for a capable woman who relies on her brain in a man's world.

But I have another F word for just such occasions:



All day long.

But just in case that isn’t clear enough, here’s a chart that breaks it down a little further:   

Things I Do Like a Girl
Things I Don’t Do Like a Girl
Earn 77 cents to every man’s dollar




Have and/or express emotions

I think that covers it. 

Now, I don't imagine my diatribe will stop anyone, even those who do sympathize with the plight of the millennial women, from actually eating there. They do serve good food, after all. And very often our ethics take a back seat to other, more pressing needs and desires. And I'm even more sure that both of my former bosses could list on cue every reason why I was the most terrible employee to ever grace their threshold. 

But regardless, I’ll leave you with a quote from one of the  baddest bitches around, the ever-legendary lucky star Madonna: “I’m tough, I’m ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.” 

All original content copyright Kimberly Turner, 2014-2014.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Losing Robin Williams: It’s Okay to Mourn a Stranger

Unless you live under a rock (or the outer lying regions of the Pee Dee area, which are really one in the same place), you’ve heard the news about Robin Williams. You’ve heard that Robin Williams is dead by his own hand.

Last night, when I heard, I sat in the love seat in my parents’ living room, and I wept openly. My mother expressed her concern for me several times, like any good mother hen would, and I kept telling her I’d be fine. I apologized for crying over a stranger. “I don’t know what’s the matter with me,” I said. One, two, three times. I said it again and again, for as many times as I started to cry anew.

But this morning, when I woke up, I was still sad deep in my gut. And more than that, I was peevish. I thought to myself, “FUCK that.” Why should I feel ashamed for crying over Robin Williams? Why should that make me feel stupid or in any way like I’m weak?

True, Robin Williams was no friend of mine. I didn’t meet him at Disney World. I wasn’t his roommate at Julliard. I didn’t see him perform live anywhere. I never even shook his hand.

I never knew him as Mork or Garp or the Fisher King. But I knew him.

For me, and millions of Millennials like me, Robin Williams is inexorably bound up with memories of childhood. Robin Williams is, for me, the face of the 90s. Those fantastical years when I was a kid and the most pressing concerns in my life were if I would get home in time to watch Wishbone and if I could maybe read a little in my American Girl book after that. Those years when staying up late with my mom to watch Jay Leno and eat Nutty Butty ice cream cones were a little bit deviant but also really, really special. Those years when my sister and I still shared a bed because my parents didn’t have the money for an extra mattress, but neither of us cared because we fell asleep snuggled up like bugs in a rug every night.

I still remember the very first time I saw Robin Williams on film (kinda). My parents schleped all three of us – my brother, my sister and me – to see Aladdin in theaters. My sister was still an arm baby, my brother about two and half, and I was four. No easy feat for two mortal parents, especially since my M.O. was to ask as many questions about EVERY LITTLE THING as I possibly could. I’m sure the outing wasn’t an easy one. But we went, nonetheless. And it remains one of the earliest, strongest memories I have, not because I loved the movie so much but because my dad did. I remember my dad laughing hysterically at the Genie doing celebrity impressions, and I laughed too. It would be years before I understood the jokes, but the sheer, unadulterated amusement on my dad’s face was contagious. Four-year-old me peeled into giggles at the mere sight of my daddy laughing so hard. Something good must have been happening. I knew it then. And I know it now. To this day, I can picture vividly the way my dad’s face looked, his eyes closed, his head tilted back, his whole body given over to laughter and happiness.

Robin Williams did that for him. Robin Williams did that for me.

He recreated Peter Pan for a generation of Millennial viewers who may well have otherwise forgotten a Disney movie long ago shelved. He gave life to a cross-dressing nanny, a flamboyant cabaret owner, a man destined to finish a game before dinosaurs destroyed his town, a fifth-grader who looked older than most of his friends’ parents, and a professor who discovered the existence of flubber. Robin Williams didn’t just shape my childhood; he was my childhood. He was my innocence.

And he continued to be. For as long as I have been alive, Robin Williams has been a constant. He was always there, quietly, occupying space in the recesses of my mind, in the place where everything is normal and stable, and I don’t have to think or keep track or try to muddle through.

But yesterday, the last and possibly one of the best vestiges of my childhood died, not in contentment, but in sadness. Not with a whimper, not with a bang, but with a giving up.

And maybe that’s why I’ve had such a profound emotional response to the death of a man I’ve never met and will never meet. This is the end of the road for Millennials.

We are no longer children. Our Peter Pan is dead.

Yes, I know there are more pressing issues. I know Iraqi children die every day in ISIS’ hate-fueled genocide. I know millions of Americans live below the poverty line and can barely afford to eat. I know that ebola has entered our country and black men still can’t walk in the streets without fear of retaliation for little more than being black and women now have to face the added horror that their rapes might end up as internet memes.

But just for now, let us mourn. Let me mourn. Let me mourn the dying pieces of my childhood as I make my ever-quickening journey toward thirty, toward adulthood, and further and further away from the magic of simply being a silly little girl, in the theater with her family, laughing at a big blue genie. 

"Oh, no. To live... to live would be an awfully big adventure." - Peter Banning, Hook

Bangarang, Robin. 

All original content copyright Kimberly Turner, 2014-2014.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Touch of Fiction

I've always had a flair for writing, both fiction and non-fiction. Surprising, I know. SO, I've decided to flex my muscles and mix things up. What better way than to put some creative writing out into this ever-crazy, YOLO-ing, over-moralizing world. Here goes. 


No one ever feels sorry for the other woman. They may conjure up a bit of sympathy for a man who cheats – she’s a hard woman, I heard it was a midlife crisis, you know we all make stupid mistakes when we’re under that kind of stress – but never do they cast a forgiving eye on the woman who stoops so low. Who poaches. Who makes herself a slut. What woman would do that? What kind of woman would do that? 

I’m that kind of woman. I am that woman. 

I don’t want you to hate me though. Don’t hate me. I’m not the kind of woman you hate. When I take quizzes in women’s magazines, I always know that my friends would describe me as loyal or kind. I ask them, just to be sure, but I know that’s what they would say. Because I am. I am loyal and kind. I know that you would like me if you knew me. 

Besides, any person who tells you with a straight face that they haven’t spent their whole life looking for love is a fucking liar. 

I know it for a fact. We look for love incessantly, in the nooks and crannies of our lives, in the space between reality and the lives we wish we led. The urge for love runs through our bodies deep in our cells, and we can’t do shit to fight it. We seek it. In our pets, in our children, our lovers, and our friends. To love isn’t human nature, but the pursuit of love is part of the human condition. We wear it like skin. 

Here’s what I know for certain: love doesn’t come to you like it should, like a quiet knowing that settles itself around you like a warm fog. Love is a three-legged dog running like hell to avoid the cage. You can catch her, but you’ve got to be quick on your feet. 

So I promise I’ll tell you the truth. All of it. That’s all anyone ever wants, isn’t it? The truth, in all its tiny, shining parts. This will be the truth, I swear it. I swear it to you.  

All original content copyright Kimberly Turner, 2014-2014.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Future Freaks Me Out (No, Seriously Though)

Pardon me, I’m about to go crazy cat lady on you. (Sorry I’m not that sorry.)

Get this: within the veterinary community, there exists a pervasive notion that cats who live relatively domesticated (read: indoor) lives will come to view their owners (ha!) as surrogate mothers and thus live in a prolonged state of kittenhood.

(By the way, that was totally a Jeopardy question. It’s definitely not like I know this useless piece of feline trivia because I stalk veterinary forums to ensure that my cats really are supposed to look at me with that hateful stank face all of the time. Just in case you were wondering.)

The point is this: adult cats, given food, toys, chin scratches, and a sizeable portion of every bed in their considerable domain, will retain their kitten-like qualities of playing, purring, and generally being the cutest fucking creatures to ever walk the earth.

Now, think about this: recently, every news outlet from The Wall Street Journal to Jezebel has published something (usually snippy) about the emergence of “millennials,” that much scrutinized group of people born between 1981 and 2000, as defined by the Pew Research Center. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but we’re “America’s newest generation.” Even though it sounds like we ought to be rolling our hair in victory curls and letting our boys slip their hands up our skirts before they march off to war, all this really means is that Generation X is now old news. They’ve had their hay day (e.g. Reality Bites and pretty much any other movie Wynonna Ryder starred in during the 90s).  Gen Xers have kids now, and that’s pretty much the social equivalent of getting braces and wearing high waters. Nobody with crazed mom eyes or receding dad hairline gives a flying shit what’s on Twitter or Kik or Snapchat because they’ve got elementary-aged kids in their houses, and they spend most days trying to not pluck their own eyelashes out one by one. Justin Bieber? Miley Cyrus? Unless those name are followed by “microwave-safe” or “family size,” most of our Gen X friends don’t give a good God damn.

But not us. We’re Millennials. We’re basically the walking, talking, YOLO-ing future of America. Morley Safer even said so on 60 Minutes when he dedicated a WHOLE HOUR (get it??) to us in a show called, “The ‘Millennials’ Are Coming.” I will kindly overlook the fact that CBS cast millennials as some amalgamation of 1950s B horror movie villains riding into town like the horsemen of the Apocalypse bent on making everyone dance. (Footloose reference. CHA-CHING.) The gist of all this talk is this: Millennials are entitled, unaccustomed to hard work, and unwilling to fly the coop. In essence, Millennials are the weird adult cat-kittens of the new technology-driven, socially-accepting, network-forming world. We are part of, what some neuroscientists are now calling, “emerging adulthood.”

Maybe that’s all true. Maybe I just feel a little defensive because I am a millennial and I have lived at home and I do occasionally need to mooch off my parents. I mean, I think it’s fairly general knowledge at this point that the human brain doesn’t fully form until approximately age 25, which for most millennials is coming up or very recently became a thing of the past. We all sure as hell know that we aren’t even remotely prepared to make complicated life decisions as teenagers. When I was sixteen, I bought bright yellow sweat pants and wore them to school as a completely legitimate fashion statement. Proof positive that the young adult brain is subject to periods of serious instability.

(Never mind the fact that I’m 25, and last weekend I bought a ring so big and ridiculous that it makes Kim Kardashian’s butt look believable.)
The point is that I just find it a little odd – off-putting, if you will – that the very people who raised us are now complaining that we’re not acting according to the values our parents raised us with. Does anyone else see a sizeable gap in logic there? Weren’t we told to go to school? To prepare for college? To wait for marriage and babies until we had a degree? Weren’t we the generation whose parents wanted us to be involved in extracurricular activities and make tons of friends and just be kids? Weren’t we encouraged not to be our parents by our parents?

Bottom line: this ain’t your daddy’s rodeo.

Life is different now. The world is different now. And millennials are the first group of young people trying to figure it all out. We were the first generation of tweens to have in-home computers and the first crop of teenagers to have our own personal cell phones. (And these weren’t iPhones, guys. These suckers were BRICKS.) We’re the first generation to figure out dating and jobs and love and kids and marriage and how to tie our freaking shoes with computers, phones, iPods, tablets, Nooks, Kindles, and God knows what else buzzing all around us. We’re growing into adults in the wake of 9/11, with the advent of social networking, and in the midst of one of the most precarious economies since FDR busted out the New Deal.

SO YEAH, I have no idea what I’m doing with my life. Go get a PhD? Take a few years off and work? Eat a bagel for breakfast? Somehow, my life has become a never-ending game of Twenty Questions that doesn’t seem to have any discernible answers. Meanwhile, all these Baby Boomers and Gen Xers keep demanding that we, the beguiling Millennials, act our age (not our shoe size). And I’m still kinda wondering, damn, what’s my age again?

The PIMP Ring. I wear it and immediately feel like Beyonce. 

All original content copyright Kimberly Turner, 2013-2013.