on happiness

Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know. - Ernest Hemingway

When I saw this on my dash, I reblogged it immediately onto my tumblr. It rang true because the bitch of a friend  was the one who first proposed this idea to me. I wouldn't necessarily call her intelligent (might be biased) but yes she was clever in certain ways and her douchebag of a boyfriend had his moments. Every idiot has their moments of clarity. 

This time I saw it appear on my dash again I thought it was unfair. "Stupid" people can be unhappy. We're at 7 billion people now or something? I would bet great deal of money that no one is happy and everyone is intelligent in their way. Although, my ex-boyfriend, he was not exactly very intelligent (in terms of academics) and a happy content fellow so exceptions exist of course. Perhaps it is not so much that you are intelligent but if you tend to over-think, over-analyse and dwell on past events (but really who doesn't) then you have a harder time processing the sadness and "be happy."

The first link that popped up when I googled the quote was this

"Intelligence is a gift allowing us to see with clarity and understanding, enabling the ability to solve problems quickly. The other side of that blade is knowing all the potential resolutions to a problem including the negative ones. It's being able to see the negative and realize the potential for failure that allows us to become our own worst enemies."

This leads to another reason why happiness among the intelligent is so rare. The more intelligent you are, the fewer people there are in the world who you can talk to as equals. The majority of a people are of a certain intellect that allows them to be content with the world around them, unquestioning and accepting of who and what they are and why they are here. 

The minority who is blessed and cursed with intelligence sees a potential beyond simply getting up in the morning, going to work, and raising a family. They also wonder why they can't be happy and content with what makes everybody else happy and content. Everybody else chatters happily about television shows and what they are going to do over the holidays, but to him or her it all sounds like meaningless noise."

Thank god for other people's writing because they can put the ideas in my head in writing more eloquently than my scattered brain can at any given moment. 

And the line about potential. That really kills me. What could have happened. I am pro at playing the what-if game and being disappointed in people. 

Bless the internet. All those who wish to find a way to express their sadness can go there and feel less alone. So many of the tumblrs I follow seem to carry the same grief as me in some way or another. I wish I could draw, I wish I could take photographs, I wish I could paint, I wish I could write lyrics and sing but since I have none of those talents I'd rather just tumble away and use other people's talents to express myself. I could find a hobby, I could throw myself into learning computer science and programming, I could start running again or just focus on my studies but that's not how depression works. I simply have no motivation to do anything, let alone leave my bed. My computer and the internet is my one lifeline, one link to the world and reminder to look beyond my immediate situation because there is always more. Always. 

On one hand this helps me deal with the sadness but on the other hand I basically become a potato. On the outside I look like a catatonic hobo on my bed in front of a glowing screen (no sleep schedule whatsoever but this appears to be a norm for the jobless and the people on the internet) and not eating/sleeping/functioning like any "normal" person. And I shout at anyone saying "Maybe.... you should try getting off the computer?" Leave me alone, I'm happy, this makes me feel better, I need this, this is the one thing that makes me sane, I can't deal with people, just leave me alone, this is something I can actually do, nobody is judging me, I feel less lonely because all these people think like me. 

All these people seem to think like me?

Now that's an odd concept. 
What no?! I am misunderstood! Forever alone! No one understands me!

There is a declaration throughout tumblr that the people around them infuriate them and they hate people. But somehow, those people on tumblr, they get you. Is the internet just where the intelligent people hang? No it's because the internet is big enough, diverse enough that you can find like-minded individuals, people who disagree with, people who agree with you and just find your place that makes sense. You find yourself in that you figure out what you like and what you don't like. Also no stupid passing thought is stupid on the internet. Turns out, other people have thought about it too. If your incessant commentary on life is considered annoying by people in real life, it is embraced on the internet. I mean there are the apathetic grumpy people in your average class and then really enthusiastic happy people on tumblr who will complain with you about how people are dull and stupid.

Or is it because the internet edits your thoughts? It sifts through the awkward delivery of real life and people can't judge you on your "good looks" and clothing and you feel less pressured? You can also write them off easily since well, who cares, they're some idiot behind a screen that you'll never know. Just another idiot among the idiots you come across with daily. Not to mention the internet is where all the AWESOME things happen. Any 5 minutes on the internet will be more spectacular than any given 5 minutes of your real life. I will most likely be studying. That's boring. Go on the internet and there's gifs of Harry Potter and silly webcomics galore. 
And well, the internet doesn't really have consequences, at least on tumblr (I hope) People can reaaaalllly "be themselves" and just post endless things that make them happy and express themselves.  And it's just so weird that through a simple meme, people can find something common in an instant. Can that happen in real life more often?

But why aren't we all friends? Why can't the people around us be those people on tumblr? There was a cute post going around along the lines of Facebook is like the friends you went to high school with whereas tumblr is the friends you WISH you went to high school with. 

Well turns out common sense is rare. I have no idea why so many people are stupid. I have no idea why it's not the other way around. 

There's only a small percentage of people on tumblr that exist in your immediate surroundings and a lot of filler people. Turns the overwhelming majority of tumblr-ers who seem to be your soulmate, the actuality is they are the minority of the world. And perhaps, they only exist on their computers and they are a muted version of their online selves in real life. And maybe I'm looking at them through the rose-coloured glasses (pixelated screens I think there's a funny analogy in there somewhere) and seeing the person they aspire to be. I aspire to be many things and I guess tumblr is where I find the examples.  Not to mention, well tumblr has a lot of young (under 16 I'd say and this is total generalization) females who just post a shitload of fashion stuff (models and expensive bags and bloggers wearing ripped denim) and want to be famous /popular/powerful for some reason. My hope is they mature and you know, grow out of it. (it's a phase, please just let it be a phase for all of them) 

Tumblr does the magical task of sifting through the billions and finding the hundred that are like-minded and who "get" you. 

I feel like I belong in this world on tumblr that I throw my fist in the air and go "Yes! People like me! I am not alone! I CAN HAVE FRIENDS! MANY FRIENDS" I mean look at all the notes on this picture or quote!!! But they aren't here...physically and can't actual hug me, can't actually drag me out of bed. They have the exact same problem as me and they deal with it in the same way I do. Also, the whole To Catch a Predator thing makes people iffy about becoming friends via the internet. Don't blame them. If you are on tumblr, most of the time you're lurking and like to creep other people's lives without revealing anything about yourself. And then you find out they're creeping you and you go gah they know all these intimate details and the innermost thoughts of the people I know! Don't find me in real life!

There is always the hope you run into someone IRL who has common sense and who isn't a douche and is awesome as the people you come across on tumblr. Until then I am on the tumblr in my happy place. Maybe one day I will make a real human connection on tumblr and gasp meet in real life?  I prefer avoiding reality and just lurking (no chance of being disappointed) 

P.S. This will get edited gradually as brain function improves. Editing is good people.
I keep thinking naively that everyone goes on the internet! Therefore people on internet exist in real life. Therefore, they must be near me. Go forth and find! And then I remember I'm a hermit and only come in contact with people only online. 


expecto patronum

Depression sucks.

I have no control over my emotions. I will be angry for two minutes and then sad again. I will be happy for half an hour and then emotional again.

So far all I've done is lay on my bed and watch episodes of Chopped.

I'm just waiting for it to pass.


This is the most accurate portrayal of depression I have seen.

"It's disappointing to feel sad for no reason. Sadness can be almost pleasantly indulgent when you have a way to justify it - you can listen to sad music and imagine yourself as the protagonist in a dramatic movie. You can gaze out the window while you're crying and think "This is so sad. I can't even believe how sad this whole situation is. I bet even a reenactment of my sadness could bring an entire theater audience to tears."

But my sadness didn't have a purpose.  Listening to sad music and imagining that my life was a movie just made me feel kind of weird because I couldn't really get behind the idea of a movie where the character is sad for no reason."

Depression sucks. Period. If someone says to you they have depression, don't ask why. There is no why. Don't say "Stop being sad." That is not helpful. Just be around and make sure they eat and go outside. Remind them every day it will get better. Tell them every day you love them and losing them would be unbearable. There is nothing else you can do. 

Thank you Allie Brosh and I wish you the best.


Over the top

Why play it safe in hair and makeup when it comes to fashion photography?




Frida Gustavsson by Andreas Öhlund for Elle Sweden


Among one of the best editorials I've seen.



I have a rather severe style. I like crisp collars, sharply tailored button shirts and black. You can say it's prim and proper but I like to think of it as my nun armour. It sounds tougher.

My guy friend told me that the reason I might be considered more of a "bro" and not "girlfriend material" is because I am not feminine enough.

To this I scoffed I am feminine. To wit I shall post at a later date the things I believe make me feel like a woman. But I do have a rather manly way of dressing. I have always been a tomboy. I hated being in dresses when I was younger and as soon as I could start dressing myself, I would rather die than wear a dress or skirt. Dresses and skirts get in the way of running, climbing and playing. You had to be careful in dresses. Later you realise that not all dresses have itchy lace and pink so every now and then I will wear a skirt. My one rule is that skirts must have pockets. I don't get why girl blazers and shirts can't have breast pockets. Yes we have breasts but we still have to carry things and since girl pants are notoriously tight with tiny pockets, we have to lug around heavy purses.

I feel more comfortable and free in jeans, a button down and a pair of converses. I wear perfume, lipstick and have beautiful lingerie. Being a person means you have both masculine and feminine qualities.

There is also the notion that I don't play into the weak female persona.  I have my vulnerable moments but to the most part I stand for my beliefs and I respectfully argue for them. Now that I am older I am more confident in myself and who I am. I won't let someone bully me and shut down my opinions and I have too much pride in myself to be taken advantaged of. It is because I am human that I am kind and sympathize with others. It is because I believe in intelligence that I cringe when girls play dumb.

The first time I swore at a person was last month. I was wearing my nicknamed dominatrix boots (aka these Camilla Skovgaard boots) and waiting for the bus. Some dickhead walks over and asks I want to hang out and I tell him no I am not interested go away. And then he says
"Wanna have sex?"
"Go fuck youself" was more than the appropriate response and I gave him my death glare until he walked away. I think a punch would have been pretty app too.

Wise people say dress for yourself and not anyone else. For both men and women, it is as though you must follow a guideline in order to be considered feminine or masculine when in reality it is a little of both. But with woman, it is majorly fucked up to think if I am wearing 6 inch leather boots it means I am looking for sex. I wear those boots because I feel strong in them and woman ought to wear whatever makes them feel strong without worrying about getting raped.

src: tumblr




Last week was absolute insanity. There will never be another like that. Last Sunday night and this Sunday night were polar opposite.

I feel so lucky that I met such a wonderful, awesome guy.
He makes what pain and anger I felt meaningless. He understands my humour and has such beautiful intelligent eyes. 
What broken heart? Why would I ever think of killing myself? What disappointment with those I trust most?

It is the feelings that I have now that has made people continue on with their lives for centuries. 
Despite how cheesy and clichéd it is (and aren't all things that are true clichéd and cheesy?) 
love is what makes it worthwhile. 

I hope everyone can find someone that makes them feel this way. There is also the deep love from my friends that I value so much. Despite being very outgoing, I am an introvert and have difficulties making new friends. The one I do have mean the world to me. Yes, three of them let me down last week. But there was one who made all the difference.

And now I have person who makes me smile deliriously. I still think this is too good to be true. Did life just seriously hand me a chocolate cake? I may be young but I've always thought of love to be like the ending of Drive. 


On Being a No-Name Blogger Using Her Real Name

In a coincidence that’s meaningful to no one but me, I decided to start writing under my real name (and fantasizing about developing a broader readership) right around the same day I first heard about Kathy Sierra. Since then, I’ve been following the endless discussions about cyberbullying, anonymity, blog civility, to what degree this is the natural consequence of the internet’s fundamental character, and to what degree it’s the natural consequence of a misogynistic culture (online or off).
Everyone seems to agree it’s the natural consequence of something, anyway, and was therefore totally predictable. Being viciously, persistently attacked for the crime of Writing While Female is something practically everyone with an opinion on the matter regards as par for the course–regardless of whether they believe that fact is outrageous and deplorable or merely, you know, the way the cookie crumbles. (And regardless of whether they believe Sierra’s real mistake was Writing While Female or Writing While Having a Legal Name or Writing While Writing ‘Cause Hey, Welcome to the Internet, Sport!)
And this agreement that bitch should have seen it coming the real problem (whatever that may be) is old as the internet leads many, many people to the same handful of conclusions. It fascinates me to see how, sometimes in the same breath, people offer the following advice to bloggers, as if every bit of it is perfectly obvious, consonant with all the rest of it, and guaranteed to end the problem:
  • Anyone with half a brain will take precautions, including but not limited to: writing under a pseudonym, making that pseudonym male or gender-neutral if you’re one of them lady bloggers, disabling anonymous comments, masking one’s personal information, being circumspect about publishing identifying details, and not writing anything that might inflame the crazies. (Like, you know, a tech blog.)
  • If you fail to take all of those precautions and thus attract yourself a crazy, the proper course of action is as follows: quit being a whiny titty-baby, because no one ever carries out online threats, and it’s probably some 14-year-old in his parents’ basement anyway.
  • If you’re pretty sure it’s not some 14-year-old in his parents’ basement and your safety is legitimately threatened, contact the authorities. Then quit blogging if you can’t take the heat.
  • Either that or keep blogging, because if you don’t, the terrorists have won.
  • Special bonus advice for women: be afraid, be very afraid. The threat is especially real for you.
  • Special bonus advice for women, part 2: if you’d just quit living in fear, the threat would go away, because it’s all in your head. Liberate yourself!
Taking all of that in in dribs and drabs, separated by lots of intelligent debates and lots of pointless horseshit, I had the same reaction a lot of women have when trying to process information about online harassment and safety. It goes like this:
Half of brain: Oh my god, I’m not doing enough to protect myself. I’m such an IDIOT! Why am I using my real name? Why am I writing about issues that I know people fucking freak out about? What kind of a narcissistic twit am I anyway to think my little voice will add anything useful to the blogosphere? Why do I feel the need to do this at all? What have I already published that people could use against me? What if there are already crazies out there Googling me? They could find out where I live in ten seconds. Should I be walking the dogs alone at night? What do I need to go back and delete? The whole thing? Should I start using a pseudonym? Why did I even name my blog after myself instead of at least coming up with a clever title for this one–like, could I trumpet “KATE HARDING” just a little louder? Could I be more fucking arrogant? What is wrong with me? WHY AM I SO STUPID?
Other half of brain: Wait, WTF? All I’m doing is publishing writing under my own name–i.e., the thing I’ve wanted to do most in the world since I was six. (Okay, the thing I’ve wanted to do most in the world since I was six was actually to publish writing under my own name and get paid for it, but that’s a trivial distinction.) I take responsibility for every word I’ve written, and I’m even proud of a lot of them. Why should some imagined psycho stop me from doing what I love and taking credit for it?
First half of brain: Because that imagined psycho might turn out to be real and come after me.
Other half: Well, you know what? FUCK HIM.
First half: Way to ask for it, dumbass.
Other half: Isn’t this all moot until I have more than four readers?
First Half: That psycho could be number five. You have no way of knowing.
The conversation continues in an endless loop, but I trust you get the gist. My favorite part of Chris Clarke’s awesome post on how not to be an asshole was where he acknowledged not only that women have heard all this shit a thousand times before, but we’ve heard it from ourselves. THANK YOU. Jesus.
Both the conversation I have with myself and the advice above it, for all their contradictions, have one clear message running through them: it’s my problem to fix. Not the psychos’. Not the culture’s, to whatever extent it fails to discourage and punish the psychos, who are often not even proper psychos but perfectly sane, if very angry, assholes. Mine. Alone.
That blows.
And yes, it certainly blows for men as well as women. The only person I know who’s suffered serious harrassment as a result of expressing opinions on the internet is my very large boyfriend. When it was happening, he felt frightened and powerless, which was the harassers’ secondary goal–the primary one being to make him shut up forever. They didn’t succeed at the primary goal, and this is all well in the past. But when I met him, not quite a year ago, and Googled him, as you do, I instantly found a site devoted entirely to explaining why and how my soon-to-be-boyfriend was a pathetic bitchass vile fuckwad who sat around in his parents’ basement trying to abridge people’s freedom of speech and had the i.q. of a fencepost and smelled like a monkey and deserved to be killed slowly and painfully and didn’t know shit about shit BUT OH HE WOULD LEARN WHEN TEH INTERNETS ROSE UP AGAINST HIM which was totally forthcoming and also he’d never seen a naked woman in his life.
That was still up, after all those years. Which was cool insofar as it made me laugh my ass off (followed promptly by my making damn sure he’d seen at least one naked woman in his life); much less cool insofar as it represented the merest taste of what he’d actually been through. So my boyfriend bristles when people talk about online harassment as a women’s issue. Understandably.
And to that I say, honey, I love you more than anything, and I don’t mean to diminish what you went through one bit, but maybe you should close this window now.
Because online harassment is still a women’s issue.
It’s a women’s issue because those goals up there–making somebody feel afraid of speaking, making somebody feel powerless to stop what’s being done to them, making somebody feel like the only recourse is to shut up and hide out forever–are the goals a whole lot of men still hold dear and work towards for all women.
You, dear male reader, are totally not one of those men. I know this, and I appreciate it. I really do. But here’s where all this victimy girl shit concerns you:
  • every time you don’t tell your buddies it’s not okay to talk shit about women, even if it’s kinda funny;
  • every time you roll your eyes and think “PMS!” instead of listening to why a woman’s upset;
  • every time you call Ann Coulter a tranny cunt instead of a halfwit demagogue;
  • every time you say any woman–Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Phyllis Schlafly, Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Clinton, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, any of us–”deserves whatever she gets” for being so detestable, instead of acknowledging there are things that no human being deserves and only women get;
  • every time you joke about how you’ll never let your daughter out of the house or anywhere near a man, ’cause ha ha, that’ll solve everything;
  • every time you say, “I don’t understand why thousands of women are insisting this is some kind of woman thing”;
  • every time you tell a woman you love she’s being crazy/hysterical/irrational, when you know deep down you haven’t heard a word she’s said in the past 15 minutes, and all you’re really thinking about is how seeing her yell and/or cry is incredibly unsettling to you, and you just want that shit to stop;
  • every time you dismiss a woman as “playing the victim,” even if you’re right about that particular woman
You are missing an opportunity to help stop the bad guys.
You’re missing an opportunity to stop the real misogynists, the fucking sickos, the ones who really, truly hate women just for being women. The ones whose ranks you do not belong to and never would. The ones who might hurt women you love in the future, or might have already.
‘Cause the thing is, you and the guys you hang out with may not really mean anything by it when you talk about crazy bitches and dumb sluts and heh-heh-I’d-hit-that and you just can’t reason with them and you can’t live with ‘em can’t shoot ‘em and she’s obviously only dressed like that because she wants to get laid and if they can’t stand the heat they should get out of the kitchen and if they can’t play by the rules they don’t belong here and if they can’t take a little teasing they should quit and heh heh they’re only good for fucking and cleaning and they’re not fit to be leaders and they’re too emotional to run a business and they just want to get their hands on our money and if they’d just stop overreacting and telling themselves they’re victims they’d realize they actually have all the power in this society and white men aren’t even allowed to do anything anymore and and and…
I get that you don’t really mean that shit. I get that you’re just talking out your ass.
But please listen, and please trust me on this one: you have probably, at some point in your life, engaged in that kind of talk with a man who really, truly hates womento the extent of having beaten and/or raped at least one. And you probably didn’t know which one he was.
And that guy? Thought you were on his side.
As long as we live in a culture where the good guys sometimes sound just like the misogynists, the misogynists are never going to get the message that they are not normal and that most people–strong, successful men included–do not hate women.
When you trivialize what even the women you love are saying to you, when you let sexist remarks slide, when you insist that women view things from your perspective (rational! calm! reasonable!) because you don’t feel like trying to see theirs (emotional! hysterical! nuts!), when you sit around laughing with other men about how crazy chicks are before you go home to the wife and daughters you love more than life and always treat with respect, when you say the fact that online harassment disproportionately affects women somehow doesnt mean we should be considering it through the lens of women’s experiences in particular, you’re not fucking helping. You’re being willfully obtuse. You’re enjoying the luxury of not having to take what we’re telling you seriously–and that’s why we get so goddamned frustrated and angry and hysterical. Because we don’t have the option of not caring about this shit, and you just keep telling us not to.
And because the really bad guys don’t pop out of thin air as fully formed misogynists. They need encouragement and reinforcement in order to completely miss the fact thatthere’s something deeply fucking wrong with them. Subtle sexism gives them that. Keeping your mouth shut about overt sexism gives them that. Not really listening to the women you love, let alone women you don’t even know–thereby being one more guy sending a message to women that we’re only worth listening to on men’s terms–gives them that. Telling yourself and anyone who will listen that that’s just the way it is, and people need to quit whining gives them that. How can they clue into the fact that there’s something deeply fucking wrong with them when so many guys are acting just like they do in public, or at least never calling them out?
And that goes double on the internet. It’s all well and good to advocate for ignoring trolls, except for the part where they don’t go away. They replicate like fucking Gremlins, and not a few of them are nakedly hostile toward women just for being women. And whenever a woman says, “Hey, anyone else notice how trolls especially go after women and say some shockingly hateful shit, apparently just because we’re women?” tons of good men come out of the woodwork to say, “Hey, trolls do this to everyone, not just women!” and “Maybe they just don’t like what those particular women were saying!” and “The reason you’re not taken seriously is that you insist on playing the victim!” and “I’m not a dick, so this hurts my feelings!” Not nearly as many say, “Yeah, wow, good point.”
(In case my beloved ignored my directive to get lost earlier: Thank you for being one of the latter, especially in light of your own experience with harassment.)
I read a lot of feminist blogs. I read what fat acceptance blogs there are out there. I read the comments–the moderated comments–and from those, I know bloody well the only reason I haven’t yet heard I’m a worthless cunt who deserves to be raped is that nobody knows I exist yet.
If the internet ever figures out that I exist, you can be damn sure I’ll hear that and worse. And if it escalates into something truly frightening, one of the first things people will say is that it could have been avoided if I hadn’t been so stupid as to blog under my own name, to make it so easy for people to hurt me.
This theoretical trauma could also have been avoided, of course, if I’d never blogged at all. If I hadn’t fallen in love with writing when I was six. If I’d developed a talent for something else. If I’d been born male. If I’d not been born at all–shit, if I’d only had the foresight not to be born at all, I wouldn’t have been raped when I was 17, either. Seriously poor planning on my part–everyone knows the more invisible a woman is, the safer she is. You can’t get more invisible than not existing!
My generation of women was taught to believe we could grow up to be anything we wanted to be. All I can ever remember wanting to be is a writer named Kate Harding. Not a firefighter or a cop or a soldier or an astronaut or a dogcatcher or anything anyone worried might be remotely dangerous. Just a writer named Kate Harding.
So that’s what I am, and will continue to be, because I love it and I don’t know how to be anything else. But it is fucking dangerous, as it turns out. Dangerous because I use my real name and especially dangerous because it’s a female name.
But hey, that’s my problem to deal with. I should probably quit whining now.