Why We Shouldn’t Roll Our Eyes At Religion

I don’t consider myself to be a religious person. In fact, when my friend asked me the other day if I believed in God I just muttered “eh” and shrugged my shoulders. Having gone to an all boys catholic high school I’ve found that people who exit institutions like that either end up really stoked about Jesus, indifferent to religion in general, or completely atheistic. I fall right in the middle. I don’t think about God’s existence or attempt to wrap my head around concepts like Heaven or Hell. I’m far too preoccupied with classes and my personal life to really put any thought into religion. But having gone to a catholic school and seeing how much good religion can do for people, I don’t run around saying “DEATH TO RELIGION” or automatically hate people because they believe in something I don’t. As long as someone’s beliefs don’t infringe upon my own and as long as people aren’t hypocritical about what they preach I am fine with people doing their own thing.

I now go to an incredibly liberal school in the heart of Boston. And I love that Boston is so liberal, educated and accepting. It’s a great environment for people with that type of mindset. But what I’ve also noticed is that there is also a tendency to bury  religion in such liberal, educated places. Whenever someone in class mentions that they are religious I can’t help but notice that people roll their eyes at it. To be religious at a liberal school can often result in ostracism. And I think that’s because the word “religion” implies a lot of things, especially when the person chooses not to disclose what particular religion they are. Often times “religious” means closed-minded, anti-gay or against abortion. To be religious means to be backwards or to be hyper judgmental and nasty. The response of peers to religion makes me think that despite Boston being such a fantastic place that maybe, just maybe, we’re afraid of letting in anything that could potentially threaten our balanced, liberal ecosystem.

Perhaps we think that that by being more inclusive of religion that it will breed intolerance or bigotry. Perhaps we feel so close to eradicating prejudicial religious practices from Boston that we are willing to eradicate religion all together. Or maybe religion has just become a taboo topic in general, only acceptable to talk about at the dinner table and our fellow churchgoers. I for one like to believe that not all religion is bad while still acknowledging that some aspects of religion are pretty fucked up. And I try to remind myself that religion is a source of support and inspiration for many people and while it may be easy for some people to abandon it that cannot be said of everyone. Not everyone who is religious is bad and not every doctrine of religion is prejudicial or discriminatory. But it seems like our default assumption is that it is entirely evil and that by pretending it doesn’t exist or rejecting it from our society we think religion will just cease to exist.

You know, we can keep the Chik Fil A out of Boston but we have to ask ourselves how much good that ultimately does? By silencing any opposition, no matter how negative, doesn’t it just make us seem like the nasty, closed-minded ones? And what’s worse- I now have to hear about people complain over the fact that the nearest Chik Fil A is miles away. And that’s distressing to me because I think fast food is shameful in general, regardless of whether or not the franchise hates gays. I sometimes wish that Chik Fil A was brought to Boston because it would have provided the city with an opportunity to take a stance on the issue. And sometimes I can’t help but feel that we didn’t allow Chik Fil A into the city because we knew that it would generate revenue. It’s like we made sure it wouldn’t come so that we could lie to ourselves and pretend that a city like Boston would have entirely rejected it. But the truth is no matter how liberal our city may be, people still would have eaten there. People love to compromise their morality for waffle fries.

I guess my point is that we shouldn’t be afraid to let religion be a part of our culture. I mean we should definitely get religion the hell out of our laws, but we should be willing to have uncomfortable conversations about religion and try to understand each other better. We should give people the benefit of the doubt and not let whether someone believes or doesn’t believe in God color our judgments of them. We should let whether or not they like Pitbull color our judgments of them.

 

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Getting My Grind On: Why It’s Difficult For Gay Men To Be Promiscuous

Three weeks ago I did something I swore I’d never do: I got Grindr. For those of you unfamiliar with the hook up app, Grindr uses GPS technology to instantly connect you with guys in your area. And by instantly connect, I mean it tells you where the nearest gay, bi, or curious guy is and allows you to message them so that you can meet up and bang. Now it’s important to note that I downloaded this app more as a joke than anything else. I’m not sexually adventurous enough to meet up with guys after two minutes of talking with them nor do I have the sex drive to really want to. I downloaded the app more as an opportunity to troll and see the kind of messages I’d get and if I’d stumble upon any guys I knew. And for the most part I was disappointed. The majority of messages I got simply said “Hey” although the few unrequested dick pics did make me chuckle.  Occasionally I would chat with a gentleman who appeared friendly and attractive enough to make me consider grabbing drinks with them or hanging out. Unfortunately those conversations fizzled out once it became clear that I had no intention of hooking up or having sex with them at 4 in the morning.

Most of the people I showed Grindr to found the app to be insanely addictive and jumped at the opportunity to scroll through profiles and message guys on my behalf. There were a few, however, that cringed or rolled their eyes the moment I mentioned the app. And I knew exactly what they were thinking- “Connor’s become THAT gay.”  I’ve found that certain people have no problem with gay guys as long as they can pretend that we are sexless beings. To them, gays are just like the cute mogwai in the movie Gremlins. We’re fun shopping companions, adorably sassy and perfect compliment givers. We’re everything a girl would want in a friend- until we admit that we’re sexual beings who desire to get it on with the gentleman folk. It’s like the moment we admit we like penis that we somehow turn into this terrifying gremlin who is hellbent on boinking every guy in the club and spreading STIs like its an ice bucket challenge video.

I cannot fully blame the people who think this way. There is a belief, held by both straight people as well as members of the LGBTQ+ community, that gay sex is dangerous and risky. If a guy says that he’s slept with 15 different men, people automatically label him a slut or assume that he’s disease ridden. And this negative thinking has been internalized- at least by me. Part of the reason why I haven’t met up or really even considered hooking up is because of my fear and distrust of other gay men. I’m worried that a guy will have an STI, despite claiming he doesn’t, and that I will catch something. We’re automatically taught to expect the worst and by buying into this thought process it only gives straight people the motive to believe it as well. And while we’re on the subject- isn’t straight sex just as dangerous and risky? It’s not as if straight people are exempt from getting STI’s and their sex can end up in pregnancy so like…..yeah.

Straight guys don’t have this issue. A straight guy can sleep with as many girls as possible and at worst he’s called a man-whore, which is- let’s face it- a lot less hurtful than a woman being called a whore. In fact, promiscuity in men is for the most part encouraged and even supported by other men. So why is it that being sexually adventurous is such a terrible thing for women and gay men to be? Why must women be accused of having no morals and gay men be charged with having diseases? And what’s worse- why do women and gay men accuse each other of these things? It’s a lot like what Tina Fey says in Mean Girls: “You all have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it ok for guys to call you sluts and whores.”

When I first made a Grindr account, I did it as an opportunity to judge and mock the people who use it. And  I’m still not at the point where I want to use the site for anything other than conversation. But I’ve learned that how I feel about my sexuality shouldn’t dictate how I view other people’s sexuality. If someone wants to go out and have a ton of sex, that’s their prerogative. It doesn’t impact me whatsoever. As long as I’m safe and smart, nothing else really matters. And you know, even if did get an STI it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Most of them are easily treated, so I can’t let the fear of getting an STI and being labeled a whore stop me from engaging in intimate relationships if I so chose. And instead of us all judging each other for living our lives- maybe we should just focus our energies on the things that make us happy- like masturbating and eating obscene amounts of food.

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Why Our Parents Need To Stop Giving Us Unsolicited Advice

Our generation is constantly told that we’re a bunch of “know it alls” Our parents and older peers tell us that we’re reckless, stubborn, and entitled, which to be fair is slightly true. I know that our parents express concern because they care and I’m glad that they do- even if it can be extremely annoying. My mother is the type to CONSTANTLY tell me to practice safe sex and buckle up, even though I do those things anyways. And while its nice they don’t want us to get an STI and/or die, it can be very frustrating because their comments imply that we’re not smart enough to do these things without their urging.

Let me be clear, I don’t know everything. I really don’t know what a 401K is, I don’t understand taxes and I can only tie a tie while watching a tie tying Youtube tutorial (so much alliteration) And I’ll admit that I get annoyed easily because I’m stubborn. I don’t like being told what to do, even if what I’m being told to do is smart advice. I hate being told that I need to do something that I need to do, but that’s because it makes me feel like a child. I’m old enough now that I should in theory be smart enough to make these decisions. And if I don’t- well, that’s on me then, right?

Parents need to stop with the unsolicited advice, especially when it’s regarding things they don’t really know anything about. I get it- they care, and that’s fantastic. But they need to start trusting their GROWN children. My mom should be confident enough in her parenting abilities to know that I turned out pretty well. She should know that I am going to practice safe sex and she should understand that I don’t have a vested interest in, you know, having unprotected sex with 75 different guys in one night.

I don’t think early 20 somethings are fully secure in their identity. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do after school and where I should live and how I should spend my life. I’m nervous about the future because I haven’t really nailed the whole adult thing yet. What I do know is that I’m a smart individual and a good person. And when parents tell us things like “Buckle up”, “Use a condom”, “Don’t do that”, it makes us question who we are as people. It’s upsetting to thing that my mom thinks I’m dumb enough to not be safe. It’s even more upsetting for her to think I don’t have the moral compass needed to navigate situations like that. I get that she worries for me as a parent does, but maybe parents should worry silently.

Perhaps our generation would act less like we know it all if we were given more credit for what we do know. I’m at the point in my life where I no longer need constant advice or lecturing. I’m fucking twenty one years old! But I’m not so old that I don’t ever need advice. And when I do need that advice, you can bet your sweet ass that I will go to my mom for it. Parents just need to realize that even though we’re not kids anymore, we’ll always be their children. My mom isn’t any less of a parent because she doesn’t dress me anymore or make me buckle my seatbelt. But I’m more than just a kid now. I’m a GROWN woMAN.

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How I Got Myself to Commit to Exercising

I’ve never really been an active person. In fact, I’ve pretty much always been the complete opposite. I’m the kind of person who used to laugh at the idea of exercise and who considered eating only one container of Ben and Jerry’s to be a health conscious move. I avoided exercising because I was not only lazy but afraid to challenge myself in a new way. I was intimidated by the idea of going to the gym and running on the treadmill for more than 6 minutes without cramping and getting off. I was intimidated by all the burly jocks and feared judgment for only being able to bench press the weight level of a starving cat. But beyond that I think I avoided exercising because I didn’t want to engage in an activity I thought I would fail in.

I’ve always been able to create some excuse to get out of exercise. I can easily convince myself that I have no time or that I shouldn’t be exercising after eating an entire plate of french fries for lunch. Even if I’m not doing anything, I can convince myself that doing nothing is better than exercising. And what’s most frustrating about this is that I was never happy in the way that I looked or felt. I felt out of shape, I felt that my eating was out of control and I felt that I wasn’t as physically desirable as my peers. And despite all of these negative feelings, I still couldn’t bring myself to exercise. It’s difficult when you know what’s best for you but can’t bring yourself to give up your old, destructive habits.

My outlook on exercise began to change this Fall when I spiraled into a mini bout of depression. I found myself anxious all the time, emotionally overwhelmed by my personal relationships and unenthused about the future. I didn’t want to die, but I just wanted to drop off the face of the world. I wanted to escape my thoughts and my world. But unfortunately it is impossible to just abandon everything so I decided to take my mental health into my own hands.

I remember my freshmen psychology teacher telling us that whenever he worked with a depressed person that the first thing he would recommend to them is exercise and a better diet. And I’ve also seen “Legally Blonde” so I know a thing about endorphins. So I told myself that I needed to go to the gym, not to make myself more physically desirable for my peers but because I needed to be less anxious. I found that by telling myself that exercise was a necessity for my mental health that I could convince myself to go. It also didn’t hurt that my school schedule afforded me with the time to exercise on a daily basis.

I won’t lie and say that I LOVE exercising. I still think that running sucks balls and that 30 minutes on a treadmill is like 7 hours in real time. But what I love about exercise is that your body takes precedence over your mind. When you exercise you’re too preoccupied to think or worry. The only thing that matters is your heart rate and your body and whatever Robyn song you’re listening to. And there’s no better feeling than getting off the treadmill after a run and feeling completely at peace. There’s nothing more soothing than being so exhausted that your brain doesn’t have the energy to distract or worry you with anything else.

Exercise has given me a feeling of control in my life. It’s measurable success. Every day I try to push myself to do something physically that I wasn’t able to do the day or week before. It’s nice to know that not everything is up in the air. You know, when you’re in classes you work to get an “A” so you can get a good GPA so you can get a good job. And that all makes sense in theory, but sometimes it feels like you’re working toward some abstract goal. Exercise is different. I know when I exercise that there will be concrete results if I work hard enough. And sometimes in a world of uncertainty, being able to run half a mile more than you could the day before can be a huge milestone.

I haven’t really physically changed since I started exercising. It’s only been a few weeks. I think it’s because I don’t really know what I’m doing when I exercise or that I only faintly understand how to use any of the exercise machines. But I have my own personal goals which extend beyond that. It’s so much more important that I go every day, that I commit to giving myself the best chance at happiness. I don’t need a six pack to feel accomplished, just pit stains.

 

 

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I’m Gay, You’re Gay. So what’s the problem?

It would be both an overstatement and an understatement to say that I hate other gay people. It would be an overstatement because many of my close friends identify as being gay or LGBTQ+. It would be an understatement because I loathe gay clubs and gay social circles more than Ariana Grande hates being photographed on her right side.

Now I could write an entire thesis on my problems with the gay community but for the sake of time I will only talk about a certain group: the Hunties. If you’re unfamiliar with the word “hunty” it’s simply a combination of the word “honey” and “c*nt”. It’s both a term of endearment and a rude nickname, much like the word “hun.” The Hunties are the members of the gay community, generally young males, who cannot for the life of them leave their sexuality at the door. They are the men who feel the need to scream “SLAYY” at the top of their lungs for no reason and willfully disclose their sexual history without anyone asking. And if you haven’t picked up on it by now, I’m not too fond of them.

I understand that being gay is still a big issue even in the liberal North. Despite how much we’ve progressed as a society, there are still people who irrationally hate or discriminate against homosexuals without just cause. But I like to think that we as people are much more than our sexuality. My issue with “Hunties” is that these people are the ones who create an identity based solely on their sexuality. Hunties are the people who define themselves by their sexuality, they are the ones that don’t feel comfortable in their own skin so they invent a new skin to exude false confidence and arrogance.

I know several “Hunties” and despite how individualistic they claim to be, I’ve found that they all act in the same fashion. “Hunties” dress flashily, love to employ backhanded compliments, talk solely in RuPaul’s Drag Race and delight in making others feel uncomfortable. “Hunties” thrive in social situations in which people give them attention out of sheer bewilderment. But I’ve noticed that when a “Hunty” is ignored, that their eyes become incredibly empty. It’s as if “Hunties” don’t know how to exist if they aren’t in the spotlight. They don’t know how to be low key because while they were performing this elaborate role they forgot who they actually were.

I firmly believe that being loud does not equate with having a personality. Anyone can play the role of an obnoxious, mean spirited bitch. But that’s not what being human is about. Being human is about putting yourself in vulnerable positions and letting others in. I sometimes think that certain people are so afraid to be themselves that they construct a version of themselves that others can hate. “Hunties” do this because they think if someone hates them that its because of the role they’re playing. It’s easier to accept that someone hates a character you play, rather than accept the fact that they in fact hate just you.

I used to hate “Hunties” because I believed they gave gay people a bad name overall. But then I realized that there is no homogenous gay which meant I couldn’t really hate these people for the way they represent themselves. It’s not my problem if a straight person sees a “Hunty” and then comes to the conclusion that all gay people are vapid or bitchy. If that’s the case, that person is too ignorant or stupid to realize that gays come in as many flavors just like straight people.

 

I don’t hate “Hunties”- I pity them. I feel bad for people who weren’t born with a personality or who are too intimidated to show their true colors. I feel bad for people who think telling other people’s jokes make them funny and I pity people who think how many sexual partners they have really matters in any sense. Although if I hear one more gay person say “YAAAAAAS” non-ironically I will hit them with a frying pan.

 

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Why I Quit That Internship

 

Up until about a week or so ago, I was working my first professional writing gig at an undisclosed magazine. And if you’re wondering- I’m not refraining from naming the magazine because I’m classy, I’m doing it because I seem like the type of person who would be easy to sue. But I digress…

This internship was supposed to open so many doors for me. I was going to become published, become recognized and have the writing samples needed to land me a job at any organization of my choice. Heck, I was even going to be able to snag a job at Buzzfeed! I mean I was a writer for the newly launched section for an incredibly popular magazine, what could go wrong?

Well, everything went wrong.  While I was told that I was hired for my comedic writing abilities and unique insight, I was never asked or able to use those things. I was expected to write in the voice of the magazine and to leave any ounce of personality at the door. I was assigned topics on things I knew nothing about nor cared for. Like that time I had to write an article about things lesbians are tired of hearing. Does it look like I’m a lesbian!? Don’t answer that question.

My position was unpaid and remote which basically meant I worked for no compensation whether that be monetary or emotional. At no point in time did I feel like the magazine was grateful for what I contributed or that they cared for a second who I was. I knew writing at the magazine was a dead end. I’d never be offered a job, nor would I ever meet any of my editors in person. It was the kind of job for people who wanted professional writing on their resume, simple as that. And that was what drove me to hold on to the position for as long as I did. I wanted to show my commitment and dedication….and I also wanted to work long enough that I could put it on my resume without looking like an ass.

But after six months I decided to cut ties with the magazines. I hated what I was writing, hated how thankless the job was and realized that maybe just maybe employers wouldn’t be all too impressed with my weird pseudo insider perspective on lesbian culture. I discovered that perhaps I don’t want to be a professional writer in this sense. Maybe I can only write about the things that inspire me. And maybe writing is something that should always just be a hobby of mine. Perhaps I love writing just a little too much to make it an actual profession. It’s like that time I worked at a cafe and I loved their sandwiches and then I quit and now I can’t ever go back there to eat their sandwiches. Maybe that’s not at all the same. Who knows?

If I’ve learned anything about this experience its that we should direct our energy in one of two directions: towards something we love or towards something advantageous. Once I discovered that writing for this magazine wouldn’t help me career wise, I had the power to quit it- because there was no advantage. And I also fucking hated it. It’s also very important to acknowledge when a professional relationship is one sided, which I fully accepted upon quitting. It was evident then because my editor responded to my resignation email simply by saying she was sorry I was leaving the magazine and that I should have a nice semester. She didn’t say anything that came close to a “thanks” which drove me crazy but proved that point. To her I was just a disposable writer who realized sooner than later the one sided nature of the relationship. But it’s whatever- she seemed to have a dumb face (well, as far as I could tell from the thumbnail picture of her in the contact info box BECAUSE I NEVER MET HER!)

In conclusion,

Don’t write about lesbians if you aren’t one. It won’t turn out well.

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21 People In College Who Deserve To Be Smacked

1.) The proctor who can’t bring herself to say “you’re welcome” when you thank her for letting you into the building…or who you know, looks at you like you’re the worst thing on Earth because you’re making her do her basic job of swiping a card.

2.) The classmate who emails you after every class to check what the homework is because  he was apparently in a deep state of meditation when the professor went over it.

3.) The international student who feels compelled to remind you every five seconds that she grew up in a ton of countries and that she is oh so much more worldly than you.

4.) The kid who is SO dumb that he makes you question whether or not your university is worth attending.

5.) The guy who takes the last of the tater tots in the dining hall because apparently he deserves two platefuls of them.

6.) The girl who wanders around campus in work out clothes despite the fact that she clearly has NEVER set foot inside the gym.

7.) The teacher who picks on students randomly….bitch, if I don’t have my hand raised it means I don’t have anything to say, okay?!

8.) The lunch lady who makes you feel fat when she puts incredibly small portions on your plate in comparison to everyone else.

9.) The overly PC guy who uses “social justice” as a way of cutting people down and making himself seem smarter.

10.) Each and every single person who works at the University that delights in sending you all around to different offices on campus to get the simplest thing done.

11.) The girl  with shitty ombre hair who you have to sit behind in class every day.

12.) The guy who has to lift 450 pounds at the gym just to show everyone that he’s most likely on steroids.

13.)  The drunk freshmen who won’t pipe the fuck down at 4 in the morning.

14.) The girl in your group project who doesn’t know how to do anything.

15.) The random roommate that doesn’t understand how the garbage/dish washer/general cleanliness work.

16.) The girl who feels the need to raise her hand EVERY time an opinion based question is asked in class.

17.) The drunk guy who accidentally pours all of his beer on you as he stumbles by at a party.

18.) The RA who bugs you to go to her events all the time….I don’t want to bob for apples with you, bitch!

19.) The basic girl in class who only knows how to voice basic opinions…Also side note: You can’t call someone basic if you are basic yourself! If you’re basic you don’t get to have an opinion. So go grab your PSL, sit, and pipe the fuck down.

 

20.) The guy who feels the need to try and whisper to you the (wrong) answer to a question you were just asked.

21.) The teacher who explains the most basic concepts to students thinking that it’s somehow revolutionary

The other day my professor suggested Google Images as a way to find maps. THANKS FOR THE TIP, SIR!

 

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