I’m not mad that Justin Bieber spat on his fans. I’m not mad that he made his body guards carry him up the Great Wall. I’m not mad he spent the day with strippers or went out tagging where he didn’t belong.
I honestly couldn’t give two shits. Celebrities and I have always been in this awkward agreement that I don’t pay attention to them outside of their work, and in return, their work tends to make me happy. I don’t care about Emma Watson’s hair, even though as a matter of fact I think that shit is the hottest thing since the equator. I’ve never kept up with the Kardashians, I really don’t even know who Perez Hilton is or what he’s doing with his life, and I only recently found out The Bachelor is a real show and not an elaborate hoax.
So what J-Biebs peed in a bucket. I think that’s funny but as far as I’m concerned, there’s more news in my day-to-day life than there is involving his general dismissal of his fans.
But you wanna know something? Don’t you dare fucking tell me to be calm about this D.U.I shit.
Here’s a cool fact about me: my ribs are broken in 27 different places where a drunken driver slammed into the side of my car and almost killed me. I was eighteen. I was in the hospital that whole summer. You can still feel the scars where the bones snapped. I tasted my own lungs when I took a breath.
Here’s a cool fact about america: over one third of people who die in a car crash are gonna go out because some asshole didn’t call a cab. Over one thousand kids died in 2010 because somebody couldn’t sober up. Here’s a cool fucking fact: I’ve lost five friends like this.
They were murdered. I don’t accept that fucking “vehicular manslaughter” charge. You chose to get behind the wheel. You chose to go out while knowing you were intoxicated. You said to yourself “My desire to drive is more important than other people’s lives.” You chose this, and now I have five graves to tend.
Fuck you if you think this isn’t something we should discuss, something we should talk to our loved ones about. How about you stand up to the parents of all five children and try to scoop the taste of dirt out of each of those mouths, try to erase the smell of the coffin as it went into the ground. Tell Talia’s fifteen-year-old corpse you’re really sorry but you don’t think this is an issue. Why don’t you go on and clutch her hands like her mother did while that little girl’s heart slowly stuttered to a halt, wrapped around a piece of metal. It had struck her through the chest hard enough that she didn’t die instantly. She was still breathing for four hours in extreme agony. Talia and I were going to be ballerinas except she was actually good at it. She was the best in our class, professional track written in her blood. She liked snowboarding and loud music and hated mustard. She was so fucking kind and had so much going for her. You know what they don’t talk about? What death looks like as it sweeps across the face of someone you love. How at that point you’re almost sickly glad they gave up.
Fuck you. I won’t calm down. I’m sick of people writing off the actions of idols as “youth behavior.” I’m twenty years old and I’ve done some shit but the few times I’ve had to get home and realized I was three sheets to the wind, I fucking called someone. I have three, maybe four people who would pick me up at 3 in the morning and two of them come with the knowledge that they’re gonna tear me a new asshole when I sober up - I’m sure a celebrity pop star could find someone to drag him to where ever he had to go.
I’m fucking sick of this. How come everybody else has to be on their best behavior all the time or whatever happens to them is their fault, but there are people saying Justin Bieber deserves a sainthood? I hate how they discuss how this is ruining his life instead of discussing the lives he could have ruined - and if this isn’t a familiar issue to you, you haven’t been paying attention. I’m fucking sick of how these assholes get away with everything because they’re in a position of power. I don’t fucking care what he does to his fans.
I care about the fact there are going to be one thousand children dying in really pointless accidents because the people who look up to Bieber are going to say “He did it and he was fine when it happened.”
This is important. This is serious. I really kind of hope you don’t believe me because the truth is, if you don’t, you haven’t lost someone to an idiot driving drunk.
This isn’t meant to shame you if you are his fan. I’m not mad about whatever the fuck else he did. I’m mad we’re still treating him like he’s just a wild rich kid.
There are people out there that didn’t live past fourteen. I won’t calm down. This needs to be heard. This needs to be seen.
I just want people to wake up and realize this isn’t just some “victimless crime.” /// r.i.d (via inkskinned)
“We grew up with the Internet and on the Internet. This is what makes us different; this is what makes the crucial, although surprising from your point of view, difference: we do not ‘surf’ and the internet to us is not a ‘place’ or ‘virtual space’. The Internet to us is not something external to reality but a part of it: an invisible yet constantly present layer intertwined with the physical environment. We do not use the Internet, we live on the Internet and along it. If we were to tell our bildungsroman to you, the analog, we could say there was a natural Internet aspect to every single experience that has shaped us. We made friends and enemies online, we prepared cribs for tests online, we planned parties and studying sessions online, we fell in love and broke up online. The Web to us is not a technology which we had to learn and which we managed to get a grip of. The Web is a process, happening continuously and continuously transforming before our eyes; with us and through us. Technologies appear and then dissolve in the peripheries, websites are built, they bloom and then pass away, but the Web continues, because we are the Web; we, communicating with one another in a way that comes naturally to us, more intense and more efficient than ever before in the history of mankind.”—Piotr Czerski (via deforest)
“Now, I bring you flowers
I rest them six feet above your face
and wait for the rain to
melt them through the ground
until eventually they might reach you,
so that one day
you might feel the love
I forgot to give you
when I had the chance.”—Niall Donnelly, Anonymous Eulogy (via shylocks)
“I’d love to see more books where the characters get together earlier in the story. While the yearning portions of books are lovely and make us flip their pages, I’d love to see more stories where healthy romantic relationships are depicted. Where the curtain isn’t dropped with the suggestion of coupling up = happily ever after. Novels that take us past that point and depict a young couple working out some of their early insecurities and issues; that show us the romance and heartache of settling into a relationship. Like the moment when you’ve hung up on your boyfriend/girlfriend for the first time and you’re cradling your phone, praying they’ll know you want them to call back. Or you’ve slammed a door and you hope they’re waiting on the other side figuring out the perfect words to transform the emotions inside you from anger and hurt to comfort and passion.
Relationships are not a destination. They’re not an end-point. They’re always a journey. They should always be challenging and growing and evolving.”—Tiffany Schmidt, on what makes for a good contemporary romance in YA fiction. She also offers up an excellent reading list of current and forthcoming contemporary novels with well-done romances for YA fiction fans. (via yahighway)
On the last day, when Aslan drew her and Peter aside, she did not cry. Her throat closed up and her heart clanged so loudly in her ears that she missed half of what he said.
Too old to return to Narnia?
You shoved me back into this wretched unformed child’s body, lion-god, and made me a thousand years a widow, and now I am too old?
If Susan had been standing next to the White Witch, before the Stone Table, looking down at Aslan bound and muzzled, she would have asked to wield the knife.
Peter was keeping his chin up and saying all the right things. Susan sank her teeth into her lower lip and thought that she would have given everything she had not to come back to Narnia this time.
Aslan looked at her as he spoke. He knew what she was thinking, of course. He always did.
Susan didn’t care. If he was going to go around refusing to be a tame lion, he could hardly fault her for refusing to be a tame woman.
Lucy was coming up, with Edmund beside her. She gritted her teeth, and swallowed her rage. It would not do Lucy a great deal of good to see her god gut her sister with one of his gigantic paws. And she’d be damned if she cried in front of him. She had cried for him once already, cried and worked her fingers bloody prying a muzzle from his dead jaws, and this was how that vigil was repaid.
She would be glad to never see Narnia again. The languid erasing of her memories could not come quickly enough. There was nothing left for her here.
“Your name is Tasbeeh. Don’t let them call you by anything else.”
My mother speaks to me in Arabic; the command sounds more forceful in her mother tongue, a Libyan dialect that is all sharp edges and hard, guttural sounds. I am seven years old and it has never occurred to me to disobey my mother. Until twelve years old, I would believe God gave her the supernatural ability to tell when I’m lying.
“Don’t let them give you an English nickname,” my mother insists once again, “I didn’t raise amreekan.”
My mother spits out this last word with venom. Amreekan. Americans. It sounds like a curse coming out of her mouth. Eight years in this country and she’s still not convinced she lives here. She wears her headscarf tightly around her neck, wades across the school lawn in long, floor-skimming skirts. Eight years in this country and her tongue refuses to bend and soften for the English language. It embarrasses me, her heavy Arab tongue, wrapping itself so forcefully around the clumsy syllables of English, strangling them out of their meaning.
But she is fierce and fearless. I have never heard her apologize to anyone. She will hold up long grocery lines checking and double-checking the receipt in case they’re trying to cheat us. My humiliation is heavy enough for the both of us. My English is not. Sometimes I step away, so people don’t know we’re together but my dark hair and skin betray me as a member of her tribe.
On my first day of school, my mother presses a kiss to my cheek.
“Your name is Tasbeeh,” she says again, like I’ve forgotten. “Tasbeeh.”
Roll call is the worst part of my day. After a long list of Brittanys, Jonathans, Ashleys, and Yen-but-call-me-Jens, the teacher rests on my name in silence. She squints. She has never seen this combination of letters strung together in this order before. They are incomprehensible. What is this h doing at the end? Maybe it is a typo.
“Tasbeeh,” I mutter, with my hand half up in the air. “Tasbeeh.”
“Do you go by anything else?”
“No,” I say. “Just Tasbeeh. Tas-beeh.”
“Tazbee. All right. Alex?”
She moves on before I can correct her. She said it wrong. She said it so wrong. I have never heard my name said so ugly before, like it’s a burden. Her entire face contorts as she says it, like she is expelling a distasteful thing from her mouth. She avoids saying it for the rest of the day, but she has already baptized me with this new name. It is the name everyone knows me by, now, for the next six years I am in elementary school. “Tazbee,” a name with no grace, no meaning, no history; it belongs in no language.
“Tazbee,” says one of the students on the playground, later. “Like Tazmanian Devil?” Everyone laughs. I laugh too. It is funny, if you think about it.
I do not correct anyone for years. One day, in third grade, a plane flies above our school.
“Your dad up there, Bin Laden?” The voice comes from behind. It is dripping in derision.
“My name is Tazbee,” I say. I said it in this heavy English accent, so he may know who I am. I am American. But when I turn around they are gone.
I go to middle school far, far away. It is a 30-minute drive from our house. It’s a beautiful set of buildings located a few blocks off the beach. I have never in my life seen so many blond people, so many colored irises. This is a school full of Ashtons and Penelopes, Patricks and Sophias. Beautiful names that belong to beautiful faces. The kind of names that promise a lifetime of social triumph.
I am one of two headscarved girls at this new school. We are assigned the same gym class. We are the only ones in sweatpants and long-sleeved undershirts. We are both dreading roll call. When the gym teacher pauses at my name, I am already red with humiliation.
“How do I say your name?” she asks.
“Tazbee,” I say.
“Can I just call you Tess?”
I want to say yes. Call me Tess. But my mother will know, somehow. She will see it written in my eyes. God will whisper it in her ear. Her disappointment will overwhelm me.
“No,” I say, “Please call me Tazbee.”
I don’t hear her say it for the rest of the year.
My history teacher calls me Tashbah for the entire year. It does not matter how often I correct her, she reverts to that misshapen sneeze of a word. It is the ugliest conglomeration of sounds I have ever heard.
When my mother comes to parents’ night, she corrects her angrily, “Tasbeeh. Her name is Tasbeeh.” My history teacher grimaces. I want the world to swallow me up.
My college professors don’t even bother. I will only know them for a few months of the year. They smother my name in their mouths. It is a hindrance for their tongues. They hand me papers silently. One of them mumbles it unintelligibly whenever he calls on my hand. Another just calls me “T.”
My name is a burden. My name is a burden. My name is a burden. I am a burden.
On the radio I hear a story about a tribe in some remote, rural place that has no name for the color blue. They do not know what the color blue is. It has no name so it does not exist. It does not exist because it has no name.
At the start of a new semester, I walk into a math class. My teacher is blond and blue-eyed. I don’t remember his name. When he comes to mine on the roll call, he takes the requisite pause. I hold my breath.
“How do I pronounce your name?” he asks.
I say, “Just call me Tess.”
“Is that how it’s pronounced?”
I say, “No one’s ever been able to pronounce it.”
“That’s probably because they didn’t want to try,” he said. “What is your name?”
When I say my name, it feels like redemption. I have never said it this way before. Tasbeeh. He repeats it back to me several times until he’s got it. It is difficult for his American tongue. His has none of the strength, none of the force of my mother’s. But he gets it, eventually, and it sounds beautiful. I have never heard it sound so beautiful. I have never felt so deserving of a name. My name feels like a crown.
“Thank you for my name, mama.”
When the barista asks me my name, sharpie poised above the coffee cup, I tell him: “My name is Tasbeeh. It’s a tough t clinging to a soft a, which melts into a silky ssss, which loosely hugs the b, and the rest of my name is a hard whisper — eeh. Tasbeeh. My name is Tasbeeh. Hold it in your mouth until it becomes a prayer. My name is a valuable undertaking. My name requires your rapt attention. Say my name in one swift note – Tasbeeeeeeeh – sand let the h heat your throat like cinnamon. Tasbeeh. My name is an endeavor. My name is a song. Tasbeeh. It means giving glory to God. Tasbeeh. Wrap your tongue around my name, unravel it with the music of your voice, and give God what he is due”—
Many travel blogs are written by people who’ve sold all their possessions and have taken a huge plunge into the world of long-term travel. This can sound expensive at first, but when you consider that you don’t have rent or…
“What you’ve lost sight of what you are, and what you are is what you hate. You’re the man. Ladies and gentlemen, the champ is here. You, like the Red Sox, like Boston, are no longer the underdog. You’re a dynasty. You are what you hate. You have become the New York Yankees.”—(via rightside11)