An Open Letter to Guys with Girlfriends

So I’ve recently had a relationship related topic come up in conversation with my ladies, and I noticed some similarities between their stories and my past experiences.

The topic that I refer to is “what your girlfriend talks about when out with her friends”. I chose to engage this topic due to instances where a guy wonders/worries that their GF will talk/complain about them to their besties.

Let me put your mind at ease and stop you from wondering.

Yes. Of freaking course we do.

When a woman hasn’t seen her best friend in a little while, the first thing she is going to talk about will probably be you. This is especially likely if you’ve had any recent arguments. We are going to rant and complain ’til the cows come home. We might cry. We might scream. We may say how sick of you and your B.S. we are.

And then we will move on.

See, here’s the thing. A lot of stupid stuff goes on in a relationship. Men often do or say dumb things. Women often overreact. Shit happens. Men also don’t like to listen to their girlfriends complain about it, and most the time we are aware of that. So, in order to vent out grievances and move on, we slough off all that relationship crap with our friends. Because if we didn’t? That next little spat we have about why you left the toilet seat up or forgot to turn off the kitchen light might end with us murdering you.

Therefore, in all actuality, you should be glad for that one night a week your girlfriend goes out for dinner with her bestie. These short sessions each week are what reboots her. They allow her to release her frustrations in a neutral environment and rejuvenate for the next dumb thing that happens between you (because it will). Best of all, you don’t have to listen to her rant on and on about why forgetting to close the cupboard door makes you the equivalent of Satan.

February: The (other) Season of Commercialism

Much like Christmas, Valentine’s Day has become less about love and family, caring and kindness, and more about who can give the coolest, most expensive gift.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love a good holiday and any excuse to give/receive gifts or spend a romantic evening with my boyfriend. However I do have a few minor qualms with this particular holiday. Let’s take a look:

1) Why are we limited to one day of romanticism a year?

I know we’re not truly limited  per se, but Valentine’s Day sets a sort of precedent that it is the only day you should bother to do anything sweet for your honey. Why not be spontaneous and do sweet things just because?

2) If it’s supposed to be about love, why do we have to get such expensive gifts?
My boyfriend and I have, thankfully, made something of a continuous pact to not go overboard on V-Day. I don’t expect him pay exorbitant amounts of money, nor do I wish to myself. This year we got each other a card and some inexpensive chocolates.

3) Why exactly do we have to isolate the single people?

I have quite a few single friends and have myself experienced the “shame” of being single on V-Day before. Honestly though? I don’t think the holiday should be focused so strongly on lovers. If you want to have a girl’s night out with your best friends or take your granny out for dinner, why should that be so terrible? Love isn’t shared only between lovers, but between all types of relationships.

So what do we do?

Well, this year I’m giving silly Valentine’s to some of the people I love most and spending the day at work enjoying heart shaped donuts with my co-workers. Tonight I’ll go home and watch movies with my cats, because even though I have a boyfriend, we can’t see each other this Valentine’s Day. And you know what? It’s really not so bad.

image

Doooooom Spiral

Today I’d like to talk about a very personal issue, for myself and others. I’ll start the conversation with a story.

In my first year of college, as is the case for many I’m sure, a lot changed and a lot happened. Some of which was expected, much of which was not.

In that time I made friends. More importantly, I lost friends. Loneliness coupled with boredom attached to self loathing led to what I now refer to as a doom spiral. In fact, it was the biggest spiral of my lifetime.

Calling it a doom spiral makes it seem a bit more comical and a little less devastating, but in reality it was the largest bout of depression I had ever and have ever had. My Facebook was filled with self-deprecation and anguish, which in reality were the biggest cries for help I could manage. My roommate had moved out of our dormroom and all the friends we had shared went with her. I was two hours and a hundred miles away from my family and all my friends from high school and I was (or so I felt) utterly and blatantly alone.

My parents had a vague idea of how unhappy I was. I went home as often as possible and would offhandedly mention my lack of friends and how much I missed home while feigning that I still had any semblance of happiness left in my body. They had only an idea the extent of the storm raging inside me.

Oppositely, my best friend of six years quietly despaired for me, seeing my Facebook and being able to interpret the meaning, sending caring messages which fell to deaf ears. She later told me just how scared she had been for me. Scared and useless at not being able to do anything for me.

Finally, I began to admit the problem to myself and that I needed help. The first step I took was talking to my RA. After a couple visits where I hinted at my issue,  she suggested I make an appointment with one of our school counselors and even offered to walk over with me and help me set up the appointment. I declined, but after another couple weeks of listlessness, I finally scheduled a meeting.

The remainder of the semester was a bit of a blur. Things still weren’t perfect, but they were improving. I started feeling better, started making friends, and slowly stopped feeling like I was falling apart. I stopped spending so many weekends at my parents and started attending events. Instead of thinking I wouldn’t come back after the summer, I made plans and landed a job as an RA for the following year.

My hope had returned. My despair thrown to the wayside. Life continued as it always does.

Now, I think it’s important to note that I don’t mean this to be entirely self-serving. I am not looking for pity or sympathy. I simply wish to raise a little awareness. Since that time in my life, I have never reached that level of depression, though I do occasionally fall back into doom spirals.

What I think is important is that we as people, as friends, as family members, learn to be more aware of these situations. Whenever I see something that reminds me of that time in my life appear on Facebook, I leave a kind word, or send a message to check on the person. If someone does a need to talk, I listen. I look for signs, because I would wish on no one what my life was like back then.

If you yourself suffer from depression, I enthusiastically recommend that you reach out to someone. A friend. A forum. Your doctor. Anyone. Because holding it in doesn’t make you feel better and doing nothing will only allow it to get worse. Know that you are not alone, no matter how much you may feel so. Know that there is help and even if you can’t see it now, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

All my love,

Skyler

Final Fantasy X – A Love That Knows No Bounds

Image

I think that I can say, without hesitation, that the tenth installment of the Final Fantasy series is by far my favorite FF, as well as my favorite game of all time. I have started the game from scratch at least three times, if not more, and have spent well over a 100 hours playing this game alone.

Now, one may ask why this is my favorite game. I say this because I have encountered too many people who really disliked this particular Final Fantasy. This may be because X was a really big jump, and had many changes, from the previous games. Or possibly for various other reasons, I’ve heard of some who simply don’t like the characters, storyline, whatever. To each his own.

Anyway, here are the reasons why I adore Final Fantasy X:

  • At the time of its release, FFX had graphics that blew your mind. The design seemed very streamlined, and overall it was a huge jump from the previous games. Even now, I find myself impressed by the CGI cut scenes.(Photo courtesy of Dorkly, http://www.dorkly.com/comic/54193/graphics-through-the-ages )Image
  • While this is something others likely won’t experience, a huge reason why this games stands out so strongly to me, is that it was my first Final Fantasy game, other than Tactics, which is a completely different kind of game. Being my first, this is the installment that got me into the series in the first place. If it weren’t for this game, I may never have played any of the Final Fantasies, nor found myself loving RPGs as much as I would.
  • The Hymn of the Fayth. As a whole, the FFX album doesn’t necessarily impress me any more than other Final Fantasies. The Hymm, however, quickly became one of my favorite things to listen to. I loved the variations on the theme as you progressed through the game, and I loved the solemnity of the theme, and how it always gave me chills when I listened to it. That being said, I guess I should point out that To Zanarkand is also one of my all time favorite songs, which I use to lull myself to sleep each night. Suteki Da Ne is another big favorite.
  • Mini-games. Blitzball. Blitzball is both the most irritating and most satisfying mini-game I have played in a Final Fantasy game. While the first game, which is required to play in the storyline, is hugely frustrating, subsequent games which you may or may not choose to play can become hugely gratifying in the long run. The satisfaction of making the Besaid Aurochs the best team in the league, and laughing maniacally each time I beat the Luca Goers, has been the reason I most recently have spent so much time on Blitzball.

Image

  • The battle system. I absolutely love this particular battle system, much more than any Final Fantasy Game I have yet to encounter. Not dealing with the ATB gauge and having the opportunity to strategize as I played out a battle meant a lot to me. This may be due to my love for the SRPG FF Tactics, which was a game I had played much of before this one, and learned that slowly making your choices was the best , and only, strategy. Adjusting to the various other battle systems has never been particularly enjoyable for me.
  • The characters. Auron. While I care for nearly every “main” character of FFX for one reason or another, Auron holds a special place in my heart. He is by far my favorite character in this game, for various reasons, but the main  reason being how downright cool he is.

Image

So, those are my top reasons for why I love this game. Do you have any deeply ingrained emotions towards this installment? Is there a different Final Fantasy that you love like I do this one? Feel free to comment and let me know what you think.