bludaemon: I’m bullied a lot. You said people made fun of you in high school. How did you get over that?

Bullying is a sad and inevitable thing. I’m sorry if I give the impression that I was targeted. I wasn’t. High school was intolerable for me, but in a typical way. Insults were subversive or unintentional, and if they were blatant I probably deserved it.

What I discuss is what most everyone goes through. Kids are mean. I think I did a good job disguising my insecurity, but I had a typical teenage affliction: selective absorption. I see your mouth moving, and I know you’re telling me I’m beautiful. But all I hear is that girl calling me fat. It’s cultivation of a cancerous paranoia.

Youth is awkward. Experiences are SO intense, they leave no room for the understanding that there’s an afterward. It’s outrageous when you walk out that last day. The world opens up for you and gives you unlimited ways to reinvent yourself.

My experiences with bullying weren’t severe. A group of juniors harassed me my freshman year. They hit me with towels, pushed me into lockers, called me names. The ringleader, Shannon, cornered me in an empty hallway my sophomore year. She grabbed me, got inches from my face and said, ‘I’m sorry.’

Look, it sucks. I don’t know if I would’ve survived if we’d had Facebook. But one thing you can do that might help: know full well that time will gobble up your bullies and spit them out just like you. They might not remember your name ever again. Meet the devil with a smile. Its reign is temporary, and you’re in on the joke.

mrbngfryrbuck: Wine or Beer?

Beer with nachos, wine with everything else.

Cristina from Jupiter: Favorite fictional heroine?

Thursday Next, THE EYRE AFFAIR. Please read it. Though I had a ‘women in lit’ professor force me to read The Order of the Phoenix once…

***Please put down your wands. I really love Harry Potter, I just couldn’t get into the first one, so I came to the series a little late.****

…and I fell in love with Hermoine. She’s the smart girl I always wanted to be.

Hecate0_0: I read an author bio about you that ended with ‘And it hurt none, do what thou wilt.’ Are you a witch?

You’re not the first to ask me this. Am I Wiccan? No. But I connect very much with the philosophy. I’ve had a hard time with religion in general. I was raised in the temple, so when I have a religious buzz that’s where my head goes.

For me, the beauty is in collective purpose. I don’t respond to the book or the stories. What touches me is that the practices have persisted for so many years. When I run my hands three times over Shabbat candles, I imagine my grandmother doing the same. And her grandmother and thousands of grandmothers.

My parenting goal is to promote empathy, though I think it’s innate. My dog doesn’t want to hurt my baby–not because I taught him to behave, but because he’s just that way. Some of us are good and some of us are bad, through a lens of species survival. I don’t know that much can cure either state of existence. We can train ourselves to conform, but I think there’s something like a soul in each of us–something untouchable that ultimately swings the pendulum. I don’t know that I’ll get judged at the end of the day. I just know that when I take that last breath, I want my conscience clean. I want to have treated my family well and not done the universe any major disservice.

‘And it hurt none, do what thou wilt.’ To me that statement covers so much. Infidelity, murder, betrayal of even the simplest kind. For me religion can be tricky because I’ve met supremely religious people that have caused supreme, purposeful pain. I don’t want to say that it dirties the ocean, but it does make me feel that it’s complicated and easily manipulated. A simple philosophy like the above helps me sleep at night, keeps my head clear.

Happy Weekend to you all. Be safe.