Carrots and sticks

This week I got in troubles just because. Have you ever needed to say something even though you are completely certain the answer will not be what you want? Well, I’m jumping in that pit right now, and if you have time reading me, you already know why.

Let’s go back a few days. In my last post I said I was going to tell Whovie how I feel about her. Well, right after I posted it I realised I’m completely scared of it. I have been rehearsing in my mind every possible scenario: good, bad and neutral. I have been practicing it in my head over and over, and preparing myself for the almost imminent rejection. I didn’t want to keep hopes high because I’ve done it before and I always end up depressed for weeks. So there I was, thinking about it all day and all night. Finally I decided to give myself some external motivation. I figured out that maybe if I had something to lose besides my illusions, something more material, I would get more pressed into doing it. It worked, but not in the way I hoped.

But let’s come back to that later. This weekend I found out about something awesome: Heroes will have a spin-off! For those of you who don’t know it, Heroes was a great TV show about people with special abilities (flying, regenerating, telekinesis, etc) who were first learning to use them. The show was fine, but the second season coincided with one of the darkest moments of Hollywood’s history: the 2007 scriptwriters strike. That meant that a good product of science fiction was written by aficionados and producers who didn’t quite have an idea of what they did, resulting on a horrible failure of which it never got over. It ended on a cliff-hanger, which was a shame because it was heading to some X-men-like action, but finally the NBC realised their mistake and they are going to do damage control next year, hopefully fixing the series and bringing it back.

Also, you might know I’m a big fan of Adventure Time, and I don’t want to give any spoilers but last night’s episode was incredible. It had comedy, drama, romance, suspense, hope and a good dose of wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey stuff. Seriously, it will be one if the biggest plot points in the show and it probably has to do a lot with its ending. If you watch the show, get that episode now.

And yesterday I was thinking about Whovie when I found a friend, who I will call Ragazza by suggestion of some other friend. Ragazza was struggling to talk to a guy she likes, because she was raised old-fashion and she’s very shy. So, feeling confident and seeing an opportunity, I made a bet with her: if I got the courage to tell Whovie how I feel, she would have to flirt with him. If I failed, she’d get an all-you-can-eat buffet with my products. This way both of us would be motivated to talk with our crushes. She agreed and I was left, confident that I was going to win.

I was heading home when I found Rainicorn leaving. I remembered he had been looking sad, so I started to talk with him, thinking that maybe we could share our situations and feel a bit better. We were doing that when we found another friend arriving to school.

His name is Pew, and he was crying. We saw he was looking hurt; not only emotionally, but physically. His eye had a bruise and all. We stopped him to ask him what was wrong, and after a bit of reluctance he came with us and we all went to Rainicorn’s house. There he told us everything. He’d had a fight with his boyfriend and it got physical. The other guy was a jealous, dominant prick and he was abusing him. They had fought before but this time it was serious. The idiot asked Pew to give him his mobile, and when he refused he got attacked. It was getting ugly but Pew managed to escape with the idiot’s family’s help.

Now, I want to make a pause to state something very important. It doesn’t matter your age, gender or sexual preference, you should NEVER allow anyone to act this way. If your couple is jealous, harasses you, doesn’t let you have your privacy, or even gets to the point of physically attack you, get help immediately. You might think it’s “rough love” or “it’ll be too embarrassing to tell someone”, but trust me, nothing of that is true. If for some reason you can’t trust the local authorities, go to your friends and family. They will understand. An abusive relationship is not a fruit of love and nobody should ever treat you like that. If you ever feel like you need to hide the things that make you happy, or you’re too embarrassed about the last fight to tell even your closest people, that’s a sign things aren’t normal. Go to a responsible adult who can help you, and don’t let your couple near you. In Mexico we have a saying, “the strong lives until the weak allows it”. Don’t be a victim. Find a friend who can help. If you don’t think you can trust anyone, come to the blog; talk to me, I will do my best to help. But please, don’t stay silent.

Anyway, after hearing his story and giving him advice, we tried to cheer him up; we ended up talking about video games, school and stereotypes. We had a fun time and he got to smile again. I had to leave early because, well, it wasn’t early, but I saw them having fun, and today I spoke to him and he was doing fine. It made me think about how people with real problems can be happy. So I waited to the end of the day to find Whovie…

…And I chickened out. I just couldn’t do it, I don’t know why. I’ve been feeling like a coward all afternoon; I should’ve told her. At the end I just ended asking Curlz for advice and she turned out to be not really helpful. I guess she has never been rejected. I must ask to someone who has lived what I live, so I can listen to real advice. But I have until Tuesday to get the courage.  I must tell her.

And the three things I learnt this week were:

1.- Love is unpredictable. Sometimes it makes you brave and sometimes it makes you weak. It’s your choice to act one way or another.

2.- Remember that old saying about a donkey and a carrot and a stick or something like that? Well, that doesn’t work at all. Don’t listen to it.

3.- When someone loves you they don’t make you suffer. Don’t let it happen. If you suspect you or someone you care about is on an abusive relationship, read this link and go to this site for help. Or to this one. But please don’t be quiet. We will understand you. We only want your happiness.

Peace,

Écrivain

Valentine’s Week, Part 2: A revelation, an advice and a crew of writers

Hello, fellas! This is part two of my last post. Feel free to read the introduction in The Legend of Korra’s narration voice.

The last time we saw our hero he was struggling with indecision: an unexpected proposal arrived with unclear intentions, an emotional episode got him into school privileges and a group of his associates had been reunited. But what turns would interfere with his mission, and what perils would endanger his club?

So, the last time I wrote I was talking about how my guy friend’s Valentine card was affecting my self-esteem. It was an awkward, depressing situation and I couldn’t find a way out because I didn’t even know if I was really in it. And to add to all of this, later that day I went with the Hipster crew and Whovie was there, talking about how she likes bad boys and describing exactly the type of guy (or girl) she’d date as my exact opposite. I spent all weekend thinking about all of this and I couldn’t even sleep well until I finally got the courage to ask Magikarp for advice, and she had really wise words to say:

“Are you gay? No. Are you a homophobe? Not that I know. Then this shouldn’t be affecting you. In fact, you should be flattered: someone out there thinks you’re attractive. I have those ‘am I really that ugly’ moments some times, but I finally realised that we’re students, and we’re only supposed to love our majors. There will be plenty of time for dating when we graduate, but until then, we have better things on our heads, like the Japanese homework we didn’t do.”

I was shocked for the truth of her words. I mean, I do care a lot about love, because I suck at socialising and if I ever get married it will definitely be with someone I met before leaving the uni, but it made me realise that I’ve been thinking it the wrong way. So what if I’m not a chicks magnet? I already knew that. But I’m smart, good with business and an artist, so I have nothing to worry.  I will find someone; I must not let my impatience make me think otherwise.

The writing club, by the way, is growing faster and better than I thought. I presented them the Project: a collaborative novel in which we will work weekly. They all loved it and we spent several hours defining the characters and the plot. We still have to discuss publication, but I’ll try to make it known here in case we do it. For now we’ve talked about poetry and our next assignment will be to express our character’s feelings. This will be awesome.

Coming to school topics, the Italian teacher told us the uni is preparing an arrangement with an Italian university so we can apply to make an internship there, and it will be ready by the time I get the necessary credits. It would be amazing; not only because I could meet the places and learn the language, but because being there I can visit all of Europe. I would need to save money, and probably make more there (I’m thinking on selling Mexican food), but it would be worth it. So from now on my only goal is to improve my notes and get an Italian CILS certification so I can apply.

And yesterday I woke up with a new gained confidence. I had a weird dream, and I can’t easily explain all of the details, but it showed me what I was doing wrong and how to fix it. I’m working on most of my weak points and I think I can do a lot of self-improvement. But there’s one thing, one decision that will mark a difference forever.

I will tell Whovie about my feelings.

Until now, I have never directly done that, and I have lost three great opportunities for being a coward. Curlz was the most recent, but I have a sad past that I don’t want to bring up to the blog yet. The point is, I never tell anyone how I feel until it’s already too late. I’m going to break that pattern. I will tell Whovie that I really like her, for real, not just a discrete asking out. I know I will probably get rejected, but isn’t love about taking risks? This time I will take action in my own hands. I need to find a moment when we both have the time to talk about it, but it will be as soon as possible.

So, the three things I learnt these days were:

1.- Being loved is never a bad thing, even if it comes from an unexpected person. The important thing is to accept it and keep going.

2.- You don’t get anywhere in love without taking some risky chances. It might hurt, but it will hurt less than silence. Everything hurts less than that.

3.- I need to learn more recipes besides tacos and chilaquiles. If anyone around knows the grade of difficulty of getting corn flour in Venetia, I’ll be very thankful.

Peace,

Écrivain

Valentine’s Week, Part 1: My cool is full, my cooler is empty

I’m sorry for the delay! This week has been really busy. I haven’t even told you about V-Day! But don’t worry, you’re about to find out about everything.

First of all, I exempted English! Well, not exactly, but it’s still great. I must recognise it didn’t happen in the best way; I acted in a way I’m not proud of. Let me explain: originally, my teacher had said none of us was going to escape the subject unless we followed the official protocol: unsubscribe the subject and present an exam with the academic authorities of the major. The problem was that I don’t have any documents certifying that I studied English in another school or worked in an English-speaking country (did I ever mention I’m self-taught?) and without those papers we can’t apply for the exam. Naturally I was upset, because we were studying very basic subjects, and I don’t need to brag: the fact that you’re reading this in English proves I’m way ahead of my classmates. I was resigned to waste my time as a living dictionary, so I got really angry when I found out a girl in my class was exempting because she studied elementary school in the US. I had some other problems in my mind when I heard it, so I complaint with the first person I saw, who happened to be the teacher. I regret it later, because I really like her class; she’s a great teacher and very entertaining. But the following Wednesday she told me she had thought about what I said and that would get the same chance the girl got: I wouldn’t have to go to class, but I would have to take the tests and that would be the 100% of my grade (something that actually works on my favour). I apologised for my behaviour and I took the offer, and I think she understood. Now we’re on good terms.

In other school news, my Italian is great! That’s not my word, it’s the uni’s best Italian professor’s. Obviously I’m still not in conditions to give a conference, but I’m pretty well for my level, and the teacher put me as an example, in front of the whole class, of who can pass the certification oral exam. I’ve been happy about it all week, and the fact that the business is growing every day makes it even better. I’ve emptied the cooler two times this week, one of them even before language classes started, and I think Mission Wheels will be done sooner than I thought. Whovie is not my rival anymore; once the language courses started the population grew exponentially and we both have enough field to sell without obstructing each other.

And speaking of language school, the Japanese crew is back together! Well, except for Whovie, but she wasn’t an original anyway. This semester we… well, we failed, and those who didn’t take the subject last time are now with us, with other five new classmates. It’s amazing, I really missed my crew. And this time I’m more focused than ever: I will make my homework and my Kanji assignments, no excuses. Please feel free to attack me if I don’t. But I hope I can stay focused and make it; this time I can be the best and I won’t miss this chance.

But this is a blog about love, and an important date just took place. That’s right; I’m talking about the feared Valentine’s Day. I don’t tend to celebrate it because I have bad memories of it and also because I’m normally alone and depressed. This time I was not depressed… at first. (By the way, I did not ask Whovie out, I’m sorry, I’m planning on doing it soon.) It was being a regular day; the business was low as everyone wanted cupcakes, my classes were normal and I got a candy from Magikarp that I reciprocated. I gave candies to my VIP clients (yes, I have those) and after that I went to the library to check my mail, when someone came. It was Luke, a friend with whom I don’t spend much time but who is often very nice with me. He sat next to me and started looking between his stuff. “I have something for you, Écrivain, just wait a second; I’ve been looking for you all day” he said, and he finally found what he was going to give me. There were around three handmade cards, and he gave me one. It had some sort of tale about a talking animal sharing my name and getting love from all his friends, and a 3D heart in the middle. It looked like it was done with a lot of care.

I was shocked. I was truly speechless; it was a guy giving me a Valentine’s Day card with a big, orange heart in it. It didn’t say anything explicitly romantic, and it had a quote from the Bible, so I dismissed it as flirting and I said thank you as effusively as I could. But when he left I couldn’t stop thinking about it. What was that supposed to mean? First of all, I don’t even know if he’s gay; he does fit in some clichés, but I’ve seen many straight Christian guys who do, and he did quote the Bible. But again, who goes around giving cards to his male friends? Maybe it was a sincere friendship act, but even then it’s at the very least awkward. And considering I once went to watch a French movie with him (he had a coupon and I really wanted to watch that movie) that’s the least probable explanation.

Anyway, this lowered my self-esteem to a previously unreachable point. I’m not homophobic, and I try to respect all my friends as much as a born-an-raised Christian can do, but it did hit me. In five years the first person to give me anything more than a second look was a dude! What am I supposed to think of that? Do I project a gay aura? Do girls think I’m gay and that’s why they don’t like me? I know he meant nothing but good; but it hurt me that while Curlz was chatting with samba-face and Whovie shamelessly exploded the holiday’s capitalistic spirit to save for a sonic screwdriver, all I got was a card from a guy. I wanted to post it here, but I was so depressed and tired that I couldn’t even move a finger to open WordPress.

 

And well, that’s all I’m saying today. Of course, there’s more to these stories, but my post is already too long and I have homework. Tomorrow I’ll post the rest of my week adventures; I’ll talk about a revelation, an advice and a crew of writers. See you soon, Peace,

Écrivain

First Week report: I’m going bananas

There’s a type of relationship where you love someone so much but you still feel a need to strangle that person. You know the kind: GLaDOS and Chell, Christian Grey and Anastasia, Jack the Ripper and… well, all those prostitutes…

I have that relationship with school. (What did you think I was going to write? I’m not that sick!) I love school, particularly my uni; I love learning and spending time with people with the same interests I have. That being said, there is nothing I hate more in this planet that waking up at 3:45 because someone at the government decided we should have 60-minute lessons (instead of the standard 50 minutes) and that we needed to start at 6 a.m. to be useful to society. It destroys the genius, I know. I need a couple of rats and electrodes to prove it, but you’ll see someday.

This week things were starting to be better for business. I’m starting to sell a bit more and I think I might be fully recovered by the time extra classes start. What I fear is that I’m losing some of my most loyal clients… because every time I get to one I see them with a cupcake. Whovie claims that we’re not direct competition but I guess she doesn’t see how her presence affects me. My business is oriented with people with hunger, crave for sugar and not much money; most of my clients buy me things because they can get a decent lunch for a few cents. But if she comes before me, those tiny, expensive cupcakes are irresistible. I have to start making new regular clients right now or I’ll lose all my business to her.

The bright side of this is that I’m working harder on my advertising. I figured out that since I’m trying to run six different businesses I could use a Facebook page. I’m working on doing samples of everything I do so I can post tem.  School hasn’t let me work faster but I’ll do just fine.

And I have good news too: the writing club’s first session was great. Everyone read what we had made as a sample of our work, we talked about different topics related with books and I exposed the Project to them: we are going to write a book as a group. They all loved the idea and now we’re all going to present our characters for next Thursday.

And you probably are wondering what I’ll do for Valentine’s Day. The answer is… I’m not sure. First I have to stop being mad at Whovie, which I know I shouldn’t but it’s still happening. Then I have to figure out if I really want to do something with her, because lately I’ve been thinking a lot about Magikarp. She’s a really cute girl; she’s smart, funny, beautiful and one of my best friends, I can always count with her and so she can count with me. And we have a lot of fun together, more than what I have with most of my female friends, including Whovie and Curlz. In my mind she’s the kind of girl I would want a relationship with.

And that’s exactly the problem. It’s in my mind. I rationally know she would be perfect for me, and she might like me if circumstances were optimal, but I don’t feel anything. Nothing at all. I don’t have that wild, crazy desire that I have for Whovie, or that naïve, awkward curiosity I feel about Curlz. I know Magikarp is awesome, but I don’t feel it. Is this normal? Does love work that way? I’ve been thinking a lot about her recently, but I just can’t get my mind to do that. Maybe I’m just lonely and saw something where it can’t be. I don’t know. I need some advice.

Back to school topics, I already had all my classes, including the online class I couldn’t access to. It looks like I won’t be doing too much this semester except in Italian class. I got the best Italian teacher in my school and I loved his method. He says we’re going to work through Dropbox and there’s almost no homework. He even gave us the first unit of our book (downloadable for free on their website) so we have enough time to get the money. He only speaks Italian in class, and very fast, but it’s really easy to understand, although it takes a while to get used to the speed. Yesterday he gave us a talk about semantics that made me wonder about time. We have like a dozen tenses in English. Seventeen in Spanish. Nineteen in Italian. So why do we only conceive time as a linear progression of past-present-future when in reality it’s like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey stuff? It’s highly illogical. (You see what I did there? Doctor Who + Star Trek quote!)

One of my goals is creating a certain fictitious language for one of my book series, and when I do I will fix this problem. There are a ton of pasts, present doesn’t exactly exist per se, and future can at least be divided into possible and certain. I will come up with a vocabulary that can explain concepts we understand but cannot talk about without using quantum physics or advanced Linguistics. And I will make it the official language of Mars. Ok, maybe that’s too much, but I could give it a try.

So the three things I learnt this week were:

1.- Business is hard. It’s difficult to compete with friends, and it’s more difficult if you have feelings for such friends. But competition makes a business grow, and that, after all, is better long-term. Besides, she’s just selling this semester.

2.- It’s not easy to be a writer, or at least, not as easy as I thought. Talent is not enough, you need discipline, inspiration and support. But team working can make even the loneliest of hobbies easier.

3.- Sometimes the mind and the heart disagree. Sometimes you know what’s best of you and don’t want it, or you know something will hurt you and still pursue it. But there’s one thing you most remember: no matter how hard it is to listen to one of the other… it’s way harder when they’re both yelling like nuts three days before Valentine’s Day.

Peace,

Écrivain

I have to crush my crush

I’m going to be as brief as possible today because tomorrow I have to wake up at 3:45. But there are still some important parts that deserve to be read.

Today I started classes again. Well, sort of. I only have one subject on Tuesdays and Thursdays: the subject I share with Whovie. I went to school four hours earlier so I could sell some munchies, and although my incomes weren’t as high as normal (It’s, after all, the first day) I could see the price raise was not a big deal for some of my clients. It looks like I will manage to survive… if I stay away from Whovie. Ironically enough, my crush is now a threat to my business. You see, Whovie’s father promised her he’ll pay her a summer on London (did I ever mention Whovie is, like, half as rich as Curlz?) and now she is starting to sell cupcakes because she wants to make £1,000 before going, which, in her words, “there is not a big deal, but here’s a fortune”.

It is, by the way. It’s $22,000 on Mexican currency, in a country where our minimum wage is $60/month. By the way, that reference is worthless, because our minimum wage is, so I’ll use the Coke can rule. The Coke can rule is simple: there is one product that exists in almost all the countries, everyone knows its price and can be used as a reference for food prices: a can of Coca-Cola. If you don’t know how much your money is worth in a foreign country, ask a native the price of a Coke can. In Mexico, it’s $12. According to a quick Google search (correct me if I’m wrong) that size doesn’t exist in London, but there’s the 330ml size, costing £0.70 or MX $14, which would mean a 600ml would be about $25 if it existed. The double. It looks like £1,000 is not much after all, while here you can buy a used car for that.

But back at the ranch, Whovie is selling cupcakes now, and although they are kind of expensive for their size, they’re delicious. Really, it’s the most glorious dessert I have tasted in a long time; I’d buy a hundred if she weren’t my competence. And I could, because she’s bringing freaking ninety-six cupcakes a day, and apparently they’re a total success. She sold like half of them on her first day; at that rhythm she could be selling 150 by next month. And I just raised prices. I have loyal clients, excellent discounts, VIP service and the easiest market in the world, and yet I’m threatened by essentially a scout girl. Luckily we only share one class, and her classes are too distributed away from most of my clients, but it’s still a risk. She wants to go to London, I want to buy a car. This, my friends, looks like war.

And now that I talk about her, remember I just said I only had one class today? Well, the teacher didn’t show up. Whovie knows her, and apparently this teacher comes late and misses a lot of classes, so I’ll be going to school for nothing half the Tuesdays this semester. Not on Thursdays, though; that’s the writing club day. Which reminds me I should make the flayers soon. Or not, who knows. I’ve been thinking, and if the club grows up too much I won’t be able to handle it. So I think I’ll just offer eight more spots. If it succeeds, next semester I could make it bigger. For now, I just have to figure out how my online subject works.

 

And the three things I learnt today were:

1.- Most of my teachers are terrible. My learning is on my hands now.

2.- I just realised this semester is my best opportunity to exercise my writing, and I will work my hardest for that. If I want to be the Mexican Asimov/Tolkien, I need to start now.

3.- Sometimes, you need to choose your priorities, and love can’t be on the top of the list. Fate is a tricky thing, but there’s one thing certain: I will buy a car.

Peace,

Écrivain