Sunday, October 23, 2016

i can't do this but i'm doing it anyway!

You're allowed to watch anime.

You're allowed to take long showers and shave up to the knee. You're allowed to take months and months to re-read Infinite Jest. You're allowed to eat trash and junk and carbs and sugar. You're allowed to stop eating meat and be stubborn and sanctimonious about it. You're allowed to hate salad. You're allowed to read and read and read and read and read, read voraciously and chaotically, read urban gothic and haptic poetry and cyberpunk and New Weird and cosmic horror and occult detective and American realism and magical realism and hysterical realism. You're allowed to tweet selfies. You're allowed to go to Slab Pizza alone. You're allowed to put Joni Mitchell and Ariana Grande and The Kinks and XTC on the same playlist. You're allowed to be unreasonable. You're allowed to be difficult. You're allowed to be ambitious. You're allowed to be demanding. You're allowed to be hard to impress.

You're allowed to be bored of people who are boring. You're allowed to be picky. You're allowed to have high standards and be a little bit ruthless. You're allowed to develop a gang of artists and thinkers and beauties and prodigies and you're allowed to be hysterical with them. You're allowed to be friends with people who are hugely, massively, terribly intelligent and talented and interesting and funny and kind and weird and good. Smarter than you. More talented and more interesting than you. Funnier and kinder and weirder and better than you. You're allowed to be friends with truly terrifying wonders; geniuses; freaks; anyone who is wonderful and no one is who isn't. You're allowed to choose people who feel like they're maybe a little bit magic, like they are capable of everything, like they're practically not human, like they are so so so good that you almost can't possibly stand it.

You're allowed to be friends with girls who are shy and freckled, who are reading Atwood and listening to Beck, who have been bright and loyal and levelheaded for as long as you can remember. Girls who are campy and cuddly and uproarious and unfailing, who have BAD TASTE IN MUSIC (*cabaret) and a weird kink for building furniture. Girls who, inexplicably, love the Mets and are taking over print journalism and politics and yoga and the rest of the world. Girls who are tall and red-haired and stylin' and silly, girls who wear blue lipstick and read palms, girls who are generous and watch the same trashy tv shows that you watch, girls who gaff, girls you've been friends with since junior high, girls who mom you, marathon-running girls, Twitter girls, girls you didn't speak to for two years because you were proud and bitter and venomous, party-throwing girls with boundless energy and 1,000,000 vintage coats and platform shoes. You're allowed to be friends with pretentious Japanese film snobs who've got a big ol' boner for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. You're allowed to be friends with boys with slow, gravelly laughs and long rock-climbing arms who are brave and sincere and devoted and unflinchingly, terrifyingly honest. Boys who want to talk about zombie theory. Boys who are easy laughers, boys who rattle off film trivia like it's the weather, boys with sprawling D&D campaigns, boys who want to talk to you about Vonnegut, boys who majored in economics and got rich, boys who loved you and then realized you were too feckless and unruly, boys you work with, vegan boys, boys in bands.

You're allowed to be whip-smart and hilarious, a holy terror, precious, charming, a tiny bit mean in a playful way. You're allowed to enter rooms like a hand grenade detonating, all sparkle and body and growly laughter. You're allowed to be the center of attention sometimes because when you're on you're really on; you're allowed to tell long stories and gesture with your hands and be hammy and gracious and ungodly.

You're allowed to snarl.

You're allowed to write essays about The Terminator and Kick-Ass and Moon. You're allowed to take two more upper-division poetry classes even though you honestly just need to graduate. You're allowed to argue with boys in class about Evan McMullin.

You're not allowed to become a scholastic mess: abandoning your homework, rolling into class an hour late, refusing help. You're not allowed to read Geek Love during Film Theory or Consider the Lobster during History of the Moving Image or Perdido Street Station during Doctrine & Covenants. You're not allowed to fail. You're not allowed to lie about failing.

You're allowed to be no fun at parties. You're allowed to say "no" to dates. You're allowed to say "no" to hangouts and dinners and opening socials and watching Tron: Legacy at your friend's brother's apartment. You're allowed to stay in on Friday nights with your bad skin and ratty leggings, and you're allowed to watch Grey's Anatomy in the dark.

You're allowed to be mean and ugly and sullen during your period, crying weirdly and miserably and for the hell of it into the night. You're allowed to wear Hunter's big flannel shirt to school three days in a row. You're allowed to bleed through your jeans. You're allowed to wallow. You're allowed to bitch.

You're allowed to wear fishnet tights and steel-toed Dr. Martens to church and everybody else is allowed to deal with it. You're allowed to skip Relief Society a lot of the time; trust me, it's fine. You're allowed to say long, strange prayers and neurotically read the Book of Job. You're certainly, completely, 100% allowed to watch rated R movies despite what your mother thinks. You're allowed to be full of doubt and angst and moral vinegar. You're allowed to believe whatever you want.

You're allowed to prowl up to those you love and put your body on their body. You're allowed to wear tight jeans and push-up bras and let your hair fall loose and yellow all the way down your back. You're allowed to undress a little. You're allowed to move your hips. You're allowed to flirt. You're allowed to let people feel exactly how soft your skin is -- practically excruciatingly soft -- and you're allowed to be devastating.

You're not allowed to date someone from Joke Twitter. I'm not kidding. You're not allowed to date someone who makes puns. You're not allowed to date someone who does that sulky smolder face in Instagram photos. You're not allowed to date someone who posts memes. You're not allowed to date someone who won't hang out with your friends or watch The Last 5 Years or go to Sodalicious even though they hate it. You're not allowed to date someone braggy. You're not allowed to date someone controlling or angry or who tells you what to wear. You're not allowed to date someone who doesn't know where your clitoris is, in theory or in practice. You're not allowed to date someone who throws tantrums online and has to disable Twitter for a little while. You're not allowed to date someone who flirts with other people right in front of you. You're not allowed to date a business major or an accountant or someone working in sales. You'rea not allowed to date someone who doesn't pick you up from school when it's rainy. You're not allowed to date someone who isn't, like, psychotic about you: crazy, insane, bonkers, batshit. 

You're only allowed to date someone brilliant. Someone who reads. Someone who watches the news, who knows every president of the United States by name, who is voting for Hillary Rodham Clinton, who understands foreign policy. You're allowed to date a former student body president, former debate star, former editor of the paper, former Captain von Trapp, former whatever. You're allowed to date someone who is almost supernaturally likable, who is funny and fey and winning. You're allowed to date someone who is nervy and heroic, everybody's Favorite Guy Ever, someone who believes in beauty and Sasquatch and America. Someone lanky and big-footed with dainty little bird wrists and the longest legs in the entire world. You're allowed to date someone who is damaged and messy and frustrating and overwhelmingly, bafflingly, gigantically good. Someone sharp and gifted and capable. Someone who wakes up before the sun. Someone who works hard, who likes working hard, who works too hard. Someone who sneezes quietly. Someone who hates Harambe memes and Comic Con. Someone who listens to Carly Rae Jepsen. Someone who tells good ghost stories. Someone who writes on his bedroom wall in Sharpie. A Spielberg-lover. An Idahoan. 

You're literally not allowed to marry someone you met six months ago. It's 100% forbidden. It's gross and dumb and regressive and boring. This is the 21st century and you can wait for a year or two like a real couple instead of some tedious Mormon stereotype.

You're allowed to wait. You're allowed to become a power couple. You're allowed to become expected, old news, unsurprising, nobody in your college program asking you out anymore because they all know who you're dating and how long it's been and how you sort of dress the same: hoodies, neutrals, plaid. You're allowed to hold hands in the car. You're allowed to get to know the scary, maggoty parts of each other's coyote-ish bad sides: I'm obsessive, stubborn, self-conscious, jealous, arrogant, irresponsible, selfish; he's unpredictable, hard-headed, unapologetic, self-deprecating, has high standards and a God complex. You're allowed to fight and fight and fight, you're allowed to fight about everybody's exes, you're allowed to fight about Pokemon Go!, you're allowed to get yelled at in the car coming home from Salt Lake City after seeing Don't Think Twice and eventually cry. You're allowed to get over it. You're allowed to be pushy and pigheaded about the kind of car they want; you're allowed to gloat when the Toyota Highlander is too big and too ugly, just like you said. You're allowed to start speaking a made-up language to one another, all "goo" and "hebbo" and "yee," none of it really making sense. You're allowed to take a very long time loving someone.

You're allowed to give people space. Even if it's excruciating for you. Even if it might just kill you. You're not allowed to hold grudges. You're not allowed to be petulant. You're not allowed to be jealous and suspicious, but honestly you're allowed to stalk people. A little bit. Judiciously. You're allowed to keep yourself sane. But you're not allowed to get stuck in holes of obsession, in vortexes of impulse and compulsion. You're not allowed to read too far into various Twitter feeds and Pinterest accounts and Spotify playlists and Venmo histories of boys and friends of boys and ex-girlfriends of boys. You're allowed to calm down.

You're allowed to be with the person you love. You're not allowed to settle. Even if it takes a year of seething and stalking and combatting Other Women. Even if you have to play a little dirty. You're allowed to play a little dirty. 

You're allowed to get what you want. You're NOT allowed to be cruel, to be self-serving, to be merciless, to be greedy, to be nasty. But you're allowed to take what is yours. You have to take what is yours. You're allowed to sleep soundly at night with no bad dreams. 

You're allowed to be happy. You get to be happy.

-Avery Jalaine


  1. Read every word, This is incredible.

  2. Ugh stop it I'm in love with you and it's okay

  3. You make writing fun and important and therapeutic and smart and self-indulgent and definitely not self-indulgent and they should only let you write from now on.

  4. This is the most Avery thing I've ever read. And that's a good thing.

  5. Hi Avery! I stumbled across this blog post and then wrote this response in a fiery state. Then I debated for a while whether or not I should post it here, as it is quite angry and sassy. Perhaps this disclaimer will take some of the edge off. I definitely don't mean it as any sort of personal attack, but rather a personal defense on my behalf and the behalf of many people I know and love! I ultimately ended up feeling that these thoughts should be shared. I admire you greatly as a writer, and I felt it important to let you know how your work (in this case) influenced me.

    I’m replying specifically to this paragraph of your post:

    "You're literally not allowed to marry someone you met six months ago. It's 100% forbidden. It's gross and dumb and regressive and boring. This is the 21st century and you can wait for a year or two like a real couple instead of some tedious Mormon stereotype."

    Now I'm assuming (and hoping) that this post in general was demonstrating a use of artistic license and that you were not being literal as you addressed the universal "you." Regardless, I found this particular portion presumptuous and immature.

    I met and married my husband within five months-five! We broke your rule with a month to spare. And I'm very happy to report that that decision was entirely right for us. I know many wonderful people with a similar story and many wonderful people with an entirely different one. These people are Mormon and non-Mormon alike. I personally think it fruitless and worthless to judge when it is right for someone else to be married. (Though I'm confident when you make the decision it will be intelligent, ultra-progressive, totally thrilling, and not gross).

    I also feel it important to say that my husband and I are surely just as much a real couple as you and whoever you're waiting your two years with before you marry. The amount of time waited before marriage is not a standard for the realness of a couple, or for anything else about the couple for that matter.

    Ironically, the line of thinking you represented here could be effortlessly reduced to any number of "tedious" stereotypes. In fact, anyone can be reduced to a stereotype if we choose not to rise above that ignorant style of thinking.


Oh thanks. You're pretty.