An Open Letter To My Abuser

An Open Letter To My Abuser

You tried to clip my wings, but you only let me fly higher than I had before.
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Dear Stranger,

I imagine sometimes what your life could be. What does your day entail? Do you have children, and how could you even bare to look in their eyes knowing you corrupted the innocence of another? Sometimes I wish I was a little more strong, a little more brave, and I had told someone sooner. Maybe I could have prevented someone else from getting hurt by your same hands. 7 years old is a hard age to be brave at. Sometimes pool water makes me anxious. Weird, right? The smell of chlorine becomes sharp and pricks at the memory I had long tried to forget.

But no, this letter is not about forgetting. This letter is not about shoving an old flashback into the back of my brain. And this isn't a letter asking for your sympathy. I'm not here to bash you. I'm not here to tell my sob story. You didn't think I would let you tear me down, or did you? You did anything but.

I want to thank you, stranger, for making me realize that this wasn't my fault. I used to think that sometimes I deserved what happened to me, but then again, what 7 year old girl in a women's locker room deserves the violation of a man? In fact, what woman deserves the violation of any man, regardless of age?

I want to thank you for helping me find my purpose. Life experiences subconsciously shape you into the person you will become in the future. I want to help young women who have gone through traumas. I want to share my experience and let them know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The journey is hard, but the destination is beautiful, and better than anyone could ever imagine. The moment you are at peace with yourself is a moment of bliss.

And lastly, I want to thank you for making me the person I am today. I want to thank you for teaching me how to be strong. I found my strength through this experience, and I continue to grow stronger. I don't want to give you the satisfaction of knowing how deeply this impacted me, but I can't hide. I didn't tell anyone what happened for 9 years. Holding a secret for that long made this process a whole lot harder. But in the end, I opened up and got the support I needed. You tried to clip my wings, but you only let me fly higher than I had before.

Sincerely,

The scared 7 year old girl who grew into a strong, beautiful, fierce, and tenacious 17 year old woman.

-

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-656-HOPE for the National Sexual Assault Hotline.

Cover Image Credit: Shutter Stock

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19 Reasons Why The 'Part Tomboy Part Girly-Girl' Is The Best Type Of Girl

With us, you get the best of both worlds, the best of BOTH girls.
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1. She has a guy’s sense of humor so you will constantly be laughing together.

2. She knows how to handle your sarcasm, and she’ll throw it right back in your face.

3. Your friends will love her because she is basically one of the guys (except for the facts that she smells good and shaves her legs).

4. She can kick your ass in dizzy bat, pool or maybe, on a good day, beat you in shot-gunning.

5. Little things don’t bother her- she is rational and level-headed.

She knows how to put things into perspective and knows what is worth getting mad over and what just isn’t.

6. BUT she also has a sensitive side... she knows the ways to your heart whether it is an amazing home cooked meal or a good back scratch.

She is always thinking of ways to make your day because she is thoughtful.

7. She will call you out on your BS, because let's be honest... someone has to.

8. She’ll eat pizza and drink beer with you, and maybe if you are lucky she’ll even smoke a cigar.

9. She cleans up nice.

Sometimes her hair is in a messy ponytail and a hat, but other times she looks like she just stepped off the red carpet.

10. She doesn’t mind getting dirty.

She can spend a day on the boat, fishing and wakeboarding, hunting, shooting guns, or eating unlimited chicken wings with you.

11. She is go-with-the-flow and always up for anything and everything.

Festival? Amusement park? Concert? Drive-in movie? A day at the beach? Hell yeah, sounds awesome.

12. She likes to work out, but she isn’t a health freak… sometimes you just gotta have a McChicken.

No regrets, you know what I’m sayin'?

13. She has an open mind about people, places, and trying new things.

You will never be bored with her.

14. She can get along with pretty much anybody.

15. She doesn’t care what people think.

She’ll be the first one on the dance floor at the wedding, but the same person who helps an older man carry his bags to the car at the mall.

16. Your sisters will adore her, but so will your brothers.

17. She isn’t afraid to voice her opinion and stand up for what she believes in.

18. Not only does she not mind doing “guy things,” but get this... she actually enjoys them and will do them with you.

She’ll watch late night ESPN with you, play basketball in the pool, be player 2 in "Tony Hawk Underground," go fishing, dirt biking, you name it, she is down.

19. Safe to say, we’re pretty word.

So word, in fact, we might even be going extinct... So, if we just so happen to grace you with our majestical presence, you better make damn sure you don't let us go.

Cover Image Credit: Catherine Anne Guarino

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People Are Pretending To Be Culturally Aware SJWs When In Reality That Needs To End

"It's a time in our culture where people love to pretend they're offended." - Matt Groening

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Earlier in October, I was devastated and frustrated to learn that Apu Nahasapeemapetilon may be cut from "The Simpsons." However, it turned out to be just rumors spread by Adi Shankar, producer of "Castlevania." Al Jean, a senior writer who has been with "The Simpsons" since episode one, shot down those rumors by tweeting: "Adi Shankar is not a producer on the Simpsons. I wish him the very best but he does not speak for our show."

The controversy and criticism of Apu surfaced after the 2017 documentary "The Problem With Apu" in which filmmaker and comedian Hari Kondabolu expressed his disapproval of racist elements like Apu's accent and job. A few months after the documentary aired, "The Simpsons" responded with a quick remark at the end of one of their episodes: Marge attempted to change a bedtime story that she was reading to Lisa in order to make it politically correct. Lisa objects and Marge asks what she would rather her do. Lisa responds with, "It's hard to say. Something that started a long time ago decades ago, that was applauded and was inoffensive, is now politically incorrect. What can you do?" And then a framed picture of Apu is seen next to Lisa.

Many, including Kondabolu, were not happy with that scene or the way the show handled the criticism. Kondabolu turns to Twitter and posts "Wow. 'Politically Incorrect?' That's the takeaway from my movie & the discussion it sparked?" in response to Lisa's comment. So, creator, Matt Groening replied, "It's a time in our culture where people love to pretend they're offended." Best. Statement. Ever.

I have not seen Kondabolu's film nor do I ever plan to. Kondabolu and anyone else's feelings and opinions are valid and shouldn't be brushed off; however, this show needs to be watched with a grain of salt. The only reason why it's okay to have slightly racist characters in "The Simpsons" is because they make fun of everybody equally. If they only took jabs at Indians then the show would never have become what it became. They don't just throw those jokes in there for cheap laughs. They are commenting on exactly what their audience is thinking and making fun of the stereotypes themselves. After all, it is a satirical show. They make fun of almost every race, ethnicity, culture, subculture, sexual orientation, gender, accent, political stance, and profession. Hank Azaria, the voice of Apu and many others, believes "The Simpsons over the years has been pretty humorously offensive to all manner of people. They've done a really good job of being, shall we say, uniformly offensive without being outright hurtful."

Now I admit, I may have a more blunt sense of humor that can appreciate the artistry of a well-created joke even if it is slightly offensive. Maybe I just have tough skin or no heart. But as a person of fully Chinese descent, I have never once been offended by any of the Chinese or stereotypically Asian characters on the show. Cookie Kwan, number one on the west side, has never offended me with her stereotypical Chinese accent and pushy demeanor. Several times Homer has equated getting good grades or being obedient to being Korean or other Asian ethnicities, and other "low-hanging fruit" comments. A Chinese couple, who were clearly Americanized, put on "the act" for Homer when he stepped into their Chinese restaurant and said things like "You not come long time!" with exaggerated Chinese accents and a costume change.

Azaria rightly says, "the most important thing is we have to listen to South Asian people, Indian people ... about what they feel and how they think about this character and what their American experience of it has been." But the greatest part of this whole issue is that it seems like fans of the show in India have no problem with Apu's character. This is exactly what happened in an opinion piece I wrote in response to the controversy over high school senior Keziah Daum wearing a traditional Chinese dress to prom.

Everybody in America seemed to have an issue with it, but everybody back home in China, including myself, loved it and saw it as a young woman appreciating Chinese fashion wanting to show off its beauty on a very important night in her life. Several Chinese-Americans retweeted "my culture is not your prom dress," but residents of China didn't see it that way. Something about being an American citizen makes people hypersensitive to their other racial identities.

Sidharth Bhatia, Mumbai-based founder-editor of "The Wire," is quite a fan of Apu. When asked his opinion on the matter, I think he hits the nails on the head: "The controversy about the stereotyping is classist snobbery - Indians in America don't want to be reminded of a certain kind of immigrant from their country - the shopkeepers, the taxi drivers, the burger flippers. They would rather project only Silicon Valley successes, the Wall Street players and the Ivy League products, with the proper accents, people they meet for dinner - by itself a stereotype. The millions of Apus in America, the salt-of-the-earth types, with their less 'posh' accents, are an inconvenience to that self-image of this small group of Indian-Americans."

As hard as it is to swallow, Apu may be based on stereotypes but there are many real people like him out there. Yes, he owns a convenience store, speaks with a strong accent, has an arranged marriage, and practices Hinduism. But he's also a hard-worker with a Ph.D., a ladies man, and an excellent singer.

Through everything the show has faced, I am very glad that "The Simpsons" is proud of their work and unapologetic for the controversy that they produce. Like Lisa says, what exactly are we supposed to do? There's always going to be somebody somewhere offended by something that somebody else says or does. I'm not at all saying that people deserve to be marginalized and made fun of and that people should just get over it because it's funny. But what I am saying is that people are just too sensitive nowadays, especially seeing that it took 30 years for people to get offended by something that has stayed essentially the same for decades. Groening's perfectly frank comment is addressed to people who think it's cool and perhaps politically correct to be offended by everything in fear of looking ignorant. And look where that's gotten us.

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