Stop Defending Neo-Nazis


I originally posted this on my personal Facebook, but I think it’s a message important enough to share on multiple platforms.

In the wake of an act of domestic terrorism, I have seen a bunch of you unabashedly defending self-proclaimed Nazis and white supremacists. Whether directly or indirectly, you’ve had the backs of people who want my friends to die. And I am absolutely disgusted by everyone who believes that’s acceptable.

One of the most common arguments that has been proliferated over the past week has been that people from the left need to be more tolerant of the type of reactionaries who perpetuated violence in Charlottesville. In fact, many of you are saying, we should befriend klansmen, speak to them calmly, and refrain from returning what they’re doling out.

If you buy into this argument, then I have a lot of questions for you. Why should people on the left be the only people who are courteous? Why must every ounce of thought, emotional energy, and basic human decency in this debate come from the left? Why is there absolutely no expectation at all, whatsoever, that the people on the far right contribute even one iota of kindness or consideration?

Most importantly, why do you insist that this debate is even possible? How can anyone have a rational conversation with one of these people––especially when these people enter the discussion with the assumption that their fellow interlocutors are subhuman? Why do you insist that people on the left remain amicable with villains who think they are subhuman? Why does that make sense to you?

I’m not an expert, but it certainly seems that you are making it easy for Nazis and white supremacists to scream their horrendous ideologies from the streets––and at the same time, you are silencing the voices who are trying to condemn evil. It certainly seems that your rhetoric is upholding a history of atrocities and carrying them into our era.

Allow me to repeat something. The extreme-right people who took to the streets in Charlottesville want my friends to die. And they may very well want your friends to die, too (although, if you’re one of my addressees here, I have to wonder whether or not you are truly a friend to anyone who is threatened by reactionaries). But you’re still defending them.

That’s unacceptable. If you don’t recognize why that’s unacceptable, then please, explain yourself. At the moment, I can’t fathom one logical reality in which defending Nazis––people who want to kill the people I love most in the world––is okay.

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Shaping My Summer Around “Jane Eyre”


The summers of 2014, 2015, and 2016 were rough for me. And by rough, I mean catastrophic. Each in succession was worse than the last, and at times I am genuinely astounded that I made it out in one piece.

This summer, on the other hand, has been totally palatable. Not amazing, but decent. Survivable. Nothing major has happened, and for that I am deeply grateful. There are a lot of reasons for the change (I have a job, college has empowered me, I’m not working through a breakup, etc.) but I feel like I owe a lot to a session with my therapist in June.

Historically, a lot of problems in my life are a result of the fact that I constantly crave validation from others. I sometimes behave in way that I myself abhor, and I know I annoy others with my incessant cries for attention. After my therapist revealed these facts about myself (which are demonstrably on-point), I gave myself a mantra that has been working really well. Every time I feel myself drifting from my resolve to rectify myself, I say this sentence quietly to myself and it will immediately bring ease to my bones.

Where else would a pretentious English major find a mantra but among the pages of Charlotte Brontë’s most famous work?

I admit that Jane Eyre is my favorite book. And while that fact may liken me to a slew of obnoxious YA protagonists, my preferences have a solid foundation (which I’ll explore further in another post). I’ve always wanted to attain the self-actualization that Jane achieves at the end of the novel, and one particular quotation is helping push me in that direction:

“The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.” -Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

Alright, so…it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. But those are the best twenty-five syllables of my life.

A first read of this quotation sounds rather bleak. But it really isn’t––it’s a woman proclaiming that she can be alone, with neither peas-in-a-pod friendships nor assurances of her worth from other people, and still have value because she sees herself as valuable. Her self-opinion became the only thing that mattered, self-respect more important than optics or popularity.

Whereas in years past I have felt empty and lonely, I’ve spent this summer learning to prioritize myself. I don’t feel the need to be constantly validated by others––a need that had only been growing more dire during my tumultuous spring––and that has been more liberating than just about anything. For the first time in a long time, I feel entirely self-contained. I’m learning to stop relying on other people, and it’s already a rewarding fight.

(Then again, I might find just about anything rewarding if it involved Jane Eyre.)

Ciao for now,
Mikki

Why I Won’t Be Posting Any More Poems


Hello, everyone!

The title of this post makes it sound like I’m about to reveal something sad, but it’s actually quite the opposite. I won’t be posting any more poems on mikkiaaron because I am hoping to create a new chapter in my life as a writer. That is to say, I hope to become published.

“Wait a second,” I can hear you blurting, “Isn’t it true that posting a poem on your blog is a form of publishing it?”

Well, sure. But weblogs doesn’t mean anything to the literary community at large unless you’re really successful––and, well, let’s be honest. I don’t have a massive follower base on WordPress, and my posts rarely receive more than ten likes. This site is only going to take my writing so far.

“That’s fair,” you’re saying now, “But why do you have to deny us your gratis Mikki magic in the name of the New Yorker?”

It’s against the rules of most major––or even respectable––poetry journals to submit poems that have been published before. And yes, that includes poems that have previously appeared on personal blogs.

“Oh,” you’re sneering, “I see how it is. You’re giving up on your underdog dreams in order to be validated by the Old Boy’s Club. What a sellout.”

This blog has actually been really great for me, and I fully recognize that. It’s helped me grow as a writer by providing me with motivation, feedback, and a space for self-expression. I’ve been able to publish my own work without worrying about being funneled, which gave me the opportunity to be experimental and uninhibited. I’ve found my voice: if you scroll through the mikkiaaron archives, you can watch the evolution in real time. My tiny corner of the Web has given me the chance to uncover myself to the world, and from there I figured out the type of writer I want to be.

Unfortunately, as I said before, I can only do so much growing with a limited readership. I need an expanded audience that will include critics as well as supporters (which is not to say I don’t value those who have been supportive––see above paragraph).

Although you did get one thing right. It’s partly for the validation.

You sigh. “I’ll sure miss you. I like your blog.”

That’s so sweet, but I’m not going anywhere! I haven’t totally decided what to do with mikkiaaron now that I can’t upload verse, but I promise it’ll be good. The most likely option is that I’m going to write about writing, instead of posting the actual fruit of my labors.

“But your poems are so good, and I want to keep reading them.”

Worry not! That’s what I want, too. It’s just that you might encounter them in a different medium.

“No, I mean, I want to keep reading them here, for free.”

Surprise! Poets actually need money. Money is necessary for food, food is necessary for human life, and human life is necessary for poetry.

“You’re right. That was kind of inconsiderate of me.” All of a sudden, you get excited. “Oh, wait! Does that mean I’m going to see your name on a book one day?”

Hm.

I wouldn’t count on it.

“Why not?”

Excellent question.

Ciao for now,
Mikki

 

Why I Adore Dodie Clark


Dodie Clark is a British YouTuber and overall wonderful human being. Her videos showcase breathtaking emotional honesty as well as her astounding musical abilities. I first heard of Dodie about a year ago, when I was exposed to the song “Sick of Losing Soulmates,” and, in the best way possible, her lyrics (paired with her soft and pained vocals) absolutely shattered me.

At the time, I was in the throes of grief after a breakup that pulled from me yet another best friend. Consequently, when Dodie sang:

We will grow old as friends, I’ve promised that before
So what’s one more?
In our grey-haired circle, waiting for the end

I knew she had been through what I was (and, well, still am) going through. As I listened to more of her songs and dived into her vlogs, I realized that her hurt and my hurt had a great deal of overlap––she had felt discarded, useless, desperate. And, as the video for her song “Would You Be So Kind” reveals, she has felt hope despite the hurt, allowing herself to be vulnerable only to be hurt again, and then hoping again after the experiencing more hurt. She had been pushed away by people she loved deeply, who she thought on fondly, that she wasn’t ready to leave.

But, despite her pain, she is still a marvel. She is incredibly talented and she has survived so much. And, to put cherry on the sundae, she is beautiful despite the self-esteem issues she presents playfully in “My Face” (and I’ll admit that her channel aesthetics were a part of the hook).

Everything I knew about the pain she sang about reflected the pain of my moment, and yet she was still an amazing person.

Maybe I was still an amazing person.

Dodie showed me it was okay to feel incomplete, like a “6/10”––that my feelings did not undermine my worth in any way, even if I wasn’t always strong.

And I’m almost starting to believe that love might be worth the hurt.

I adore Dodie Clark, unequivocally. My heart is Dodie yellow. Even if you don’t feel an intense emotional connection to her messages, her cutesy and/or heartbreaking songs are still worth a listen. There’s no time like the present to tune into one of the most riveting humans on the planet.

Ciao for now,
Mikki

Workshop


As you may have noticed, I haven’t been posting much poetry recently. Counterintuitively, this is a result of the fact that I am taking a poetry workshop at my college.

The vast majority of the poems I’m working on right now are for that class, and since it’s a workshop, I am continually revising and improving them. As such, I haven’t really created a finalized product in a while. It’s just been about the process––but, rest assured, that process is producing some really cool stuff.

To anyone who actually pays attention to/cares at all about what I do here on mikkiaaron: know that some HQ writings are on their way. If you feel dismayed (or even betrayed) by my poetic shortfall, then know that I will make up for it before long with quality to outmatch quantity.

That’s right, kids. Mikki’s coming back.

And she’s gonna pack a punch.

Ciao for now,
Mikki

P.S. This does not mean that I won’t be posting at all until I turn in my final portfolio. It just means it will be more infrequent than my lovely followers may be accustomed to.

 

Awake


In the third grade, I had my first stint with mental illness. My only real friend had just moved away, and no one wanted to play with me at recess. I was depressed, big time, and I was also working through grief at the loss of my friend. The stages were evident (retrospectively) in the narratives that went through my head as I tried to sleep. Some nights I would cry. Some nights I would invent stories in which who had abandoned me continued to wrong me; some nights I would scream my anger at her. At eight years old, I would spend some nights thinking seriously about death. But it wasn’t until the next school year that I started to understand that these thoughts were anything out of the ordinary. lonely-child-1024x678In the fourth grade, after she saw me hitting myself repeatedly during tests, my teacher sent me to weekly group sessions with the school counselor.

It’s gotten worse since then, but it’s also gotten better since then. My depression comes in waves. The stresses of elementary school, junior high, and high school all took their toll on me. So, too, has the unforgiving coldness of winter, as well as the unrelenting loneliness of summer. Depression is not a constant companion, but it is a consistent companion.

My anxiety, on the other hand, does not come in waves. They aren’t as bad as they could be, and I’m always learning to ways to negotiate with them, but they never leave. Ever. In fact, I’m not totally sure where my anxiety stops and my nervous personality begins. Fretting is ingrained into my very aspect.

I was born an anxious person. I was also born a sad person. That’s sort of my point, my raison d’être: to be anxious and sad. It makes me see things that other people ignore, and it allows me to be introspective. In that, mental illness is what makes me a writer. I’m only an artist because I was wired incorrectly at the factory.

Maybe I should be grateful. Continue reading “Awake”

Hold Your Horses, Mr. Spam Bot!


I saw the number 3 next to my spam folder, and I knew I was in for a ride.

But I couldn’t have predicted this.

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I don’t know if these things ever actually work, or if the mastermind behind the bots that spit them out just thinks they’re hilarious, but either way they are a work of modern art.

Apparently, the algorithm couldn’t decide which scripted complement would suit me best, so it gave me all of them, at once. And I instantly felt compared to share this particular comment with you guys, in all its unabridged glory.

So, without further ado, here are the flattering ramblings of a robot programmed to please. Continue reading “Hold Your Horses, Mr. Spam Bot!”