The Hate Virus

I have, on occasion, said that I hate people. I do. My biggest issue is when people are in groups they take on a group persona as opposed to an individual attitude of a reasonable person. Everyone wants to feel liked, to feel like someone cares about them. Everyone wants to be right.

Every month marks 30 more days since Pulse. And every month I realize how much we’ve forgotten. People who cried or posted heartfelt Facebook statuses asking “why” are now the people arguing with others through social media or making fun of someone different from them with their friends.

I am not innocent, but at least I can admit to myself that I am perpetuating hate.

However, as humans, we won’t be able to move past that hatred. There are some of us who are honest and express our concerns about other people, but then there are the silent ones, who sit in the corner brooding and waiting for the moment they can just leave the conversation and never speak to these people again.

I want to believe there is good in people, I want to believe there’s a chance that someone will remember Pulse (like I do when I’m being hateful), and change their attitude.But I know in all honesty that’s not going to happen. Hateful people will always be hateful. They will always leave nasty notes on people’s cars just because of a pride sticker or presidential candidate, they will always call someone stupid because they don’t agree with them, they will always ignore them when they ask for help, they will always treat others in ways they would never want to be treated. And my heart breaks for their lack of remorse.

It was a little over 3 months ago that we as a city, a state, a country, and as humans stood together in support of love and against hate. But that sentiment has disappeared in favor of continuing with our lives and moving on while the families of those victims and the survivors will never be able to forget. We are lucky to be able to hate and continue on like nothing happened. At least until it happens to you.


The Joker and Harley

…or How I learned to stop caring and hate the film, Suicide Squad.

I will admit that after reading a few reviews from questionable sources, I decided to see Suicide Squad and form my own opinion about the movie. A little background, I might be a huge fan of Batman (I totally am), specifically of The Joker and Harley Quinn. As a kid, being introduced to Harley Quinn was life-changing. She was everything I thought I was and wanted to be. Some kids want to be the Hero. I wanted to be the Villain.


Harley and her other love, Poison Ivy

In watching Suicide Squad, one of the few things I can agree with was Paul Dini’s (One of Harley’s creators) statement that Margot Robbie, nailed the character. She did. Robbie did a fantastic job recreating the mixture of Harley’s adolescent manner and psychopathic tendencies with little effort. Harley is a character in which you never know which direction she will go because she is, quite obviously, insane. Jared Leto wasn’t bad either. There have been better Jokers, but I would not say he was awful. I do miss Harley’s accent though….

So what went wrong? Well, let’s start with the fact that for whatever reason, David Ayer and his team decided to focus on the Post-2011 version of The Joker and Harley. The public is being introduced to a new character (essentially), Harley and the rest of the Suicide Squad, which some fans of the comic will say, “Well, Xtine, that’s correct ’cause Harley was in The New 52 version of Suicide Squad (released in 2011)”. My problem isn’t with Suicide Squad, my problem is with the movie.

If you want to do a comic no one has heard of, maybe you should have focused on another version of it, like say, the earlier version since the majority of the movie centered on Deadshot anyway. Then maybe you wouldn’t have had the issues that you encountered when reproducing a truly tortuous and abusive relationship that is the Joker and Harley Quinn. That’s the movie everyone wanted to see but instead we only saw a watered down version of how their home life really is sprinkled throughout a boring, drawn out, lazy plot.


Reading the comics, you’ll see the Joker, the love of Harley’s life, shoot her, punch her, leave her for dead, let her get captured and a slew of other terrible things that I feel like Jared Leto’s Joker would not do. Yes, the film Joker lets her get captured by Batman, but then he tries to save her on multiple other occasions. In reality, the comic Joker doesn’t even like her, let alone love her, so why would he even bother to make such moves to get her back?

I used to romanticize the idea of a Harley and Joker relationship just like most girls and boys are doing now, but then I realized that relationships should be healthy. The biggest problem with this film is that it seeks to change people’s ideas (or influence ideas) of how the Joker treats people. He has no room to love anyone. I feel that the message they are sending here is that this relationship can be sweet, loving and mutual when they aren’t on a murderous rampage but this just simply is not real. They are not Bonnie and Clyde, they are not Romeo and Juliet. She is dependent and unstable and he is a bona fide psychopath.


Crazy Train

I’m sad for the DC universe’s other properties when these are the films that DCEU (DC Extended Universe) is putting out. I will agree that the movie had some interesting and eye-catching effects but it was also executive produced by Zack Snyder so what else can we expect? Its a shame that DCEU is focusing their efforts on the mass public who have no idea of the background of these characters and yet still releases films that seem to start in the middle of a trilogy. Most people get confused, some people like it, and DC fans get mad and go on long rants about why you shouldn’t see it. Origin films have a purpose, don’t try so hard to set records while ignoring your public.

P.S. I truly wonder if the main reason everyone saw it was because they wanted to see why so many people hated it.






Feminism vs. Batman: The Killing Joke

This past Monday, I had the pleasure of seeing an animated feature length film of one of my favorite Batman graphic novels. Alan Moore’s Batman: The Killing Joke was a turning point in my love for Batman. I started becoming a fan girl of the comic book hero back in the 80s when the Tim Burton film was released but after reading The Killing Joke, I found a different love for the character. The Killing Joke showed Batman in a light that I think many people don’t want to see their favorite hero in.


“All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy.”

He became more human, more damaged, more desperate in the story line and all of that is due to Alan Moore’s truly realistic and dark view of the comic book world. We’ve seen this type of sordid view of superheros from Moore in Watchmen or Captain Britain but here we see Batman essentially face himself through the Joker’s depraved acts and increasing insanity. Yes, his back has been broken before, yes his cohorts have died before; but here he is truly having to decide if he is as warped an individual as his all-time greatest nemesis.

I hope what I have just written will allow everyone to understand that I did not hate the animated film despite what is to follow.

The movie was somewhere around 30 minutes in when I sighed and decided that I was going to accept those first 30 minutes as not part of the film itself. My issues with it start with the addition of Paris Franz, an aspiring crime boss added to give Batgirl something to do. The character of Franz is so flat and brought nothing new to the story except flirt with Batgirl and treat her like a terribly toxic boyfriend who, instead of cheating, tries to kill her on several occasions. This character was also a placeholder for Batman to get jealous. Of course, the sexual tension increases, Batgirl and Batman engage in intercourse on a rooftop and, immediately after, Batgirl goes through the typical female crisis: “Why hasn’t he called? Where is this relationship going? What are we? Does he like me? What did I do wrong?” There is even a scene where she screams at him to say “It was just sex, I don’t care, you don’t care, no one cares,” or something to that nature.


“Does this outfit make me look fat?”

I never really think of myself as a feminist but I was seconds from screaming at the screen in the half full theater. They turned a strong female superhero character like Batgirl, only a few scenes away from becoming a paraplegic, into a sappy, sobbing mess of a girl because she slept with her boss. I get it, she’s young and immature, but not every woman needs to cling to a strong male. I feel as if the screenwriters decided that women cannot be as strong as men, especially if that man is Batman. They decided that no woman can resist him, and even if they are partners, they must have intercourse.

I agree that the entire concocted opening to the film was there to give the audience an idea of how the events that unfold affect Batman in his core. He’s hard to read and allowing us to see him as a vulnerable human being gave us some insight into his personal feelings toward Batgirl. But what if this was Jason Todd? Would he have had to sleep with his Robin before he was murdered to give us some idea of how it affected him?

It is an unfortunate situation for Batgirl that she had to have that vagina. If she were only male, she would have just gotten over the whole Paris Franz thing, the whole “Batman doesn’t respect me as his equal” pouting, and she would probably still be Batgirl (not Oracle) with a fully functioning spinal column. I would’ve expected this treatment from an animated feature before but not in 2016 when a woman was just nominated a U.S. Presidential nominee for the first time in history.


Perpetual Sadness with Spontaneous Outbreaks of Joy

I am legitimately tired.

I see everything that’s happened in the world and I am tired. I am tired of people, I am tired of humans, I am tired of us. All we are doing is killing each other. And no reason is a good reason to murder.

Obama was right, it’s not a black issue. But it’s also not an American issue. It’s a human issue. Dogs don’t walk around trying to kill other dogs because they don’t like the way their hair is cut, or what language they bark in, or which God they believe in. We don’t belong on this planet; we are roughage: taking up valuable living space for other beings that don’t kill for sport.

Besides just the senseless murders that have happened in the past 30 days, there’s more. There’s just simply being terrible, selfish people. Ignoring when someone needs help or turning away from something that shouldn’t be happening. We are to blame. As much as we’d like to say “it’s been like this for years and we cannot stop it”, we can. WE, not I. As a person, we can hashtag and cry and protest and fundraise and donate and volunteer, but as people, we should change. We won’t, but we should.

I’ll ask this again, who are we? Are we those people that hashtag a name and dedicate our Facebook to one cause while millions of people die miles away that we won’t even know about? Are we going to defend “Black lives matter” and yet ignore when police officers (who probably agree that black lives DO matter) are murdered in the streets?

We are matter. We will always be matter. And as living, breathing people, we matter now, but eventually we won’t anymore. Trayvon will be forgotten and commemorated through Wikipedia pages for our grandchildren. The 49 Pulse victims will be forgotten just like the 2,977 September 11 victims. We will forget as we age. We will forget to tell our children. They will learn in school about them and wonder, “How does this affect me?” We’ll plan parties, have birthdays, enjoy life, and forget, because that’s what we do.

Evolve. Make change. Not just by yourself but with others. Take the time to love someone who probably needs to be loved right now. Take time to enjoy the people around you because one day they could be gone.

Maybe, by some small chance, we can stop ourselves from ruining this world we’ve been gifted and never deserved.


Who are we?

In a time of tragedy, people show who they really are. I break them into three categories: those who are burdened, those who help, and those who are selfish.

After the devastating loss of life in my city, my home, Orlando, I couldn’t stay home. My mind was going so fast, I was confused, and all I could do was try to help in all the ways I could. When I finally stopped, it hit me. People have died, and they will never be able to come home. It’s then that I went home and cried myself to sleep.

I woke up and scrolled through social media, reading about mothers who lost their children, friends who were missing, and people hurting for the community. I got to a post where someone was upset a post of theirs was deleted from a Facebook Group regarding the event. As the night went on, more of these types of posts popped up. People claiming there are worst things to happen, expressing their opinion on gun control, promoting presidential candidates. Even a post going around claiming we should never leave our homes again because there could be another gunman.

Regardless if what you post is true, are you so selfish as to only care whether or not people will listen to you? These victims will never be able to express their opinions again, never vote again, never experience worse because this was their worst.

I won’t say I’m never selfish. I thought about staying home from work just to lie in bed and cry for every one who decided to go out on a Saturday night to have fun and never came home. But how much would they have loved to be in my position, to be able to wake up again, get dressed, and enjoy life.

So I pick myself, not just for myself but for them. I’ll go out to donate supplies, give blood, give money, I’d give it all because they can’t. And that’s what matters. Sitting behind a phone screen or computer worrying about whether someone read your stupid post about Trump or Isis, it doesn’t matter to those people who are suffering right now.

Why can’t we strive to be self-sacrificing? What are we doing to each other? Who are we?



My Body, My Home

International Women’s Day came and went, and with it, Kim Kardashian’s nude selfie and a collection of celebrities who either loved it or hated it. I have my own personal feelings (mostly dislike) toward pseudo-celebrities and their need to remain relevant, but in this case, I had to side with Kim K. She wrote an open letter, told everyone to mind their business, and defended herself by pointing out how empowering it is to love your body.

In my time with roller derby, I’ve noticed there are all types of bodies. The thing is, you don’t really see it after a while. Regardless of your size or shape, its the skills that make you a great player. A gal might look like she would be a good jammer, but naturally, she’s just better at blocking. You really can’t judge because there is no “derby body”, anyone can play (but you do get some awesomely thunderous thighs, tho.)

It took me a year to stop hating myself and my body. It was a process of eating heathlier, losing weight and accepting myself as I am, not as I thought other people would want. I never actually reached my goal weight of 110 lbs because I woke up one day, looked in the mirror and said “you don’t look so bad”, which is a compliment in my book. That’s all I needed to stop worrying about what I looked like in shorts, or thinking that everyone was talking about my celluite.



My body is all mine, all of it, my possession. So when someone like Kim K. posts a nude selfie and defends it by saying “its my body, and I do what I want with it”, I can’t be mad at her. There are so many female celebrities with nude photos out there in internet world that they did not intend for all to see. What other way of empowering yourself than by posting one yourself because it is your body. I agree that it is a bad example for young fans, but the internet is bad for young fans. I think the person to blame there are the parents, but that’s a whole different post.

The thing is, we, as women, are constantly judged by the way we act, dress, live, etc. From adolescence, we are self conscious of ourselves and, for many of us, we never really get over it. Women need to stand up for each other and say, “Hey, if you think you look good and you want to post that nude photo of yourself, go for it. I wouldn’t, but that’s not my body, its yours.” Do what you feel, when you feel…as long as you don’t hurt any body else. ;P


Cry on the Inside like a Winner

I would have never used the word “strong” or “feminist” to describe myself in the past. I depended on people I loved to make me feel happy, give me a reason to be alive, and to push me through things I wasn’t sure I could do. I was warned, a few weeks before starting derby, that feminism will take over once I get into the community. I didn’t believe it because how can a bunch of girls in fishnets and short shorts (sometimes tutus) be feminists?

A few days ago, I had cramps. Really bad cramps that made me weak in the legs and unable to walk without excruciating pain. I rested on the bed and my husband approached and patted my back. When I turned over, he seemed surprised and said “oh, I thought you were crying”. I thought for a moment and said “I want to play derby. I can’t cry.”

Derby has taught me that no matter what ways my mind tries to psyche me out, I can do anything. At practice, when we think they are telling us to do the impossible and yet we manage to do it with little injuries, the coaches say “see, you didn’t die”. This is my mantra now.

I can’t do it. Oh, but just try. O-m-g I just did it. See, you did it and didn’t die.20160212_172628-1

As a woman, we are constantly told we aren’t strong enough for anything tough. Sure, we can play sports but not something as dangerous as football, and even if we could, they’d “be easy on us”. Girls get pummeled in derby, its, essentially, the entire point of the sport. Then, we go home and take care of our husbands, wives, human children, and/or dog/cat children. We work our various jobs, go to college, make things with our hands, and just be awesome on a daily basis. While guys just play sports and depend on us to make everything easy.

And that’s when the feminism kicks in. Look at my busy life while I still have time to put 8 wheels on my feet and jump over piles of bodies just to score some points. I have skills that I cultivated just through sheer determination and practice. In the words of my husband after I complained of post-practice pain combined with cramps: I am a warrior. And being a woman made me that way.


Teach Me How to Derby

The past few months, but especially the last two, I have been reinventing what it means to be Christine. For several years since my bipolar diagnosis, I’ve let my mental illness be that thing. Why didn’t you come to my party? Cause I’m bipolar.

This year marked the first time I claimed a New Year’s Resolution: To stop making excuses, make friends, and be nice. For someone like me, these things are harder than losing weight or giving up alcohol. And last year, I could do nothing but complain about how no one liked me or wanted to be my friend like a spoiled rich kid who pays people to hang out with him (sorry John DuPont). This year, I would be better and be someone who I don’t hate on a regular basis. But really honestly, stop using my mental health issues as a crutch.

Within two months, I’ve gone to two concerts, did the 5K at Disney in January, and joined a roller derby league which I am absolutely excited about. Sure, I hurt and wish that I wasn’t such a weakling in comparison to these girls who have rock hard quads and nice butts. But now when people say “Roller derby? Isn’t that like really dangerous?” I say, “Yeah, it’s pretty much the most awesome thing you could ever do.”


Under my pinky…small but painful!

I may not be able to stay upright all the time, I may have bruised my palm from falling in only the 2nd day of practice (who bruises their palm?), and I may look nothing like the veterans that skate around on banked tracks and slick floors like they’ve been doing this since birth…but, I became my own hero the day I showed up to practice and put every ounce of effort I had into doing this.

A few days ago, depression was trying to push its way back into the forefront of my brain. It makes you yell at your wonderful and supportive husband and tells you that you have no business even trying anything new cause you’re just mediocre. So I put on my skates and gear, and let derby hip check those thoughts right out.



Post Graduate Job Frustration

Searching for a job is probably one of the most stressful parts of graduating from college. You’ve completed all your classes, put yourself in debt, followed your (or your parent’s) dreams and now its time to get a big kid job. But no one tells you how hard it is to become an adult. And once you get into your big girl pants, you can’t help but feel as if you’re just dogpaddling in a mudslide.

The biggest problem is that the career you studied for usually wants you to already know what your doing before they hire you. Experience: the necessary evil of all jobs. If you don’t have experience you won’t get hired; if you don’t get hired, you can’t get experience. The best way to bypass this catch-22 is by doing an internship while taking classes. However, if you are a working adult it can be difficult to fit in an unpaid internship with a job that pays the bills.

The issue should be addressed in college, but the problem is, it isn’t. There is so much emphasis placed on completing your degree, but not necessarily on getting a job in your industry. This is why people who go to career colleges make it there alot faster than people with a Master’s degree in English. Advisors in school need to ask the right questions: do you know what kind of experience you need for what you want to do? Do you see yourself in this career for more than 10 years? If you rack up debts, can this career help you pay it off?

Essentially, is it worth it?

But advisors aren’t the only ones to blame. Parents push their kids to pursue college and take out loans even when they don’t want to go. In the end, they drop out, still stuck with debt, and still not sure what they want to do with their lives. It’s something that a person has to figure out for themselves. Though it seems like a great idea to go from high school to college, it might be best to just take a break and evaluate.


Director Kevin Smith as a Writer’s Role Model

My recent infatuation with the career and life of director and writer Kevin Smith began after I saw the 2014 horror/thriller, Tusk. The film, starring Justin Long and Michael Parks, is more of what I would consider a genre blending comedy horror. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.

I always wait past the end credits to see any special inclusions directors like to sneak in. The end credits of Tusk included a recording of a SModcast in which the idea for the film was introduced. This started me on a journey into the writing and personality of Kevin Smith.

Prior to my obsession, I had seen most of his movies and never really considered the writing. However, Tusk and SModcast came into my life when I had begun looking at writing as a real career and a real passion for me. Kevin Smith’s films haven’t won Oscars and his writing isn’t as appreciated as it really should be, and he knows it. In fact, he makes fun of himself often on his podcast, SModcast, and the thing I admire the most, is that he never apologizes for his movies or his opinions.

I find people who own their writing, and what they say with it, very impressive. Writing is very personal – I equate it to slicing your wrists open and putting it on paper – and screenwriting is extremely difficult to keep entertaining script after script. Somehow, Smith has been able to do this repeatedly, regardless of the box office returns. This is why I think of him as my writing role model, someone who has inspired me to pursue my dream despite feeling like its “too hard”.

Now, I know a good amount of people think he’s a cool dude, who smokes weed all day and doesn’t really care what you think, but I actually don’t believe that. In fact, I think he does care, a great amount. Anyone who puts that much effort into a script must care for their work and that is what a true writer must do.