Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Holy Fuck, It's Me! I'm the Adult!

[redacted] and I were discussed UFI and Warren Farrell* and she said, "And the more I read about Warren Farrell, the more I am simply afraid," and I replied, "meh. we've got tough women on the case."

And then I realized something: We are the tough women on the case. It's us. We're the ones raising the next generation to continue the fight against the patriarchy. We're the ones with blogs to spread the word against bigotry and intolerance. We're the ones refusing to laugh at sexist jokes and refusing to accept misogynistic payscales. It's us.

Now I'm caught halfway between "We are so screwed!" and "Me! Fuck yeah!"

It's me, it's us, we're . . . it. There isn't anyone who's going to come save us, we have no excuses and no great excess of time.

Okay, I got this.


What nobody tells you about being an adult is that it's not a pervasive feeling. You really don't feel any different internally at 35 than you did at 13. It's other people who are getting younger and more obnoxious, not that you're getting older. So you hit 18 and wait for it to happen, to become an adult. And it doesn't. You feel no different. 21 comes and goes and you can walk into any bar you want- and you still feel 13. 30, the first big one right?, and there you are, still fucking 13.

Except for every now and then when it hits you- hard- that you're the adult now. Somebody left you in charge of your own life and what the fuck were they thinking? Other people assume you know what you're doing. Younger people may actually seek your advice on things. And every now and then it hits you- you're the adult here. It's up to you.

After the shock of it all passes, I have to wonder: how much of the time did my parents, my teachers, heck, my doctors, spend wondering when someone was going to say, "Haha! Joke's over. Now here's some pudding and one cartoon before bedtime."

Or maybe I'm just the only one.

*That is a link to a listserv. For those of you any younger than I, prior to message boards, which is prior to myspace, which is prior to facebook, there were these things called listservs, which was basically like being included on a mass email forward, only of information you really wanted rather than bizarre, teaparty, racist, sexist "jokes".


  1. Ah, the good old days of listservs and usenet newsgroups. Back before the days of HTML, back before the days when HTML was still about presenting text rather than graphics-and-animation-laden pages.....

    I look at my 17yo friend who is in such a hurry to become an adult. I just want to tell him, "Fine, you can come take my place and I'll go back to high school. Despite all the problems in high school (and yeah, there are certainly problems aplenty there), I'll still feel like I'm getting the better end of the bargain!"

  2. And now I know your minimum age!

    Yeah, I look at my teenaged nieces and nephews and hold back from saying, "Yeah, we'll switch places for a week, and then you'll be screwed because I won't go back!"

  3. Well, if you really want to know, I'm 36. :)

  4. I'm 35. We could have been part of the same listserv.

  5. Thirty-eight. And yeah, how the hell did that happen?

    (Answer: Incrementally. With, at least in my case, the emphasis on "mental".)

    But no, you're not the only one who feels like you're completely faking it when it comes this whole Being A Grownup thing.

  6. 30, the first big one right?, and there you are, still fucking 13.

    Yep, I still feel 13 until I try to do something physically that I would have done at 13 and then I'm reminded of each and every one of these 38 years. Glad to know I'm not the only one making it up as I go along. :)

  7. So, it's everyone? We're all just faking it?

  8. Every day of my living life. If I had it all figured out I wouldn't be a 38 year old divorcee. Or, crap, maybe that means I do have it figured out. Faking it nonetheless.

  9. Correction:

    I wouldn't be a 38 year old divorcee questioning everything she thought she ever knew. :-)

  10. I think I made it to 15, mentally. 13 year old me was a moron and if I had a time machine I'd go back and kick his ass (and then get arrested for assaulting a minor. My testimony, that it's not assault if you're doing it to yourself, wouldn't be recieved well).

    But then I'm only 22 so what do I know?

    But I occasionally get those moments of perspective: "Holy shit I can drive." "Holy shit I have a job." "Holy shit it's the 21st century."

  11. Oh good, someone else in their twenties. I don't feel like such an asshole baby now. Of course, I only have about eight months left in said twenties. But still. And I kid you not: I seriously spent my early- and early-mid-twenties telling people, "I can't wait to be thirty! I feel like your twenties are all about struggling and establishing yourself as an adult, and I feel like in your thirties you know who you are!" Ha. HAHAHAHAHA. My mom must have laughed good and hard at that one as soon as I left the room.

    Everyone is familiar with this big hit from Hyperbole and a Half, yes? This is Why I'll Never be an Adult

  12. do you guys miss being 16 and knowing it ALL.

    i swear, as a teen, i was POSITIVE i knew what it was all about. i *knew* life would be easier without my crazy parents being able to veto every freaking thing, i was SURE i'd be better at it than my parents [or, at least, my mom]

    if it makes anyone feel any better - my mom turned 58 yesterday - and she feels the same way. "i'm just pretending that i know what i'm doing. am i ever going to KNOW what i'm doing?" that's what she said [she has custody of my youngest sister's kids, because said sister? won't take care of them and WANTED my mom to take custody. now she wants them back, and doesn't want to go through what the court has ordered for her to get them back - so she's trying to get them put in the fucking FOSTER SYSTEM, under the fucked up notion that they'd be in foster care for a couple of years and then she could get them back. and my mom is FREAKING. we KNOW how bad foster care is...]

    so... yep, there are two kinds of people in the world. those who know they're faking, and those who are so narcistic they don't CARE that they're faking :)

  13. Hyperbole and a Half should be required reading in all writing and drawing classes, ever, of all time. Allie's sense of timing, her ability to describe all those small details that give you a sense of the situation without telling you everything, and they way she draws seemingly really crappy stick-figure expressions that perfectly express emotions and thought processes... that is pure talent.

    I read more webcomics than novels these days, and the more I read the more I find that talent expresses itself through different strengths. Allie's is the stuff mentioned above. The Foglios' (Girl Genius) is a combination of extremely imaginative, well-thought-out worlds and very human, but quirky, characters. Dan Shive (El Goonish Shive) is great at writing interesting relationships and likable characters, as well as his recent stuff being one of the most professional-looking webcomics on the net (seriously, I think EGS has undergone more art-evolution than any other webcomic, even Penny Arcade). Who else? Andrew Hussie (Homestuck) excels at extremely strong characterisation, really really complicated storylines involving a cast of dozens, time travel, paradox clones, and some of the strongest mood whiplash of all time, as well as epic cinematic animations set to music for big scenes. Pete Abrams (Sluggy Freelance) does one of the longest running webcomics on the net (dude is dedicated), is good at revelations and putting down and picking up overarching plotlines (he set up at least one MASSIVE revelation 12 years in advance, and nobody saw it coming), as well as being a very funny guy. Randall Munroe (xkcd) is good at picking up on both the most simple, everyday things and on the most esoteric bits of nerdity and turning them into something funny (although I mainly go for the graph jokes). Ummmm... [thinks] Oh! Chris Hastings (Dr McNinja) is brilliant at throwing the craziest, weirdest, most insane ideas in the pot, giving everyone a completely straight reaction to them, and then making it work. (Dr McNinja: weirder than EGS) Also, in terms of artstyle, it's the most 'realistic' (which is to say, the dinosaurs with jetpacks and guns are very realistically drawn).

    Okay, I think I'm done. BTW, I would recommend all of those to anyone who hasn't read them.

  14. I LUH you, Quasar. (Leaves to be unproductive for at least the next day.)

  15. I'm 25. I kind of felt like an adult when I got made redundant. That seems like a grown up thing to have happen to you.

  16. "I LUH you, Quasar. (Leaves to be unproductive for at least the next day.)"

    :) Heh, "at least" is right. The worst offender is Sluggy Freelance: Abrams does one comic a day, even on weekends (though weekend comics are usually filler, or guest comics), and it's on it's 13th or 14th year. The archive is seriously mind blowing.

    I probably read too many webcomics, but those are the ones that stick in my mind as true genius. They're also inspirational: EGS makes me wanna draw, Sluggy and Girl Genius make me want to write, Homestuck makes me want to animate, xkcd makes we want to learn about esoteric mathematical concepts and Dr McNinja makes me want to wear a ninja-mask-and-lab-coat ensemble in public. (I should mention somewhere: the last two usually have hilarious alt-text if you hover your mouse over the image).


Comments are for you guys, not for me. Say what you will. Don't feel compelled to stay on topic, I enjoy it when comments enter Tangentville or veer off into Non Sequitur Town. Just keep it polite, okay?

I am attempting to use blogger's new comment spam feature. If you don't immediately see your comment, it is being held in spam, I will get it out next time I check the filter. Unless you are Dennis Markuze, in which case you're never seeing your comment.

Creative Commons License
Forever in Hell by Personal Failure is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at foreverinhell.blogspot.com.