Defensive Measures

Ah, life. The great tragic comedy.

As per my usual introspective complaining, I have trust issues. I just don’t trust people. I’m scared they’re talking about me behind my back. In relationships, I feel like the guy’s just waiting for the right moment to say it was a joke. I don’t tell my friends about my personal life, because I’m afraid of being the whiny little crybaby again. So, I toughened up. I worked at a haunted house, where I learned to put on a pretty good Mormon goth persona. When people at school annoyed me, I let them know it, and never talked to them unless they talked to me first. If they ever were stupid enough to enter into my personal bubble, they knew it.

I was a snot.

Somehow, though, the most annoying guy in my graduating class, Scott, befriended me. He didn’t annoy me as much as he did everyone else, for some reason. But after high school, we started talking more, went on a few dates, etc. Now, he’s “in love” with me, like a brother to me, and WAY too close for comfort. He knows things about me that I’ve never told anyone else, and he pisses me off like no other. He knows me beyond the act, and laughs at things that are deadly serious to me. If he ever decided to try something, I wouldn’t be able to stop him, because, skinny as he is, he’s still stronger than me. That’s terrifying.

And I can’t get the idiot to stop being “in love” with me, no matter how hard I try.

What’s most annoying is that I promised I wouldn’t stop talking to him, otherwise I would’ve gotten him out of my life a long time ago. Unfortunately, I seem to be a woman of my word. So, instead I get to listen while he talks about his exploits with other girls (why he tells me, I don’t know), and talks about how hard his life is, and how many temptations he has to go through, etc, etc, etc. I mean, I’m trying to help him be a better person, but he’s dragging me down in the process.

And he’s too freaking close. He knows too much, and I can’t get away from him. A part of me’s sure it’s my sister all over again.

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Dancing

I took ballet and tap lessons for ten years, and ballroom dance for one and a half. I’m nowhere near the best out there, but, generally, I can dance.

You know what’s really sad, though? The people who say they can’t—who won’t even try.

Let me tell you something. Something important. The most well-kept secret of dancers, which I can be killed for telling you. Dancing isn’t about memorizing fancy steps and performing them in complicated combinations. It’s about attitude. It’s acting without words. That’s all.

If you don’t know the steps, you fake it, but you fake it good. Not looking at your feet, and with a confident smile (not the grimace-like grin so many dance teachers are fond of) on your face. Act like you know what you’re doing. Dazzle them with your bullshit, to be blunt.

Beyond that, remember the tone of the dance. The mood. Waltz, for instance, is sweet and romantic. Tango is sexy. Cha cha is flirty. Swing is fun. Set your mood to the music, and don’t be forcing a smile during a tragic song, because it looks stupid and trashy.

Act confident, and remember the mood. Fake it with style.

Audiences love that crap.

For the Love of Character!

Just finished an amazing book: Warchild by Karin Lowachee—a science fiction novel. Most genre fiction of my admittedly limited experience focuses on the world. They wow you with ships and space travel, magic and unicorns, princesses and dragons and orcs and ogres and weird new aliens and different planets, Earth as it will be or once was, and so on. The characters themselves are bland—just like a thousand other characters out there. You know little about them besides their names and generally what they look like, and you forget about them as soon as the book’s over.

BORING.

I can’t muddle my way through books like that, which is why I’ve had to stay away from the fantasy/sci-fi sections of the book store lately. But I’m always on the lookout for something to restore my faith in genre fiction. Warchild has been one of those. It’s not perfect, but I’d say the main character is just as strong and interesting and dynamic as the main character in some hoity toity literary novel.

(Note: It’s not a gay romance novel. Goodreads users have listed it as LGBT and m/m romance. It’s not, though the other books in the series might head that way. The main character in this one’s asexual.)

O, genre fiction! O, refuge of my childhood! Where did the character development go? What happened to personal challenges being overcome? Heck, what happened to the people, and why am I surrounded by cardboard cutouts? It’s all about flashy toys, now.  Or, if the characters are passably human, how It Got Worse and Darker and Edgier.

And that’s why I stick to the fiction and literature shelves. But still, I keep hoping. Searching the vast stacks of books at every bookstore and library far and wide, just hoping I’ll find something special that will restore my faith in genre fiction.