Oct 31, 2015

Happy Halloween and Blessed Samhain!

Finally, my  favorite day of the year, Halloween!! I had plans to spend the day with my friends, baking all sorts of goodies, but that couldn't be done since one of the girls had to cancel on us. But things didn't fell throught as Laura and I went out to the movies. We had gone a couple of weeks ago to watch The Crimson Peak, and then we saw the trailer for The Last Witch Hunter, so we went to see that one. Hell, that was bad. Not too bad, mind you, but it wasn't a good movie at all. The plot was too predictable, and it had such a "Fast and Furious" flavour to it, you nearly expected Paul Walker to appear any minute on he screen. It had every heroe-antiheroe cliché all wrapped into one. I nearly fell asleep on it. Twice! But Lau and I had a great time, and that's what matters.

This year Halloween has been quite wonderful, with a lot of support from a lot of people I didn't ever expect to be so involved in it.There have been a few negative notes as well, though not related with the Halloween or Samhain and honestly, from a part from which I haven't been expecting anything good. I'm thinking this might be my cue to move on, get away from this place from which I can't expect anything good anymore. As the wheel of the year turns, a cycle is completed and the veil thins for us o glimpse through it into the world of spirits. What wisdom can we learn from them? Maybe one that says: "Move On".

Oct 25, 2015

Much Needed Mental Notes

I actually had this great idea for a post, which I didn't write down and now I forgot completely about. This has been happening a lot lately to me, probably due to the fact that I'm going insane with the project we are working on for the University, going over number, filling up chapters and lots of work papers for the auditory we are doing and on top of all that, I still have work to do at the office.

It's kind of sad that this actually happened to me on October, which is my most inspirational month of the year. I actually had been flying on an amazing wave of inspiration for INAT (you don't really need to know about that) and... and I had to do work and had to stop my fickle muse midflight. Sometimes I'd really love to forget about everything and just write or read or do only the things I feel like doing, and not the things I have to do, even if those things are things conducive to stuff I really want and set my eyes on. I guess my mind tries to escape my reality in these moments.

Perhaps it is due to the mind acting like a bird trapped in the cage of a million tasks, all of them requiring much mental and physical energy, that it starts shedding all the ideas around.Something comes up and it quickly lets it go. So, how can we actually try and capture them? Well, the basic idea any organizational guru or anyone with good organizational skills would tell you is: record the idea the moment it comes to mind. Have post-its handy, jot down the idea when it comes to you, or the thing you can't forget, the task or whatever, and then stick it where you'll see it.

I'm big on using post-its and often stick them around myself to remind myself of things I might be prone to forget. When I'm more on top of my game (and my mind isn't working against me), when ideas about some project I'm working on come up, I take a post-it and write it on it and stick it on some surface right before me at the place where I work on that project. For instance, at my workplace I've two huge picture posters on my cubicle walls. One is next to me and the other in front of me. You can´t see the pictures themselves anymore as on the one to the side I put post its and notes about reference information: phone numbers, reference information, notes about regulation I must keep at hand and stuff like that. On the poster in front of me I stick post-its and notes about tasks and things I need to tackle.

Another method used by many people, and which is quite good for a lot of other types of ideas, as well as the mobility it offers, is using a notebook to record those ideas. The notebooks can be of any size or any kind you like or can find. The idea is to keep that notebook with yourself at all times - along with a working pen or pencil - and take it out everytime an idea comes to mind or you think of something you need to tackle or do, and write it down. The system you use for it can vary depending on what works for you the best. For instance, you can write your notes and ideas from the front to the end of the notebook (depending on what you see as the front of the notebook), and from the end forward you write down your to-dos and tasks and stuff you have to deal with. That's just an idea. You could also just open the notebook and write in it and fold the corner of the page if you wrote down something you have to deal with later, like a grocery list or a note not to forget paying your utility bills, for instance.

I use notebooks for ideas, and also for taking notes, when, for instance, I'm with my classmates and we are making decisions about what to do with the project we are working on. Like the minutae of our meeting. I'm quite forgetful, so my tasks and to-dos go into post-its at work or at home on my weekly wall planner. I use these planners by post-it, which you can use flat on your desk or stuck to a wall. I put it on the wall, and try to remember to fill it every Sunday night with the stuff that has to be done the next week. Sometimes I forget, which is OK, because my filofax has all my appointments and tasks. This wall weekly planner is also my board where I stuck my post its. Some are recurrent post its, like appointments with my friendsor stuff I should remember regularly, so when I don't use them I keep them to the side. Others are one timers, so when I stick one of them on the white calendar they stand out and I read them all the time. However, this is how it works for me, If you want to try it out, you should do whatever works for you.

One thing I've noticed in the organizational world is that there are people who are more concerned about the notebook or the whatever they use than the actual use they give to them. Something important you need to know about the notebook you'd use is that it most be a notebook that works for you. Honestly, a flashy, expensive notebook would do nothing for you anymore than a cheap notebook could do. There are a few fashionable brands like moleskine, which is really beautiful and has nice colors and all, but it works just as well as simple staple or glue bound notebook. Some do choose moleskine notebooks for their durability, as it would take better being stashed into your pocket or your bag, pulling it out, pushing it in and so on. Stiffer covers also give you a better surface for writing in those cases you have to hold the notebook in your hand. However there are plenty of cheaper options that also give you a stiffer cover.

Another system is the midori. There are these midori traveler journals or something like that is a leather cover with a string in the middle. The idea is that you use this cover to put in it a notebook, usually a midori notebook, which has a special size that fits the cover. The system also allows you to amplify the number of notebooks you can fit in the cover. I've seen videos for fitting up to three notebooks. The  advantage of this system is that you can carry more notebooks, all in one cover, and you can use them to organize better your notes. You can have a calendar or planner in one, another for notes and another for to-dos, for instance, BUT if you are looking for something simple, not a huge system with many notebooks and stuff like that - and trust me, the simpler the system, the better - get one notebook and make it work.

If you are new to this and the idea interests you, let me give you a piece of advise: before you start think what would you really want, what is your goal. If what you want is to remember things that need to be done but a planner don't work for you because you forget to look at it, go for post its. Stick them on the fridge, on the window, on the mirror in the bathroom. Hell, put the most important ones of the coffeemaker! A notebook won't work for tasks and notes that are time-related if you are not going to open it, so don't even go there.

If you'd like a way to record errand thoughts you have, ideas, stuff that don't need to be dealt right away, a notebook is perfect, even if you are not in the habit of checking it everyday, because when you are looking for the idea, you'll remember your notebook, and page through it and check your notations. For instance, say you have a project of making a business. From time to time ideas ocur to you about what would you like for your business, how could you develop this or that, ane even note down data for possible investors, providers, or tips on legal stuff, things you need to consider, requirements you better fill... you get the drill, right? Well, when you sit down to work on your project to get it working, you can take out your notebook and get all those ideas, discards those that don't work for your project and use those that do work. You don't have to remember the whole thing because you notebook does that for you.

My advise for you is also not to go shopping for a notebook, spend in something fancy that migt end up unused in some box or drawer or something. Start with whatever you have at hand. Sure, maybe you are not like me, with tons of unused notebooks and journals laying around, but sure there's some small, old planner you've got years ago with something you've bought, or a promotional notebook... and if not, really, go for the cheapest you can find that's functional for you. If you have no idea what should you look in a notebook for it to be funtional, go for the size: find something that's not heavy and which you can stash in your bag or your pocket. And really, any old planner that went unused or still has space would do. Take a rubber band and hook a pen or pencil to it and you are good to go.

Try it out first, see if it works for you, see if you get to use it, if you are comfortable with it. Who knows, maybe you work better with an app on your phone, and not a physical notebook, so let the first be a cheap try out, something you won't mind spending in if in the end didn't work for you. I, myself, are very old school, and I'm a kinetic, very tactile person, so the physical stuff work better for me, as my journals, notebooks, post its and my filofax can testify, so this is what I use (not with a glass quill, mind you, but with pen or pencil)

Now, having a system doesn't mean that the system is bulletproof and it will work every single time. Sometimes I still forget to make my notes, sometimes I mix stuff and do new things, like sticking post its in my notebooks. I have a notes section in my filofax that does have notes but probably I'm taking it out next year since my filofax is very stuffed and I prefer taking notes in my notebooks anyway (I work with two, one for notes on anything and another to organize more literary notes, though sometimes the notebooks have other notes as well in them). Sometimes you forget to use your system, and that's ok. It doesn't matter, as long as using it isn't a drag for you. Remember, you don't have to work with the system, but the system has to work for you. Yes, you have to get used to it and use it, but make it exactly the way you want it. Nothing more, nothing less. And it can change anytime you want it to change.

So yeah, try it out, what could you lose?

Oct 22, 2015

Emotional Blackmail

I bet all of us know at least one person who resources to this kind of thing in order to get what they want. Most likely we have ourselves have used to get something, either because we thought it was the easiest way to do so, or because that's how we've learned that certain things must be done. It's sad but none the less true. Just look at children: basically instead of teaching children to voice clearly and rationally their needs, parents one way or another enforce in them the idea that if they want something they must cry and throw a temper tantrum. How? Parents ignore the child when speaking but agree to their terms in order to have it shut up or stop making a scene. Parents also use this sort of blackmail when trying to coax children to do stuff, for instance when they tell the child that if they don't do this or that, mommy or daddy would be sad.

The thing is that as we grow up the emotional blackmail grows along and becomes an encroached thing that many find hard to escape. You actually have to grow what looks like a heart of stone in order to deflect most if not all attempts at emotional blackmail.

We hear of a lot of cases of emotional blackmail within families or significant others, where often this sort of behavior might seem part of the normal dynamics. Just think of the times someone could afford to do something by themselves without taking the blackmailing relative or significant other. And think of the reaction when the person actually follows through with a plan that actually excludes or goes against the wishes of the blackmailer. Just to put the picture ahead: imagine that you want to go to have a coffee with your friends, so instead of going home after work, you go to some place and have a blast with your friends. Perhaps it's not an impromptu situation, but you told your family, or your significant other that you have this date with your friends. The emotional blackmailer would either make coments like "you go out with them all the time", or maybe say nothing but start acting sad or withdrawn. Maybe acts like it has nothing to do with them, but you can feel the tension, the sort of tension that says the person is angry or displeased, then, at one point, the emotional blackmailer comes with some plan, which enforces on you so you "make up for going our with your friends the other day".

And this might seem normal to many, after all we are taught that "family is the most important thing in our lives" and also that having someone, a significant other, validates us socially as people who are worth loving. Just think about it, basically all chick flicks, all romantic comedies and a large portion of movies sell this idea, and let's not talk about novels here. We live in a society where the ultimate goal of every person is to have a significant other, where "finding love" is a valid goal in life. And once found, you have to keep it, you have to work for it, because someone could steal it away or it could wilt away and then you'd be a failure. So yes, we are already set in a scenario that enables and promotes emotional blackmail, and that's expected. After all, we are being emotionally blackmailed into buying these ideas. The promotion of any rational, independent behavior would be counterproductive. I mean, can you imagine society if people were to decide that they actually don't want to have a partner, nor want to go to school or get a job, but go into the wilderness and live from homesteading, internet be damned and all that?

Ok, I'm running ahead of myself here.

What I wanted to land on was that, actually, emotional blackmail, believe it or not, actually happens everywhere, and sadly, also among friends. This sort of thing I resent quite greatly. People who actually dare to call you their "friends" and yet have no qualms to laying on you teary stories and your baggage in order for you to pick up the pieces of their messed up lives and rearrange them over and over and over. These friendly emotional blackmailers will often frame the whole thing under "I'm just venting out to you, but you should know that [INSERT STORY AIMED TO MAKE YOU FEEL BAD AND EXTRACT FAVORS FROM YOU]"- pretense. Their family bullies them, their coworkers or bosses bully them, they are so sad, they are so unlucky, nothing goes as planned for them... And curiously, you offer them solutions that mean that they have to take some sort of action and their reaction time and again is to shake their heads sadly and assure that "it won't work". Then they'll get money from you because they make you feel so sad you start paying for every going out to make it better for them, they start hogging your time because you feel obligated to either keep them from the people hurting them or make up for the hurt they receive. Slowly they go on sucking up just about everything about you.

They might be doing things for you too, and that might be the thing that makes it hard to untangle, because it might feel like it's an equal relationship in some cases, when it's not. You see in a healthy relationship with friends, things you do are because you WANT to do them. They make you happy and you don't feel compelled to do them. Compelled being the operative word here. You are not doing them to fix something in your friend's life or perception, but you do them because they make you happy, they make them happy BUT if they don't happen they don't make you unhappy. See it this way: it makes you happy to have a trip to the beach with your friends, but it also makes you happy to go alone or with other friends, or with family, or even if your friend goes without you (and you are not paying that trip). BUT if you go to a trip alone or with other friends and feel guilty because you are not with the friendly emotional blackmailer... well, you know where you stand.

If you have to hide activities you like from your friends, because they'll resent you didn't do them with them, you are being emotionally blackmailed. If you need to hide your income, your new clothes, or anything you have because your friend will resent you didn't give it to them, or spent that money on something you said not to, which they wanted, you are being emotionally blackmailed. If you are doing something, a project or anything fun with a group that doesn't involve your friend, and your friend realizes and acts sad, mad, resentful (jealous), do I need to say more?

When you realize you are being emotionally blackmailed by a friend, the solution is simple:

1. Face your friend. Stop hiding what you do, "protecting" them, and tell them, "hey, I've a life. You are my friend and I love you, but I don't have any obligation with you, and even if I did, that wouldn't be grounds for you to come and make me feel guilty or try to make me feel bad about you for things you could fix yourself. Really, grow up or go blackmail someone else, because I'm not taking that crap anymore". Yes, your relationship might end after that - emphasis on MIGHT, as some emotional blackmailers actually don't know what they are doing - but then again, what are you really losing? A leech. If you lose someone because you've confronted them for emotional blackmail, trust me, they neather loved you nor were your friends. So now you have more space for more friends! Do try and make a better one.

2. Get the hell away from that friend, as fast and smoothly as you can. Friend-fade. Maybe not the nicest thing to do, but it happens, and it happens all the time. Just think of the number of people that used to be your friends and then you lost contact with them and are no longer friends. See? No biggie. Losing a friend hasn't killed anyone.

Now, whatever you do, DO NOT TRY TO FIX YOUR FRIEND. You are not a shrink, you can't help them, but even if you are, you are not being paid for that, and you should know better than to work on people you are involved with. Suffering through it... it's an option, but a stupid one. It's not like they'll stop or get better. People don't change from a position of comfort, and people who blackmail are comfort seekers. They won't stop, but they'll evolve, so you'll never get used to it.

Be warned.

Oct 18, 2015

Rushing with the University

Ok, I've been going a little MIA on you all, considering that I wanted to write every week this year and I already missed a week somewhere in there. There isn't really much to report to you guys, except that I've been heavily neglecting my exercise program - this meaning that I'm doing only my morning workout, and the Sunday workout at the Metropolitan Park (some 90 Minutes Powerade program consisting on 45 minutes of Tae-Bo followed by 45 minutes of Zumba, in a completely free activity, sponsored by Powerade Energy Drink) - since I've been pretty much consumed by the audiing work we have to do for the final Graduation Seminar at the University.

This project got me a little anxious. For some reason my groupmates have all already finished their parts but I'm basically stuck in the mud with mine. It's kind of difficult to imagine that only my parts have so much trouble, so I'm thinking that they are far more efficient than I am, and that I'm taking a much more "forensic" approach rather than a regular "financial" approach. In other words, I'm chasing after everything, sticking my nose into everything, examining everything and then going like a bloodhound for whatever mistakes I've found. The other kids are working really hard and finishing all their parts, taking on new tasks to get all done, and I'm here, dragging my cart. What worries me also is that I'm afraid that my parts would be too detailed, too excesive compared with their parts and that could make he whole thing look disproportionate. I think I'll have to talk to the coordinator of the project and ask her about the work papers she's preparing so I don't go overboard with mine. From what I!ve gathered, I've already did way too many.

On my soulful tumblr (I've too, one more into entertainment, dedicated to follow series I like and fanfics, and another to track design, organization, Paganism and studying), I've seen plenty of beautiful pictures of notes and studying techniques used by several students from all carriers and all parts of the world. I've hardly shared any pictures, and funnily, now that I've swallowed by this University-universe, I've no pictures to show. I've few notes, all is in my computer, and besides the information is quite classified, so to say. So not even the perks of university life there for me to reap.

These days I have not been pleased with my job either. I've heard many awful news too, and as the days go by, I'm displeased with the things I see around me, not so much regarding the people around me, whim I love, but rather some of the things I'm asked to do. There's a rupture there, between D and I, and he's dancing around it, and I'm also skirting around it as it is not my place to call on that, but things are getting pety. My disappointment grows by the minute, and with it my desire to leave those ranks. There's not really much where to go, but the things that go down there make me uncomfortable in my integrity and work ethics. I keep my turf and I'm becoming adept at learning to hold my standing in a way that can hardly be circumvented. As result, D goes pety in ways he had not before. Not with me, at least, and that displeases me greatly. He neglects his job just to be pety with me. So juvenile.

Oct 8, 2015

A Thought About Scarlett O'Hara

In the recent days I finally finished reading "Gone With The Wind", by Margaret Mitchell. This was the first book I actually paid for on my Kindle. I bought it while I was in Budapest. back in 2012. Then I started reading it and left it when I had read about 20% of it. Taking on this book was part of a decision I made after I completed my 2015 Goodreads Challenge for the first time and rather early. I've never before read 24 books within a year, so as I finished my 24 books by August and then read some more, I decided thatI had the time to take on three books I've left half read for quite a while. Gone With The Wind was the first of them.

I assume everybody knows about Gone With The Wind, at least from the movies, but in case you've lived under a rock, or too submerged in reality TV, action movies, modern chick flicks and teenie movies made out of best seller books written in the trend of a very, very lean plot and 0% brain activity, let me summarize it quckly for you. Gone With The Wind is a novel that plays out in Georgia, between Atlanta and a place named Tara, somewhere around Jonesboro in the time of the Civil War (you know, Confederates with grey uniforms and Union soldiers with blue uniforms, North vs South in a war that's known for takingon the abolition of slavery in America), and extends a little past it. The novel goes around Scarlett O'Hara, a beautiful, selfish and stubborn girl who has many pretenders, but is in love with Ashley Wilkes. She marries three men she doesn't love and suffers because Ashley maries Melanie Hamilton, a humble, simple girl that loves Scarlett more than anyone else. Then, there's Rhett Butler, a man who sees through Scarlett, knows her secrets and loves to taunt her constantly. He doesn't seem to fall in love with her, but flirts in his mean and denigrating way, always seeking to make her loose her temper. He's also wealthy and known for the shady businesses he's always involved in.

Scarlett and Ashley. Taken from Google.
Through the novel Scarlett looses everything and must fight to keep herself and her family from starvation and eviction. She doesn't shy away from anything, even resourcing to Rhett for help, or tricking and manipulating people to get what she wants. From the many suitors she has in the begining, her "romantic" life ends up reduced to her love for Ashley, who doesn't seem to correspond her feelings, and Rhett, to whom she's attracted, buut who never misses a chance to hurt her and humiliate her.

In the movie Rhett is less of an abusive bastard and Ashley is more clear about not corresponding her feelings, but in the book Ashley clearly leads her on and Rhett openly mistreats her, threatening her often with physical violence, being physically violent, abusing her verbally, sexually and even using her, destroying her reputation by leading her to bad company, forcing her to keep bad company and not shying away from spreading lies about her in order to improve his own reputation before society. This all made in such a way where he threatens Scarlett with violence if she dares to "undo his work" or "call on his lies".

Scarlett and Rhett. Taken from Google.
As I read the book it got me thinking about how awful Scarlett's situation is, how trapped she is, and how the narrative forces her to see her love life necessarily as a choice between Ashley and Rhett, for being alone of with someone else is not an option. By the end of the novel Scalett is told that Rhett loves her, though he doesn't really ever shows so, and only says so once when drunk, but the rest of the time vehemently denies loving her. Scarlett actually considers herself stupid for not realizing this sooner. And this is where I made a stop and thought of how this Ashley-Rhett thing is still imposed on us by society.

In today's society, as modern as it is, and as much as the role of women in it has changed, girls are still brought up with the idea that they should grow up and be pretty, get married and have children. Success in the case of women is often still measured in the "quality" of the husband they can procure for themselves, and failure in not getting any husband. And husbands are a thing to catch. Tons of books aimed for women have the heroine getting the guy. In the case of romance novels, well, it's all about her getting her "happily ever after", and the idea is also hammered in that a woman must fight to keep the love of her man. Subtly, we are also taught that the love of men must be read between lines, guessed from nearly imagined gestures, and their aggressions taken as unmistakable signs of love.

In both of Scarlet's love interests we find two of the lies we are told. Ashley represents the idea sold to us - and also to men - that love can be conquered if you just fight for it and keep pressing the matter regardless of the clear rejection of the other party. Ashley, actually bound by chivalry doesn't find the way to pull Scarlett away from himself. But then, in the book, his character seems to split between that of a man clearly subjected to harrassment, who's desire to be left alone and his wish not to be disturbed with the matter anymore deserves no respect from Scarlett, to that of a man, who then chooses to allow some of her advances, much to his own displeasure, and thus leading her on into thinking she has made progress in her coquest. I'll gender-switch the situation for you to see it more clearly. Imagine a girl - Ashley - who has this guy friend - Scar - whom she loves very much as a friend, and whom she admires by the way he so fearlessly takes on life. Scar is infatuated with Ashley and decides to start courting her. Ashley isn't interested in Scar but doesn't want to lose his friendship, so she tries to dissuade him. Scar won't give in and keeps pressing and pressing until Ashley, starts giving in a little, though each time she gives in she feels bad. Ashley is happily married to the man she loves, Mel, but Scar doesn't seem to care about that.

You see the situation here?

In the second case - which sadly is tried to be sold to us as Scarlett's true love - our heroine is faced with a man who dedicates every minute he has with her to insult her. He starts by telling her she's not a lady, and then, as he makes sure to be very polite and gallant to other women, often in front of Scarlett, he always makes sure to insult her and compare her to other women, making her feel less. Even when he starts with an apparent flattery, he quickly turns his words until they become hurtful. This goes on to the point where whenever he says something nice to her Scarlett braces for the nasty part, an if it doesn't come she becomes antsy waiting for the blow to happen. Though Scarlett is actively portrayed as a bully, and not once in the book she appears to be happy, in the end she becomes addicted to Rhett's treatment and craves it. She goes to the point where, when finally being abandoned by Rhett, she decides to plot to get him back.

As women, we have been told so many times that we need to have a partner in our lives, that our existence isn't complete unless we have someone at our side, that often we come to regard to the person who pays attention to us as our one and only ticket for salvation. Be it that we hold a torch for an Ashley in our lives who has absolutely no interest in us but can't or won't find the way to plainly let us know, either because our Ashley doesn't wish to hurt us or because he enjoys our attention to some extent; or the Rhett in our lives, the guy that likes to keep us around as his personal amusement, and makes anything to provoke anger, sadness or hurt in us. The Rhett can also be that guy (or girl) who often or even constantly minimizes us. Our issues aren't important and we are either selfish or stupid for thinking so. Our opinion is stupid or baseless, our programs or agenda are secondary to anything else. This Rhett can also be the person that tends to compare us with other, usually in a light that makes us look like we are less, even when said in a way that appears to be positive. For instance, the love interest who remarks how someone you may not like has been loosing weight while you might have been gaining some pounds.

The Rhett is also that girl or guy who never notices your successes and if he or she does, the tone in which they do makes it sound like it's not so important. "Yes honey, you finally got our  PhD in Quantum Physics, congratulations. And did you see how lovely is Anna's new baby? She must be really proud. Her and her husband. Have you thought about what should we give her? It's an important moment in her life, you know?". See what I mean?

How many times to we feel guilty for feeling bad? How many times do we feel judged, like we must fight to make a relationship work even when clearly it can't because the other part isn't interested in it? How many times do we ignore clear signs of mistreatment and abuse because we actually think we can make things better, and maybe even that the abuse is a natural, deserved response to something we did?

It's time to realize that time isn't escaping from us, that being single isn't a crime nor a sign of failure. You are a failure only if you  think you are, not because others say so, or because you've failed to marry and bring children to this planet. Regardless of our tempers, be it Scarletts or Melanies, we are a Scarlett, each of us, and we must learn that we don't need to chase any Ashley, because we are valuable even if he doesn't love us, as long as we do. And as we love ourselves, we must give ourselves, not the permission, but the RIGHT to tell to the Rhetts of our life to grab all their insults and aggressions, roll them up and shove it where the sun doesn't shine. No need to a "I prefer to be alone and poor than with you" speech, all we need is to say "I don't need your crap". We don't need anyone's admiration or respect or love to live and be happy. We need our own love, our own respect and that will take us forward. Even if in the road we fall, even if we end up chasing an Ashley or being subjected to a Rhett, our love and our self respect will pull us out as long as we don't lose it.

If there's anything worth fighting for is yourself, because you are your own Tara, your own strenght, your own root, your own source for everything you'll ever need.