Advice Column: How Do I Kill My Family? And Other Important Questions

Dear Fiona,

 

I hate my family. How do I kill all of them without anyone finding out?

 

Sincerely,

Your Little Sister

 

Dear Winnie,

 

I’m telling Mom.

 

Love,

The Favorite Child

 

………

 

Dear Queen,

 

Will I make friends in college?

 

Sincerely,

Antisocial

 

Dear Anti,

 

Probably not.

 

Love,

Queen Fiona

 

………

 

Dear Fiona Chai,

 

I’m depressed. How do I pet a giraffe?

 

Please respond promptly,

Dying in Denver

 

Dear Dying,

 

I think you can pet giraffes at the San Diego Zoo. Here’s some directions that might help: drive to the Golden Gate Bridge, park your car, get out, jump off the edge.

 

Hope this helps!

Fiona Chai

 

………

 

Fifi,

 

How do I steal my sister’s stuff before she goes to college?

 

Thanks,

Winnie

 

Winnie,

 

Touch my things and I will kill you in your sleep.

 

Love,

Big Sis

 

………

 

Dear QueerProtagonist,

 

My arm is stuck in a vent. Pls help.

 

Hurry!

Stuck

 

Dear Stuck,

 

Have you tried not sticking your arm in vents?

 

Thoughtfully,

 

Fiona Chai

 

………

 

Dear Fiona,

 

My girlfriend is going to college 2,ooo miles away in New York CIty because for SOME REASON Colorado isn’t good enough for her. How do I cope?

 

Love,

Horny and Depressed

 

Dear Boyfriend,

 

I’M SORRY OKAY?

 

Love,

Fiona

 

………

 

Dear The Queer Protagonist,

 

I’m in love with my older coworker who blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

 

Yours truly,

Pining at Pratt

 

Dear Pining,

 

Shut up!

 

With utmost sincerity,

 

Fiona Chai

 

… … …

 

Dear Fiona,

 

I just broke up with my boyfriend. How do I get over him?

 

Sincerely,

Horny and Depressed 2.0

 

Dear Horny 2.0,

 

You won’t. Ever.

 

Best wishes,

Fiona Chai

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I Graduate

Did you know that you can fail homeroom? You can, in fact, fail homeroom. I did because I had 12 unexcused absences, and I also failed math, which meant I almost didn’t graduate.

Let me be clear: I am not bad at math. I’ve been taking advanced math classes since I was 12. I am, however, bad at doing homework. And showing up for class. And paying attention on the rare occasions I do show up. So I’m bad at several vital life skills, but math isn’t one of them.

One of my fellow honors students called me a “senior burnout”. I contend this statement. I did a lot of work this semester. I took three weeks off from history to work on my novel, which I’ve since finished the fourth draft of. (Your applause is necessary.) School made both my depression and anxiety worse, so I only went to the classes I had to, and spent the rest of my time not dying.

That makes it sound like I’m using depression as an excuse to ditch class. I’m not. I would have ditched class anyway. I also take full responsibility for my actions and will accordingly deal with the consequences in a mature manner. In this case, there were no consequences, because my math teacher boosted my grade last minute and I ended up graduating alongside 300 people who I’d never seen in my life. (I swear- there were people at graduation who don’t even go to our school.)

I’m happy to be done with school. I’m even happier that I graduated instead of being expelled, which, given some of my activities, was completely possible. For example, vandalism. Schools have this weird grudge against vandals. I’ve reformed though, since my trademarked Gay Friend is now a school custodian. And because I’m a good person. Obviously.

Graduation Photo

Side Note: I will soon be posting an advice column. If you have a question or issues I can advise you on, please comment! Otherwise, I’ll just make problems up, a skill I’ve spent several years developing.

I Set Things on Fire

I’m sitting next to my boyfriend, and I’m bored, so I walk up to the kitchen and grab a paper towel and set it on fire. It’s pretty, I like the flames flicking the paper as it folds to ash, and I like the danger of potentially burning the house down.

“Okay okay,” says my boyfriend. “We can play Scrabble.”

Boredom is a problem for me. I like a lot of things- reading, Netflix, arguing with people- but sometimes depression makes me lose interest in everything. When this happens I invent new hobbies. Baking was the most recent one, and I now know a great recipe for mini apple tartlets (included below). I’ve also learned to draw umbrellas (poorly), blog (even more poorly) and embroider (ie, tangle embroidery floss and then give up).

Adrenaline makes life interesting. This is probably not the safest way for me to live, as it leads to situations such as me sitting on the roof of a moving car while dangling my legs through a skylight. When I’m the one driving, I go 40 over the speed limit and don’t wear my seatbelt. I also cut my own hair, which is arguably the most dangerous thing I do. To quote a great musical no one’s heard of, “Life begins when you know how it ends”*. I already know what’s going to kill me- depression- so why not get my adrenaline rush in the meantime?

Wow that was dark. Thanks, Sad Fiona. Happy Fiona, do you have any comments?

Parkour Meme

Because I am a total cliche, in addition to blogging I write poetry, and I’m going to share one with you! Yes, you! Because you’re lucky enough to be blessed by me. Although in reality, this is a sad poem (cliche, remember?) so I won’t be offended if you skip it. In fact, I won’t even know if you skip it, because this is a blog and I can’t actually see you. That’s how the internet works.

 

If I Die By Cyanide

 

If I die by cyanide

Bury me under six feet deep

Lay me in forbidden churchyard

I’ve seen no crime- though rumors creep

 

Tell my mother I’m a hero

Saved a child caught at sea

Snatched three kittens from a fire

But was crushed by falling beams

 

To my father, I was climbing

Daring up a rocky face

Spelunking through some jewelled cavern

Only lost in venture’s grace

 

Proclaim false myths of martyrdom

Rave legends as my sisters cry

Say I was hanged like Robin Hood

Or crowned with thorns, then crucified

 

Don’t tell them it was cyanide

At the funeral, stand through rain

Nod to mourners; when they ask you

Speak of laughter, not my pain

 

Pretend I’m braver than I was

At my coffin, lie, because

I loathe the weak-willed suicide

Though I’ll die by cyanide

 

Does anyone else struggle with boredom? If you do, I recommend candles. They’re fairly safe to burn, and they smell good, which is a plus. You can burn candles instead of showering.

Here’s my apple tartlet recipe:

 

  1. Look online for an apple tartlet recipe.
  2. Make that.

 

*I can’t tell you the name of the musical, because I never use real names in my blog without permission, and since the musical isn’t sentient it can’t give consent.

 

I Do Prom Stuff

I don’t remember much about prom because at the after party I ate seven cones of cotton candy. I do remember saying, hazily, sometime after three in the morning, “This is one of the best nights of my life,” to which my boyfriend agreed. We then played a board game where we killed each other.

My prom group included my token gay friend, my #squad sister, the straight girl I have a crush on, the straight boyfriend I’m in love with and me (that was probably self-explanatory). We went to this awesome restaurant where the water came in fancy pitchers and we couldn’t pronounce anything on the menu. Because my life revolves around food, I ate twelve pieces of olive bread, half a cheese board, and a piece of broccoli.

Prom itself was kinda lame. School dances never have good music. Like, excuse me? Where’s the Beethoven? Mozart? Schuman? Nada, that’s where. But they did have more food, including these fantastic pudding cups. So it was worth it.

The school-hosted after party, on the other hand, was LIT. They had SO MUCH FOOD. In addition to the aforementioned cotton candy, I ate a bag of cheetos, two garlic knots, seven jolly ranchers and thirty four starbursts. To be completely honest, I’m surprised I can still walk, but according to my friends I did a lot of stuff, like get this caricature drawn of my boyfriend. For some inexplicable reason, I wanted him to be a pirate.

Andrew Pirate Characature

Andrew and I also took this with two of our friends, who I’ve decided to call Fergie and Duhamel. The second picture is  everyone pointing signs at me reading “hot mess”. It’s proof that I’m bullied.

Prom Photo Booth

Andrew is the one who is noticeably dating me. I’m the one who looks perpetually high. Duhamel is Asian and Mexican. So is Fergie, actually. I think. I can’t really keep track of who’s what race, and in this case it really doesn’t matter because when Fergie and Duhamel get rude looks it’s usually because they’re kissing in public, not because they aren’t white.  

“Oh yeah,” Andrew remarked thoughtfully on one occasion. “You’re gay.”

This lead to them making out in the mall parking lot in order to further remind Andrew that they are, in fact, gay.

Fergie and Duhamel are important people in my life because they make me feel like an adult. My boyfriend and I have couple friends we hang out with. Somehow this translates into maturity, even though our activities include things like jumping on a trampoline at midnight and finding speed bumps to drive over. Couple dating also means we’re very invested in each other’s relationships, so Fergie has become mine and Andrew’s relationship counselor. His advice is usually “just talk to Andrew about it”.

After the prom after party, the four of us went to Andrew’s house and did some things I don’t remember while I ate chocolate and then passed out in a sugar coma. So overall, it was a good night.

And now, for my Queer Protagonist opinions: everything about prom is cisheteronormative, from the music to the outfits to the crowning of the king and queen. I don’t care. It’s fun, and even I can’t be angry about everything.

 

Update: Fergie has informed me that he is not, in fact, Mexican. I’ve told him that he’s lying  but he doesn’t believe me.

 

You Write Good Blog: A How To

Hello, lovely people! I’m sure some of you are wondering how I got to be such a superb writer. Never fear! All the answers you seek can be compiled in a simple ten-step list. 

How To Write A Good Blog

1. Have good grammar and spelling. That is, well grammar and spelling. In order to practice this, spend most of your energy correcting the everyday language of your friends and family. Not only will you become a better writer, the people around you will definitely appreciate your efforts at helping them become their best selves. This is especially appreciated on Facebook.
2. Choose a platform. Concentrating on one issue will help you gain a reader base. My platform is “anything I feel like ranting about”.
3. Be #relatable.
4. Include comedy. People are more likely to read your blog if you’re funny, so it helps to have a reserve of good jokes. My personal favorite is this:
Knock knock.
Whose there?
You mean “who’s”.
5. Be interesting. I live every day as if I’m going to blog about it, so if I haven’t done anything worth writing about I quickly do something interesting, like steal a car. Of course, since that’s illegal I can’t actually tell people I did it, but you get the idea.
6. Piss people off. If you don’t get at least one good death threat per post, you’re doing it wrong. Sometimes I have to threaten myself, which is called being suicidal and frustrates my therapist, but it’s worth it.
7. Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.
8. Writing in Latin isn’t pretentious, it’s sexy. I recommend using Google Translate to write each of your posts in a different language. Your readers probably won’t be able to understand you, but you’ll look smart.
9. Spread awareness on social media. Twitter is great for this. I don’t actually have a Twitter account, but if the president can use it so can us lowly intellectuals. 
10. Pick a different medium. Like your private diary. People are more likely to read it that way. 

I Join A Clique

Warning: this post may contain strong language. Actually, you know what? This post definitely contains strong language. I know, since I fucking wrote it. Last year I had an amazing group of friends. It was the first time I’d been part of a tight-knit clique rather than an oozing mob. To commemorate this special relationship, I wrote a series of poems dedicated to these three lovely girls. 

The first one is entitled “Elaine”*.
Fuck you

Fuck you

Fuck fuck fuck fuck 

Twatwaffle
This second one is “Victoire”. 
An inability to become emotionally invested in people is not a virtue, you miserable bastard. 
And finally, “Miley”:
Bitch.
After I made out with Elaine (more on that here: https://thequeerprotagonist.wordpress.com/2017/01/29/first-blog-post/ )Victoire stopped talking to us for a week without explaining why, and then after causing several mental breakdowns for both herself and the rest of us, she decided to go with us to Homecoming. In order to regain our friendship, she said we could do whatever we wanted to her. So we egged her car. 

Victoire spent the remainder of senior year avoiding me. She started talking to Elaine again, although god knows why, because the whole egging thing was Elaine’s idea. Elaine and I stayed close for a while, and then I said something about “you shouldn’t cheat on your boyfriend” and she broke up with me. I think Miley and Elaine are still friends. Sort of. I wouldn’t know, since I blocked Miley’s number. 

The reason I’m bringing this up is, firstly, because I’m bitter. As an example, see below- last night a group of friends and I burned a picture Victoire painted for my boyfriend back when he was stupid and dating her instead of me. (This group of friends included the infamous Rose Velt (Rose Velt doesn’t really need to be mentioned here but asked nicely so I agreed (“nicely” is relative- I might have been concussed at the time so I forget most of the details (how many parentheses can I include in one sentence?))).)


Secondly, I want to explain queer-platonic partnerships. That’s what Elaine, Victoire and I were. Queer-platonic is a label used to describe a love that’s not romantic but goes deeper than friendship. It establishes a special connection with two or more people of any gender or sexuality without adding the pressures of dating or sexual intimacy. Blah blah blah, word sewage, something fancy to convince you that “queer platonic” isn’t millennial hipster junk. Which it totally is. But that doesn’t diminish the fact that I loved those girls more than anything in the world. 

Let’s have a quick Question and Answer about queer-platonic partnerships. If you have questions I don’t answer here, feel free to ask me in the comments.
Q: Aren’t you just describing friends with benefits?

A: Yes. Except the benefit isn’t sex, it’s a onslaught of crippling depression when you break up. So actually I’m describing “friends with horrific side effects”. I think this applies to humanity in general, though.
Q: What’s the most important aspect of having a successful queer-platonic partnership?

A: As in most relationships, communication is essential. It’s also essential not to be a jealous bitch. For example, if your partner loves someone else in addition to you, it will make you happier to recognize that this in no way diminishes their feelings for you. And if you do have a problem with something your partner is doing, for example, making out with another partner, it’s important to talk to both of them instead of shutting down because you have unrealistic expectations for people and think they can magically read your mind. This is, of course, a hypothetical situation and I’m not pointing fingers at anyone (*cough* Victoire *cough cough*).
Q: Fiona, why are you being so petty?

A: I’m not being petty! Maybe YOU’RE being petty.

Q: You’re the one who wrote a blog post dissing the girls you used to love.

A: Yeah, okay, I’m being a little petty.

Q: A lot petty.

A: I’m being extremely petty. To be fair, Victoire still doesn’t acknowledge my presence in class, has sleepovers with my ex girlfriend, and tried to get my boyfriend to break up with me. I think I’m entitled to a little pettiness. 
I know I hurt Victoire. But she hurt me too, and unlike her, I tried to fix it. Right now I’m being petty because writing this makes me feel better, and then I’ll let it go. That’s the best anyone can do.
*I did, technically, change all names used in this post. I’m not sure how much good that does since most people who know me also know Victoire, Elaine and Miley, but I did try. So probably no one can sue me.

I Offend People (Everyone)

My sophomore history teacher told me I couldn’t be a politician because I’d get stabbed. A year later my best friend stuck me with her pocket knife. The point here is that I am well aware, as is anyone who’s talked to me, that I offend people.

Here are some of the offensive things I’ve said:

  • Women don’t need to vote because their husbands can do it for them
  • Stop cutting for attention
  • Religion is a scourge upon the Earth
  • Dental health is a scam created by the government (to my orthodontist)
  • Yes, it makes your ass look big

This blog mostly offends my mother, which is entirely understandable, since I regularly insult her world view. We had a conversation about this once. She said,

“Fiona, I wouldn’t let someone come into our house and be mean to you about your sexuality, so please don’t make fun of the things I consider sacred.”

“No, but you do make me go to a church that could excommunicate me, which is worse.”

She didn’t like that answer. Now she lets me know beforehand when I’m not allowed to blog about something. She also writes her own blog to make fun of me. It’s pretty good, just not as good as mine, and I highly recommend it:

https://bigbahamamama.wordpress.com/2017/03/13/modern-sex-talk/

The most offensive thing I’ve ever done was write this essay in 10th grade English. I had to support or reject Transcendentalism, the most deeply flawed philosophy I’m aware of next to Veganism (okay that was a joke, vegans, chill) but I was only given Transcendentalist sources to provide evidence from. According to Transcendentalism, lack of access to information is morally incorrect, so I wrote the whole essay on why I couldn’t write the essay. My teacher initially gave me a 10% in every category, including spelling, and was not happy when I pointed out that she couldn’t actually take points away in some categories because my speling is ducking prefetc. After a lot of angry threats on both sides we had another teacher grade the essay. I got a D. Worth it.

This blog post is part disclaimer, part apology. I know I hurt feelings, and I really am sorry about that- not sarcastically sorry, but genuinely apologetic. I love my mom. I love Mormons. I even love my sophomore English teacher (sort of). I realize that I’m brash, brazen, and wrong about a lot of things.

But here’s something else I know: I’m worth listening to. My life is different than yours, so my opinion is different. I know different things and I understand them in different ways. My truth is worth expressing, even if it makes some people mad.

You’re worth listening to as well. If I offend you, whether in person or in this blog, let me know.

Thanks for reading. Here’s a fun picture of a cat.

Cat

I was going to just end this post with the cat, because who doesn’t like cats?? but I thought I should probably explain some of my above statements. Because I want at least one blog post that doesn’t need to include a trigger warning. So, to clarify:

  • Women should absolutely have the right to vote, as well as the right to proper healthcare and a president who isn’t a rapist
  • I self-harm, and am seeing a therapist about it, which I firmly believe is the right course of action for most people. If you cut, or are in any other way in danger because of mental health, there’s a crisis textline ( it’s great because you don’t have to call people!). Text CONNECT to 741741
  • Many religions do a lot of good things, but I’m embittered about the Mormon stance on women and LGBTQ rights
  • Dental health is a scam. No excuses for this one. Braces are ridiculous
  • A big ass is not necessarily an unfortunate thing *hums Anaconda by Nicki Minaj*
  • I don’t actually like Nicki Minaj.

There. If you’re going to be offended, be angry at my taste in music.

I Have Fancy Depression

I stare at Paula. Paula stares at me. To the casual observer it might look like we’re checking each other out, but since Paula is a fifty-something psychiatrist (not my type) I’m pretty sure she’s just waiting for my reaction. This is because I haven’t said anything for a solid 47 seconds- a record feat, since I usually don’t shut up.

“So you’re saying that when I’m sad… I hallucinate.”

“Essentially, yes.”

I look at the fire-breathing unicorn sitting next to me. “Is this true?”

The unicorn shrugs.

“It’s called depression-induced psychosis. It means you blah blah blah blah blah.” Paula says blah blah blah a lot.

My depression is fancier than your depression. Instead of being normal sad, I’m crazy sad. I’m not delusional- I can tell what’s real- but I become terrified of monsters I know aren’t there.

I hate people who talk about their depression. Like, oh my god, get over yourself. At the same time, mental health is an epidemic that needs to be addressed, etc, but if you’re the kind of person who’s still reading this post then you probably know that already. Then again, you’re also probably the kind of person who thinks I shouldn’t tell people with depression to “get over themself”. This is a fair point and I don’t really have a good response. To be completely honest, I’m terrified of posting this because I don’t want anyone to think I’m seeking attention. Which I’m not, because I’m putting this on a blog, and no one reads blogs anymore.

I once had an ex girlfriend threaten to kill herself if we took a break. So I dumped her. This is one of those things that was logically healthy for both of us, but kind of disgusting for me to do, like eating eggplant. To be fair, I knew she wouldn’t actually commit suicide; dying takes courage and she had none. (Saying things like “dying takes courage” is another one of those disgusting things, and according to my therapist, it’s not even healthy. So like nutter butters instead of eggplant.)

After I was diagnosed with depression, the satirical and bitchy LGBTQ novelist who runs my life, Janine, and I had a firm discussion about stereotypes and how I don’t want to be one. This mostly consisted of me flipping off the sky and getting a lot of weird looks from the other students in my History class. Like most conversations I have with authority figures, it ended with me being bludgeoned on the head with a mace. Or at least, the metaphorical equivalent.

I wrote a poem about psychosis. It’s not funny, but it’s important to me, so if you read it I’ll give you a meme at the end.

 

Nyctophobic Lovesong

 

Good morning, Love!

Welcome to my world!

I’ll take you in and out and home and down;

you can watch my head spin round.

They’re laying brand new concrete on my lawn.

Well, Love, come- the morning’s bright and flashing gone.

 

Afternoon, my Love!

Put those poppies in a vase!

The day is feverish and pliant colors gleam,

so we’ll rip spiders at the freaking seam

and scatter their dark legs in wet cement.

Can you hear the grass, my Love? I hear it and lament.

 

Good evening, Love!

Are you afraid of sunsets too?

The twilight is serene, and so we’ll walk

and maybe sketch our limbs in sidewalk chalk.

Ooooo! My feet are squelching- now they’re stuck-

Come here, my Love, and help me up?

 

Good night love.

The moon is too dark to ascend.

Concrete hardens at my ankles, as I sort of  knew it would.

I can’t reach out to touch you- I’m not sure that I should.

Stars stretch out to fade in the darkness and the din;

I can open up my nostrils now, and breathe the cement in.

 

Good, good.

Good morning once again.

Do you like the cobwebbed ceilings of my brain?

The grass grows glinting and is trampled in an infinite refrain.

You hate the concrete pouring? Well, I smell it every day.

The sunlight hardens quickly now. Don’t look back, Love- run away.

 

Salty meme

I Have Two Gay Boyfriends

My boyfriend is gay. He’ll deny this, but he once called his best friend “Darling”. Best friend and I won’t let him forget this, no matter how many times he points to the fact that he just happened to be thinking about me. While looking at his best friend. And talking to him.

“You were standing right there!” Andrew protests while reading this post over my shoulder. Shut up. We all know who you really love.

I don’t have a problem with his sexuality, because this is the guy who agreed to an open relationship where I occasionally date girls, so I’m really in no position to judge. On the other hand, he might be straight, because he wears track pants and a sweatshirt every day. One of the gays needs to give him a fashion lesson.

He’s still protesting. “I don’t dress gay, I don’t act gay, I’m sorry that I’m secretly in love with Jenkins*….” etc. (There were also a few expletives in there.)

I have another gay boyfriend. This one is actually gay, but actually not my boyfriend. I did ask him out once, to try to prove to my mother that I’m not a lesbian, but we ended up not going out and then not talking to each other for a year because we felt awkward. Also, Mom still calls me a lesbian.

I knew Steve was gay two years before he came out because of the way he holds his hands. Gay people have flashy wrists. 

flashy wrist

 

Logically, I know this is stereotyping, but Steve tries very hard to be a stereotype and is largely successful. He takes- and this is not hyperbole- literal hours to plans out his Starbucks order. He thinks La La Land is the best American creation ever, including the creation of democracy. He likes guys. See? Totally gay.

But Steve talks about being physically attracted to me. He likes looking at girls, just not being with them. His random hookups are usually guys. We were talking about this the other day, lounging in the (gay) grass with his (gay) head on my (lesbian, according to my mother) lap, and he said,

“What’s wrong with me?” while moving his flashy gay hands wildly.

Oh, Steve. Silly boy. What’s wrong with you is what’s wrong with most of us- crippling depression. Other than that, nothing.

“You might be bisexual,” I said. “Or you’re homosexual and smart enough to realize that I’m damn sexy. Or, you don’t need to label yourself because you’re wonderful the way you are.”

I personally love labels. They’re a great way to express something to the general population without having to describe it in a wordy blog post. I label myself as bisexual, because I’m attracted to both boobs and penises. Also, collarbones. Everyone has collarbones so everyone is automatically smokin’.

I also label myself as panromantic. Pan means all, as in all genders, since some people don’t choose to label themself as male or female. The romantic part comes from who I like romantically versus sexually. For me, there’s a disconnect between romantic and sexual attraction (and yes I realize this is not the case for most people, and I respect that, you horny bastards). I’ve liked people of multiple genders, so I’m panromantic, but there are only two sets of genitalia and I like them both, so I’m bisexual.

I also label myself as HELLA FINE.

Andrew labels himself as “yes Fiona I’m a straight white male I’m so glad you love me anyway”. It’s not that I dislike straight white males, it’s just that most of them are annoyed by my ranting about the patriarchy. In that regard, they’re similar to my mother.

Oh, what was that? You’re a straight white male and your feelings are hurt? I apologize. And I’m actually being sincere here- labels are fine when you give them to yourself, but being grouped into boxes just because of your race, sexuality or gender is not okay. In order not to discriminate, I just hate everyone.
*Jenkins is the name Andrew chose, not his friend’s real name (thank god). Steve is also fake. Not the person, the name.

I Turn 18

I didn’t realize how weird my family was until I learned that most siblings don’t give each other hickies. In my defense, it wasn’t incest, Winnie just likes biting people. Here’s a picture:

i-turn-18-image

This week I turned 18, so to celebrate I’m looking back on some of my favorite childhood memories. I’m the oldest of four, meaning that I occasionally guide the madness. My favorite example of this is when we played Titanic. Winnie and I tied three-year-old Tess up in blankets and lowered her off the edge of our bunk bed into a lifeboat made out of pillows, but she kept falling so we’d have to start over. Eventually I decided that it would work better if we put her in a laundry hamper, then let that down with jump ropes, but Mom came in before we could try it. After that, our house had a new rule: no throwing Tess off of bunk beds.

My house has weird rules. For example, since Mom is Mormon, we can’t have sleepovers and we can’t cuss. But it’s totally fine to stand on the table while playing freeze dance. Also, my little brother can’t shoot people with his nerf guns, but Winnie is allowed to smother me with pillows. I’m pretty sure my parents have given up on Winnie and me ever expressing a shred of common sense. They’re still working on the other two, but Asher once snuck into our neighbor’s garage to play with his power tools, and Tess wears knitted vests over sweaters, so I’m not holding out much hope.

One important rule is Fiona Is Straight. I’m not allowed to come out to my siblings, because then Satan might tell them to be gay too. After a year of subtle messaging (such as me saying “I have a girlfriend”) Winnie figured it out anyway. This is great because she can now give me relationship advice, but bad because her advice is almost always “Break up with her. She’s ugly.”

“But Winnie,” I say, “I don’t date people because of how they look.”

To which Winnie replies, “Looks are the only thing that matter. Society defines who I am. This is why you have no friends, honey.”

The Fiona is Straight rule makes for a lot of fantastic puns. For example, my little brother likes shoving me into our coat closet. Last time he did this, I said,

“Can I come out now? Mom? Any thoughts on this subject? Is the world ready for me to be out of the closet?”

I love my family, and I tell them that every day. I often tell them sarcastically, like after they turned my name into a verb. Every time someone breaks something they’ve “fionad” it. Mom frequently fionas the dishwasher, while Tess fionas the glass plates. This is because I once burned a plastic plate on the stove. And melted a mixing bowl in the microwave. And set the smoke alarm off. Three times.

I should probably mention my dad.

I have a dad.

My point about my family is: blood is thicker than water. Meaning the original saying, “the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb”, meaning that the family you choose is more important than the one you’re born with. I choose the one I’m born with, forever. Until I go to college next fall.