Most people don't make a big dramatic deal out of LJ. I guess I'm not one of those people.
Due to a very unpleasant cyber-stalking experience (that became one person's IRL obsession), I don't feel comfortable posting public entries in my personal journal. Google is a powerful adversary, and I don't want to risk losing my privacy again. Still, I missed being able to write things publicly. I'm not a very private person by nature, but I've become much more gaurded now that I have a child to worry about.
So I created this journal as an outlet for my public thoughts, without revealing my identity. It sort of makes me feel like a livejournal secret agent (albeit a really crappy one). My personal journal is where I really connect with my friends; I may take LJ a bit too seriously in that respect, but I have made some of my richest and strongest friendships online.
If you'd like to get to know the real me, and not just read my public entries, let me know here and I will add you on my personal journal. No need to ask if you just want to add this journal - all are welcome. :-)
All comments are screened.
I'm noticing a lot more biphobia in the world than I'd previously allowed myself to really acknowledge. It shows up in a number of different ways, many of them very specific to bisexuality and not homosexuality. Every queer faces problems from heterocentric rules/mindsets/etc., but bisexuals have our own set of stereotypes, our own trials to overcome outside of the homosexual community. These aren't any greater
than anyone else's (trying to decide which marginalized group has it tougher is a silly endeavor), but they are distinct.
I ran into one of these recently when throwing together a Match.com profile to check out some guys a friend of mine was thinking about contacting. The profile requires you to select your sex ("male" or "female"--transphobia right there, but I'm gonna keep this post to what's specifically impacting my life directly right now) and which sex you are interested in meeting. No check boxes--you are forced to select either "male" or "female." Because it's perfectly fine to marginalize those of us who don't think a person's genitalia should be the determining factor in whether or not they're worth our romantic attention.
This is a major fucking issue for me right now--the marginalization of my orientation. Why? Because I've been struggling with feeling as if my sexuality is being ignored, and I'm realizing that my problem isn't simply about going from one hetero-monogamous relationship into another (as I have, in divorcing a male and now dating another one). It's about how it wouldn't really matter what sex my partner was, because erroneous assumptions would be made about me either way. When most (non-bi, especially) people see a couple together, whether the pairing is male-female, female-female, or male-male, they assume that those partners choose only
to date the sex with whom they're currently attached. Simply, people will look at someone like me, a woman out with a male partner, and assume I'm straight. And I don't particularly like the idea of having to tattoo the bi pride flag
on my forehead to get people to understand that that is an unfair and very prejudiced assumption to make. Yeah, that shit's biphobic.
I think this stems from perhaps my favorite little piece of biphobia: The idea that bisexuality isn't a "real" orientation, and we're all just "confused" or simply haven't made up our minds yet if we're gay or straight. I was in a heterosexual relationship with my former spouse for 8 1/2 years. I'm now in a new heterosexual relationship, which was my first romantic engagement following separation from my spouse. This does not
mean that I'm a straight person who just can't admit her heterosexuality to herself. Frankly, this relationship fell into my lap and was a complete surprise to me. (It developed rather suddenly out of an existing friendship.) I wasn't looking for a new romance, and my life probably would have been a lot easier if it hadn't sprung up. But I believe in pursuing happiness where you find it, and I want to see where this leads me. I'm not going to reject it because I've paid my dues to the het community and it's time to get my gay on. And it also doesn't mean that I've been converted to The Order of the Dick. It means that I'm staying true to what is most important about my sexual desires: That I follow them to be with people who stimulate me emotionally, regardless of their physical packaging.
Now, I also have a heterosexual partner for the first time. My former spouse was also bisexual, and in spite of the fact that we were het-partnered, there was a very real comfort that came with being with somebody who knew what it was like, who'd faced some of the same struggles and understood that in spite of my love and commitment to him, it didn't change who I was, it didn't change my sexuality. My current partner is very supportive of me, and is as understanding as he can be, but he's also not used to a bisexual partner. This is a learning experience for both of us. He's getting used to being able to commiserate with his partner over other attractive females, and I have to get used to not
pointing out hot guys (something tells me he just won't appreciate it like my former did). He isn't sensitive to slights against the community like I am, just because he's the unwitting recipient of America's Straight White Male Privilege. (As an aside, I don't think he's particularly used to the outspoken activist type in general...he's also getting schooled in dating a hardcore feminist. Really, he deserves lots of credit for how well he's responding to all of this.)
Back to the subject at hand: My former also understood, being bisexual himself, that another bi-stereotype was untrue: That of the unfaithful, nymphomaniac bisexual. This is just so wildly prejudiced, I hardly know how to tackle it without simply raging. First, let me express that I do indeed love
sex. It's an amazing, exciting, pleasurable, wonderful act. But my list of sexual partners is extremely short, and I'm very happy about that. I do not want to screw every person I meet, and I most certainly am not the cheating type. I enjoy monogamy, and I can absolutely find full sexual satisfaction with a single partner. I do not cheat, I do not swing, and I do not engage in threesomes. This is not a condemnation of those who choose to engage in polyamory (as a lifestyle, or simply as an occasional indulgence) or of those who chose to engage in (responsible) sex with a great number of partners, but rather to illustrate that it is absolutely not
the default for all bisexuals. Most are seeking the same sort of relationship experience as any hetero- or homosexual person, they just don't want to place boundaries on the sex of a possible partner. We aren't whores, we don't spread disease anymore than any other sexuality, and we aren't any more likely to leave our partners for someone new.
There's one last bothersome stereotype that applies specifically to female bisexuals far more than males. Bi women have been fetishized by popular culture, turned into an exotic marvel, rather than fully-fledged human beings. Because of the aforementioned whore stereotype, people (largely het men) have been trained to see bi women as an exciting opportunity to invite extra partners into the bedroom. "So, since you like women, I assume you'll want to fuck one along with me." This assumption is insulting to say the least, repulsive to say the most. Making any assumptions about what an individual will do in the bedroom simply because of their orientation is ignorant and inappropriate. I've known gay men who won't engage in anal sex, straight women who won't give blow jobs, lesbians who won't go down on their partners. You can't assume what activities a person will enjoy simply because of their orientation. Straight people can manage successful triads, just as bisexuals might prefer strict monogamy. And the image of the "hot bi girl" is entirely based upon this idea that we're all willing to do anything, because we just don't know how to set up boundaries. No, we can set boundaries, and those boundaries might be as strict or a free as those of any other person, regardless of sexuality. And just like everyone else, bisexuals deserve to be treated primarily as individuals
, and not demeaned, fetishized, or disregarded as a group.
For me, it's all about respect. And I feel like society at large needs to start dishing out a whole hell of a lot more for the bisexual community.
Life has changed a lot for me in recent months. I've been confronted with the biggest upheaval I've faced in my adult life, and I'm still coming to terms with how to handle it.
Divorce is a crazy thing. Now that I'm actually experiencing it, I don't understand how so many people have gone through it. It's an emotional, mental, legal, financial, and logistic nightmare. There is no upside to divorce itself, regardless of why you're going through it. Even if the outcome--being single--is positive in your circumstances, the method of getting there is always negative. Legal fees, contracts, custody arrangements...it's all horrific. I'm overwhelmed, exhausted, and more frustrated than I can possibly express.
But in spite of this, I'm remaining optimistic about the future. There's so much to be scared of, but I'm trying to focus on those things I have to be excited about. I'm discovering new interests, developing new relationships, and nourishing old ones. I'm trying to learn to focus more on myself than I ever did as a married woman--being single sort of forces this upon you. Suddenly I've got all this time for introspection, and sometimes I find myself surprised by what I discover. I'm doing things I never used to do, experiencing life in a new way, and sometimes even acting my age for a change. I'm enjoying aspects of my personality that I've never nurtured before, and I'm excited to see what else I will discover about myself.
I changed a lot during seven years of marriage. Some of those changes were good, and some of them I'm not so proud of. I walked away from things that were important to me, ignored aspects of myself that were convenient to forget. But it's never too late to correct such mistakes, and I'm determined to make myself better again. No matter how rough this situation may be, I have a bright future ahead of me, and a beautiful daughter to remind me of everything that's important in life. I want to be a better woman for myself, and a better mother for her. I feel a new determination in life, and it's granting me comfort when I need it most.
There are parts of the holiday season that are intrinsically linked not with the generic "holiday" term that encompasses all winter celebrations, but with Christmas, that one which holds so much spiritual baggage for some. Unfortunately, I'm one who greatly enjoys all those festive aspects of the holiday, but I become painfully uncomfortable when someone assumes I'm celebrating the birth of a savior I don't believe in.
I'm a pantheist, and so several years ago my husband (a very obliging atheist who gamely tolerates my spiritual leanings) and I started celebrating the Winter Solstice instead of Christmas. It's a holiday that actually has spiritual meaning for me, and still means cookies and presents to him, so we were content. There's the added bonus, of course, that the whole tree concept is inherently Pagan and thus I got to carry it along with me. The whole situation seemed to satisfy our needs, though explaining this to people was complicated. We never even bothered with my Catholic in-laws--they're the sort who bake a cake on Christmas and join hands to sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus. Some cans of worms just aren't worth opening.
Yet, lots of things can change when you have a child. And the more I started looking at the holiday season through my daughter's eyes, the more I started to wonder if I was making her miss out on certain aspects of the holiday season simply because of an implied relationship to Jesus.
The original Miracle on 34th Street
was one of my favorite movies, and I practically wore out my videotape of A Walt Disney Christmas
. Admitedly, I've never been a fan of most Christmas music, but I've always passionately loved <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Peace-Elvis-Presley/dp/B0000CBIN5/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1261022687&sr=1-6>Elvis Presley's renditions</a>. There's a lot about the season that's very Christmas-specific, and I worried that I might be limiting my daughter's enjoyment simply because I've never believed in the religious aspect of the holiday.
I was okay with celebrating Solstice alone, because my celebration had most of what I still loved about Christmas: The family togetherness, the food, the decorations. But Solstice for me is more about the spiritual importance of the changing seasons, and a little part of me hated lumping that together with the commercial aspects of my youthful Christmas celebration that I still dearly love, but in a different way. I will always be a gift-giver, and I don't care who says that's the superficial aspect of the holidays. When I was a child, I'd spent countless hours making gifts for my entire family, and giving those gifts was so incredibly important to me.
So this year, we're trying a new tactic: We're going to celebrate the Winter Solstice with a small family celebration, and save the superficial fun for Christmas. I know a lot of non-Christians who still enjoy Christmas, and I don't really see why I can't be one of them. It also allows my daughter to get caught up in all of the seasonal fun, while keeping a seperate, dillineated spiritual holiday that I can teach her more about each year.
So Happy Solstice to those celebrating it today. Enjoy the return of the sun.
I haven't posted here in a while, but have been meaning to remedy that. I've also had this entry saved on my computer for a while, but often the timing didn't seem right for posting. I figure now's as good a time as any.★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
If I should die before I wake
I pray the lord my soul to take
My mother used to recite that with me every night at bedtime. We had a ritual: That poem, the alphabet, and fully spelling my first, middle, and last names. Then we said goodnight, shared a quick peck, and I went to bed.
It didn't occur to me until I was a teenager that the rhyme she had me recite was a prayer of sorts. I'd always repeated it so blindly, I never even thought about the words. I didn't notice the "lord" references, or any of that soul-talk. It was just like how you spell your name so automatically, you don't even think about it. She made it a habit, and I was good at being habitual.
The rhyme mattered to me for many years, as part of the ritual as a whole. My mother was not an affectionate person, though she would argue that. My sister and I got kisses at bedtime and before leaving for school, but we didn't hug or snuggle or hold hands. That prayer-poem was a part of a ritual that ended with one of the very few physical displays of affection I received in my day. So it meant a lot to me.
It doesn't surprise me, then, that the cessation of my affection for that poem coincided with increased distance between my mother and me. I'd started homeschooling, which served quite the opposite purpose that you might assume; my curriculum was self-taught, so my mother didn't interact in my lessons. She didn't allow me much time outside of the house (three times a week I was allowed an hour and a half to figure skate at the local ice rink; I wasn't allowed any other activities or social interactions), and even those occasional trips were always chaperoned, so she was always with me, if not interacting. There was no longer a reason for a goodbye kiss during my day, and my resentment towards her for my stunted social life led me to shun all kisses in general. I began to drastically change my schedule, staying up until 8 in the morning so I could sleep until the early afternoon and avoid her for as long as possible. We started to have frequent, ugly fights which always resulted in me unloading my growing hatred, and her telling me I was insane and should be locked in a mental institution.
I don't know how to feel when I hear that prayer now. A part of me feels a warmth for a fond childhood memory, whereas another part of me is simply irritated that she'd impose such a meaningless Christian ritual upon me when she did nothing to help me spiritually develop.
I feel the same way about the time in my youth when she made me go to Sunday school, though she never, ever went to church herself. Oddly, I remember everything about those Sunday mornings with pristine clarity, with the exception of what actually happened inside the church. I remember getting dressed up in one of my sister's old dresses (which always looked ridiculous on me as she was always short for her age and large, whereas I was tall for my age and stick-skinny), I remember unzipping my baby blue patent leather purse with white lace and buttons on the front, and sticking in the dollar my mother gave me for the collection plate. I remember walking across the parking lot to the conveniently-located Lutheran church behind our home, and I remember climbing those giant cement stairs. But once those wide red door openned, it's as if my mind refused to commit a single event to memory. This has always made me a bit curious; have I blocked out bad memories, or was my time there simply so meaningless to me that my brain didn't bother to store the events?
I remember thinking I was a Christian when I was a young child. I think I was 10 or 11 when I started to question why on earth I thought this. I know my mother told
me we were Christians, and we put up a tree on Christmas and hunted for eggs on Easter. But no one ever accompanied me on those Sunday school trips, and no one talked about God or Jesus. I remember having picture books of Biblical stories on the shelves next to my Dr. Seuss books, but we always read them with the same attitude that we read all of our other fairy tales. In my mind, Noah must have had one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish on his ark. I didn't think I was supposed to actually believe any of it was real.
When I was 12, my father became a Born Again Christian, and would suddenly choose random times to lecture me about hell and damnation. His timing was a horrible coincidence, as this was right around the same age that I really started to think I didn't believe in any of that stuff. I was two years into my ultimately seven-year schooling experience through a Seventh Day Adventist organization, and the lessons I'd been receiving on their doctrines began to inspire a feeling verging on ridicule within me. I read Genesis and finished my lessons as directed, but read up on Darwin in my spare time. My life-long love of dinosaurs and the fossil record spurred a great deal of frustration in the face of lessons which taught that fossils are all fake, planted on the earth by Satan to tempt people from the path of righteousness. My fascination with the Big Bang Theory and carbon dating did not align well with the lessons on Earth's literal 6000-year age. When my father, who I'd only ever bonded with over discussions on logic and science, suddenly began to spew the same "truths" at me, I began to question the sanity of organized religion.
That year, I earned my permanent damnation. When my father told me that it was a provable scientific fact that Jesus was the holy son of the one God, I argued that only the existance of him as a man could possibly be proven, and his divinity was a matter of personal faith. He exploded, and told me that I would burn in Hell for all eternity. I was 12. And I was a very straight-laced child. I decided that any religion that would punish an honest, innocent, upstanding kid for theological disagreement was not a religion I wanted to be any part of.
My experiences discovering my true spiritual self are another chapter in and of themselves. This is how I cleaned my slate, shrugged off those vaguely imposed religious ideals that were such a subtle but pervasive part of my childhood. I am no shade of Christian; I do not believe in monotheism, nor do I believe that any great deity sent their son to die for our sins. Jesus may have lived, and he may have been a great man, but I do not see him as holy, nor do I view him with any greater reverence than any other human being. This, in and of itself, is a complicated way to live in this country sometimes. I don't talk about my religious views often, because they've caused so much trouble in my life. But I am content in my beliefs, and respect all others for their own, so long as they use faith to seek enlightenment, and do not use it as an excuse to hate or persecute others. I wonder, sometimes, if those sorts of religious people are dying out in an increasingly extremist world. It feels like we are all being asked to be Sunday worshipers or atheists, and I don't wish to commit to either.
I got a haircut yesterday. First time since January, so I had about two inches of growth I wanted chopped off. But, as my hair wasn't quite three inches total, trying to convince a hairstylist to abide by my wishes was harder than it should have been.
Yes, there is a very large part of me that wanted to walk out the door and tell the woman arguing that my desired style was "too harsh" and "too masculine" to shove her gender bias up her ass. The problem is, that's the only place in town where I can afford to get my hair cut. And since I go 4 months in between cuts as it is, you might imagine that something like this is actually a budget issue for me.
So I ground my teeth together and tried to explain that I have no fear of appearing "masculine" or "harsh," and to please just cut off my damn hair. She eventually got close to the length I desired, close enough that I was tired of arguing, especially considering that it was nearing my daughter's wake-up time and I wanted to get home. So fine, thank you, I'm done. It's cute; my husband called it "punky," and I'm sure it will look better with a fresh coat of dye.
And that's what this post is really about--the dye. Said hairstylist started a conversation with me while I was in her chair, all about how she "used to be just like [me]," with wildly colored hair and an attitude to match. But then she had a kid. And when her son came home from preschool and told her to wear a hat when she dropped him off so his friends wouldn't see her hair, she knew it was time to "grow up" and go brunette.
I try very hard to not lecture other parents on their decisions, even if I wildly disagree with them. The same courtesy is rarely extended to me, however, and this was again the case as this woman then went on at length to tell me how I'd better normalize before my daughter enters school, or I'm a bad parent.
Really? You want to talk about bad parents? Okay, let's look at her decision: Her child said his friends were making fun of her hair color, so she changes it to stop the teasing. What lesson has she taught her child? She's taught him to be ashamed of being different. She's taught them that if someone doesn't like you for a superficial reason, you should change yourself to please them. She's taught him that it's okay to judge and insult someone based on their appearance. Well those are all fabulous lessons if you wish to raise another drone, a cookie-cutter kid who will never question the status quo or think independantly from the mob. But that's not what I want for my daughter.
If my daughter were to come to me and ask me to change myself because her friends made fun of me, it wouldn't be time for a dye job; it would be time for a serious discussion. I'd explain to her that no one has the right to judge another human being based on their appearance, and that anyone who does isn't worth listening to. I'd explain to her that it doesn't hurt me if people make fun of me, because I know those opinions don't matter, and I'd tell her to not let it hurt her, either. I'd explain to her that it's okay to be different, even if it's difficult sometimes. And I'd teach her that the best response to someone who would mock you for your appearance is to remain true to yourself and not change a damn thing about yourself in order to please them. Would her life be a little harder than the hairstylist's kid's? Probably. But she'd come out much better for it.
What if your child came home and said, "Mommy, the other kids make fun of you because you wear jeans and sneakers! They say you're like a man!"? Would you wear nothing but skirts and spiked heels? What if a child was ashamed of a parent for looking too ethnic? Should they disguise their skin color with makeup and wear hats, sunglasses, or veils to disguise their ethnic features? Or do you teach your child that appearances aren't the end-all and be-all of the universe?
If someone else wishes to make their life easier by "fitting in," that's their perogative. But they have no right to tell me that I must do the same, lest I traumatize my child. I think I'm helping my daughter learn a very important lesson from day one--appearances are only skin deep, it's the person underneath that matters. There are far too many adults in this world who still don't acknowledge this simple truth, and I'll be damned if I'll add my child to the list.
I was recalling an anecdote from an old job earlier, and it brought back a flood of memories. I worked as a dining services supervisor for a retirement home outside Reading, PA. I was in charge of the Assisted Living section, which is home to people who need regular nursing attention, but who are still moderately capable of caring for themselves. (The other sections were Independant Living--basically a series of apartments on the property where the residents had complete freedom, but could dine in the main dining hall and recieve normal checkups from the staff--and Healthcare, which was for residents with severe demensia or motor skill impairments requiring constant nursing care.) I've heard a lot of people say they could never work in a place like that, because it would make them too sad. I used to worry that I'd feel the same way, but I really think a number of those residents affected me in profound ways that I am so thankful for.
As a whole, the job was miserable; I won't lie about that. But it was never the residents who made me miserable, just my bosses. They were the type to delegate impossible tasks, do no work themselves, and thus take no responsibility for their ultimate failure. They spoke horribly of the residents behind their backs, purposefully didn't follow legal guidelines for food preparation, and had seemingly no empathy for any other human being. A good example? After having taken none of my 10 sick or 3 excused absense days, I was told I would not be allowed to take a day off if it were deemed medically necessary. I explained to my bosses (a bit tearfully, I admit) that on my most recent dental visit, my X-Rays had shown an abnormality that my dentist feared was a tumor. I was going in for more invasive testing on my day off, and if the anomoly was cancerous, I was going to have a root canal that morning to remove the tumor. I set this specifically for my weekday off (a Wednesday) when I had the following weekend off, so that I could take only two sick days and still have five days to recover from the surgery, if necessary. I was told this was unacceptable; even having the following day off was unacceptable. They didn't care that it was against HR regulations, that it was against FMLA law, that it was outright cruel. All that mattered to them was that they'd have to cover my shift if I was busy with cancer, and that wasn't okay. After crying onto the shoulder of a nurse I'd befriended, I quit.
I don't regret walking away from the company. I truly think my bosses were a drain on my soul, and being around people that horrible cannot benefit anyone. But I do regret never seeing the residents again. I really bonded with some of them, and I think about them often. That's why I wanted to share some anecdotes...because I think the elderly, especially those in special care, are a segment of society often overlooked, and they don't deserve to be.
All of the residents I really befriended were the ones that all of the other employees seemed to really hate. A couple of them had demensia that had nearly advanced to the stage that they'd be transfered to Healthcare, but they still had enough lucid days that they stayed in AL. One woman, a 90-something who I recalled in that anecdote earlier, was one of the most difficult residents to work with on her "bad days." But on her good days, she was vibrant and talkative, and loved to regail any and all listeners with stories of her past. This irritated the nurses and my waitstaff nearly as much as her bad-day obstinance, but I adored hearing her stories. My favorite was when she spoke of her husband, who she'd met just a decade earlier. They only had a few years together before he passed away, but she constantly told me how he was her one true love. Her eyes were so brilliant and full of life when she spoke of him, it made me want to cry, simply because I could feel the pure joy radiating from her soul. The hardest thing for me to deal with was the days when she couldn't remember her husband at all. Those days, I remembered him for her, and I still carry the both of them in my heart, trying to make their love immortal in some way, to keep the story alive for all eternity. I'm going to tell their story to my daughter when she gets older, and I hope she'll share it with her children, should she have any. It deserves to be remembered.
Another couple claimed a special place in my heart, and again, in spite of everyone else's irritation with the pair. The wife was a delicate, sweet woman who'd moved to AL when she lost the ability to walk. Her husband moved with her--though he was spry and exhuberant--simply because he refused to leave her. He never let the nurses push her wheelchair; he always insisted on doing it himself. They playfully bickered all the time, and truthfully, made me think of what my husband and I might be like at that age. But he was a difficult diner, very particular and cranky, and even his wife's sweetness couldn't smooth over his gruff attitude in the minds of my waitstaff. I liked him though; he was obstinant because he had every right to be. He was absolutely right when he complained to the nurses that the residents didn't recieve the care they deserved...it's just that the rest of the residents were incapacitated enough that they couldn't complain nearly as readily (or loudly) as he could, so his seemed like the lone voice of dissatisfaction. I could tell when I met him that he didn't want to like me, but I've always had a way of winning people over if given the proper opportunity. (I actually have a very sunny personality.) I treated him with the respect he didn't get from the rest of the staff, and because of that simple thing, he came to truly enjoy my company and conversation. One of my favorite stories from that job is about him, one the nurses had told me with furrowed brows and scolding tones, but which was so much more entertaining when he told it in an amused voice infused with youthful mischeif. There was a hair salon on the first floor of the main building, and the residents would park their wheelchairs outside the salon to be helped into chairs to get their hair styled. He was passing by the salon, saw a sleek red electric, and decided to take a spin around the complex. Apparently quite a few nurses and supervisors ended up chasing him around, trying to convince him to relinquish the chair, while he laughed in refusal. I could picture the entire scene so perfectly, almost entirely because of the mischeivous grin plastered on his face while he told it, and it's an image that always brings a smile to my face.
I do miss these people, and a few others, and I have tried very hard to cement these memories in my mind. I don't like to think about "where are they now," because a lot can happen in a place like that in five years. I remember them as I knew them, and I thank them for allowing me to know them at all. I feel like a better person for it. I feel as though my soul is richer for having shared a tiny part of their lives, and I hope I brought them some tiny bit of happiness in return.
Do you ever overhear people making ridiculous or false comments in public and have to fight the urge to correct them?
I was at AC Moore the other day and some 20-something was on the phone: "Well just remember, if you go on antibiotics, you'll get yeast infections. Yeah, 'cause yeast is bacteria!
"--I admit, I was completely amused that she announced this like it was an amazing revelation--"But you can just eat yogurt, and you'll never get an infection. *pause* Uh-huh. *pause* Oh yeah, I'm sure frozen yogurt would be fine, too."
Don't even get me started on the person at the grocery store telling their kid that apples are a citrus fruit. Great, pass it on to another generation....
I'll strike up a conversation with a stranger under some circumstances, but most people don't like to be corrected by people they know
, let alone by some random chick who they always assume has the IQ of a slow-witted puppy. Though I really should train myself to not speak to people unless spoken to first, because sometimes even pleasant comments get people mad at me somehow. There was a woman at the grocery store looking through varieties of baby carrots last month, and I just commented, "If you've never tried the petite ones, they're worth it. They're the sweetest carrots I've ever had, and actually bite-size, which is nice." She then turned up her nose at me and gave me a mini-lecture on how real
cooks use real
carrots and cut them to size. Uh...the baby carrots were actually six feet away from the regular carrots, in a display all by themselves, so why was she looking at them if she's too good for them? There is no winning. I just walked away.
I never mind being approached in public. Many times someone has seen me picking out jewelry findings or yarn or food products, and asked me an opinion on something about them, or given their own opinion on something I'm debating. I don't find it intrusive or offensive, but maybe I'm in the minority. Does this happen to everyone, or is it just a prejudice against me
? I'm aware that I don't look like Susie Homemaker, but that doesn't mean all my expertise lies within the realm of body piercings and demonic summoning.
So what is proper stranger-etiquette? Should you just never speak? Only speak when spoken to? But then, if everyone followed that rule, how would you ever get spoken to...?
I met someone just last week through a random conversation in the fabric section of Wal-Mart. Someone recognized my hat as a moogle hat, and commented on it, and conversation sprung from there. We have a toddler play-date for our daughters next week. Is it no longer normal to meet new friends this way? Are we all doomed to keep within our silent public-bubbles every time we come within ten feet of a stranger?
I'm not very good at the social butterfly thing. And being shot down every time I try is making me want to stay in my cocoon.
I have been in a fantastic mood and mindset lately, and I owe it entirely to livejournal. That is, I owe LJ for allowing me to meet so many wonderful people, who absolutely yanked me right out of the dumps when I started feeling very down recently. Affection, support, and even gifts, I am so touched by how great my friends have been. And it means so much to me that there are other people who feel the way that I do, and who appreciate the value of a relationship that can be built over this "series of tubes." I wish I had the money and time to visit everyone, but it's simply not possible. I'm so glad that even without my physical presence, my friends still value me as much as I value them. I truly think I have the most amazing friends ever.
All of the pick-me-ups coming my way recently have really helped me shove myself back into a more optimistic mindset. So often lately I've become moody, cranky, and downright miserable, and that is not anything like the person I really am. I'm not "perky," I don't think, but several people throughout my life have referred to me as "effervescent," and commented on my contagious enthusiasm and excitability. I feel so alien to myself when I lose track of that. Lately I've been finding it again, and it's so marvelous to feel more like myself.
I'm learning to approach obstacles in a healthier fashion again, which is something I always lose when I become depressed. I start feeling like the entire world is conspiring against me, and I have no reason to even attempt anything. I may not be able to move mountains, but I'm chipping away at some stones now, and I feel like I might actually be able to make a dent in some of the daunting tasks ahead of me.
March is usually an up-and-down month for me, but for the first time in a while, I feel like I'm ready to tackle it. The coming of Spring is always a great cause of celebration in my household, but my estranged sister's birthday falls right after the Equinox, and it's a painful reminder of past wounds and false promises. (It's made no better by my inability to just ignore the date - she shares her birthday with my brother-in-law, so I have no choice but to recognize it.) We've had beautiful weather these past two days (though I would have appreciated a bit more sun) and I made a point to take my daughter out both yesterday and today. Just walking in the breeze made me feel so exhilarated.
I'm looking forward to a permanent wave of pleasant weather, so I can rake up remaining leaves from last fall, and watch the green shoots begin to sprout in my yard. I have a gigantic American Sycamore in my backyard - the largest tree in the neighborhood! - and I love to watch those Jurassic leaves start to sprout. This year I also hope to start a vegetable garden. My green thumb has waned a bit since childhood, but bringing in any sort of crop grown with my own hands will bring me delicious satisfaction.
Always fond of staring out the window, my daughter has now almost permanently camped in front of it, as if she knows Spring is coming, and she hopes to catch the first flower when it blooms. I know she's as excited for the coming season as I am.
I'm hoping that this year the weather will permit me to have a proper welcoming celebration for the Equinox, filled with outside activities and fantastic picnic food. It's a major goal of mine to stop letting circumstances get between me and my time with Nature. I need that connection to feel alive, and I'm going to bask in the sunshine as much as humanly possible this year. I'd love to have a hammock or cushioned swing I could set up under my tree canopy, to read books in the shade during the summer. Maybe I'll actually work to save for that this year. I don't give myself enough pure leisure time, and I never spend money selfishly. But something like that would be such a boost for my spirit, I think it would be worth it.
I hope everyone is receiving the same sort of weather blessing I'm enjoying right now, and I will say a special prayer for all of you when I celebrate the coming of Spring.
In one of my graduate classes, we recently read an essay defending hunting. An interesting conversation ensued on my class's discussion board (naturally, one that I plunked myself in the middle of), and I'm curious to hear other opinions on the subject. This conversation is still ongoing, so I might add to this post, but for now, I think my opinions were stated succinctly enough that I'm comfortable posting it.( Onwards to the discussionCollapse )