Perspective

Monday is always a really long day for me. I work all day and I have class in the evening. As a result I leave the house at around 7:15 am and get home between 9:30 and 10:00 pm.

Luckily I have about 3 and a half hours on campus before class starts. Because I’m a mediocre student I usually use this time to finish reading for class and write my weekly reflection paper.

Today, the reading part went stupendously (glbtq organizing in China) but the reflection paper did not. Unfortunately all the computers in the computer lab are being used. Luckily I have until 11:59 pm to turn it in.

As this campus isn’t really set up for relaxing I decided to sit in my car and fell sorry for myself. As with any self-respecting pity party, I broadcast my woes on Twitter.

It was at that moment that I realized the absurdity of it all. I have a job, the means to be in college, a new car (2010 Yaris), and I am writing right now on my brand new HTC Trophy. So no, I can’t write mt paper. And yes, I am extremely worn out. But quite frankly, I have nothing to complain about.

So, gentle reader, I hope my perspective is useful to you. It’s certainly helped me out.

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That Girl is Cray?

This morning as I was getting ready for my day I had the radio on in the bathroom.  Our bathroom radio is always on 101.3 KDWB.  I’m not crazy about it but I’m also to lazy to change the station.  And once in a while they actually say funny things on the morning show.

This morning I became aware of a new segment on the show called “That Girl is Cray” (cray is short for crazy, I think it sounds kind of dumb.)  In this segment they share news stories in which a woman does something crazy and at the end of the news story everyone says “that girl is craaaay.”  Before I start in on my rant, I will say that the stuff they said women did seemed to be truly strange.

However, I couldn’t help but wonder whether or not this segment could be an equal opportunity segment.  Surely they could report on guys doing crazy things too?  Oh wait… they already do.  Except this segment is called “You can’t make this stuff up,” where they share news stories of men (okay, usually men) doing weird things.  And at the end everyone just laughs, rather than publicly shaming the person (trying to sound like black people at the same time).

I think it’s time for another break from the Dave Ryan in the Morning Show.

The Sweetest Thing

My sweet husband, Nathan, asked me if I was blogging today and what I wanted to talk about.  I told him that I wanted to blog but I had no idea what to talk about.  Do you ever feel like that?  Like you have something bursting to come out of you but you have no clue what it is or how to put whatever “it” is into words?  Well, that’s been me today.

Luckily, Nathan told me that if I was at a loss I could always talk about him.  I have decided to take him up on his offer. Now the only dilemma is what exactly to talk about.  There is so much!  I’ve elected to talk about when Nathan asked me to marry him.

Prior to our marriage we decided to get an apartment together. Prior to our decision to move in together I made it clear that if we did move in together it was my expectation that we would be married within a year.  I didn’t want to be 35 with three kids and still “living with my boyfriend.”  Nathan was amenable to this and we proceeded to look for apartments.

Side note:  We are still living in that apartment.  It’s great, even if it is ridiculously expensive.

Anyway, at this time I was working the overnight shift (10 pm to 6 am) and Nathan was working during the day.  As a result, we almost never saw each other.  I got home a mere 30 minutes before Nathan got up to get ready for work.  I also started to work at Metro State because we were pretty short on money (although now that makes me laugh, because we’re even shorter now, haha.)  This meant that we almost literally never saw each other.  However, I had Monday off each week and so we always had lunch together on Mondays.  Typically we went to McDonalds.

As the months passed my attempts at convincing Nathan that we should get married soon increased as I pointed out the various positive aspects of married life.  These included (but were not limited to) increased financial aid (we wouldn’t have to claim our parents income on the FAFSA anymore), increased happiness for him (studies have shown this), a better tax return (again, because of the school thing), and more stability in our status as a couple.  I was beginning to doubt that any of this was sinking in until one day in September when Nathan told me that if we got married he would be eligible for the PELL Grant for the first time in his life.  It was then that I knew my overt tactics were working.

Several weeks later we were at McDonalds (yes, it was a Monday) and Nathan said to me, “So, I’ve been thinking that we should get married by the end of the year” (this was in October.)  I have to admit, I was stunned.  The first thing I said was “Are you serious?” (In hindsight, probably not the best thing to say.)  Nathan said that he was indeed serious.  I said, “Awesome!  I would love to marry you.”

And the rest, as they say, is history.  We got married on December 17th, 2010.  We have both agreed that it is the best decision either one of us ever made.  We’ve definitely had (and are still having) some growing pains.  But honestly, marrying Nathan is the best thing I have ever done for myself.

International Women’s Day – Coming Out

Let me just start by saying, Happy International Women’s Day!  I am so grateful to be a woman at this time and place in history.  Despite all the insanity (especially in the U.S.) this is a great time to be alive.

However, a specific topic about womanhood has been on my mind the last couple of days and I’ve allowed it to ferment a little bit before talking about it.  Unfortunately it is not a jolly topic, but it’s something that affects women every day of their lives.  I have been thinking about sexual violence a lot lately.

Part of the reason for that is because this time of year is anniversary time for when I was raped.  No, I don’t have a date and it happened several time.  But I know it happened in the month or so leading up to my birthday. My birthday is on April 12.

Another part of the reason is because I’m working diligently on my capstone (or at least, attempting to work diligently) and it’s about sexual violence & rape culture.

And finally, it’s because I had a fairly intense experience just a few days ago (on Tuesday) that really got me to think about this.  I realize that one experience may seem small, but it’s really helped me to solidify this idea that’s been rolling around in my head.  I wouldn’t say it’s like a fine wine that costs $100+, but definitely worth at least a $10 bottle of wine.

On Tuesday morning I was washing some dishes.  I had my apron on (otherwise my clothes get really wet.  I splash a lot.)  I heard a REALLY loud knock on my door.  My first thought was that I was home alone and I wasn’t expecting anyone.   I went to the door and saw a man that does maintenance in my building.  Prior to this I had thought he was a pretty nice guy.  We had exchanged nice words in the hallway and even though I don’t know his name I thought he was a pretty decent guy. However on Tuesday morning he stood at my door and said, very angrily, “Don’t leave boxes in the trash room, it’s a fire hazard!”

To explain… I got a new desk a few weeks ago and I finally put it together last week.  I was feeling pretty lazy and I put the box in the trash room, rather than bringing it down to the dumpsters.  I admit, it was not an admirable choice.  However, if I had known it was a fire hazard I would have over come my laziness and brought it to the dumpsters.  However, I neglected to take the shipping label off the box.

I’m not saying that the decision to not bring the box to the appropriate space was a good one.  However, I seriously felt that his reaction was over the top and completely unnecessary. I have made a significant effort in the last few days to not walk past this person, be in the elevator with him, or anything like that.  The fear induced by his reaction makes me feel unsafe and I don’t like it.  I can’t help but wonder if someone else had answered the door if he would have had a similar reaction.  I have no idea.

Anyway, my point is the fear that women have to live with on a daily basis.  It may not be something we feel intensely, as I did in this experience, but it’s always there.  Making decisions that keep us safe also limit us. They make sure that we don’t speak our mind because we never know how people will react.  It could be extremely violent.

Yes, it is International Women’s Day.  We celebrate women and vow to work toward a better world for all of us.  But in a society where 1 in 6 women will experience an attempted or successful rape in our lifetime, fear is a very real thing.  The first step to creating a better world is to reduce that fear.  And it’s not only women that need to work toward this.  Men and women need to work together to create a society where fear cannot exist for slightly over half of the population.  We need a society where women coming out as victims of sexual violence is not common; indeed, where nobody needs to come out as a victim because they have never experienced sexual violence.

Do we listen to women?

I recently had an experience which I feel epitomizes an epidemic in the United States.  This epidemic is not bacterial and it can’t be treated with medical means.

This epidemic is the disease of disrespect.  Specifically, it if the disrespect of women and their intellect. This epidemic insults the intelligence of every woman.  It makes it impossible for the culture at large to listen to us.  Think I’m being a little over the top?  Where are the women who should be on panels about contraception?  Where are the women who should be in Congress?  Where are the women who should be on our city councils?  Where are the women in our society?

Anyway, to this experience that I had last Monday.  My only on campus class in GNDR 365: “Cultural Politics of GLBT Sexuality.”  It’s being taught by Pattrice Jones, who is a famous ecofeminist and gay rights activist.

Last Monday, prior to class there was some kind of seminar going on in the usual classroom.  At about 5:50 (class starts at 6:00) Pattrice went in and asked if they were almost done because her class started in a few minutes. Luckily they were just wrapping up and the students filtered out.  The male instructor of this seminar asked her what the class was.  She replied with, “Cultural Politics of GLBT Sexuality.”

“Oh, what kind of class is that?  Psychology?” said the male instructor

“No, Gender Studies,” said Pattrice.

“So, Psychology?”

“No, Gender Studies,”

“Don’t you mean Psychology?”

“No, I mean Gender Studies.”

“Oh, there’s a Gender Studies department at Metro?”

“Yes, there is.  And I teach in it.”

“Well, I guess that’s why you kept repeating yourself, huh?”

“Yeah, that would be why.”

“Oh, well I just started in January and I’m still learning about the college.”

At this point, Pattrice just glowered at him and he made a rapid exit from the classroom.

Unfortunately I was unable to think about this more because class started and it was time to talk about trans individuals.  But the more I  thought about what I had witnessed, the more troubled I became.  So now I sit here a week later (and not going to class because it’s spring break) thinking about my own behavior and how others perceive me.  Am I as straight forward and plain spoken as Pattrice?  Maybe, I don’t know.  Have I ever had similar experiences?  Absolutely.

In conclusion, as you go out into this brand new week I would encourage you to listen to the women in your lives. You may be close to this person or you may just encounter a woman in the street. Either way, if you’re talking to her make sure to listen.

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Motherhood in a larger context

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