Must Love Feminism

Hey all,

I know it’s been a very long time since I’ve blogged, funny how life can get busy like that.

Anyway, after living in DC for a year and living in a house full of five other wonderful feminists, I am having a hard time knowing how to go back to my small town and be content with the lack of social activism there. I realized last night that I don’t have any males in my life who support the feminist movement, not my dad, not my brother, not any of my friends, and not my boyfriend, and that hurts. I don’t know how to deal with this. Do I just talk to them about it and hope they come around to seeing that it is important for everyone to be equal and share in equal opportunities? Do I just give up and love them for who they are? I don’t think that’s an option, actually, so I’m just going to keep arguing my case and being a feminist, even if I don’t get it right all the time. Also, guys, you can be feminists too, I know it’s a scary label because there are a lot of negative stigmas that go with it, but it’s for all of us, not just women.

I’m currently reading “Bad Feminist” by Roxane Gay, and thus far it makes me feel better that I don’t have all the answers or all the counter points and that I do have biases, some known and some unknown, and that’s okay. I am still working towards making the world a better place, one discussion at a time, no matter how frustrating it is for people to tell me that I’m wrong.

Thanks for reading, sorry it was so short.

-M

P.S. On my next dating profile I need to put, “Must Love Feminism”, inspired by the truly fabulous movie, “Must Love Dogs”, because really, both are pretty important to my mental health.

Chasing the sunset and meeting the sunrise.

Hi all! Are you ready for my random ramblings?

I was recently able to go home for the holidays after moving away, which I loved! I did get my wisdom teeth out two days before Christmas, but whatever, it’s done and over with, so yay to that. It was hard coming back though, which was surprising because when I embarked on this adventure, while it was hard to get on the plane to travel to a big city and volunteer at job I knew very little about and live with people I had never met, it was so much harder coming back with the knowledge that I have gathered in the past few months of being here. Why? Why was the known harder than the unknown? Isn’t the unknown scarier than certainty? Apparently not in this case. The unknown represented the chance to get out of a small town I had been in all my life, and meet new people in a brand new city! The known on the other hand offered certainty of the struggles of working everyday at a job that isn’t my favorite, and the aspects of intentional community that sometimes just aren’t fun. It was hard to leave my family after Christmas knowing that I will be here for another seven months and be doing the exact same thing day in and day out (I don’t get that expression, but whatever). After settling in again for a few days, I am glad that I didn’t listen to that small voice in my head that tempted me not to come back to the big city, live with five other people, and do a job that I know won’t be something I want to do in the future. I do like the people I live with, and was very excited to see them, but living with people is very hard, at least with my parents I know all their quirks and oddities and they have come to annoy me less over the years. I also like my job overall, though there are definitely days that are much harder than others. For those of you who don’t know what I’m doing, or I’ve just neglected to say because it’s hard to keep up with my blog when I write so little now, I am working at a soup kitchen of sorts, but it is also a social services agency and helps homeless individuals with vital documents, housing, and other things with the end goal of ending chronic homelessness in mind. I have the title of “Case Manager”, which means that I get to help people with their needs, whatever they might be. I learned in my internship last year that direct practice is hard for me, because it feels like I know so little of the world, yet people are asking me to know so much and give them guidance on whatever it is that they need guidance on, so I knew going into this year that I wouldn’t necessarily be overjoyed about going to work everyday, and I was right. I do feel more purpose in going to a job that serves people than a job where I’m filing and scanning papers, because that is overly mundane, so when I wake up and feel like taking a “mental health day”, I don’t do it as often as I used to. And now I think my rambling has come to an end about the fact that my job isn’t really what I want to be doing in the world, though I’m not really sure what it is that I want to be doing, and that living with people is hard, but I don’t regret my decision to participate in this year and stick it out. I do have to find a way to invest myself more thoroughly than I am because a year in my life doesn’t seem like a long time and I apparently have a hard time attaching with a determined amount of time.

I am looking forward to meeting the sunrise in August when it’s time for me to go home and start something new in my life, while I leave behind a beautiful sunset that was this year of love, friendship, compassion, justice, hurt, healing, and all sorts of other vibrant things.

Always,

-M

P.S. I got more socks for Christmas…surprise!

How do you fall in love?

You always here people talking about falling in love, with a man, with a woman, with the world, with God, you name it. I struggle with the concept of what love is and what falling in love is and what all of those mean in my life, yes, I’m a twenty one year old female talking about love, what else is new in the world? One of the main things I struggle with is the concept of falling in love and loving God in a healthy, productive, amazing way. So, how do we fall in love? I would say just by getting to know people. Wait, but how do you get to know God? That is an excellent question, and I would say one way would be through reading the Bible, because even though it was written by humankind and is in their interpretation, obviously it’s not totally off the wall. I think the other way is through the people around us. I think they can show us the good and the bad, so we can see God’s grace and practice our own very flawed human version of that. Now, all this is good in theory, but I’m still very much working on this.

Being in the city it’s hard to find God in every day things, because I connect the beauty of nature with God a lot, and there’s not so much nature is the city, thus bringing me to the challenge of finding God here. Do I find him in people? Yes, I suppose I do, in my housemates, my coworkers, and all the people I work with on a daily basis. Where else do I find God? I have no idea yet, it’s really hard to find God in the midst of Washington, DC. All this to say that it’s very hard to fall in love and to love someone properly and I’m still figuring all that out, in due time. I also need to learn to love myself properly, because that’s just hard. I mean, yeah, most of the time I think I’m great, but when I think about my skills and my worth as a person I sometimes just get scared, so still figuring that out too.

I’m feeling a little less than creative at the moment, so that’s all for now.

Always,

-M

P.S. Thanks for all of you young people who voted in the most recent elections! You rock and I’m so glad you’re involved! For those of you who didn’t, please do so during the next elections, it’s really important that the younger generation be involved or the old white men will continue to be assholes and take rights away from marginalized populations.

Feminist? Christian? Those are scary labels!

To be crystal clear, those are not scary labels to me, and for the most part I thoroughly embrace them, but how society views them can be scary. Like most groups, the radical individuals are cited and given attention, while the real issues are not. For feminists the image of burning bras and slander against men is what is called to mind for a large percentage of the population.  Christians can also bring bad images to mind, people who hate those who identify as homosexual, transgender, or any variation that is not strictly male or female and those roles, or maybe that church that pickets/protests soldier’s funerals, or whatever it is that is bad.  Those are the groups I personally identify with, but other religious groups and other political groups get the same view of “Oh hey, look at those people in the news, they’re representative of the the whole group”, when in reality they’re not, and hopefully most people are able to identify that. So while I want to focus on those, there are definitely others that I want to acknowledge. I don’t readily tell people that I’m feminist and a Christian in those words, per se, but I do try to let them know in gentle terms that I follow Christ and try to love everyone, as well as the fact that I believe in equality for everybody.

Now to the fact that I identify as a feminist AND a Christian?! What is that?! Honestly, I’m still struggling with both of those parts of my identity and how they affect each other. As a Christian the basic premise of my life is that: 1. I believe God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit (though that’s a much more abstract concept in my mind), 2. Jesus died for my sins, 3. I am forgiven, 4. God loves all people, 5. the Bible is not concrete, as it was written by man. There are a few others, but it’s hard to establish all of them and it’s an ever growing list. But hey, doesn’t the Bible say women should submit to their husbands and not teach over men? Yeah, it does, but as a feminist I have a hard time with that. As far as I’m aware it doesn’t say in the Bible that women are to be the primary supporter of men, or to be doormats. Also, it talks about stoning people and a bunch of other violent crap that goes on, so should we do that? Um, no! Why would we? Why would we think that women can’t teach over men? Why do we think that women need to submit to their husbands? Now, I’m not married and it’s been awhile since I’ve dated anyone, but I’m pretty sure marriage is about loving and respecting each other and supporting each other and accepting each other the way you are, not an unequal balance. Doesn’t it also say in the Bible that we shouldn’t be unequally yoked? Wouldn’t that happen when women submit to their husbands and don’t make decisions on equal ground and authority? I just read a blog/paper on Pinterest about this particular issue, which got me actually writing about this, though I’ve wanted to for some time. It was claiming that the key to a happy marriage is the woman submitting to her husband, and while she can express her opinion, it’s ultimately the husband’s decision as the head of her and the rest of the household. It scares the shit out of me that people actually think like this. How archaic is that?! What happened to Jesus teaching about love being pretty much the greatest stuff ever?!? Obviously that’s a very loose translation, but I think the message still applies. Not that love isn’t necessarily present in a marriage where the woman submits to her husband, but ultimately it comes down to love, not traditional, and absolutely silly, gender roles. So there’s my rant about that. I had a guy mention to me that I should make him a sandwich to which I asked him why I would do that, and he replied something stupid about my gender, which I honestly can’t remember, and then when he told me to “take a joke”, I had to respond that feminism isn’t a joke. We haven’t talked since. How can I respect a partner when they don’t show me the same respect? How can I love my partner when I don’t get that love back? That’s not a healthy relationship (because I’m obviously the expert).

I know I’m writing this soon after Emma Watson spoke about feminism and that isn’t what sparked it, but what she’s doing is great and society needs to shove it and get over themselves, because women are great and should be treated equally.

Always,

-M

P.S. My toes peel sometimes, which is really weird and kinda gross, so haha!

I don’t want you to be downcast, but I want you to be well-loved.

Isn’t that basically one of the most pressing dilemmas?

We want relationships, but they hurt. Sure, work can be challenging, school can be rough, but human relationships involve a much deeper level of commitment and understanding. Of course there are phenomenal friendships and romantic relationships, but at the end, it is going to hurt. I am not talking about breaking up or not talking to your friend anymore, I am talking about that point when you lose them. No, I did not recently have a friend die, though one of my co-workers dad’s died last week, which is sad, but I have not been personally affected by the death of a person in a long time. Any relationship takes time and effort, much of which I have not seen from my friends lately, and that hurts, it can be insanely rewarding, but sometimes it just plain hurts. It is absolutely astounding that emotional pain can translate to physical pain, that it can leave someone short of breath, feeling like their chest is being compressed, or that ache that resides deep in their belly, there are so many ways emotional pain can be manifested, and it is crazy. 

Today was the last service at the church I grew up in, I have been going there for 16 years, so as long as I can remember, and today, we finally closed. It has been a long process and we have gone through various pastors, but with a small congregation, in which I am the youngest person, it is hard to find and keep any momentum. I will not go as far as to say what our former pastor said, “the spirit has left this church”, but the energy and commitment was just not enough. When I said it was a small congregation, I mean small, we had around ten people attending each Sunday for quite some time. It was a hard blow to all of us, but I believe it was necessary.

I will be eternally grateful that we had a gentle, compassionate pastor help us through this, because without her, it would have been much more painful. She helped us keep in mind that God is not gone because we will not worship in that building any longer, but that God is within us and we can worship wherever we need or want to. She organized a wonderful service for the last day that our church was open. She talked about letting go and asked the members of the church to pick up a handful of dirt and put it over the pieces of paper we had written our memories of the church down on. She had told a story about a man who would not let go of the handful of dirt he had brought from Earth, so was unable to enter Heaven. When he finally let go after seeing his granddaughter in a joyful reunion, he was able to enter and saw that his family was there. It was different, but it was better. After laying the dirt over the memories in the baptismal font, and an emotional communion, she handed us various artifacts of the church and we proceeded outside, as a symbol of us leaving the church. It was a service beautifully done and I am touched that I got to be a part of it.

This is where being well-loved comes in. Yes, it hurts to rarely see friends, have them ignore you, have a man or woman reject you, but it is worth it. Pain is part of the human experience, but so is love and joy, so yes, it is so so so worth it. Let go of that handful of dirt that is keeping you from something different, it is not a bad thing! I will be letting go of my fear, as that is my dirt, and I will be moving to Washington, D.C. for a year through a volunteer program. 

Before I end, I would like to share my favorite Psalm with you. It is Psalm 42 (go figure). In the words, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God for I will yet praise him my savior and my God”, I find hope and an odd sense of optimism. I take those words to mean, “why am I feeling low? My life may not be my ideal, but hey, guess what?! I have God on my side and He is looking out for me, why can I not always remember that?” That is just how I feel, but I do find it encouraging to think that in my heart, even when my faith fails me, that God is there.

Always,

-M

P.S. I have to remind myself that I can cry in front of people.

Why I want my future kids to watch MTV’s Awkward.

Hey all,

I know it’s been awhile, but I’ve been busy, hopefully I’ll find the motivation to start posting more frequently. Moving on…

I know I’ve mentioned Awkward several times within my blog posts, and how much I enjoy it. I think I would call it my guilty pleasure show. It is wildly inappropriate and is kind of disturbing, so why, when I have children, would I want them to watch it? Well, I think it has some pretty good lessons in there. I should also clarify that when I say “kids”, I am talking about young adults. Watch out for spoilers!

Lessons I found in Awkward:

1. Friends with benefits will almost always result in someone getting hurt. When Matty and Jenna decide to be “friends with benefits” (awful term, but whatever), Jenna wants more than just the benefits, while Matty just wants the physical benefits. For those of you who don’t watch the show, Matty had just found out that he’s adopted and he kind of blew up on Jenna when she was thinking that he was ignoring her like he did their sophomore (I think) year, so he’s kinda crazy at the moment. Jenna wants more emotional intimacy and to talk to Matty about how he’s feeling, and when she tells him that, he says he just wants to get physical, resulting in her telling him she can’t handle that, so it’s not gonna happen. Great moment of self-respect there! Yeah, she was really crappy about it when she was dating Collin, but it just goes to show, that it can be gained or grown, or whatever term you want to use.

2. You can’t always stay friends after you break up. There’s really nothing to explain here, as I just went on a diatribe about how that didn’t work for Jenna and Matty.

3. Don’t have sex with your boyfriend in high school, even though you think you’re in love. Jenna suffered from losing her virginity to Matty in a closet, which is nasty and not appropriate, so some censorship would have to be implemented. Tamara is the one who really suffered though, and is now going crazy because she and Jake broke up. She’s kind of intense about the whole situation, so much so that she invented a fake person, complete with fake social media and phone, and is now creeping on him through that. Huge no-no going on here. I cannot say that’s because she lost her virginity to him, but I think there could be certain amount of obsession when a guy is your first. 

4. IT IS NOT ALL ABOUT YOU! Jenna learns this the hard way when she’s going Collin-crazy and destroying all her friendships, then when she’s mended those friendships, she learns it again when she assumes Matty is avoiding her because he’s ashamed of her, yay, we get to go back to that soap-opera. I think this is a lesson that everyone needs to learn and needs to be reminded of, because overall, we as humans, are pretty selfish creatures.

5. Stick by your friends. When Jenna is hostile towards the new girl, whose name I cannot remember for the life of me, because New Girl was at Matty’s house when Jenna went to talk, she eventually realizes that she’s not the enemy. New Girl and Jenna talk it out and she comes to realize that she’s putting her problems onto someone else.

6. Taking down the “sophomore sluts” isn’t going to solve anything. I think Jenna’s dad is one of the wisest characters in this show, though not all the time. I think this is a good lesson to us all, that in general, that isn’t the solution, we all have those unsavory characters in our lives, but that doesn’t mean we have to destroy them to make our problems go away, though we do like to think that don’t we? While I did just say that it’s not all about you, in this case, you need to focus on you, because you control you; they don’t.

7. Just be nice to people. You don’t know what they’re going through and you don’t want to make things worse. Jenna created A LOT of issues with a lot of people when she was having her mental lapse, and she was really mean about it. It’s important to be nice to those around you, even when they’re not very nice to you.

I think that’s all for now. Yes, I do sound like a teenage girl at the moment, but whatever, I enjoy the show and I think there are a lot of things to learn, even though it’s fictional (as far as I know). If I ever do actually have my children watch this as they’re nearing high school, it will be with supervision and we will talk about it afterwards so that they realize much of what is seen is not a good path to follow. Also, half of what goes on in that fictional high school would be so against normal high school rules.

Thanks for reading!

Always,

-M

P.S. I don’t care if I’m about to graduate college, I still like playing with laser pointers.

Who do you really worship?

I’ve been considering this blog post for awhile, but I haven’t found the time, and I am currently procrastinating even more on homework, but with Easter tomorrow, I think it’s appropriate. I am writing this from a Christian perspective, which means Easter is a pretty big deal, though I don’t feel like I can ever do enough to celebrate it. So, I would like to pose a question, as the title suggests. Who do you really worship? There are all kinds of beliefs in the world and each one has a different set of values and principles, but I will stick to Christianity because that’s what I know, though I respect other religions as well. After listening to a radio show complaining about spoilers to television shows, and a phone interview with a potential job site, I thought about how much time we spend watching television. Now, I’m not saying that I don’t spend more time watching television than I do in my thoughts about God, I just want to get this out, which is really what this blog is for. I spend several hours at work listening to my coworkers talk about all the television shows they watch, not creepily, it’s just how the office is set up, so I end up hearing everyone. When I first started working there it actually really freaked me out because they were talking about this girl getting raped and all this other dramatic stuff going on, and I was wondering why they’d be talking about such personal stuff about one of their coworkers, it turns out they were talking about a soap opera that they both watch, which was a HUGE relief when I realized that. Recently though, they have been talking about a whole bunch of shows, like two or three every day, give or take, and I just don’t know where they get the time to watch all those shows. I watch NCIS, New Girl, and sometimes The Big Bang Theory, though mostly after they’ve been recorded, which is great, but anyway, I don’t watch many shows and I still feel like I expend more time watching TV than I do anything else, which isn’t true, but it feels that way. Talking to the person I was having a phone interview with, she asked me what my hobbies were, and I said that I suppose watching TV is one of them, even though that is kind of lame, but she agreed that nowadays it is. People watch so many shows now that it is a hobby and something they have to catch up on and make sure they don’t hear spoilers about, it’s kind of insane, but I guess that’s the entertainment industry. Before I get to my clear, concise point, I’d like to complain about spoilers. I was listening to a radio show where they were complaining about people giving away spoilers, so they did a segment on the “rules” regarding spoilers and TV shows, which was stupid. Really? Your life revolves around it that much? I mean, I know I wouldn’t like it if someone told me something huge happened on NCIS, but most people know me well enough to know that I watch it, but I also watch it every Tuesday night at 7 pm, so generally I’m caught up. I understand frustration with people who deliberately spoil ANYTHING for anyone, because that’s just kind of a jerk-move right there, so yes, I understand that. I don’t understand not talking about shows around people just because they haven’t seen it, especially if you have no idea that they watch that show, it’s like we need censorship for spoilers now, except that is ridiculous! Okay, I’m done with that rant. 

Who do you really worship? Do you worship the shows you watch? Do you worship the books you read? Do you worship people? We spend so much of our time doing other things, that sometimes we forget about God, and I am as guilty as anyone. So this Easter season, this time of new life and resurrection, let’s think about the man who died for me, for you, for your family, for your friends, for your enemies, and let’s thank him for that. Let’s also remember that Jesus did that for us out of love, astounding love, and we don’t have to repay him, though I think we should live as he did, and extend love to those who need it most.

Always,

-M

P.S. I think that all the bad things you need to know about humanity can be found in what was done to Jesus on Good Friday.