Wednesday, March 20, 2013

In which I rant

I worry that agnosticism coupled with budding feminism has turned me into a bore. I have become quite a bit more sensitive to male privilege, especially when that privilege is endorsed by religion. I read about and talk about these issues more and more. Unfortunately, most of my family and friends are tolerant but uninterested. They don't share my outrage and are (most likely) too polite to risk an argument. My attempts at conversation are turning into lectures, which is not at all what I want.

At the same time, I am frustrated by bigoted and sexist attitudes among my family and friends - attitudes that I trace back to the religion I was raised in. I see them clinging to a faith that I can't share; I don't understand why they stay when, to me, logic dictates that they should go. I assume that they are afraid; that threats of damnation are enough to keep them yoked. It is especially frustrating to see women accepting and reinforcing the idea that they are less important than men, pushing themselves and each other towards marriage and family because they have been told that it's their highest calling - told so by men - and then berating themselves for selfishness and other perceived faults when this achievement of marriage and family is not fulfilling.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against marriage or children, but I think people (especially women) can afford to put it off for a few years. I've known too many girls who never bothered to develop any skills because their entire purpose in life was to get married as soon as possible and raise a family. These girls had no one telling them that they were just as capable as the boys and could achieve just as much. How much talent has the world squandered by not encouraging the girls?

I think these topics hit me so hard because I never did achieve that so-called highest calling for women: finding a husband and raising babies. Now, in my mid-30s, I'm angry because I spent so long clinging to a hope that one day, some man would give me value; beating myself up because I didn't think I was pretty/nice/thin/interesting enough. But even while I craved the validation that would come with it, I was so very afraid of being forced into a mold of the perfect wife and mother. I worried that I could never be enough.

I'm angry today because I didn't realize that I *did* have value. I had it all along. Humanity, sentience, intelligence; this is what gives me value. Not my weight, not my appearance, not the approval of men. And yet, I'm still inhibited and uncertain. I stumble over words, I start sentences with "Ummm...", I don't assert myself. Most importantly, I don't try for the things that I want. Logic and action are separate entities. Maybe in that way, I do still have a kinship with people who can't abandon their faith.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Checking in

Hey, lame inactive blogger here. I can't believe it's been over a year since I published something! What a year it's been. Let's see; I fired a therapist. I was promoted at work to Senior Compensation Analyst - and, once again, I was asked by the hiring manager to apply for the position. I discovered and became hooked on Minecraft (thanks Five). Along with Minecraft came the discovery of and addiction to several Let's Play series' on YouTube. I listed my religion as "Agnostic" on Facebook and began openly self-identifying as atheist/agnostic. I gained weight and lost weight (I'm currently on the "losing weight" side of that pendulum; 30 pounds since October!). I canceled my cable subscription and went with Netflix/Amazon Prime instead. I hired a guy to mow my lawn. I got new glasses with purple Vera Wang frames. I went on a cruise with my brother Five. I joined Costco. I put together a 500 piece puzzle in under 8 hours. I discovered and became hooked on Carcassonne (thanks again, Five). I discovered and found that I agreed with several feminist bloggers. I learned a few very personal things about people who are close to me and, most importantly, I learned that I was completely okay with their choices. I read books, watched shows, played games, chased cats, ignored my hair, got an allergist, suffered through bronchitis, read more books, and gave geeky shirts as gifts.

What will the next year hold? Who can say? It may or may not include more blogging. It may or may not (probably not) include more dating. It may or may not include getting a dog. It will definitely include at least one visit to see my darling nephews. It will (hopefully) also include more weight loss. I hope it also includes more self-discovery and more self-acceptance. A little more maturity would be nice, too. Just a little. :)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

In treatment

Since creating a Facebook account I don't feel a big need to blog anymore. Facebook is a great outlet for my dull and very dull thoughts but I tend to keep things superficial because I'm hyper-aware of the audience. I spend way too much time worrying about whether or not someone is going to be offended. Even on a blog, with its pretense of anonymity, I hold back my darkest thoughts and most shocking opinions. I do the same in my journal. One day someone could read it and then what would they think of me!

I recently starting seeing a therapist, after an incident at work that made me so anxious I was briefly suicidal. I wouldn't classify her as immensely helpful - and in fact I think she was struggling not to fall asleep in the last few sessions, which makes me feel like I bore her. But even though it hasn't been perfect, I do think it helps to have an outlet where I can be frank. It helps me put my feelings into words and I think she helps me explore things without going off on too many tangents.

I told her that I'm not happy in my job but don't know what else to do. I'm thinking of taking an information systems class at the community college, hoping that it sparks an interest in another field. Maybe IT, maybe game design. I don't know. She gave me an exercise. She wants me to describe my ideal work day and then my ideal day off. There are no limits. It doesn't matter if I'm too old, too young, the wrong gender or even in the wrong century. I could go to another planet, go anywhere in space or time. The days can be any length that I want them to be. She said to ignore practicality while also being very specific about who/what/where.

I'm kind of excited about this activity. I've wanted to be a writer but I get bogged down by negative thoughts. I'm so worried about being perfect that I lose my creativity. But if I could do anything, go anywhere, with no limits . . . I still don't know where or what but I'm pretty sure that on my ideal day off there would be dragons. Lots of flying, pearlescent dragons. I hope that's the kind of answer she's looking for!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Rocky Mountain high

Tomorrow morning I'm flying to Denver on my first ever business trip. I was originally going to stay for 4 days but another all-day training meeting came up the following Monday. It's cheaper for me to stay in Denver over the weekend than it would be to fly back here on Friday and fly back there on Sunday night. That means I won't be coming home until a week from Tuesday.

I have a 17 year old kid stopping by every day to feed my cats and pick up the mail. He's done it 2 or 3 times before and he does a good job. I pay him around $7 per day, which is a lot cheaper than boarding them. He seems happy to do it and the cats are less stressed out. I just have this nagging feeling that I'm not paying him enough. His mom is (was) my manager and she negotiated the amount, so I guess it's okay.

My coworkers have suggested things to do and see while I'm in town. I have an expense account for meals, lodging and travel but I'm on my own for entertainment expenses. I might try to find a theater and see the new Harry Potter film but that's something I could do at home. I could also go shoe-shopping (my new obsession) but, again, I can do that here. I hear downtown Denver is packed with things to do and most of it is within walking distance of my hotel. It's just a little bit daunting to be staying alone in a strange city. I may be so overwhelmed by everything that I spend the weekend sleeping!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Feelin' groovy

The last 7 or 8 months have been exhausting. I've worked an average of 60 hours per week since December. The short version is that the field converted to a new system and there were major issues with their data flowing into our system. This created a huge backlog of manual research and mandatory (unpaid) overtime. Those issues are mostly resolved now but there are still a lot of errors caused by training issues/noncompliance with procedures. Joy.

This is no longer my problem because as of Friday, July 1st I have a NEW JOB!!! It's a job that has me scared shitless but it's a job that promises to respect my personal time and allow me to have a life again. The exciting thing is that I didn't apply for it, I was referred to to it by someone who had been impressed by me in my old job. The manager invited me to interview. That has never happened to me before and I was extremely flattered. I had a job offer within 3 weeks of that first phone call but was not allowed to tell anyone where I was going until the end of May. Then, less than 2 weeks after I announced that I was leaving, the rest of my department was given notice that they would be laid off next spring. Wow. I am so glad not to be going through that again.

Now that I have some spare time, I've started on a project in my downstairs bathroom. The ceiling was water-damaged and sagging in places. There was also a hole cut out above the shower where a plumber fixed a leak from the tub in the upstairs bathroom. That was 4 years ago. Yeah. I'm a slob.

My brother Five was here last week attending training in the city. I live about an hour closer to the shop than he does and I was thrilled to have him stay with me. He's a lot of fun; we like a lot of the same things (sushi, scifi, seafood). He's also very handy and has been renovating his house mostly on his own. He helped me get started on the bathroom. Together we tore down the old ceiling and put up new drywall. He even helped me put on 2 coats of mud and sanded the first coat by himself.

This morning I put on the last coat of mud (I hope). Tomorrow I'm going to sand it. If everything looks flat then the next thing to do is paint. I chose a white paint for the ceiling and a light periwinkle blue for the walls. I might be able to finish the ceiling tomorrow and maybe get the walls done by next weekend. I'm so excited to have it finished! I think it will look really great with brown towels and rugs.

Now that I've popped my home improvement cherry, maybe I'll move on to other rooms. I really hate the beige walls and popcorn ceilings in this house. It would be nice to have some cooler shades; blues and purples and burgundies, even some pinks. I guess I'm not much for warm tones. If anyone would like to volunteer to paint or scrape ceilings, I would be more than happy to pay you in sushi. Pretty please?