Of Misunderstandings, Ineptitude, and Frustration

Hello, readers.

It’s the start of a new week and I don’t know about you, but mine is looking grim. As the end of the semester approaches professors are scrambling to get in everything they want to say and tensions are running high. And though it seems like everyone is working together in order to get to the end in one piece, that is definitely not the case.

I’m currently dealing with the worst group project experience I’ve ever had in the unnecessary amount of years I’ve spent at the university. It’s one of those things where no one quite gets what the other people are saying, so it takes forever to get a consensus. Then even after you reach a consensus, people kind of go do their own thing anyway. So, in the end, the hours you spent trying to reach an agreement were wasted. Absolutely wasted.

It’s a problem when people are so sure that they’re right all the time, that they can’t see exactly how wrong they are. I’m not saying I’m perfect, not even saying I’m easy to get along with or work with. But I’d like to think I can accept when I’m wrong, that I can back down and let other people who know more have their say. Maybe I’m blind to my own shortcomings and should apply this to myself. However, this isn’t about soul searching it’s about writing shit out so I don’t go out into the world and say things I can’t take back.

There is still time before this project is over and done with and I still feel like leaving the group and doing shit on my own. Especially when I think about the fact that we all get the same grade. I’m frustrated and unhappy and frustrated some more. End of the semester will do that to you. And all you can do is shut your mouth, suck it up, and get shit done. Also you should probably stop writing blog posts and pay attention to class.

I’m gonna go do that. Until next time, readers.

Rangent: On Being Better

Hello, dear readers.

Wednesday rolls around yet again, all smooth curves and shiny trails. It’s 6:14am and I’m sitting in bed thinking about being better. Sometimes you fall under the impression that you’re doing things well, only to realize that you’re not. Not even a little bit. In fact, it’s kind of a hot mess that misses it’s purpose.

Heat was applied to it. So. Fucking. Messy.

Usually those moments of realization come with crippling anxiety, overwhelming frustration, and anger born of persistent feelings of inadequacy. And, while it’s true that some of that still remains, I’m surprised to find it’s coupled with a sort of calm acceptance and, most incredibly, a plan. There side by side with a jittery need to be better, I found concrete things I could do to get there.

And I know this all sounds like bullshit. You have a problem, you find a solution. Blah, blah, blah. Except, sometimes the anxiety and frustration can be blinding. It makes it really difficult to see past them and into what can only be called the light at the end of the tunnel. (It could be called many other things, but it’s 6am and I’m having an epiphany. This is no time to challenge clichés.) And sure, after it all subsides, you still get to a solution so you possibly end up in the same place. But now I feel relaxed about the whole thing, rather than landing on a solution after a panicky struggle.

Am I explaining this well? No, not at all. Is it still important? Yes, yes it is. To me it is at any rate. Because it means things are changing and they could possibly be changing for the better.  It means maybe this new and improved (Leave my clichés alone.) version of me could possibly have some chill, some zen, some “right thing at the right time” situations. It’s a nice thought, right?

Anyway, this self-serving post is brought to you by the knowledge that things are changing. Whether the changes will stick, whether they’ll be good or bad, whether this is all an early morning hallucination, that’s all crap for another story (read: another post).

Have a good one, readers. Until next time!

Rangent: YouTube Binge

Hello, hello readers!

Monday comes again like the promise of death and almost as cheerful. It’s been a weird, funk ridden weekend. I was meant to spend it with friends, but I had to work so I ended up spending it pretty much alone. I making it sound more depressing than it was, I promise.

I worked, which is always good when you’re as broke as I am. I got some reading done, the fourth book in The Hollows series is down and I’ve moved on to the fifth. Some studying was done. Most importantly, I’ve YouTubed. And having done so, I’ve decided to share my three favorite videos with you!

1. Affection – Cigarettes After Sex

I found out about this band because one of its members is the guy behind Short Story Thursdays. Now, if you don’t know what that is, SST is a weekly dispatch where you receive a short story from an often forgotten writer in history. Pretty cool stuff, if you ask me! I might start writing about them, so something to (possibly) look forward to. Anyway, they do cool ambient rock. Have a listen.

2. Unravel Gameplay Trailer

I’ve talked about video games before, most notably Firewatch. Which, by the way, came out last month! This is another game that came out recently and I’m really excited about it. You play as Yarny, a character made from a single thread that unravels as you move along. According to the website, the story unfolds entirely without words and the environment is inspired by Northern Scandinavia. It’s beautiful and somehow sad.

 

3. Joseph Speaks to Mary – Gage Wallace

This is an old favorite of mine. I really like slam poetry and there are certain poems I always return to like Accents by Denise Frohman and The Period Poem by Dominique Christina. And this one. This poem where Joseph speaks to Mary and promises all he is and all he has. Definitely worth a watch.

 

That’s it for today, readers. Hope you’re having a good day!

Rangent: The “Real Woman” Issue

As a person who spends an unseemly amount of time online, I keep coming across the phrase “real woman” . Men say they want to be in a relationship with real women, women say that “sluts” and “airheads” tarnish the name of real women who respect themselves. Like having casual sex or multiple partners, cancels out your womanhood. Like only monogamous, alluring, supremely confident females have the right to call themselves women.

We’re so quick to dismiss, to turn our faces when confronted with women who don’t uphold the values of the great, real woman. And I say we because I’ve felt that desire to cut all ties, to say ‘that person saying stupid things does not represent me’. But what gives us the right to define womanhood when we can’t even define ourselves? What makes us think we can label anyone as fake, as less, as non-womanly .

That Real Woman who is poised and affectionate and “values herself too much to sleep around” isn’t real at all. She’s the person we’ve all been taught we should be. The fake idol that keeps us up at night and makes us feel ashamed when we laugh too loudly and snort, when we’ve had more than a socially acceptable number of sexual partners (whatever that means). She’s a body made of gossamer and lies that we’ve tried to make our truth only to find we don’t quite bend that way.

We can’t be her. And we complain about the ones who seem to have become here because who are they to achieve something better than ourselves. Because we can’t see how that isn’t necessarily better through the haze of our self-hatred. Then we turn up our noses at the rest because at least we’re trying and surely that makes us better. Even though we have nothing to define “better” by. And in the end we’re all screwed, hating ourselves and each other in a scramble to uphold ideas we’re not sure we should be believing in anyway.

So, we tell ourselves to be better. We tell ourselves that we’re all real. We stop calling women sluts. We develop strength of character and look for the best in people, rather than the worst. We persevere in our efforts and pinch ourselves every once in a while to make sure we’re not a dream…

 

Rangent: Rabble, Rabble, Hospital Conditions

I know I’ve been on a few rants lately, but bear with me.

Yesterday started out looking like every other day. I did some shopping, because that’s what you do when you have other things to do. To be honest, it was pretty efficient shopping, but that is neither here nor there. At some point in the afternoon we got a call from my elderly grandfather saying he thought he’d stepped on a nail, but he wasn’t sure. What he was, was afraid. My grandfather had a pretty major stroke a few years ago and, while he’s made a remarkable recovery, there was some brain damage. This means it takes him longer to understand things and small things can really scare him.

The wound wasn’t actually that bad, he was wearing shoes which shielded him from properly impaling himself, but just to be safe we took him to the hospital. We figured, a check up, then a tetanus shot, and that’d be it. Well, it wasn’t. Why? Because the hospital didn’t have any tetanus shots! We’ve been going from one pharmacy to the next looking for it and no one has it in stock.

I realize that it’s not like saying they didn’t have thread for stitches or pain medication, but to me it’s just part of the trend. State hospitals are under staffed, under prepared and usually over crowded. Not only that, but the doctors are overworked and tired, which makes it easier to make mistakes. It amazes me that so little attention and care is put into making sure that facilities run as they should and that the personnel is at it’s most proficient to treat patients.

This isn’t a particularly innovative or special rant. There’s nothing new being said here.  Moments like this just remind me of the kind of society and the kind of world we’re living in. Thankfully, my grandfather is fine. The wound wasn’t too deep and after we find the tetanus shot, he should be covered. Sleep deprivation may be playing a part in this rant, seeing as we got home in the wee morning. I should probably take a nap. Or something. Right? Something?

I promise we’ll return to your regularly scheduled and, (hopefully) more entertaining, programming tomorrow. Until then, keep your shots up to date. Stay safe, readers.

Rangent: Average (Joe)seph Smith

For today’s post I’d planned to talk about the origins of the Mormon religion and a bit about Joseph Smith’s life. I wanted to have a better understanding of where the religion came from while I read Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer. In case you’ve just joined us (Hello!), I’ve just made it to Utah and Krakauer’s book is my current read. However, I stumbled upon a very curious video which got me thinking. It showcased different people telling the story of how Joseph Smith came to be a prophet of God, as he is considered by those who follow the Mormon religion.

What struck me the most is how deeply connected these people felt to the founder of their religion, Joseph Smith. He wasn’t this far off concept of a person, but rather a flesh and bone human being who remained tangible, unlike the prophets from other religions. One after the other, the people in this video spoke about how they identified with his search for the truth, the need to know what was real and what wasn’t.

It’s interesting to me that the reason they connect with him is everything that makes him human, when that is also one of the biggest reasons that people criticize the religion and it’s founder. The Mormon  religion is based on a man who spoke to God and was given access to religious scriptures, along with the ability to translate them into English. There was no way to corroborate whether anything he said was the truth, I think there’s something very human in that, but human in a flawed way. Those who are skeptical criticize that very human tendency to lie and cheat in order to achieve what we want, but those who believe in Joseph Smith and his religion exalt that human quality of the every day man, the average guy.

Prophets from other religions are virtually unrelatable because they’ve ceased to be people to become tropes in a story. There is a fairly clear history of who Joseph Smith was, which gives people the opportunity to relate in terms of ideology, but also on simpler things like having lived in the same area, for example.In a way, I think the figure of Joseph Smith is appealing for so many people because it implies that everyone can have a direct connection to God if they are humble and honest enough. It seems like a much easier lifestyle to strive for, but, then again, I don’t know much. Yet.

Join me as I keep learning! Until next time, readers.

Rant + Tangent = Rangent

Happy Sunday, everyone!

I’ve been thinking a lot about people and relationships, trying to figure out a way to tie it in with the book I’m currently reading. I realized though, that the beauty of a blog is being able to share your thoughts without someone dictating what or how you write. To that extent, I’ve decided to go on a rangent, a cross between a rant and a tangent! =P

Life is about expectations. Our parents expect us to be successful and give them grandkids, we expect our friends to be honest with us, we have have expectations from people we haven’t even met. Tangled up with expectation is having faith in people, being hopeful for the future, and being optimistic about life in general. The flip side is that these expectations can be crippling for those on the receiving end; it can be a lot of pressure to live up to someone else’s ideal.

Relationships, of any kind, are full of expectations – loyalty, honesty, solidarity, monogamy, children. We fall for people and assume they will have the same notions we do when it comes to things like family and amount of partners, because we expect them to follow the norm even when we desperately hope they’re exceptional. Sometimes people freak out when you mention children early on or when you suggest the idea of having multiple partners. I understand that monogamy works for some people, but it doesn’t work for everyone and condemning it just because it breaks from an established pattern of dating is limiting.

I, for one, believe it’s possible to love someone, while still being involved with and loving other partners. I know it sounds like a hippy thing to say, but it’s possible to have more than one meaningful relationship at once. Most people don’t see it that way though, and they tend to freak out if you mention anything serious or having to do emotions before an allotted amount of time has passed. It’s like we’re all programmed with a timeline of when it’s acceptable to share your feelings without being considered crazy. To me though, that just means that you spend more time worrying about when you feel things, than actually enjoying the feeling. I’d rather enjoy it when it’s there and remember it fondly when it’s not. Still sounding like a hippy, I know.

We expect people to play it cool, to play their cards close to their chest (is that how that saying goes?), but then we’re all wondering what this or that comment means, why the other person did or didn’t do something. Expectations can propel us to bigger and better things, within our relationships and outside of them too, but they can also be exhausting. I’m the type to put all my cards on the table, which might explain why I’m terrible at card games! Seriously though, I think being honest from the beginning about wanting a family or being terrified of children, the kind of relationships we’re looking for, being into Star Wars vs. Star Trek. It’s important to be on the same page and talking about it doesn’t have to mean you’re planning the wedding. It just means that if things actually do get serious you both know where you stand.

At least, that’s my opinion on it all. What do you think, readers? Monogamy or polygamy? Talking about it or waiting until it’s serious to discuss things? Let me know in the comments below!

I’m leaving tomorrow for a mini vacation and I’m not sure whether I’ll have internet access. So, I’m taking a little leave of absence from the blog and I’ll be back on Thursday, hopefully with pictures and stories about what I did!

Stay golden, readers. Until next time!