Category Archives: A little less shallow

Pity poem

Now, I don’t consider myself a poet, but sometimes I get poetic. This is one of those times. I received some difficult news this weekend. I might as well take advantage of my melancholy state to inspire creative expression, right? Words are so interesting.

Barely even likable.
Unlikely even bearable.
Eventually detestable.
Undeniably contemptible.

Inferior, apathetic,
Lethargic and pathetic.
Exception to exceptional.
Detached from the acceptable.

Unsuspecting and naive.
Undemanding to deceive.
Indisposed to intuition.
Predisposed to supposition.

On Feminism…I’m not worthy

So, I find myself in a peculiar position. Being an Academic Staff employee at UW-Green Bay, I’m at the periphery of academia. I operate in an office that expects real, tangible production work, but by nature of higher education have abundant opportunities for cerebral engagement.

I’m fortunate to have had strong, intellectual women welcome me into the folds of their knitting circles, lecture series and Facebook groups. So often, among those amazing, intelligent women, I’ve fancied myself the token stupid girl with superficial talents and concerns…such that I’ve never considered myself a feminist. I’m not sure if it’s by stereotype or by influence of the aforementioned women, I immediately associate feminism as something for intelligent, strong women. Since I only identify myself with one of the three, is feminism for me? Furthermore, is this notion of feminism accessible to those who aren’t women, don’t think they’re smart, and have low self-esteem? Can I prescribe to the advancement of the female half of society at my own comfort level with the faculties I’m gifted? Is it enough for me to be thankful that, as a woman, I can be a self-sufficient professional? Or is my weakness, in itself, counter to the movement?

In celebration of Women’s History Month, a nationally acclaimed scholar in gender studies, Dr. Anne Fausto-Sterling, is coming to UW-Green Bay. I will have the opportunity to not only converse with, but introduce, this gender studies rock-star and the first thought that comes to my mind is, “I am not worthy.”

Informal Discussion with Academic Staff <–please come…please?
(tomorrow) Thurs, March 8, 2012 at 10 a.m. in the 1965 Room, University Union

Other events include:
“How do Naked Newborns Become Boys or Girls?”
(tonight) at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 7, Rose Hall 250

International Women’s Day Luncheon keynote speaker
(tomorrow) at Noon, Thursday, March 8, University Union Alumni Room

P.S. I just found out I have the privilege of giving her a ride to campus tomorrow. My car is not worthy, either.

High (time for) Resolution

Oh yes. It’s just days until Christmas, and I feel I’ve sort of skipped the wind-up this year. I didn’t bake any cookies (aside from helping Mom) or hang any decorations. I bought the minimum for gifts and got someone else to do the wrapping for me! I only sent out cards if they were sent to me first. Like I said…minimal. I’m more excited for the New Year. And so, I’ve written some guidelines for my future self…they can be guidelines for you, too if they happen to lend a little inspiration.

  1. Be nicer. People are a gift. Respect them and find wonder in their amazing potential. Remember they’re just people trying to live their lives as best they can. Try not to take their behavior personally. They’ve likely got other concerns that impact what they do. Get over it. Don’t waste time or energy pouting. And for heaven’s sake, don’t drag your feet in some passive-aggressive vindictive response. Just do what you can to make your life and theirs easier. It will produce better results, in the end. I promise.
  2. Create. Be creative in your personal time. Draw, paint, take photos, write.  Remember how much you loved that? Do it again, it’s good for you and it makes you happy. (It would be good for you to post it to your blog, too. Remember how you aspire to keep your blog up to date? Nothing like killing 2 birds with one stone.)
  3. Be healthy. Eat healthy foods that you enjoy and delight in how good they make you feel. Take pleasure in an active lifestyle and revel in the emotional boost you get from the endorphins. You bought those nordic skis…get out and use them this year.
  4. Be organized. “Organization” is a colorful spectrum… Try to keep yourself out of the absolute-fire-hazard-pest-control-strange-smell rang of the continuum. Expect that there will be an ebb and flow as the forces of entropy and enthropy wage war in your physical and virtual space and time, but do what you can to actively reduce clutter. Purge the old and unused. Decide how you will use things and where you will put them before you take possession of them.
  5. Think. Play mind-building games and puzzles. Engage in philosophical conversations with friends. Think critically to try to help solve problems…both your own and in society. Be a part of the solution.

We each have an obligation to drive our own success. This includes setting up optimal conditions for favorable outcomes. These are the things on which I think I can improve in the coming year to really help make 2012 a success.

ID-ing Inhibiting Beliefs

So, I’ve been listening to a podcast called Inside Out Weightloss (IOWL) by Renee Stephens again.  The intention of IOWL is to address the emotional blocks that keep people from loosing weight and keeping it off. It looks for the source of the emotional reasons that people overeat, eat the wrong foods, and shy away from an active lifestyle, etc. And now is a perfect time to begin because Stephens has archived her series and is restarting from the beginning of the healing process.

I must include a warning that the podcast is extraordinarily fluffy and emotional. Renee speaks with intentional slowness. A less patient person might set the playback speed to 2x and still be annoyed at the slow pace. I find myself listening to it while doing menial chores. It’s whimsical and we’re asked to imagine a lot of things. A practical person, deeply seated in reality, might not be amused. I think it’s meditative and soothing.

Essentially, we’re finding our emotional hang-ups and reconciling them so we can move on to a fulfilling life. We’re identifying inhibiting beliefs and re-evaluating them. According to Renee, beliefs are like magnets…they draw supporting evidence to them, and repel dissenting evidence away, making them ever-stronger in our minds. These beliefs become self-fulfilling prophesies. The trick is to develop beliefs that help us to achieve our goals.

And so…the assignment from the podcast is to take a look at any inhibiting beliefs and systematically debunk them though a process of meditation. Inihibiting beliefs can be identified because they tend to include absolutes like “never,” “always,” “can’t,” etc. They can also be identified by thinking back on times when you feel a wave of negative emotion wash over you and in turn you act out in a binge, a depressive bout of lethargy, or even procrastination.

So here, I will document my inhibiting beliefs:

  1. I’m a bad decision maker.
    I am not an authority on what is likable, so anything I like or dislike doesn’t matter. Ouch.
  2. I am not capable of seeing complex projects through to completion.
    Of course this isn’t true…I’ve done a good job completing a number of complex projects. But I still think it. I was always the kid who turned in partially completed assignments. Now I find complex projects to be particularly daunting.
  3. I’m not all that smart.
    My reading comprehension sort of sucks. I can’t read a tome and absorb the knowledge in it. Glib remarks and fast retorts are beyond me. I would rather agree with someone else than develop my own opinion. Don’t even ask me to do math, or you’ll be waiting for a while.
  4. I am lazy.
    By evening, I have no energy for chores, bettering myself, or even finding something enjoyable to do. I’m not driven to push myself past my threshold unless an exterior force drives me to do it. I don’t make fast decisions. I daydream and lollygag. When I am productive, I’m slower than average.
  5. Food is guaranteed to make me happy.
    This is usually the one that sets off my food binges. It usually happens when I’m tired and am looking to be immediately entertained.
  6. I am not capable of organization.
    My life is a struggle against entropy and so often I lose. For every step forward, there’s two steps back and it’s so difficult to get ahead. I am a pack-rat. Purging is difficult for me. I’d prefer to keep it all, but have no system for keeping it and don’t really need it to begin with.
  7. I don’t deserve what I have.
    Anything I have and have done is bad because it’s mine. Any fortune I have is luck and there is someone else out there who is more deserving of it than me.
  8. I will only get in the way.
    I shouldn’t try to help because I don’t have anything to offer and I will probably only make it worse. This is one that prevents me from volunteering. Also makes it hard to host parties and be around other people in general. Especially large groups. Yeah, this one stings. Not sure what to do about this one, but I guess acknowledging it is the first step.

Holy crap, batman. With self-thoughts like that, who needs enemies? I would certainly never say that to anyone else…why is it okay for me to say it to myself? And logically, I can come up with examples of why these things aren’t true, but logic doesn’t seem to help in these emotional struggles. If a friend said these things to me about themselves, I would be supportive and find ways to guide him or her through it. I guess it’s time for me to try to do that for myself.

Oh God…I just killed a poor little bunny

I decided I’d go outside and plant my annuals and a few herbs in between the raindrops. I finished with the begonias and carried my herbs over to the small raised garden in the corner of the yard. As I approached, I noticed a commotion at my feet. A poor little cottontail rabbit—maybe just a couple months old—was flailing frantically on the ground, terrified at my approach. The poor thing couldn’t push itself upright—I think maybe its legs were broken—and so it just rolled and tumbled rapidly trying to flee. It tired quickly and laid still…panting…terrified at my proximity.

OMYGOD! The poor rabbit. I had to do something….if I hadn’t, it could have continued like that for maybe hours. I went inside to consult Brenda…asked her if I should drown it in a bucket. She suggested the shovel…and calling the neighbor. I didn’t want to trouble the neighbor. The shovel entered my mind on my way into the house—but I dismissed it, not an option. How would I hit it? The sharp way? Break it’s neck? Cut it’s head off?! Or the flat way? I called my parents on their cell as they’re headed out of town—my dad has a knack for killing things. Asked them how they thought I should proceed. Two votes for the shovel. A broad-side blow would do the job.

So I went out to the shed. My mind went blank, couldn’t remember the combination for the padlock. Had to go back inside to check where I had hidden the digits. I slowly entered the comb—the disk spinning coarsely against the corroded metal. The door, swollen with the moisture of the rain, required a tug before it relented and swung shakily open. I reached for the shovel…it looked small and I wondered if I could do it, but as I lifted it, I felt the heft of the implement in my hands and I knew it would require little momentum to complete the task at hand…it was my aim I had to worry about.

I looked across the yard to where I left the rabbit. Even at that distance, I could see he had commenced flopping again. I had to do this. I couldn’t let him continue like that. I walked across the yard. I took a few test swings. Good God, I didn’t want to miss. I told myself “Don’t miss, don’t miss, don’t miss…” as I raised the weight of the shovel over my head and brought it down with all the force I could muster. BAM! I missed. Hit the stupid landscaping log of the raised garden. I terrified the poor rabbit, again. I swung, again and again….I hit him three times, I think. It didn’t go as well as I had hoped. In the end, his scull was visibly crushed and his eyeball protruding.

I scooped him up with my instrument of death and put him in a paper bag…that I suppose I’ll put out to the road with next week’s garbage.

Sobbing, I finished planting my herbs in the rain. Dear lord, I’m just not cut out for killing bunnies.

Justice Pays a Visit

I just saw Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson speak on campus. She’s an excellent speaker. She touted programs to help people who commit crimes to prevent continued offenses.
It’s interesting. Nobody ever thinks to help the criminals, but it makes sense. Repeat offenders bog down the court systems, it costs way more to run a jail/prison than it does to run a rehabilitation facility…not to mention, keeps the community safer. It makes me wonder if perhaps we focus too much on punishment when we should be focusing on solutions.