Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Where do You Get Your Power?

Today I was considering how I, and others, define ourselves. I have written before that I see myself as human first and female or woman several notches down in importance. Because society places so much importance on gender I am in a way forced to define myself as androgynous, while not inaccurate, I really just place very little importance on that part of me.

I was also considering why I place so little importance on it versus others. I think we define ourselves based on things that give us power and things that we fear. In other words the things that give us confidence and self esteem and those things that take it away. Many people derive a lot, or at least a significant amount of their self-esteem from their gender. Women feel confident when they look and feel feminine and can attract the opposite gender and impress other women. Men feel confident when they look and feel masculine, attract women and intimidate other men. I do not mean that I never dress in a manner to look feminine on purpose and to be attractive to the opposite sex. I just do it very rarely and not "for myself" (as their source of personal power) as many other women say. I dress feminine and attractive for my husband's benefit or because I am going to a place or function that expects it. I dress that way for others I just do not care. When we define ourselves, we give away in the things we do not care and try to stand firm in the things we do care about. I simply do not care about hair and clothes and go shopping maybe once or twice a year. I hate paying for hair cuts and usually shave it off. I am currently letting it grow because my mom pitched a fit about it.

Well, what is a big deal to me and what do I derive my strength from and my self-esteem. What do I do "for myself". I like to think I get it from my principles, my ability to stand up for myself and from portrayals of mental and physical strength. If I fail to stand up for my rights or the rights of others, even in the face of danger or humiliation my confidence gets shattered. I feel good about myself when I do the right thing. I feel confident and a few inches taller when I best some one in a display of physical prowess. I feel good when I work out really hard, and bad when I get tired soon and just can't perform my best. I do gain confidence from dressing in clothes that show off my physical hard work, but dressing too femininely makes me lose confidence and power because I get cat calls and no one acknowledges the things I like about myself. I hate the feeling that my looks maybe my best asset and the only way I can get compliments so sometimes compliments can make me feel worse about myself when all I get are comments on aspect of me I care little about. What about my toned arms? Do you know how much hard work it takes for a pear shaped woman to build any muscle there. Yeah, call me hot stuff one more time, objectify me and sexually proposition me and I will show you how hard I have worked on my right cross.

Where do you get your power? Is it from your gender? Your role as a parent? A spouse or being the best paralegal/secretary/firefighter/human cannon ball? When you fail in those areas do you feel like a weak shell of yourself for a while until you can prove yourself again?

Friday, September 24, 2010


The concept of women bullying women and girls bullying girls has been an interesting one for me because I have been bullied a lot during my life for various reasons and I admit often have inadvertently bullied others as well. The reason anyone gets bullied in general is that they are different, isolated and perceived as weak. Then the victim does something that goes against the, usually, unspoken rules of the group and they get descended on.

I was always particularly vulnerable to being bullied due to my absolute obliviousness of non-verbal communication. In other words, I am not a mind reader. Why do all you women think that I am? I can not fit in because I cannot perceive the groups reaction to what I do. This is combined with my uncool interests and abrasive sense of humor.

One reason for being bullied in a group of women is jealousy. I can not claim that is the reason I was bullied most often, in fact I cannot remember any times that that was the case. I did read a Dear Prudence chat transcript on slate.com that talked of a classic case of being bullied due to jealousy. I can not believe that neither Prudence or other chatters picked up on this. An American woman living in Switzerland was the only woman in her office not on a diet because she did not feel like she had to be. She felt like she ate healthy and exercised and was not over weight so there was no logical reason to deprive herself. Her female coworkers implied that she was a cow and as an American did not know how to eat healthy. They also said that her eating habits were responsible for hunger in third world countries. You might say, that sounds unbalanced, well that tends to happen when you are hungry, it makes you a bitch. Prudence and the other commenter kept blaming it on her being an American but she was not being made fun of because she was an American, that just made her different, isolated and vulnerable. She was being made fun of because the women were jealous that she could have the piece of zucchini bread with out guilt or excuses.

It is a classic tactic of female bullying to never keep on topic, even when you have a specific agenda. They were not going to say " Confirm and starve like the rest of us. Quit rubbing our faces in your mastication." Saying it directly and working out your differences like grown ups is just not feminine.

One time I became very much a target of 100% untargeted bullying for a righteous cause. When I was in college my joking and lack of ability to read non-verbal cues and general obliviousness had once again made me an unintentional bully. I had been making some hurtful remarks at a very nice over weight fellow on my dorm floor. I now deeply regret my oblivious callousness. One evening I was sitting around in one of the common areas with some of my floor mates, my unintentional victim was not there. Now let me let you in on a pertinent secret, this will be just between us, no spreading it, okay? I do not shave my legs by choice, and yes my husband is fine with it. One girl remarked to another girl that she wanted to braid her hair sometime. Another girl turned tome and out of the blue said to me "Skeptigirl, I could braid your leg hair for you sometime." The comment made a silence fall. It was awkward, I had no idea why she had said that. There was no provocation in my leg hair. I had said nothing and sat silently. It did not really hurt my feelings because I had no problem with my leg hair, I really did not care what she thought about me and no one else joined in. He righteous attack had absolutely failed to hit its target. I only in hindsight figured it out when someone actually got the ovaries to talk to me about it woman to woman instead of sending me psychic waves. Of course the bullying could have been for no reason at all and maybe the girl was just a raving bitch, I don't know, I have no psychic powers to discern motive.

I usually avoid spending time with women because of our social discrepancies and maybe this has been one of the reasons I have adopted a more androgynous manner. I do not feel like I belong into the female gender at all, neither do I feel male and I am very comfortable being who I am. So, if I ever inadvertently bully you, remember this post and get a pair and tell me directly or just remind yourself that I most likely have no idea I am doing something to offend you and try not to be too offended.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Heaven and Hell

I was just thinking about the concepts of Heaven and Hell and life after death. It is remarkable how differently people see it. I personally know people who believe in reincarnation, ghosts, Heaven, but not Hell. I also know Atheists that believe in no after life at all except in the one in the memories of our loved ones or in progeny. I also have a pagan friend who believes that if he lives a good and honorable life, he will go to Valhalla. I respect all their beliefs and believe they feel the same way about them as do I. I laugh at none of the concepts, except the ghost one, but I am working on that. As I have said before, you can not believe just because you want to just like you cannot stop believing just because you want to.

What do I believe? Well, I like to use the Bible as a general guide for all my beliefs, that and my own conscience. I believe in Heaven and Hell, but not exactly as western cultural tradition portrays them. The Bible describes Hell as a separation from God and Heaven as a connection with him and other believers that have passed on. The Bible also describes them as realms beyond out imagining, where our existence is nothing like Earth. It does say that Hell is a place of fire and brimstone but if it is a non-physical realm that means very little and must be a metaphor. It also says that we have spiritual bodies in Heaven, but what are spiritual bodies? I have no idea, I am sure they would be something nice. I also believe that up on entering Heaven we will know what God knows. You know,answer to life, the universe and everything, and I bet it will not be 42.

Some people do not believe in Hell on the philosophical principle that it is unfair and that a loving God would never punish anyone. Well, I think the opposite, it would be unfair for God to force someone who wanted nothing to do with Him in life be be with constant communion in the here after. I think this would be a good time to answer the question of: Do I think Hell is a place of suffering? Yes, I don't know, maybe. Is the short answer. The long answer would be: Yes, it would be suffering for me to be separated from the presence of God forever. I don't know if it would be suffering for those who never knew him and since I do not know the extend which you can have contact with others sent to Hell, I guess it could be suffering for others too.

Now lets talk about the elephant on the page, well Elephant if you are an Evangelical Christian or someone who reads the Bible. Revelations. I believe that it has a really detailed account of how heaven looks with gold and gems and God being the source of light or something. I have read Revelations, it makes no sense to me and Bible scholars debated strongly weather it should be included in the Bible. Is it legitimately inspired by God or just the hallucinations of a man? I do not know, not until I go to Heaven and get all the answers. I have had no special revelation on Revelations from God. It just does not fit in with the rest of new testament and makes precious little sense to me. I honestly do not care what overly elaborate metaphorical, ope to interpretation way the world as we know it will come to an end. Even if it is legitimate it does next to no good in the way I live my life. It is a fear mongering book the skews the way people live their life. It (or rather its popular interpretation) makes people think they will be raptured any moment or it males them waste time looking for the signs of the end times which have been here since the resurrection because we have been living in the "end times" since then. Well, my views on Revelations would best be explored in another post.

I think there is a Heaven and a Hell. I also think that the boundaries between Heaven and Hell and the world of living are immutable so, sorry, I do not believe in ghosts. Neither do I believe that we linger in the world of the living after death. As soon as the brain dies, we are off to Heaven, or Hell and no turning back. That is what I believe about this. You are welcome to share what you think.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Moving is Closer

So our move is getting closer, a little more than a month away sometime at the end of November. Still no exact date, no passports, no place to live, no plane tickets. Nothing is certain but that we are going. Our lease will run out in a month, we will give notice in a few days and our rats have a new home where they will be moving to in a few weeks. I will really miss hose little girls, even the anti-social sisters Phoebe and Artemis. More and more stuff is being sold. We are asking for a room to rent from friends for a week, maybe two, after our lease runs out, if not it is a seedy motel for us, we really need to save money. I feel fine, a little stressed out because all the real work is ahead of me all at once. When the passports come I have to secure plane tickets, and an apartment. The apartment securing is pretty complicated when you are doing it from another country. I have to do all of that really quickly and there is very little I can do now to make that go smoother when the time comes other than to pay attention to when the passports ship and keep tabs on flights and apartments, in other words nothing to do but wait. This sucks.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Decisions And Klingons at the End

The way I make decisions works for me. There is nothing wrong with the process really but I think it seems that way to other people because I announce my progress, instead of just my decisions. I think some people, including my husband see me a flighty, obsessive but unable to go through with anything. I usually think about something and start to think it is a good idea and start researching it. As I research it, super obsessively, it is all I can think about. It is all I talk about, praising its virtues and how it would be great for me, worrying about possible detriments, I even explain how I would attain it. I have after all thought of everything as I have researched it, well almost everything and will look those things up just as soon as I can. As I research, ponder and make plans I feel decided, but am not really. I am not implementing any concrete plans I am just gathering information and making said plans.

The problem in recent years has been that I have no opportunity to implement any plans. I have thought, researched, fantasized and talked until I get bored because I can not move past this and move on to some other obsession that lasts a day, week, month or more. You can see examples of this on this blog here. I announced I was going to join the U.S. Navy. I was 100% sure I would do it. You know, after I was able to. After I became legal and could. I would resign myself to become a U.S. citizen, not in a bad way but in the Biblical way that tells us to practice the good of what ever country we dwell in.

Then, circumstances happened. My husband was already out of work and we were trying to get me a green card. No work came my husband's way. Green card getting was its usual slow self. I was progressing and getting fairly close to getting it done. Still my ability to fulfill my plan, joining the U.S. Navy, was years away. The economy was getting worse, less and less job prospect for my husband on the horizon. Unemployment is nearing it's end and so is our lease as is my youth. So we made a new plan. Dump it in a pile with the old ones and say nothing will happen, I would not blame you, but it is not speculation. We are implementing it. We are taking steps we cannot untake.

We are moving back to Finland for a better life. Ah, Finland, the land of opportunity, flowing with education and health care. Majestic waves of recovering economy rippling across it, more job opportunities than Wichita Kansas. Best country in the world according to a Newsweek article http://www.newsweek.com/photo/2010/08/15/best-countries-in-the-world.html

More than that, it is home and will allow me to work with out a visa and will get my husband a work permit in about six months and a good health care to boot with fraction of the cost of the United States. It is not perfect but compared with the present state of the USA it seems darn near Utopian.

Well, that is where we are going. I haven't posted in a while due to the loss of the late nights I spent alone on the computer because I have to wake up earlier to get my son to school, well tomorrow he has no school so tonight I blog like a warrior, KAPLAH! Your comments would bring honor to my house.