Hooray for Vaca!

key west

 

Todd’s parents are coming to visit next week during my spring break. This is exciting in and of itself. What is even more exciting though is that when Todd’s mom called to let us know they were coming she also announced that they want to go to the Keys while they are in Florida this time.

With that Todd and I started the research for a hotel within the parameters his parents gave us. They want to stay on Key West and gave us their portion of the budget for the hotel. We booked everything last month and I have been counting down the days since.

Now personally I have never had a real interest in the Keys. I don’t know why really but the thought of a vacation right is so welcome I would go just about anywhere other than here and be happy. As I have said this semester has been rough and I am so excited to just be out of town and turn my brain off for a few days.

The rental we reserved seems nice. It is two story and has a master suite on each floor which will be so nice because we will be together but still have our own private space. Our master suite has a soaker bath tub I am also super excited about. The one thing I really wish I had on our honeymoon was a bath tub. After all the walking we did I wanted to be able to just relax and soak at the end of the day ans was not able to. I may not even use it but I like knowing it is there if I want it. We also have our own private balcony that looks out over the west coast of Florida which will be nice for sunsets because it is my understanding that the beach is pretty much nonexistent down there.

What I am really looking forward to the most is just being somewhere different and getting to walk around holding Todd’s hand and explore. I am not looking for any real excitement just a change of scenery and a hand to hold.

I just have to get through the rest of this week and a few appointments I scheduled for myself over spring break and I will be able to switch into I-don’t-care-I-am-on-vacation mode.

Facing What Scares Me

I mentioned a while back that this semester the school of social work will be taking a field trip of sorts to Tallahassee to advocate for social issues. I have been looking forward to this sense learning about it when I entered into the program. March is Social Work month so that is when this event takes place and as the days grow nearer I feel my anxiety starting to grow.

I am excited about being there and the rally we will have as a school. I am excited about experiencing this with so many of my classmates. My anxiety stems from a fear I have of meeting in person with some of the legislatures or their aids to discuss one on one the issues I am passionate about. We do not have to schedule meetings, we can sit on committees or just walk around the capitol and observe the goings on. All of that is more my speed honesty. When put in new, unfamiliar surroundings I usually prefer to hang back and silently observe before engaging, I need an adjustment period. I need to get a feel for what is happening around me. The idea of getting up there and this all being new and exciting and me possibly feeling completely overstimulated and then walking into a meeting and trying to articulate a cohesive thought. I don’t know..

I would not even consider it if there were not causes I am personally passionate about, but there are. I would like to discuss HB511 and HB583. One concerns palliative care which is right in my wheel house. Some of my main areas of interest are end-of-life issues, terminal illness, palliative care and my big one, physician assisted suicide. The other bill has to do with prohibiting equal access to public facilities. It is offensive and completely discriminatory.

I am meeting with one of my professors this week to discuss my concerns about scheduling a meeting with representatives. This professor likes to push me, I know she sees a potential I have not realized so I do my best to follow her lead. She has already encouraged me to do this so I am hoping she can talk me through the process so I have a better idea of what to expect and will warm up to the idea.

I am not going to be disappointed in myself if I choose not to schedule any meetings and instead spend this first time in an observing role. I don’t want to force what does not feel right to me. I would like to challenge myself though. I think it would feel very rewarding to step outside of my comfort zone and put myself out there in a way I normally wouldn’t. I have still have a few weeks to decide ad I plan to use the time thoughtfully.

 

Feminist is NOT a Bad Word

fem

 

I grew up in a Catholic republican household. I know, for better or worse, I had a sheltered upbringing. With that being said, I do not ever remember hearing about feminism growing up but somehow in my subconscious there was this idea embedded that all feminists were bra-burning-radical-hippies. That idea didn’t come from no where, ya know? I am not blaming my parents in whole because society plays a huge role in that I am sure but I think my parents probably did have something to do with it.

So as you can imagine I have never wanted to associate myself with the feminist movement because I don’t consider myself that radical. Well you know what I realized, I am. If believing that all people should have equal access to pubic facilities (read more about HB 583), or that women should be able to wear whatever they want without being shamed, or that our society is fundamentally broken, makes me radical well then I guess that is just something I will have to live with.

I think I have always been afraid to identify as a feminist because I thought there was something bad or wrong about it. Although recently as I have been working through my feelings on this subject I came to realize I have always been a feminist. Even as a child I was stubborn and willful and unwilling to be controlled.

I remember things from my childhood now that help me own this part of my identity. Like when I watched The Sound of Music for the first time and fell in love with Maria because she was unwavering and stood up to the scary patriarch of the family. She knew who she was and what she stood for and no bully was going to silence her.

I remember watching a commercial for some dumb thing and thinking (as a child) the marketing was ridiculous. I remember asking my mother, “Why won’t they just be honest?” I remember she had no idea what I was talking about at the time because I was too young to express this complex thought eloquently but all I meant was if the product was any good they wouldn’t have to cover it up with all of this other flashy stuff to get you to buy it. I wanted companies to be direct with no frills, I learned in time that is now how it works.

While I have been working this out I have been doing a lot of thinking and a lot of reading and one thing I read really resonated with me. Maya Angelou was quoted saying “I am a feminist. I have been a female for a long time now. It’d be stupid not to be on my own side.” Um Yeah. It would be. Completely stupid in fact. Being a feminist, for me at least, is not just about equality for females, it is about equality across the board. It has to be, otherwise none of this means anything in my opinion.

Getting to this place where I can accept and embrace this, feminism, as a key part of my identity has been difficult and has been a long time coming. It is right up there with finally being able to own that I am an atheist. It is not easy to push through the ideals you were raised with into who you actually are and what you truly believe in. I would say I am a fledgling feminist because I have a pretty good foundation and good intentions but good intentions are dangerous without a better understanding of the issues. I am getting there though, this is big part of the growth I am experiencing right now and it is exciting.

Reformed Grammar Snob

love over hate

 

I have loved words and reading and writing and anything literary in nature since I was old enough to pick up Go Dog Go and read it to myself. Books and writing have always been a sanctuary for me, a place where I can block out all the noise of the world and get lost. It is peaceful in this place, I feel calm and in control. So it should come as no surprise understanding these deep love I have with reading and written word that I have always been a bit of a grammar Nazi. Actually Nazi is probably a little strong, in truth I have never been perfect with punctuation and word usage. For example, I am one of those people who have always had trouble with when to use effect versus affect. I have to look it up every time and even then sometimes I get it wrong.

So Nazi is definitely a little too strong but I was a snob for sure. In fact one of my biggest pet peeves in life has always been when people use double negatives. You know that cringing feeling you get when someone runs their nails on a chalk board, I bet you flinched even at the mere mention of the sound, well that is how I have always felt about double negatives. I have always been critical of other people’s vocabulary, or lack thereof in my opinion, and grammar etc. Because English has always been an area I excel and am naturally comfortable with I used this as leverage to look down on others. It was an area where I could be superior.

WTF?! That is all I can say now. I shit you not, this is exactly how I felt about it and I never gave any thought to how much of an ass that makes me. Well this is me recognizing my former assness and doing my best to correct said assness.

I subscribe to a feminist magazine online that has amazing articles about everyday microagressions, feminist issues, equality issues, how to be more self-aware and an overall better human being. Last Sunday I woke up early and stayed in bed for a while reading. That is when I stumbled across, what ended up being for me, a life changing article. I am not going to restate the entire article, you can read it in its entirety HERE.

Suffice to say it was a huge slap in the face that was apparently a LONG time coming. I see now that I have always held onto ideals of prescriptive grammar silently judging those who use slang etc.

Well that’s enough of that. I see how counterproductive and elitist that type of behavior is now and refuse to take part. So thankful for that much-needed kick in the ass.

Living in the Uncomfortable Place

growth

This semester has been the most difficult for me thus far. It is not specifically the semester that has been challenging, it is just this moment in time, is that makes sense. The issues I have been struggling with have been building slowing over time and recently it came to a point where I could no longer ignore what I was feeling. I had to take sometime, withdraw and focus on these feelings.

In doing this I set my blog to private for a while. I flirted with the idea of deleting it all together because I was not sure if I could be authentic going forward and that has always been my purpose, if that was no longer possible this blog serves no purpose. I hesitated though and I am glad I did because this place has been therapeutic in way over the years as I have been on this journey and I think it will continue to be now that I have a few things figured out.

I have definitely experienced some major growth in a short period of time, a lot of it is thanks to the social work program. I am excited about this but it also means I have been in this really uncomfortable transition place for a while. That is what growth is though sometimes, painful and awkward but incredibly satisfying once you make it to the other side. To be clear, I am not on the other side yet, I am living in this place of awkward discomfort and doing my best to embrace it and process everything.

Another aspect of my withdraw has been with family. This is where I felt concern about my ability to be authentic so I am going to try this on and see how it fits. I have felt a bit disconnected from my family for a while now. There are multiple reasons for this and it has been gradually building. My concern about being able to be authentic with this is that I do not know how comfortable I feel discussing my family issues on here. I am always reminding myself that I have to own everything I put out here for people to read and that is hard when it is something so personal.

Here is where I landed with my feelings on sharing this; I recognize that it is completely up to me what I choose to share here and what I don’t. This is my experience and I don’t owe anyone anything. This is something I need to process though and this blog has been a place for me to do just that over the years. I think it will be baby steps but there will undoubtedly be some personal posts coming out in the near future.

With that being said, for anyone that has been following my blog from the beginning (THANK YOU) you may notice some changes as I figure myself out. I do not know yet what this changes will look like yet but I feel a need to bring this blog up to date for where I am now instead staying in the place I was when I started it.