Me-ness, and the adult fallacy

Do you ever have one of those moments where, through the fog of stress and anxiety and frustration, you have a moment of clarity? A moment when you are so grateful for being yourself as opposed to someone else you just start crying? It’s such intense relief that you don’t know if you’re happy or sad. You can’t tell if it’s good or bad, and you don’t know what to do with the feeling. There’s nothing left but to be intoxicated by your own essence. And then, once the feeling passes, you go back to the stress. There is no respite, just more dealing with people.

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be an adult, and whether or not I can do it. Every so often, far more frequently than I would like, I end up in situations where I am cast suddenly into that relief of being myself. For a variety of different reasons that I won’t get into here I have recently found it necessary to put on my grown up face more often than not. Even my own bedroom isn’t safe from adulthood. I’ve had more conversations that required maturity, forethought, and responsibility in that room than anywhere else. Not the fun relationship conversations about future children and new living arrangements, not even conversations with my wonderful fiancé. No, the outside world is increasingly invading my personal space and childish ways.

Emails and Facebook messenger are ruining my immaturity. Maybe I should stop responding to things that are toxic to me in my bedroom, so that at least it can be a safe haven. Maybe someday I will have a communication blackout when I’m in there. But for now, I’m overwhelmed by the amount of things I have to think and talk about, and the only place I can relax fully is my room. This means that often I sit in bed and respond to stressors. I know, I know, that is NOT good. I’ll work on it, I promise. Maybe realizing that is a sign I’m a grown up. I know my mother would say so.

I hate how often that woman is right.

I always used to think that being an adult meant that I would know things and be sure of myself and not worry. Whenever I say that in my mother’s earshot she laughs at me. I used to think that being an adult meant remembering to do laundry before you run out of clean underwear, and always remembering to brush your teeth. Clearly, I would tell myself, because I’m terrible with the former and not super great at the latter, I couldn’t POSSIBLY be an adult. According to many people I think of as grown ups, however, this inability to consistently have clean underwear and teeth is a common problem. That alone makes me question much of my childhood. Anyway.

Being an adult sucks. There is no magic point where you pass from child to grown up. You just slowly start to have to do things to make sure you don’t die, don’t smell, don’t freeze. And you have to talk to people you dislike, and work with them, and not be passive aggressive toward them. Instead of saying “Look here, jerkface, you’re wrong. You’re being manipulative and whiney. You’re expecting us to bend over backwards for your paltry needs. Screw you and the ass you rode in on. No, I didn’t call you an ass, do you seriously not realize that that’s another word for donkey? So dumb,” you have to be polite and civil.

Apparently, being an adult doesn’t mean you have all the answers. It just means you know enough to realize that throwing a temper tantrum and yelling at people who deserve it won’t be productive as you want it to be, even if it is satisfying.

So tonight I am grateful. I’m grateful that I’m not a whiney dipshit who thinks the world revolves around them. I’m grateful that I can be reasonable, and that my sense of self worth has nothing to do with the people around me. I don’t need to tear other people down in order to feel happy and successful, and I can (usually) stop people around me from being that unkind to others. And to get what I want I don’t have to lie or manipulate.

Thank goodness for maturity. Thank goodness for self respect.

But adulthood can take a flying leap.

 

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Remember me? A new year with a continuing me

Oh my goodness, where to start.

Hey guys, if you’re out there. I’m not dead. In fact, I’m very much the opposite. It’s been an absolutely insane few months though, and at points in there I felt like I was drowning.

Grad school is hard, man. No, I’m not surprised by that, but it’s staggering how much energy it takes. But, here I am on the other side of the semester, grades in hand, and another three weeks of vacation before the new semester starts.

And I already have a to-do list for the new semester, on top of my lists for life. Oh, and wedding planning? Apparently I need to do that too. Hah.

Excuse me while I go panic in a box somewhere. Maybe I’ll run away with the Doctor and save the universe instead. That would be less stressful than life these days.

While I was gone from this here blog thing so many things happened. I continued fife and drum, kept up teaching the munchkins (sort of, that tapered off there), went to school, celebrated my roommate’s birthday, celebrated my Dad’s birthday, dealt with every day relationship stuff while the lovely fiancé worked full time and also went to school….

**He’s my hero. He works so hard, doesn’t complain about it, and gets basically no sleep. I admire him so much.**

Anyway, lots of stuff went on. And now it’s a new year! I’m so excited for 2016, I can’t wait to see how it tops 2015. And, let’s face it, 2015 was a pretty epic year for me.

I learned how to say no and change my mind, despite pressure to stay the course. I went on tour with MCV, and connected more with reenacting as a hobby. I started a new grad school program, I freaking got engaged! I feel more a person as a whole than I ever have. I’m more sure of myself, my opinions, and my direction than I ever have been.

So, for 2016, I’m actually making 1 resolution: make goals for myself.

Yes, my resolution – a type of goal – is to make goals.

I’ve never been one for making goals, and when I do I swiftly drop them. I don’t follow through, or find a better way of achieving what I want (or I decide what I wanted doesn’t actually matter and settle for laziness). This time is different. I’m going to create goals that allow me to grow and enjoy myself as a person. For accountability’s sake I’m going to post them here, so that at least I can look back and see how things go.

So, in no particular order: Beff’s goals for 2016

  1. I am going to follow the Tone It Up New Year’s challenge. I’m going to devote the next 8 weeks to working out and clean eating. I’m going to nourish myself with sweat and veggies, and maybe even lose the weight I’ve put on since beginning the whole grad school fiasco 1.5 years ago
  2. I am going to read more. I used to read all the time, but as school has become more demanding I have read less. By the end of high school I hadn’t read a book for fun, start to finish, for over a year. But I love reading. I love how I can lose myself in different sorts of stories. So this year I am going to read at least 20 books for fun.
  3. I am going to keep my living space tidier. For my fiancé’s sake and my own, we need more organization and space in our room. I can learn to better do my part and put my stuff away!
  4. I will write blog posts more frequently. While writing a blog is not integral to any of the things I do in my life right now, I do enjoy having an outlet. I missed writing these last four months! Why should I neglect to keep up with something I enjoy??
  5. I am going to actually complete my master’s degree.

SO here I am. 2016 is going to be a great year!!

Hey friends….

I woke up today really grumpy. Why? I didn’t get a lot of sleep for the second night in a row. My body is attempting betrayal, and I’m not taking kindly to it. Thank goodness for a fiancé who doesn’t mind being woken at 3am for a hug.

Anyway, sleep deprivation aside, it’s been a while since I posted here. It’s not for lack of topics. I have a lot of thoughts every day. Just ask the fiancé – every day when he gets home from work I have a new tirade. Really the problem is I have too many thoughts, too many ideas for posts, and too many feelings to adequately express myself in a coherent manner. If I post something controversial I want to at least discuss it in a coherent, conscientious, and considerate way. I feel very strongly that people should engage in healthy debate. How else could anyone understand another’s point of view? And healthy debate is impossible without respect for opinions other than your own. I have been afraid that I can’t express myself properly so, instead of writing something inflammatory that I don’t mean…

Let’s talk about this instead.


Yup. I cut my hair. It’s all gone. It’s pretty great actually. I am still getting used to it, but gosh I can’t sing this cut’s praises enough! I feel free. Absolutely free!

Why did I cut my hair? Well, I’ve been eyeing a number of beautiful pixies on several celebrities. I was jealous. I was green with envy. I felt trapped by my hair, bogged down and suffocated by it. I couldn’t shower in under 10 minutes simply for dealing with the amount of hair I was shedding. I couldn’t sleep because I had to find a way to pile my hair on my head to keep it out of my face. I’ve had longer hair than before this chop but for some reason this summer it was too much. So away it went.

I regret nothing.

I was worried that I wouldn’t feel pretty, that I would look chubby in the face (why was that what I was worried about?!?!?!), that it would be difficult to manage. But, as it turns out, not only do I feel pretty and not chubby in the face at all…
 I feel pretty effing confident and badass. And this is the easiest hair to style. Ever. No blow dryer, no curling wand, no pins and clips and hair spray. Just leave in conditioner with a little hold to it. Comb, run my hands through my hair, and bam. Hair is styled, Beth looks like a person, off we go with our wonderfully present cheek bones we never knew we had.

I even look like, dare I say it…. a grown up. New hairdo, new Beth, just in time to start school.

Look out world, it’s go time.

Yup

Patriotism

Patriotism is complicated.

Some people seem to think that being a patriot means you follow blindly. You support your country without question, you show no discontent or criticism, and you soldier on. A united front of sheep.

I disagree with this view. How can you truly love something, be it a person or country, if you can’t see it’s faults? How can you claim to be proud of your country if you refuse to constantly improve it? The most important part of patriotism is seeing when something is wrong. Seeing when something needs to be fixed. One must be willing to admit failure or fault in order to truly love something. Blind following helps no one.

I’m re-watching “The Newsroom”, an HBO masterpiece, and it has one of my favorite opening scenes ever (see it here). It makes me think about all the things I wish were different about America, and all the ways in which our government is set up to allow us to fix it when it needs a tune up. You wouldn’t refuse to take your car to the shop if it stopped working properly because you love it… You would bring it for a tune up, make sure it’s all working, and replace the radiator. Countries should work the same way.

Patriotism is hard.

Patriotism is complicated.

Outrage

I want to take a moment to express my outrage that many people didn’t believe the women who came forward about Bill Cosby until he said things that implied he did, in fact, rape those women.

I want to take a moment to express my outrage that the instant Caitlyn Jenner appeared on the front of a magazine, the media instantly switched into the rhetoric always used on women. She’s not in her twenties, and she appeared in a pretty one-piece/corset-y thing. Oh the horror. Oh I forgot, she also has a few wrinkles and wasn’t 100% airbrushed. How dare she appear her age and also look fab.

I want to take a moment to express my outrage that I have to, after trying to express these feelings myself, get my fiancé to stand up for me sometimes… because my voice just isn’t enough. Thank goodness he listens. Thank goodness he doesn’t speak for me unless I ask him to.

I want to take a moment to express my outrage that marines were killed last week, on U.S. soil, and there is still no real implication that gun laws will change.

I want to take a moment to express my outrage that marines were killed last week by a man with a name in a different language, and that means he is clearly a bad guy in the media. If he had had an english name, I wonder how the media representation would be different. (Note: I have not done much research into this situation, so please take these words at face value and do not say that I am in support of murderers because I believe that everyone should be represented equally in the media.)

I want to take a moment to express my outrage that I had to write that note in my defense, because people these days are so quick to declare others anti-American, freedom haters, or extremists.

I want to express my outrage that relations between the U.S. and Cuba have changed, I believe for the better, and after so many years of no real diplomatic relations… no one seems to be paying attention to the fact that things just changed. I can find things in the news, on facebook, on twitter, about what celebrity wore what dress last weekend, but I have to actually look hard for a tidbit about Cuba. That’s backwards.

I want to express my outrage that, as a twenty-something woman, I get more well wishes because I am recently engaged than I did when I was accepted into graduate school. They are equally life-altering. They are in my eyes equally important. And as happy as I am to graciously and happily, with a big goofy smile, accept congratulations on my engagement… why is an impending marriage more important than the education required to create a career? Is my worth so very tied up in whether or not I am attached to someone? How might this congratulational (new word, made it up just now) imbalance be different if I were gay? Would my worth be tied up in my relationship status if I were permanently attaching myself to another woman?

I want to express my outrage that I have so much frustration. It’s exhausting. It’s like shouting at a piece of concrete. It’s like trying to mold water. It feels like no matter how many people try and change things for the better, they never change.

They will change some day. I hope I live to see it.

Being a grown up

Growing up is weird.

When you’re little your parents clearly know everything. They’re never scared, they have all the answers, and know how to untie those knots you accidentally made in you shoe laces. When you have a nightmare, Dad gets next to you in bed and rubs your back until you fall back asleep. When you’re sick Mum stays up with you while you’re crying because your ear hurts. They are the end all be all of the world.

Then you get a little older. You realize that sometimes when Mum gets angry it’s really because she’s sad and scared. You realize that Dad doesn’t actually know everything, because he helped you get the wrong answer on your homework. Despite these imperfections, they are still incredible to you. You know that they still can take care of you.

And then you’ve graduated college, you don’t live with them anymore, and you have your own experiences and content knowledge. You can see them age, them and your grandparents, and you can help them with things that you never dreamed of. You can be a productive part of conversations, even providing answers for them. And all the while you can’t figure out why it all feels so weird. Something feels off. And then you realize…

It’s because suddenly they’re not the magical heroes they used to be. You’ve figured out the secret to adulthood, the secret they kept from you as long as they could: being a grown up doesn’t mean you’re never scared and know everything. It actually means being scared and not knowing a lot, but carrying on anyway.

Being a grown up is overrated.

I’m back!

Hello world. I’m back.

We came back from Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Wednesday. After two weeks of rehearsals, performing, and ogling the Paris Police Gymnastics Team… I’m just ready to be home. I wouldn’t trade the experiences I had over the last couple weeks for the world, but gosh being away from home just for a two week vacation is hard. Being away from home for two weeks to be in a show is a million times harder.

I’m not really sure what to say about what happened during our time in Halifax. It was fabulous, it was long, it was hard. There were tears, and laughter, and sunshine, and rain. We went on adventures, we climbed very steep hills, we put our feet in the freezing cold harbor. We looked out over the city on top of the Citadel, we ate in pubs, we danced, and we gave our show everything we had.

Oh, and Adam and I got engaged!!!!!

So really, it was a great trip. Now we are home, I’m nursing the ends of a sleep-deprivation cold, and have to catch up on real life. The to-do list includes finishing unpacking, cleaning the apartment, and finding myself a place volunteering at a museum. But, for now, here are some pictures from our trip!!!

While we were away the Supreme Court ruled marriage bans unconstitutional!

My first very pretty design on a latte…. and it’s even just from Starbucks!

Hanging with some friends watching other groups rehearse at the arena.

Every Sunday needs chocolate cake!

Selfies in full kit are, of course, necessary.

Adam falls asleep pretty much anywhere he can

The sister came to see us!

On top of the Citadel, she’s so pretty.

Sister turned into the paparazzi when we told her we were engaged. Most of the pictures were iffy, but I just love this one at the top of the Citadel looking out over the world.

Mum came to see us too!!

The waves come in pretty hard on McNabs Island in Halifax Harbor.

Mum wanted a picture with Adam too.

My swollen and aching feet in the harbor. The water was so cold it was like icing!

A beautiful view off of McNabs Island!

What if I want to be a snowmobile pirate?

I’m not sure why the urge to write something always occurs for me right when I don’t have the time to follow through. It’s horribly inconvenient. For example, several nights in a row last week I woke up at 3am with random thoughts that I was dying to put up here. Clearly I didn’t indulge myself, which was probably wise since I can’t remember a single one of my earth shattering 3am discoveries. I probably just saved you all from irrelevant and incoherent chatterings. You’re welcome.

Lately I’ve felt pretty scattered. Everything is great in life, except for allergies. Allergies can go die in a very very very hot fire. I’m not impressed with them. But other than that, life is pretty great. Boyfriend and I are great, friends and I are great, there was wedding dress shopping (not for me. I’m not engaged. Duh. But it was fun just the same!)… But I feel without direction. I’m trying to embrace it, but some days I can’t help but wonder why I don’t know what I want to do. It’s not that I’m bored, it’s that I’m 25 and maybe what I want to be when I grow up is a snowmobile pirate. Who knows? But I will never know, because I never have and probably will never try being a snowmobile pirate.

And that kind of sucks.

A little over a year ago I hit up Paris and Barcelona with a good friend. She was trekking across the world, in the process of moving to New Zealand for a year. For funsies. Because she wanted to. I’ve always envied her that… She picked up and moved around the world because she wanted to, without a worry about friends and family back home. I have always wanted to try that, but I don’t want to leave my family and boyfriend behind. I would take at least the boy with me… but then it wouldn’t be my adventure, which I find problematic. So I settle for short trips to fun places, adventure-light I like to call it.

But being a snowmobile pirate could be pretty great….

ACLU

This week I got to go to the ACLU of Massachusetts (ACLUM) Bill of Rights dinner with my whole family and my grandparents. This was exciting for me on so many levels. First of all, I love fancy schmoozy dinners with cocktail hours. I love to dress up, I love wine, and I love chatting (which is surprising and not surprising simultaneously, for those of you who know me… I’m naturally shy and also an introvert, so go figure). The best part about chatting at these events is that I am there as a guest of my grandparents. My gramma loves to introduce her offspring to people, and it’s one of those times where I can see how much she loves us all and is proud of each of us. It’s sweet, and I love being able to put a good face forward for her to show.

Speaking of being trotted out by my grandparents, at one point during the cocktail hour (more like hour and a half!) I took Zayde to go sit down. He can’t stand for that long without pain, and he was starting to look like he was uncomfortable. I wasn’t about to let him sit in a corner by himself though, so I went and had a nice long talk with him. We rarely get to chat by ourselves for long, so it was really nice. I told him how I feel about cocktail hours, but I told him the funny version: “Hi! I’m Beth. I’m the oldest granddaughter. I’m starting grad school in the fall, I play the fife in a world traveling group, and here are my accomplishments all lined up in a row for you.”

Zayde spat water out he thought it was so funny.

Anyway, it was the ACLU dinner, which meant that dinner was scattered with speeches and cheering. Speeches made by those in the upper echelons of ACLUM, speeches made by those the ACLUM has represented… it was amazing. So many inspiring and uplifting stories. Stories where justice and equality won out. Stories full of empathy, fear, and hope.

Oh, and a speech given by the one and only George Takei.

I got to meet Sulu, but more importantly I got to hear him speak about the day his family was taken to a Japanese internment camp. I could hear the raw emotion in his voice, 74 years later. He spoke about why he is such a staunch supporter of the ACLU, referencing the moment in 1978 that the ACLU defended the American Nazi Party when they wanted to openly demonstrate in Skokie, IL… A town where at the time there were many Holocaust survivors living. He talked about how, the day he got the reminder to renew his ACLU membership, the news about Skokie had broken. He struggled with it, tried to figure out how an organization like the ACLU could possibly support people with such heinous and injudicious views as the Nazis. But, in the end, he realized that the ACLU did not support the Nazis… just their right to free speech.

Listening to Mr. Takei (he introduced himself to my family and myself as George, but I just can’t call him plain George. He’s far too incredible, he needs a more reverent prefix!) I kept thinking about how important it is that each and every one of us in the United States has a right to free speech, to practice our religions, to gather in public places. And you know what? It’s HARD to have those rights! You have to want to defend other people’s right to differing opinions if you want to have your own right to your own opinion.

I keep being reminded of the movie, The American President. In it President Shepherd makes a speech, and says “America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You’ve gotta want it bad, because it’s going to put up a fight.” And gosh darn it he’s right. Being an active citizen of the US is hard. Really hard. In order for us all to be equal, we all have to treat each other as equals. And as shown by the events of the past year (and all of our history) that is not always easy… sometimes we fail worse than others.

But dammit, it’s so worth it.