Feminist

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So, Kaley Cuoco, from the Big Bang Theory, is not a feminist. I don’t know how I should feel about this. On one hand, I don’t really care about the thoughts of celebrities. On the other, I understand their influence and projecting such a thorough lack of understanding to the millions of people who like her and her tv show is upsetting. She says “I was never a feminist girl demanding equality, but maybe that’s because I’ve never really faced inequality.” I know you don’t need to pass any tests to be an actor but it’s just bad. I don’t need to be a woman to be a feminist. I have this thing called empathy. I also have this thing called theory of mind. Meaning I can sort of understand what other people think and how other people feel. So I don’t need to be punched in the face to realize being punched in the face sucks. I don’t need to be a mother to support mothers. I don’t need to be a cat to hate animal cruelty. For goodness sake.

She also said she likes to serve her man. Fine. You can love to serve your man and be a feminist. (Although serve is sort of a gross word, I get the point.) But therein lies the problem. This misunderstanding that if you want to have any “traditional” feminine characteristics, you can’t be a feminist. That’s not how it works. There are subsets of feminists just like there are subsets of everything else. You can be a republican but not a tea partier. You can be a feminist and not a lesbian! (GASP!) It is simply about equality. Same rights. Same respect. Same opportunities. To reach a future where girls don’t get weird looks in a science class. And aren’t made fun of for liking sports. And maybe be high ranking business people (if anyone wants that. eww). You don’t have to experience these things yourself to know that they go on. The whole point of feminism is to support people who have to live with these injustices. And to prevent any weird sexist accusations… you can be a feminist and a humanist. You can support women and men and black and white and American Indian and gay and straight and on and on and on.

So, there’s another rant that doesn’t do much of anything. But maybe I feel better for it.

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Feminist

No Words

Here’s a fun article of untranslatable words.

Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Catalog of Beautiful Untranslatable Words from Around the World

My favorite has always been backpfeifengesicht which is a German word that roughly translates to “a face deserving of a punch.” Everyone knows and loves schadenfreude. But surprisingly not all untranslatable words have to be insulting or mean. Some are very cute like

Forelsket. A Norwegian word that means “the indescribable euphoria experienced as you begin to fall in love.” Awwwwwwwwwwww

Or this one that might be fitting for a lot of us bloggers

lostintranslation2

Tsundoku – “leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piled up together with other unread books.”

I’ve seen that sentiment related on a few blogs. How many new years resolutions have you seen that includes reading more?

Anyway, there a bunch of other good ones on the brainpickings page linked above if you’d like to check them out. I enjoy language quite a bit. I wish I were better at it actually. I have a terrible memory, though, and new words slip out of my mind so quickly. I eventually get a few here and there, but it takes a long time. Language is great though. I like the little rules and meanings. I like putting words in weird orders, changing the content or context. I like misleading and mistaking words for other words. I like how you can play with them and make them do what you want. And I hate when a word is right there but out of reach. Fun stuff.

 

 

The article posted above is about this book. Another book I need to add to my list…

http://www.smile.amazon.com/Lost-Translation-Illustrated-Compendium-Untranslatable/dp/1607747103/?tag=braipick-20

No Words

My Mom

I talk about honesty quite a bit. Not really honesty with other people, though that’s probably important as well, but honesty with yourself. Even when it leads you to a dark place that you may not want to go. I’m afraid I haven’t been able to follow my own advice over the past three days. Christmas really fucked me up. As noted previously, my dad and brother were away so I was left visiting my mom for three-ish days. Those days made me realize that I don’t really have a mom. Not a loving version of a mom that we like to imagine. Does my mom love me? I don’t know. I think in some ways, she does. She cares about my wellbeing on a very basic level. Emotionally and mentally, I don’t think she gets it. She will be there when I’m in trouble. If my car breaks down, she’d pay to have it fixed. If someone is being difficult or threatening, she’d do whatever necessary to solve the issue. She did so throughout my childhood. The thing is, she’d do that for pretty much anyone. She plainly hates injustices and will try to do the technically right thing. She works at an elementary school and has spent a fair bit of money our of her own pockets on the not-so-well-off kids. From buying them school supplies they need to buying them gifts for their birthdays. She’s even fostered a kid when there was an issue of abuse.

If you know my mom, you’d say she is a good person because she does undeniably nice things. When other people might lament on the tragedies, she acts. Every year she has a stack of calenders from nonprofits she’s donated to over the last year. Every Christmas, I choose one from the stack and this year was no different. She does good. She helps.

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It’s almost as if she has a check list of good and bad. And when something falls easily into the bad category to the point that it’s difficult to argue any other side, she does what she can to improve it.

But moving into the more personal. The more ambiguous and difficult to define parts of life, she is largely absent. If I’m depressed. She won’t acknowledge it. If I’m slightly down. She won’t acknowledge it. She distant and treats relationships almost businesslike. Being her son, it’s difficult to accept. And it sucks when I see those traits in myself. I rebel the best I can, but it takes constant effort of I relapse into a comfortable loneliness. This christmas my friends invited her to join their family and friends get-togethers. She declined every single invitation and didn’t go to her long time friend’s when she was invited. She would rather spend most of Christmas day alone. Which is all good and fine but is revealing when you think about how that type of person is with children. That person doesn’t sound loving and supportive. Not open and caring. Functional more than anything.

I came home from my parent’s feeling pretty bad. I was sick, but I was mostly down. When I left my childhood home the day after Christmas my mom was cleaning and said “see you” when I told her I was about ready to leave. I accept that we aren’t a family that says I love you all the time. I’ve come to terms with that. But it hurt leaving like that. I could have walked over to where she was and given her a hug and said thanks and bye. I’ve done it before and it didn’t change anything. It’s who she is as a person.

My Mom

Good Drugs

Hello Internet people. I’ve been silent for a few minutes here and I thought I’d explain why. Turns out, someone has the flu. That someone appears to be me if my general terrible feeling is any indication. I’ve taken some sort of medicine that I can’t identify, but I can report that it tastes like liquified garbage. Though, in saying that, I have to reveal my gratitude for its existence. I may feel worse when choking it down, but in the long run I am better off for the amazing work done by medical researchers. Hopefully, I won’t need to take advantage of other breakthroughs like my friend’s grandfather had to over the weekend when he suffered a heart attack. He’s on the mend now and all signs point to a swift recovery and that’s all thanks to those crazily educated doctors (and nurses and anyone else keeping that hospital running, like the engineers and electricians and so on).

Comparatively, I’m healthy as an ox and I feel that way, besides the moments I feel every viscous, dripping, molecule in my gut, wrenching upward against gravity to spew from my mouth in disgusting glory. Yes, besides that… lovely.

I’m having one of those real lack of crisis periods. Life is stacking up in the corner of this room. Every once in a while I peek over and see the tower leaning, ready to crumble, but I stay calm. Life. Future. Babies. Career. Phd. Parents. Love. Childhood. Words words words. Meaning is buried somewhere in there and I’m digging every day. My little version of manual labor that’s sickening when you think about the true struggles of manual labor. Not as sickening as a virus or bacterium, but you know what I mean.

And being slightly sick and on awesome medicine has one distinct benefit. It allows me to act and write like an insane fool with a beautiful excuse. At the end of this, rather than thinking I’m a terrible writer and seeing my mind deteriorating as each word is written down, a lot of you lovely people will feel empathy to some degree. I can get away with literary and intellectual murder.

 

Away, I plan on catching up on my blog reading tomorrow as I plan to spend 21 hours of the next 24 in bed. I hope you lovely people have written some fascinating stuff for me.

Goodnight.

Good Drugs

Fan Friday 8: Late Night Edition

It’s still Friday to me!

Ai Weiwei is a well known artist from China. He’s featured in a documentary called Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, which is on Netflix streaming. It’s a great little documentary and I recommend it to everyone interested in politics or art. Right now, he has an exhibit on Alcatraz (that I should be going to see next month) about political prisoners from around the world and questions what freedom really is. Amnesty International went over to Alcatraz last week to look at the exhibit.

I have a little book of short quotes called Ai Weiwei-isms. It’s a collection of quotes taken from interviews, articles, blogs and tweets by Weiwei.

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What I frequently see from people, probably even myself, is a devaluing of our freedoms. Things like twitter, instagram, facebook, and even blogs (gasp!), are ripped apart all the time. Who doesn’t get tired of reading silly, bordering on idiotic, posts on facebook? I think we forget that being allowed to do such a simple thing as write a tweet is actually not a guarantee. This freedom does result in countless terrible arguments in comment sections all over the internet, but on the other hand Ai Weiwei was jailed for a blog post. That’s a reality a lot of us aren’t faced with and as a result we denigrate what these things are rather than acknowledge what they could be. Whether you have something to say about the government or only want to write about your day to day activities, it’s pretty neat that we can do it.

“These are nonviolent people who have lost their freedom simply because they expressed their ideas… In truth, they are heroes of our time.”

People like Ai Weiwei (and I wish I was more aware of the countless others) remind me that tweeting can be an act of rebellion. And that every word holds meaning.

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Many times I’ve read “what does a hashtag do?” What is does is start a conversation, if anyone else wants to have one. It also allows you to express your thoughts. Whether you get one retweet or a hundred thousand, it’s freedom. Freedom in a meaningful sense as well. Individual freedom to your thoughts without fear. What that doesn’t mean is that you can say stupid things without someone telling you you’re stupid. You see this sort of thing when a favorite TV personality or radio host says something over the top. They yell “freedom of speech” when all anyone wants to do is point out the stupidity of what he or she said. But in all those cases, people seem to overlook the fact that no one is being hauled off to jail. That’s what the freedom means. That’s what plenty of people do not have.

It seems like the world is full of cynics. People who sit on the sideline and shit on everything while never taking the risk necessary to care about something themselves. It’s not hard to be that cynical person. I was that person in my late teens. But it just meant I was static while other people were taking risks. Sometimes they failed, sometimes they said something stupid. But I wasn’t saying anything at all.

“Blogs and the Internet are great inventions for our time, because they give regular people an opportunity to change public opinion.”

Sometimes we use it to say nothing at all. But it’s pretty nice that it’s there when we need it.

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Fan Friday 8: Late Night Edition

Women going Childless… And also me

Edited to increase the adorability by infinity.

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This is a fascinating read and you all should read it immediately… or whenever you get around to it, or whatever, do what you want. Anyway, this hits pretty close to home even though it’s all about a woman’s decision not to have children. I hardly identify as a man so there’s not much different in the thought process. I fully acknowledge that women face more societal pressures than man. The expectations for them to have children is massive, and it’s not the same for men. Us men aren’t typically thought of as child loving people, and even when we are, not in a rush to have them ourselves. We are tricked by baby-crazed women or fall back on family life after burning out on strange women and short term flings. That was never me so I recognize zero percent of it, but I do know that almost no one asks me when I’ll have kids like they do with my female friends who have to answer the question nearly every time they see relatives. And when I answer that it’s not likely that I’ll have kids, I’m not pushed much.

But some of the excerpts from this article are not so much about society and more about the internal thought process, which is something I can identify with.

“I was always too self-centered and irresponsible to have kids. I know that never stopped many others, but I am a narcissist with a conscience.”
Debbie Kasper

This is perfect. Being self-centered is usually considered a negative characteristic to have. But it’s not. In fact, everyone is a narcissist to varying degrees. Just ask yourself how much time you spend thinking about your own life as opposed to the other 7 billion people in the world. I’m going to guess it’s not in proportion. What’s important is recognizing what that does to other people. The nice thing about interacting with other adults is that they can typically take care of themselves (more or less). So when I’m going through one of my inward spirals of narcissism, my loved ones keep on ticking, and sometimes even help me through my self inflicted melancholy as I do for them when I can. That reciprocity isn’t a possibility with a three month old. It’s 100% about that child. And it pretty much stays that way for life. Or at the very least many, many years. Your typical teenager isn’t sitting around thinking about the mental wellbeing of their old ass parents. I drop into a self-obsessed depression, I cannot possibly do what’s best for someone else. I refuse to put a child through that.

“It might not be a fear of kids themselves, as in truth I usually get along with them pretty well.

My fear of having children is that, frankly, I just don’t want to love anyone that much. I have my own problems with love, and I have processed and played the same games for a lifetime, but what if I had to do that with someone I actually MADE?!”
Margaret Cho

Again, I can’t fail my potential child. It isn’t a fun, light decision to make. It’s an entire life. Knowing myself as much as I do, I don’t think the risk is worth it. I don’t think my selfish wants or desires should fuel my behavior when it concerns a helpless little human. Are they unfailingly cute? Yes. Does a babies smile reduce me to a puddle of sweetly scented love? Yes. Do I want to hold my little baby niece 24 hours a day until she’s too heavy for me to hold? Yes. Would I love my child? Yes. Can I honestly say I would be able to do my best in raising a child? No. Sure, no one has done a perfect job parenting, but they should do their best. We all know terrible parents. Whether personally or watching parents and kids walk by in the store. Either bad mistakes, or poor decision making resulted in a child living a life he or she shouldn’t be forced to live. Sometimes it’s mean, stupid adults but other times it’s emotionally unavailable, complicated, personal issues that prevent parents from doing their best. (And sometimes their best just isn’t good enough. Mine might not be.) I care about the wellbeing of kids too much to gamble with their minds and futures.

 

the book sounds interesting. I’d like to buy it soon.

 

No Kidding: Women Writers and Comedians on the Choice Not to Have Children

Women going Childless… And also me

I will never write an obligatory christmas blog

Oops.

I’ve started writing this at 12:00 (California time). Happy christmas, all. I have almost no family. Haha. My old days consisted of a very busy day. Morning was present time. Afternoon was my aunt and uncle time (also some cousins). My grandma would show up and there would be more present time. (And family time, but really, for kids you just sit off to the side playing with new toys.) Then fun time was interrupted by too-much-food dinner time. Most of the food was strange garbage food, so I ate some turkey or something and forty rolls. People talked all day. Some laughs were had (by not me). My mom, dad, and brother were around all day. Of course, I grew up and became angsty and obnoxious. And the day started to change. My grandma died. One less person. My cousins got old and moved away. Three less people. My aunt and uncle moved to another state. Two less people. Presents were less play inducing. Still had my mom, dad, and brother. My brother, and later, I, moved away for school, but returned every christmas.

Tonight I sit in my childhood home nearly alone. My (other) grandma hurt herself a few days ago. In response my dad and brother went down to her house to help her get through her injuries. That leaves my mom and me.

Tomorrow, I will wake up, give my mom her present, open a few myself, with very little fanfare. The mood will be strange. It’s unavoidable. I won’t see my dad or brother. It will be quiet and simple. The festivities will be short and not very festive. It will be nice, don’t get me wrong, but it will be sad. Today I went to my friends house were a party was raging. People were drinking (old, gross people). People were talking too loud, laughing too much, and crowding me. It wasn’t bad. Even at our most busy, my days were never like that. My family is small. My relatives are spread out or hated or unknown. It was funny coming home to almost the exact opposite atmosphere. A loud house full of family and friends, to a house with just my mom. I don’t mind the quiet. I don’t mind muted atmosphere.

Will you be spending your day with family and friends? A party or a large dinner? Will it be a quiet day with only a few people?

I’ll enjoy my day but I will miss my dad and brother (and my hurt grandma who usually makes the trip).

I will never write an obligatory christmas blog