Monday, March 19, 2007

Daylight Savings Time? Totally messing with my head.

So needless to say the time change is seriously affecting my sleeping/eating/going outside and doing things schedule. It seems like forever since it was light outside past 6pm, and so now my body thinks that everything has just shifted but I should still be relying on visual cues to say, eat dinner and whatnot. That and it really doesn't help that it changes the week of spring break, when my body is all messed up from no routine and staying up late and getting up even later and eating whenever I remember to...

As a consequence we've been eating anywhere from 7:30-9:30pm, which really isn't good. I won't go into details, but I really need to get back into a routine and stop eating meals that consist mainly of starches. And now that the weather is nice I can finally go outside and walk around in the sun! Now I just have to worry about the skin cancer...

I'm not a hypochondriac, I'm just cautious.

Weeks of papers and studying for midterms and finding out that I'm now getting sick from coffee (NOT a welcomed realization), followed by a week of lounging, watching movies, watching the Sopranos, playing Perfect Dark, and raking leaves. And then of course back to writing a paper and doing homework for this week, but hey, there are much more unpleasant things than going to school.

But it's so beautiful outside! It's like spring has finally come around bringing all the budding trees and flowers and greenness (and allergies) with it. I hope that this time I'll have more motivation to get out and experience it like I used to, and not just sit inside in front of a computer all day (I'm doomed!).

Things that need to be done: get worms from family and set up compost, look into prices on plants and such for xeriscaping, washing the floors/general cleaning of the house. Flamenco performances this weekend, flamenco paper, evolutionary psych paper, reading... the usual.

On more of a constructive note, I've really gotten into Lifehacker as a general good-stuff-to-know blog, and damn if those people don't find awesome workarounds for things that normally drive me crazy. Until I convert that Wordpress template into straight HTML I won't put any links up, but when I do there will be a lot of useful links on the sidebars. Trust me.

And now it's time for the lazy but oh so good dinner of tamales and rice! (yeah, college meals... so shoot me (or give me cooking lessons!))

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

What's Your Gender?

I'm currently dealing with being very cold and trying to get rid of a headache, the product of me being very dehydrated for a few years days. So I'm drinking lots of water, which in turn makes me colder, and the vicious cycle begins again. Maybe one of these days I'll learn.

Topic of the day: paper and art project addressing the above titled question. Due tomorrow and starting it today, thanks to having tests the past couple days and being quite unmotivated before that. It brings up the question of recycling papers, but I only seem to do that for personal statements for scholarships and whatnot, so here I am having to bring up the gender question again. Art project? Perhaps decoupage, maybe using some of those Classico jars we have around, maybe something with duct tape? Alas, the one time where it would actually work to do a collage (actual art collage, not high school type collage), they tell us that it's the only form of expression we can't use. If only I can relate my gender to stars or duct tape wallets, or tattoos and piercings (although I don't think they would necessarily want pictures of pierced vulvas to be turned in for this project. Then again...).

So I'm going to do this out of order (because technically we're supposed to create the visual piece first) and do a semi-writeup. Hopefully I can incorporate any explanation of the art piece into the paper without any huge gaps.

. . .

It's an all too frequent occurrence: I put on a skirt, or a dress, or just a cute pink/red top, and my friends make a big deal about it. Not necessarily a big deal in a good way, more like "So you've actually decided to be like a girl today" or "Come on, you definitely can't pull that off". Now I could understand this if I was oh, say, male. But the fact that I am female and my friends laugh at me every time I try and look recognizably "feminine"... well, that just makes things complicated.

Not that I can uncomplicate my life by dropping most feminine ties and acting more masculine either, mind you. Those same friends that laugh at my attempt to "look like a girl" also chastise me when I wear slightly baggy pants and a sweatshirt, pointing out that no one will take me serious as a female if I routinely walk around like an androgynous (or slightly feminized) guy. I'm constantly caught in the crossfire of "Oh, she's trying to be like a guy! Well, you can't deal with this can you! (and my male friend picks me up off the ground and shows that I am not as strong as men are)" and "Oh how cute, she's trying to look like a girl! Now if only you could look like this (holds onto his girlfriend) then you would be a bit more believable! (note: said girlfriend is stacked, has curly hair, wears makeup and short skirts, and girlishly giggles at all the right times)".

On the one hand, I feel kind of cheated because no one really "taught" me how to be feminine. When I look at other girls, I wish that I could look as pretty as they do with their hairstyles and makeup and cute tops and short skirts and coordinating heels. But on the other hand, I really hate how makeup feels and how fake it makes me look, I can't really stand wearing skirts or dresses because you can't do anything physical in them, and I'm pretty sure that I would break my ankle if I tried wearing high heels. Since my appearance hinges directly on me being comfortable (how many women you know that wear heels are actually comfortable in them?) the result is my looking less feminine and more like "one of the guys". Who just happens to have boobs.

How did I start out this way? Well, the way I look at it, it's simple. I have an older brother, so when I came along my parents were already used to raising a boy child. Since we were always together, I just started doing what he was doing: playing outside in the mud, wrestling, playing sports, and generally running around. My parents were of the mind that girls could do anything boys could, and so they let me play around with my brother, seeing that that's what made me happy at the time. My brother was my only playmate up until I got into school, and even after that we were each other's primary play friends. So I grew up learning boy things. Sure, I was well aware that I wasn't a boy, that I was biologically female and inherently different from boys, but it seemed that boys were always the ones having the most fun. Because of this "fun factor" (and the fact that growing up with my brother gave me more of a boy mindset than a girl mindset) I had much more boy friends than girl friends, was always playing in one of the boys' games at recess, and generally (since I hadn't reached puberty yet and so looked pretty much like a little boy if you disregarded my long hair) regarded myself as "one of the boys". Oh yeah, it really helped that my clothes were hand-me-downs from my brother and that I was better at sports than most any of the other girls. I guess it really was one of those things where it didn't matter if I was a girl as long as I could keep up with the boys I was playing with: "It appears that for girls to be fully accepted in the boy's sports games they need to be physically fit and skilled. There were no exceptions to this unwritten, unspoken rule. (Boyle, et al, 2003)"

Of course all of that changed when we got into midschool, when boys started looking at girls as sexual entities, not as playmates, and when the only thing on girl's minds was to impress the boys. It was then that I finally figured out that I didn't fit in - I wasn't girly enough for the girls and I couldn't hang out with the guys because, well, I was female. So I found the next best thing: drama club. "Don't fit in anywhere else? Don't worry, join Drama Club, we're all as confused and left out as you!" The best part was, since we were all playing characters of all types and genders, it didn't matter how we looked or how we decided to display our gender. If you wanted to do drag, you could. If you were a male and wanted to act super masculine, or a female and wanted to act super feminine, you could. Everyone could mix and match and it was perfectly ok to do so. Well, a lot of the kids not in drama club thought we were all just a bunch of queers, but their approval didn't matter to us anymore. We gave each other encouragement, became best friends, helped each other when needed, and stood up for each other. To me, it seemed that each group in school was painting it's own picture: the jocks' was pretty much full of blue, the cheerleaders' was pretty much all pink, but our picture was by far the most colorful. What we liked most was that we were so colorful, that we weren't all just strictly masculine or strictly feminine. It was like what Fausto-Sterling said at the end of The Five Sexes, Revisited: "Sometimes people suggest to me ... that I am arguing for a pastel world in which androgyny reigns and men and women are boringly the same. In my vision, however, strong colors coexist with pastels."

Monday, February 26, 2007

Drifting by but leaving no trace

Today was so beautiful! Nice weather for a change, getting warmer, sunny and oh-so-good feeling. I really wanted to take a walk but what with procrastinating doing work and studying for tests and helping make dinner it didn't really happen. I need a walking buddy, someone who's actually willing to go out and just stroll around the side streets.

I spent most of last week writing papers and drinking coffee, then looking at Bull Terrier puppies and trying to find a breeder anywhere close to here. Now that I have this urge for a child/child equivalent, baby pets have become a thing of great desire. And besides, $2000 is vastly less than one will end up spending 18+ years on a child.

So here it is, another week, a week closer to spring break and tests and projects and (hopefully) new mods. I've already enquired about microdermals at Evolution, but I was told that they wouldn't do anchors anywhere on the hands. I can understand why they would say that, seeing as how a lot of people that get piercings are people that get them on spur of the moment and don't take care of them. I wouldn't want my name coming up when a kid with an infected or rejected piercing is bragging to their friends, but at the same time I'm not like those kids, and I've put a lot of thought into this. So I'm going to try and bring it up one more time and explain myself, and if they still don't let me then it's either going to be some sort of sternum/clavicle surface piercing or faux navel piercing.

Oh and now we're watching This Film Has Not Been Rated. This should be really interesting.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Candy Mountain Charlie!

It snowed. Again. There was a time when I loved the snow. It meant getting to stay at home and drink coffee and hang out with mi Ma, getting a day off from homework and then possibly having decent snow to ski in if I could convince anyone to take me out to Taos.

That was before I had to move out of the apartment into the new house in the middle of a frickin blizzard. Seriously, snow in New Mexico is awesome when it happens, but 6" to a foot every weekend for 3-4 weeks is a bit much for people who have no infrastructure to deal with snow that actually sticks.

But it is beautiful when it comes down all soft and fluffy, covering trees and rocks and lights (and roads before people actually try driving on them). I wonder how the roadrunner that lives around here is dealing with the snow? I always see him perching on planters and roaming around the neighborhood. We were wondering how he got here, why he stays, and why no one believes me when I tell them that a roadrunner lives on my block. But he's super cute!

Anyway, I plan on making brownies for the house to celebrate Valentine's Day, possibly changing a Wordpress template into straight html (since Blogger doesn't handle PHP and whatnot), and avoiding writing papers before heading off to class at 5:30pm.

Ah, snow days.

Monday, February 12, 2007

So far from typical...

I feel the need to write. I know, I know, almost a year passes and I write a couple posts, then do it again a year later. In all honesty I've been waiting until I wrote up my own code for the face of the blog before writing again. Then I find that the free time I thought I would designate to this blog turned into craft making or packing or drinking coffee and living. And now (amazingly) I'm actually doing all of my reading, so I have even less time to waste on setting together a template and coding it all up.

Excuses aside, there just hasn't been much of a need to write.

I went through a time last year when I felt anything I would write would hinge on the lamenting of a teenage sexually-confused clinically-depressive girl who was trying to break previous notions of herself. Yeah, so I'm not a teenager, but from the way I was conducting myself you wouldn't know it. Plus the privacy thing. As much as I say that I'll tell people anything they want to know about me if they just ask, there are still things that I don't want future employers looking at.

I wanted this space to get back to being productive in my life, but I didn't seem to need it in the same way that I did when I was fifteen or so. As I've mentioned before, I've become much more vocal about things that affect me, specifically things that I would normally just write to a blank screen about. Instead of writing the same (old) things that come back around in my life, I wanted to change my approach. Photography, tech musings, opening others up to the culture of body modification, contemplating a more adult life and getting into more geographically based topics. Things that matter more to me now that I'm not so focused on whether or not I can keep it all together.

So what's the deal? I've been reading a ridiculous amount of literature on gender/sexuality/power/queer, as well as social control and the history of the Romani people, and throw evolution into the mix to tilt how I look at all these things yet again. Even though all my classes are different, they all tend to have overlapping themes - and it's really odd how these themes come up on the same days in all of the classes, how one professor will almost continue the sentence of another with a slightly different focus, but when it comes down to it they're talking about the same things.

Sidenote: I'm going through all of the free songs that I've downloaded from iTunes trying to find ones that I might actually like (because when I downloaded them, I didn't actually listen to them, just got them because they were free. Never pass up free stuff, someone somewhere will like it). Consequently when I'm listening to different songs I think of different things, and therefore it may seem that my writing jumps around a lot.

PS: I really hate how punk/pop crap has managed to get a genre title of "Rock". Just... bad.

All of these themes bring up different internal conversations that directly question who I am (and quite often who I am trying to be). It's good to think about these things, to question yourself in terms of power, leading vs. following, asserting who you are even if others disagree with you. To be in a place where you can take what you find after those questions and apply them to your life as you're living it is a lot harder to achieve. It's one thing to acknowledge something in your self, but another thing entirely to let that show through to others without hesitation. It's that hesitation that keeps so much of us from doing what we actually want to do, express ourselves in a way that's comfortable to use and gives us joy, to be who we are.

And that, my friends, is why we are all in the closet.